Friday, December 30, 2011

Four Generation Friday - Raymond C Wisner

4 Gen Wisner Raymond 12 Jun 1975
Raymond Clifford Wisner (1900-1977)
Lawrence Benjamin Wisner (b. 1924)
Raymond Lawrence Wisner (b. 1948)
Sheree Dawn Wisner (b. 1972)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Greene's 181st Anniversary

One of the great connections that I've made in my family research was that Susan Amanda Greene was the daughter of Henry Collomer Greene. It was great because it opened up the door for some family lines that went pretty far back. So 181 years ago today Henry Collamer Greene married Hannah Larrabee on 14 December 1830 in Vermont, probably in St. Albans which is in Franklin County. It was his first wife of 3, and here is the source I found on their marriage and children:

New England Families, genealogical and memorial Vol 4 
William Richard Cutter
pg 2192

(VI) Henry Collamer Greene, son of Nathan Greene, was born at St. Albans, December 6, 1810, died February 21, 1896. He was a farmer in St. Albans, and made a specialty of market gardening. For fifty years he was justice of the peace, and he was also trial justice. He married (first) Hannah Larabee, born January 10, 1812, died July 13, 1855. He married (second) Roby Sisco, (third) Clarissa Drew, a widow.

Children, by first wife:
-Orlando R., born September 15, 1831, died March 9, 1909;
-William H., January 31, 1833, died March 15, 1907;
-Luther O., January 16, 1835, died September 18, 1891;
-Almira L., August 3, 1836, died September 27, 1908, married W. J. Watson;
-Lester B., mentioned below;
-George H., January 24, 1840, died February 20, 1841;
-Sidney T., December 26, 1841;
-Olive A., September 7, 1843, married (first) H. S. Anderson, (second) A. L. Laraway;
-Amanda S., born April 28, 1845. married (first) Nelson Morey, (second) William Anners;
-Maria A., October 20, 1846, married Sexton;
-George H., May 8, 1848;
-Marcus D., June 18, 1850, died June 7, 1910;
-Loren T., March 8, 1851, died January 18, 1913.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Simon and Grace Adema's 88th Anniversary

Today would be my Great Grandparent's 88th wedding anniversary, if they were still alive. Sietze "Simon" Adema and Grace van Hofwegen were married 12 Dec 1923. I don't remember it, but apparently I was at their 60th anniversary, as you can see in the picture. However I do remember getting the Donald Duck and Chip which are in my hands. I think Donald belonged to my sister and Chip was mine. We got them at Disneyland when we visited with my grandma (Jean Adema), their daughter.
Adema 60th

Friday, December 2, 2011

Four Generation Friday - The Broersmas

I have a small collection of pictures with four generations in them, and I was thinking that It would be cool to feature those in a daily blogging prompt and maybe call it "Four Generation Friday." But I know I have at least 1 picture with 5 generations in it, so I thought maybe it could include pictures with 4 or more generations in them.

Broersma Laas 4 Gen 1979
Lawrence Broersma (1901-1984)
Lloyd Broersma (b. 1927)
Ron Broersma (b. 1954)
Luke Broersma (b. 1979)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The letter that started it all

89 years ago today, my Great Grandfather, Laas "Lawrence" Broersma, wrote a letter to a girl that he had never met. Her name was Grace Gertrude Wichers. The only connection he had with her was that his brother Thys was courting her sister Gertrude.

Laas Broersma Letter pg1

In the letter Lawrence introduces himself and hopes that Grace will write back. She does and they eventually get married. From that marriage they have 12 children. And in case you were wondering, Thys and Gertrude also were married.

Here is the full transcription of the letter, as best as I can make out the handwriting:

Ireton 26th Nov. 1922
Miss Grace Wichers = Downs, Kansas

Well I suppose you will be very much surprised to get a letter from somebody you've never heard of before, and I am sure you've never seen me either. But then that would not make any difference. I guess you like to know how I happen to know you. Well I'll tell you. It was a dark night once in the early spring this year, that my brother was cranking his Ford. I of course was wondering what was going on, but I found out that he went to Maurice to get somebody from the train. He came home late that night. The next Sunday he introduced me to miss Gertrude Wichers the one he got from the train as I said before. We are still very good friends. Of course my brother is a little better friend to her as you can imagine.

So you see that is the way that I happen to know you for she told me a lot about you. And while I know you I think you have the same right to know me also. Well I guess you almost know who I am now. My first name is Lawrence and my last is Broersma. I do not know if you ever will answer this letter, yet I'll be very much pleased if you would for the more friends a person has the less enemies he'll get. Garrett and Gertrude are making it fine. Gertrude is a true lady as you will know by this time. Now I will close this letter and see if I get the answer someday.

In doing so I call myself with greetings,
Lawrence Broersma
c/o R de Boer
Ireton (IA)

Laas Broersma Letter pg2
Laas Broersma Letter pg3

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mayflower Descendant

Just a couple weeks ago I made the discovery that my family descends from William Brewster (1566-1643), who immigrated to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Technically it's my wife's side that descends from him, so I guess I'm a Mayflower descendant-in-law. My kids would still count though. And for my kids, William Brewster would be their 12th Great Grandfather.

