Saturday, 5 April 2014

Ancestor Swap Challenge - are you in?

Last month, in my blog post "Sources - source of pride and envy" Tessa replied how she wished she could research someone from the Netherlands. She talked about the beautiful census and farm books that she gets to use in her Swedish and Norwegian research. Those sound very interesting and I would love to see them. Pauleen mentioned German Familienbücher that are just superb. So I came up with an idea:
Let's research each other's ancestors to get a taste of records in other countries. 
I will give you the first challenge and post details about an ancestor of mine, with some clues about sources you can use. If you're up to the challenge, please leave a comment and describe an ancestor of your own. I will myself pick out one of these other ancestors as well. Next month, I will write about my experiences researching this ancestor. Everybody who claimed an ancestor is invited to place a comment to share her/his experiences.

Rules of the challenge

Research another person's ancestor:
  • Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, specifying which ancestor you are picking. This need not be the last one. Please pick a country where you do not have any ancestors yourself. 
  • Research this person using the sources suggested or other sources.
  • Write a comment about your experiences at the bottom of my blog post next month (5 May), describing for example:
    • What did you find?
    • What resources did you use? 
    • What challenges did you face? 
    • What was different from the area where you usually do research? 
    Alternatively, you can write a blog post about it and place a comment with a link back to your post at next month's article.
Give another researcher a challenge:
  • In the same comment where you claim an ancestor, share one of your own.
  • Give the name and identifying details about this ancestor.
  • Suggest some research questions.
  • Suggest some online sources to start with. If the ancestor is impossible to research online, please pick another one. The records need not be available in English although if an English website is available, please say so. 
Map of Made en Drimmelen, 1868

First challenge: Johannes Marijnissen

My challenge to you is to research my great-great-grandfather Johannes Marijnissen. He was born in Made en Drimmelen, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands on 6 July 1864 and died in Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant on 26 December 1943. 

Suggested research questions:
  • Who were his parents?
  • Who was his wife?
  • What was Johannes' occupation? Looking at the map above, what does that tell you?
  • Where did Johannes live on 1 January 1900? 
  • Who was the informant on his death record? What does that suggest about the place where he died? 
Suggested resources:
Who is up to this challenge? 


  1. What a great idea. Count me in but give me a few days to get organised etc.

  2. This is such an innovative idea, Yvetter, and so in keeping with the rationale behind this new website. Unfortunately I am calling off from taking part this month -it is as much as I can do to keep up with the April A-Z daily challenge on my personal site:

    Good luck with your project.

  3. Yikes, a great idea Yvette...need to give it some thought.

  4. A wonderful idea and I am so sorry not to participate. You've scared me off. I can barely read German I'm not sure I would know what I found if I found anything.


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