Here is the main post for Week #6 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge, The “Greats” of the Netherlands.
I’ve decided to start the timeline, sort of arbitrarily, with my 4x great grandparents, and I’ll conflate the two families, the ROORDA family (paternal grandfather) and the HOEKSTRA family (maternal grandmother). One of the great difficulties in figuring out where these people lived is that many of the place names changed c.1984. What will I learn from the timeline? One thing a timeline like this does is to organize research that allows information to be seen in a new way. It makes sense to put these two families together and see if or where any of them intersect.
I have a lot of work to do yet on this timeline, but this is a good start.
1733 | Born, Hessel Lolkes HOMMEMA, my 4x great grandfather. Place of birth unknown. Married to Lijsbeth Roelofs ROELOF. According to the Hessel Roorda genealogy, this Hessel was a “farmer and collector” in Finkum.
1740 | Born, Pietje Habzes Faber, my 4x great grandmother. Place of birth unknown.
c.1741 | April 24. Born, Tjerk Pieters ROORDA, my 4x great grandfather (his name is also sometimes spelled Tjerk Pytters, the Fries spelling–or it might be Old Dutch). Place of birth, Vrouwenparochie, Friesland. His father was Pytter Tjerks; his mother was Geertje Wiegers. Married to Martentje GAELES (his second marriage, according to Hessel Roorda). He was a farmer in this village, as was his father. From Uncle Jan’s genealogy: “They had 2 sons, Pieter and Jan–and 2 daughters, Geertje and Sytske (but the female branch isn’t important in this case–[Jan’s note]).” Hessel Roorda’s genealogy says that this family was originally Baptist.
This caused some problems in the investigation of the period prior to the adoption of the civil registration in 1811. Baptists do not baptize their children; you are baptized as an adult when you are confirmed. The books of Baptist congregations that are left rarely tell the names of the parents.
Hessel Roorda’s genealogy continues:
He died as a laborer in the house with the number 222 in Vrouwenparochie, 15 Aug 1813, and he was buried at Sint Annaparochie.
1742 | Born, Jan Heerkes HOEKSTRA, my 4x great grandfather. Place of birth unknown.
1743 | Born, Kornelis Sjoerds PETERSON, my 4x great grandfather. Place of birth, Sint Jacobiparochie, Het Bildt, Friesland.
1747 | Pietersbierum.
1748 | May. Born, Lijsbeth Roelofs ROELOF, my 4x great grandmother. Married to Hessel Lolkes HOMMEMA. Place of birth, Hijum, Leeuwarderadeel, Friesland.
c.1752 | Born, Jogchum Harmens DONIA, my 4x great grandfather. Place of birth, Oosterbierum, Franekeradeel. Married to Wijtske JELLES [her dates unknown].
1755 | Oct. 20. Born, Martentje GAELES, my 4x great grandmother. Married to Tjerk Pieters ROORDA. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland. From Hessel Roorda’s genealogy, I learned that her family took the name “Bouma.” This is another case where GAELES is a patronymic rather than a surname. There’s a good explanation about Dutch patronymics here: Surnames from Patronymics, by Donna Speer Ristenbatt.
From Hessel Roorda’s genealogy:
She was born in Berlikum, was a member of the Baptist congregation in Oudebildtzijl (24 May 1779), died in Nieuwebildtzijl 29 Oct 1816, but was recorded in the accounts of Hallum; buried in Sint Annaparochie, she was a daughter of Gaele Broedrix, a farmer, and of Sytske Martens.
1756 | Jun. 13. Born, Klaas Johannes WERKHOVEN, my 4x great grandfather. Married to Akke KLAZES. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland. The daughter we are following is Geertje Klazes WERKHOVEN.
1764 | Born, Akke KLAZES, my 4x great grandmother. Married to Klaas Johannes WERKHOVEN. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
“KLAZES” is probably a patronymic rather than a surname–see Martentje GABES, below.
c.1767 | Born, Antje GERBENS, my 4x great grandmother. Married to Hyltje Teerds VELLINGA. Place of birth, Minnertsga, Barradeel, Friesland. She is Tryntje VAN DIJK’s grandmother. I found her in the 1830 census, living with her daughter’s family.
c.1769 | Born, Martentje GABES, my 4x great grandmother. Married to Wybe DE JONG. Place of birth, Unknown.
Martentje GABES is found in a 30 Mar 1825 marriage record for her son, Sije Wybes DE JONG. The earliest record that mentions her is 27 Nov 1822 for her daughter, Sytske Wybes DE JONG, who is marrying Syds Johannes RIENKS. The marriage records are found in Menaldumadeel. She was Akke Sijes DE JONG’s grandmother. I think “GABES” is a patronymic, not a surname. I think her husband took the surname DE JONG. Maybe she was married to him before people were required to choose surnames. In the Netherlands, people were required to choose a surname around 1811. Before that, the most common naming custom was that of patronymics–identification of an individual based on the father’s name.
1772 | According to Hessel Roorda’s genealogy, marriages were only reported from 1772 onward.
c.1779 | Born, Wybe DE JONG, my 4x great grandfather. Married to Martentie GABES. Place of birth, Dantumadeel, Friesland.
1780 | Born, Jan Tjerks ROORDA, my 3x great grandfather. Married to Knierke Hessels HOMMEMA. Place of birth, Finkum, Leeuwarderadeel, Friesland. They had 8 children. The one we are following is Tjerk Jans ROORDA. From the Hessel Roorda genealogy:
Jan Tjerks ROORDA. He was born in Finkum, later was a farmer in Stiens, later on in Sexbierum. After that he was an innkeeper in Harlingen, and last but not least a laborer in that same town. He was a member of the Mennonite congregation of Oudebildtzijl (22 May 1814).
1781 | 27 May. Born, Maas VAN VREENINGEN, my 3x great grandfather. Place of birth, Haarlem, Noord-Holland.
1782 | Dec. 2. Born, Knierke Hessels HOMMEMA, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Jan Tjerks ROORDA. Place of birth, Finkum, Leeuwarderadeel, Friesland. From Hessel Roorda’s genealogy:
She was the daughter of Hessel Lolkes HOMMEMA, farmer and collector in Finkum, and Lijsbeth Roelofs ROELOFS.
c.1783| Born, Pieter Jacobs BOSMA, my 3x great grandfather. Married to Ysaakje Jogchums DONIA. Place of birth Oosterbierum, Barradeel, Friesland. He was a farmer. He’s found in the 1830 population registration for Pietersbierum.
c.1784 | Born, Jan Hindriks VISSCHER, my 3x great grandfather. Married to Aantje Albertus WOLTHEK. Place of birth, Finsterwolde, Reiderland, Groningen.
He was the son of Hendrik Jans VISSCHER and Aaltje BERENDS. Dates and places unknown.
1790 | 23 Nov. Born, Antje Albertus WOLTHEK, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Jan Hindriks VISSCHER. Place of birth, Finsterwolde, Reiderland, Groningen.
c.1792 | Born, Ysaakje Jogchums DONIA, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Pieter Jacobs BOSMA. Place of birth, Oosterbierum, Franekeradeel.
1792 | Born, Trijntje Kornelis PETERSON, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Heerke Jans HOEKSTRA. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
1792 | 14 May. Died, Hessel Lolkes HOMMEMA, my 4x great grandfather. Place of death, Finkum, Leeuwarderadeel, Friesland.
1792 | 15 Sep. Born, Sijbrand Jans RUYGH, my 3x great grandfather. Place of birth, Barradeel, Friesland. [He also died there.] Married to Trijntje Hyltjes VELLINGA.
1793 | May. Born, Dorathea Wilhelmina LANTZETZER , my 3x great grandmother. Place of birth, Noord-Brabant a province of the Netherlands located in the south. How the heck did she get into the family? She was married to Maas VAN VREENINGEN.
1794 | 25 Oct. Born, Heerke Jans HOEKSTRA, my 3x great grandfather. Married to Trijntje Kornelis PETERSON. Place of birth, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
1795 | French occupy the Netherlands.
c.1798 | Born, Trijntje Hyltjes VELLINGA, my 3x great grandmother. Place of birth, unknown. Married to Sijbrand Jans RUYGH. She was the daughter of Hyltje Teerds VELLINGA and Antje GERBENS.
1798 | 26 Aug. Born, Pieter Jacobs VAN DIJK, my 3x great grandfather. He was born in Het Bildt, Friesland. Since his wife was born in St. Annaparochie, Het Bildt, and since they were married there, then it’s a good guess that Pieter Jacobs was born in St. Annaparochie as well. A clue, not a fact.
c.1799 | Born, Maartje Jarigs WINSELAAR, my 3x great grandmother. She was born in St. Annaparochie, Friesland. She was married to Pieter Jacobs VAN DIJK.
1799 | 3 Jun. Born, Sije Wybes DE JONG, my 3x great grandfather. Married to Geertje Klazes WERKHOVEN. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
c.1800 | Born, Geertje Klazes WERKHOVEN, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Sije Wybes DE JONG. Place of birth, Menaldumadeel, Friesland. She was married on 30 Mar 1825, Menaldumadeel. They had 11 children. This is Akke’s mother.
1803 | 20 Nov. Married, Knierke “Cunira” Hessels HOMMEMA and Jan Tjerks ROORDA. Place of marriage, Hijum, Friesland.
1804 | 1 Jan. Died, Pietje Habzes Faber PETERSON, my 4x great grandmother. Place of death unknown.
1810 | 9 Jul. Imperial Decree: All Dutch citizens must adopt a surname by 18 Aug 1811.
1811 | Civil registration of birth, death, and marriage records began.
1813 | The Netherlands regains independence.
1813 | 29 Nov. Born, Tjerk Jans ROORDA, my 2x great grandfather. Married to Reintje Pieters BOSMA. Place of birth, Stiens, Leeuwarderadeel, Friesland, according to Uncle Jan. A different record says he was born in Tijnje, Opsterland, Friesland. Check that. This man was Uncle Jan’s grandfather. From Uncle Jan’s record:
He was often called little Tjerk Roorda from Seisbierrum [the Frisian spelling of Sexbierum]. He was a carpenter and later on a skipper with a sail-ship that sailed every other day from Harlingen to Leeuwarden (20 miles).
1814 | The country becomes the Kingdom of the Netherlands headed by Willem I of the House of Oranje-Nassau.
1816 | 16 Aug. Born, Gerrit VAN VREENINGEN, my 2x great grandfather. Married to Aaltje Jans VISSCHER. Place of birth, Borger-Odoorn, Drenthe, Netherlands.
1819 | 22 Dec. Born, Aaltje Jans VISSCHER, my 2x great grandmother. Married to Gerrit VAN VREENINGEN. Place of birth, Finsterwolde, Groningen.
1820 | 15 Jan. Born, Reintje Pieters BOSMA, my 2x great grandmother. Married to Tjerk Jans ROORDA. They had 7 children. Place of birth, Peins, Franekeradeel, Friesland. From Hessel Roorda’s genealogy:
She was the daughter of Pieter Jacobs Bosma, farmer, and Ysaakje Jogchums Donia.
1820 | 2 Apr. Married, Pieter Jacobs VAN DIJK and Maartje Jarigs WINSELAAR. They were married in St. Annaparochie, Friesland. The couple had three children. The one I’m following is Rintje Pieters VAN DIJK, b. 1822. Pieter Jacobs died in 1828 and Maartje Jarigs died in 1827. Obviously their children were raised by someone else.
1821 | 20 Jun. Married, Heerke Jans HOEKSTRA and Trijntje Kornelis PETERSON. The marriage record is found in Menaldumadeel; most likely they were married in Berlikum.
1822 | 5 Jun. Married, Sijbrand Jans RUYGH and Trijntje Hyltjes VELLINGA. Married at Barradeel, Friesland.
1822 | 15 Nov. Born, Rintje Pieters VAN DIJK, my x2 great grandfather. Married to Antje Sybrands RUIGH. Born in Friesland. This is Tryntje Hoekstra’s father. They were married in Barradeel, so that’s a clue about where he was born.
1823 | 9 Aug. Born, Antje Sybrands RUIGH, my 2x great grandmother. I don’t know where she was born.
1825 | 30 Mar. Married, Geertje Klazes WERKHOVEN and Sije Wybes DE JONG, my 3x great grandparents. The record is in Menaldumadeel. Both were living in Berlikum, Menaldumadeel at the time of their marriage. It would probably be worthwhile, but difficult, to translate this document. It goes on for two pages, but I don’t know why.
1827 | 20 Jan. Born, Kornelis Heerkes HOEKSTRA, my 2x great grandfather. Married to Akke Sijes DE JONG. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
1827 | 4 Feb. Died, Maartje Jarigs Winselaar VAN DIJK. She died in Het Bildt, probably St. Annaparochie. She was 28 years old.
1827 | Jun 4. Died, Martentje Gabes DE JONG, my 4x great grandmother. Age 58. Died Menaldumadeel, Friesland. She was married to Wybe DE JONG. She was Akke Sijes DE JONG’S grandmother. The record is found at AlleFriezen.
1827 | 15 Nov. Born, Akke Sijes DE JONG, my 2x great grandmother. Married Kornelis Heerkes HOEKSTRA. Place of birth, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland. Emigrated to Iowa in 1884.
1829 | 7 Jan. Died, Pieter Jacobs VAN DIJK. He was 29 years old. He died in Het Bildt, possibly in St. Annaparochie.
1829 | 9 Jul. Died, Knierke “Cunira” Hessels Hommema ROORDA, my 3x great grandmother. Place of death, Sexbierum, Friesland. She was 46 years old. She was married to Jan Tjerks ROORDA. Her oldest daughter was 19; she had a son who died in 1825 at the age of 18; she had a daughter who was 17; she had a son who was 16; she had a daughter who died in 1821 at the age of 5; she had a son who was 11; she had a son who was 9; she had a daughter who was 7. So Jan Tjerks ROORDA was left a widower with children ages: 19, 17, 16, 11, 9, and 7. It looks like he might have moved to Harlingen after she died. Can you find them in the population register for 1830 for Harlingen? I don’t see a census for that year at FamilySearch. There’s one for 1840 for Harlingen, but Jan Tjerks died in 1836. What about his children?
1830| 15 Jan. Died, Jan Hindriks VISSCHER, my 3x great grandfather. He was 46 years old when he died. Place of death, Finsterwolde, Reiderland, Groningen.
1830 | Population Register. I didn’t find anyone named ROORDA living in Sexbierum in this record.
1830 | I found Martentje Jans ROORDA, the daughter of Jan Tjerks, living in Pietersbierum with her husband, surname RODENHUIS. Also, her brother Tjerk Jans ROORDA is living with her family. Found at FamilySearch, Netherlands, Census and Population Registers, 1574-1940, Friesland, Barradeel, Bevolkingsregister 1830-1840, Image 447/517.
Lijckle Sjoukes RODENHUIS, age 33, born Vrouwenparochie; Maarntje Jans ROORDA, age 34, b. Finkum; Rienkje Lijckles RODENHUIS, age 4, b. Harlingen; Tjerk Jans ROORDA, age 25, b. Stiens, occupation [laborer].
1830 | Population Register. Whoot! My first find in a Dutch census record. The household of Sijbrand Jans RUYGH and his wife, Trijntje Hyltjes VELLINGA. Trijntje’s mother is living with them, Antje GERBENS. “Sybrand” is a gardener; his wife “Tryntje” is a shop keeper. They live in Minnertsga, Barradeel, Friesland. They have three young children. One of them is Antje Sybrands RUIGH, my 2x great grandmother. They are Protestants.
1830 | Population Register. The household of Pieter Jacobs BOSMA, age 47. He’s the head of the household, living in Pietersbierum. He is my 3x great grandfather. His daughter is in the household, Reintje Pieters BOSMA, my 2x great grandmother.
1832 | 29 May. Died, Maas VAN VREENINGEN, my 3x great grandfather. He was 51 years old. He died in Finsterwolde, Reiderland, Groningen.
1834 | The Afscheiding, a religious revolt which fragmented the unity of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. They opposed the liberal doctrines of the state church. The Rev. Simon van Velzen organized the secession in Friesland. They were called seceders, and they tended to meet secretly because what they were doing was against the law. H.P. Scholte was one of those seceders. They preferred to remain apart–a persecuted fragment. Scholte and van Velzen had personal differences–Scholte saying that van Velzen preached a “dead and joyless gospel which lacked comfort and forgiveness.” Van Velzen’s supporters highlighted the complete futility of all human effort at attaining salvation and peace with God. [“1834-1984, De Afscheiding” found in Origins: Historical Magazine of Calvin College and Seminary Archives, Vol. II, No. 2, 1984, 24-26.]
1836 | 29 Apr. Died, Klaas Johannes WERKHOVEN, my 4x great grandfather. He was 79 years old. Place of death, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
1836 | 28 Aug. Died, Jan Tjerks ROORDA, my 3x great grandfather. Place of death, Harlingen, Friesland. Harlingen is a municipality and a city in Friesland. He was 58 years old and a widow when he died. Jan Tjerks was an innkeeper and later on a laborer when he lived in Harlingen, on the coast of the Wadden Sea. [The word wad is Dutch for “mud flat.”]
The document is found at AlleFriezen.nl. It won’t be an easy one to translate because the handwriting is particularly difficult to decipher.
1840s | The potato disease in the forties was an economical factor, contributing considerably to the growth of the “Afscheiding” and to the comparatively large dimensions of the Northern Frisian emigration.
1844 | 5 Jul. Married, Gerrit VAN VREENINGEN and Aaltje Jans VISSCHER. Married at Ekamp, Reiderland, Groningen.
1847 | 4,000 Dutch Protestants emigrated to the United States. From a memoir of a Dutch immigrant:
Though in the forties the Dutch persecution was less severe than earlier, there was a great desire to be in a place with more freedom of worship. But this was not the only reason. I would like to tell the whole truth. They also wished a more generous living in this temporary life. So America became their shelter.
1847 | 22 May. Married, Tjerk Jans ROORDA and Reintje Pieters BOSMA, Barradeel, Friesland.
1849 | Apr. 11. Died Trijntje Kornelis Peterson HOEKSTRA, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Heerke Jans HOEKSTRA. The death record is registered at Menaldumadeel. She was 56 years old. Place of death, according to the death notice, Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
1849 | 5 Sep. Died, Trijntje Hyltjes Vellinga RUYGH, my 3x great grandmother. Married to Sijbrand Jans RUYGH. She died in Minnertsga, Barradeel, Friesland at the age of 56.
1850 | Modern historians estimate that in 1850 only 4% of all machinery in the Netherlands was powered by steam. In England, this had long been around 50%. (van der Horst, 45).
1850 | [Found at FamilySearch, Netherlands and Population Registers, 1574-1940, Friesland, Menaldumadeel, Bevolkingsregister 1849-1859. Berlikum starts at Image 738/1937.]
1854 | 20 May. Married, Rintje Pieters VAN DIJK and Antje Sybrands RUIGH. Married in Barradeel.
1854 | 24 May. Married, Kornelis Heerkes HOEKSTRA and Akke Sijes DE JONG. The marriage record is in Menaldumadeel. [They almost certainly married in Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.]
1855-1859 | From the population register for Berlikum, Menaldumadeel. The family of Kornelis Heerkes HOEKSTRA and Akke Sijes DE JONG. Image 769/1937. Images found at FamilySearch.
1857 | Oct. 22. Born, Sye Kornelis HOEKSTRA, my great grandfather. His parents were Kornelis Heerkes HOEKSTRA and Akke Sijes DE JONG. Married Tryntje Rintjes VAN DIJK. Place of birth, Menaldumadeel, Friesland. Sye emigrated to Iowa in 1886.
1859 | 2 Dec. Died, Pieter Jacobs BOSMA, my 3x great grandfather. Age 66. He died in Barradeel.
1859 | 9 Dec. Died, Sijbrand Jans RUYGH, my 3x great grandfather. He died in Barradeel, Friesland. He was 66 years old.
1860 | 28 Apr. Born, Tryntje Rintjes VAN DIJK, my great grandmother. Married to Sye Kornelis HOEKSTRA. Place of birth, Minnertsga, Barradeel, Friesland.
1861 |17 Jul. Born, Anna Jantina VAN VREENINGEN, my great grandmother. Married to Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA. Born Dantumadeel, Friesland.
1861 | 6 Dec. Died, Dorathea Wilhelmina Lantzetzer VAN VREENINGEN. She was 68 years old. She died in Finsterwolde, Reiderland, Groningen.
1863 | 15 Jun. Died, Antje Albertus Wolthek VISSCHER, my 3x great grandmother. She was 72 years old. Died at Finsterwolde, Reiderland, Groningen. She was Anna Jantina van Vreeningen ROORDA’s grandmother.
1863 | 20 Jul. Born, Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA, my great grandfather. Married to Anna Jantina VAN VREENINGEN. Place of birth, Pietersbierum, Barradeel, Friesland. This was Uncle Jan’s father: “He was a teacher at Tijnje from 1885-1922.” Hessel Roorda’s genealogy promotes him to “head of a school.” He was probably both. A street was named after him in Tijnje.
1865 | 31 Jan. Died, Heerke Jans HOEKSTRA, my 3x great grandfather. He died in Menaldumadeel, probably in the town of Berlikum.
1868 | 25 Mar. Died, Aaltje Jans Visscher VAN VREENINGEN, my 2x great grandmother. She died in Dantumadeel, Friesland. She was 48 years old. I don’t know what town or village she was living in. She may have been living in the village of Rinsumageest. I won’t know for sure until I translate her death record.
1869 | 25 Dec. Died, Kornelis Heerkes HOEKSTRA, my 2x great grandfather, married to Akke Sijes de Jong HOEKSTRA. He died in Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland at the age of 42. He is probably buried at the cemetery at Berlikum, but I don’t have anything that confirms his burial place. His death record was obtained at AlleFriezen. This is a copy of the death record:
1869-1890 | Population Register for Menaldumadeel, Friesland. These records are found at FamilySearch: Netherlands, Census and Population Registers, 1874-1940, Friesland, Menaldumadeel, Bevolkingsregister 1869-1890, 3444 images. These records are a mess, at least the few that I’ve seen. Unlike the municipality of Opsterland’s records, which are alphabetized with each town and village, these records have no organization that is obvious to me. They are still posted together by town or village, but like Opsterland, the name of the village appears only at the beginning of the village records. The only way to find anyone seems to be to page through the images one by one. Menaldum is the first village.
