My Families

My immigrant ancestor in the ROORDA family is my paternal grandfather, Richard James ROORDA, original Dutch name Tjerk Jacobus ROORDA (1887-1975). He was born in Luxwoude, Friesland, Netherlands, and died in Denver, Colorado. He married Agnes HOEKSTRA (1894-1924), born in Iowa and died in Elphis, Colorado. RJR’s siblings either remained or returned to the Netherlands. One uncle farmed in North Dakota. Many in Agnes’s family farmed in Iowa/Minnesota/South Dakota. Additional family names include VAN DIJK, DE JONG, VAN VREENINGEN, MIEDEMA, MULDER, LOOPSTRA.

My maternal DENTON family has deep roots in the United States. I am lucky to be able to trace this family back thirteen generations to the immigrant ancestor, the Rev. Richard DENTON (d. 1662), my 9th great grandfather. One of the genealogical “issues” of being a part of a such a family is the amount of misinformation that must constantly be fought against cropping up, especially online. However, any negatives are far outweighed by the genealogical benefits. Additional family names include NIHISER, TRAUGHBER, CAMPBELL, CONLEE, MOORE, ODELL, THORNE, SMITH.

My Colorado Pioneer ancestor is my second great grandfather, Alonzo H. H. BAXTER (1845-1930), born in Indiana and died in Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado. He homesteaded at the mouth of Sand Creek in 1869, 12 miles from what would later be Lamar, Colorado. Because of Alonzo, I can say that six generations of my family have lived in Colorado. That may not sound like much to someone from the eastern United States, but for Colorado it’s a big deal. Additional family names include ROBINSON, KERR, BARNUM, THOM, STILLEY, RIDDLE.

I know almost nothing about my maternal great grandfather, George WITZKE (1865-1930), born in Ohra, West Prussia and died in Raton, Colfax County, New Mexico. George immigrated to the U.S. in 1884 at the age of 18; according to the passenger list, he didn’t travel with anyone in his family. If George had siblings who also immigrated, I don’t know about them. I only know that his father’s name was George and mother’s name was Mary (maiden name unknown). George was a stone mason who did a lot of work on the original buildings in Trinidad, Walsenburg, and Pueblo, Colorado. George and his wife Emma BAXTER WITZKE had ten children. Some of the names associated with their children include MESSER, MUTH, BEACHAM, McGHEE, and LATTA.

My maternal great grandmother was Alice NIHISER (1873-1953), married to George Harvey DENTON. Alice was born in Macon County, Illinois and died in La Junta, Otero County, Colorado. Alice and Harvey were early residents of La Junta, settling there in 1907 where they raised 10 children. Alice was widowed at the age of 47 when many of the children were still young. She never remarried. Harvey and many of the children were railroaders. Alice’s family can be traced back several generations in the U.S., mainly in Ohio. Some family names include FRASURE, PHILLIPS, and RUBLE.

One of my favorite family lines to research is the CAMPBELL family of northeastern Tennessee, starting with my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Jane CAMPBELL (1836-1904), born in Flat Branch Township, Shelby County, Illinois and died in Macon County, Illinois. Eliza Jane was the first CAMPBELL in her family to be born outside of Tennessee. Through Eliza’s line, I can trace the family back to my 5th great grandfather, Zachariah CAMPBELL (1740-1821), born probably in Scotland and died in Carter County, Tennessee. This CAMPBELL family lived in the same area of Carter County until Eliza Jane’s father moved to Shelby County, Illinois in 1836, the year Eliza was born. This bunch is a colorful and fun family to research. Some of the family names include MANN, STONE, and just about every family name that occurs in Carter and Johnson County, Tennessee.



One Response to My Families

  1. Darrell Arthur Woolums says:

    Becky – I sent you a message on facebook. My grandmother, Maud Nihiser Woolums was a sister to your Alice Nihiser Denton. You can telephone me at: (217) 792-5683. I respect your desire for privacy and will communicate with you as you please.


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