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