According to a grave marker put up by the William Brewster Society, he was patriarch of the Pilgrims, and their ruling elder from 1609-1644. He was the founder of the Plymouth Plantation and helped establish civil and religious freedom in the new world.

On a side note, another branch of my wife's family (the Coggeshalls) came to the new world and ended up in Boston the 1630's. The Coggeshalls were later exiled, and they ended up going to Rhode Island where there was true religious freedom for everyone. John Coggeshall became one of the eighteen original proprietors of Aquidneck, who settled Pocasset (later Portsmouth), 1638. One of the nine who settled Newport, 1639 and President of the Colony, May 1647 to May 1648. So even though the Massachusetts Colony had religious freedom, it still wasn't totally free which helped spawn the Providence Plantation and Rhode Island. So members of my family were involved in the founding of both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I think it's pretty interesting history, and have learned a lot researching these families.

I think it's pretty cool that a relative of mine was at that Thanksgiving in 1621, and today in 2011 - 390 years later - we are celebrating Thanksgiving day today with other Mayflower descendants.

Happy 140th Birthday Marinus Wichers (1871-1962)

My Great Great Grandpa, Marinus Wichers, would be 140 years old if he was still alive today. In this picture, with his parents and siblings, he is in the back row on the left. On a side note, man can he grow a thick mustache. And the dude in the back row center (oldest brother Henry) kinda looks like Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters. Again, probably because of the mustache.

Hendrik Jan Wichers and Geertruida Dengerink Family

My Great Grandma, Grace (Wichers) Broersma, wrote down all the birthdays of her relatives and grandchildren in a small notebook. There are also a few short family histories written down, and here is what she has to say about her dad, Marinus.

GraceWichersBook 1Marinus "Rene" Wichers was born Nov. 24, 1871. Died March 20, 1962. Annie (Rosendale) Wichers was born Feb. 13, 1876. Died Jan. 1, 1953. These were my parents. Grace G. Wichers-Broersma is writing this. Grandpa & Grandma Wichers (Henry & Gertrude) came to America in 1871 to Patterson, New Jersey. Grandpa & Grandma Wichers moved to Kansas when my father was 7 years old. They first lived in a dugout, then homesteaded a farm, and built a home. They had 2 sons when they left Holland. My father was born 2 months after they arrived in Patterson, NJ. He often told us that he was almost a man without a country. Grandpa H.J. Wichers was a baker in Holland, a very good one. When he came to Kansas he farmed near Dispatch Kansas.

For more info on Marinus, check out my info on World Connect on

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oliver Orrell dies of typhoid fever...149 years ago

I think having someone in the family that served in the Civil War is pretty cool, but unfortunately his service was not very long. Not even 3 months after enlisting in the Union Army, Oliver Orrell died of Typhoid Fever. Pretty much the only battle that his regiment was involved in before he died was The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills. I was digging around on and found his record info from the war:

American Civil War Soldiers Record info
Name: Oliver Orill,
Residence: Tripton, Indiana
Enlistment Date: 30 August 1862
Distinguished Service: DISTINGUISHED SERVICE
Side Served: Union
State Served: Indiana
Unit Numbers: 638 638
Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 30 August 1862
Enlisted in Company E, 82nd Infantry Regiment Indiana on 30 August 1862.
Died Company E, 82nd Infantry Regiment Indiana on 19 November 1862 in Bowling Green, KY

Another person doing research on the Orrell family has a transcription of a letter that talks about the death of Oliver, as it relates to his widow who was filling to receive his pension.

I would really like to find his grave. The researcher who has the above transcription has also tried to find his grave. He told me that the National Cemetery Association told him that Oliver was most likely buried in Bowling Green, KY with a wooden cross. The cross probably rotted away and then he may have been moved to a national cemetery and buried as an unknown soldier. That's a lot of probablies and maybes. If I knew where to begin I might be able to follow the trail, but right now I haven't been able to figure out which cemetery he was originally buried in.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grace Gertrude Wichers turns 106...

Today is another birthday. This one is my Great Grandma's: Grace Gertrude (Wichers) Broersma, born 16 Nov 1905. She was born in a very humble home in the side of a hill on a farm, in the area of Downs, Kansas. The type of home was called a dugout, very similar to what they might have had in the "Little House on the Prairie" books.

My family took a summer trip in 1988 and drove through Kansas. We took along a picture of the dugout we had hoping to find it. We stopped in at the Dispatch Christian Reformed Church, as I recall, and asked if anyone had seen this.

Dispatch Christian Reformed Church 1 Dispatch Christian Reformed Church Quilters
In the church there were a group of old ladies working on quilts, and we discovered that they were all related to us in some way. One of the ladies said "that's on my land!" So she took us to go see it.
Dugout Kansas 1988 1 Dugout Kansas 1988 2
As you can see it was pretty run down, but it was still cool to see. I hope to get back there one day and see if it is still there. I'm also going to see if I can find some green striped shorts and a "Shark Attax" shirt with holes and fake blood to try and recreate the moment.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jeremiah Jack and a Canoe

Jeremiah Jack Sr., born 261 years ago on 13 November 1750, seems to be a semi-famous person in American history, or at least he was around other people who were famous. I need to do some more digging, but based on what others have written Jeremiah Jack was under Gov. Sevier at the Revolutionary War Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina. His 1st cousin once removed was Captain James Jack of Charlotte, NC who carried the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to Philadelphia in 1775. On July 16, 1792 Jeremiah was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Knox County. Jeremiah Jack's wife was Martha Gillespie. Martha was the daughter of Col. George Gillespie who had one of the 1st stone houses built in TN, located in Limestone, TN near the log cabin birthplace of Davy Crockett. Davy Crockett's father helped Col. Gillespie clear his land when he settled in Limestone, TN.

