Rolf Habben was an uncle of my great-great-grandfather Johann Ufkes.

Rolf Habben was also a brother-in-law of Johann Ufkes.

I was confused.

Rolf Habben was born in 1815 in Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany. He was married twice:

  • in 1840 to Hille Eilts Post (born 1807 in Wiesens-died in Wiesens in 1853).
  • in 1857 to Christena Hinrichs Janssen (Ufkes) (born 1835 Holtroperfeld–died in 1880 in Hancock County, Illinois)
Hille Eilts Post was a sister to Trientje Eilts Post (born 1803 Wiesens–died in Holtroperfeld in 1878). Trientje Eilts Post married Hinrich Janssen (Ufkes). Trientje and Hinrich were the parents of Christena Hinrichs Janssen (Ufkes) and Johann Ufkes (my great-great-grandfather).
So Rolf Habben was the uncle of Johann Ufkes–because Rolf was married to Johann’s aunt Hille. And he was also Johann’s brother-in-law because he was later married to Johann’s sister Christena.
Even after Rolf married Christena Ufkes, Johann and his family continued to refer to Rolf as his Uncle. This is probably because Rolf was Johann’s uncle from the time he was two years old and twenty-three years older than Johann.
Sometimes there’s more than one relationship between individuals. And sometimes what you think is incorrect may not be. Years ago I had a letter translated where Johann refers to Rolf as his uncle. I thought the translation was wrong. It wasn’t-I wasn’t aware of Rolf’s first wife.
Note: All vital events in this post (except for Christina’s date of death) are from: Kroon, Gerd. Die Familien Der Kirchengemeinde Wiesens: (1642-1908). Großefehn, 2004. Print.



2 Responses

  1. I’ve got one of those, too. Uncle married niece. Ewwww. So her parents and siblings became in laws. What’s really creepy is that he lived with her family before she was born and knew her forever. Pedophile? Too few options in a remote sparsely settled area?

    • Sometimes that happened, too. I do have a second cousin who married his niece–but that was later and in the United States. Sometimes it’s just “not enough people” and usually it’s that the husband and wife are both related to me, but not to each other.

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