Those are my two main Dutch lines. My grandfather was the son of an immigrant from the Rhine delta are south of Rotterdam. My grandmother was the daughter of immigrants from Terschelling, a narrow sandspit of an island off the coast of Friesland.
Terschelling had a long sailing history, including whaling and exploration. The famous Arctic maritime explorer Willem Barents was from Terschelling. He died in 1597 during the sail home from Novaya Zemblya after being stranded there over the winter. As you can imagine, he was not the only zeeman to not come home to Terschelling from the stormy North Sea.
This may explain the origin of the Zorgdrager name. In Nederlands, een zorg is a care or a worry, perhaps even a sorrow. The verb dragen means to carry or suffer something. So, there you have it: a Zorgdrager is a bearer of sorrow -- perhaps for a zeeman who didn't come home.
Three Zorgdrager brothers -- Sipke Pieters, Andries Pieters, and Jan Pieters -- emigrated to North America, eventually all settling in northwest Iowa. Their elderly father joined them sometime in the early 1880s.
The name gave American census-takers some trouble. While it's not always clear if the informant gave a variant spelling of the name, the enumerator wrote it down incorrectly, or the enumerator just had bad penmanship, the name has been indexed a variety of ways: Syadager, Zorganager, Zorggedrazar, Zorgdragar, and even Gorgedrager.
|Andries Sorgdrager, Alton, Iowa|
In census indexes, the name seems to flip back and forth from Z to S.
- 1870, Hardin County, Iowa -- "Anchises Sorgadrane"
- 1880, Sioux County, Iowa -- "Andrew Qoryedruger"
- 1885, Sioux County, Iowa -- "Andries P. Zorggedrazar"
- 1900, Sioux County, Iowa -- "Andrew Zorgedrag"
|Ancestry.com index and manuscript, Sioux County, IA, 1880 U.S. Census|