My Dutch Heritage: Groningen, Netherlands

This page will highlight family tree information on my Dutch ancestry from the province of Groningen in the Netherlands as part of the Wisteria genealogy blog. Surnames include Bolhuis, DeVries, Timmer and Westerhof. Contact me at daylight398 (at) gmail (dot) com for references.

Kornelis Bolhuis was born in Winsum in the Groningen province of the Netherlands on 17 November 1859. His parents were Johannes Kornelis Bolhuis and Aaltje Egberts DeVries who were married on 8 March 1855 in Adorp, Groningen. Kornelis was the youngest of three and the only son born to this union. He had two older sisters, Martje Bolhuis born 17 March 1855 and Pieterke Bolhuis born 4 April 1856. All of the children were born in Winsum.

History tells of a world-wide pandemic of cholera in the year 1866. The country of Netherlands alone lost 20,000 lives. It was probably this pandemic that brought tragedy to the Bolhuis family in July of the year. On 15 July 1866, the father, Johannes Bolhuis, died in Winsum. The next day, young Martje died at age 11. The following day, on the mother Aaltje’s 34th birthday, 10-year-old Pieterke died. Less than a week later on the 23rd of July, Aaltje died as well.

Kornelis was not quite seven years old at the time. He may have been raised by his paternal aunt, Wilmina Bolhuis, who married Jan Habbes Diephuis. Wilmina and Jan had two children, Kornelis Diephuis, born in 1844 and Pieterke Diephuis born in 1851. Wilmina had given birth to three older children, including a set of twins, in the late 1830s to 1840s who died young. Kornelis had other older cousins through his uncle Lambertus Bolhuis as well, although his uncle died in 1860, when Kornelis was just a few months old. Lambertus Bolhuis was married to Arentje Evenhuis, the daughter of Meerten Evenhuis and Annechje DeVries. Annechje was the aunt of Kornelis’ mother, Aaltje DeVries, so Arentje and Aaltje were cousins. Therefore the children of Lambertus and Arentje were cousins of Kornelis on his father’s side, and second cousins on his mother’s side.

On 16 May 1881 in Middelstum, Groningen, Kornelis married Maike Zijlstra. The witness to this
Kornelis Bolhuis & Maike Zylstra
marriage was
K. Diephuis who was probably Kornelis’ cousin. Maike was born in Toornwerd, Groningen province on 10 March 1853 to Gerrit Klasen Zijlstra and Wientje Mennes Hogedijk, who were born in the Friesland province of the Netherlands. Together Kornelis and Maike had six children, although the youngest child died when she was about seven months old. Maike herself died the year following the baby’s death on 26 April 1894, leaving Kornelis with five children, the oldest age 12 and the youngest 3.

i.                    Aaltje Bolhuis, born 8 March 1882 Toornwerd, Groningen, Netherlands; married Johannes Philippus Smedes 7 April 1904; died 5 July 1965 in Groningen.
ii.                  Martje (Martha) Bolhuis, born 22 May 1884 Middlestum, Groningen, Netherlands; married John Timmer 14 May 1906 in Stedum, Groningen; died 26 November 1974 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan; buried in Rosedale Memorial Park in Grand Rapids.
iii.                Wientje "Winnie" Bolhuis, born 10 August 1885 Middlestum; married Dick Dyke 15 February 1905 Stedum; died 9 September 1981; buried Georgetown Twp Cemetery, Ottawa County, Michigan.
iv.                Gerrit Bolhuis, born 3 May 1888 Stedum, Groningen, Netherlands; married Berendina Dijkema 14 May 1914 Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan; died 1 February 1965 Hudsonville, Ottawa County, Michigan; buried Georgetown Twp Cemetery, Ottawa County, Michigan.
v.                   Johanna Bolhuis, born 26 December 1890 Stedum; married Martin DeVries; died 29 September 1980, Hudsonville, Ottawa County, Michigan; buried Georgetown Twp Cemetery, Ottawa County. (Note: Johanna and Martin were first cousins, one generation removed).
vi.                 Nieske Bolhuis, born 18 November 1892 Stedum; died 10 June 1893 Stedum.

