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#5YearAntecedentia – Introduction

The last few days I have seen many genealogists publish their review of the year 2019. I have not written anything like that, simply because a review of one year is not enough for me. I want to look back on five years. Why? Because Antecedentia is celebrating its 5 Year Anniversary this month. Time to look back on these years, time to look at what is planned for the near future. But also, time to celebrate. With presents for you: the readers of my articles, the followers of my social media accounts, my geniefriends. Presents that you genealogists really like.

Now that I have mentioned the presents, you probably want to know how you can win one (or more). I will tell you that secret later. First I want to say a few words about how it all started.

My passion for genealogy or family history started more than 30 years ago. As a child I already liked to read about kings and queens, like the Orange-Nassaus in the Netherlands, the Tudors in England, the Bourbons in France and the Habsburgs in Spain. Every book I read about these families had charts that showed how one king was related to another. I started to collect names, dates and places. My ultimate goal was to have one big family tree of all the royal houses.

Ancestry of James I, king of England. (anonymous painter, 1603; public domain)

While I was reading these books and studied these charts, I started to wonder if I could create a chart of my own ancestors. My father hardly knew anything about his family. He knew the names of his parents and grandparents, but that was all. My mother knew the names of her grandparents and my grandmother could add a few more of the older generations. It was a first start, but I would not call these first results a family tree.

That all changed in January 1988 when my father’s uncle celebrated his birthday. A few days before, he received a phone call from someone with the family name Boeren. The man wanted to know if there was any link between our families. Until today I never found out who this mysterious caller was. Fortunately, it made my great-uncle draw a sort of family tree. His parents (my paternal great-grandparents) and their children, but also the siblings of his father. I finally had more names of Boeren relatives!

My great-grandparents Harrie and Jo Boeren, with their son Harrie jr. (collection: John Boeren)

Later that year I visited the local archives for the first time, looking for more details of the persons that my great-uncle had mentioned. I was able to go back one more generation… and then I was stuck. I had been convinced that my family always lived in Tilburg, I could not believe that my grandfather’s grandfather was not born there. This discovery marked the beginning of a tour through the country. I visited several archives and found generation after generation. Until it turned out that the family had Belgian roots and I had to go to archives on the other side of the border.

For years and years I studied the Boeren family. In the meantime I also researched the families of my other grandparents. Most of them were simple but hardworking people, with few ‘adventurous’ life stories.

After I graduated from Law School, I got the chance to study at the School for Archivists in The Hague. I started a job at the local archives and genealogy became part of my daily work. In those years I gave my first lectures and courses on family history. Many followed, to this present day.

Work changed, but my passion for genealogy did not. In 2014 I decided to change course: I wanted to become a professional genealogist. A few months later, in January 2015, Antecedentia was born.

Who Do You Think You Are Live 2017 was the first international genealogy event I attended. (collection: John Boeren)

Over the last five years I worked on incredible research projects, I attended amazing events and found great ways to develop my skills as a professional genealogist. Most of all, I met wonderful people. My articles in the next few weeks are about these projects and events, about education and development. Every Sunday and Wednesday I will post a new article on my website and I will announce them through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you did not follow the Antecedentia Twitter account yet, this is the moment to start!

Are you still reading? Curious about the presents? Every week in January I give away two presents, including books, tickets for events, gadgets and free research! Yes, you can win one or more of these giveaways! How? It is easy: read my articles, answer the question, share or retweet my posts on social media and let me know you want to win the prize of the week by telling me what you think is the right answer to the question! You decide how: an email or a private message on social media. Do not be afraid: it is all for free (it is a party after all!) and there are no strings attached.

Let the party begin: #5YearAntecedentia !!!

Today’s Giveaway…

Today’s giveaway is… One signed copy of Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s genealogical crime mystery novel Hiding the Past! How cool is that?

If you do not know Morton Farrier yet or if you never heard of Nathan Dylan Goodwin before, you should really take a look at his website: Here you can read everything about his amazing books that combine genealogy and mystery solving. Nathan will be at RootsTech (Salt Lake City, February) and THE Genealogy Show (Birmingham, June).

The question to win this one free signed copy is: In what year did I (John Boeren) visit the local archives for the first time?