Dutch term – Kwartierherhaling

Kwartierherhaling, literally “repetition of quarters,” means pedigree collapse: the situation where the same people appear in multiple places in your pedigree chart. That means you descend from the same person or couple in different ways.

If your ancestors are from small towns in the Netherlands, sooner or later you’ll run into kwartierherhaling. In general, the more recently your ancestor lived in a small village, the higher the collapse. On my father’s side, who was from the village of Winterswijk, I have about 3,000 boxes in my pedigree chart filled, by only 1,300 unique people. The rest of the boxes are filled in by people who appear in multiple places.

There is one couple, Derck Mierdinck and Armgart Ubbinck, from whom all my paternal great-grandparents descend, in more than a dozen ways between them. Members of this families were serfs originally, who had limits placed upon whom they could married. They could only marry serfs from the same overlord, or pay a fine. That encouraged marrying in a small group, which further contributes to pedigree collapse.

See The Worst Case of Pedigree Collapse Ever? for an extreme example.

farm and shed

Former serf farm and shed in Winterswijk (Kossink). Credits: IJ. Th. Heins, Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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