As I was researching Jeremiah Jack and looking up some of those facts, I came across this account is from the year 1782 or 3.

The Annals of Tennessee to the end of the eighteenth century
by James Gettys McGready Ramsey

During the infancy of the settlements on Nollichucky, corn had become scarce, and availing themselves of a short suspension of hostilities, Jeremiah Jack and William Rankin, of Greene county, descended the river in a canoe, for the purpose of bartering with the Indians for corn. They reached Coiatee without interruption. The warriors of that place refused to exchange or sell the corn, and manifested other signs of suspicion, if not of open enmity. They entered the canoe and lifted up some wearing apparel lying in it, and which covered their rifles. This discovery increased the unwillingness of the Indians to trade, and they began to show a disposition to offer violence to their white visitants. The beloved woman, Nancy Ward, was happily present, and was able by her commanding influence to appease their wrath, and to bring about friendly feelings between the parties. The little Indians were soon clad in the home made vestments brought by the traders--the canoe was filled with corn, and the white men started on their return voyage well pleased with the exchange they had made, and especially with the kind offices of the beloved woman.

On their return, the white men landed and camped one night, a mile above the mouth of French Broad, on the north bank of the little sluice of that river. Mr. Jack was so well pleased with the place, that he afterwards selected it as his future residence, and actually settled and improved it on his emigration to the present Knox county, in 1787.

Nancy Ward (Nanyehi) was a Cherokee. She was the daughter of Francis Ward, a white man living in the Cherokee nation, and a Cherokee woman called Tame Doe. She later became Ghigau, a title which means Beloved Woman. She was given final say on any prisoners taken by the Cherokee, and she was known for believing in peace between whites and the Cherokee. There are a number of books and other sources that talk about her. I guess she was pretty famous. I think it's pretty cool that my 6 Great Grandfather is mentioned in history with her. If you want to read more on her, check out her page on Wikipedia. This drawing of her I got off of Wikipedia, and was done by George Catlin, an American painter who lived from 1796-1872.

There is also a short bio of Jeremiah Jack in the book History Of Lebanon Presbyterian Church 1791 "In The Fork". He was a member of that church and you can find his grave, now with a new marker it looks like, in Lebanon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cornelis Wops & Maartje Hendriks 318th Anniversary

My 8 Great Grandparents were married 318 years ago today, on 12 November 1693 in St. Jacobiparochie in the Netherlands. A couple generations later their family name would eventually be de Groot. I have only been able to attribute 1 child to their marriage, and his name was Wop, born around 1704. Here is the record of their marriage, and pretty much the only record I have found on them:

Trouwregister Hervormde gemeente St. Jacobiparochie, 1693
DTB nr: 123, 1650 - 1772
Vermelding: Bevestiging huwelijk van 12 november 1693, St. Jacobiparochie
Man: Cornelis Wops, St. Jacobiparochie
Vrouw: Maertje Hendricks, St. Jacobiparochie

Gestandaardiseerde namen: KORNELIS WOPKES en MARTJEN HENDRIKS

So that's about all the info I have on them. Not very much. Maybe in the future more sources will be available online. I guess that gives me an excuse to post this picture of the town of St. Jacobiparochie from around 1790. I think this series is pretty cool and I'm sure I'll find excuses to post more of them when I don't have much else to say.

`t Dorp St. Jacobiparochie.jpg

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

80 years ago, Gertrude Dengerink Wichers died at 80

Geertruida "Gertrude" (Dengerink) Wichers died 80 years ago today, on 9 November 1931 in Dispatch, Smith County, Kansas. She was born in Zutphen, Gelderland, in The Netherlands on 14 June 1842. She was 80 years old when she died.


Here is a link to her memorial on

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Allert Broers Broersma baptized 307 years ago

My 7 Great Grandfather was baptized 307 years ago today, on 2 November 1704 in the town of Wons, Wonseradeel, Friesland, The Netherlands, as Allert, the son of Broer Pijtters. Here is a index record of his baptism from

Wonseradeel, dopen, doopjaar 1704
Dopeling: Albert
Gedoopt op 2 november 1704 in Wons/Engwier
Kind van B(roer) Pyters, mr. en Orseltje

Gestandaardiseerde namen (voornaam en patroniem):
Vader : ..... PIETERS
..... = naam of patroniem komt niet voor in de Thesaurus

Collectie Doop-, Trouw-, Begraaf- en Lidmaatboeken (DTBL)
Herv. gem. Wons en Engwier, doop 1683-1811
Inventarisnr. : DTB 830
Op microfiche beschikbaar op studiezaal Tresoar

Unfortunately, the original text is not available to look at online yet, but I think most of the info is probably included in that index. Since they didn't keep birth records back then, the baptism record is the closest that can usually be found. Infants were typically baptized from a few days after birth to maybe a few months. So Allert may have been born in October.

