Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - The Broersma Brothers

Recently, I've been trying to find out more about the Broersma brothers that left the Netherlands and ended up in Canada: Jack and Peter. They were brothers of Thys and Lawrence Broersma. Both Jack and Peter ended up in Ontario near Toronto, with their wives. Both couples never had any kids though. After many years of searching we finally know which cemeteries they are buried in, and here are their gravestones, thanks to the community of FindAGrave.com

Peter Broersma Grave

Jack Broersma Grave

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Such A Nerd...

Well, I think I might officially be a genealogy nerd, if I wasn't already.

I was searching some newspapers for anything I could find on the Broersmas. Yeah, that's kinda nerdy, but I wasn't searching newspapers in the US, I was searching Netherlands newspapers on this site: delpher.nl. I don't speak Dutch, or really read it either, so that makes it a little difficult. So that took the nerd factor up a notch.

Then I came across this mention of my great grandparents, Lawrence Broersma and Grace Wichers, and it was their marriage announcement.

This announcement was printed on 8 April 1926. They were married on 4 April, which was Easter Sunday. I was excited because I thought that this was a mention of their marriage in a Dutch newspaper. Turned out that was half right. This is from a newspaper that was printed in Dutch, but is actually published in Iowa. It's called "De Volksvriend". Since parts of Iowa have large Dutch populations, as a result from immigrations during the early 20th century, I guess there was enough people that spoke Dutch and got their news from this source.

So to recap - I was searching newspapers for genealogy info, on a Dutch website in the Netherlands, and looking at newspapers that are actually in the USA that are printed in Dutch. AND I was getting excited about it, cause I was finding some tidbits of info on some other family members from this same newspaper.

I am a nerd.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fire Destroys Carnes Store, Jan 1916

While doing some searching on Newspapers.com I came across a story that I hadn't heard about.

Found on Newspapers.com
This store that was in Carnes, Iowa, was owned by my great great grandpa Jacob S Adema (1875-1945).  I found it interesting because I knew that my great grandpa Simon Adema had run some stores, but then to find that his dad also operated a store meant that he grew up with some experience in that area.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Year's Eve Love

I'm sure this isn't where their story began, but it feels like this is about the time that my wife's great grandparents, Raymond C. Wisner and Beatrice Hawver, started to get serious.

In 1918, Ray was 18 years old and Bea was 17. Ray and his parents moved to California from Illinois around 1910. They started off in the Lodi area and then homesteaded in the foothills near San Andreas. Here is a picture of the Wisner Homestead.

Lawrence Wisner Homstead San Andreas 1919

Another thing that I'm not quite sure on is the timeline of when they moved from Lodi up to San Andreas. I think they might have gone back and forth a couple times? Or maybe they still had a house in Lodi and San Andreas was their ranch?

Hawver Wisner New Years Invite When they moved to the homestead, they must have made some new friends. Maybe with neighbors, or maybe at church? I'm not completely sure that they were going to church at the time. Anyway, some of those friends to the Wisners, were the Hawvers. The Hawvers had lived in the area since around 1904. They sent this nice note to the Wisners, inviting them over for a New Years celebration.

Mr. & Mrs. Wisner,

You are invited to gather at the Canadian Valley farm to participate in a joint celebration, first enjoying yourself and to bid farewell to 1918 and welcome 1919. Second to bid farewell to our beloved neighbors Fishers. Also congratulate Miss Beatrice Hawver on successfully reaching the age of 18. Come early in the afternoon of Tuesday Dec 31.

B.M. Hawver

The picture below is from around 1918, of the Benjamin Hawver family, at their home in Calaveras County. Ben had lost his wife Magdalena in 1917, so it was just him and his 5 kids, Beatrice (17), Ruth (14), Gus (8), Judy (4), and Edith "Bobby" (3).

Ben Hawver Family ca 1918

I came across another picture, that is the Hawvers with their neighbors. I'm wondering if these are the neighbors that they are saying goodbye to on New Years? The Fishers? It looks like everyone is wearing the same clothes as in the picture above.

