Greetings from America: Intro and Index

In 2008 Kor Postma was kind enough to share the research he had done on some of the earliest Dutch immigrants to Pella. The information he sent was in Dutch and is already on the Marion County website. Now, a year later, Thys de Jong, who was born in the Netherlands and now lives in Canada, has translated these articles for those of us who don't read Dutch. In working on this project, he recently learned that his father was born in the village where Kor Postma now lives, and in fact Thys and Kor have discovered they are distant cousins. I want to thank Thys for making this information available to us. -- Greta

Note: The annotations Thys has included are enclosed in brackets.


The author Kor Postma refers to a radio/TV program about life in primitive circumstances that gave insight into the rituals and customs of other peoples and cultures. He says that the program "gave me an impulse to once more immerse myself in the life of the emigrants who left our municipality of Dantumadeel. How did they experience that change? What did they learn from the primitive circumstances in which the Americans and Indians lived?

A little over eight years ago I charted all the people who left the municipality of Dantumadeel [in Friesland] at the request of the Provincial Archives in Leeuwarden. The work was done for Summer 2000 [an occasion when all Frisians were invited to revisit the land of their origin]. A copy of my work was deposited at the Municipal office in Damwoude and may be consulted. [The archives in Leeuwarden are online, and much genealogical information can be obtained from them.]

In 1847 the first group of emigrants left Dantumadeel. They were led by Hendrik Pieter Scholte. The people from Dantumadeel were Pieter Oebeles Viersen, Heerke Ypes Viersen, Tjebbe Meinderts Beintema, Dirk Gerkes Postma, Jacob Jans Slot andWopke Hoekes de Haan with their spouses and children. In subsequent parts of Greetings from America we will come back to these families. They settled mostly in the state of Iowa and founded the villages of Pella, Orange City, Alton, Hospers, Maurice and Sioux Center. The greatest impulses to emigrate came from the Afscheiding and poor economic circumstances. Cattle pestilence and potato illness at the time were prevalent in Friesland.

If you have additions or corrections please send them to

Kor Postma
van Aernsmastraat 14
9104 HG Damwoude
Tel: 0511-422640

[The Afscheiding refers to a church split at the time. In 1816 King William I had changed the church order that had been used since 1618/9. Much liberalization took place. Many conservative people were upset and separated from the church. This caused persecution by the authorities; people were fined and jailed, and they had their possessions sold when they would (or could) not pay the fines. The denomination that grew out of that period were the forerunners of what we know today as the Christian Reformed Church.]

[Very few people in Dantumadeel in the years these articles speak of had middle names. Instead they had patronymicals: father's names. Hence Pieter Oebeles Viersen really means Pieter, son of Oebele, Viersen. Among themselves the people seldom used last names. They were reserved for school, work and the government. When I was last there (1953) it was still that way. I was not Thys de Jong, but Thys Jans, son of Jan Baukes.]

1 Pieter Oebeles Viersen 7 Sjoerd Aukes Sipma
2 Dirk Gerkes Postma 8 Gerrit Gerbens van der Weit; Abraham Paulus Buwalda
3 Heerke Ypes Viersen 9 Epke Alberts Roorda
4 Tjebbe Meinderts Beintema 10 de groep of club van Scholte
5 Jacob Jans Slot en Wopke Hoekes de Haan 11 Ritske Aukes Sipma; Sipke Aukes Sipma
6 Hendrik Pieters Scholte 12 Minke Thomas Bouma