Boerrigter, Jan Antonie

Jan Antonie Boerrigter emigrated to the United States in 1910 from Overijssel. Almost half a century later, he wrote to his aunt and uncle in the Netherlands. He shares much information about his family and is curious about the Netherlands.

The letter

Dutch letter

Transcription

Hickman, Nebraska
13-Jan-’57

Geliefde oom Jan en tante Hanna Martha!

Ongeveer een week geleden kreeg ik een brief van Gait en ik heb hem den volgenden dag terug geschreven. Hij vertelde mij dat je zeer ziek geweest was, maar toch weer beter, toen hij schrefe. Ik hoop dat je nu weer geheel gezond zijt, maar ik weet toch ook wel, als men al helemaal in the 80 is, dan gaat dat niet zoo vlug. Wel, wij beide wenschen u en tante Martha veel heil en zegen in 1957 en dat je door Gods goedheid nog wat gezellige jaren macht leven.

Wij zijn allen zeer goed, maar geloof je wel dat wij ook al een dagje ouder worden. Ik ben al 66, en ik kan het ook wel eens in de botten voelen. Nadat ons huis verbrand is, hebben we een huis in Hickman gekocht en de boerderij verpacht. Wij woonen dicht bij de kerk, 2 minuten loopen, en ook dicht bij een winkel en tegenwoordig nu het weer koud is, blijven we gewoonlijk binnen.

Drie van onze kinder zijn thuis geweest met Kerstfeest, en twee weken eerder zijn wij naar Dakota geweest, waar onze twede meid woont. Die heeft 4 jongens, allen goed gezond en groeien goed. Onze oudste zoon heeft een nieuw huis in Lincoln (de hoofdstad van Nebr.) gebouwd. Hij werkt voor de telephone Co., 16 mijl van hier. Berend en zijn vrouw wonen ook in Lincoln en zijn beide nog wel goed, hun kinderen allen getrouwd. De jongste woont ook in Lincoln, de anderen allemaal andere plaatsen.

Translation

Hickman, Nebraska
13 Jan. ’57

Dear uncle Jan and aunt Hanna Martha!

About a week ago I got a letter from Gait and I wrote him back the next day. He told me that you had been very ill, but got better anyway when he wrote. I hope that you are again entirely in good health, but I know that it doesn’t go as quick anymore once you are in the 80s. Anyway, we both wish you and aunt Martha many blessings in 1957 and hope that Gods kindness will give you many sociable years.

We are all very well, but would you believe that we’re getting a day older as well? I’m already 66, and I can feel it in the bones sometimes. After our house burnt, we bought a house in Hickman and leased out the farm. We live close to the church, 2 minutes walking, and close to a shop too and nowadays as it is so cold we normally stay indoors.

Three of our children came home for Christmas and two weeks before that we went to Dakota where our second girl lives. She’s got 4 boys, all in good health and growing well. Our eldest son has built a new house in Lincoln (the capital of Nebr.). He works for the telephone co., 16 miles from here.

Berend and his wife also live in Lincoln and are both reasonably well, their children all married. The youngest lives in Lincoln as well, the others all live elsewhere.

Dutch letter

Transcription

Onze Henkie en Cato zijn hier een paar dagen geweest dezen zomer, zij brachten Cato’s dochter naar de Univeesitijd, ongeveer 100 mijl van hier. Anton en zijn vrouw zijn wel aardig goed maar soms sukkelen ze wat. Onze Eef en vrouw die zitten helemaal in het midden van den Pacific oceaan op Hawaii, daar heeft hij een zeer goed baantje, met een groote pine-appel co.

Wij hebben hier ongeveer 4 duim sneeuw en het is aardig koud.

Zijn er ook communisten op Nijverdal en ook veel in Ned.? Hoe gaat het met "Advendo"? Is de broedergemeente er nog? Leeft Johan Niemeijer nog en zijn Klaas en Geert Molenaar nog op Nijv.? Staad de Gereformeerde Kerk en de Christelijke school nog en de drukkerij met meester Westra zijn winkel en huis? Ik denk alles zal wel zeer veranderd zijn, misschien kon ik Nijv. heelemaal niet weer kennen. Is Jan Flim (?) nog bakker op de zelfde plaats?

Wel oom Jan ik hoo pdat je mijn vragen eens wilt beantwoorden.

Hopende dat u en tante Martha het maar goed macht houden, en Gode bevolen

van je neef en nicht
Jan en Allene

Translation

Our Henkie and Cato were here for a couple of days during the Summer, they took Cato’s daughter to the University, about 100 miles from here. Anton and his wife are reasonably well but sometimes there health is fickle. Our Eef and wife are all the way in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Hawaii, he has got a very good job there with a large pineapple co.

We have about 4 inch of snow and it is pretty cold.

Are there any communists in Nijverdal and many in Neth.? How goes "Advendo"? Is the community of brothers still there? Is Johan Niemeijer still alive and are Klaas and Geert Molenaar still in Nijv.? Do the Reformed Church and Christian school still stand and the print shop with teacher Westra his shop and house? I think everything must have changed a lot, perhaps I wouldn’t recognize Nijv. at all. Is Jan Flim (?) still a baker in the same town?

Well uncle John, I hope you can answer my questions sometime.

Hoping that you and aunt Martha keep well, requesting God,

Your nephew and niece,
Jan and Allene.

Background information

The writer of this letter, Jan Antonie Boerrigter, was born in Hellendoorn, Overijssel on 13 September 1890. His parents were Berend Boerrigter and Elizabeth Gerhardina Plomp. His father worked as a weaver for the Royal Steamweavery in Nijverdal. In 1888, Berend married Elizabeth Gerhardina, who worked as a weaver as well.

In 1910, the entire family emigrated to the United States. Their daughter later recalled that Berend had written to family members in the United States to ask for a loan. When $500 was loaned to him, he took that as a sign of God and decided to go ahead with the emigration.

Group photo

The family settled in Holland, Nebraska where Berend took up farming. Elizabeth Gerhardina died on 14 September 1910, shortly after arriving in the United States. Berend never remarried. In 1918, he moved to Colorado, taking the youngest children with him. Berend died in Pueblo, CO on 14 August 1945.

On 10 January 1916, Jan Antonie Boerrigter was married to Ruth Eva Heupel. After her death in 1949, he remarried on 27 July 1952 to Susan Allene De Shazo. This is the Allene mentioned in the letter.

In 1957, he wrote this letter to his uncle, Berend Jan Boerrigter (born 1872) and his wife Martha van de Werfhorst. Both his father Berend and his uncle Berend Jan had been founding members of Advendo, the Christian Music Society in Nijverdal. His father had even been the chairman until he emigrated. In his letter, Jan Antonie asks about this society.

What’s amazing about the letter is that after almost 50 years in the United States, the Dutch is practically flawless although a bit archaic. Some English words find their way into the letter (pine-appel for pineapple, the instead of ‘de’) but overall it must have been very easy to understand for the folks back home.

Allene died in 1971. Five years later, Jan Antonie Boerrigter got married again, this time to a woman named Alice Schwenke. The marriage lasted two years. A year later, on 3 November 1979, Jan Antonie Boerrigter died in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sources

  • Scanned letter submitted by Jan Boerrigter
  • Correspondence with Jan Boerrigter
  • J. and H. Boerrigter: ‘De geschiedenis van het geslacht Boerrigter, een grenzenoverschrijdende familie afkomstig uit Getelo in het Duitse graafschap Bentheim’. This book is still available from the author. See the Website Jan Boerrigter for more information.
  • Advendo Nijverdal (Dutch)
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for 20 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

Leave comment

*