Jan and Teetje Jonker

I’m focusing a little bit on the Bass side right now, and today’s post is about Jan Jonker, whose sister is Grietje (Jonker) Bass, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother. Jan Jonker was one of the first settlers of Roseland, he came over on the boat with the group that included Johannes Ambuul, my maternal great-great-great-great grandfather. In fact, Johannes’ daughter, Trijntje, married Grietje’s son (and Jan’s nephew), Pieter Bass.

A quick note before I go on. I go back and forth about using Dutch and Americanized names in my blog posts, but for this post I am starting with the Dutch names and then changing to the Americanized names. When I refer to the family’s time in America, I will use their Americanized names unless census records show them different.

Jan was born Jan Jonker, but when he died his name was John Yonker. He was born in Schoorl, Netherlands on December 28, 1811. He and Grietje’s parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannetje van Lienen, and they had another brother, Sijmon. Schoorl is in the municipality of Bergen in the province of North Holland.

Here is also a photo of present day Schoorl:

On November 28, 1841, Jan married Teetje (Tillie) Veldhuis, who also lived in Schoorl and whose parents are Cornelis and Kniertje (Van Der Velde) Veldhuis. Tillie was born on January 21, 1821, and ten years younger than Jan.

In 1849, they were ready for the voyage to America. Sadly, they had a baby right before they sailed but the baby died in LeHavre, France. There is confusing information in some of the sources about this. I like the book Down an Indian Trail in 1849-The Story of Roseland by Marie K. Rowlands, but have found a number of errors. For example, it says that Johannes’ wife died during the sailing, however, I have a copy of a church record that shows she did not die until she was in America some years later. The book also says that Jan and Teetje sailed with their two children, one born in 1811 (!?) and the other born in 1821 (!?) – well this is an impossibility as Jan himself was born in 1811 and Teetje was born in 1821.

The book is actually a compilation of articles written and published in 1949 for the 100th anniversary of Roseland. I attribute that some of these stories were passed down through many people and inaccuracies occurred along the way. However, I’ve seen that people still rely on some inaccurate information (i.e., Facebook thread and others). This is why it is always best to check your sources.

Through records on WieWasWie, I have confirmed their children:

Jannigje, born 1842 (died 1926)
Cornelis, born 1844 (death year unknown)
Gerrit, born and died at 11 days old in 1845
Kniertje, born and died at 8 months old in 1846
Kniertje, born and died at 3 months old in 1847
Unnamed baby born and died in LeHavre, France in 1849 (mentioned above)
Garrit, born 1850 (died 1913)
Kniertje, born 1852 (died 1900)
John, born 1853 (died 1943)
Cornelius, born 1855 (death year unknown)
Klaas Nicholas, born 1856 (died 1896)

I have seen Katherine listed as a child but have not confirmed her existence yet. Also, Kniertje is the Dutch name for Cornelia.

This is all actually a really good example of the Dutch naming system. All of the children up until John were named after the grandparents, and then John was named after his father. Jannetgje is not the exact spelling as Jannetje, but it still means Jane. Klaas is Nicholas but I don’t know who he is named after, perhaps an uncle on Tillie’s side? Usually the order in the Dutch naming system is for boys, grandfathers first, then father, then uncle. Same way for girls, grandmothers first, then mother, then aunt.


The above is from the 1850 census, a year after the family landed in America. At this time, John is 38, Tillie is 29, Janka (Jannegje) is 8, Cornelis is 6, and there is a baby but I cannot read the name. This confirms that they sailed to America with the two oldest children.

The 1860 census shows that the family as living in Worth. John and Tillie now have a total of five children: Cornelis, 16; Garret, 9; Grete, 8; John, 7; and Nicolaus, 4. The last name is also now Yonker, but the name is mistakenly spelled at Younker.

In 1870 above, the census shows that the family is living in Calumet. John is working as a gardener, and is 58. Tillie is 49, Garret is 19 and working with the railroad; Cornelia is 18 (listed in the 1860 census as Grete); John is 17; Nicholas is 14; and there is now a Cornelius, age 7. Since there is now a younger Cornelius who is 7 years old, I can guess that the older Cornelius died somewhere between the last census taken in 1860 and 1863.

In 1880, the family is still living in Calumet. John is 68 and Tillie is 59 and the last name is again mistakenly listed as Younker. The only children still living at home are Nicholas, 24, and Cornelius, 17.

John died on March 25, 1891 at the age of 79, and Tillie died on April 2, 1891 at the age of 70. I don’t have photos of their tombstones but both are buried in Homewood Memorial Gardens in Homewood, Illinois.

Thanks for reading!