22 Oct

My mother, Anna Cornelia Jansen Ryan, was the youngest of ten children born to Theodore Frederick Jansen of Utrecht, and Paulina Fredericka Vanderdonck, of Rotterdam, Holland.   I am her youngest daughter.

About 20 years ago, on a cold and very rainy day in March,  I was visiting my mother in Trenton, New Jersey.  As I got ready to leave, she handed me a wooden cigar box filled with papers and told me to look after it.   It  contained an amazing assortment of documents saved by her father and mother — birth records, marriage certificates, death letters, holy cards, and more.  There was even a record of a baby’s funeral, including the bill for embalming, candles, and a coach to the cemetary in Paterson, NJ.

I copied each piece of paper, then stored the originals between the acid-free pages of an album.  And I dreamt of following up on those hints from the past, taking a trip through Holland to discover some of the places my maternal grandparents left, and, perhaps, to learn why they saved these papers.

Finally, this fall, my husband Steven Lerner and I took that trip — through the Netherlands and Belgium, papers in hand — to learn more about our family.  This is a record of that trip, and of what those papers revealed.


Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Welcome

  1. Mr WordPress

    October 22, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. Thomas M. Ryan

    October 25, 2009 at 12:20 am

    This is Great!


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