Klaas Siersema and Helena ‘Lenie’ de Wit get hitched

Wedding portrait of Klaas Siersema and Helena “Lenie” Frederika de Wit.

Original scan of Klaas Siersema and Helena de Wit’s wedding portrait

Klaas Siersema and Helena “Lenie” Frederika de Wit, my great-grandparents, were married on Aug. 28, 1923.

The photo above is a medium to heavily retouched scan of the wedding portrait for Klaas Siersema and Helena “Lenie” Frederika de Wit in 1923. Sadly, it seems as though when a marriage ends people tend to take less care of the proof it ever happened (See the thumbnail version of the original photo to the right  to see what I’m talking about — although, I guess it is also fair to note the photo has survived nearly 90 years and moving from the Netherlands to Canada to the United States).

A friend and genealogy enthusiast I met through the Ancestry.com message boards was able to track down their wedding certificate on FamilySearch.org, but that organization claims the copyright to all its scans so I cannot post it here. Luckily, my friend, Jan Brul, knows both Dutch and English and graciously translated the text (Note: He admits his English is not the best, so please be aware this is a rough translation, even though I’ve cleaned it up where I could.):

“On the twenty-eighth August, nineteen-hundred twenty-three, are for me

Civil servant of the registration of the county ‘s-Hertogenbosch appeared

Klaas Siersema, first Lieutenant of the Infantry, age twenty-seven years, born at Groningen, living at Venlo, major, son of Gerrit Siersema, deceased, and Arentje Vermaas, shopkeeper, age fifty-seven years, living in Brielle

And Helena Frederika de Wit, without profession, age nineteen years, born in Beverwijk, living here, minor, daughter of Dirk de Wit, schoolteacher, age fifty years, and Wubbina Engellina Johanna Petronella Swalve, without profession, age forty-three years, both living here

For the purpose of getting married. The banns were without protest here registered on Saturday the fourth of August last and in Venlo on Saturday the eleventh of August next. The mother of the groom and the parents of the bride, here present, have declared that they agree with this marriage.

The future spouses have for me and in the presence of witnesses declared that they each other will accept as spouses and will do all duties required by marriage. So in the name of the law, I have declared that they are united in matrimony. This marriage is declared in the presence of the witness Leendert Vlasbloem, office worker, age thirty-nine years, living in Rotterdam, Nicholaas Gerardus Petrus van Reenen, office worker, age fifty-two years, living in Utrecht, relatives by marriage in the second and third degree of the first spouse. This record is read for the appeared parties and witnesses. The civil servant of the civil registration.”

The actual ceremony took place in the Netherlands Reformed Church in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Lenie’s father Dirk was an active and high-standing member.

I find the witnesses particularly interesting. Leendert was married to Klaas’ sister, Leentje, and they had a daughter named Ada who was close with my grandfather (Klaas and Lenie’s son) growing up, but I have no idea what happened to her. It makes sense that he would be a witness. But as for Nicholaas, I have never heard or seen his name, so I am even more curious to know how he comes into the picture.

Here is what their wedding invitations looked like (the paper is thick and watermarked):

Klaas Siersema and Helena de Wit’s wedding invitation

6 comments on “Klaas Siersema and Helena ‘Lenie’ de Wit get hitched

  1. Pingback: Updates! | Digital Kin

  2. You have done a great job at retouching the photograph from 1923.. beautiful!

    How i wish you could contact Thijs van der Gugten, he is young, a teenager, but he has already established a very large and as far as I can see as correct as humanly possible, genealogical survey . He is a very kind guy.
    He is also very good at mathematics and science. ( award winning on national and soon probably also on European level).
    He has published some old photo’s from a family album that he has, I presume from his grandparents who are related to me. And of course, so is Thijs himself.
    Should you trace the the Wit family to the environment of Woerden/ Utrecht, we might even have some ancestors in common.

    Also Laurens Beijen ( see http://www.Beijen.net – partly in English) who has done very much and very good research, published on several Dutch sites and also in the form of articles in the Dutch genealogical magazine, has a lot of old photo’s which you can see at the site ( and then some more, I presume). You will find Laurens very kind too. He is somewhat older ( 65) he studied chemistry and law.

    You can find them at the internet.
    there is a Beijen – de Wit connection ( de Wit family of Kamerik/ Woerden).

    both Laurens and I are more or less fluent in English,
    ( though our sons have their doubts about me) and I think Thijs will be good at it too, but he is a lot younger and may be very busy with school by now.
    before he needed something to keep his highly developed brain busy.

    • Hi Adriana! Thanks for saying so. I feel I am slowly getting better at retouching photos as I go along 🙂 I will definitely keep a lookout for those connections in my research, and I’ll look up the guys you mentioned, too. I’m super new to all of this and will be visiting Holland next year, so it would be great to know people who’ve been doing this for a while!

      And thanks for commenting! I love hearing from other people about ancestry.


  3. Hi Christina,
    I love looking at this wonderful picture !

    The witness “Nicolaas Gerardus Petrus van Reenen was” was a uncle of Klaas and married to Helena Pietronella Vermaas, the sister of his mother Arentje.

  4. Pingback: Bio: Klaas Siersema | Digital Kin

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