|Windmills in Amsterdam (photo by Lucy Spadoni, May 2015)|
While my genealogy hobby has focused almost exclusively on my father’s side of the family for the past five years, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten my mother’s family. I grew up next to my grandfather John Wagoner and grandmother Jeannette Esveldt, who had a strong influence on my life. Both were teachers, and so were my mom and her sister. I believe my love and skills for that profession, along with a passion and respect for the written word, came from them.
|Jan Pieter Esveldt|
|These three buildings may be the last old buildings that remain in Uithoorn from the time that Jan Pieter Esveldt lived there.|
After hearing of my family connection to Holland, Eduard volunteered to take Lucy and me on a personal tour of Uithoorn and Mijdrecht, which are located about 15 miles south of Amsterdam. He drove us in his car on a scenic route along the Amstel River, and as we drove first into Uithoorn and then five minutes further into Mijdrecht, we realized what a golden opportunity had fallen into our laps. These are not cities on the beaten tourist track, and while we conceivably could have reached them by bus along a main highway, it would have taken much longer, and we would not known exactly where to find the historical centers of the towns. More importantly, we would not have had a bi-lingual native of Amsterdam to help us interpret the scenery and historical significance of the places we were visiting.
|The view of this old farmhouse shows how the river level is actually from 2 to 4 meters higher than the surrounding land.|
|Dutch Reformed Church in Mijdrecht.|
|The few historic buildings in Uithoorn are on the right. Travel on the Amstel River is still quite active.|
|Eduard Bonnist and Lucy Bonnist Spadoni in Mijdrecht.|
|These old houses in Edam show what houses of wealthy|
people would have looked like in Jan Pieter's time.
However, homes in Uithoorn would have been simpler.
|From this unique view in the canals of Amsterdam, one can see seven bridges in a row from one location.|