Parental House 2


Parental House 3




 notarial deed of succession on June 18, 1886. (Reg.IV 5/3/89 - 3/4260 Nijmegen)

On June 17, 1886 Hendrina Awater (Coen's wife, see photgraph page 4)) died in Gendt and was buried in Leuth. (Erlecom belonged to the parish of Leuth)

So each of the five children inherited 1/5 of the half (so 1/10) of the conjugal means of Conrad and Hendrina. (The so called mother's inheritance) and this had to be drawn up and notice of succession had to be given as well.

In fact the property remained undivided as long as father Coen was still alive. Probably there was no last will in favour of the '' longest liver'', but the children may have been so kind not to claim mother's inheritance. Because father Coen died four years later in Gendt, we presume that the couple has spent the last years of their lives at their son’s Theodorus (Dorus, see photograph pag.4)),house, the blacksmith and who had married a smith's daughter, Maria Geveling (Miet) on June 18th, 1884. Miet was a resolute woman, had been a midwife and could surely cope with the care of old and invalid people! So it might be possible, that she looked after her mother-in-law as well as her father-in-law during their last days.


It is possible that at Hendrina’s death all the remaining children, Driekus 28, Frans, 21, Willem 20 and Anna 17, still lived in the house in Erlecom.

Four years later, however, in 1890, when Conrad died, none of the children, except Dorus, were married and only Willem and Anna were still at home in Erlecom .



rans  (photograph pag.5) lived in Millingen as a tailor's apprentice. Driekus the eldest, who was already 32 and had become a tailor as well, was probably no longer at home. So at that moment the only inmates were Anna and Willem, who worked in the smithy. This may be the reason why Willem had to arrange the division of the property , because - according to the deed- “he had been at home longest.” Probably the boys have assisted their father Coen in the smithy from the age of 12, and also in  the orchard and on the land. In any case three of them were blacksmiths in the beginning; Dorus , who, later on, went to Gendt to learn and to work with blacksmith Geveling and married one of his daughters ( Miet Geveling);


Hendrik ( Driekus, my grand-father, see photographe pag.4)), who met with an inflammation in his leg and therefore was forced to choose the profession of tailor. This profession ,however, was not unfamiliar to the family. Great-grandfather Johannes (1744-1800) was also a tailor. Maybe this profession was Frans' first choice. In any case in 1890 he was no longer at home and worked, still unmarried, in Millingen, probably as an apprentice. Later he had all kinds of odd jobs; e.g. he ran a dance-booth, which according to tradition, burnt down uninsured! 



he younger son Willem (William, later in America, photographe pag. 5)), was a blacksmith and he practised later in Little Chute this profession before he moved to Racine (Wi.), where he went to work until his retirement in the forgery of a big works of agricultural utensils.( J.I.Case ). He died in 1941, just 50 years after his arrival in America.!



orus in Gendt had had a sorrowful time just after his marriage with Maria Geveling in 1884: His first born died in 1885 at birth and exactly a year later his mother Hendrina Awater died in his house (1886). Some months later a second child was born, Wilhelmus Hendrikus ( Dec.29, 1886) that lived no longer than two years and died Aug. 24. 1888. His brother Driekus and his little sister Anna ( 17) had come all the way from Erlecom to be his godfather and- mother. Their names were registered in the birth-register in Gendt as Otermans!

Brother Frans ,from Millingen, became the godfather of the third child: Johannes Wilhemus. This boy, called Jan, was born on April 27, 1888, four months before the death of the second one and lived until June 12. 1923  


On Nov.25, 1889 another Wilhelmus Hendrikus was born in Dorus’ house and again Driekus and Anna crossed the Waal river to be, and this time more successfully, his godparents. Their names were registered this time as Otemann ( Two n's) just as was usual in Gendt! But alas, on Nov.9th. 1892, also this second godchild died.!

One year later the father of Dorus and Driekus, Coen, died in Dorus' house in Gendt after a painful. illness.

Eventually Driekus became a real godfather at the birth of a third Wilhelmus Hendrikus Jacobus ( second name after Driekus) on July 12,1893 and this child lived on until 1976. He was the father of my grand-cousin Wim Otemann in Gendt, from whom I got much information about the Gendt branch.

Driekus died ten years later in 1903 at the relatively young age of 45 of a heart-attack, while sitting in his chair near the stove in his house in Erlecom.

