Unofficial Holland-American Line Website Back Online

Four and five years ago, when I was researching my Dutch and Frisian ancestry and creating family history pages on these lines for my personal genealogy website, I came across a website that was invaluable: the “unofficial” Holland-America Line website, originally located at http://www.unofficial.net/hal/. The term “unofficial” was used, because the Holland-America Line is still very much a viable passenger ship company with its official website located here.

This comprehensive site was vital for researching the ships on which my Dutch and Frisian ancestors immigrated. Filled with photographs and paintings of the many ships of the H-A Line, along with the history of each ship and occasional information on the captains and crews, it gave me background for the history of each of my immigrant families. You can see how I used this information on my TUINSTRA and DeVRIES pages (caution: I have not yet updated the links on the pages).

Then several years ago, Hans Segboer the webmaster, closed the site due to not being able to maintain it. It was a great loss to the Dutch-American genealogical and historical community. I am happy to report that last week I discovered that it has reopened at the URL http://www.halpostcards.com/unofficial/.

I’m very excited to see that the site is back up. Since it went down, I discovered more names of ships on which my immigrant ancestors sailed. I look forward to using “Unofficial HAL” to do expand my research on these Dutch families!

If you had ancestors who immigrated from the Netherlands, or from other European countries via a Netherlands port such as Rotterdam, be sure to check out this fascinating and informative website!

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Unofficial Holland-American Line Website Back Online

Four and five years ago, when I was researching my Dutch and Frisian ancestry and creating family history pages on these lines for my personal genealogy website, I came across a website that was invaluable: the “unofficial” Holland-America Line website, originally located at http://www.unofficial.net/hal/. The term “unofficial” was used, because the Holland-America Line is still very much a viable passenger ship company with its official website located here.

This comprehensive site was vital for researching the ships on which my Dutch and Frisian ancestors immigrated. Filled with photographs and paintings of the many ships of the H-A Line, along with the history of each ship and occasional information on the captains and crews, it gave me background for the history of each of my immigrant families. You can see how I used this information on my TUINSTRA and DeVRIES pages (caution: I have not yet updated the links on the pages).

Then several years ago, Hans Segboer the webmaster, closed the site due to not being able to maintain it. It was a great loss to the Dutch-American genealogical and historical community. I am happy to report that last week I discovered that it has reopened at the URL http://www.halpostcards.com/unofficial/.

I’m very excited to see that the site is back up. Since it went down, I discovered more names of ships on which my immigrant ancestors sailed. I look forward to using “Unofficial HAL” to do expand my research on these Dutch families!

If you had ancestors who immigrated from the Netherlands, or from other European countries via a Netherlands port such as Rotterdam, be sure to check out this fascinating and informative website!

This and That

I backposted an advent memory, “The Christmas Tree,” as I start catching up on some of the posts I missed.

Did you know that T.K. of Before My Time was a cousin of mine? Neither did I, until I read this. She’s my 10th cousin, twice removed (she and my maternal grandmother are the same generation!). Randy is also my cousin; I discovered this last September when he was posting his ahnentafel reports. I suppose if you have any roots that go back to Massachusetts in the 1640s, we could figure out that you’re my cousin, too!

The grandmother of Tim of Genealogy Reviews Online recalled seeing the Statue of Liberty when she arrived in America, yet her ship landed in Philadelphia. Go here to find out how Tim’s amazing discovery at Google Book Search helped him confirm his family’s oral history.

Kevin explains how mold has destroyed the entire contents of a Michigan library in the small community where my 3rd-great-grandparents, Sylvester Fredenburg and Cornelia McClellan, were married. How tragic!

What genealogist doesn’t love books? Kimbooktu shares a video on an exhibit of some of the world’s tiniest tomes.

Want to know the latest news in your ancestral locations? Go here to locate a newspaper from your ancestor’s residence, then check out the paper’s website to see if they have a blog you can add to your newsreader. I’ve been keeping an eye on the blogs of The Grand Rapids Press and The Muskegon Chronicle of Western Michigan. That’s how I discovered this story. Refdesk is also how I look for obituaries for recently deceased relatives from out of state.

This and That

I backposted an advent memory, “The Christmas Tree,” as I start catching up on some of the posts I missed.

