Methodology Spotlight

Jozef Frans Boeren’s funeral notice

Today, we are looking at the funeral notice for Jozef Frans Boeren, who died in 1947. This kind of death announcement sometimes looks like a card, but often more like a letter. It is not only the announcement of the person’s death, but also an invitation to attend the funeral.

Mourning card for Jozef Frans Boeren, who died in 1947. This card or letter gives information about his death, his funeral and his relatives.
Funeral notice for Jozef Frans Boeren, printed by Jos. Van der Jonckheyd, Wuustwezel, 16 January 1947; Boeren Family Collection, privately owned by John Boeren, Tilburg, Netherlands

Translation

The text starts with the names of all his relatives, we will come back to that part later. All these persons “inform you with deep sadness, but with Christian imperturbability, that it pleased the Lord to call upon himself the soul of her dearly beloved husband, their beloved father, father-in-law and grandfather, brother and brother-in-law, uncle and cousin”.

The next part of the text gives personal details of the deceased.
“Mr. Jozef Frans Boeren, husband of Mrs. Maria Catharina Brosens, member of the Union of the Sacred Heart and of other devout societies. He was born in Baarle-Nassau on 15 April 1872 and fell asleep – devouted to the Lord – in Wuustwezel on 15 January 1947, afther having received the last rites.”

The third part tell us when and where the funeral service took place. “The solemn funeral service, followed by burial, will take place on Monday 20 January 1947, at 10am, in the parish church of Our Lady in Wuustwezel. The Lauds are sung at 9.30am. Meeting in the house of the deceased, Dorpsstraat 149, at 9 am. You are kindly requested to attend these obsequies.

Finally, readers are asked to pray for the deceased’s soul.

Funeral of Mr. Strengholt, Amsterdam, 12 March 1952; photograph by J.D. Noske (credits: National Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

Family relationships

In the previous paragraph we gave a translation of Jozef Frans Boeren’s funeral notice, but we intentionally skipped the first half of the text. These first lines name his surviving family members.

  • his wife, Mrs. Jozef Boeren, née Maria Catharina Brosens
  • a son, Mr. Louis Boeren, his wife and their daughter
  • a son-in-law, Mr. Herman De Meyer, who was the widower of Mrs. Maria Boeren, and his two children
  • a daughter, her husband Arthur Ribbens and their four children
  • a daughter, her husband Flor Gommeren and their three children
  • a son, Mr. Jaak Boeren, his wife and their two children
  • the brothers and sisters, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, the nieces, nephews and cousins, belonging to the Boeren, Brosens, Van den Ouweland and Goris families

We think this kind of cards or letters with so much information about a family, are an amazing find. Do you agree?

Tip

Because of privacy regulations, more recent Dutch records are not public. Birth records become public 100 years after the birth, marriage records after 75 years and death records after 50 years.

When you are looking for life events of your family members that took place in the second half of the 20th century or even in the beginning of the 21st century, you need to find other sources than civil records. A good start are papers that (older) family members might have kept, for example mourning cards or funeral notices. Another example are family announcements in newspapers.

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