This was a  rather dark period in the family history.





ack to 1890. The death of Conrad Oteman.

Now several notarial deeds follow each other at a quick order, all because of the death of Conrad Oteman on July 9, 1890 in Gendt. Via oral tradition in the family he died of jaundice. (possible cancer of the lever ? What did one know in those days?!)

He had been in Dorus' house for some time, where Miet nursed him. It is useful to go through the status of the children once again at the moment of father Conrad's death.



endrikus (Driekus, my grandfather, pag. 4)), the oldest, was 32, unmarried and tailor in Erlecom. Earlier he was a blacksmith, but because of a bad inflammation in his leg , he limped. I presume he was no longer at home. Where he lived may be traced ,if  at lease he lived outside his municipality, because in this case there must have been some registration somewhere. He married (1892) Elisabeth Barten (1863-1931) from Gendt. This marriage was brought about through Dorus' wife Maria Sophia (Miet) Geveling. She had been, as already mentioned before, a midwife in Gendt and she knew every body in the whole area!.

She knew ‘’ a good match’’ for Driekus ,who was already 34 in 1892.! During a fair in Gendt, Driekus crossed the Waal river to Gendt in order to make her acquaintance! He did not see his future wife for a second time until on their wedding day! ( clearly, that’s the way it happened in those days!)



heodore (Dorus, pag. 4)) was 31 years old  and had been married for already six years with Maria ( Miet) Geveling and lived and earned his living as a blacksmith in Gendt.




rans (pag. 5) was 25, unmarried and no longer at home. He was a tailor’s apprentice in Millingen. A year later (24-07-1891) he married Maria Janssen, a young girl from Doornenburg (Bemmel) not far from his brother’s Dorus domicile and maybe his sister-in-law had also  had a hand in it.



illem (William or Johannes Wilhelmus, pag.5) was 24, unmarried and blacksmith in Erlecom. He lived with Anna in the parental house and he had all reasons to continue his father’s work in the smithy and, in the beginning, it seemed that he indeed would do so. He needed not to emigrate out of poverty. He had a good profession and could take over his father’s house, smithy and over 6000 m2 land. There must have been others reasons to make such a big step as to leave your country and family and cross the ocean. And this, as we will see later on, he must have decided within barely a fortnight.



nna was not yet 23 and minor then ( at the time she was 20), so she needed a guardian and a co-guardian. They had to be nominated by the district judge, so there must be a certificate somewhere.

Anyhow her youngest (sic!) brother William, was nominated as her guardian and her oldest brother Driekus as her co-guardian. You might have expected the reverse. We cannot but presume, that William must have been a much stronger personality than the invalid Driekus, for, after all, in the several notarial deeds, which will follow, he , the youngest of the four brothers, is always the cock of the walk and mentioned as the first party ,as if he had to act as spokesman for his older brothers and they let him arrange every thing! But it is also possible, that the reason of his guardianship was the fact that Driekus was no longer at home.



e now know, that after the death of Hendrina Awater (1886 see photograph at pag.), her property had remained undivided, but now that father Conrad had died (1890), a division lays ahead. Probably this could not be arranged unofficially between the children , because there was one minor, Anna.

So ,on the recommendation of the parties, the district-judge in Nijmegen appointed and administered the oath of three experts, who had to value the property. They are: Johannes Carolus Damen, tiller in Erlecom, Lambertus Johannes Jeuken, ditto, and ,the children’s uncle, Johannes Oteman, master-bricklayer from Millingen.(!.) The latter, Conrad’s only brother, was then 67. This Jan is the remote ancestor of Wil Oteman and his son Peter, who both live in Tegelen to day ! (The so called first Millingen branch. Wil has helped me a lot in  my genealogical inquiries.)


Because it was clear, that Dorus in Gendt had no aspiration to take over the house- he had been married for 6 years and lived in Gendt across the Waal- , and only wanted to make use of part of a piece of land of 1100 m2, this part of land was marked out from the whole lot and ‘’valued’’ separately by the experts. The official record of this valuation was registered on November 17 , 1800.( part 62 folio recto vak 1, fee received ƒ1,20.)

But the valuation must have taken place some time earlier of course. In their report they valued ‘’ house and yard, with smithy, garden, orchard and arable land, size 65 are and 54 ca situated in Ooij, sect.B nrs: 459, 453,700 and 701” at ƒ 2.305,- which the exception of the eastern part of the lots nrs: 701, 553 and 459, size about 11 are (1100 m2), and clearly separated from the rest , at ƒ 435,- .

Dorus wanted to have this last mentioned piece. Obviously he wanted to make first some profit  out of the thick deposit of river clay on the land and to sell it to the surrounding brickyards. It is not likely that he wanted to till the land from across the river for his private use. The river on the spot is many hundreds of meters wide and forms quite an obstacle to cross every evening just to till the land, though there must have been a small ferry in Erlecom at the time. To day it doesn’t exist anymore and to go to Gendt you must make the detour via Millingen or Nijmegen. We see, that two years later he resold this land to his family, for less than he bought it, but then the clay had been removed!





n Sept. 4 1890 , after Conrad’s death on July 9, the four brothers assembled , led by notary Theodore F.A. Hekking , in the coffee house of Mathijs Burgers in Erlecom for a public selling of the property by order of the County Court of Arnhem. The reason why it had to be a public auction is not clear. Possibly  because there was a minor, Anna, involved. Or did the brothers disagree, how to divide the inheritance?

The deed (nr.238) of this auction in the first instance which is drawn up, opens by mentioning as first party brother Willem and reads, that he also acts on behalf of Anna, as guardian. And so does Driekus as co-guardian. The deed amply describes how this auction in first instance, in a local manner, via upset price, raise and, in a second instance a fortnight later, via reduction, has to take place:.


He, who first calls ”its mine”, has the upset and the right to claim the first raises ,on the condition ,that he does it immediately. Then every entitled bidder can do this until the reduction , in the second instance, two weeks later. Every raise is done by 4 guilders or a multiple of it. The purchase price rises each time by 3 guilders ,because 1 guilder  of each “raise” is reserved for the successive “raisers” to be paid by the final buyer. (Nice to join the raising, without the intention to buy. But be careful not to stick to the purchase!)

The second auction opens with a sum higher than the last definite bid and then the bids are reduced until someone clearly calls “mine”.

The buyer can take possession of the purchase on Nov.1, but must allow Mr. de Rooy to continue his right of digging-off the clay at the stipulated amount. Buyers are supposed to know the contract. It might be interesting to know this contract. (De Rooy was a brick-maker from Nijmegen, who needed the layer of clay, deposited by the Waal river during the centuries all over the Ooij polder, for his brick-production.Have a look to the maps ans remark the brick works!). That was a nice source of revenues for the family, indeed.!

From Jan.1 1891, the ground and other ownership taxes are for the buyer. The purchase money must be paid on Nov.1 at the notary’s office in the hands of the seller. Immediately after that, the buyer pays the notary 12 % on the principal amount and the paid “raises” ( quite a lot !) .


Then the two purchases are recorded.



urchase I. contains ,as the above mentioned “experts “ had already defined: premises, smithy, garden and orchard , section B nrs. 459, 453, 700 and 701, together 6554 m2 minus the 1100 m2, which comes under purchase II (so 5424 m2 remains)



urchase II. Contains 1100 m2, marked out in the above mentioned lot (eastern part),

The owner of purchase II is allowed to get water from the well, which is on the lot of Purchase I and both owners are allowed to place a pump there, if they want so.

There is also an ash-tree that must be cut down before November. ( Maybe sold already ? The tree had to be cut down in order to make possible the digging up.)


The youngest brother Willem starts the auction of purchase I with the upset of ƒ 1600,- and raises it with one hundred “raises” of  ƒ4,-  to ƒ1900,-



rother Dorus from Gendt starts the auction of purchase II, the part he wants to have, at ƒ 330,- and immediately raises it with 35 “raises” of  ƒ 4,- ( minus ƒ1,-) , so that there is a bid of ƒ 435,-.

Witnesses at the auction were Johannes Steph. Petrus van Oppenraay, of no occupation, from Nijmegen and Johannes Carolus Daamen, landowner from Erlecom. (One of the “experts”)

Here Theodore's signs the deed and the next one clearly with one “n”, though he ,and almost all his descendants in Gendt used  to write their names with two “n”-s later on.!