Did you know that T.K. of Before My Time was a cousin of mine? Neither did I, until I read this. She’s my 10th cousin, twice removed (she and my maternal grandmother are the same generation!). Randy is also my cousin; I discovered this last September when he was posting his ahnentafel reports. I suppose if you have any roots that go back to Massachusetts in the 1640s, we could figure out that you’re my cousin, too!

The grandmother of Tim of Genealogy Reviews Online recalled seeing the Statue of Liberty when she arrived in America, yet her ship landed in Philadelphia. Go here to find out how Tim’s amazing discovery at Google Book Search helped him confirm his family’s oral history.

Kevin explains how mold has destroyed the entire contents of a Michigan library in the small community where my 3rd-great-grandparents, Sylvester Fredenburg and Cornelia McClellan, were married. How tragic!

What genealogist doesn’t love books? Kimbooktu shares a video on an exhibit of some of the world’s tiniest tomes.

Want to know the latest news in your ancestral locations? Go here to locate a newspaper from your ancestor’s residence, then check out the paper’s website to see if they have a blog you can add to your newsreader. I’ve been keeping an eye on the blogs of The Grand Rapids Press and The Muskegon Chronicle of Western Michigan. That’s how I discovered this story. Refdesk is also how I look for obituaries for recently deceased relatives from out of state.

The SWEERS Connection

Find your ancestors in Revolutionary War Rolls.

Before I left for vacation two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a lady named Nancy, who coincidentally hails from Yakima, Washington, just a three-hour drive from my hometown. Nancy has been chasing the HILT family all over Maine and Massachusetts, she says, and she found my record of Peter HILT who married Margaret ZWIERS on my WorldConnect database at RootsWeb.

First off, if you aren’t familiar with WorldConnect, it is a place at RootsWeb where you can upload your family tree database in GEDCOM format. Information on living persons is automatically “cleaned” from viewers on the Internet, for privacy’s sake. As a submitter of my GEDCOM, I can use my database as a backup file in the event of a computer crash, home fire, natural disaster, etc. and download a copy of my entire GEDCOM back into my computer in the event that it is necessary. Did I mention this is free, as is everything on RootsWeb?

One of the nifty features of WorldConnect–and this feature is also available at many of the other databases at RootsWeb–is the ability to add Post-ems. Say that you, like Nancy, were searching for Peter HILT and you found him on my WorldConnect database. When you click on his file, you can then click on the “Add Post-em” link near the top of the page. You will then be prompted to register for a free member account, if you don’t already have one and are signed in. Next you will be able to leave a Post-em; think of it as an electronic sticky note. This will include your name, e-mail address, and a short message, such as “Hi, I’m researching this individual, too!” or “I have records that show a different death date for this individual.” You can leave the URL and title of your website or blog, if you wish, and then create a password for security’s sake. After you click the “post” button, an e-mail will be sent to me, and we can connect further, if we desire.

Anyway, back to my SWEERS family. From my research, I knew that a Daniel ZWIERS, a Palatine born in Germany, immigrated to the U.S. on the galley Ann, where he landed in Philadelphia on 27 September 1746. Then I have no more record of him until 1762, when he and his wife Margery join the First Church of Lancaster, Worcester Co., Massachusetts on June 18th. He and his family lived in the Lancaster area until his death in 1779. Thus far, I’ve been able to determine that he and Margery had at least six children: Jacob, Daniel Jr., Margaret (who married Peter HILT), Barbara (who married William SHAW), Peter, and a son who was “killed with a cart” in Lancaster on 30 April 1765.

Jacob, Peter, and Daniel Jr. (my ancestor) all served in the Revolution; the first two for Massachusetts, and Daniel for Vermont. In fact, I’ve recently found Daniel in the Revolutionary War Rolls at Footnote (more on that another time). I’ve been able to trace this family all through New England, New York, Ontario and into Michigan, as the name has evolved from ZWIERS to ZWEARS, then SWEARS and finally, SWEERS. But what has puzzled me was that 19-year gap from Daniel Sr.’s arrival in Philadelphia until his appearance in Lancaster. And why Lancaster? It was a Puritan stronghold, and to my knowledge, no Palatines were in the area. Where in the Palatine did Daniel and Margery hail from? I haven’t been able to find them in histories of Palatine immigrants. Nancy may have the answers.

