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Family names Grotemut and Snoap have many things in common

Tags: Genealogy

The family names Grotemut and Snoap have several things in common! First of all, both family names are an Americanized version of typical and unmistakably Dutch surnames. Both original surnames were transplanted to North America during the second half of the nineteenth century, both hailed from the Province of Zeeland, and both are featured in articles in a recent edition of Zeeuwse Emigranten, a publication of the similarly named task force of the Zeeland-chapter of the Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging (NGV). To remove all the suspense, the surnames Grotemut and Snoap are the Americanization of Grootemaat - not every branch of the family modified the name - and Snoep!

The article on the Grootemaats reveals that several members of the family settled in Michigan (Kalamazoo) and Wisconsin (Milwaukee), where today the name Grootemaat can be found in several high-profile business names. This high-profile aspect goes back 125 years, when in 1867, Johannes Grootemaat purchased a windmill in nearly Williamsburg. His milling business soon became known as Grootemaat Mill or more popularly, the Dutch Windmill.

Built by a certain chap named Krauss, Grootemaat operated the windmill until October 8, 1885, when a disaster hit the wooden structure and it burned down completely. Grootemaat, the son of a miller, who was born in 's Heerenhoek - Zuid-Beveland - in 1812, was probably ready for retirement in any case and did not rebuild the structure. He died two months short of his 86th birthday.

The Grootemaat article mentions several other typical surnames, such as Hollestelle, Remijnse, Den Herder, Westrate, De Meij, Van Tatenhove, and others. It also states that the surname Grootemaat had disappeared from the Zeeland in the census of 1947.

The article on the surname Snoep/Snoap/Snow provides more genealogical data, starting in the year 1550, when a Jan Janse Snoep served his village of Wemeldinge as alderman or councilor (schepen). Via Kloetinge, another village, the Snoeps are living in Goes by the 1860s where emigrant Cornelis Jacobus was born. When his first child - named after is father - is born in 1893, the names was already Americanized to Cornelius James Snoap. Junior later adopted the surname Snow. No general family history was provided in the article.

The same issue of Zeeuwse Emigranten, provides an overview of all emigrants with the surname Stoutjesdijk. Most of them departed for the United States between the years 1847 and 1889, with three more after 1953. Several Stoutjesdijks settled in Canada, the earliest arrival in 1912. Marinus Stoutjesdijk changed his name to Van Stoken, but nothing more is known about him and or his offspring. Has anyone known Marinus Van Stoken? If so please drop a note to us at the Windmill Herald.

Meanwhile, the title name Zeeuwse Emigranten has been changed to In den Vreemde. The change coincides with the adoption of a larger territory, including all of southwest Netherlands. This change also means that the former island of Goeree-Overflakkee, which is part of the province of Zuid-Holland, falls within the jurisdiction of the task force. This news is significant, since the former island, and more specifically the town of Ouddorp, contributed substantially to the trek (during the 1880s) across the Atlantic.

Those interested in family history and general genealogy involving the Province of Zeeland, also may wish to know that there exists a quarterly publication, called Van Zeeuwse Stam which is issued by the now 25-year-old Zeeland-chapter of the NGV. Additionally, there is a Pre 1600 Club which has available a list of more than 100 publications! These publications list such matters as property tax rolls by town or municipality, expenses and payment lists of bodies such as drainage districts (waterschappen), drainage works (canals or polders), administrations of orphanages, municipal acts (schepenakten) and the like. Since many other records were destroyed through warfare and or fires, these sources certainly will facilitate research of history and genealogy. The spill in all this in one very active individual who researches, compiles, coordinates, writes, edits, publishes and corresponds. His name, the person to contact is A.J. Witte, De Komme 3, 4421 ES Kapelle, The Netherlands.

Another publication which was sent to the Windmill by a Dutch subscriber is titled: Van Friesche afkomst? Namen op begraafplaatsen buiten Friesland. A copy of a grave marker decorates the cover. Interestingly enough, the stone features in large, capital letters 'Us Mem' and 'Us Heit', announces their birth and death data but provides no further clues about their identity. Mr. B. Wietsma of Heemskerk, a town 'near' Amsterdam, literally dug the additional information from the records of the Oosterbegraafplaats in Amsterdam. The identity of 'Us Mem' and 'Us Heit' - Frisian for Mom and Dad - was Antje Dijkstra and Wytse Petrus de Vries.

Further, Mr. Wietsma provided some copies of his family periodical Een greep uit meer dan 400 jaar Wijtsma/Wietsma. Belonging to the same ancestor Eelke Eeltjes (born September 23, 1796 at IJlst, province of Friesland) are those with the surname Wijstma. However, the name Van Wijtsma can be traced back as far as 1480 when it first appears in the records of the Frisian village of Birdaard. There are more variations on these family names as well, but the blood ties have not always been established. Mr. Wietsma can be reached at Jan Ligthartstraat 144, 1964 HX Heemskerk, the Netherlands.

Some of these family journals and bulletins have over time become quite professional in appearance. They can in some cases take on a scholarly approach to things. However, 'oefening baart kunst,' which means freely translated, that repetition leads to perfection. Mr. Wypke Schaafsma of Amsterdam who published his first edition of 'Genealogisch Kontakt Familie Schaafsma' must be hoping for that this saying to become reality. In any case bulletin 4 is an real improvement over number 1.

The interest in family history and genealogy in the Netherlands has been stimulated very much by a course on Dutch television, Spring 1988. It prompted the municipality of Barneveld, province of Gelderland, and birth place to numerous emigrants, to compile a source list for genealogical research in the archives of Barneveld. The 78-page publication lists Barneveld's public and privately published material which is accessible in its library, but is in fact the 12th issue in the series, called 'Bijdragen tot de geschiedenis van Barneveld,' or translated to English 'Contributions to the history of Barneveld'. The publication also provides a list of family names of which it has genealogical documentation. By 1991, the list had expanded to 15 issues. Most issues have been prepared by Gerjan Crebolder and Dick Veldhuizen and can be obtained for a very reasonable price from Barneveld's municipal hall.