Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What I'm Reading These Days - Part 3

Not every blog I read is genealogical. One, although not connected to family history in its purpose, has indeed been helpful in my understanding of my ancestry. It is called In Friese Pas, which is Dutch for something along the lines of a "Frisian passport" or "appropriately Frisian." Using various translation sites gave me various results.

This is a blog (available in English) by a Dutch woman named Grace who takes long walks in the countryside in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands with friends. Each week they walk to a different village. She takes photographs and gives the Frisian as well as Dutch name of the village, writes about the history, village coat of arms, points of interest, etc. I stumbled across her blog Googling for the towns of Marrum and Westernijkerk, twin towns that are the home of my VALK ancestors. It was rather gratifying seeing photos of the church they attended, a railroad station, and general views of the villages.

The Frisians are an ethnic minority in the Netherlands, with a culture and language more similar to English than Dutch. They live mainly in the provinces of Friesland (thus the name) and Groningen. The Frisian Islands are a part of the province of Friesland, and extend in a northeasterly direction from the Netherlands towards Germany. There is a Frisian minority in Germany as well, but there they are called Ostfriesians (East Frisians). You may have heard of the Ostfriesians if you've heard Michael John Neill speak or read his articles or blog.

If you've been lucky enough to trace your line back to the "old country," you may want to try Googling the name of the village, city or region to see if there are any modern or antique photos available online. Maybe you'll hit the jackpot like I did and actually find an English-written blog about the homeland!
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