Allert Broers is significant because he is the first member of the family, in my direct line, with the family name of Broersma. However, his older brother Pieter is the first documented with the name Broersma that I have found.

The tradition of names in the Netherlands was to name your children after your parents. So the firstborn son would be named after the father's father, and the firstborn daughter would be named after the mother's mother. Then the second son would be after the mothers father and the second daughter would be after the father's mother. The children that followed would be named after aunts and uncles and others in the family. Then the child's second name would be the father's name with either a zn, z or more commonly an s added to the end of the name. Zoon means son in dutch, so basically the second name would be "son of " so and so. In the case of Allert, his father was Broer, so his name was Allert Broers.

As I mentioned earlier, Allert's brother Pieter is the first documented with the name Broersma that I have found. Pieter is the first son, so he is named after his father's father. The first mention of the family name Broersma is in the baptism of Pieter's son Broer in 1732.

Wonseradeel, dopen, doopjaar 1732
Dopeling: Broer
Gedoopt op 13 januari 1732 in Wons/Engwier
Kind van Pieter Broers(ma), mr. en Dieuke Ruurds

Gestandaardiseerde namen (voornaam en patroniem):
Dopeling : BROER of BROERKE
Vader : PIETER .....
..... = naam of patroniem komt niet voor in de Thesaurus

Collectie Doop-, Trouw-, Begraaf- en Lidmaatboeken (DTBL)
Herv. gem. Wons en Engwier, doop 1683-1811
Inventarisnr. : DTB 830
Op microfiche beschikbaar op studiezaal Tresoar

People in general didn't have a family name at this time. It wasn't until 1811 that all people in the Netherlands had to register a family name. Allert and Pieter were both school masters, as was their father. So they were probably well educated and respected in their communities. Many Frisian names (Friesland is the province in the Netherlands where my family is from) end in either inga, ma, stra or sma. (Find out more on Frisian last names here.) So Broersma became the family name, after Allert and Pieter's father: Broer Pijtters.

After an upsurge of riots in the Republic of the Seven United Provinces aimed against letting out tax collections, tax assessments were also adjusted in the province of Friesland. This led to the introduction of, among other things, quotisatie, a taxation system according to people's ability to pay. An overview of families in every city and region was made in 1749. It is in the quotisatie that I found the first reference to Allert having the family name of Broersma:

Quotisatiekohieren 1749
mr. A. Broersma, Wonseradeel
          Plaats:   Dedgum
Omschrijving:   tamelijk welgesteld
   Gezin volw:   3 en kind: 1
       Aanslag:   41-17-0
    Vermogen:   2000
            Bron:   Wonseradeel, fol. 93

Gestandaardiseerde naam: A. (m) / A. (v) BROERSMA

Right now, Allert's father Broer Pijtters is the furthest back I have been able to trace in my paternal line of Broersma. There are records that go back further in the towns where he lived, so I still hope to trace the family line back further. I guess that's one of the limitations of doing most of my research online, is that I don't have access to all the sources that are out there in the archives of the Netherlands.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Elva Charlotte Swanson turns 95!

Most of the birthdays and anniversaries that I post about are of dead people, but this one is still living. Elva (Swanson) Earls was born 31 Oct 1916, and lives a few blocks from me.

Elva was born in San Francisco, and was the 11th child of 12. In Swedish Elva means eleven, as I'm frequently told by her. The first six children died in Finland before 1909. I think it sounds pretty weird that her older brothers and sisters died over 100 years ago.

Here is a picture with her 5 other brothers and sisters (out of the 12) that continued to live on. Elva is 3rd from the left in the front row. This picture was taken around 1920 or so and also includes a couple of her cousins, I believe.

1921? Swanson Kids

Amazingly, Elva still drives herself to the store and other places in her weekly routine. Her husband Ernest passed away around 35 years ago, but she still has 3 living children, 7 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren to keep her company.

Here she is with her husband and 4 children: Robert, Eugene, Elaine, and Lillian.

Earls 1956

Elva's side of the family seems to be blessed with good genetics or something that allows them to live long. Her brother Viking lived to be 98, and her other brother and sisters have lived past 92. Her only living sibling is her sister Elna Viola, who is 92.

If she lives 5 years or so more, she might even have a great great grandchild, since her oldest great grandchild is 17. She won't be able to get a 5 generation picture through my side though, so I'll have to be satisfied with this 4 generation picture of Elva, Lil, Sandee and Natalie.


Lewis & Elsie Orrell's 102nd Wedding Anniversary

102 years ago today, on 31 October 1909, Lewis Albert Orrell and Elsie Lee Eddlemon we married in Garland County, Arkansas.

Orrell - Lewis & Elsie 25 Dec 1908

On the back of this photo it says December 25 1908. I would assume that would then make this an engagement photo. I do have a photocopy of their marriage license, but I would like to get my hands on the original and make a scan of it.

I don't have a lot of history on their family. Just that they lived in Arkansas, mostly in Hot Springs, and had 4 children:
1. Elvie Marie b: 18 Jul 1912
2. John Albert b: 4 Jul 1915
3. Edgar Reed b: 8 Nov 1918
4. Jennie Allene b: 18 Nov 1923

Of their children, my Grandmother Jennie Allene is the only one that is still living. I've only seen a few pictures of their family and here is one of them taken in 1950. Front row: Elsie, Jennie, Elvie. Back row: Lewis, John, Edgar. John and Edgar might be swapped. I'm not sure which is which.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jacob Hendriks Stap Memorial

66 years ago, on 30 October 1945, my GG Grandpa Jacob Hendriks Stap died in Lynden, WA. On a recent trip up there I was able to find the program from his memorial service and I scanned it.


The next time that I'm up in Lynden, I think I'll take a small broom with me to the cemetery and get a better picture of his grave. The grass stuck in the letters makes it more difficult to read. I wasn't an expert grave-picture-taker back then.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gerben Jans and Dieuwke Douwes 290th Anniversary

On the Stap side of my family, the furthest person I have found in my research is Gerben Jans. He was born around 1700, possibly as early as 1690, in the Ferwerderadeel municipality of Friesland in the Netherlands. 290 years ago, on 26 October 1721, Gerben Jans married Dieuwke Douwes in the village of Hallum. They are my 8 Great Grandparents.

Here is a picture from Tresoar's Flickr page of the village of Hallum. This is from a collection of engravings called "Vaderlandsche Gezigten" published by K.F. Bendorp and J. Bulthuis around 1790. And is that guy doing what I think he's doing next to that building?

`t Dorp Hollum

I haven't had the chance to visit the Netherlands yet, but I did do a quick search for pics of Hallum and found this one that is of a similar view of a street looking toward the church.

`t Dorp Hollum

From their marriage they had at least 8 children, all baptized in Hallum:
1. Jan b: bef 1 Nov 1722
2. Grietje b: bef 9 Apr 1724
3. Douwe b: bef 11 Nov 1725
4. Froukje b: bef 25 May 1727
5. Trijntje b: bef 13 Mar 1729
6. Barteld b: bef 16 Apr 1730
7. Jacob b: bef 1 Feb 1733
8. Jetske b: bef 11 Jul 1734

For more info on their descendants, check out my stuff on World Connect on

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Looking for Louisa M Millmeister from Germany

Earlier this year we took a short family vacation, and as we were passing through a couple of towns I was able to stop in some county recorder offices and pick up some death certificates (It was less fun for my wife during those parts). One of the certificates I picked up was for my 3 Great Grandmother, Louisa M Millmeister. She died on 5 August 1927 in Stockton, California, as the wife of Gottlieb Gall.

1927 - Louise (Millmeister) Gall Death Certificate

One of the new pieces of information that I got off of this record was her birth date, 158 years ago today, on 25 October 1853. Other new info was that she was born in Germany to Carl and Wilhelmina Millmeister. Sweet! a birthday, place, and maiden name from her parents! Unfortunately, I haven't found much other info on her. I found that she was married in San Jose, and in the 1880 census it says that she is from Schaumburg.

So now I am stuck again. I haven't done research on German lines before, and am having trouble finding some good online resources. It doesn't help that I can't read German.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Birthday Bio - Wytse Jacobs (1712 - ca1770)

Well, not exactly a birthday bio, more like a baptism day bio. But when you get this far back there is usually no record of birth, only a baptism. It's pretty much the closest thing you can get to a birthday. So 299 years ago, on 23 October 1712, my 7 Great Grandpa Wytse Jacobs was baptized in Paesens, Oostdongeradeel, Friesland, the Netherlands. Here is the index record for his baptism off of

Paessens_ModdergatOostdongeradeel, doopjaar 1712
Paesens, Doop Herv. gem. 1712-1811
DTB: 543
Dopeling: Wijtse
Gedoopt op 23 oktober 1712 in Paesens
Zoon van Jacob Jans en niet genoemde moeder

Opm.: Jacob," ontvanger" van Paesens.

Gestandaardiseerde namen (voornaam en patroniem):
Dopeling: WIETSE

He was married to Sieuke Mintjes on 26 April 1734 in the same town he was born in of Paesens. Still a small town today, it was sure to be a pretty small town 300 years ago. The picture above was taken in 2000, and is off of Tresoar's Flickr page.

As I was reviewing Wyste and Sieuke's children, I discovered another one that was baptized that I hadn't seen before. So that brings their total children to at least 8.
1. Jacob Wytses b: bef 23 Jan 1735 in Paesens
2. Jacob Wytses b: bef 13 Jul 1738 in Engwierum
3. Mintje Wytses b: bef 2 Feb 1742 in Engwierum
4. Baukjen Wytses b: bef 20 Sep 1744 in Engwierum
5. Jelle Wytses b: bef 15 Dec 1748 in Engwierum
6. Geertje Wytses b: bef 25 Apr 1751 in Engwierum
7. Trijntje Wytses b: bef 1 Sep 1754 in Engwierum
8. Hans Wytses b: bef 1 Sep 1754 in Engwierum

It appears that Wytse spent the rest of his life farming in Engwierum, which is in the south side of the same municipality of Oostdongeradeel.


