Page 7 - Poat_to_Poot_Engels
P. 7


                  What follows began as an attempt to collect together a few facts and lore
                  about the life and family of my grandfather William F. Poat.  While
                  collecting information, I also discovered many things I never knew about
                  my great-grandfather, John William Poot.  I decided it would be interesting
                  to expand the scope of this family history to include both J.W. Poot and
                  his son W.F. Poat.  I have tried to put the events of their lives into a
                  historical context that will increase our understanding.  I have simplified
                  and condensed the historical details, but I have probably provided too
                  much detail in some places, and too little in others.  There is also a risk
                  that, as a non-historian and non-theologian, I have not always understood
                  the complexities and nuances of the religious issues that affected their
                  lives.  However, I must comment that while researching in books of
                  religious history, every text seemed to have a different story.  Emotions
                  run high about religious principles, and everyone seems to have their own
                  interpretation of issues and events.

                  I am not educated in the Dutch language, which has made the translation
                  of Dutch sources a slow and perilous task.  Documents in Dutch are more
                  difficult to research because of regional dialects.  Furthermore, Dutch
                  spelling was clearly inconsistent.  Only recently has the Dutch Ministry of
                  Education issued a "New Spelling List" to promote a national standard.
                  The Dutch are quite creative at inventing new words as necessity arises,
                  often by compounding other simpler words, or by borrowing from other
                  languages, usually German or English.  Efforts are underway to make the
                  language more uniform and promote standard words and spellings.  This
                  is of no help when studying texts that range from 100 to 400 years old.
                  On a few occasions I discovered that I made misinterpretations in my
                  initial translations.

                  Major frustration comes from the words encountered that are not in any
                  Dutch dictionaries and whose meaning remains a mystery.  The most
                  significant problem word is "bouwman".  This is listed as the occupation of
                  many generations of Poot ancestors.  Most dictionaries indicate it means a
                  builder, construction-man, or architect.  A reference list of Dutch
                  occupations says a bouwman can be a builder or a farmer.  The surname
                  Bouwman is said to have derived from the occupation of farmer.  However,
                  the Dutch word translated for farmer is "boer", possibly the source of the
                  English word for boring or tedious.  Historical records are not definite and
                  they support multiple meanings.  It appears that all of the Poot bouwmen
                  were landowners, even though most Dutch farmers did not own their land.
                  At least one Poot called himself a "landbouwer" or agrarian.  The poet,
                  H.K. Poot, started life as a farmer and he is listed as both a bouwman and
                  a farmer in Dutch sources.  Some Poot ancestors who were bouwmen
                  executed legal documents that indicate they were making contracts to
                  build structures.  This tends to support the builder meaning, although
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