02 - The use and spreading of the name Otterspoor
The main part of the use of the name Otterspoor was concentrated alongside the River Vecht in the area between the villages Maarssen to Breukelen in the Province of Utrecht. (about 6 Km from Breukelen to Maarssen and about 10 km from Maarssen to Utrecht). The chapters from this writing are making this clear too. It has been mentioned that in the past there existed the area Otterspoor (01), a swampplant Otterspoor (01), an Otterspoor Polder (03), an Otterspoor Dam and Sluice (04), an Otterspoor Hoefslag (tax 05), an Otterspoor Village (06) and an Estate Otterspoor (07).
In the present time there are several other applications of the name Otterspoor in this area.
- The Childrenfarm Otterspoor located in the districtpark Reigerskamp in Maarssenbroek, alongside the A2 between Breukelen and Utrecht. The Childrenfarm publishes a magazine named ‘Otterspoor News’.
From the website Childrenfarm Otterspoor, arial picture Google Earth + map with Childrenfarm.
- The road Otterspoorbroek (polder), a road between the river Vecht and the Amsterdam - Rhine Canal and about halfway between Maarssen and Breukelen.
Map Google Earth
- The street ‘Otterspoor’ in Breukelen
- The apartment building ‘Otterspoor’ in the street Otterspoor in Breukelen.
Outside this limited area there is within the Netherlands;
- The Otterspoor Avenue in the city of Utrecht.
H.J.T. Otterspoor, author of the writing
- The magazine Otterspoor from the Otterpark Aqua Lutra (a park dedicated to putting the Otters back into the rivers) that changed name after a few years. The park was taken over 1/1/2003 by the Animalpark Aqua Zoo in the recreation area Green Star near Leeuwarden in the Province of Friesland.
Outside The Netherlands
- The patent land (100 morgen) Otterspoor with the Mansion Otterspoor in –what is presently- Harlem on Manhattan Island (08)
- A striking use of the name Otterspoor is in the book;
Fenwomen: a portrait of women in an English village by Mary Chamberlain
A book about the life of women in the thirties in a village near Kings Lynn. Through an article from Karen Sayer from the University of Luton I got into contact with the writer, Professor Mary Chamberlain. She indicated that Gladys Otterspoor 83, and Ethel Otterspoor 11, were pseudonyms that she had drawn from names in East Anglia, Norfolk, and in this case Kings Lynn.
The name was adopted - for as far as I know- from the only family Otterspoor that lived their whole live in Engeland. They were Cornelis Jacobus Josef Otterspoor who married Dora Large in August 1914 in Kings Lynn. Their 3 children were born in Engeland.
The use, particularly the way the name Otterspoor was written through the centuries, has apparently not always been easy. Very often the spelling of the name went wrong and from time to time new slips of the pen appear.
Up ‘till now the following spellings have been found;
Otter Spoor, Ottenspoor, Ottorspoor, Hotterspoor, Otterspoir, Otterspoon, Otterspor, Ockterspoor, Oosterspor , Otterspon, Ottersvoort (Amsterdam )
Opperspoor, Oosterspoor, Offerspoor, Otterspoort, Ottespoort, Otterspoo, Otterspeer, Otterspeen, Otterspoel, Ottersporen, Otterspier, Otterspogh, otterspooor, (Rotterdam archive)
Otterpeer, Otterpoor, Ottespoor, Ottospeer, Ottespeer, Ottenspeer, Oterspeer , Otterspreer, Ottersprong, 't Otterspoor , Ottersphoor (Internet)
Ottersper, Ottospoor, Otterspeur, otterspoer, otterspoors, ottersspoor , otterspoior, Atterspoor , Ootterspoor, Oosterpoort, Oosterpoor, Otterspheer , Olterspoor (different sources)
I have to put a questionmark with the interpretation of the name Otterspeer, as it only is a wrong spelling of the name Otterspoor!
- In the dictionary of Dutch names by A.E.J. Swaen it is stated that the name Otterspeer derives from the Animal Kingdom and furthermore from a profession. The name Otterspoor does not exist in the dictionary.
- Another dictionary states that the name Otterspeer is a pseudonym for Ottercatcher.
The scattering of the Otterspoors
The First man that called himself (from) Otterspoor must have lived and worked in the area Otterspoor or in the bordering Otterspoor Polder alongside the River Vecht. How old the name Otterspoor for this area alongside the Vecht was is not known. The Otterspoor Polder stems from the eleventh century.
Up untill now only a few people with the name Otterspoor are known to me before the 17th century, mainly born in the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century. Moreover these people are from different places.
