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Volume contains more than genealogical data

Overijssel-clan of Goutbeck etc produces interesting history book

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill Immigration History

When 81-year-old John Goutbeck visited his native country the Netherlands, he made a short trip across the North Sea to England in search for a sister he had not seen for 62 years. Up until that time, the retired Dutch-Canadian potato farmer had assumed her to be dead for some years. She, as well, thought her elder brother had died. Via the Dutch embassy in London, Goutbeck received an address in the town of Thorne where he presented himself to an elderly woman who opened the door. 'Do you recognise me,' he asked her. No, she did not remember 'the stranger.'

The story, which took place in 1971, is one of many anecdotes published in the genealogy of the Goudbeek clan, and a variety of different spellings of the family name, the most important ones being: Goldbeck, Golbeeck, Goldbeek, Goudbeek, Goutbeek, Van Goutbeeck, and the Canadianized-version Goutbeck. Besides it being a genealogy, the 308-page book provides a suburb feel for local and regional (social) history, with the Kampen-area represented prominently.

German connection

The Canadian component of the book is not extensive, since it only covers a period of about 80 years. Yet it is a significant part due to the inclusion of some surviving letters written by John Goutbeck's wife Jannesjen (nee Flietstra) to relatives in the Netherlands. As well, the authors have included copies of documents, and many (family) pictures.

To trace his family's origin, Canadian-born Peter Goutbeck of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, a potato farmer, formerly a widower, travelled with his second cousin Peter L. Goutbeek of Amsterdam to a village near Hamburg, Germany, called Goldbeck. The earliest 'namesakes' - it is not proven that this branch is indeed related - lived in Vollenhove, Province of Overijssel, where in several documents they were referred to as Van Holsteijn, Holsteijn, or Holsten, after Holstein, the area from which Hans Andriess, this branch's common ancestor, hailed.

The history of this group of families has been documented in the book, which was published in the Netherlands in 1987. Since then, an English plastic-bound version was published in Canada.

Family name established before 1811

Andries' son, Hans (Johannes) Andriess Goltbeeck, settled in Vollenhove, then a coastal town on the east side of the 'Zuiderzee'. The Goltbeecks aligned themselves through marriage with leading families in Vollenhove; one of the Goltbeecks served as surgeon at nearby Blokzijl. This Reijndt Janss Goutbeeck is referred to in a variety of name spellings and by two different surnames. This lack of precision by early ancestors makes genealogical research such a challenge; one is never quite certain if it concerns two individuals or just one.

The authors have not achieved their dream of weaving the different clan-threads back to one common ancestor but feature the different family lines by presenting each in a section of their own. The Goutbeeks chose their surname in 1811 when Napoleon Bonaparte decreed that everyone must register him/herself with a fixed surname. They adopted the surname they had used off and on for some decades already. The Goutbeeks complied with this decree, although many Dutchmen were reluctant to comply by adopting a surname (King William II repeated this demand as late as the 1850s).

Dwindling areal of peat bogs

One branch of the family settled in Germany; anecdotes on the discovery of this family line are published in the book. The ancestor of this family line went to work in Germany during the early years of the 20th century, and stayed there!

The personal histories provide very interesting information. Brand Alberts Goutbeek (born near Kampen, in Veecaten) received, for example, one thousand guilders as compensation for 'his active time' at the battle of Waterloo. He used this money to buy a farm near Hardenberg, a municipality which borders with Germany.

To focus back to John Goutbeck of Edmonton: John was born into a family of peat diggers who then lived at Dedemsvaart, Overijssel. When the area of peat bogs dwindled, the family pulled up roots and resettled to the Peel-region in Limburg/Noord-Brabant. From there, the family with the youngest children went across the North Sea to work in the peat in England. They returned to the Netherlands after a few years. John, who was then living in Enschede where he worked for the 'Heidemaatschappij,' emigrated to Edam, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1913. He returned home when he was called up to serve in the Dutch army which had been mobilized when WWI hostilities broke out in 1914. Five years later, he returned to Canada and settled again in Edam, Saskatchewan which then was home to a Dutch immigrant community.

Collision course

John's sister Janna who had married a Dutch Roman-Catholic, settled in England. Her choice of partner put her on a collision course with her parents, leading to the break-down in family relations. It took 62 years before the elderly Dutch-Canadian made a successful attempt to find his sister. The Goutbeck genealogy includes information on Janna Verhees and her family.

In addition to John's family, there are a number of Goutbeeks who settled in Canada. Since they assumed a different surname upon marriage, they will not be identified as easily. The book is quite accessible in this respect: it provides a complete index of all the people mentioned in the book, and features many charts to show the linkages. Additionally, the authors have included many ancestral lineages of people that married into the family, among whom there are several Dutch-Canadians.

A copy of the book has been donated to the Windmill Archives.