1918 Ben Hawver Family & Neighbors

So apparently, that get together on New Years was a great time for everyone, both young and old. A few days later, Ray wrote a letter to Bea, telling her lots things, including how his parents had a good time, his career goals, and also how much he likes her. Below is a transcription of that letter.

Ray Wisner Letter to Beatrice Hawver 1919

1919 Ray Wisner Letter 1 Jan 4, 1919

My Dear Friend:
I will write you a few lines to let you know that I arrived safely and to make a good beginning on my promise.

I am awfully lonesome just now. Have been just listening to a Victrola and you know that usually makes me sad and lonely. One of the pieces we played was " I'm sorry I made you cry." I think that's one of the prettiest songs I've heard for a long time. I can see you now, in my mind's eye, that afternoon after your father came home. I know how your heart must have ached, but you stood it all so bravely. The sight of those tears made me feel like crying myself.

I wouldn't make you mad for anything so I'll try not to write any more silly stuff in this letter anyway.

I had a long, slow and tiresome trip down here. I had rather rode a good horse. I got here at about 6:00 PM. I was awful cold then and is yet and has been for the last two or three weeks. I got my supper at the "Coffee Club" and then went and found a place where I could get board and room for $7 a week in advance so I paid for it last night & today. But I thought I could do better than that so today I russled around and found this place. I think I told you something of them. The people who live here I mean. The folks of those two boys whose pictures I showed you. I sleep in the attic with the boys. I had rather have a room of my own but we can't always have just what we want. I'm just like one one of the family here. I play the Victrola & piano whenever I feel like it. I pay $5.25 a week & my washing won't be over 50¢ a week. 

1919 Pine St., Lodi Postcard

Jan 6, 1919.
Well, I started this letter and company came, so I didn't get to finish it. And yesterday I helped these people trim up some brush & in the afternoon we took an auto ride, they have a Ford. In the evening I took a little joyride with one of the boys. It was some ride too, believe me I told him I didn't want to "go west" just yet. I don't either. I feel that I have a great deal more to live for since I spent that last night & day with you. It seemed to me that we had a kind of understanding between us that last night when we said good-bye. I know I understand you better than I ever did before, and it only makes my friendship grow truer and tenderer. I wish I could be with you more, but I suppose you don't. At least that is the impression I got from what Percy said about you a Danie that afternoon when I left San Andreas. I was the happiest person on earth, in spite of leaving everything behind, until I saw him, and then most of my doubts came back again. I surely hope there's nothing in it.

I hope all this doesn't make you mad. I am trying to write with the Victrola going. It's a pretty hard thing to do.

Ray C Wisner ca 1917 I went to work today. It seems kind of good to be back in the mill again. I may go into the butcher business. It's harder work and longer hrs. but more chance for rapid advancement. I could have gotten into the market up there if I had known of it, is what started me to thinking of it.

You wouldn't have any objections to a fellow who was a butcher would you? Please answer this. It may make a lot of difference in my plans. It would be easy to write if I knew how I stand, with you. If I could only be sure you cared. I wish I could see you and talk it all over with you. Maybe you think I am too young. I know I am awful thoughtless and babyish sometimes. I hope to outgrow that though. I out growed an awful lot of it that last day with you. Life seems so much more serious now.

I remember you saying you wanted to knit your father a sweater. I asked mother to knit me one but she thinks she can't. Would you knit me one if I sent you the yarn? The yarn costs about $3. I would love to have something like that made by your hands.

I don't believe anything has done the folks so much good, as that little New Year party, since they have been up there. It all started by you & Ruth & Maurice coming over that Sunday. It has all put a lot of life back in her. She loves Ruth and Maurice but she more than loves you (if that is possible). I don't give her any credit for that though, I don't see how anybody could help it. That makes me worry sometimes too. Mother said you were awful sweet and pretty & she didn't blame me for liking you, but thought I had good judgement. She said I looked awfully happy that night. I couldn't help it, I don't remember of ever being happier. Well when you get this read I suppose you'll think you've read enough for once. If it makes you mad just tell me and I'll try not to let it happen again.

