Methodology Spotlight

Birth of Johannes Hermannus Wolters

Today, we are looking at the birth record of Johannes Hermannus Wolters (1899). His original name was Johannes Hermannus Roode.

Civil registration (Oldenzaal, Overijssel, Netherlands), births 1899, record no. 89, Johannes Hermannus Roode (29 May 1899); “Netherlands, Overijssel Province, Civil Registration, 1811-1960,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : viewed 27 May 2020), digital film 004749370, image 1241 of 2038.


No. 89
Today, 29 May 1899, appeared before us, Nicolaus Xaverius Theodorus Maria Vos de Wael, civil registrar of the municipality of Oldenzaal: Fenna Spit, 72 years old, midwife, living in Oldenzaal. Two witnesses assisted her: Johannes Wilhelmus Frederikus van Harten, 31 years old, municipal clerk, living in Oldenzaal, and Bernardus Brand, 43 years old, municipal beadle, living in Oldenzaal.

They declared that Martha Elisabeth Roode, unmarried, without occupation, living in Oldenzaal, on the 27th of this month at 10 o’clock in Oldenzaal, in ward A no. 297, gave birth to a male child, that received the first names of Johannes Hermannus.

Therefore, we made this record, read it, and signed it with the witnesses.

Two acknowledgements

In the margin of the record we find two notes. Both talk about what happened after the birth of the child. Firstly, Hendrik Wolters and Martha Elisabeth Roode acknolewdged the child in Ootmarsum on 7 March 1905. Secondly, royal letters of 26 March 1906 ratified the acknowledgement. The text of these royal letters is in the marriage register of Tubbergen. [source]

Royal letters

What do these royal letters say? The Queen of the Netherlands, Wilhelmina, decided on 26 March 1906 on a petition, that she received from Hendrik Wolters and Martha Elisabeth Roode. The spouses omitted to acknowledge the child when they married. They already acknowledged it in March 1905, but now ask the Queen to ratify that action.

Why all these records?

A lot happend between 1899 and 1906. Johannes Hermannus was born in 1899, when his mother was still unmarried. According to the law, he received her family name. As a result, Johannes Hermannus started his life as Johannes Hermannus Roode.

Martha Elisabeth Roode then married Hendrik Wolters in Ootmarsum on 14 May 1903. [source] At the time of their marriage Hendrik and Maria Elisabeth acknowledged one son, named Martinus (born in 1901). However, they forgot to mention their other son: Johannes Hermannus.

In 1905 Hendrik and Maria Elisabeth wanted to rectify this omission. Consequently, Johannes Hermannus received the family name Wolters. Acknowledgement was important, the child was no longer ‘illegitimate’ and in addition, there was a legal family relationship between parents and child. For this reason, Hendrik and Martha Elisabeth asked the civil registar of Ootmarsum to make a new record in which they acknowledged Johannes Hermannus. However, to make it official the spouses asked the Queen to ratify this acknowledgement.

This birth record contains a lot of information. More than a standard birth record from this period normally shows. Most important, we are lucky to find a reference to the royal letters!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *