Monday, June 9, 2014

The S.S. Noordam

My great grandpa Lawrence (Laas) Broersma left his home in the Netherlands when he was 19, for the USA. I wonder what life would have been like to make him leave his home and move to another country? I think even today it's a big deal to move overseas, but he did it in a day when you still had to take a boat.

Here is a page from his passport. As you can see his hair was dark blond, his eyes were blue and his nose was normal, so that's good.

Laas Broersma Passport

His family was very poor, and at the time (1920) they were living in the city of Sneek where Lawrence was working as a barber, and lived not far from the famous waterport.

WaterPoort in Sneek ca 1950?

His brother Thys had already moved to America to Iowa, and so Lawrence followed a few years later. I wonder if Jack was doing really well there, or if Lawrence thought that America would be the land of opportunity as so many thought? In Iowa there are a number of Dutch communities, so the transition would have been some what easy I would imagine. I don't know if he could speak English at that time.

He left from the port of Rotterdam on 9 June 1920, and then passed through Ellis Island on 21 June. Here is the passenger list with his name. I cropped it because his name was all the way at the bottom.

Ellis Island - Broersma Laas crop

So he would have been on the ship for a good week and a half. I wonder how much passage would have cost? He crossed 8 years after the Titanic sank, but his ship I'm sure was not as luxurious. I looked up a little history on the ship he came over on, the Noordam, and it was in service from 1902 til 1927. Apparently during WWI it had hit a mine or 2 on a couple occasions and was in the shipyard for a while. Also, according to Wikipedia, the Noordam had alerted the Titanic to ice early on in Titanic's maiden voyage.

Recently I was looking on Ebay and bought a postcard of the ship. Someone else had written on the back and it was dated 1910. There are many versions of this same picture, but I liked this one because it had windmills in the background. They may have been painted in the background to make it look more Dutch.

Noordam Postcard ca 1910

I had found another nice postcard and framed it and gave it to my dad for Christmas. In this one you can see that the ship looks very similar, but it's been colorized and the flags are flying in a different direction. Also It looks like there are some more life boats, probably as a result of the Titanic. The note written on the back says this was mailed in 1916.

Noordam

Anyway, I thought it was cool to imagine a little bit of what the journey would have been like, and these pieces helped put the story together a little for me.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014 - 4 Generations

4 Gen Mothers Day 2014

Elva Charlotte (Swanson) Earls (b. 1916)
Lillian Bernice (Earls) Wisner (b. 1948)
Sandee Denise (Wisner) Broersma (b. 1975)
Natalie Kate Broersma (b. 2005)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

William & Susan Morey

Today is William Nelson Morey and Susan Amanda Greene's 149th wedding anniversary. I know it's not as cool as the big sesquicentennial, but I wanted an excuse to show off some photos that I found of them. I was never expecting to find any, but while visiting my wife's great aunt's house I came across some.

William and Susan were married on March 15, 1865. These photos of them were labeled on the back saying they were taken in 1865, so probably for their wedding. On a side note, my guess is that these are probably copies as I would expect photos of this age to be tin-type or something.

1865 William N Morey  1865 Susan Amanda (Greene) Morey

Also, with these 2 photos was another one. This one is of the entire Morey family from probably around 1882. They had 6 children total with one dying in 1874 and another dying in 1882. This picture shows 5 children, so it must be from around 1881 or 1882.

William N Morey Family ca 1882

The children in the photo are:
Nellie Hannah (1866-1959)
Edward Henry (1870-1935)
Martha Cornelia (1876-1939)
Mary Etta (1877-1882)
Charlotte Amanda (1879-1949)
*Not in the photo - John F (1867-1874)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Common Ancestor

My grandparents, Lloyd and Catherine Broersma are 5th cousins. That means that they have the same 4th great grandparents. My grandparents were married in 1951. 183 years before their marriage, their common ancestors were married on 5 March 1768, in Paesens in the Netherlands. Their names were Sybe Jans de Jong and Dieuwke Dirks.

I recently got to visit the church that they were married in, in Paesens. It was built sometime in the 13th century originally as a Catholic church. Later during the Protestant reformation in the 16th century, most churches in Friesland were converted to the Dutch Reformed church.

Paesens Church

The church is still in use today and I got the chance to go inside and look around. It has been remodeled inside, but still has a traditional look similar to what would have been over the centuries.

Paesens Church Inside

I thought it was pretty cool to see where these two family lines met in history. Another interesting thing was that on the wall it had the names of the pastors of this church through the years. So in 1768 the pastor who married my 6th great grandparents would have been Jan Adam Kesler.

Paesens Pastors      Paesens Pastors 2

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hattem Gemeentehuis

Last summer when I was visiting the Netherlands with my dad, we stopped in the city of Hattem cause that's where some of the ancestors on my mom's side were from (the de Haans). While we were there we had to find the county building located there. My dad had remembered seeing it in a postcard that we had. This is probably from the 40s maybe? There was no date.

Hattem Gemeentehuis

It's where people go to register their marriage and births of children and stuff. Here is what it looked like in 2013. It kinda looks like it's made out of LEGOs, with the alternating red and white bricks.

Hattem Gemeentehuis 2013