Yours forever,

P.S. This is an awful messy letter but I haven't time to copy it so please excuse this time. Please write right away & please don't be angry with me. You know I'm lonesome. If you didn't get my card my address is: 505 Hilborne Street. Lodi, Calif.
Please write. I gave up going on another joy ride tonight to finish this. Yours ever, Ray.

1919 Ray Wisner Letter 1 1919 Ray Wisner Letter 2 1919 Ray Wisner Letter 3 1919 Ray Wisner Letter 4

Monday, March 16, 2015

Where Is John Stap Going Today?

John Stap Car 1920s

My great grandpa John Stap grew up in Lynden, Washington. It was, and still is, a small town. Today it  has about 13,000 people, but back in 1910 when the Stap family started living there, it had about 1,000 people.

They have their own paper, the Lynden Tribune, and because it's a small town, they had a tendency to print things in the newspaper on the everyday things that people were doing. On Newspapers.com, they have some searchable copies of the Lynden Tribune from 1908-1922. And since they liked to print the goings on about everyone, I found some fun things my great grandpa did.

November 23, 1916 

March 15, 1917

January 1, 1920

The cool thing is that you can see his handwriting in the 1920 federal census for Lynden.

Now, the mentions are not limited to John. There are many others from his family. Here is one that I liked about his mom, Trijntje.

July 31, 1919

This next mention about John's older brother Henry I found particularly loaded. Henry fought in France during World War I, and had been injured because of the gas that was used by the Germans. His return home had been delayed because he was too sick to travel. This one sentence simply states that he is back.

April 17, 1919

A few years later, Henry Stap would contract tuberculosis, and as a result had to be treated.

July 20, 1922

Not all news was sad news though. There were many more mentions of births and other things. This last one that I'll share was a discovery of a story that I hadn't ever heard before, about John's dad Jacob Stap. After finding it I asked relatives if they had heard it, and no one had because it had happened before any of them were born. So I guess that because of the diligence of this small town newspaper, at least one more family story has been preserved for history.

December 30, 1920

I hope that someday that they will add more newspapers to this collection. John Stap lived in Lynden the rest of his life and died in 1995. I wonder how many more parties and debates he attended during that time. I would like to find more stories someday....

Saturday, February 7, 2015

William Wisner's Obituary

I had requested some lookups at the Waukegan Public Library in Illinois, where the Wisner family lived the the second half of the 1800s. I had requested to see if they could find some birth mentions in the local newspaper, and just because, I also asked for an obit. They couldn't find any birth announcements, but did find the obit! It was for William Wisner, and although it was only 2 lines long, it was still significant. They sent me the clipped image, and it was poor quality, but you could still read:
 WISNER - Died at Avon, Ill., Nov. 25th 1877, of old age, William Wisner, aged 94 years and 8 months. He passed away like going to sleep.
The newspaper was the Waukegan Weekly Gazette, from Saturday December 8, 1877. It was an important find because death date for William that I had was August 25th, instead of November.

It is also interesting here that they give his age in years and months. I had seen a few different dates for his birth. The one that I thought was most correct was one that was listed in William's own Bible records, that someone was so kind to send me copies of. Here is a transcription of those records. It says he was born March 27, 1783, which is 94 years and 8 months from when he died, so everything lines up.

After looking at the transcription again, it looks like in the Bible records it also mentions William's death date as November instead of August, so again it's another confirmation that November is the correct date.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Genealogy Info...from Facebook

I had posted a picture up on the family Facebook page for "Throwback Thursday" a while back. It was a picture of my grandpa Lloyd Broersma and his brother Marv, riding their bikes on the farm when they were younger. Here is the pic and the caption I had put with it:

#TBT early 1940s, Lloyd and Marv Broersma on the farm in Lynden. In their free time they liked to chase goats on their bikes...or maybe they were just on their way to work. Anyone know which farm this was? The one on the Lundy Rd or on H Street Rd?
I was joking about the goat, and was really more interested in the farm, but got a great response from Marv.

I got a bunch of information about the goat! And it was interesting too, and it added context to the picture and about his life.

So, in the future I hope to use Facebook to get long distance information about family history.