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Dutch Iseli

Posted by transfer on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 12:51 PM

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Branches - Zweige

This interesting branch of the Family was started by Johannes Iseli, a Swiss mercenary working for the Dutch in colonial Indonesia. After WWII, most of his descendants left Indonesia during the difficult early day of independence. Most of family resettled in Holland, but a few immigrated to America in the 1950's.

A part of the Dutch branch came to America via a very circuitous route. Madeline's great-grandfather probably called Johannes (to be checked out) was a Swiss mercenary with the Dutch colonial army, stationed in Indonesia. He settled in Indonesia, married an Indonesian woman and had children. One of them was Madeline's grandfather, Bernhard Iseli, who also married an Indonesian woman, Asmah. She was Muslim and had only one name. They, in turn, had 16 children, most of them boys! Among them was Madeline's father, Victor. Because of the close relationship the Indonesians had with the Dutch, many of her uncles and aunts either married Dutch citizens and/or moved to the Netherlands. After WWII, as the Indonesians were gaining their independence from the Netherlands and the nationalistic spirits were high, having a European name was no longer looked on with favor. Consequently, within the years following, most of the rest of her father's family moved from Indonesia and emigrated to the Netherlands. There is, however, still one Iseli in Jakarta: her uncle, Karel Iseli, who is actually a half-brother to her father. Two or three years ago, her father returned to Indonesia to visit his brother Karel, for the first time since he left many years ago as a young man.

After leaving Indonesia, her father worked in New Guinea for a few years to save up for his passage to the Netherlands. When he arrived in the Netherlands, he stayed with some of his brothers and sisters who were already there. He worked by day and studied tool and die making by night. He met Madeline's mother in Amsterdam. They courted for a number of years and decided to marry. Because post-WWII Holland was so crowded and still rebuilding, they decided they wanted to emigrate to the United States. They moved to the U.S. in 1959, just after their marriage. They were sponsored to come to Ohio, where two of Madeline's aunts had already immigrated, by a small rural church about 15 miles outside of Dayton.



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