Introductory Notes

Primary research by:
Steve Mulder (
Sheila (Kaper) Wiersma
Gary Mulder
Donna (Kaper) Mulder

Special thanks to:
John Nairn and his wonderfully flexible GEDitCOM
Jan Boerrigter
Bob DeVries
Pat Gemmen
Bernd Josef Jansen
Marco Schelling
Ria van Sonnen
Dorian Swarts
Albert Veldhuis
Hans Zuur
Calvin College Library, Grand Rapids, MI
Herrick Public Library, Holland, MI
Historical Library, Graafschap Christian Reformed Church, Graafschap, MI
Holland Genealogy Society, Holland, MI
Joint Archives of Holland, Van Wylen Library, Holland, MI


Nov 2010: Many scattered additions thanks to Google
April 2010: Thousands of ancestors added thanks to research by Hans Zuur and Bernd Josef Jansen, including many famous folks
Oct 2007: Ancestors Arie Jans Barendrecht and Lena Dirks Bol
May 2007: More research added, with updated photos and maps
Jan 2004: West Michigan maps of farms and cemeteries added
Oct 2001: First published online


I maintain my genealogy information in GEDitCOM, which enables me to create and customize this site automagically.

Naming Conventions

Early last names (surnames) were often based on occupations, places of residence, physical features, or even nicknames. Many last names were also created around the father's name (van Mieren or Jansen). Changes in spelling were common, especially at the time of emigration.

In 1811, Napoleon decreed that everyone must have a last name. Those who didn't have one had to create one and enter it into the special register called the naamsaanneming. Some patriots didn't like being forced to choose a last name, and so chose funny names like Bornnaked or Poepjes (shit).

When parents named their children in these areas of The Netherlands and Germany, originality was rarely a goal. Most families followed a widespread set of naming conventions based on these rules: