Chapter 6



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.

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:
My fingers were not too steady when I slowly undid the 
ribbons and opened the cover.
YES, ............. 
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.
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