Wednesday Weddings – Jan Verkruisjen and Janke de Graaf

These are photos of records from 1845 from the Netherlands from the marriage of my paternal great-great-great-great grandparents, Jan Verkruisjen and Janke de Graaf. Jan and Janke were married on December 28, 1845 in Leeuwarden, located in Friesland. Jan was 27 years old, and worked as a “koopman”, which means “merchant”, and Janke was 22 years old.

I found these on one of my favorite websites, WieWasWie.

(Ignore the left page)

I’m confused about the names, but Dutch names confuse me. Is it Jankese Graaf or Janke de Graaf? I’m guessing Janke was a shortened version of Jankese but why are they different on the marriage record?  Surnames can also be confusing. I know many surnames used prefixes, like “de”, which means “the”. When I read about Dutch surnames, I found out they did not become mandatory in the Netherlands until 1811, when Napoleon required them, so then everyone had to choose a surname, which could be absolutely anything. Many chose the patronymic surname their male head of household was using, others chose surnames based on their occupation, place of origin or other things. According to some resources, De Graaf is an occupational surname, and was the most common name in 2007. It means “the count”. It also appears Verkruissen was actually Verkruisjen way back when and the Americanized version became Verkruissen.

Thanks for reading!

Monday Meanderings — Dekker/Schoon Netherland locations

Today’s post is about the locations the Dekker and Schoon family members lived in in the Netherlands. This would be starting with my paternal great-great grandparents, Arie and Aaltje (Schoon) Dekker and going back.

Here is the map of the Netherlands again and showing all of the provinces:

The Dekker line is not as complete but so far Dekker/Schoon family members resided in the province of North Holland in the following municipalities: Koggenland, Langendijk, Harenkarspel now known as Schagen, and Alkmaar.

So they were more concentrated around the mid to north area of North Holland. The towns they lived in were (listed by municipality):  Koggenland: Scharwoude; Langendijk: Oudkarspel and Broek op Langendijk; Alkmaar: West Graaftdijk and Oudorp. For Harenkarpsel, I don’t have specific towns but do know some were from there.

Thanks for reading!!

Grietje (Margaret) Jonker Bas (Bass)

Grietje (Jonker) Bas (now Bass) was the sister of Jan Jonker, one of the founding fathers of Roseland. She is my maternal great-great-great grandmother and one of the reasons why the Bass line continued in America and, of course Roseland. Her parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannitje Van Lienen and she was born in 1810 in Schoorl, a village in North Holland. Grietje married Albert Bas on June 6, 1835 in Zipje, North Holland when she was 24 years old. Here’s their marriage certificate—

The next document is an undated population register from the Netherlands. It is apparent from the record that Albert died on January 7, 1857 when he was only 47 years old. Sadly, Grietje became a widow with many young children. Nine children are listed in this record, some alive and some deceased.

However, when I was going through WieWasWie, I found records of more children. There are a lot of confusing dates and names, but this is a list I put together from actual Netherland birth registration records from through WieWasWie (I added known death dates as well) —

Jan Bas, Dec. 22, 1835 – Dec. 15, 1852
Gerrit Bas, 1838 – June 25, 1839
Pieter Bas, April 18, 1939 – May 23, 1919 (my great-great grandfather)
Jannetje Bas, 1840 – March 10, 1892
Gerrit Bas, 1841 – Nov. 16, 1852
Gerritje Bas, March 1843 – death date unknown
Maartje Bas, 1845 – Nov. 16, 1852
Aagje Bas, 1845 – 1927
Maartje Bas, 1847 – Feb. 8, 1915
Klaas Bas, Jan. 1849 – May 30, 1849
Unnamed stillborn, died Jan. 31, 1849 (assuming twin born with Klaas)
Klaas Bas, May 30, 1850 – Dec. 2, 1908
Jantje Bas, April 7, 1854 – death date unknown

Grietje gave birth to thirteen children!  Very sadly, as you can see, more than half of them died very young.

Some years later, Grietje emigrated to America with her remaining living six children and her mother Jannetje:  Pieter, Klaas, Jannetje, Aagje, Maartje, and Jantje. They sailed on the Duisburg of Prussia and arrived in New York on June 16, 1866 (Grietje is listed on the next page of the emigration record but here are the children and their ages):

This journey was described in the book Journey Homeward: Blokker, Ton, Zilligen, Mayer, by John Jay Blockker. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it and would love to get my hands on the entire book. Because Jannetje eventually married a Ton, it has some good information about her family in it.

