Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Discovering my roots

Genealogy (or family history) is a very important thing in our church. Although I've always felt an underlying guilt for not doing my part in searching for my ancestors, I never really had a desire to start the research. However, a fire has started to burn within me since I've moved to the Netherlands. It's one thing searching through microfiche for a name and story, and quite another to live in the land of your forbearers. Plus, I am lucky enough to have a wonderful grandma who not only loves to research our genealogy, but takes the time to photocopy information and ship it out to me.

A few months ago she had mailed me a packet with pages worth of information and photos on a castle in the southern part of Holland which used to belong to our family. So, instead of immediately being a good granddaughter and hopping on the next train down, I decided to wait and be a good sister as well. It wasn't until Ava came out to visit that the journey was made to Deurne, since she wanted to see it too.

Deurne is about an hour and a half away by train, near the Belgian border. It's an extremely tiny town that only people who have a specific purpose would go visit. Meaning, after we stopped by the castle, there was not a thing to do, so we left soon thereafter.

The Great Castle, as it is called, was built between 1350-1460 by the Van Doerne family (my ancestors). In the 700 years since, it's lead quite a traumatic existence. It was burned down in the beginning of the 1500's and quickly rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by Spanish troops in 1599. In the middle of the 1600's it was rebuilt and turned into an inn. A few years later the castle was sold, and the new owner enlarged the building. In 1750 the castle was downsized, only to be bought 9 years later and completely rebuilt. During the liberation of Deurne in 1944 the majority of castle was destroyed by fire. The remains, now fortified, date back to the 17th Century. (All except for an extremely unattractive glorified port-a-potty placed inside the walls, since the castle is now a two roomed youth hostel).

1 comment:

Kristi said...

What a cool thing to do! Quite the history. Thanks for the email. I am so glad you found me.