|Door onze verslaggever
LIEVELDE - In family circles he is called the
'internet-guru'. John Somsen from Holyoke, Massachusetts
is one of about fifty Americans and Canadians who belong
to the extensive Somsen family. Also because of his call
a lot of Somsens travelled to Lievelde last weekend for a
big family reunion. Three years ago I still thought
there were about 30 Somsens, says John wiping his
sweaty forehead. He hasn't got much time to talk for
besides being a computer-expert he is also a genealogist.
And so everybody wants to talk to you especially at a
Almost every 5 minutes someone comes up and says:
you are this John from Internet, the stout
forty-year-old says with a smile. Well, I have just
passed the message through actually. But he was
able to extend his knowledge concerning the family tree
quite a lot. I have now got 3800 names in my
database. More than a thousand of them are people who are
still alive and a hundred or two live in America.
This is John's first visit to Europe and he is very proud
of the fact that the organizers have succeeded in
bringing 435 relatives to Erve Kots. When I came to
the car park this morning and saw all those cars with
number-plates from all kinds of countries it was
overwhelming. It feels like Im home.
Derk and Theo present the first copy of the Somsen book
to the eldest member of the family Gerda Johanna Somsen
(86) and after that Ken Somsen from California assents
that the Ameri-can branch of the family is very big
indeed. We are like rabbits, the technician
Ben Somsen, producer of the documentary video that was
shown shortly afterwards, chose a different industrious
animal species as reference material. The artificial
anthill of engineer Hans Somsen from Eindhoven was shown,
which made quite a stir internationally. Scientists call
this the Somsen-nest, the comment says. The real
Somsen-nest, the farmstead 't Japikshuis in IJzerlo, also
appears in the documentary as well as the marshy swamps
the family is named after. Furthermore there are shots of
the voyage Johan Somsen made on the Staten-dam in 1934.
In Baldwin (Wisconsin) he met Ed Somsen who has opened
his third hairdressing salon by now.
From the same city are Cindy Somsen-Zignego, Sally
Berkholder-Rasmussen and Mary Ellen Gilbert-Somsen. These
women, dressed in t-shirts with tulips printed on them,
brought the organizers a beautiful tapestry. The mills
and the clogs show the union with Holland. In
September we have Go-Dutch-Days, Sally says,
Then we walk on clogs, clean the street and have a
Roughly the same activities as the ones outside Erve Kots
even with a real street organ and people showing old
crafts. The organizers see only one flaw: the family book
may well be adorned with the linden-tree from the city
arms, the city counsil showed hardly any interest at all.
But the Tourist Office was there to provide all guests
with information to help them explore their ancestral
native soil in the days to come.