30 Years Vreugdenhil Family Foundation

Aat Vreugdenhil, Secretaris
familiestichting Vreugdenhil

Past, present and future
To make the financing of the Vreugdenhil family tree research started by Koos Verhulst in 1980 (branch O, his mother was a Vreugdenhil) successful, the Family Foundation was established on April 15, 1983. The 1985 family tree book is the foundation of the Vreugdenhil Family Foundation.

The Vreugdeschakel
The Vreugdeschakel (formerly: Vreugde-schakel) is the lubricant of the foundation.

  • The December 1983 issue was also the first tangible one for all Vreugdenhils known to us at that time. That edition consisted of 3 A4 sheets, which were typed on both sides, with green as the supporting color. For the first few years, two issues were published per calendar year.
  • In February 1988, the first printed edition of the Vreugde-schakel appeared. From that moment on, three editions were published per year, which also reduced the size to two A4 sheets printed on both sides.
  • Between 1998 and 2004, each edition contained 3 A4 sheets. In March 2005, the first full-color edition appeared. This magazine has now been published 77 times.
  • For the next 5 to 10 years, I see the Vreugdeschakel still being printed. After that, it will only be sent digitally. We still have some work to do for this (obtaining and entering email addresses). In the meantime, we have started sending the Vreugde-schakel digitally to the addresses we know abroad.
  • From now on, we will try to distribute an English version of the Vreugdeschakel in addition to the Dutch version.

At the end of the last century, we realized a website. The three most important things to be found in it are:

  • The family tree with now over 10,000 names of people;
  • All Vreugdeschakels from 1983;
  • The current file of the addresses we know where a Vreugdenhil lives.

Currently, we are working on making all the books and articles written by Vreugdenhillen visible to everyone on our website. Digital communication is currently generating a reasonable amount of response. I express the wish that the influx of information will be such that we will release four editions per year or more pages per edition in the future.

Another form of communication has been the four reunions to date.

  • The first in 1985 focused on the just-released family tree book.
  • In 1990, various hobbies and visits to horticultural companies were central.
  • In 1995, the focus was on visits to the Fort at Hoek van Holland and the Westland Regional Museum.
  • In 2000, we combined history (Vreugdenhilse Boomgaertlaentje and photos) with the present (digital version of the family tree).

Who knows, the next reunion may be held on the North American continent. Since 1987, we have been desperately searching for descendants of Vreugdenhillen who emigrated to that continent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1997, part of this was filled thanks to the work of Wijnand van der Schee (branch K) from Calgary (Alberta, Canada). We are slowly but surely obtaining information to fill the ‘gaps’ in the family tree. A gauge for this is the increase in the number of ‘foreign’ addresses from 61 (in 2000) to 144 now. We expect to still be missing around 100.

The digital highway combined with the fourth-generation effect (searching for your ancestors) still has to do its work more emphatically here. Hopefully, those descendants will also be as enthusiastic about our family tree book as you were at the first reunion. Thanks to that book and research by myself, a family crest has been created. With the family crest as a design, the board has had embroidery patterns, drinking mugs, Delft blue plates, ties, and pens made. In 2000, we released a partial enlargement of the Vreugdenhilse Boomgaertlaentje, a part of the family’s origin.

For the coming years, in addition to further filling in the family tree regarding the ’emigrated’ Vreugdenhillen, we have the following objectives:
• Make the digital family tree more user-friendly;
• Investigate the historical background of individuals or things with the name Vreugdenhil;
• Add more color (through photos and other means) to the family tree.

This will keep the board busy for the next ten to twenty years. In addition to the aforementioned individuals, we thank the many volunteers who have dedicated their time, whether short or long-term, selflessly and sometimes without any recognition, to the family foundation.

What we will do in the future also depends on your opinion. We look forward to receiving your feedback on this matter.

On behalf of the board,
Aat Vreugdenhil