1870 | The beginning of a 30-year period of economic growth. (van der Horst, 46)
1870 | “Around 1870 the average age was still about thirty” (van der Horst, 47). [Well, that says something about averages–that in this case they aren’t very useful.] Children had the opportunity to attend primary school, the crippling taxes had been done away with, daily and weekly newspapers were now accessible to the mass of the people. Life was improving.
1872 | 26 Aug. Died, Reintje Pieters Bosma ROORDA, my 2x great grandmother. She died in Pietersbierum, Franekeradeel, Friesland.
1873 | 7 Nov. Died, Geertje Klazes WERKHOVEN DE JONG, my 3x great grandmother. My notes say she died in Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland. She was 73 years old. Her name doesn’t appear in the cemetery at Graftombe.nl. However, if she died in Berlikum, then she was probably buried at the cemetery there.
1879 | Abraham Kuyper founded the first modern Dutch political party. He was a Calvinist who accused the liberal state of “imposing a religious neutrality on the population” (van der Horst, 49).
1880s | A street in Pietersbierum, Barradeel.
1880-1890 | Opsterland, Friesland. The images for the population register for Opsterland, including Luxwoude and Tijnje, are found at FamilySearch. These images aren’t indexed. Additionally, the village or town for each name is not indicated at the top of the pages of the register. There are over 5,000 images for Opsterland, so the task of looking through these images to find families who lived in any of the Opsterland towns or villages is daunting. –Although, the images apparently are alphabetized within each city or town, so that makes it easier. It’s mainly just a matter of finding the right town within the collection of images. It’s disappointing to learn that the census records are alphabetized, since, unlike in the U.S., there’s no way of knowing from the census what families lived together in neighborhoods.
1882 | 8 Mar. Died, Sije Wybes DE JONG, my 3x great grandfather. Age 82. He died in Berlikum, Menaldumadeel, Friesland.
1884 | 5 Sep. Died. Gerrit VAN VREENINGEN, my 2x great grandfather. Age 67. He died at Rinsumageest, Danatumadeel, Friesland, Netherlands. His death record is at AlleFriezen.
1884 | 29 Dec. Married, Anna Jantina VAN VREENINGEN and Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA, Opsterland, Friesland. My great grandparents.
1885 | 11 Sep. Born, oldest child of Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA and Anna Jantina VAN VREENINGEN, Wilhelmina Alida ROORDA. Place of birth, Luxwoude, Opsterland, Friesland.
1885 | 6 Nov. Died. Tjerk Jans ROORDA, my 2x great grandfather. Age 71. He died at Luxwoude, Opsterland, Friesland. His death record is found at AlleFriezen. The death record says that he was a carpenter living in Luxwoude. Luxwoude is a village near Tijnje. I don’t know when the Tijnje cemetery began, but I would imagine that if Luxwoude was too small to have its own cemetery, then Tjerk Jans was probably buried at Tijnje. There is no cemetery at Luxwoude at Graftombe.
1887 | 6 Dec. Born, Tjerk Jacobus ROORDA to Jacobus Tjerks and Anna Jantina. Place of birth, Luxwoude. My grandfather.
1889 | 7 Apr. Died, Rintje Pieters VAN DIJK, my 2x great grandfather. He died in Barradeel, Friesland.
1890 | Jan-May. Residence. the Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA family was residing in Luxwolde/Luxwoude, according to the population register. Jocobus’s church affiliation is “none.” Anna’s is “NH”. ROORDA, Jacobus Tjerks, 20 Juli 1863, Berlikum, [I can’t read his occupation–“Onder-something”]; VAN VREENINGEN, Anna Jantina, 17 Juli 1861, Rinsumageest; ROORDA, Wilhelmina Alida, 11 Sept 1885, Luxwoude; ROORDA, Tjerk Jacobus, 6 Dec 1887, Luxwoude. FamilySearch, Netherlands, Census and Population Registers, 1574-1940, Friesland, Opsterland, Bevolkingsregister 1890-1900, Image 3056/5616.
1890 | May. Residing. The family of Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA had moved to Terwispel. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century, when the first freeways appeared, that Terwispel was split up into Tijnje and Terwispel. The family consisted of the two parents and two children, noted above in the 1890 census for Luxwoude. Notably, Anna Jantina’s previous church designation of NH has been crossed out [
NH] and “Geen” is written in, meaning “None.” This is why sometimes the children born after this move are shown to be born in Terwispel and sometimes in Tijnje.
1890 | Sep 4. Born, Gerrit Jacobus ROORDA, son of Jacobus Tjerks and Anna Jantina. Place of birth, Terwispel.
1892 | 25 Oct. Born, Reintje Jacobus ROORDA, daughter of Jacobus Tjerks and Anna Jantina. Place of birth, Terwispel.
1893 | 27 Oct. Born, Hendrik Jan ROORDA, son of Jacobus Tjerks and Anna Jantina. Place of birth, Terwispel.
1896 | January. Born to Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA and Anna VAN VREENINGEN ROORDA, Jan Jacobus ROORDA. Place of birth, Terwispel.
1900 | Jan. Adopted, a niece, [Mja Alberta SYTEMA], born 30 Aug 1883. The family adopted the daughter of Anna Jantina’s sister, Dorathea Maasina VAN VREENINGEN SYTEMA. The child’s parents had died of typhoid fever within days of each other.
1900s | Tijnje, Opsterland. The Dutch Reformed Church.
1913 | Tijnje, Opsterland. This is Breewei, a street in Tijnje in 1913.
See the WhatWasThere fade here. If you’re not familiar with the website WhatWasThere, click on the this link and then click on “Street View” in the upper right corner of the WhatWasThere website. Then use the slider control to see the “fade”–the photo fades away and you see the street as it exists at GoogleMaps today. It’s one of my favorite websites.
1914 | 24 Dec. Anniversary, Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA and Anna Jantina VAN VREENINGEN. This announcement was found in the Leeuwarder Courant. It is written in Fries, not Dutch. It’s a snapshot of where the extended family was living in 1914 and who they were married to. Jacobus and Anna were in Tynje, Opsterland, Friesland.
1923 | The eastern end of Berlikum.
1927 | Pietersbierum, Barradeel, Friesland. This is a photo of a group described as a “book club.” What’s interesting to me is that the women of a certain age (at least three of them) are wearing the traditional Frisian headdress. In many articles I’ve read about traditional Frisian dress, the point is made that it was worn for special occasions only–weddings, etc. Obviously, at least as late as 1927, that statement is incorrect.
1930 | Village street [Dorpstraat] in Berlikum. The domed church is in the background.
1939 | Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA and his wife Anna VAN VREENINGEN ROORDA had a photograph published in the newspaper, announcing their 55th wedding anniversary.1940 | May. Germany invades and occupies the Netherlands four days after the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam. Queen Wilhelmina established a Dutch government in exile in England. For many Dutch, the German invasion of 10 May came as a shock, since Hitler had promised to spare Holland so long as it remained neutral.
. . . five days of combat. By the time we got used to fighting, the war was over. We were not prepared for all the bombing. By 11:00 a.m. on the first day of combat we had already been bombed five times, and twenty-one of our airplanes were grounded from damage. We tried our best, but it was futile. When the war was over, or rather, when we were occupied, then the fat was in the fire (“Eyewitness Reports,” p. 8).
The ‘moffen’ [Nazis] were going to improve us and make us into good Nazis, but they had little success with their propaganda. We had to give them our valuables: brass, radios, bikes, and one thing after another. Finally, they wanted me too. I did not take that risk, but went underground, as many did (8, 9).
Of the 140,000 Jews who resided in the Netherlands at the time the roundups began, only 25,000 managed to find a place to hide. Of those, one-third were either betrayed or arrested, oftentimes by their own countrymen.
1944 | 18 Mar. Died. Anna Jantina van Vreeningen ROORDA, my great grandmother. Age 82. Anna was living in the town of Zeist, Utrecht, Netherlands when she died. She is buried at Tijnje Cemetery, Tijnje, Opsterland, Friesland. I haven’t found a death record for her in Utrecht.
1944-1945 | Thousands died during the Hunger Winter. This quotation comes from “The Invasion and Liberation of the Netherlands: Eyewitness Reports” Origins, Vol. III, No. 1, 1895, 2-13.
Toward the end of the war, when starvation stalked the urban centers of Holland, rural folk managed to survive on rough but adequate diets [I heard that it got so bad, some people ate the tulip bulbs–is that what they mean by “rough but adequate”?] while literally thousands of urban refugees combed the countryside for a few potatoes and turnips. When possible, some city people boarded with farm families. (p. 5)
You can never really understand, nephew, the terrible hunger that people have experienced here. . . . It was a busy, nerve-racking life, but that is all past. What is now left, though, is a disrupted nation. . . . When you look around, you are inclined to say, ‘It can never be restored. But that too is in God’s hands, and what we are not able to do is possible with Him (10).
