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Notes on Reitsma Family Compiled from Old Letters and Mourning Cards

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  • Title  Notes on Reitsma Family Compiled from Old Letters and Mourning Cards 
    Short Title  Netherlands - Reitsma History 
    Author  Miedema-de Haas, Wietske 
    Publisher  August, 2007 
    Source ID  S59 
    Text  Translation of notes by Wietske Miedema - de Haas

    Sources : Old letters and mourning cards

    -Hielke Wijbrens Reitsma, born 1868, passed away in Beetgum, 7 December 1944, 76 years old
    -Hylkje Reitsma, born 1871, passed away in Minnertsga, 4 May 1953
    -Sietske Reitsma, born 1872, passed away 4 March 1953 in Beetgumermolen, 77 years old
    -Renske Reitsma, born 1881, no further information
    -Andries Reitsma, no further information

    In an old letter I find an exchange of thoughts of a Meindert Reitsma (passed away, 24 August 1944, in Berlikum, 28 years old). I cannot trace his name. Nor is Sybe Reitsma well known by me.

    It was not the Father of Renske (Rena) who died, but the Mother. The two eldest girls did the housekeeping : Beppe Hike (our grandma Hylkje) and muoike (aunt) Sietske. I heard of Beppe that Sietske was 10 or 11 years old. When Father Wiebren remarried with a wife with children, his children went out of the home. Her children stayed in the family, and together there came other children. (Andrys, Sybe ? and Renske went to the orphanage "Neerbosch" in the Nijmegen area.

    From a "Christian Encyclopedia", 1960 :

    De van Lindenhoutstichtingen "Neerbosch ", are institutes for orphans, initiated by Johannes van Lindenhout in 1863. This was the beginning of the present village of orphans, with two basic schools, workplaces wwhere boys could learn all kinds of trades and a printing business. The number of pupils is about 300.

    From a letter, dated 31 March 1891 from Beetgum and signed by Sake Blok, written to Hylkje, I read that the oldest boy Hielke, then 23 years old, and Sietske, 15 years old, live in his house. They call him "uncle" (and "aunt"). These people have also children of their own. Ik the same letter Beppe Hike is assured, that she is ready to depart to the "New World", they always will think of her, and speak of her. And if Beppe arrives in the "New World", she must send her address. Also one can read in this letter that Beppe (Hylkje) got a postcard from the family Brul, that they arrived well (in America). Beppe may come to her employer, the Brul - family. She goes by boat, and is then 20 years old. The letter is signed by Sake Blok, in the name of Hielke, Sietske, uncle, aunt and the children.

    The letter also writes about a brother and sister in "Neerbosch". These are Renske and Andries. In a letter of Andries, from 9 August 1890, Andries writes that Renske and he are in good health. He also writes that he got a letter from Hylkje, and that 's why he now writes back. The rules in Neerbosch are : "Who receives a letter may write back. To a maximum of 12 letters a year".

    In a letter from Harlingen, dated October 1891, writes W. van de Berg, that 2 letters arrived from Hylkje in the New World at the Boonstra family, the place where she had serves, before she departed to America. Van de Berg asks if she likes it with the Brul - family and asks also if Hylkje will write back.

    29 February 1892 a friend of Hylkje, M. Knoll writes that she will answer the letter of Hylkje, that she received a year before. She had learned that it went not well with Hylkje, but writes the friend : Trust God, He is a Father of orphans, and He will take care of you

    9 April 1894 this friend writes that they will see each other soon, because Hylkje decided to return to Friesland (Netherlands). 21 April Hylkje receives a letter from Red Bluff from Mrs. Brul, who activated Hylkje for a visit that she will pay in Cooning. Mirs Brul stays affectionate to Beppe (Hylkje).

    Now the letter from America (Anne Mamya).

    It was not the Father, but the Mother who died. Renske and Andries were together in Neerbosch, in the Nijmegen - area. Renske was the youngest of the three girls. The eldest girl, Hylkje emigrated. She left the Brul - family because these people could not pay her anymore. In the Netherlands this family was no farmer, and when they bought in the New World land, it appeared to be no fertile soil. They went bankrupt.

    (I remember that Beppe Hike told that she had asked a day off, and then went out for another job and found.) It may have been as a waitress, because she told that she was afraid of niggers and Chinese people. Just the Germans were OK.) Back in Friesland, in 1894, she married Tjibbele Baukes Miedema. She had a daughter Sijke, 1899 and a son Bauke, 1909 (our Father). They had a small farm in Minnertsga, that was continued by Bauke till 1974. After that Bauke and his wife, Iebeltje moved to Bergum in Friesland.
    Daughter Sijke married to Wieger de Jong. They lived in Leeuwarden (the capital of Friesland), and later in Ede, Holland. They had 3 children : Wiebren, Theo and Jantje Hylkje.

    There exists a letter (without date) wherein I read a number of complaints of the way of treating the children in Neerbosch by the Boss. (Mr. Lindenhout.) And Hylkje is asked to return to Friesland.

    Citate :

    Sister, would you have thought that Mr. Lindenhout was so, I not, I thought that such a godfearing man, would take care well for orphans. But that was not so sis, your heart would break, if yousspeak about these things. It is not well that we are so seperated at the moment. Our Mother is buried in Dokkum, our Father in Berlikum, and you There. But I hope that the day will come that we may be together. If you come back, then we will be together with five as Brothers and Sisters in Friesland.

    She concludes : I beg you sis, come back Greetings from aunt and uncle.

    End citate.

    I wonder if Renske was ill - treated in that orphanage. In those times corporal punishments were more in use, and it were other times than now

    Linked to  Hielke Wijbrens Reitsma
    Hylkje Reitsma
    Sietske Reitsma 

  •  Notes 
    • Tjibbele Miedema, translator