Interview VeleHanden volunteer René van Eunen

Today we would like to introduce you to VeleHanden volunteer René van Eunen. He has already worked on 27 projects and has more than 30,000 scans to his name! He would like to introduce himself to you.

1. Introduction

My name is René van Eunen, I was born on May 19, 1979 in the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam-Oost. I have lived in Watergraafsmeer since 1980. I have written several historical articles about people and events in this neighborhood. In 2017 I was one of the founders of the Friends of Watergraafsmeer Foundation, of which I was secretary until 2023. My interest in history started early; Even in primary school I couldn't get enough of, for example, the Middle Ages, the "wig age" and Charlemagne. In 1996, as a 17-year-old boy, I started genealogical research. I was a bit of an odd one out in the then Amsterdam Municipal Archives on the Amsteldijk. The other researchers were mostly older gentlemen, often in suits and ties. It took some getting used to, those 10-year and 1-year tables, writing down the deed numbers, putting your microfiche back in the right place, etc. But I soon found my way, partly due to the fantastic help of Harmen Snel and Peter Kroesen.

2. Why do you participate in VeleHanden?

Almost 12 years ago I started participating in VeleHanden. It is fantastic to digitally unlock and index archive documents. For many people, for various reasons, traveling to archives is not easy or even impossible. And what could be better than being able to create a genealogical index together with a large group of people? Yet I must say that I am happy to have experienced the era before the digital revolution. In the Amsterdam Municipal Archives I remember the baptismal cards in the bins in fireproof cabinets, the clapboards for banns and burials and so much more in an attractive and beautiful building, the former town hall of Nieuwer-Amstel.

3. What is the best project you are participating in or have participated in?

My top 3: 
1. population registers,
2. personal cards,
3. municipal pension cards (Amsterdam).
I had the honor of entering the name of my grandfather, Antonius Marinus van Eunen, on the pension cards.

4. When are you active on VeleHanden?

This varies greatly and certainly depends on which projects are underway.

5. What have you learned from VeleHanden?

That you can still encounter many variations in spelling after 1811, including in place and personal names! But also that sometimes you have to look at a word a little longer to figure out what it says. Comparing it with the rest of the document is always a useful tool.