She sent me copies of pages from the book, Broad Bay Pioneers: 18th Century German-Speaking Settlers of Present-Day Waldoboro, Maine by Wilford W. Whitaker and Gary T. Horlacher. I found a long history of the HILT family, as well as a short mention of the ZWIERS family, stating that the name “Zwier” was an occupational surname, “meaning a member of a two person group in court or other official duties.” According to this book, the original spelling was “Zweier.” Hmmm…I know just enough German to know that Zwier and Zweier would have two distinct pronunciations–zhveer and zhvy-er, respectively–so I wonder about the accuracy of this.

The book continues that the ZWIERS family’s origins in Germany are unknown and that Daniel apparently arrived in Boston on 9 November 1751 on the Priscilla, coming to Broad Bay later. Broad Bay Plantation was a settlement founded in 1748 by German immigrants from the Rheinland area (the present-day Rheinland-Pfalz [also known as Rhineland-Palatinate] area of Germany is the home of the Palatines). The settlement is now known as Waldoboro, Lincoln Co., Maine.

Daniel’s daughter Margaret is listed, with a birthdate that I did not have, as well as a child of Margaret and Peter’s, and some information on grandchildren of this couple. The children I had in my database as being the offspring of Peter and Margaret actually turn out to be children of Peter and his second wife, Anna Margaretha Löbensaler, whom he married in early 1768 (giving me a probable death date of 1767 for Margaret ZWIERS).

There is also information on another possible son of Daniel and Margery, born about 1751. This cannot be the same as the unknown son who died in 1765 in Lancaster, as the former was married with children who were born in 1779 and 1787.

There’s a Daniel ZWAUR who signs a petition in Broadbay in 1788. This cannot be Daniel ZWIERS, I, as he died in Lancaster in 1779. It could be his son, my ancestor, Daniel ZWEARS, II who has a 17-year gap between records I’ve found for him as a member of First Church in Lancaster in 1773 and his appearance on the 1790 Federal Census for Dummerston, Windham Co., Vermont.

Unfortunately, Broad Bay Pioneers has no sources cited for its information, according to Nancy, so it’s difficult to determine where the authors got their information and how accurate it is. It does provide me with some possible answers to my questions, especially informing me that there was a settlement of German Protestants in New England at the time my ZWIERSes were living in the area. Maine was considered a part of Massachusetts in those days, and it wasn’t unusual for people to move back and forth between those two areas.

A couple of theories I’ve since developed with this information that will bear further investigation include:

  • 1. My Daniel ZWIERS first came to what is now the U.S. in 1746 on the galley, Ann, to Philadelphia without his wife and children. He worked to save money to bring the rest of the family over, returning to Germany to fetch them, and arriving on the Priscilla in Broad Bay, Maine in 1751. Later, he moved to Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1762, where he lived for the remainder of his days.
  • 2. The Daniel ZWIERS who appears in Philadelphia is not my ancestor, but another immigrant with the same name. My Daniel does not come to America until 1751, arriving in Broad Bay.

This information excites me, because this family is one of my few colonial families that does not already have a published history. It’s much more fun to do the research yourself than to discover that the history has been done to death, as what has happened all-too-frequently in my many Puritan and Pilgrim lines!

P.S. This is only one of two known German ancestral lines that I have. The other is my ENGBRENGHOF line, a family that came from Burgsteinfurt, Westfalen to the province of Friesland, the Netherlands between 1774 and 1778, and married into my DOLSTRA line there in the village of Marrum, municipality of Ferwerderadeel.

The SWEERS Connection

Find your ancestors in Revolutionary War Rolls.

Before I left for vacation two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a lady named Nancy, who coincidentally hails from Yakima, Washington, just a three-hour drive from my hometown. Nancy has been chasing the HILT family all over Maine and Massachusetts, she says, and she found my record of Peter HILT who married Margaret ZWIERS on my WorldConnect database at RootsWeb.

First off, if you aren’t familiar with WorldConnect, it is a place at RootsWeb where you can upload your family tree database in GEDCOM format. Information on living persons is automatically “cleaned” from viewers on the Internet, for privacy’s sake. As a submitter of my GEDCOM, I can use my database as a backup file in the event of a computer crash, home fire, natural disaster, etc. and download a copy of my entire GEDCOM back into my computer in the event that it is necessary. Did I mention this is free, as is everything on RootsWeb?

