The surname DOLSTRA is of Frisian origin. The Frisians are an ethnic minority who live in the north of the Netherlands, mainly in the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. The suffix -stra means "from" or "of"; however, I have not been able to determine what the root word, dol, means. There seem to be very few families with this surname in either the Netherlands or the United States. It would be interesting to learn more about the origins of this surname.
Stories and History:
Ahnentafel #392 - Gerrit (dates unknown) - this is the earliest known ancestor of this line. He probably did not use the surname DOLSTRA at all, as most surnames were not taken until 1811, when Napoleon, who ruled the Netherlands, required the Dutch to register their family names. Before this, especially in Friesland, most families used patronyms. The only way I know about this man is that his son used the patronym, Gerrits.
Ahnentafel #196 - Hendrik Gerrits (dates unknown) - again, I know little about this individual. His name appears as the father of my ancestor, Gerrit Hendriks DOLSTRA, below. His wife was Grietje Douwes.
Ahnentafel #98 - Gerrit Hendriks DOLSTRA (c. 1782 - 1838) - although I don't know this man's birthplace, it likely was in the municipality of Ferwerderadeel, Friesland. On 29 June 1806, he married Willemke Gerryts ENGBRENGHOF (1788 - 1843) in Marrum in Ferwerderadeel. At the time, he was living in Jubbega, Schoterland (now Heerenveen), Friesland. They had at least three daughters, only one surviving past young adulthood. In 1811, Gerrit registered the surname DOLSTRA in Marrum. Gerrit died in Ferwerderadeel and was buried in the Marrum Churchyard, as was Willemke, five years later.
Ahnentafel #49 - Trijntje Gerrits DOLSTRA (1826 - 1912) - born Ferwerderadeel, she is the only known child of her parents to survive young adulthood. On 23 May 1857 in Ferwerderadeel, she married Wieger Tjammes VALK. They had three sons, but like her own parents, only one child survived young adulthood. This was her son Tjamme "James" Wiegers VALK, who emigrated to the US in 1882 with his fiancée. Trijntje remained behind with her husband and helped raise his nephew, Tjamme Hendriks VALK. After Wieger's death in 1888, Trijntje immigrated to Rock Island, Illinois to live with her son and his wife. They later moved to Western Michigan, living first in Ottawa County and later in Kent County on the outskirts of Grand Rapids. Trijntje died there in Walker Township and is buried next to her son and daughter-in-law in Greenwood Cemetery. I have a copy of a photo of Trijntje taken before she left the Netherlands. It is a favorite, as she is wearing traditional Dutch dress:
Ahnentafel #12 - William James VALK - (1886 - 1950) - fathered 16 children between two marriages (only 12 survived infancy), plus raised a stepson
Ahnentafel #6 - William ("Bill") VALK - (1912 - 1989) - my paternal grandfather, WWII veteran
Ahnentafel #3 - my mother (living)
Ahnentafel #1 - myself
More About the DOLSTRA Family:
1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): DOLSTRA ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)
2. Some DOLSTRA obituaries [on website - scroll down the page a bit from this link]
3. Posts about DOLSTRA ancestors and relatives on this blog
My DOLSTRA Immigration Trail:
Schoterland (now Heerenveen), Friesland, the Netherlands > Ferwerderadeel, Friesland, the Netherlands > Rock Island Co., IL > Ottawa Co., MI > Kent Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA