About the Grivel Website

The Grivel Website is created, maintained and paid for by me. I do this as a hobby, because it is a challenge and because it is fun to do. I do not display adds, so I do not need to get a lot of traffic. This website is purely about information I have collected and that I want to share.

The largest part of the website is the genealogical database on the Grivels. This database contains information I have uncovered in my genealogical research, as well as information contributed by researchers worldwide. The public part of the database contains only information I feel is appropriate to publish. I may have more information about individuals, sometimes a lot more, which I will be happy to share with other researchers. Similarly, contributors to information on this site may also have more information than is shown here.

If you have questions or would like to contribute information, please contact me. I will be happy to answer any questions.

Eric Grivel

web master History

My grandfather, Emile Charles Grivel, was interested in the origin of the family, and did some genealogical investigation. He traced the paternal line back to Henry Grivel, who arrived in the Netherlands from Switzerland around 1780. There the trail ended for him, as it would take research in Swiss archives to continue this track. He never got around to that, and I haven’t done so either.

My grandfather died in 1962, when I was just one year old. I don’t have any memories of him, but my father kept the notes and told us about our Swiss origins as children. It was only after I finished college and started working as a computer programmer that I got really interested in genealogy myself, eventually discovering most of the history of the Grivel family in the Netherlands.

In 1995, my family and I relocated to the U.S.A. Research in the Dutch archives became all but impossible but the developing Internet gave me a new way to express my genealogical interests. As a programmer, I started out by publishing the result of my investigation. The resulting site can still be found here.

By this time, I had become interested in more than just my own family. Growing up, my brother and I always had a different surname. When I started my genealogical research, I found out that there were only a handful of people with the name Grivel in the Netherlands, all of them close relatives. But it was coming to the United States and being able to search the whole US telephone directory that made me realize how rare this name really is. Less than two dozen listed Grivels in the whole United States! Suddenly, it seemed feasible to collect all information about the name Grivel, not just about my own family.

A Grivel Website

Even though I didn’t realize it at the time (1996), the idea for this Grivel Website was born when I did the Internet telephone search. A single place for all information about the name Grivel, a place where genealogical information can be found and shared, and where Grivels from all over the world can meet and exchange experiences.

The actual idea for this site came much later, somewhere in 1999. It was the realization of one of the other great potentials of the Internet, the ability to publish for a niche market, that made me realize that I had just such a nice market on my hands: the people with the name Grivel. With only a few handful of Grivels per country (with, as far as I know, the only exceptions being France and Switzerland), a traditional family club with meetings and a newsletter would be nearly impossible. A virtual meeting place, however, costs almost nothing except some time, and is accessible to a rapidly growing part of the world.

Only one last thing was needed for this site to start: unique content. Something to make it special, interesting, attractive. Something at least to pique people’s interest enough to make them want to come back and, eventually, contribute. That content came from the combination of my own genealogical database with the original information on American Grivels discovered by Karen Cobeen.

Early December 1999, I signed up with tripod for a free Web site,, and the Grivel Website was born. A few years later, in April 2002, the domain became available, and I was able to set up the current website.


All companies nowadays have their “mission statement”. Sometimes they are just advertising slogans, but a proper statement of purpose (other than making money for the owners) can be very useful. Similarly, I believe that making explicit what the purpose of the Grivel Website is, will make it easier not only for me to maintain the site but also make sense of it for you, the visitor.

So, here are the reasons for this Website to exist:

Sounds grand, doesn’t it? However, this is what I will be working towards with the Grivel Website. How much of this will ever be achieved will depend for a large part on the involvement of others with the site.