One of the nifty features of WorldConnect–and this feature is also available at many of the other databases at RootsWeb–is the ability to add Post-ems. Say that you, like Nancy, were searching for Peter HILT and you found him on my WorldConnect database. When you click on his file, you can then click on the “Add Post-em” link near the top of the page. You will then be prompted to register for a free member account, if you don’t already have one and are signed in. Next you will be able to leave a Post-em; think of it as an electronic sticky note. This will include your name, e-mail address, and a short message, such as “Hi, I’m researching this individual, too!” or “I have records that show a different death date for this individual.” You can leave the URL and title of your website or blog, if you wish, and then create a password for security’s sake. After you click the “post” button, an e-mail will be sent to me, and we can connect further, if we desire.

Anyway, back to my SWEERS family. From my research, I knew that a Daniel ZWIERS, a Palatine born in Germany, immigrated to the U.S. on the galley Ann, where he landed in Philadelphia on 27 September 1746. Then I have no more record of him until 1762, when he and his wife Margery join the First Church of Lancaster, Worcester Co., Massachusetts on June 18th. He and his family lived in the Lancaster area until his death in 1779. Thus far, I’ve been able to determine that he and Margery had at least six children: Jacob, Daniel Jr., Margaret (who married Peter HILT), Barbara (who married William SHAW), Peter, and a son who was “killed with a cart” in Lancaster on 30 April 1765.

Jacob, Peter, and Daniel Jr. (my ancestor) all served in the Revolution; the first two for Massachusetts, and Daniel for Vermont. In fact, I’ve recently found Daniel in the Revolutionary War Rolls at Footnote (more on that another time). I’ve been able to trace this family all through New England, New York, Ontario and into Michigan, as the name has evolved from ZWIERS to ZWEARS, then SWEARS and finally, SWEERS. But what has puzzled me was that 19-year gap from Daniel Sr.’s arrival in Philadelphia until his appearance in Lancaster. And why Lancaster? It was a Puritan stronghold, and to my knowledge, no Palatines were in the area. Where in the Palatine did Daniel and Margery hail from? I haven’t been able to find them in histories of Palatine immigrants. Nancy may have the answers.

She sent me copies of pages from the book, Broad Bay Pioneers: 18th Century German-Speaking Settlers of Present-Day Waldoboro, Maine by Wilford W. Whitaker and Gary T. Horlacher. I found a long history of the HILT family, as well as a short mention of the ZWIERS family, stating that the name “Zwier” was an occupational surname, “meaning a member of a two person group in court or other official duties.” According to this book, the original spelling was “Zweier.” Hmmm…I know just enough German to know that Zwier and Zweier would have two distinct pronunciations–zhveer and zhvy-er, respectively–so I wonder about the accuracy of this.

The book continues that the ZWIERS family’s origins in Germany are unknown and that Daniel apparently arrived in Boston on 9 November 1751 on the Priscilla, coming to Broad Bay later. Broad Bay Plantation was a settlement founded in 1748 by German immigrants from the Rheinland area (the present-day Rheinland-Pfalz [also known as Rhineland-Palatinate] area of Germany is the home of the Palatines). The settlement is now known as Waldoboro, Lincoln Co., Maine.

Daniel’s daughter Margaret is listed, with a birthdate that I did not have, as well as a child of Margaret and Peter’s, and some information on grandchildren of this couple. The children I had in my database as being the offspring of Peter and Margaret actually turn out to be children of Peter and his second wife, Anna Margaretha Löbensaler, whom he married in early 1768 (giving me a probable death date of 1767 for Margaret ZWIERS).

There is also information on another possible son of Daniel and Margery, born about 1751. This cannot be the same as the unknown son who died in 1765 in Lancaster, as the former was married with children who were born in 1779 and 1787.

There’s a Daniel ZWAUR who signs a petition in Broadbay in 1788. This cannot be Daniel ZWIERS, I, as he died in Lancaster in 1779. It could be his son, my ancestor, Daniel ZWEARS, II who has a 17-year gap between records I’ve found for him as a member of First Church in Lancaster in 1773 and his appearance on the 1790 Federal Census for Dummerston, Windham Co., Vermont.

Unfortunately, Broad Bay Pioneers has no sources cited for its information, according to Nancy, so it’s difficult to determine where the authors got their information and how accurate it is. It does provide me with some possible answers to my questions, especially informing me that there was a settlement of German Protestants in New England at the time my ZWIERSes were living in the area. Maine was considered a part of Massachusetts in those days, and it wasn’t unusual for people to move back and forth between those two areas.

