"My discoveries have enriched my life" Alie de Pruyssenaere, North Holland

Alie de Pruyssenaere became interested in her family history purely by chance. Her brother-in-law, Jacques van der Meer, had already explored her husband’s family, tracing their roots from the exotic Dutch Indies back to 17th-century in Bruges, Belgium.

“Something that started as a hobby has turned out to be much, much more.”

As a result of Jacques’ research, the whole family began to take an interest in their family tree, researching historical documents and reminiscing about old family photos. It was a natural step for Alie to begin to add her side of the family to the tree. Little did she know what she was about to uncover.

Browsing through archives and old shoe boxes for information about her past, Alie discovered many letters sent by her own mother to her aunt in Australia.

This lost family connection was bought to life when a corresponding SmartMatch with a family tree in Melbourne led Alie to discover her niece, with whom all contact had been lost for more than 40 years. Alie and her niece are now in regular email contact and are planning a reunion next year. They have been sharing old photos and information with each other, which has helped shed light on the people and personalities in their family’s past. Alie feels that her life has been incredibly enriched by embarking on a journey to the past that has reconnected her to long-lost relatives.


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