Saturday, July 22, 2017

Out of the Box with Facebook

Have you ever hit a brick wall? Not physically, of course; but, you just could not go forward with whatever it was you were trying to accomplish.  In genealogy research, there is always that brick wall lurking, just waiting for you to run into it with a splat. I hit that brick wall several years ago; however, I did break through a section of a wall recently with a stroke of good luck. (I have more than one brick wall in my research.)

Henrikus Niehues
Let’s back track. My 2nd great-grandfather Henrikus Niehues (born in 1803 in Holland) immigrated to the United States in 1844 with his wife, Francisca Maria Goddjin (born in 1817 in Leiden, Zuid-Holland) and two children: my great-grandfather George Henry Newhouse (born in 1838 in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland) and Herman Jacob Newhouse (born 1843 in Leiden, Zuid-Holland). A daughter, Franciska, died before the trip to America. The family’s last name was Americanized to Newhouse, and their first and middle names were given the English equivalents.

I wanted to get past the immigration date, working backward in time, to see if I could find any ancestors or historical background on this family. The immigration date is documented in several newspaper articles written about both George and Herman Newhouse.  The immigration, however, pre-dates Ellis Island, so those records were of no use. I scoured through ship manifests for the years 1843-1845, to no avail. I kept searching on and off for several years.

I decided to give George’s and Herman’s brothers and sisters – who were born in the United States – 
some scrutiny with the hope that angle of research would yield me some answers. This research led
George Newhouse
me to the descendants of Herman; specifically, Iris Simon Newhouse, the wife of Herman’s grandson Everett Newhouse. Iris filled me in on the family history giving me names, dates, and some information on Francisca Goddjin 2nd great-grandmother). Additionally, she sent to me the Bible that came with the family from Holland as I had descendants I could give it to while she did not.

Well, after getting that information, I again hit a brick wall. I had many questions answered, but I still was not able to get backwards into Holland; and, there is where I stayed for over six years.  Fast forward to the 2017 and Facebook. 

I never thought about using Facebook for my own personal journey. I do “follow” certain genealogy sites, and I guess because I do, a recommended site appeared one day called “Dutch Genealogy.” After reviewing the postings, I decided to ask for help.  I posted what information I had on my 2nd great-grandparents; and, within a number of hours, I had information on my 2nd great-grandmother’s family. There was no information on the Niehues family, but I had more than I had before.

There had always been a question as to whether our ancestors were German or Dutch. It turns out they are Belgium and Dutch – at least on the Goddjin side of the family. I wish I had thought outside of the box and turned to Facebook earlier.  There are probably other similar groups on Facebook for other nationalities tied into genealogy.

Here’s the lineage I now have thanks to Facebook’s Dutch Genealogy group:

Francisca Maria Goddjin (1817-1906) – 2nd great-grandmother
Jacobus Goddjin (1793-1836) – 3rd great-grandfather
Jacobus Goddijn (1760-1847) – 4th great-grandfather
Abraham Goddijn (1735-xxxx) – 5th great-grandfather
Jacobus Goddijn (1688-1757) – 6th great-grandfather
Abraham Goddijn ( 1660-1708) – 7th great-grandfather
Jacob Goddijn (1615-xxxx) – 8th great-grandfather
Abraham Abrahmszen Goddijn (1585-1643) – 9th great-grandfather
Abraham Goedijn – 10th great-grandfather

Along with the grandfathers’ names I also have the wives’ and children’s names. 

So, if you are doing family research, think out of the box and use “non-traditional” resources.

1 comment:

  1. Linda, welcome to the Geneabloggers group. This is a great post. Glad you were able to fill in family tree branches with help from Facebook. A Facebook group based in Ireland once helped me to find a cemetery & a tombstone for my family. You just never know where an answer will finally be found!