When I began tracing my mother’s ancestry, I was fortunate to still have my grandmother who helped me in the beginning. She was able to share some information about her Katsma family but couldn’t remember where in the Netherlands they had come from. I remember checking the International Genealogical Index for any possible clues and going back to my grandmother and saying that there appear to be a lot of Katsmas in the Friesland area of the Netherlands. “Friesland!” she said, “That’s where my father was born.” From there I happily went about trying to find out more. Researching was a slower process back then before the days of websites such as Genlias and AlleFriezen.
One day several years later, I stopped in to see my grandmother. While there, I noticed a book on her coffee table. “What’s this?” I asked. “Oh,” she said. “I’ve been meaning to tell you about that. My nephew Gerry put together some family history. I knew you’d be interested in it.” Was I ever! The work he had done traced the family back to the late 1600s. Sweet! “Oh, and Gerry’s into dollhouses like you are, too,” my grandmother said just before I left with the book in my hand.
I sent a letter to this new cousin whom I had never met. I thanked him for his work and sharing it with my grandmother. At the end I added a “P.S. – I heard you like dollhouses, too, just like me.” We exchanged information by mail and phone for a bit. Then one day he told me he was coming to visit my grandmother and wanted to stop by to meet me in person. We arranged to do so. He told me that he made a dollhouse for me and my girls and was bringing it down! How awesome was that?
In addition, he also painted a miniature oil painting for the dollhouse and also made some wooden items including a three-legged stool. The best part about the stool was the history behind it. The stool was made from the wood of a cherry tree that grew in my great-grandfather’s yard!
|miniature seascape and stool by G. Katsma|