Methodology Spotlight

Burial entry for a child of Rinnert Jelles

Today, we are looking at the burial entry for a child of Rinnert Jelles (1701).

Dutch Reformed church (Sneek, Friesland, Netherlands), burials 1669-1678, 1700-1755, 1783-1826, unpaginated, chronological order, entry for a child of Rinnert Jells (10 June 1701); “Netherlands, Friesland Province, Church Records, 1543-1911,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : viewed 11 June 2020), digital film 7172322, image 152 of 770.


On the same day [10 June 1701] Rinnert Jelles child – 10 -.


This burial register is actually a list of persons, who were beluid. The Dutch verb luiden means to ring church bells. In other words, we are looking at a list of people that died, and the money relatives paid for the ringing of the church bells.

The entry is for a child of Rinnert Jelles. Behind the name we see the fee that he paid: 10 stuivers. In the list, we see lower and or higher rates for different types of deaths. Families paid 1 gulden and 10 stuivers (1-10) for adults and 10 stuivers for children (-10). If a family was poor, they did not pay at all (0-0).

As in many burial entries, we only find the name of the father. This does not always mean the child died too young to have a name. It could be a stillborn child, without a name. However, it could also be a child that was already a few years old and had a name. The scribe just did not write down this name. He had no reason, as he only needed the name of the family member who would pay the fee.

The famous gate of Sneek, called Waterpoort; photograph taken between 1910 and 1940 (photo credits: Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed, Amersfoort, document OF-07942)

Name of the child

Is it possible to find the name of the child that Rinnert buried in 1701? It depends on what information the church books provide us.

Can we find out when Rinnert married? Most likely he is the same man as the Rinnert Jelles who married Grytie Innis in January 1697. They had the following children, all were baptized in Sneek. [source: AlleFriezen]

  • Jelle, baptized on 23 February 1698
  • Inne, baptized on 19 April 1701
  • Sytske, baptized on 23 March 1704
  • Enne, baptized on 17 April 1707
  • Richtie, baptized on 4 January 1711
  • Claeske, baptized on 8 October 1713

Rinnert Jelles paid three times for ‘the bells’.

  • a child on 10 June 1701
  • another child on 25 December 1702
  • his wife on 4 January 1725

When we compare the lists, we see that when Rinnert burried ‘a child’ in 1701 he had two sons: Jelle and Inne. Because Inne’s baptism took place in April 1701, it is very unlikely – if not impossible – that Rinnert had another (stillborn) child in 1701. Therefore, we can assume that the child that died in 1701 was either Jelle or Inne. We find the name Inne (or Enne) a second time: a child with that name was baptized in 1707. Does this imply that the first Inne died young? Possibly.

Things are more complicated than this. We also find Rinnert in the list, when he paid for a child in 1702. Did Jelle die young too? Or is the 1702 entry a stillborn child that did not receive a name? We should look for further details. For example, can we find a marriage for Jelle? Or can we find a later death for him? If so, he did not die in 1701 or 1702.

Without further investigation, my first hypothesis would be: the 1701 entry is for Inne (who was only a few months old) and the 1702 entry is for a stillborn child. Do you agree?

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