Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy Birthday - March 4

Happy Birthday to:
  • Willemke Gerryts ENGBRENGHOF, my 4th-great-grandmother, whose father, Jan Gerryt Martens ENGBRENGHOF, brought what little German ancestry I have into the family tree. Willemke's mother was Trijntje HESSELS, a Frisian, and daughter of a ship master. Willemke was born on this date in 1788 in the village of Marrum, municipality of Ferwerderadeel, Friesland, the Netherlands, the fifth of 11 children. She married my ancestor Gerrit Hendricks DOLSTRA on 29 June 1806 in Marrum, and they proceeded to have three children, all widely spaced apart. The youngest was my ancestor, Trijntje Gerrits DOLSTRA, who as a widow, emigrated to the United States in 1888 to live with her one surviving child, Tjamme Wiegers "James" VALK. Willemke died 3 September 1843 in Ferwerderadeel, and was buried three days later in the Marrum Churchyard. Although she was buried in Row 30, Grave 5, probably no gravestone exists, as the Dutch custom is to dig up graves after a period of many years, burn the bones, and thus leave room for new burials (in the Netherlands, land is at premium). One can pay more to have a loved ones' body buried for a much longer time before the necessary unearthing and subsequent cremation. In Willemke's case, her family must have been indigent, as the deacons' fund paid for her burial.

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