Saturday, June 17, 2006

Photos from the WIERSMA family home towns

A distant cousin, Leslie Coulson, recently visited the home towns of our WIERMSA ancestors in the municipality of Wonseradeel, Friesland, the Netherlands. She sent me a photo of the old church where our ancestors worshipped, were baptized, married, and buried, and included a nice shot of some WIERSMA relatives' graves.
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Anonymous said...

i am a wiersma also. my dad and his family came to australia from Oostem, friesland. Its all very interesting

Bernard Huizenga said...

I am also of Frisian descent.

Did you notice that the city limit sign had the spelling two ways. That is because the province of Friesland has bilingual signs everywhere to struggle to preserve the Frisian language (a very old language that preceded Dutch and is not unlike Chaucerian English) even though the Dutch name is above the Frisian. My parents spoke Fries (mostly to conceal information from us children) even though they were born in this country. They lived in or near Friesland, WI which still has 3rd generation descendants of Frisian immigrants speaking Fries. (This phenomenon has been studied by a Dutch linguistics professor named Jaap van Marle from Open University, Heeerlen, Limburg, NL) My mother would have only been able to communicate with her father who spoke only Fries and Dutch his entire life. He was a farm laborer who never learned to drive, rarely left the farm except for church which was in Dutch. My father had to learn Fries in first grade in order to speak to his classmates at recess time. My cousins in the Netherlands tell me they learn Fries at home, Dutch in school, at begin English, French and German at about 12 years of age. Dutch is their second language and English their third.

One other fact about the church cemeteries in Friesland. Graves are only maintained for the first 50 years, unless a living relative is willing to pay the maintenance fees and if they can find a living relative. If you are looking for the graves of ancestors who died more than 50 years ago, good luck.

Bernie Huizenga
Palmyra, WI