All children I could find in the archives between the years 1780-1800 appeared to be born from the marriage of Johannes (*1759) and Sara van Kerkhellen (see Chapter IV). Now searching for Johannes parents I found eight children born between 1759 -1771 and one child which died in 1757. The children of which I found a baptism are all born from the marriage of: Valentijn Giezendanner and Else Must. His name is spelt in very many ways, which is not so hard to understand, because in the church the reverend will write down what he hears. This way we find: Gietzenteuner, Gietzentunner, Gietzendaner, Gietzendanner as well as Valentijn, Valentin and Valentein. However the fact that both parents are mentioned leaves no doubt about the accuracy. The earliest data which was found in this period was the burial of: "a child of Cornelis Gietzenteuner named Valentijn, on the Roosegragt; he was buried in the Wester cemetery". Phrasing it in this way indicates that the child was dead when it was born and that no baptism took place. Let's leave it at that for now. Then we can find a publication of the banns of Valentijn Gitzentammer of Cappel and Elsje Muust of Bentheim. Only the mother of the bride, by the name of Swaantje Wijnberg, is present. His parents are dead, his religion is Reformed, he lives Heeregragt, is 27 years old and his witness is a woman called: Susanna Luurse. The document is signed by both bride and groom: Eelse Must and Valentijn Gietzentanner and dated December 30, 1757. The marriage itself took place January 15, 1858, names: Valentijn Gitsentammer x Elsje Muust. In the next 12 years they have eight children, the first one to be born is Johannes (Jan) Gietzenteinner (* 1759), see chapter 5. Now what is going on here? How could he be born from the marriage between Valentijn and Else Must and been assisted by his mother Anna Pielhou (Rieland) when he was married? Did his father marry twice? The answer is no, because Valentijn died January 17, 1773, four years earlier than Else, who died December 20, 1777. What can be done to sort this out? For the moment nothing comes to mind, so let's try to find some more supporting information. Mostly I had secured the direct information on the spouses in the progress of my research, so I searched for the parents of Sara van Kerkhellen too. She was born from the marriage of Hendrik van Kerkhellen and ANNA MARGARETH RIELAND !!!, sounds familiar? What facts do we now have? Valentijn (his father) died in 1773, ten years before Johannes got married, his mother Else died in 1777, which is six years before his marriage. Both parents of Sara van Kerkhellen are alive in 1783, because they attend their publication of the banns. Her father, Hendrik van Kerkhellen, permits Sara van Kerkhellen to marry Johannes and her mother Anna Rieland pretends to be his mother and allows him to marry Sara, who, in fact, is her daughter. One problem solved! But what reason could there have been for this conduct. Later my friends, later. My own problems are in no way over, they have just started. As we have seen, the only thing we know about the parents of Valentijn is that they were dead when he married Else Must. No baptism of Valentijn can be found in Amsterdam nor the name Giesendanner, in any spelling, earlier than the death of the child of Cornelis in 1757. Let's review the proclamation of the banns of Valentijn and Else Must. It states that Valentijn came from Cappel. Most likely the town where he was born. This means that he, at one time, came to Amsterdam, for there he married. In those days, when practically everybody was a member of the church, he had to introduce himself in the nearest church in order to become a recognized member there. Fortunately these records still exist on film and by carefully tracing back from the date of his marriage, his arrival in Amsterdam was found on October 20, 1755. It says: "Amsterdam 20 Octob 1755 4_ Giezzendanner op Cingel van Namen". Cingel is one of the canals of Amsterdam, most likely the place where he lived then and Namen is the name of the town where he came from. The problem seems to be growing for now there are two towns mentioned. Together with the assistants in the archives of Amsterdam I decided to concentrate my efforts to find his native town on Cappel, because Namen could easily be the town he last visited before he came to Amsterdam. The problem is that Cappel is the name of a town, of which there are many. Now I have to mention that there is a little town in Holland, called Giesendam and I have always had the idea that our name had to do with this place. A little village called Cappel is not so very far away from Giesendam, so this was my first try. But I did Cappel in Zeeland too, a little village that was swallowed by the sea and also several other Cappels. I wrote letters to the local archives to inform if the name Giesendanner was familiar there but no connection could be made. In the meantime I filled many gaps in my research in Amsterdam and months went by in which no progress was made trying to go further back in history. As the possibilities in the Netherlands seemed to dry up, I looked for Cappel in Germany, because our name has a certain German pronunciation. Also the fact that Valentijn married a girl from Bentheim (Germany) was a lead to follow. But again this led to nothing. Was it going to be a dead end? It seemed like it, I did not know what to do next. Then, out of the blue, came that one moment in which you have this brainwave. When your father and mother die when you are young and there are no relatives around, where do you go to? ______________YES, THE ORPHANAGE. EUREKA!! The oldest son, Johannes was only 18, when his mother died and all the other children were even younger. Their relationship with the New Church on the Dam Square was already established, so the orphanage of this church called Diaconie Weeshuis would be the place to examine (see picture, right above). Where could we find the archives of this orphanage? They are all in the big archive of the city of Amsterdam, the same place where I did all my research up to now, because the orphanage does not exist any more. After its closure all the books and papers were brought in here and are stored in the cellar. From the indexes of the archives we could learn that if we were lucky, there could even be a personal archive of the children that were brought in. At first it looked as if this luck was not going to be there but thanks to a patient finger going over what seemed to be endless lines, I found an archive called: "GRETZENDANNER" this must be it, please let it be it! Now one has to fill in a form and the assistants will fetch the archive for you from the storing rooms. Can you imagine the thrill when you are waiting for this document. What will it contain. I had no clue whatsoever but I felt like I had discovered Treasure Island already and maybe, maybe I would find my treasure as well. Up came a portfolio, tied up with ribbons and titled: "GRETZENDANNER" My fingers were not too steady when I slowly undid the ribbons and opened the cover. YES, ............. THIS WAS MY GENEALOGICAL TREASURE FOR SURE!
A thick pack of documents was in here, saved for hundreds of years, because some poor old kids lost their parents and had nowhere to go in 1777 but to an orphanage. The deacons of the DIACONIE WEESHUIS were certainly very thorough, when it came to their administration and their ways to handle these matters. Slowly turning the papers that were in our family file I came across a letter that had been sealed with a red ink stamp. When I opened it I could not believe my eyes: this was a letter written by the reverend (Pfarrer) of the home village of Valentijn (* 1730), called Cappel. A quick look ensured me that here we had found the key to the further past of the Giesendanner-family, because the language was German and I could recognize the words Wintersberg Cappel in Toggenburg Switzerland. THIS IS IT!!! Not only did I find the key to go further back in history, I also had a huge pile of information on the first family ever to live in the Netherlands. Let me start a new chapter to give you the details. I hope I have your attention now? chapter 7