We will never forget the last winter of the war–without natural gas, power, coal, and nearly no food. We survived on sugar beets. Trijntje and I took turns dragging ourselves to the Haarlemmer polder or to Aalsmeer to find something to eat. We brought back sugar beet pulp (p. 9).
When going down city streets it was common to see people collapse. Sometimes they were buried in gardens or in city parks. There was not enough wood to build coffins. The city of Amsterdam suffered little from bombing and shell fire, but thousands of homes were demolished for firewood (9).
Almost no lights were permitted and we burned small oil lamps (a saucer with a small wick burning on the table). You can easily imagine how dismal that was (11).
In that case, why in the world were Jacobus and Anna living in Zeist (or, Siest, in Frisian), a large-ish town outside of Utrecht. Who were they living with? The story I’ve heard is that they gave the food to the children and literally starved themselves to death. My guess is they were living with their oldest daughter, Wilhelmina ROORDA MENSINGA. She was a widow without children, and it makes sense that she would have been taking care of her elderly parents during the war.
1945 | 17 Mar. Jan Roorda, Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA’s son, was arrested for treason on the night of March 17 and was in jail in Groningen until April 12. He had been hiding some American pilots in his home in Ter Apel. Gerrit and Jan were both in Ter Apel with their families from 1940-1945.
1946 | Uncensored mail was allowed to be sent to the United States from the Netherlands. The Dutch people needed everything: soap, coffee, tea, rice, cheese, jam, cereal, clothing, shoes. They needed coal to heat their homes and wood to repair their buildings. Care packages were sent by family in the U.S.
1946 | 18 Jul. Died, Jacobus Tjerks ROORDA, my great grandfather. Age 82. Jacobus was living in Zeist, Utrecht, Netherlands when he died. He was buried at Tijnje Cemetery, Tijnje, Opsterland, Friesland. I haven’t found a death record for him in Utrecht.
Genealogical Yearbook, 1981, of the Frisian University, Leeuwarden. My great uncle, Jan Roorda, copied a Roorda genealogy from this book. These are the only details he gave about the reference. He sent the handwritten genealogy to members of the family in the U.S., sometime in the 1960s. Jan wrote the genealogy in English; he was a teacher and knew the language well.
Roorda Family Genealogy, compiled by Hessel R. Roorda of Iowa. This is a typewritten genealogy that was probably compiled sometime in the 1990s.
The main source for birth, marriage, and death records online for this group is found at AlleFriezen.com. Using this resource can be a little tricky. Reading the hand-written records (Dutch) takes patience. Dutch death records don’t include cause of death. These records include the names, names of parents, and dates, so they’re an excellent place to go to build a database. I mainly use Google Translate for these records. I type the information into Google Translate, and what I end up with is usable. If I have a question about something that’s important, I go to my facebook group, Friesland Groningen & Drenthe Genealogy. The people who created that FB page speak Dutch and Fries (a separate language, somewhere between Dutch and English), and they’re incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.
Census or Population Registers can be found at FamilySearch: “Netherlands, Census and Population Registers, 1574-1940.” These are not indexed.
Cemeteries. The main source for cemetery information for these people is a Dutch website called Graftombe. The site is hugely useful for finding the villages and the cemeteries that would have been associated with the villages. They have photos for most if not all of the grave images, and they will respond to one photo request per day per subscriber. The service is free. They gave me permission to use gravestone photos at find-a-grave or Ancestry or anyway that’s useful to me. They usually respond to my emails within hours. The site and their emails are in Dutch, but I send them my emails in English. Most people in the Netherlands speak English to some degree.
Newspapers. The main source for newspapers from the area is Delpher, a Dutch website. I’ve found numerous newspaper articles about my Dutch family by searching this site, going back to the early 1800s. One of the disappointing aspects of the Dutch is that they don’t really write obituaries as we know them in the U.S. Anything found in the newspaper about someone who has died is normally just a “death announcement” that at best includes the name of the widow and the children, plus the place where the person died. These articles are, of course, written in Dutch, although sometimes they are written in Fries. I can usually get the sense of the article from Google Translate, but Google doesn’t translate Fries.
Photos. Some photos are from my personal collection. Others are from a site called Tresoar.
van der Horst, Han. The Low Sky: Understanding the Dutch. 7th revised ed., 2012. Translation: Andy Brown.