Feb 28

Hendrik Dijkema

Let’s meet Janine’s original owners!  In the photo above are Hendrik Dijkema and Elizabeth van Eerden in a photo taken probably in the 1930s or so at the Foto Steenmeijer studio in Groningen.  Hendrik and Elizabeth were the parents of Hilje Dijkema, Doug’s grandmother which makes these two his great grandparents.

Hendrik Dijkema was born 17 April 1879 in Bedum, Groningen, Netherlands (link to birth record) to parents Albert Jan Dijkema and Hinderkien Hindriks Blaak.  Albert Jan’s profession is listed as “Turfschipper” on his marriage certificate (link to marriage record) which translates to peat boatman; a person who runs a barge carrying peat logs for fuel.  Albert Jan’s father was Jan Willems Dijkema who was also a turfschipper (link to marriage record).  Jan Willems’ father was Willem Alberts Dijkema, also listed as a turfschipper on Jan Willems’ marriage record.  Willem Alberts’ father was Albert Olferts  who was listed as a “schipper” at the time of Willem Alberts’ second marriage.  A quick aside about Albert Olferts – people in northern Holland didn’t really use surnames until Napoleon came around in 1811 and made everyone register for them, so here we have just the patronymic – Albert is his given name, Olferts refers to his father’s name likely having been Olfert.  Albert Olferts has a recorded marriage in 1754, so we’re starting to run out of surviving recorded history at that point!  Records after 1811 generally show the occupations of the bride and groom, but the church records that exist before that time usually just give names and a date, and the availability of written records gets a little patchy the further back you go.  I can assume Albert Olferts’ father was named Olfert, but I haven’t been able to find any recorded information about him yet.

All of that brings us to the bigger picture. From Hendrik Dijkema to Albert Olferts, we have FIVE generations of schippers, four of whom were definitely turfschippers, spanning over 200 years of Dutch maritime history.  That’s pretty impressive!  Using peat as heating fuel for homes fell out of favor around the time Hendrik passed away in 1949, so his profession was nearly obsolete by then.  The Vertrouwen (now Janine) was only active as a turf barge for a small fraction of that time (1926-1946), but is a part of a much larger legacy.  I just recently found out that Hendrik sold the Vertrouwen in 1946, just before the death of Elizabeth, and her new owner listed her as carrying flour and wheat.  I’m still working on sorting out Janine’s more recent history, but going back to her origins and the family legacy is a part of the story too.

Going forward from Hendrik, his daughter Hilje married and moved to the USA with her husband where she Americanized her name to Hilda.  The family maritime legacy then returned with Hilda’s grandson, Doug.  I don’t think Doug knew quite how far back the family history in the maritime industry ran when he chose his course of study in college and then his profession as a mariner, but I think it has brought the whole thing full circle, just like Janine returning to a descendant of her original owner.  While Janine has been completely overhauled, refitted with a modern interior, and shortened a few meters from when she was the Vertrouwen, the original Kadaster registration number scratched into her hull reminds us that she’s had four generations of the same family leave their fingerprints on her history.

1 comment

    • ianmccauley2014 on 24 March 2018 at 5:00 AM
    • Reply

    Better than a barge with history, one with a long family history. Our ‘ Catharina Elisabeth’s ‘ family company goes back almost two centuries and what a wonderful feeling it gives to have the responsibility to maintain a part of that tradition.

    But even better – so much better – for it to be your own heritage! You’re very fortunate.

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