I can recognize one face in this one, that of my husband’s grandfather Doede (Douglas) Jaarsma. He’s sitting inside the sluice, third of the boys from the left, just next to the older man standing on the left. There’s a small handwritten X just below him. I’m assuming this is either a group of employees or school boys, and I’m leaning towards the latter since there’s only one man in the group that looks older and is presumably a teacher. Doede went to a technical high school and became a blacksmith. These boys all look to be either in their late teens or early 20s, so since Doede was born in 1911, this was probably taken somewhere around 1930. A couple of the young men do have wedding rings, so it’s possible this was taken as late as 1941, before Doede himself was married. To me, the trough structure looks like some kind of mill sluice, meant to direct water to a water wheel or sawmill possibly – it’s a little odd since the Netherlands is SO flat, especially in Friesland where this was likely taken, I can’t imagine how/why water would be first carried up so high and then brought back down. It’s a pretty interesting photo!
Tucked into an album of modern photos from roughly the 1960s-1970s was this photo that was clearly older than the rest. On the back is handwritten, “Douglas Jaarsma,” presumably by my husband’s grandmother since it looks like the same handwriting I’ve seen on other photos. Doede “Douglas” is the second in from the left with what I believe are his three older sisters. From left to right, all four are, *I think*, in this order – Gettje (Grace), Doede (Douglas), Klaaske, and Oepkjen (Audrey) being the oldest on the right. The photographer’s name is at top, A de Jong, Sneek, referencing the town of Sneek in Friesland, Netherlands. As far as a date, Doede was born in 1911, so if he’s maybe 4 or 5 here, it was probably taken around 1915-1917 or so which would make the oldest sister, Oepkjen, about 10. Klaaske was the only sibling of the four in this photo to remain in the Netherlands. Gettje came to the US and lived not too far from Doede, and Oepkjen went to Ontario, Canada.
I couldn’t find much about the photographer without doing A LOT more work, but he regularly had advertisements for his studios in Leeuwarden, Heerenveen, and Sneek (link to BIG ad in the Leeuwarder Courant from 1916).
Late again, and Sepia Monday doesn’t quite have the same ring, but here it is! In another week of our, “From Here to There,” monthly theme, I have a ship coming into port. These were taken by a member of the Jaarsma family, and if I have my dates lined up right, they were sending a visitor, Fokke Brander, back home on the Nieuw Amsterdam on the Holland America Line at Hoboken, New Jersey. I’ve had these photos on the side and had been doing a little work to sort out who this man labelled as “Brander” on the back of the photos was. I finally fit him to a man named Fokke Brander, born 18 Jun 1900 in Obergum, Groningen, Netherlands and died 8 Oct 1961 in Uithuizen, Groningen, Netherlands. He likely knew my husband’s grandparents since he lived near them when they lived in Holland, and came over to visit once they emigrated to the USA.
In the photo above, you can just barely make out the ship’s name behind the tugboat’s big “M” stack. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to identify this ship, but looking closely enough, I could make out a “N_EW AM” which led me to the Nieuw Amsterdam. I knew the port had to be the Hoboken New Holland Line terminal just like all the other arrivals they captured, so this helped narrow things down. Eventually, I found the departure manifest for the Nieuw Amsterdam which listed Fokke Brander as having left the USA on 8 Sep 1953 (Ancestry.com link), so the summer clothes in the photo make sense – it can still be quite warm in early September in the New York City area.
And here’s the man himself, Fokke Brander, standing on the right side with his luggage, shaking the hand of a man only identified as “Dijkhuis” in other photos. The back of this photo is labelled, “Goed bye to Brander,” so I can safely assume this is the day he departed. I haven’t yet been able to identify all the other people in the photo, but Mr. Brander shows up in a number of other photos with the other folks in this picture, so I assume he was making the rounds visiting everyone. It’s pretty neat to have this sequence of photos to line up together and tell a story about Fokke and his visit to the USA!
Another one on the “Play” part of our Work and Play theme for this month – a little late, but better late than never, right? I know I posted a class photo from Doede Jaarsma’s technical school before (here), so this is likely the same class on a day trip to one of the islands off the northern coast of Holland. The back of the photo simply says, “Day Trip, Douglas,” so that helps narrow down who at least. In this photo, I believe Douglas (Doede) is in the next to last row, second in from the left, sitting next to the older gentleman who is likely their chaperone or teacher. They’re sitting on what appears to be a beach dune in front of some sort of observation tower or lighthouse, and if I were a betting woman, I’d bet it was the North Tower on Schiermonnikoog because it looks a lot like it, though the extra tower behind the lighthouse is gone now. I actually found another old photo on Flickr showing the tower, so I’m pretty sure I have my location! Doede was born in 1911, so if he’s about 13 in this photo, it was taken in the mid 1920s. Neat to have finally figured out the location, and it’s probably a safe bet that the boys in that photo were enjoying a good bit of play on the beach on their day trip away from school.
EDIT: There’s actually a great image here showing the extra side tower.
