Saturday, July 18, 2009

Surname Saturday: DeVRIES



I have never thought about my mother's step-father as being a step-ancestor. He raised my mother, tried unsuccessfully to adopt her (her biological father wouldn't sign over his parental rights, although he didn't participate much in my mother's life), gave her away at her wedding, and included her equally in his will with his two biological children. My grandfather had six grandchildren (including my brother, who was named for him) and 12 great-grandchildren, only one of all those being his biological offspring between step families and adoptees. Yet just as he was always my mother's Dad, he was always Grandpa and Great-grandpa DeVRIES to all of us. To honor him and to bless my uncle, aunt, and cousins, I have researched his ancestry. After all, the DeVRIES family history directly impacted my own, and it's likely I would not exist if Grandpa hadn't married my grandmother and raised my mother.

Stories and History:

The surname DeVRIES means "the Frisian" and is a descriptive surname signifying that the individual or his family came from the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. Friesland's language and culture is more closely related to that of the English, as they both had the same Anglo-Saxon ancestors. In Europe, the Frisian ethnic group primarily lives in the provinces of Friesland and Groningen in the Netherlands and also in the region of Ostfriesland and district of Nordfriesland in Germany.

Although the surname DeVRIES is more prolific in Western Michigan than SMITH, my particular family line is not related to the majority of the DeVRIESes in that area.

(The letter "C" differentiates between my biological family tree and my step-family tree. I have used the letter "B" to mark my paternal grandmother's adoptive family tree.)

Ahnentafel #192C - Beerent De VRIES (b. c. 1750) - the earliest ancestor I can find in this family; probably lived in Friesland, the Netherlands

Ahnentafel #96C - Egbert Beerents De VRIES (c. 1777 - 1850) - known to have lived in the municipality of Kollumerland, Friesland, the Netherlands

Ahnentafel #48C - Jarig Egberts De VRIES (1813 - 1869) - lived in the villages of Oudwoude and Kollumerzwaag in Kollumerland

Ahnentafel #24C - Binne Jarigs De VRIES (1856 - 1896) - born in Kollumerzwaag, he was a shoemaker, who moved to the municipality of Smallingerland in Friesland. He died young (age 39), leaving a widow and three small children, who moved to the United States probably in an arranged marriage situation.

Ahenentafel #12C - Jarig Binne Egbert DeVRIES (1887 - 1959) - born in the city of Drachten in Smallingerland, he immigrated with his mother and two younger siblings to the United States, the only group of my ancestors to pass through Ellis Island. His name was anglicized to George Benjamin Edward DeVRIES. My mother remembers him pretty well, as he lived with her family shortly before he died.

Ahnentafel #6C - Adrian "Ed" DeVRIES (1916 - 2007) - my beloved grandfather, greatly missed

Ahnentafel #3 - my mother (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More about the DeVRIES family:

1. Online database: DeVRIES and De VRIES ancestors and relatives (database updated monthly; no info on living persons available)

2. Some DeVRIES obituaries

3. Posts about DeVRIES ancestors and relatives on this blog

4. Some scanned DeVRIES documents

5. Some scanned DeVRIES photos

6. My DeVRIES Virtual Cemetery on Find A Grave


My DeVRIES immigration trail:

Kollumerland, Friesland, the Netherlands > Smallingerland, Friesland, the Netherlands > Kent Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA
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