I started of designing and writing my Web Page initially, because I wanted to learn HTML so it was sort of a fun practice ground where I could try out different coding techniques. As I added more content it evolved into a kind of self-statement, and I started to care about it. I felt it was a way of letting the world know who I am – call it an ego trip if you like. Another reason I made this web page was really to see if I could do it.
So the first 1-2 years I fooled around a bit, with different designs and layouts. But down the line I realized that I was missing something essential. I wanted to make a real personal Web site, so it had to contain personal content.
Some of you may be thinking “Well, that’s obvious?” but others of you are wondering “What is personal content, what does that mean?” By personal content I mean that the page must exhibit content that tells your readers about your thoughts, ideas, interests, hobbies, family, friends, feelings, or something you feel strongly about. I think that just about covers it.
Sam Keen believes and I quote -“that our lives are shaped and occasionally misshaped by the stories we tell about ourselves. It’s only by becoming intimately acquainted with these narratives as they have been handed down from our families, our cultural backgrounds and our religious beliefs that we can begin to live consciously. Unless we understand our lives as a kind of autobiography in the making, we’re likely to take refuge in other people’s stories, in ready-made ideologies, and in unexamined systems of belief.”-unquote.
And, as the Sufi poet Rumi said, “unfold your own myth“, Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi I fully agree with him on that point, so the site really took of when I decided to do just that and to make the main subject of my web site the genealogy of my family, the “Kloosterman Family”.
But there are any many more reasons to search out your forefathers. Humans have always been interested in where they came from and their family history (genealogy.) The Bible is replete with genealogies of biblical personalities. Many cultures passed their genealogies orally through the ages. The nobility of Europe kept detailed genealogies. The current Queen of Denmark claims to be able to trace her linage back to King Gorm who lived around 800 CE. The Chinese out do all other cultures in genealogy. Chinese genealogy records, Jia Pu in Chinese, have been kept since at least 1500 BCE. Lots of people do it. For me, the search has a great deal of significance and importance in addition to being tons of fun. It is something that strengthens the connections of family down through the generations.
I knew that the name Kloosterman originated in Zeeland and as time flies by and I (who doesn’t) grew older, reaching 50, I became more and more interested in the family history. My father was born in Vlissingen in the province of Zeeland, in the south west part of Holland, and his father, my grandfather was born in Heinkenszand, Zeeland.
My father Adriaan Kloosterman, born in 1917, found an old photograph of the 50e wedding anniversary of my great grandparents Jan Kloosterman, born 1859 at Heinkenszand and his wife Jannetje Slabbekoorn. On the back there were the dates of the marriage and their births. That was the starting point for me and I started tracing back the Kloosterman genealogy. I went with my father to the central archives in Middelburg, Zeeland and started on a long journey. Besides the obvious fun and excitement of learning how our ancestors lived and went about their lives, whether they were royalty or scoundrels, there is also the consideration of finding and identifying those people who are part of our extended family and make up who we are.
It’s great getting Email of people from around the world who have visited the page. I’ve met some interesting people via my page. People now living overseas, who turned out to be distant relatives and wanting to make contact with the family etc. Loads of people with the same surname contacted me, especially from the USA. And I wanted a space on the web to share my interest, my hobbies and to post family photos — to inspire and invoke others into appreciating the written word, the world they live in and the people around them. Well, here I am, a few years later and people tell me I made a great site and I am proud of that because I am completely self-taught.
It was a long road, but I do enjoy the search, and it’s a great excuse to make a bunch of web page. Today I find myself wanting to constantly keep the site’s content fresh — to continuously provide my web site visitors with a nice setting. And the reward is great, all the emails from around the world and of course the reactions of family and friends. So, they have all been interested in seeing it, contributing to it and encouraging me about it. And everything has been so positive so far!
Marcel Marceau Cees