New member introducing myself

+11 votes
Before I began any genealogical research I knew only about the ¼ of my family that is Dutch, specifically, the Boven family, largely found in the West Michigan area. I remember my Great Uncle taking me to visit the many museums in the City of Holland, Michigan. One little diorama, in particular, showed a little log church on the west Michigan beach at Lake Michigan; in front of it was a black-robed minister marrying a couple. The minister was Rev. Albertus Christian van Raalte, explorer and missionary, who recognized that the untouched Michigan wilderness was the answer to many Dutch farmers' prayers. With no more farmland to be divided up among their sons, the society was suffering. So van Raalte sent home a handbill extolling the benefits of this New World paradise. And so it was my great-great-grandparents, Pieter Thomas Boven and his bride, Zwaantje "Susan" Ensing, who were the first couple he married in the New World, being depicted in that diarama. Parenthetically, Zwaantje had come alone from the Netherlands; it was she who had purchased the 80 acres of farmland on which they settled and raised their family. Their oldest, my Great-Grandfather Thomas Pieter Boven, recalled his mother telling him how kind the native people were; she even stayed in a wigwam for about 10 days! Since the only photo I have of my Great x 2 Grandparents shows her in the obligatory black dress with the huge skirts,* it is hard to imagine this white woman and her hosts managing to get by for 10 days around that dress!

*I came across a book describing the lives of a group of these strong young Dutch farmers who settled in the north-central portion of Michigan's "mitten," the Lower Peninsula. I was charmed to read of the community's worship practices. One man's role was to stand watch at the back of the assembly on Sunday mornings. He held a very long cane which he used to jostle awake any parishioner who dozed off, which I would expect to be a common occurrence after laboring six days a week at clearing that virgin forest, including building their homes and removing all those stumps, just to prepare the land for farming. And those huge black skirts had their purposes; like mother hens, the ladies kept their toddlers from toddling by tucking them under their skirts. And everyone stayed warm by sliding shallow pans of hot coals under those skirts!

My mother's maternal parent was Edith Jane Aldrich, after whom my mother, Edith, her first cousin and best friend, Edith Jane, and I, Jane, were all named. As I worked back through her Aldrich line I was shocked to see a familiar name pop up—familiar from 5th-grade and 8th-grade American history classes—Deacon, Rev., then Gov. Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island and of the First Baptist Church—THE First Baptist Church—in America! And another surprise was in store, which I won't spoil here. Search for the burial and final interment of Roger Williams to uncover the surprise.

I knew nothing about my father's family, the first level surnames being Harmon and Tibble, and except for my grandparents I still only know names and dates.

Back to the Bovens, as soon as I got Internet access I searched for my dear uncle, an artist and photographer, and found a website, the Boven Family Reunion, which I missed by 6 years. I contacted the owner, a Boven cousin who had created the Boven tree, including every member in America and back into history to the original person who had adopted Boven as a surname after Napoleon required the people of the lowland countries to adopt the naming conventions we know today. Cousin John had self-published the Boven genealogy as "Boven Dutch Apple Pie," boven meaning "above" in Dutch. He was kind enough to send me his last copy; he also sent my the Boven GEDcom! Not long afterward, John died unexpectedly, which is how I've become the keeper of the family tree.

A Problem; Any Solutions?
I have both my nuclear family tree and the Boven tree on Each contains 6,000 to 7,000 members, so, in order to bring my nuclear family tree to WikiTree, I have downloaded it, then uploaded it back to Ancestry as Bailey-Boven and as Harmon-Tibble, where I deleted my mother from my paternal tree and my father from my maternal tree, all in preparation for bringing the split tree here to WikiTree.

The problem is that after deleting half of my family from each side, both trees report the same number of members as the original complete tree.
WikiTree profile: Jane Harmon
in The Tree House by Jane Harmon G2G Crew (460 points)
Lol. Jane I feel your pain. Although my family tree isn't as large as yours, I find it too daunting to add the branches one at a time. I love this site enormously and would love to add all of my family but I think I'd be a hundred years old before I finished. I love your detailed introduction and would love to help you find more ancestors. If you need help, just ask.


3 Answers

+5 votes
Hello and Welcome to the WikiTree Family, Jane! :)
by Greta Moody G2G6 Pilot (200k points)
+3 votes
Hey Jane,

Welkom! There are a lot of immigrant profiles already, and Dutch that love connecting them to their Dutch Roots. If you follow the tag 'Netherlands' you will get to know many of them. It will be great to see your ancestors added.

A big difference with other websites is that there is only one tree, and Wikitree uses that concept. So once you see there is already a profile for someone, you simply connect to that one. And there is no deletion of profiles. Once someone existed, they deserve their own profile. I am sure a lot of the Holland (Michigan that is) profiles already are present here. And there are already 67 van Boven's and 445 Boven's. So it should be possible to find links.

As Greta said: enjoy your time here and let us know if you need any specific help.
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (319k points)
+3 votes

Hi Jane welcome to wikitree, it sound like you may have some step issues for downloading from Ancestry, but I'm not sure. At the top right hand corner on your profile page you will see a small tab that says Help, in there are options, you scroll down to Gedcom and click, it will give you the different topics within it for help.  Here is the link to the page section you may need. 

This says for exporting, and from a quick glance it does mention from Ancestry. soo have a look see thru this see if it helps you.  Also realize the gecom can't be anymore than 5000 persons or it won't download it.  Mine is almost 15000 now, so 5 years ago, I just didn't want to deal with the hassles of splitting up, creating smaller gedcoms, so I've just been plugging away one person at a time.  But the good news is, by doing this I've found many connections that were in my offline tree, and many others that weren't but are already connected within wiktree, so I work from both, now, and in the end, my sources are now much much better (of course 23+years of researching brings that about too, but having so many others that are also working on ancestors that we share, is a huge help.)    See if the link and the other things in the gedcom help section help you to straighten it out. if not you can click on wikitree tech, and post a new question about what you tried and where you are having issues, and someone with more knowledge will most likely come in.  also put tags on your posts, ... ie .. gedcom... help....

by Arora Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (167k points)

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