This blog was started in 2012 as a reaction to the Dutch Embassy in Berlin telling me that basically without a birth certificate I could not get married. There were more words exchanged over the phone, but I need not get into that!
Now more than three years later, still sans legal birth certificate, I am searching the world wide web for others in the same predicament. No luck there, yet the internet proves to be a treasure trove of information and not just a platform for trolls, verbal abuse, singing or dancing toddlers and furry kittens. From websites and blogs about the Dutch East Indies to actual digital copies of documents and newspapers from before WWI that mention my ancestors. I am bursting with excitement and ,like a child on Christmas Eve, can’t wait to get my hands on all these new things – in this case links and webpages.
Google a name, city and date or just a name,anything really, and you are presented with a feast of links. If you take the time to relish some of these links you might find what you are looking for. In my case I found more than I was looking for. Every one of my searches ever since the introduction of Wikipedia has led me on journeys of discovery unimaginable before the age of internet. Those links on websites are like books in a library – well basically the internet is one huge library – you walk down one row of books, pick one up and look at a name, you want to find out more about that place, person or object, head off to the section with reference books, read up on the name, it leads you to another reference…… Well if you are like me with a hunger of knowledge you will understand what I mean. I still have my Encyclopedia Britannica collection from way back when (my Dad has the newer version, I inherited the older publication) which I used for school papers. This was my introduction to the world of knowledge – now everyone can learn something new you just have to look and READ!
So my lust for knowledge made me google “HGF Jonker” – yes I know my name is with an “I”, but it seems that officials back in the day also had problems with our name that some of my relatives just gave up and let our name be spelled it the wrong way.
Because the “I” users are only our family and they are against the “J” users. Maybe they, that is the family from my Dad’s generation gave up on constantly correcting the people who insisted on using the “J”. I had a altercation with a an immigration officer in the train between Germany and Holland insisted that my name was to be written with a “J”, and that my only excuse was the fact that I was born in Indonesia and therefore was unaware of that fact. This happened in 1966. Quote: Otto Hendrik Ionker
The result of my search was a dive into the past – I found a mention that my Grandpa took part or passed an exam in 1926. I knew he studied Javanese and was fluent in the language as well as the Javanese writing, Aksara Jawa (not Sanskrit although to us westerners it looks the same). HGF Ionker worked for the Dutch government in Indonesia and I am going to find out more!
Note about the attached photograph: Koeda Pit – The horse named Pit is to date unknown to us. All we have is that photograph (top of page) and I only used this photo because I love horses and wonder who in our family was the horse back rider before me. Googling the hose named Pit did not get me anywhere other than to find that many still name their horse Pit.