It is remarkable, that Willem makes bids and evidently wants to buy. (Sept.4 ! 1890) So at that moment he must not have had any plans to emigrate in the next future! The house still had a smithy an Willem was blacksmith and still lived there, so it stood to reason ,that he was to take-over the house. Driekus, my grandfather , was tailor, so he did not need a smithy, and lived probably no longer at home.



fter the second auction, a deed of loan of ƒ5000,- lay ready at the notary’s office in the name of William. Probably he needed this money to compensate his brothers and he ordered the notary to prepare already that document. Evidently the notary must have assumed that William was the definite buyer. When eventually Driekus, my grandfather, turned out to be the buyer, the name of William on that deed was crossed out and changed into Hendrikus (Driekus)

There can be no other conclusion than that in 14 days- the time between the two auctions- William had changed his plans and had decided not to buy his father’s house, but to emigrate to America. The reason of this sudden decision will probably always stay a mystery! We can only guess.





n Sept.18 the second auction takes place (deed nr.706 reg, Nijmegen Sept.19, part 141 folio 43, vak 10 , duty ƒ1.20)

And now something remarkable happens. It is inserted in the deed of this second auction day, that “ the individual beams and crossbeams and the smithy-tools as if they are immovable” do not come within purchase I. So William must have changed his mind or made to do so, for William last bid is raised by an outsider, one Mathijs Janssen, carpenter in Erlecom by ƒ160,-( 60 raises), after which Driekus, my grandfather, who clearly did not want to lose the parental house, out-raises it by 75 “raises” or ƒ 225,- . This brings the sum of purchase I up to ƒ 2305,-

Now the outbidding begins, but nobody calls “mine”. So the house passes to Driekus .(except the smith tools !)

What might have happened during the days between the two auctions. Did William  want to start a smithy elsewhere? Had he planned to emigrate? Was there a fraternal quarrel ? That is not likely in this united family.Was William taken by surprise by Mathys Janssen and therefore dropped out?

Purchase II remained unchanged . So Dorus got his lot for ƒ 435,-





n  Nov. 17. 1890  the brothers are at the notary’s office for the final drawing up of the division of property. ( Deed nr.308, notary Hekking in Nijmegen).

Established is that:

·         Willem and Dorus act, besides for themselves, as guardian and co-guardian for their sister under age, Anna.

·         Conrad and Hendrina, the parents, were married under community-property-laws.

·         Hendrina had not left a last will, nor had Conrad.

·         The immovable have been valued by the already mentioned experts, appointed by the parties and sworn in by the county-judge in Nijmegen.

·         The parties wish, before the division  takes place, a description and summing up of what everybody gets and this has to be done by their brother Willem, “ he still being in the possession of the undivided property since the testator’s death.” ( From this I conclude, that Driekus was no longer at home.)


Here is Willem’s summing up:


a.      The proceeds of the, since Conrad’s decease , sold furniture, clothes, cattle, agricultural and smithy tools, which have been sold in a public auction by the notary on Sept.18 last; : ƒ 555,60 ( So Willem does not take over anything at all, knowing already he does not stay in the Netherlands!.)

b.       Some shop and smithy tools: ƒ 195,40

c.       A house and yard : ƒ 2305,-

d.      A lot of arable land (Dorus’ piece): ƒ 435,-

e.       ƒ 607,50 , brought in by Dorus from previous receipts. (Obviously Dorus had already borrowed or got money from his father - maybe mother’s inheritance- for his business in Gendt or, more likely, on the occasion of his wedding 6 years earlier. Anyhow, this amount must now be brought back into the property)

f.        ƒ850,-brought in by brick-maker de Rooy from Nijmegen, because of a debt to the property.(Clay-winning)

g.      Cash-money because of sold flagstones ƒ 170,-



his brings the total amount of the property to ƒ 5118, 50 ( Quit a sum for those days.!)


There were also debts:

a.       For supplied iron a sum of ƒ 203,04 had to be paid to one Carel Prosemiaal from Nijmegen.

b.       The cost for the funeral and the bills of the G.P. and druggist run into ƒ 250,-

c.       From Mr.Brinkman from Nijmegen money had been borrowed and the amount and included interest is now ƒ 266,53

d.       Butcher de Jong from Millingen (!) claims ƒ 3,50 for supply of meat.

e.      Unpaid ground- and polder taxes

f.        Fire-insurance contribution ƒ 2.88 ƒ 9,035

g.       Grazing-fee ad ƒ 130,- for a land-agent in Beek.

h.      Expenses for guardianship, valuation and other cost ƒ 100,-



ccording to Willem’s list, the total indebtedness is ƒ 1.014,985. So what remains to be divided is   ƒ     ƒ 4.103,515. For each of the children 1/5, which is ƒ 820,705.



riekus had bought the house and the largest piece of land and so he had to pay an extra ƒ 1.484,295 .But because he is not able to, he mortgages the house on the spot. (Description follows)

Dorus had to pay for his piece of land ƒ 435,- and also redeem a loan from his father ad ƒ 607,50, together ƒ 1.042, 50. As he can only claim, as the others, ƒ 820,705, he has to pay  back ƒ 221,705.