Another edition of our monthly theme starts this week, focusing on, “Work and Play.” We’re allowed a good bit of leeway with the theme and prompt image so, since I have nothing at all in my collection like the prompt photo, I went with “Play” to start and found a good reason to share this silly one of my husband’s grandfather, Douglas (Doede) Jaarsma. The back of the photo says, “Douglas and the Ducks,” and you can see him sitting on a toy spring duck with quite the grin on his face. The photo print date says March 1973, but I’d guess this was taken the previous summer and developed later since the trees are much too leafy for March! I’m not sure of the location either, but it was probably in New Jersey. The photo was taken when he was 62 years old, proving you’re never too old for being a little silly!
The prompt image for this week’s Sepia Saturday featured a man doing type-setter work and came from the collection of the Netherlands National Archives. I don’t have any type-setters in the family, but I do have young men at work, and the photo was taken in the Netherlands! The man standing on the far right, hands behind his back and a grin on his face that makes you wonder what he was up to, is Doede Jaarsma, my husband’s grandfather. Doede went to a technical high school in Friesland, Netherlands and later apprenticed and became a blacksmith which would explain the dirty coveralls and wooden shoes. They certainly look like they just finished working and are showing off some new creation, but what exactly that creation is, I have no idea! It almost looks like a motorized washing machine with the sort of wringer device on the top. There’s a handwritten note on the back that reads, “Douglas at work, Uithuizen, ’43??” which would probably have been written on after they came to the USA since it shows his Americanized name. In 1943, he would’ve been recently married and living near his wife’s family in Uithuizen, so that makes sense. It’s a fantastic photo though, and I just LOVE that grin on Doede’s face – he looks like he’s positively up to no good.
In other news, I have a small update on an older post, Sepia Saturday 325. Apparently the barge from that post is still in operation! The couple who currently own it got in touch with me as a result of that blog post and updated me on what she looks like now and how she’s running. It’s absolutely fantastic that Sepia Saturday has encouraged me and enabled me to post these photos in a blog format where they get a little better exposure than they otherwise would sitting on my hard drive, and that it’s given me an opportunity to connect the past to the present.
For this week’s Sepia Saturday, our prompt image features a group of boys playing marbles. Well, no photos of marble playing in my collection, but I do have this really interesting photograph from my husband’s family. The back is a photo postcard back, and someone pencilled in, “D Jaarsma Tech High School,” in pen later on. That “D Jaarsma” would be my husband’s grandfather, Doede “Douglas” Jaarsma who apparently went to a technical high school as a kid. Best we can guess is that he’s the boy in the back row on the right side with a hammer slung over his shoulder.
It doesn’t quite look like a high school by our standards – the boys seem to range from maybe age 8 to 12 or so. Doede was born in 1911, so the photo date is probably about 1920 if we guess he’s just about 10, and the location is likely in Friesland, Netherlands. So, what school is this? I can’t say exactly, but we do have a report book from about 8 years later that indicates he attended a technical school (Vakteekenschool) in St. Nicolaasga. It’s possible this is his first year at that school which is why the photo was saved. I’ve put in scans of the report card below, and even found the school listed numerous times in the Delpher Newspaper Archive (link) advertising for teachers. There are a few other documents to support his work history that he brought with him from the Netherlands to the USA including certification of apprenticeship, a letter from a metalworkers’ union, and a trade certificate. I know that in later life, he shoed horses and did blacksmith type work in northern New Jersey, USA, so this all fits together very neatly with who he was after he came to the USA. It’s so great to have all these pieces of the puzzle to make a bigger picture of his employment and work history really come to life. The boys in my photo may not be playing with marbles, but they were learning skills and a trade.
This week’s Sepia Saturday featured a photo of two people kissing in front of a crowd of people. Wouldn’t you know it, I don’t have a single sepia photo of people kissing! So, I went with the crowd and decided to explore a pretty well documented event in my husband’s family. On June 2, 1954, Pietertje de Boer (my husband’s great-grandmother), boarded the Maasdam at Rotterdam, Netherlands and departed for the USA. She arrived June 11th, 1954 and was greeted by her family seen in the photo above, and there’s a ship’s manifest to verify her visit. Pietertje is the woman second from the left, and the person taking the photo was likely Hilje (Dijkema) Jaarsma, her daughter-in-law, in Hoboken, New Jersey which was part of the Port of New York. There was a Holland America Line pier at Hoboken, so that’s likely the place she arrived.
From more passenger manifests, we know she departed on April 7, 1955 on the Ryndam after having spent almost a year with family in the USA and thankfully there are photos of that too. In the photo on the left, Pietertje is the woman standing on the far left. The photo on the right is of the Ryndam, ready to pick up passengers and depart the New York harbor.
Now back to that theme! On the left is a photo of the crowd of passengers waving goodbye to their loved ones from the ship, the Ryndam. On the right is a closer view of the ship showing Pietertje at the railing – she’s in the 3rd full window from the right. It’s really amazing to have these as a set to show her arriving and leaving. She had three children who left home in the Netherlands to go to the USA, so she probably made time to visit all three during her stay. Pietertje died just a few years after returning home on 13 February 1957. Her husband, Douwe Jaarsma, had passed away on 21 November 1940, so she presumably made the journey by herself as a 70-year-old woman.