A couple of theories I’ve since developed with this information that will bear further investigation include:

  • 1. My Daniel ZWIERS first came to what is now the U.S. in 1746 on the galley, Ann, to Philadelphia without his wife and children. He worked to save money to bring the rest of the family over, returning to Germany to fetch them, and arriving on the Priscilla in Broad Bay, Maine in 1751. Later, he moved to Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1762, where he lived for the remainder of his days.
  • 2. The Daniel ZWIERS who appears in Philadelphia is not my ancestor, but another immigrant with the same name. My Daniel does not come to America until 1751, arriving in Broad Bay.

This information excites me, because this family is one of my few colonial families that does not already have a published history. It’s much more fun to do the research yourself than to discover that the history has been done to death, as what has happened all-too-frequently in my many Puritan and Pilgrim lines!

P.S. This is only one of two known German ancestral lines that I have. The other is my ENGBRENGHOF line, a family that came from Burgsteinfurt, Westfalen to the province of Friesland, the Netherlands between 1774 and 1778, and married into my DOLSTRA line there in the village of Marrum, municipality of Ferwerderadeel.

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 10

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I posted lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I am continuing this series into the subsequent months. I’ll also list who’s missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

In Part 2 of this series, I presented census information on my paternal grandmother living in the home of her adoptive parents, Alfred Henry HOLST and Nellie May CONCIDINE. Nellie’s parents were both deceased by 1930, although she had a step-mother (Minnie Belle FIELD) and younger half-brother (Everett CONCIDINE), possibly living in California (they are currently missing-in-action in this census). In this post, I will discuss Alfred’s parents, Johann “John” D. HOLST and Ida C. (or Marie) GUSTAVSON, in relation to the 1930 Federal Census.

On April 9, 1930, John and Ida were enumerated (E.D. 28, Sheet 9B) at their home on Center Street in the village of Coopersville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. This is the village in which my father, his siblings, his mother and his uncle grew up, and where one of my aunts and some of my cousins live today. In 1930, all five of John and Ida’s surviving children (they apparently lost two in infancy) were living in the area, with the exception of John, Jr., who lived in Florida.

The household consisted of:

  • John D. Holst; head of household; owner of a home worth $2,000; home not on a farm; male, white, age 69, married; age at marriage: 20; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Germany; parents born in Germany; language spoken before coming to the United States: German; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; works as a janitor at a condensery for wages; employed; not a veteran.
  • Ida C. Holst; wife; female, white, age 68, married; age at marriage: 19; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Sweden; parents born in Sweden; language spoken before coming to the United States: Swedish; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; occupation: none.

According to a local historian, Chris Heimler, the home that John and Ida lived in was actually 468 Center Street, and it had quite a history in and of itself. The house had been a residence for several prominent families in that community. In looking over my notes to write this post, I realized there were some loose ends that needed tying up, and I hope to discover more about this residence and perhaps even obtain photos of it.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census states that John had been born in Hannover, and the 1900 census gives his birthdate as April 1860. Ida, born 28 October 1861 in Sweden, must have immigrated to Germany before her marriage there to John on 6 February 1880. Their son, Alfred, was born in Germany before the young family immigrated in 1883, departing Europe from Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France. They arrived in New York City on 5 July 1883 on the Lessing (go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a photo of the ship). Also aboard was 17-year-old Henriette HOLST, who was listed as being a citizen of Prussia, while John, Ida and Alfred are citizens of Hannover. Holst is a common German name, however, as its meaning is “woods.” I’m keeping an eye out for Henriette to see if she ever shows up in my Holsts’ lives again.

The Holst family first settled in Spring Lake Township, Ottawa County, Michigan, where they were enumerated on the 1884 Michigan State Census. In 1900, they were in Ravenna Township in nearby Muskegon County, and in 1910 and 1920, resided in Sullivan Township, also in Muskegon County. According to John’s obituary, they moved into Coopersville in 1923; it erroneously states they had always lived in Ottawa County since immigration. John enjoyed hunting even into his elder years, and he and Ida celebrated their 50th anniversary in a community-wide event in 1930. She died in 1939; and John died the following year.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 11, Part 12)