- Belgium, Gent, Claeys Smeeds was married to Kateline Otterspore in 1400. Her brother Zeger stood security in 1401 for Simoen Otterspore, who in turn stood security in 1420 for Janne de clerc (02.1)
- Belgium, Petegem near Knokke, Zegher Otterspoere admits that the cost of repair for the house "tScheminkel", located in Petegem near Knokke where he lived, was payed by Willem Pietersenne because it was his property - 14 december 1408. (02.1.1)
- Belgium, Sint- Niklaas, Jan de Keyser, Pieter van Luevene and associates, vinderen (finders?) from Sint-Niklaas, rapport that on the 30th october ll. Segheren Otterspoer has a debt of the sum of 5 schelling groten? and 1 ton of 3 groten? to the wife of Jan Heerenbout. Cost: 16 groten. Securor: Wouter de Croec. – 2 may 1409. (02.1.2) It seems reasonable to assume that Simoen Otterspore is related to brother and sister Zegher(en) and Kateline.
- Amersfoort, Heijnrick Engbertsz requests citizenship in 1464, He is married to Aleijden Heijnrick Otterspoers daughter. (02.3)
- Delft, -Otterspoer, Theodoricus Arnoldusz. was sollicitor in Delft 10/12/1489. (02.3a)
- Diemersbroek (practically borders onto Oudewater and Woerden) 4/11/1400 Johan v/ Heede and Johan v/d Heede Andriesz. are acting on behalf of their niece Erckenraet Johan Eggartsdr, who rented for live 6,25 acre land in a farm from 20 acre in Diemersbroek, adjacent above Harman Harmansz Passaert and below Johan Otterspoer (02.4) Johan Otterspoer must have been a farmer.
- Leiden, Fye, widow of Simen die Wesemaker transfered before the sheriff and neighbours in the Vliet land to Ghisebrecht Jan Otterspoerssoen for the convent of the 11000 virgins from the St. Augustijnsorder 't Oudewater, the half of 15 acre in ratelis? the 29-1-1423. (02.5)
- Leiden, Necrologium convent Marienpoel, Jutte Gysbertsdochter Otterspoer died 1475, old 75. (02.6) Jutte is likely to be a daughter from Ghisebrecht Jan Otterspoerssoen.
- Utrecht, - Citizens city of Utrecht 1306 – 1579.
- Otterspoor, Reynaer 1380 AT 1/227/84r, citizenship withdrawn.
- Otterspoor, Splinter 1396 -B- 10r, 1448 -B- 56v, 1449 -B- 103r1.
- Otterspoor, Henric 1434. Source -B- 57v, 1434/35 KAM 16r.
The history of the largest familytree Otterspoor – every living Otterspoor in the world is part of it- goes further back in line than these ‘unconnected’ Otterspoors and starts in my estimate about 1290 in Montfoort with as source Breukelen and a relation to Breukelen. Montfoort is closer to Jutphaas than Breukelen. (02.7)
The family Otterspoor –going by Churchmaster Splinter Otterspoor in 1425- must have settled before 1400 in Jutphaas. The well off farming family Otterspoor is mentioned as one of the oldest families from Jutphaas (02.8)
The spreading from Jutphaas before 1650 was at first mostly limited to the directly surrounding areas, notably to Schonauwen including the Knoesterpolder, Oud Wulven and Utrecht.
Yet a few more adventurous Otterspoors already moved to further away places.
Aert Aertsz Otterspoor to New Amsterdam, Jacob Aertsz Otterspoor to Obdam near Alkmaar, Egbert Anthonisz Otterspoor to The Hague, Egbert Willemsz Otterspoor to Amsterdam and noteworthy is, that Jacob Splintersz Otterspoer already lived in 1570 in Nieuwpoort. Noteworthy because the large familytree Otterspeer, alias Otterspoor and de Koetel – every living Otterspeer in the world is part of it- originates from Nieuwpoort. It is therefore possible that Jacob Splintersz is the progenitor. (02.9)
The beginning of the 17th century the spreading developes towards Amersfoort, Vreeswijk and in the 2nd half to IJsselstein, The Hague and Amsterdam.
Next to the move to the bigger cities, on the whole the spreading in the 18th and 19th century gradually follows some of the rivers through the provinces Utrecht, South Holland, North Holland and in the beginning of the 20th century a branch developes in and around Eindhoven.
Part map of the Provinceof Utrecht in 1795, with middle left Montfoort (02.10)
The Dutch census 1947 shows only 87 Otterspoors alive in Holland, scattered over the Provinces Utrecht (11), Gelderland (2), North Holland (17), South Holland (48, mainly in The Hague and Rotterdam) and North Brabant (11).
The Otterspeers are more noumerous, 295 persons mainly scattered over South Holland (with big concentrations in Rotterdam (135), Ouderkerk on the IJssel (53) and Krimpen on the IJssel (38), and with a few persons in North Holland (5), Gelderland (6) and Utrecht (1)
The ecclesiastical division of the Province of Utrecht shows where baptism was possible for people from the polders. The ‘Beeldenstorm’ (destruction of statues and more, mainly inside the Catholic Churches) from 1566 possibly also influenced the spreading of the Otterspoors
In the 20th century Otterspoors emigrated to Australië, Canada and the U.S.A, (partly through Indonesia).