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!

Online Dutch Genealogy Resources

Henk van Kampen over at Trace Your Dutch Roots is starting a new series of posts on online Dutch genealogy resources. Although for years I’ve been using many of the websites that Henk will probably be featuring, I am looking forward to his series immensely. Having the perspective of being a native Nederlander, he has insight to resources that might otherwise be missed by those of us descended from Dutch immigrants. Every time he posts something new on his blog, I learn a little more. I’m sure he’ll also feature sites and resources I have never heard of before. If you have Dutch roots, you won’t want to miss a single article!

Online Dutch Genealogy Resources

Henk van Kampen over at Trace Your Dutch Roots is starting a new series of posts on online Dutch genealogy resources. Although for years I’ve been using many of the websites that Henk will probably be featuring, I am looking forward to his series immensely. Having the perspective of being a native Nederlander, he has insight to resources that might otherwise be missed by those of us descended from Dutch immigrants. Every time he posts something new on his blog, I learn a little more. I’m sure he’ll also feature sites and resources I have never heard of before. If you have Dutch roots, you won’t want to miss a single article!

A Thanksgiving Hymn

Featured in the November 24th Edition of Terry Thornton’s “Harvest from the Blog Garden” at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi.

We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His Kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side; all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

This hymn, traditionally sung during the Thanksgiving season, is an old Netherlands folks song translated by Theodore Baker. The tune that is used is “Kremser,” an old Netherlands melody in The Collection, by Adrianus Valerius, 1625. It has been my favorite Thanksgiving hymn since I was about 6 or 7 years old, when my father explained to me the story behind the hymn, as a part of the Dutch heritage and cultural lessons he and my mother taught me at home. Those were the basis of my love for history and genealogy today. I remember singing this song a cappella for show and tell at school in second grade.

During the Eighty Years’ War (a war of independence) between Spain and what would become the United Provinces of the Netherlands, the inland city of Leiden–among others–was besieged by Spanish troops from May through October 1574. People were starving, and although the Dutch had ships of food to relieve the citizens, there was no way to get the supplies past the Spanish troops. The Dutch then sacrificed their land by cutting the dikes, flooding the area outside the city along with the Spanish encampments, so that the ships could sail in and provide sustenance and relief to the city. The hymn above was written to give thanks to God for His Providence during this war.

Because of the cruel persecution the Calvinistic Dutch people suffered at the hand of the Catholic Spanish, the Netherlands became a place of refuge for the religiously oppressed. It says much of the tolerant Netherlanders that they did not become consumed with hatred for Catholicism, and thus did not become a country of violence and strife as we see in Northern Ireland today. Those southern Dutch provinces which remained loyal to Catholicism eventually–and peacefully–became the country of Belgium. The city of Leiden became a host for the English Separatists, who we know today as the Pilgrims. They lived there from about 1608 until the majority left for America in 1620. Some of the family members remained behind until the colony was established, arriving on later ships.

As we know with history, each event was inspired and created by many others. While there were many early European groups in North America that celebrated some sort of thanksgiving event, our modern Thanksgiving holiday is most closely aligned with the one that took place in 1621 by the Pilgrims. Their arrival on this continent was an important historical event in the timeline of our country. Yet if not for the city of Leiden, its successful stand against the Spanish in 1574, and its place as a haven for the religiously oppressed, we may not be celebrating Thanksgiving today.

A Thanksgiving Hymn

Featured in the November 24th Edition of Terry Thornton’s “Harvest from the Blog Garden” at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi.

We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His Kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side; all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

This hymn, traditionally sung during the Thanksgiving season, is an old Netherlands folks song translated by Theodore Baker. The tune that is used is “Kremser,” an old Netherlands melody in The Collection, by Adrianus Valerius, 1625. It has been my favorite Thanksgiving hymn since I was about 6 or 7 years old, when my father explained to me the story behind the hymn, as a part of the Dutch heritage and cultural lessons he and my mother taught me at home. Those were the basis of my love for history and genealogy today. I remember singing this song a cappella for show and tell at school in second grade.

During the Eighty Years’ War (a war of independence) between Spain and what would become the United Provinces of the Netherlands, the inland city of Leiden–among others–was besieged by Spanish troops from May through October 1574. People were starving, and although the Dutch had ships of food to relieve the citizens, there was no way to get the supplies past the Spanish troops. The Dutch then sacrificed their land by cutting the dikes, flooding the area outside the city along with the Spanish encampments, so that the ships could sail in and provide sustenance and relief to the city. The hymn above was written to give thanks to God for His Providence during this war.

Because of the cruel persecution the Calvinistic Dutch people suffered at the hand of the Catholic Spanish, the Netherlands became a place of refuge for the religiously oppressed. It says much of the tolerant Netherlanders that they did not become consumed with hatred for Catholicism, and thus did not become a country of violence and strife as we see in Northern Ireland today. Those southern Dutch provinces which remained loyal to Catholicism eventually–and peacefully–became the country of Belgium. The city of Leiden became a host for the English Separatists, who we know today as the Pilgrims. They lived there from about 1608 until the majority left for America in 1620. Some of the family members remained behind until the colony was established, arriving on later ships.

As we know with history, each event was inspired and created by many others. While there were many early European groups in North America that celebrated some sort of thanksgiving event, our modern Thanksgiving holiday is most closely aligned with the one that took place in 1621 by the Pilgrims. Their arrival on this continent was an important historical event in the timeline of our country. Yet if not for the city of Leiden, its successful stand against the Spanish in 1574, and its place as a haven for the religiously oppressed, we may not be celebrating Thanksgiving today.

