Jan Willem Wieberdink was born in Aalten on 4 September 1834 as a son of Garrit Jan Wieberdink and Janna Geertruid Heinen. On 2 September 1864, he married Johanna Hendrika Jentink on her 24th birthday. She was born in Aalten as wel, on 2 September 1840 and was a daughter of Arend Jan Jentink and Geziena Fukkink.
Living in Aalten
While living in Aalten, the couple had the following children, all born in Aalten:
- Janna Gezina, born 29 June 1865
- Arend Jan, born 18 May 1867
- Gerrit Jan, born 20 March 1870
- Gesina Geertruida, born about 1872/1873, died 11 January 1876 at the age of 3
- Gesina Geertruida, born 26 January 1876
On 15 July 1879, the family emigrated with the remaining four children from their farm in the hamlet of Lintelo near Aalten. As reason for emigration it was listed ‘improvement of fate’. Their destination was listed as North-America.
Gerrit Jan, who was 9 at the time of the emigration, used to reminisce about their voyage. The family crossed the ocean as steerage (below deck) passengers to save money. Conditions on board were poor. Unfortunately, if the people on the upper decks were vomiting across the railing, it would come down on them. The sailors played with the young children. Also, their mother used to comb their hair with a fine comb to get the lice out of their hair. The children then stomped on them to kill them. Food was scarce and fought over. The Dutch families were used to praying before eating but when their eyes were closed, other people would try to grab their food. Each family was given a ration and there was a schedule so the women could prepare their food in turns.
Living in Wisconsin
At the end of their journey, the family settled in the Town of Holland, Oostburg, WI with just $18 and bought a cow. Unfortunately, the living conditions in the new country weren’t that favorable either. At the age of 47, Johanna Hendrika died from consumption (tuberculosis) on 3 November 1887. She is burried in Union Cemetery.
Jan Willem was remarried to Dela Huinink (Delia Huenink), who was born in Aalten on 29 August 1835 as the daughter of Jan Berend Huinink and Berendina Heesen. She had emigrated in 1869, together with her extended family. See the article about her brother Derk Willem Huinink for more information. A picture of Jan Willem Wieberdink and Delia Huenink still exists. Jan Willem died on 1 March 1907.
- Lists of emigrants from Aalten
- Family papers from Jane Klettke