Family History Testimonials
When we first got together, I had no idea it was going to be the precursor to such a monumental project. I have loved every minute of reconnecting with family members and learning so much about the history of our family. We learned very little about the family from Dad beyond his parents, sisters and brothers, so it has given me more of an appreciation of the entire family.
This project enabled us cousins get to know each other again and will be such a treasure for my kids through their lives.
Thanks for calling and digging into our history. I’m glad to re-establish my connection to all the cousins who have shared their pictures and stories in this book, some of them quite intimate. This may inspire further research into the history of our family in the future—taking this work even farther.
This project has made me a lot more aware—thinking about what our ancestors did and how they managed to do what they did do. J. J. was born in Holland in the mid-1800s, and when I think about his dad in Holland and generations before, it doesn’t take long to get way back in time. This has opened the door to a lot of interest for everyone in the family.
Ja R for his father M. R.: This is definitely a very neat experience, learning about our family, where they originated from and all the history. My dad was a big reader and would have been excited about this book. I am very proud of the father we had. We are a very close family and close friends of ours have also asked if they could be a part of the Facebook group and share in our family experience.
Rob R (The Netherlands): As a boy my father once told me that in the 19th century one of our family had left and moved to America. That was all he knew, but it was enough to set my fantasy stampede.
In all the books I read about America, about the Wild West, the cowboys and Indians, I searched for our name. I was pretty sure that we were among those heroes. And of course we also went to Alaska to dig gold. Even Davy Crockett must have been some kind of relative.
When I served in the Royal Dutch Navy I took part in an exchange program that brought me on board a U.S. submarine. I made friends and I sailed with them on naval exercises from Key West. But no one ever said to me that he knew the name.
Later, as an journalist, I once visited New York. One the first things I did in my hotel room was to look for our name in the telephone book. And YES - there was one, but when I phoned him he was not surprised, nor interested. I think he didn’t trust the call.
There was no Internet yet in those days and slowly my interest in our American family-branch died—until recently, when I discovered this group, and the group discovered me. And now I seem to have a large family overseas! I have never met any one of you . . . but looking at the pictures, I see a likeness in some of you. I learned about your past and present. I know there is even one among you who writes books for children, like I do nowadays.
My books are historic novels for young people from 10 to 15 years old. I write about Dutch historic events all over this globe. Maybe I should write one about J. E. R. who was brave enough to cross the ocean with his family, into an unsure future. Now I finally know what happened to him and his children. A great story.
I’m not sure what a masterpiece is, but this is one heck of a piece. Even if you could follow the genealogy, you could never duplicate the stories. The personal interviews are of ultimate importance to the interest of the book, and the pictures are quite another. They add visual interest. This book brings the family history together and probably will bring my children closer. It puts us all into a book that we are part of.
This has been an awesome project and what it has meant to me honestly has been the opportunity to connect with some of my cousins again and on Facebook with so many more.
The family nuggets that have been revealed are incredible. I have enjoyed so much sharing family stories and information. Although I haven’t been able to take part as much as I would like, I want you to know that I have always loved all of my family—not just my immediate family but all of us. I’m still loyal to a fault, if there is such a thing. It’s wonderful now to have all this extra information, and I am so excited to finally get to read the book. I am so overwhelmed with what we have created and I love you all.
I have not been excited about anything like this in a long time. I have wanted to know things about family all my life. That’s what got me to explore my own natural family. This is part of the same thing. I don’t know my cousins, and this book will help me to get to know them.
When you started asking me about how I felt about things, I started to remember things that were good as well as things that were not so good. I also think, “What would my life have been like if I had not been adopted by D. and H.? There were so many benefits.
A lot of the families I knew didn’t have the money to go to the beach for a couple of weeks every summer and still go every other summer to visit my mom's family on the train. We experienced all types of adventures. I’m interested all the way back to the beginning of the my dad's family. If I had known about our history when I was in the Air Force and spent two-three weeks in Holland, I would have taken some time to look up the family there.
It has been wonderful making contact with long lost relatives. I didn’t even know some of their names! Now we see and communicate with each other on Facebook and in person. I especially enjoy getting to know my cousins who I played with when I was very young.
And the history! It has been fascinating finding out about the pioneers and settlers from long ago. Some old questions have finally been answered. What fun!
This whole project has been so transforming and healing for me and has helped me break through the unreal facade that I thought I had to hide behind. I was hidden because I was so ashamed about how I was treated. I picked up the paper from my interview and said to myself, “No this can’t be my life. Oh yes it is, all of it.” I had split off from who that person was. From now on, I am not going to live that way anymore.
I am so grateful that this book has been written. It has allowed me to more fully understand my heritage. It has also enabled me to get to know my cousins, aunts and uncles along with my grandfather who was gone before I was even born.
This will be a very treasured family heirloom for my children and grandchildren. Thanks so much to all who have participated. I hope to meet each one of you for the first time or again in the near future. Thank you so much Jerri-Jo, for all of your work on this masterpiece.
I don’t even know how to begin to put down on paper or even verbalize what this has meant to me. I am venturing a guess that it means every bit as much to others, maybe even more. The fact that you are the one to put all this together and have done all the work, I am blown away with gratitude. You make my heart sing.
I’m sure you have no idea, but are doing what you are supposed to be doing. It’s God led. There is no doubt. This project is being led by forces way beyond what we have any control over. I get it. Apparently, somebody cares a whole lot about our family. The irony and the big blessing of it all is that they picked you to do it. You were adopted into this family. Blood means nothing. It’s what we care about that has meaning. It’s about love and spirit. So many lives are being touched.
Kudos to Jerri-Jo for attempting such an undertaking and for making it a wonderful process with a valuable outcome. Many thanks! We had been a scattered family—out of touch with one another. Now we have been given a shared history and heritage. I’m happy and proud that I’m part of this clan!
Well, this has been an adventure! Along with Alice (in Wonderland) I have to say, “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” Looking at pictures I’ve never seen before and reading the recollections of others, my ideas about the family have changed too. Childhood memories of some aunts and uncles and cousins were all I had—some I hardly knew and barely remembered. It’s been good to be reintroduced to my kin.
My thanks! Jerri-Jo guided us through and memorialized the adventure. The resulting book will be a family treasure!
I think the project is awesome. It has brought the family closer together. Without this collective approach to our family and our personal history, I don’t think that would have happened. The larger historical context is another piece. It is cool to learn about the history of our own family going back generations.
Finally the definitive guide to the R. family is complete. I can’t wait to get my hands on the hard copy.
Extravagant praises for your work on the project! Please keep me posted on the reunion, on the small chance that I will be in the US at the time.