There is not much other information on Wytse that I have been able to find online. There may be a few other mentions of him in documents that are in the archives there in the Netherlands. But there is a mention of him in the quotisatie of 1749, which gave an assessment of the wealth of people for tax purposes. Basically this says that in 1749 Wytse lived in Enwierum, was a farmer (boer), had 4 adults and 4 kids living at his house. I'm not quite sure what the other categories with the numbers mean.

Quotisatiekohieren 1749
Wytse Jacobs, Oostdongeradeel
           Plaats: Engwierum
  Omschrijving: boer
    Gezin volw: 4 en kind: 4
        Aanslag: 49-12-0
     Verhoging: 8
             Bron: Oostdongeradeel, fol. 24

Gestandaardiseerde naam: WIETSE JAKOBS

Some of his children later used the family name of Holwerda. I don't know when they started to use that name, but it would have been at least by 1811 when the Netherlands required everyone to register a family name. I had thought that Wytse's parents were Jacob Jans and Grietje Jacobs Bontekoe, however according to this website: Stamboom van de familie Jacob HOLWERDA, he descends from Jacob Jans and Geertje Hanses. That website says that Jacob was born in Holwerd, which would totally fit with the last name Holwerda. But as I was verifying his info and mine, there seem to be some holes. I'll have to do some more research.

I haven't found a record of Wytse's death or burial, but according to Albert van het Hof, Wyste died in Engwierum in 1770, at the age of 57 or 58. On his page he doesn't source where he found Wytse's death.

For more info on Wytse's descendants and ascendants, check out my stuff on World Connect on

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jean Adema's 86th birthday

Today would be my grandma's 86th birthday, but unfortunately she passed away a few years ago. She was born on 22 October 1925 in Edgerton, Pipestone County, Minnesota. Her parents were Simon and Grace (van Hofwegen) Adema. She would later marry Bernard Koops. This picture was taken of her around 1926 I would guess.

Jean Adema ca 1926

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Baptism of Derk Wijchers 361 years ago

The Wichers side in my family goes back pretty far, back into the 1600's in Gelderland, the Netherlands. The further back I go the harder it becomes to research, not only because of the lack of information, but also because of the older language used and more common spelling changes.

Derk Wijchers is the furthest baptism record I've found in my direct Wichers line. I do know the names of his parents from that record, and have also found some of his siblings. Derk is my 7 Great Grandfather, and here is a transcription of his baptism that is from

Nederduits Gereformeerde Gemeente GELSELAAR
Doopboek 1640-1657
20.10.1650 DERRICK, sone van Wijchart Heuckinck ende Fenne Eeluijden. Testes Henric
Wolters, Herman Bennekinck, ende Elske Wolters.

Even harder than reading the transcription is reading the original. Words are faded and hard to read cause of the cursive. This is a photo of a copy of the original, not a scan, so the detail is not quite as sharp either. This photo of the copy is also from

Derk Wijchers 20 Oct 1850 Baptism Gelselaar, Gelderland, Netherlands

Through some of the other records I have found, I have started to piece together his family, but again it's a little difficult because the names are spelled different almost every time, especially for Derk's mother. Here is Derk's marriage record:

Nederduits Gereformeerde Gemeente GELSELAAR
Trouwboek 1676-1695
07.05.1682 Derck Wijchers S. van Wijchert Hoijckinck, ende Enneken Hendricksen d.
van Hendrick Nijen Esch. Cop. den 7 Maij

And here is Derk's parent's marriage:

Nederduits Gereformeerde Gemeente GELSELAAR
Trouwboek 1639-1657
27.04.1641 Wichaert Hoijckinck weduwer van zall. Aerne te Kleinhornte, ende Fenna dochter van Wolter ende Engele toe Nascheler.

Unfortunately images are not available for everything yet. Even if they are, it can become very time consuming to search through them. I'm glad someone took the time to transcribe these. Searching a PDF is much faster.

For more info on Derk Wijchers, check out my stuff on World Connect on

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2 wedding anniversaries in 1 day!

Today is the 60th anniversary of my Grandparents, Lloyd and Kay Broersma (see previous post). But it is also the anniversary of my Great Grandparents, John and Alice Stap.

John Stap and Aaltje "Alice" de Jong were married 87 years ago, on 12 Oct 1924.

Stap-John&Alice 12 Oct 1924

Happy 60th Anniversary Lloyd and Kay Broersma

60 years ago today, my grandparents Lloyd Julian Broersma and Catherine Stap were married at 3rd Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Whatcom Co, Washington. That would be on 12 Oct 1951 if you didn't feel like doing the math.


