Saturday, February 06, 2010

Surname Saturday: TUINSTRA

The surname TUINSTRA is Frisian for "from the garden." Friesland is a province and a ethnic area in the northwest of the Netherlands. My TUINSTRA ancestors were gardeners both before and after their immigration to the United States in 1874. They lived in the Franeker area for many generations; around 1852, they moved to the Sneek area. Franeker and Sneek are cities that were known for their produce and cheese markets respectively, so they must have lived in or near these cities and farmed outside the communities, selling their produce in town.

The TUINSTRAs were a part of a mass migration from Friesland and Groningen provinces to Western Michigan in the mid-nineteenth century which was motivated by religious freedom during the Seceder movement - a group of religious conservatives that seceded from the state-run church. It was also precipitated by the same Northern European potato blight that affected Ireland.

When the TUINSTRAs first arrived in Michigan, they farmed in Wyoming Township, southwest of the city of Grand Rapids. This family was quite large, with many sons; the head of the household, Auke Caspers TUINSTRA, survived at least two of his three wives. A few years after settling in Wyoming Township, they moved to the edge of town on the west side across the Grand River, where it's likely they had quick access to the rural farmland near them. Some of the TUINSTRA family members were produce peddlers, while others ran grocery stores. A florist shop and nursery originally started by one of the TUINSTRA brothers is still in existence in Grand Rapids today.

Stories and History:

The TUINSTRA Family History on my website - includes drawing of the ship on which the family immigrated!

Ahnentafel #416 - Harmen TUINSTRA

Ahnentafel #208 - Auke Harmens TUINSTRA - m. 1784 to Eelkje Kaspers WITTEROUW

Ahnentafel #104 - Caspar Aukes TUINSTRA (1787 - 1864)

Ahnentafel #52 - Auke Caspars TUINSTRA (1818 - 1898) - immigrated to the United States in 1874 with his third wife and children

Ahnentafel #26 - Geert Aukes TUINSTRA (1851 - 1928) - immigrated to the United States in 1874 with his father, step-mother and many siblings - read his AnceStory here

Ahnentafel #13 - Agnes TUINSTRA (1885 - 1921) - read her AnceStory here; a tale of tragedy

Ahnentafel #6 - William VALK (1912 - 1989) - read his AnceStory here

Ahnentafel #3 - my mother

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More about the TUINSTRA family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): TUINSTRA ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Some TUINSTRA obituaries

3. Posts about TUINSTRA ancestors and relatives on this blog

4. My TUINSTRA Virtual Cemetery on Find A Grave

5. The TUINSTRA Mailing List on RootsWeb

My TUINSTRA immigration trail:

Franeker, Friesland, the Netherlands > Sneek, Friesland, the Netherlands > Kent Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA


Diana Ritchie said...

Somehow I've never visited your website with your family history - it's beautiful! What a wealth of information including the drawing of the ship. As they say in the commercials - "Priceless".

Miriam Robbins said...

Thank you, Diana. A number of years ago as I found many of my Dutch immigrant ancestors first in Robert Sweirenga's book and later on Ancestry's immigration database, I decided to see what I could find out about the ships on which they traveled. I found a ton of information online...histories, photographs, info on captains and crews. Hey! that might make a good blog post, now, wouldn't it?!

Herstoryan said...

I mentioned you in my SNGF post! :)

Miriam Robbins said...

Thanks, Herstoryan!