DeVRIES-BOS Marriage License & Certificate of Marriage

One of the geneabloggers I truly admire is Steve Danko, who is working towards his certification as a professional genealogist. He posts the records he’s researching on his blog and cites each one according to the high standards set forth by the professional genealogical community. Because I have just recently received another package of documents and photos relating to my DeVRIES and HOEKSTRA families–way too much to scan in just a couple of Scanfest settings–I thought I would follow Steve’s example somewhat and just scan and post a record every day or so from this treasure trove. For obvious privacy reasons, items pertaining to living persons and some recently-deceased persons will not be shared here.

Below are the obverse and reverse images of the marriage license and certificate of marriage for my (step) great-grandparents, George DeVRIES and Josephine BOSS.


(click on image to see full size)

No. 7505 1911

KENT COUNTY, MICHIGAN

Marriage License

To Any Person Legally Authorized to Solemnize Marriage–GREETINGS:

MARRIAGE MAY BE SOLEMNIZED BETWEEN

Mr. GEORGE De VRIES and M[iss] JOSEPHINE BOSS

Affidavit having been filed in this office, as provided by Act 128, Laws of 1887, as amended, by which it appears that said George De Vries is 24 years of age, color is White, residence is Grand Rapids, Michigan and birthplace was Netherlands, Eu., occupation is Machine Hand[,] father’s name Ben De Vries and mother’s maiden name was Adriana Wieringa has been previously married no times, and that said Josephine Boss is 26 years of age, color is White[,] residence is Grand Rapids, Michigan and birthplace was Michigan[,] occupation is Domestic[,] father’s name Millard Boss and mother’s maiden name was Kate Sigteman [sic] and who has been previously married no times, and whose maiden name was [blank] and whose [blank] consent, in case she has not attained the age of eighteen years, has been filed in my office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto attached my hand and the seal of the Circuit Court of Kent
County, Michigan, this 11th day of May A.D. 1911
RALPH A. MOSHER[,] County Clerk
By Rob’t G. Hill[,] Deputy Clerk

Certificate of Marriage

Between Mr. George De Vries and M[iss] Josephine Boss
I Hereby Certify that in accordance with the above License the persons herein mentioned were joined in marriage by me at Grand Rapids[,] County of Kent, Michigan, on the 11th day of May A.D. 1911 in the presence of J. Hoogstra of Grand Rapids,Mich. [sic] and J. Doll of Coopersville, Mich. as witnesses.

L. Veltkamp
Name of Magistrate of Clergyman
Clergyman
Official Title


(click on image to see full size)

STATE OF MICHIGAN} ss.
County of Kent }

I, Lewis J. Donovan, Clerk of the Circuit Court for said County of Kent, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct transcript of Record of Marriage compared by me with the original, now on record in the office of the Clerk of said County, in Liber #16 of Marriages, page 65, and of the whole of such original record.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and official seal at the city of Grand Rapids, in said county, this 25th day of May[,] one thousand nine hundred and fifty four.

LEWIS J. DONOVAN, Clerk

By Claude L. Barkley [signed], Deputy

This was originally in the papers of my (step) grandfather, Adrian DeVRIES. It was apparently obtained by him in 1954, although for what purpose, I’m not sure. Perhaps he was assisting his father, George DeVRIES, with legal or financial matters, and this document was needed. This time period (1954) was between the years that Josephine died in 1946, and George’s death in 1959. This is a photocopy; the original certificate remains in the possession of my uncle. The citation would read (according to my RootsMagic software): “Kent County Marriage Liber 16: Page 65, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan.”

Because I am very familiar with Michigan marriage records, I know that this record was copied and typed onto a certificate in 1954 from information handwritten into liber 16, page 65, record 7505, and that it may not have been recorded in that marriage liber until up to a year after the marriage took place (1911). In turn, that recording of c. 1911 – 1912 would have been copied from the marriage return that the clergyman, L. Veltkamp, would have had to submit to the county clerk. The type of license and certificate shown in this record were not actually used until later in the century. They are used here to record the information from the liber in a convenient format. Thus, this official document is not necessarily a primary one, as the original written information has been copied twice: from the marriage return to the marriage liber, and from the marriage liber to the certificate.

One thing I noticed were the anglicized versions of the various individuals’ Dutch and Frisian names. George DeVRIES was originally named Jarig Egbert Binnes DeVRIES, which when anglicized, becomes George Edward Benjamin DeVRIES; although the “Binnes” translates more correctly to “Ben’s son” or “Benson”. Josephine BOSS was originally named Johanna BOS. “BOSS” is an alternate spelling; it’s the only time I’ve seen the family name spelled this way. Her name was later anglicized to Josephine BUSH. Her father, named Millard BOSS here, was originally Melle BOS, and her mother Kate SIGTE(R)MAN, was originally Trientje ZIGTERMAN. SIGTERMAN was also spelled SICHTERMAN in the U.S. George’s parents, Ben DeVRIES and Adriana WIERINGA, were originally Binnes Jarigs DeVRIES and Adriaantje (sometimes spelled Adriaantze) WIERINGA.

The “J. HOOGSTRA” that appears as a witness would likely have been George’s stepfather, John HOOGSTRA. I do not know who J. DOLL is; perhaps a friend of Josephine’s. I haven’t yet come across a cousin or other relative of either the bride or groom with that surname. Both the BOS and ZIGTERMAN families had at one time or another lived in or near Coopersville, in neighboring Ottawa County.

There will be much more forthcoming on the DeVRIES (and related) families.