On a side note, they didn't know this at the time of their marriage, but they are actually related. Lloyd and Kay are 5th cousins. They have the same GGGG Grandparents: Sybe Jans and Dieuwke Dirks. Sybe and Dieuwke were married on 5 Mar 1758 in Paesens, Oosdongeradeel, Friesland, The Netherlands. When we discovered this tidbit of information a few years ago, we showed my grandparents how they were related on a pedigree we printed out. They got a kick out of it and now they are the life of any party they are invited to.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Birthday Bio - Luitske van Gunst (1869-1925)

Today, 142 years ago, Luitske van Gunst was born in Piaam, Wonseradeel, Friesland, The Netherlands. She was my 2 Great Grandmother. I really don't have much biographical info on her other than just dates, so here they are: born 11 October 1869, daughter of Thys Lazes van Gunst and Ynskjen Jelles Attema. Here is the record of her birth off of

11 Oct 1869 Luitske van Gunst in Piaam

She married Jetze Broersma on 10 May 1890 in Makkum, Wonseradeel, Friesland, The Netherlands when she was 20 years old. Together they had 7 children:
Tjerk "Jack" b. 24 Feb 1891
Ynskje b. 12 Apr 1893
Thys b. 17 Sep 1895
Dieuwke b. 6 Apr 1898
Laas "Lawrence" b. 2 Feb 1901
Unnamed b. 25 Mar 1906
Pier "Peter" b. abt 1908

I only have come across 2 pictures so far with her in them and here is my favorite. A family picture from around 1911 or 1912. She is the woman sitting in the chair.

Jetze Broersma Family ca 1911

I descend through her son Laas, who emigrated to the United States in 1920. It's most likely that he never saw her again because she died on 25 August 1925 in Sneek.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Barend C Koops Died 66 years ago

66 years ago today, on 8 October 1945, Barend "Bernard" C Koops died in Sioux Center, Iowa. He was my Great Great Grandfather. I'm pretty sure that his middle initial "C" is for Cornelis, after his father, but I have not seen it documented anywhere that could prove or disprove that.


On the back of his memorial service program it had a copy of his obituary:

Obit - Koops - BarendMr. Barend Koops passed away at the home of his children, Mr. and Mrs. William Koops early Monday morning after a lingering illness due to heart trouble and complications. He had reached the age of 81 years.

Mr. Koops was born in Noord Bramband [Brabant], Netherlands, on Dec. 17, 1864, and the family came to America 25 years ago, coming directly to Sioux Center and have lived here since that time. He worked as sexton for 15 years, but had to retire seven years ago due to failing health. He is survived by his two sons William of Sioux Center and Cornelius of Bellflower, Calif., and 13 grandchildren three of whom Bernard, James and Albert Koops are in the service. He is also survived by two great grandchildren, a brother Arie in Canada and a sister still living in the Netherlands. His wife, a brother and two sisters preceded him in death.

Mr. and Mrs. Koops were united in marriage in the Netherlands in 1893 and enjoyed 44 years of married life together. Since her death he first made his home at the John M Vander Berg residence for several years and after he became seriously ill the early part of the summer he was taken care of at the home of his children.

Koops - Barend & Johanna

For more info on Barend, check out my World Connect page on

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Albert & Nancy Orrell's 130th Anniversary

On 5 October 1881 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Albert B Orrell and Nancy Jane Jack were married. It's taken me a while to piece together their family, but with the help of some other researchers, I at least have the names of their children:
Andrew Oliver b: 30 Sep 1882
Mary “Mamie” Bell b: 1 Dec 1884
Lou Jane b: 29 Sep 1886
Lewis Albert b: 5 Apr 1889
Jesse James b: 25 May 1891
Rena Catherine b: 30 Jun 1893
Martha Ellen b: 27 Oct 1895
Lillie Marie b: 3 Feb 1900
Archie Lee b: 30 Jun 1903

Here is a picture of Albert and Nancy in about 1888 with 3 of their children. The children from left to right are Mary, Andrew and Lou.

Orrell-AlbertB&NancyJ 1888

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who was Benjamin Monroe Hawver?

So who was Benjamin Monroe Hawver? Until relatively recently I didn't know very much about him. If he was alive, today would be his birthday, and he would be 134 years old. He was born on 22 Sep 1977 in Hollister, San Benito Co, California. Thanks to a few sources I have been able to confirm that date, but the oldest of those sources has to be from the San Benito Advance, about a week after he was born. Thanks to the awesome work of someone, a whole bunch of abstracts have been taken from area newspapers which allowed me to find this gem of info:

San Benito Advance
September 29, 1877
Born -- at Hollister, Sept. 22nd, to the wife of M.E. HAWER, a son.

If you are wondering where you can possibly find info like this, go to Not all localities have the same amount of transcriptions, but you might get lucky like I did.

A relative of mine took the time to interview Benjamin's daughter, Julia Louise "Judy" Hawver, before she died and was able to write down some of the family stories. Much of the story revolved around Benjamin and here are some of the highlights:

Benjamin's father was killed in 1879 by a Mexican man in an argument over a horse. I have not been able to prove or disprove this story yet. That year has not been transcribed on yet. But by 1880, according to the 1880 census, Benjamin and his mother Julia were living by themselves in Watsonville, Santa Cruz Co, California.

Benjamin's mother went on to marry 3 other men. One of the men was named Pullen. I believe his first name was Ezra. According to the family story Mr. Pullen was not a kind stepfather and frequently beat young Ben. When Ben was 12 Mr. Pullen kicked him so hard in the groin that he was injured. When Ben had recovered he ran away to San Francisco.

On his way to San Francisco, Ben had to beg for food. One place after breakfast Ben was told by the woman of the house that he could go split wood to pay for his meal. Ben split wood for a couple of hours and then went to check with the lady to see if they were square. The lady indicated that he needed to split some more wood to which he replied "but I didn't eat that much."

