Families [Van] Bolhuis
Nieuwsletter March 2004

Somebody sent me a paperclipping from 1941 containing the sentence: "There are very few Arabs or Mr Bolhuis knows their pedigree."
To avoid any misunderstanding: Mr Bolhuis breeds (arab) horses. Today we are involved in the pedigree of people.
Back from contemplation to the real world. In the previous newsletter I posed a question: Who was the [van?] Bolhuis involved in the raid on the prison in Leeuwarden during WWII? It turns out that the person the Germans were looking for was not a namesake, but somebody else.

Now three new questions:
The first question dates again from WWII.
In Groningen a resistance-group named Van Schendel maintains radiocontact with Londen. The group exists out of four persons, including a Bolhuis, in daytime employed by the municipality of Groningen. He acts as messenger and contact, transports the sendingequipment, but is not technical educated. Late 1943 het groupmembers are arrested and transferred to The Hague. In June 1944 the case goes to trial and the prosecuter aks the deathpenalty in four cases. The verdict is deathpenalty in two cases, prison for the other three (incl. Bolhuis). However the execution never took place. All are sent to the prison in Krefelt, Germany and return after the war. Who was this Bolhuis?

The next one. I found on the Internet that Kurt and Annemie Bolhuis are farming according to ecological principles in the naturpreserve "Dassenaarde" in Belgium. Both an e-mail and a phonenumer are given, but obviously it is an old site, nor updated, because the mail is returned to sender, and the number is not connected. Who knows who they are and has an valid e-mial adress?

Then a question a little bit further in the past. In a book I found a picture with a streetscene in Grootegast . On the right of that picture is a man with a wooden leg. According to the subscipt it is a Bolhuis. Somebody told me that it was a Jan Bolhuis, and apart from a wagon and horse he also had a dogcar. When he drove on the dogcar his wooden leg pointed in the air. Of course it would have been helpful when his name had been Gregorius, or something else exotic, but with a name like Jan . In short I did not identify the guy. Who helps? A wooden leg must be something that is remembered. Enough questions for one newletter. In the next one I will pose fresh ones and tell if I got a reply.

Bolhuis or Van Bolhuis?
Repeatedly I am asked when the word "van" was added to the Bolhuis name. The answer is simple. Never. Those named only Bolhuis have lost it.
In the countryside family names were not in use. There was no need of them. Anybody knew who was Lammert Jans. After all, there was only one in the village. The only persons using a familyname were the important people like the judge and the pastor.
That was different in the town of Gronningen. There were lots of Lammert Jans. So a further distinction was needed to keep them apart. Lammert Jans Bakker (Backer) after his profession, of Lammert Jans de Groot (tall) after his size, or Lammert Jans (coming) from (the) Bolhuis.
The Dutch word "van" can be translated in Englisch with "of" or "from" In this case the correct translation is from. The "van" has nothing to do with nobility. In general the families named Van Bolhuis lived in the city of Groningen before familynames became compulsary.
When in 1811 everyone has to chose a familyname, almost all the descendents of the people formerly living in the Bolhuis choose the name Bolhuis (without "van"). Interesting, because the family left the farm about 1660. And in spite of not using the name for 150 years, it still was remembered.

Jan van Bolhuis www.vanbolhuis.org <