Quick Tip – Unusual Name or Transcription Error?

In my tree, I had one set of triplets: Gemma, Aeltjen, and Stijntjen, daughter of Jan Mengers. They were baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church of Winterswijk on 14 March 1702. I first learned about them in the transcribed records that I bought as a teenager and was excited about the special find. I descend from Aeltjen.

I haven’t been researching this line for a while, but the other day there was a social media post about twins, triplets, and other multiple births, and I shared my triplet ancestor.

But then I started thinking. “Gemma” for a girl? Really? That’s a name I have never encountered in the Netherlands in the 1700s before, and definitely not in Winterswijk where everybody seems to choose from the same set of about twenty names. To have triplets and a unique name seems to defy the odds. Could there be a transcription error?

Thankfully, the scans are online now so I could verify the information in the original records. And what do you know? It says “dogters geminae” [twin daughters], not “Gemma.”1 Mystery solved. And not a triplet in my tree after all.

Baptismal record of Aeltjen and Stijntjen Mengers, twins


  1. Dutch Reformed Church (Winterswijk), baptismal register 1702-1738, Aeltjen and Stijntjen Mengers (14 March 1702); call no. 1716, Predecessors of the Civil Registration, Record Group 3019, Erfgoedcentrum Achterhoek en Liemers, Doetinchem, Netherlands; finding aid and images, Erfgoedcentrum Achterhoek en Liemers (http://www.ecal.nu : accessed 18 March 2015)
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ 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 diploma 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.


  1. Yep – just goes to show that whenever possible, check the original image rather than trusting the transcription/indexing.

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