Eventually everyone’s names became Americanized and Grietje was known as Margaret. The name of Bas also changed to Bass.

I had quite a bit of trouble locating information on Grietje after she and her family arrived in America. I cannot confirm exactly where she was in 1870, in fact, I cannot confirm where any of them were living that year as there are no census records on them. Unfortunately some 1870 census records are missing and most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. Also, many times names were transcribed incorrectly.

I did find her in 1880, living with one of her daughters and her family at 800 Worbach Avenue in Roseland. One thing I haven’t figured out yet is what the name of that street is now, many of Chicago’s streets were renamed but this one is a mystery. Anyway, Grietje is listed as Margret Bass, age 70, living with her daughter Maartje (Mary), Mary’s husband Henry Benschop, and their family. The spelling in the transcription is Renochop. Sure it looks like that in the census because of the handwriting but that is incorrect (again, incorrect transcription).

Grietje (Margaret) died on August 16, 1885 in Roseland at the age of 75 and is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Thanks for reading!

Monday Meanderings — Ooms Netherland locations

Every now and then I’m going to post about where my ancestors settled and came from. I would guess three-fourths of my ancestors total from both sides came from the Netherlands – today I will begin with the Ooms line. I’m going back farther, not the Ooms/Dekker or Kros lines, but beginning with the Adam Ooms/Nellie Hogendijk line, my paternal great-great-grandparents, the other lines will be separate because they came from other areas. I will try to figure out how to make this pedigree chart accessible.

First, the Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces:  North and South Holland, Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland, Gelderland, Utrecht, North Brabant, Zeeland and Limburg.


The majority of the Ooms family were located in the province of South Holland. I was going to map out each town where they all settled, but that became a very difficult task so I decided to show each municipality and then name the towns instead.

South Holland province

It’s very hard to see without making the map very large so I  have highlighted the municipalities. Ooms family members were concentrated in four different municipalities in South Holland: Kaag en Brassem (upper highlighted area), Rotterdam, Krimperwaard, and Molenlanden, with the majority being in Krimperwaard. The towns in Krimperwaard that Ooms family members settled in were Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel, Bergambacht, Stolwijk, Schoonhoven, Lekkerker, and Gouderak. In Kaag en Brassem, some settled in Woubrugge. Kaag en Brassem was a separate municipality until 1991 and then it became part of Jacobswoude municipality. In Rotterdam, a couple settled in Charlois, and in the municipality of Molenlanden, some settled in the towns of Oud-Albas, Streefkerk, Goudriaan and Groot-Ammers. The Molenlanden municipality was created after January 2019, when it merged the municipalities of Giessenlanden and Molenlanden.

Two other provinces Ooms family settled in were Utrecht and North Brabant.

Utrecht province

One town Ooms family members came from in Utrecht was Poelsbroek, which is part of the Lopik municipality, in the southwestern part of Utrecht.

North Brabant province

Finally, the one area in North Brabant Ooms family members settled in was Bergeijk, which is a town and municipality in the southern part of North Brabant.

Interestingly, my DNA test found the strongest evidence of my ancestry in the following regions of the Netherlands: South Holland, North Holland, Friesland, Groningen, Overijssel, Gelderland, North Brabant, Utrecht, Limburg, and Zeeland.

More to come!

Johanna Van Mijnen Ooms Rieve Vellenga

Wow, look at that name! I don’t know anything about my great-great-great grandmother, but from this photo she appears to me to be a tough, grim woman. People never smiled in old photos for a variety of reasons, but I wonder sometimes if Johanna didn’t smile much given the tough life she must have endured. I don’t have a date for this photo, but she appears to be in her late 60s or early 70s.

Johanna was born in Woubrugge in the southern part of Holland on July 11, 1845, to Barend Van Mijnen and Aagje Kroon. In the records from Dutch Immigrants to America, it is noted her father, Barend, sailed on the Arnold Boninger of Prussia ship leaving Rotterdam, arriving in New York on June 26, 1856. Barend is listed as husband and I presume that his family was with him. Johanna would have been 11 years old.