The other three, William, Frans and Anna, can receive their ƒ 820,705 each in cash.

The deed is signed by the four brothers Oteman with one “n”, county judge W.Francken, notary Th.Hekking, his clerk Eugene Bruijn and the assistant E.F.v.d.Lugt.





n the spot Hendrikus Oteman ( Driekus), the buyer of the house, mortgages house and yard ad ƒ1500,- to pay the other heirs. This hand written deed had been prepared by the clerk in advance, as we have seen, and probably already after the first auction. A thing like this asks a lot of time during a session.  The deed was drawn up to the name of Willem so, for some reason, he too, supposed that brother Willem would be the buyer, but as we already know, this was not the case after the second auction.. In order not to rewrite a completely new deed, he changes the name of Willem Oteman, smith, into Hendrikus Oteman, tailor. Three words which is expressly approved of at the bottom of the deed. ( This is deed Nr..309 immediately following nr.308 It proves that Willem at the first auction really had the plan to buy!)

In this deed Driekus declares to owe to Miss Gerarda van Els, widow of Franciscus Vierboom and her under aged children, Wilhelmina, Berdina, Johannes, Maria Margaretha and Gerardus Vierboom ƒ1500,- at the rate of 4%, to be paid each year on Nov.15. As security the debtor has mortgaged a house and yard, orchard, arable land etc. Present was Johannes Petrus Vierboom ( Franciscus’ brother?), miller in Ooij as deputy to accept the IOU and the mortgage for the creditors. The usual mortgage  conditions for the creditors follow.





ow that father Conraad is dead and the property is divided, the living-in of the house by the family of this first generation ends. The family splits up definitely and makes place for the second generation of the Otemans in Erlecom, the family of Driekus, my grandfather. And from now on the lives of the five children change rapidly.



 few month later Willem marries 19 years old Elisabeth (Betty) Kroes of  “ The Big Cat”, ( in Dutch De Grote Kat),a big farm in Ooij, and leaves for America on May 13 of the same year. (1891)

Betty’s brother, Ted Kroes, went with them and probably brother Paul as well. From Jan.30 until Febr.2, Willem has been registered in Gendt. Why? Was this a temporary stay with Dorus, waiting for the embarkation?

On Febr.2 he had himself registered in Ubbergen, where he marries on Febr.27.

Life there in Ooij on the Farm “The Big Cat” with the Kroeses might have been on short commons. In the southern part of the farm father Gerard Kroes, who deceased in 1882, lived with ten children, seven of them were boys!. In the northern part of the farm , Paul Kroes lived with his wife and eight children, while also one Johan Baptist Kroes with nine children lived in the farm! Small wonder that the oldest two boys of Gerard Kroes, viz.Ted (21) and Paul (20) , saw no way out there and contrived plans to emigrate to the U.S. Our Willem (24) must have known those boys, contemporaries, pretty well; Ooij and Erlecom being small hamlets at the time, and got enthusiastic for their plans. He was rather adventurous ( I know this from my second-cousin George Oteman in Racine Wis., who has known his grandfather in his youth !) and probably he definitely decided in the days after his father’s death and the auction to leave his country and try his luck in America ( To go West, as my second-cousin Jerry Kreyche  from  Dolores Co. explains that  instinct in his book:” Visions of the American West” ), especially when he got Betty, the 19 years old sister of  Paul and Ted, so far to leave with him.

When Willem (now William) in 1935 returned to the Ooij , for the first and last  time, with his wife, all his brothers had already died. So he has never seen them alive again. Anna, now sister Nicoleta in a nunnery in Vlijmen, with whom he regularly corresponded, was still alive and no doubt he paid her a visit. Anna died in the same year as William did in America, 1941.