Ben continued to support himself by doing odd jobs. Some local taven keepers took a liking to him and would allow him to eat the hard boiled eggs and nuts which they left for their patrons. Ben would frequently write his mother, but Mr. Pullen intercepted and destroyed them before they could reach her. When Ben was 16 or 17 a letter did get through to his mom. Julia left Mr. Pullen and went to live with Ben in San Francisco. After arriving there she divorced Mr. Pullen and stayed with Ben.

When Ben was 20, he met a girl named Magdalena Gall. The story goes that she was washing windows while Ben was working outside the same building. They saw each other and fell in love. Magdalena's father was a strict old German and would not allow his daughter to date young men. So they eloped.

I was able to confirm their marriage in the San Francisco Call, by going to the historic newspaper section of the Library of Congress

16 Apr 1900 San Francisco Call - Hawver Gall Marriage

Benjamin had 5 children with Magdalena:
Beatrice Marie b. 6 Jan 1901
Ruth Frances b. 18 Jul 1904
Gustav B. b. 10 May 1909
Julia Louise b. 2 Jul 1913
Eleanor Edith b. 28 Oct 1914

The only picture that I have of Ben and Magdalena is this one with baby Julia.

Hawver Ben & Lena & Baby Judy 1913

Magdalena died in 1917, and Ben would later get re-married to Edith Florence Beckman. They had a couple more kids together:
Reatha Caroline b. 20 Jun 1926
Monroe Chester b. 20 Jan 1928
Unnamed b. 16 Jun 1931

Benjamin was a rancher and a stock raiser in Calaveras County. Benjamin died on 28 June 1938 in San Andreas, Calaveras Co, California. He is buried next to his mother and 1st wife in the Mokelumne Hill Cemetery, Mokelumne Hill, in Calaveras County. On a recent trip I was able to stop in and see the County Clerk for Calaveras County and got a copy of his death certificate.

Hawver-BenjaminM          1938 - Benjamin Monroe Hawver Death Certificate

For more details on Ben, check out my info on World Connect at
And for the full transcription of Julia Hawver's memories, you can check them out on my Flickr page.

--Update 24 Nov 2011--
I was able to find and scan a picture of Benjamin Monroe Hawver taken around the time of his oldest daughter Beatrice's wedding, which would have been in 1921. He wanted a family picture of himself and his 5 children.
Benjamin Monroe Hawver with 5 Children 1921

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Henry Sylvester Hawver died 108 years ago

Henry Sylvester Hawver (1822-1903) died 108 years ago today in Auburn California. I have been trying to find where he is buried. I thought that even though he died in Auburn, he would have been buried in Nevada County somewhere since that's where he lived.

I found a copy of his obituary in the Placer Herald on Saturday, 5 September 1903. Here is the text:

Death of Henry S. Hawver
Henry Sylvester Hawver, father of Dr. J.C. Hawver, died in this city on Friday of last week at the age of 81 years. The deceased was born in New York, January 4, 1822. His parents located shortly after in Wisconsin, where his childhood and young manhood were passed, and where, in 1842, he married the daughter of Judge Douglas. In 1850 he crossed the plains with the rush of gold seekers to California, where his wife and four children joined him three years later. He mined in El Dorado, farmed in San Benito, teamed to Virginia City in it's boom time, lumbered in the Sierras, and finally settled in Nevada county among the hydraulic mines, where he made his home for thirty years. A short time ago he was brought to Auburn for special care and treatment, owing to his fast failing health.

He leaves a wife and six children, ninteen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren scattered from Cape Nome to the boarders of Mexico. His surviving children are: Mrs. Cypres Johnson, Pacific Grove, Cal., Mrs. S.W. Modie, Los Angeles; Dr. J.C. Hawver, Auburn; Mrs. John C. Modie, Kern City; Mrs. C.W. Godgrey, Nevada City; Dr. H.D. Hawver, Spokane Wash.

Mr. Hawver's life was that of the typical pioneer, pushing his way toward the setting sun, with more hope for tomorrow than confidence in today.

I went to the Old Aurburn Cemetery to see if there were any Hawvers buried there. I found that JC Hawver had purchased a plot, but when I went to the plot there were no markers there. Later I found in the Hooper Weaver Mortuary Records Index 1877-1928 a reference to Henry S Hawver's wife: Anastasia Noailles (Douglass) Hawver. I went to the Doris Foley Library in Nevada City to look at the record. I discovered that even though she died in Nevada City, she was buried in Auburn, presumably next to her husband.

Check out the document:

Anastasia N Hawver Mortuary Record 1906

So my conclusion is that both Henry and his wife Anastasia are buried at the Old Auburn Cemetery.

For more info on Henry S Hawver that I have found check out my Rootsweb page on him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

JC Hawver at In-N-Out

So I found out not too long ago that JC Hawver (1854-1914) used to live on the property that is now the In-N-Out parking lot in Auburn, CA. Here is one of the articles relating to his house being torn down:

So I decided to go up and take a picture of a plaque that was mentioned in the article above. Based on the research of others, I believed JC stood for John Christopher, the names of his 2 grandfathers. But on the plaque it says John Carpenter, so now I'm wondering where they came up with that name.

JC Hawver Plaque close up