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Material on elusive Dutch American family discovered in researcher’s own attic
Internet contact hits pay dirt at home
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
WEESP, the Netherlands – If the Netherlands Genealogical Society NGV had been a baby in 1946, he or she now likely would have retirement plans. Instead, the leading Dutch genealogy group at age sixty generously benefits from huge numbers of baby boomers who have been infected by the family research virus and therefore have become a boon to NGV membership rolls. Such roots research is greatly facilitated by the popularity of a prime tool: a computer connected to the Internet.
Case in point is anniversary issue contributor P.C. Kommer-Van Huijstee who had no idea what had become of her great-great-greatgrandfather Pieter Kommer who in 1848 abandoned his legitimate family for adventure in the U.S. with a girlfriend and their joint offspring. The man’s descendent in the Netherlands finally traced the adulterous eloper via a request for information on the internet, which immediately explained why the search had been so difficult. The American family branch had adopted the spelling of Commer.
Anniversary calendar tops it
Van Huijstee’s new contact in Wheatland, Indiana, where one of Pieter’s sons had moved, visited the local cemetery for information and then quickly realized that several of her own relatives had married into the Commer clan, generating added enthusiasm for the project. A trip to the local library was followed by a check of her own attic where she really hit pay dirt in a collection of old high school annuals, old newspapers, magazines and the town’s 125th anniversary calendar which featured, of all things, a February 1900 photograph of the Commer family posing in front of their house. The Wheatland contact then realized the house was still standing and owned by one of Pieter’s descendents, who happened to have been her elementary school teacher.
Concludes Pieter’s Dutch descendent after Walt Disney, ‘It’s a small world after all.”
NGV’s Dutch-language anniversary issue is a 170-page volume and included two North American contributors, John Buursink of McLean, Virginia, and Ken Veldhuis of Ilderton, Ontario. NGV’s address is Postbus 26, 1380 AA Weesp, the Netherlands, “info”at”ngv.nl”.