In 1863, Johanna married Johannes (John) Ooms, a local Roseland veterinarian, and they had two children:  Adam, born 1865 (my father’s line), and Aggie, born 1866. On September 11, 1866, John died at the very young age of 28. There is no information on his death, but given the fact illness was very common back then, it wouldn’t surprise me if that was a reason. Johanna was left a widow with two very young children.

A couple of years later, Johanna married Kasper Rieve, and they had three children:  Antje (Annie), born 1869; Barendina (Dina), born 1871; and Casper Willem, born 1873. Unfortunately, Kasper died in January 1873 at the age of 41. Johanna was left a widow once again, now with three more very young children – five children under the age of 10. Very sad indeed.

However, one year later on May 12, 1874, Johanna married again, to Age Vellenga. This marriage produced five children:  Andries (Andrew), born 1875; Lysbert (Elizabeth), born 1876; Bernard, born 1878; Kate, born 1879; and Harry, born 1886.

This marriage lasted much longer. In June 1917, when Age was 77 years old, he died of a stroke. Johanna was left a widow once again, but she passed away the next year on August 12, 1918 at the age of 73 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

More about the women — Jacoba Kros

In genealogical research there is generally more information on the lives of husbands than wives because wives were busy inside the home taking care of the children and house. This picture made me think about this woman’s life. This is Jacoba (Verkruissen) Kros, my great-grandmother on my father’s side, and this is only the second photo of her in existence that I know of. Based on the style of her dress, I’m going to guess it was taken sometime during the 1920s.

Thanks for the photo Dad!!

According to Jacoba’s birth record on “WieWasWie” (“Who Was Who” in Dutch), a website that “contains digitally accessible historical documents and personal data”, Jacoba was born Jacoba Verkruissen on May 11, 1876 to Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans in the Municipality of Barradeel, in the province of Friesland of the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia, Barradeel is a former municipality which existed until 1984, and is now largely a part of Franekeradeel, Netherlands. When I magnify the original document, it appears the father’s name is written in as Verkruisfen, and that he signed it Ver Kruisfen with a space. Prefixes were used commonly in Dutch surnames, which gives me another avenue for research on her father’s line under the name of Kruisfen. Nevertheless the translation of Verkruissen was carried down, as apparent in census records and Jacoba’s death certificate.

Jacoba’s birth record entry is at the bottom left

Jacoba eventually emigrated to the United States and landed in Roseland but there are date discrepancies for her emigration year. On June 12, 1900, Jacoba married John Kros and within a couple of years they had two daughters, Antje (Anna) and Lena, Anna being one year older.

In 1910, census records list the family as residing on Wentworth Avenue, with no further information as to house number or address. In 1920, census records list the family as still residing on Wentworth Avenue, Jacoba was listed as Coba, with her emigration year being listed as 1890. Anna and Lena were still living at home, and it appears John’s brother, Cornelius, was living with them during this time, and a young woman named Cora, 18, who my father said is his daughter.

By 1923, Lena had moved out after having married Simon Ooms, and Anna had moved out in 1926 after having married George Wiersma. Sadly, Anna, died from appendicitis not long after having married George Wiersma. I cannot even imagine the sadness.

In the 1930 census, John and Jacoba are listed as living at 10919 S. Wentworth Avenue — here’s a current pic of the house, which on the outside appears to be in fairly good condition. During this census, Jacoba’s emigration year is listed as 1900.

Thanks for the photo Dad!

In the 1940 census, Jacoba and John are listed as still living at the same house, she was 63 years old and John was 73 years old. According to John’s death certificate, he died that same year on July 5th. His death is listed as chronic myocarditis due to chronic nephritis and hypertension.

1950 census records will not be available until 2022, but I found more information about Jacoba’s later years on her death certificate and also from my father. Jacoba had been a resident in the Ogden Park Nursing Home in Chicago for a year and then Bowman Nursing Home in Midlothian the next year prior to her death, which was on June 10, 1960. Her residence was listed as 10919 S. Wentworth Avenue. She died extremely quickly of a non-traumatic cerebral vascular accident (stroke), twenty years after her husband died.

But this all brings me back to the first photo. What was Jacoba doing that day when this photo was taken? What was she thinking? What was her life in Roseland compared to life in the Netherlands? What was it like to emigrate from another country and how did she adapt to a new country? So many questions I wish I knew the answers to!