Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Ikea Effect -- Dutch and Ostfries in Illinois

Picking up where we left off last week... So, Sipke Zorgdrager went to Illinois in 1868 because his sister and brother-in-law had gone the previous year and, presumably, sent back good reports. Of course, the next question is, why did Foppe de Graaf and Jantje Zorgdrager settle at Ridott?

The answer to that question is simple enough. Several Terschelling families had settled in Illinois in 1865. They included Winterberg, A. A. Roos, C. C. Schaap, L. H. Smit, C. Naber, H. P. Kooyman
J. A. Roos, C. R. Buren, and W. W. Brower. Arjen and Jan Roos were brothers. This group appears to be the first significant batch of Terschellingers to leave the island for the Illinois prairie. But, why did they go to Illinois?

The key figure is Winterberg. He was Hendrik Fredrick Theodore Winterberg, a 32 year-old hoofdonderweizer (headmaster). Hendrik Winterberg, a native of Hengelo in the eastern Netherlands province of Overijssel, married Ikea Dirks Ammerman 22 May 1862. You might remember that my great-grandfather Sipke Zorgdrager married Tryntje de Vries exactly one week earlier -- Sipke's marriage registration was no. 9 in 1862; the Winterberg marriage was no. 10.

That is quite a coincidence, but what really matters for this story is what the marriage registration tells about Ikea Ammerman. It recorded that Ikea was born at "Bunder Baulande, ook genaamd Bunderhei, in Hanover" --  Bunder Baulande also known as Bunderhei in Hanover, Germany. It turns out that a handful of Ostfriesen families had emigrated from Germany to the Stephenson County area by 1860. Among the 1864 immigrants arriving at New York on the Bremen was Wubbe Dirks Ammerman -- Ikea's brother. (It is not certain where he settled originally, but he was in Stephenson County in 1880.) This, no doubt, explains why Hendrik Winterberg and Ikea set out for Stephenson County.
S.S. Bremen passenger manifest, New York, 1964
The 1870 census of Ridott and Germany Valley townships found Dutch, including Sipke Zorgdrager, living among families from Hannover and "Os. Friesland." Terschelling is only about a hundred miles down the coast from Ostfriesland (East Friesland), so it should probably not be surprising that the Terschellingers and Ostfries had connections of some sort -- perhaps fishing or some other kind of commerce. The key may have been religion. In 1829, a young Ostfries dominie (minister) was called to the Midsland church on Terschelling. Marten Geerds Polman served at Midsland until his retirement in 1869. Ikea Ammerman was his niece; she had probably come to Terschelling to keep house for her uncle.

Most of the Illinois and Iowa Terschellingers came from the middle part of the island -- Midsland and the small hamlets of Kinnum and Landerum. The first 14 men to leave in 1865 and 1867 were married, with children. After the initial departures, the migrants were a mix of families and single men. The 1868 departures included 11 families and seven single men. The emigrants almost certainly all knew each other. Many were closely related -- often brothers, sisters, or in-laws. Many of them eventually ended up in Sioux County in far northwest Iowa, where my Dutch roots are sunk.

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