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The Family and our rivers - Kolffs: people from the rivers (2/2)

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The wife of Rev. Wouter Kolff, Petronella van Duyren, originally came from Nijmegen, just like her husband. To visit her two elder sons, for instance to be present at the baptism of her grandchildren, she sailed the rivers. The oldest of the two was a minister at Brandwijk in the Alblasserwaard, the other at Nieuw-Beijerland. Even though the family were boatsmen no longer, Maassluis remained for long their basis. Later Rotterdam took the place of Maassluis, while also from Middelharnis the close ties to the rivers and the estuaries stayed of importance.   Grote Kerk of Maassluis   The family Rouffaer derived the name from the Jamin family (from a certain Benjamin Jamin in the 17th century, name to be pronounced in the French/Walloon way!). Someone who does research on the history of these names moves along the rivers Meuse and Rhine, and comes across Arnhem, Venlo, Roermond, Maastricht, and finally Liege. These people found their way well from Dordrecht to Liege and from Kleef to Maassluis. Of the villages behind the river dikes they knew little, perhaps occasionally here and there because of an appointment as minister for a short time.
One must, I think, imagine that business relations and the circle of friends could only be found villages or towns that had a port. Notable is that the name Benjamin, which is very frequent within my sub-branch of the family, has come from the Rouffaer family, another true family of the rivers.   Geertruidenberg 16th century   They were not Hollanders, nor Utrechters neither Gelrians, but people from the rivers. Not inland, not at sea: in the first place they felt at home in the hustle and bustle on the quays, along the landing stages and the moorings, and they were part of the impetus that grew there over the centuries.
Above: Grote Kerk of Maassluis
Below: Geertruidenberg, 16th century
    Dirk Kolff, archivist
(translation to English: Marius Kolff)