Photograph of one of the LP's with family recordings, speech of Jeannie and Paul, 1954.
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Family Recordings from the 1950s

Last week a friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post. Simone Oosterwijk from Woensdrecht in the Netherlands, needed help and my friend thought I was THE person to jump in. So, why did Simone need help?

Thrift shop

A while ago she found a round, flat iron tin in a small thrift shop. The tin contained three LP records. The labels contained names and showed the year 1954. Simone was fascinated by these records and bought them. At home she listened to what turned out to be old family recordings. She heard speeches, apparently by family members, at the occassion of the wedding of a couple named Kirry and Lientje. From the words, Simone learned that this couple emigrated to Australia. Members of both families congratulated the newlyweds. They also expressed their sad feelings, because they missed their relatives.

tin with 3 LPs, containing recordings of the Schalken family

After Simone had heard the recordings, she knew she had to return the LPs to the family. Easy to say, but would she be able to find living relatives? Simone started with a post on Facebook. In short time, a lot of people liked and shared the post. That is also how I got involved.

Search for relatives

The names on the LPs were my starting point. Recording no. 6 gave me the following details:

  • first names = Jeannie and Paul
  • family name = Schalken (from the other LPs)
  • date = 1954
  • the LPs were recorded in Tilburg

I started to look for these details in the digitized newspapers, that are available on the Delpher website. Immediately I hit the jackpot! I found the announcement of the upcoming wedding of Jeannie Schalken and Paul Arts, in 1955. I focused on the addresses and found the Schalken family in Roosendaal.

newspaper announcement: upcoming wedding of Jeannie Schalken and Paul Arts
announcement of the upcoming wedding of Jeannie Schalken and Paul Arts, Nieuwe Tilburgsche courant, 11 December 1954 (credits: Delpher)

Schalken family

Step by step I found the whole family. Christiaan Schalken married Cornelia van Strien in Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe in 1914. They had the following children:

  • Annie Johanna Gerarda (1915)
  • Adriaan Godfried Joseph (1916)
  • Petronella Cornelia Maria (1918)
  • Hendrika Gesina Antonia (1919, died young)
  • Christiaan Antonie Marie (1921) — nick name Kirry, the son who married in Australia in 1954
  • Cornelia Bertha Adriana (1922)
  • Johanna Adriana Maria Josepha (1924) — nick name Jeannie, the daughter that I found in the wedding announcement
  • Hendrika Johanna Theresia (1926)
  • Gommarius Catharinus Odilius (1927)
  • Maria Anna Adriana Jacoba (1931)
  • Huberdina Petronella Christina Maria (1937)

With the help of these names and the names of spouses and children, Simone was able to find a few living relatives of the Schalken family on Facebook.

Happy end

Simone spoke with a nephew of Kirry and Lientje, who lives in the Netherlands. He was thrilled to hear about the recordings and he immediately contacted his Australian family. Simone received messages from the son and granddaughter of Kirry and Lientje. They all appreciate her effort to trace them. They cannot wait to hear the recordings!

Within two days, Simone and I were able to find the correct family and to trace living relatives. It was great fun to work on this!

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