This post actually began as a “oh, woe is me” post about my stubborn Heerdinks and why they elude me so. All that changed with one simple suggestion from my friend Kathy.
It all started last weekend when we were driving to Crossville, Tennessee to attend a genealogy workshop put on by the Crab-Orchard Chapter of the D.A.R. It was about a 1-1/2 hour drive, so we spent some time lamenting over our troublesome research problems. The Heerdinks were mine.
This week Kathy called to discuss our own upcoming genealogy workshop and (as tends to happen) we got off on a tangent of our previous conversation. After a couple of hours of discussing new approaches to finding my Heerdinks in census records (I have only been able to find my 3rd great-grandfather Anton Heerdink in the 1870 census), online searches for information, and getting nowhere fast, she says, “Have you tried the Dutch Facebook group?”
Well, no. (Duh. [insert headsmack here])
So I trotted off to join the Dutch Genealogy Group on Facebook. I posted a query – simply to find out if there were native alternative spellings for this surname that I could use to search (because the 874 thousand alternative spellings haven’t worked so far).
Let me just say that within 15 minutes of posting my question, I had a multitude of online resources to check. I also got a quick history of the origin of the ‘-ink’ suffix in the surname (which narrowed my search quite a bit). 84 comments later, I think I have finally gotten over that bump in the road and have so many new research avenues to check!
They found the entry for Anton Heerdink (written as Heerding, indexed as Hending) in 1860 Census living with his siblings – right where he should be – in Evansville, Indiana. His parents were both deceased by this time, and he had not yet married.
They also found what I hope to be his birth or baptism record (I still need to translate it fully) …
…several population registers, the marriage record for his potential parents, and his father’s military registration. In Holland. It gives a complete description of J.B. Heerdink, right down to his eyebrows.
Through some of the resources the helpful folks in the Dutch Genealogy Group provided, I think I have also found Anton’s emigration record and may be hot on the trail of his naturalization certificate!
So – in case you heard mysterious screams of excitement over the weekend – it was probably me. There is still much work to do … but at least I don’t feel like I’m beating my head against the wall anymore.
If this doesn’t convince you that collaboration is a HUGE part of the research process … I don’t know what will.
Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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