Jansen - Govan Family History

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Interest in tracing my family tree came from the fact that my family had moved around a lot. My parents had both been raised during World War II and living in the Netherlands, there wasn't much for them after the war. They first moved to Australia, but after several years decided to go back to the Netherlands. My older sister was born there. My parents next moved to the United States. I was born in California in 1958. After nine years, my parents decided that the USA was not for them and back to the Netherlands we all went. We had lived there for about six years when my parents set their sights on Canada. It was Canada or bust. We arrived in Canada in 1967 and have been here ever since.

Because of all the moving, I never really got to know my extended family. I always wondered who all the people were that I had heard my parents talking about. In the early '80s I decided to trace my family. This was before the internet and I had no idea how to go about it. I went to my local library and with the information I gained about genealogy, managed to coax out of my parents as much as I could about our family. It wasn't much. I was only able to go back about 4 or 5 generations.

I tried writing to several archives with little success. My first break came when I got a copy of my grandparents marriage certificate. I thought that was pretty good. But from then on the trail went cold. I struggled of and on for a few years making a few contact and some connections but my family tree looked pretty pathetic. I put away what I had accumulated and didn't do anything for quite some time. Then I met my wife.

She had quite an extensive family history. She had several relatives which had traced her family and knew a lot about her fathers side going back to the late 1600's. That got my genealogy juices flowing again and I dug out all my old records and began the hunt again. By this time the internet was upon us and I quickly made use of it. But even then, information about my family was hard to come by. I was still unable to get much beyond the 4th generation on my fathers side. I had a little it more success on my mothers side, but not much.

Then it happened. I made contact with a fellow in the Dutch Province of Zeeland who offered to look in the local archive for my grandfather's birth certificate. He sent me a copy of it. It seems my great grandparents came from the town of Den Helder. My great grandmother happened to have an unusual last name and I found out that there were only 8 or so people still living in Den Helder with the same last name. It was reasonable to assume that they were propbably related.

Later, I searched for anyone who had an email address with that last name. I found five. I sent off an email asking for information, and sure enough, two people responded. One had no information, but the other remembered seeing something in his family files about the people I'd written about. A few days later he got in touch again confirming that we were in fact related.

About a week later I received a package from him that contained my great grandmother's complete family tree going back to 1575. What a scoop that was. I was hooked. For years I'd been trying to find out about my family tree and then through one email, I managed to get one branch going back 14 generations. Since then I've found out a lot more. Just recently I found my fathers side going back to about 1809 and discovered that the Jansen name originated with my great (4) grandmother and that the family comes from Friesland.

I'm sure there is more to be discovered. That's what makes genealogy interesting. You never know what you'll uncover. It's been fun, but awefully frustrating at times. Sometimes you get lucky, other times you get skunked. But as the internet evolves, and more and more family data gets entered in various data bases, I'm sure that researching our family trees will get easier and easier. Best of luck.

Family Tree Data

bullet  Pedigree Chart for Reindert Pieter JANSEN 3
bullet  Pedigree Chart for Glenda Margaret Govan
bullet  Surname List
bullet  Index of Names

Family Historical Events

The Achille Lauro Incident
Calvary Chapel
The Faith Mission
The Railway of Death
The Sinking of the Tubantia


Cyndi's List
Wie Was Wie
Zeeuws Archief ISIS
Frisian Historical Centre
General Register Office for Scotland

Contact Information

Email Send E-mail to arpeejay@shaw.ca

Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Web Site was Created 12 Feb 2005 with Legacy 5.0 from Millennia