I venture my poor English on this “publication” of our Family-Bond, for it is not unknown to us that our American and English Boissevain-relatives are also interested in their family in general – the more so, after these five years of world-war No.II and two years of so-called peace. There would be very much to tell, but due to the limited distribution of paper, we can only offer you a list of genealogical additions and corrections to our “stamboek”, with some short particulars about certain members of our familyduring the past war. The long list of dead will tell its own tragically story - of those who passed-away in the “honger winter”- as we call it - of 1944-’45.
I am the only-one left now, of the erectors of our Family-Bond, and of the genealogical research in France. In order to bring new life in our society, I invited two cousins to form a new board, which now consists of the following members:
Menso Boissevain, President.
Daniel L.G. Boissevain, Vice-President.
Barthold H. Boissevain, Secretary-treasurer.
May not a few Boissevains and Boissevainides become members by subscribing to the contribution of 10 florins or 5 dollars annually, or as a donor for fl. 60,- or $30,-.
This family-bond - as a centre of correspondence - may become the best way to enter into, and to remain in contact with the whole family of to-day - abroad of Holland, spreading over England, France, and especially over America. In due time the research in France of its by no means uninteresting past and origin, may be started afresh. For it would be a great pity if we had to leave this extensive genealogical research half-done, and our very able genealogist - Mr.Henri Martin at Toulouse - is still at our disposal, but for the time being financial transactions in Holland with people abroad is impossible.
The research in France has already cast its fruits in a by no way unimportant measure and quality; consequently our family-tree can root stronger by four elder generations, although the proof for the missing link cannot yet be delivered directly. May therefore my more or less detective - like presumptions and conclusions - which I hold in manuscript, be replaced in a not far-off future by more direct proof!
The last copy of notarial acts, concerning Bouissavy’s and send by Mr.Martin, was received on Feb.11 th 1940; the number of copies amounting to 139. Far the greater part contain the branch at Cours de Pille near Bergerac, but this branch seems to have been closely related to the one at the neighbouring villages of Couze and Saint Capraise - where our direct ancestors were settled - both families being landed, and Cours de Pille, and at Couze, so that one can almost speak of one and the same branch.
Before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (Oct.17.1685), this agrarian family, notwithstanding its protestant religion, seems to have very prosperous and generally estimated, not the least by the roman-catholic clergy. In France, descendants - who have become Catholics again - still live at Bergerac under the name of Boissavid; while the head-branch - who always remained roman-catholic, and therefore enjoyed the more public functions - is still continuing under the name of Boissavi at Perigueux, the old capital of Périgord; whereas Mme Lapierre née Boissavi lives at Saint Pierre de Chignac. She is very interested in our family and possesses also a copy of our Stamboek.
Like the Huguenot Lucas Buissavy, who was persecuted so mercilessly for throwing his life and welfare into the balance of faith - so several Boissevains of today lost their freedom, possessions and health - and in six cases even their lives - during the German occupation of the Netherlands, for giving hospitality of means of escape to persecuted Jaws, or in stubborn resistance against the common enemy; whereas we do not forget lots of Boissevainide-cousins and our American and Canadian ones, who have fought so valiantly for Democracy, and have contributed to our liberation. A salute to these heroes, and a Requiescant in Pace for the dead! And a second salute to their wives, mothers and sisters, who lived-up to the tradition of a Marthe Rouxand a Susanne Michelet. Thus the box-tree of our crest may be looked upon the symbol of this intrepidity, which stands above our different confessions of to-day.
During these years the family also lost two prominent and much-beloved members, and Amsterdam two excellent citizens: Charles E.H. Boissevain, a great merchant and a presiding figure in the musical world; and Walrave Boissevain, a magistrate who has done much for his country, and very much for the city of Amsterdam. Also a great loss to our family was the death of the Head: Karel Daniel Walrave and of his eldest son “jan-Canada”.
In time of war the readiness to make sacrifices for one’s country and its people is of course superior to the responsibility with respect to family-documents; but the one need not exclude the other, for a sensible man is no opportunist. In all circumstances he knows how to preserve the cultural values of the fore fathers for the coming generations. The son and heir to whom all documents have been entrusted by the whole family, will - as soon as danger threatens - consider his principal duty to put at least the most important ones into safety, knowing that such documents - when lost - can never be replaced. Nevertheless this has happened to our dearest family-treasurer: La Sainte bible of the year 1705, bound in two beautiful leather volumes in folio, with fine engravings and - last but not least - with the family-chronicles in the own handwriting of Marthe Roux Boussavy, of her son Jeremie Boissevain, and of her grand-son Gédéon Jérémie Boissevain. It was captured by the Germans when they pillaged the house of Jan Boissevain at Amsterdam.
Let it be a warning to other conservators! Put such documents - mentally belonging to the whole family of to-day and perhaps of centuries to come - in time into safe-deposit.
Neither regret nor contempt for the past; neither fear nor temerity for the future.
Samples of “Stamboek der Boissevains” are obtainable at the price of fl.14,-; plus fl.0,70 Porto & Packing for Holland, and fl.1,30 for abroad. For America: $ 7,- bruto. Apply to Secretary.
An American cousin expressed the wish that the “Stamboek” should be translated into English. That’s not such a simple affair. May be that more English-speaking cousins are interested in this proposition and that a fund can be started for that purpose. But we are afraid that the composition and printing of an entire English edition would become far too expensive, and that occasional translations of parts of the Stamboek - eventually with fresh information, for my genealogical and heraldic studies will not soon come to a standstill! - will make ends meet easier.
Anyhow sustain our work by becoming a member, and don’t put-off the sending of your contribution. This publication costs a lot and goes to all grown-up Boissevains.
With kind regards,
Your secretary and cousin,