Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beukenkamp and Strijder: Dutch Ancestry

My great-great grandfather Marinus Gerhardus Beukenkamp and his wife Jannetje Strijder

I have not personally done a lot of research on my Dutch ancestors.  My late grandmother Lacey (“Granny”) and my father really did all the work, and I have filled in a few details here and there.  I find this side of my family to be a little abstract.  The language barrier certainly plays a role in this, as it does make research more challenging.  Also, I think it’s because I wasn’t raised with any Dutch folk tales, songs, or even stories of the old country.  When my great-grandfather George Beck immigrated to America from The Netherlands, he completely reinvented himself.  He Americanized his name, he spoke only English and he didn’t pass on much of the Dutch culture to his daughters.  I identify very much as Irish, and my Dutch heritage is something to which I feel less connected.  I’ve been to The Netherlands and appreciated it as any tourist would, but I never felt that skip of the heart, that sensation of, “I come from here,” like I have in other places in the world.  I would like to explore these roots in greater depth, however.  There’s still so much I don’t know about my Beukenkamp and Strijder ancestors.

Marinus Gerhardus Beukenkamp and Jannetje Strijder are my paternal great-great-grandparents, the parents of my great-grandfather George Beck.  Marinus was born 23 February 1856 in Amsterdam.  Jannetje was born 2 March 1861 in Zipje, which is in the northwestern portion of The Netherlands.  They were married 21 October 1881 in Oudkarspel, also in the northwest.  Jannetje’s family came largely from that area of the country.  Her father, Lourens Strijder, and his parents were from nearby Wieringerwaard. 

"A" marks the location of Oudkarspel, where Marinus and Jannetje were married.

Marinus and Jannetje settled in Amsterdam and had five children together:

i.                Adrian Beukenkamp, born 20 February 1882 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  He married Alida.
ii.              Lourens Beukenkamp, born 28 October 1883 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
iii.             Catharina Beukenkamp, born about 1885 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  She went by the nickname “Trina.”
iv.             Gertruida Beukenkamp, born unknown date in The Netherlands; died 3 March 1942.  She went by the nickname “Truus.”
v.              Gerhardus Marinus Beukenkamp, born 4 February 1888 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; died 20 July 1973 in Del Mar, California.  He married Marie Iverson, Kathleen Meldon Coleman, and an unknown third spouse.
Lourens and Gerhardus (later George) immigrated to America together.  At one point, they were farming together in South Dakota, although they later went their separate ways.  Adriaan, Trina and Truus stayed in The Netherlands.  Adriaan worked for an insurance company.  He, his wife Alida, and their four children lived in Austria for a time, but returned to The Netherlands and settled in Haarlem.  Trina married and had three children, but was later divorced.  Truus did not marry.  She wrote many letters to her brother George in America, and even visited him and his children there on at least one occasion.

Some of Adriaan’s descendants moved to America in the 1950s.  I’ve been in touch with one of his great-grandchildren, who shared a rather amazing autobiography written by his grandfather.  I’ll be discussing that in future posts.  I do not know what happened to Trina’s children.  It’s quite likely we still have cousins living in The Netherlands, and this is something I intend to research further.

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