Stefan M Wierda, PhD

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Wierda family history

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The history of the Wierda family goes back to the 16th century in Frisia, a province in the north of the Netherlands. The first known ancestors were farmers and owned large amounts of land in Doniawerstal, a region in Frisia. In the 17th century, the family obtained a seat in the administrative board of Doniawerstal. Because of the esteemed position of the family, parts of the history of the family are well-documented and can be found in the written records of Tresoar (the Frisian archives). 

Family crest

In the 17th century, the family adopted the name of Wierda. The exact origin of the name is unknown, although it is assumed that the name is derived from a farm called "Wierdfenne" that the family partly owned. The name is first mentioned in 1656. During this period, the family presumably adopted a family crest. The crest can be found on one of the oldest graves of the family in a church in Harich, a small village in Frisia. Although the crest on the grave is largely destroyed, an old silver cup that the family owned in approximately the same period provides clues on what the family crest might have looked like. For example, the sign that is depicted in the female crest on the silver cup bears resembles the remains of the sign on the grave of the male crest. This sign was probably the family's signet that was used to mark the family's properties. It is this signet that I use as the logo for this website.

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Family annotation book

In the 17th and 18th century, the family documented important events in an annotation book. Unfortunately, the book got lost at some point in the past centuries. However, an extract from the books made by one of the Wierda ancestors can still be found in Tresoar. These notes, the church's records, and inscriptions on gravestones are a valuable source of information on the family's births and deaths in the 17th century. 

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Legacy of the Wierda family

Towards the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century, the family's wealth and lands is divided and gets spread out over the family through inheritance. Also, the family loses its seat and influence in the administrative board of Doniawerstal. It is probably during this time that the family's annotation book and silver get lost. As to date, the family lives in different parts of the Netherlands and other countries (for example, a part of the family emigrated to the USA). A few members still practice the profession of farmer and hold livestock as their ancestors did. 

Research

Together with some other members of the family, I'm doing research to the family's history in my spare time. If you would like to know more information on the family, or if you are researching your own family's history and think that you are related to my family, don't hesitate to contact me. Furthermore, if you have any clues, old documents, or silver that is possibly (or presumably) connected to my family, I would like to hear about that. 

Entrepreneurship

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Early 2011, Richard List called and told me that he was fed up with the flooding of his wallet by tons of loyalty stamps and passes that he gathered from the small independent stores all over the province. He understood that these small stores were eagerly trying to reward and bind customers to their cause—even though many had not really any idea about who visit their store. It then struck him. Why not combine the different stamps and passes into one uniform digitalised system? By setting up a company that allowed for all the small and medium businesses to join a single loyalty program, these businesses could potentially cooperate and identify their customers without any major investment in an own loyalty program or customer survey. Small companies would have access to resources on customer data that their major competitors collect on their own. Additionally, this would cut down the quantity of stamps and passes in Richard's wallet. 

As soon as I had heard Richard pitch, I decided to join him on his venture to create the loyalty program for medium and small businesses. Richard would take care of the commercial part of the business and I would do the technical implementation of the system. After two years, in 2013, Doddledays BV was found in the north of the Netherlands. After a year of piloting with a select number of companies, Doddledays now has a dozen member companies and is active in two cities. The upcoming year, Doddledays will keep expanding to other cities in the north and east of the Netherlands. 

Science

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The human brain is a complex machinery that has been studied for decades and it's mysteries are yet to be unraveled. The quest to unravel these mysteries and to understand the working of the human mind have interest me ever since I started studying artificial intelligence. As such, I have a broad interest for research that contributes to solving the puzzle that is our mind—from abstract computer models of cognition to low-level psychophysiological research.