Background – Family Tree Structure

With the discovery of the family tree, there were more trees found with the same surname but yet also the number of people with that name in The Netherlands were limited. The hope and expectation was that this might be all related to each other. Before the introduction of the civil status names were phonetically recorded and regularly patronymics only (surname was not required). As a result, the search has been extended to all (possible) related names Van Dorssen, Van Dorsen and Van Dorst (the last one only until 1700) and phonetic alternatives. From all living descendants worldwide with the surname is known from which tree they derived. When elaborating, it was decided to record the so-called stock series, the male (bearing name) line. For daughters husband and children are recorded, but no further.

De different family trees with still living name bearing descendants got an identifying name based on the place of origin. This can also be found on the topographic map on the home page and in the historical context banner under Roots. All remaining trees and loose data are described below extinct. The ultimate goal of course is to be able to connect all those trees, but it’s also clear that that will never happen. But yet there is certainly still more possible. Also with new information coming from the archives more relationships over the next few years can be expected. From 1400 onwards there’s lots of archive material available and especially the notaries can offer more starting points.

With all known so far, you can expect:

  • Most of the existing trees above the rivers in The Netherlands are related to each other. These concerns Neuenhaus, Steenwijk, Zwartsluis and Amersfoort (the last one currently with the name Van Dorssen). These are supposedly also connected to various older small trees in the region and with some ancient trees in Utrecht and Amsterdam.
  • In addition, it seems like the trees below the rivers in The Netherlands are also partly related to each other (Dordrecht, Rotterdam and Breda). Around Breda are also tribes with the name of Van Dorst, that may be (partly) related. Also here are relationships with small trees in Utrecht and Amsterdam.
  • The tree originated from Bramsche in Germany, with a large branch to Leiden (NL) and from there also to Ohio (US) could be derived from Neuenhaus before 1600 and has perhaps also a connection with the tree derived from Vechta (closeby Bramsche, tree without ‘Van’). The former tree from Dutch Indies turned out to be derived from the Bramsche tree.
  • The tree with the name Van Dorssen that originated from Jutphaas (near Utrecht) is probably separate from the one in Amersfoort and originated from an ancient tree in Vreeland (North of Utrecht) or Utrecht. Also that could be related to others, but then long time ago (13th century).
  • The two small trees originated in the Ruhr Area (Germany: Dinslaken and Dortmund) can’t be placed yet. This has just been found back until mid of the 19th century.

The next still existing family trees (based on place of origin) are being described in detail:

  1. Neuenhaus (DE) – From about 1500 with active branches in Germany, South Africa, the USA and Netherlands.
  2. Zwartsluis (NL) – A very comprehensive tribe since 1714, mostly in The Netherlands but also elsewhere.
  3. Steenwijk (NL) – A small tree back to 1683 (Dalfsen) with only one active name carrier in the Netherlands.
  4. Bramsche (DE) – A very large tree since 1612 with comprehensive branches in The Netherlands and the USA.
  5. Vechta (DE, Dorsten) – This large tree (without ‘van’) derived in 1833 from Vechta to Ohio in the USA.
  6. Ruhr Area (DE) – Close to the city of Dorsten derived two small trees from Dinslaken and Dortmund.
  7. Jutphaas (Van Dorssen) – A large tree since 1750 from Jutphaas (Utrecht) with most of the descendents in NL
  8. Amersfoort (Van Dorssen) – Started as Van Dorsten at about 1650 in Doesburg and changed gradually early 18th century to Van Dorssen in Amersfoort with descendents in The Netherlands and Australia.

In addition, the many historically extinct family trees and other loose references per region are described under Extinct. The well-known and prosperous historical family tree in Dordrecht is described separately (originated in the 16th century in Dorst near Breda) with an explanation of the still active family tree Van Dorsser (also originated in Dordrecht).




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