Kornelis later married Anje Haan on 30 April 1898 in Stedum. Anje was born in Huizinga to Sikke Haan and Trijntje Norden. According the descendants, the children loved their stepmother very much. Anje died 4 July 1911 in Stedum.

Kornelis married a third time to Hilje Vos on 28 May 1914. Hilje was the daughter of Pieter Rikkerts Vos and Geertje Vos. Hilje had been married to Pieter Swierenga (Zwierenga) in 1881 and had several children including a daughter, Jantje Swierenga. Pieter Zwierenga died in 1912.

Kornelis died on 12 August 1950 in Stedum just a few months shy of his 90th birthday and was buried there. He had survived two world wars and was a farmhand in Stedum, Groningen Province, Netherlands. Hilje died four years later in Appingedam.

According to kin related to the Timmer family in the Netherlands, Kornelis advised his children to leave Europe to emigrate to America. All but the oldest daughter did so. Family here stated that after Martha's marriage to John Timmer in 1906 (they met while working on the same farm), they emigrated to the United States for their honeymoon with Martha's brother and sisters. A check of the online Ellis Island records showed that John and Martha arrived in America on 5 June 1906 on the ship called Ryndam, from the town of Stedum in the Netherlands. Martha's brother Gerrit Bolhuis and sister Johanna Bolhuis were also listed on the ship's manifest. A record of Winnie's immigration was not readily located, either by her maiden name or married name. The 1930 Census for Georgetown Township in Ottawa County, Michigan indicates that Dick and Winnie emigrated in 1908.
John (Johannes) Timmer was born 5 August 1879 to Hendrik Timmer and Frouke Westerhof of Stedum. Luitje Timmer, Hendrik’s older brother married Emke Westerhof who was Frouke’s sister. Emke and Frouke were the daughters of Tomas Alberts Westerhof and Trientje Pieters Smedinga who were married in Kantens, Groningen 6 August 1831. Luitje and Hendrik were the sons of Jan Luitjes Timmer and Jantje Bernardus Kieft who were married in Ten Boer, Groningen on 4 October 1836.

Luitje Timmer and Emke Westerhof’s youngest daughter Jantje Timmer married Arend Compaan. Arend and Jantje had a son named Luitje Compaan born in 1899. Luitje Compaan later married Jantje Swierenga, the daughter of Pieter Swierenga and Hilje Vos in Stedum in 1926. Hilje’s second husband was Kornelis Bolhuis, John Timmer’s father-in-law.

Hendrik and Frouke were married 4 June 1870 in Middelstum, Groningen. Frouke had a child named Thomas who was born in Ten Boer on 4 October 1863. Years later, family in the Netherlands related that his father was a farmer. He took the Timmer name.

Hendrik and Frouke went on to have five more children, although only three survived childhood.

i.                    Thomas Timmer, born 4 October 1863 Ten Boer, Groningen; married Imke van der Laan 17 December 1887 Stedum; died 25 June 1937 Stedum.
ii.                  Jantje Timmer, born 29 December 1873 in Westerdijkshorn (Bedum), Groningen, NL; died there 30 July 1874.
iii.                Jantje Timmer, born 8 May 1875, Westerwijtwerd, Netherlands; married Eltje Olthof 7 November 1896 Stedum; died 27 June 1963.
iv.                 Jan Timmer, born October 23, 1876, Westerwijtwerd, Netherlands; died there 27 June 1877.
v.                   Johannes “John” Timmer, born 5 August 1879, Westerwijtwerd; married Martha Bolhuis 14 May 1906; died 18 September 1959 Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan; buried in Rosedale Memorial Park in Grand Rapids.
vi.                 Trientje Timmer, born July 03, 1883 Sint Annen, Groningen; married Geert Vegter May 23, 1907 Stedum; died 5 August 1949.

(Copyright (c) 2017 Dawn Westfall)