Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to  another installment of “Meet our Members”! It’s time to get to know another awesome Leader who is part of our outstanding community. Meet Martyn:

Surnames you are researching:

Family: Grifhorst, de Boer, Raspel, Kenter, van Geerenstein, van de Vis

EuroAristo: Hohenzollern, Sachsen, Orange-Nassau, Lombardia

Locations you are researching:

The Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, USA (Michigan area), Canada

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I started getting interested in family relations already when I was a child, but real genealogy about 10 years ago. My parents moved from the West to the East of the Netherlands before I was born. Because of this we hardly had any contact with the rest of the family. I only saw aunts or uncles once or twice a year because they all lived so far away. All four of my grandparents died before I was born, so I basically grew up without any family other then my parents. About 20 years ago I made my first family tree, simply because I wanted to know who my family was, but I hit a brick wall with my GGG-Grandmother because her maiden-name was the same as my last name. About 5 years ago I had a breakthrough and found not only the rest of the lineage but also the origin of our family name and that it was unique and one-of-a-kind in the world. After a quick search on Facebook I found hundreds of people all over the world who all must be related to me one way or the other. It is then when my interest in genealogy really took a turn for the worse 😉

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

This must be my GGG-Grandmother, Berendina. She was a real adventurer; she got a divorce, gave her maiden name to half of her children, moved from a small rural village to the city and then to the capital of the world, Amsterdam. Back at the start of the 19th century! What a woman she must have been.

Tell us about the brick wall you most want to tear down.

I have traced back my male lineage all the way to a man that lived mid-16th century. All I have is a name. But in a time when hardly any records were kept, it’s almost impossible to find more information.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

I really don’t know. There are a lot of historically significant people I admire and wouldn’t mind being related to.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I have an interest in quantum-physics and popular science. I love to read about strange natural phenomenon’s and where this world is going to. Nanotechnology, intergalactic travel, supercomputers.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

I joined WikiTree in February of 2011 and have mapped out most of my family. I also love to do projects and help people out. So I started as Leader and Greeter and later got involved into the EuroAristo Project and the New Netherlands Settlers Project. I’m active on a daily basis, sometimes just by reading the G2G forum or research for people with ancestors in the Netherlands.

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

I love the fact that WikiTree is about one, big, global familytree, instead of everybody creating there own little tree.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Just start with the basics and add your own family. Then look for matches and see where it leads you. Follow the yellow and green WikiRoad.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

Could you please not marry other relatives. It’s making my work very complex!

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