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My Language Background

Several WR members from the Netherlands have been curious about my language background. The only language I speak natively is English. In particular, I do not speak Dutch, and that is a significant personal disappointment. My maternal grandmother spoke Dutch natively, and my maternal grandfather picked up an adequate knowledge of Dutch by growing up in the Netherlands-American community of Grand Rapids. But they only used Dutch in their home as their language for discussing things they didn't want their children to understand, and did not teach Dutch to their children.

There are several other languages I have studied over the years:

  • French (5 years in junior high and high school)
  • German (2 semesters in college)
  • Latin (2 semesters in college)
  • Hellenistic Greek (2 semesters in college)

Because of my studies of the above, I have a minimal level of reading knowledge for Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.

Yiddish is a language I would love to study. If anyone knows of a course "Yiddish for Genealogists" offered in the Baltimore area, please let me know on my talk page.

Quick Links


My Paternal Grandparents and Great-Grandparents

My Maternal Grandparents and Great-Grandparents

Parents of my Aunts and Uncles

My Favorite and Prominent Relatives

My Girlfriend's Great-Grandparents

My Girlfriend's Favorite and Prominent Relatives

Various Curious People and Families

Common Ancestor Research Objectives

Several of my research objectives involve a search for common ancestors linking various people.

(To claim a reward, the connection should be documented on WeRelate with each added step of the connection sourced.)

My Father and my Mother

Specifically, a common ancestor between either of Neale Paul Keegstra and Elizabeth Catherine Ritzema and either of Melvin Houseman and Rena Bouma.

The most promising lead is from the area of Burum. That town is the place of origin for the Keegstras, and it also is the birthplace for some of my maternal grandfather's Westras. In addition, it looks possible that the given name Metske originated in a single individual from the area of Burum, so even though this woman is not the ancestor of all the Keegstras, her existence is a hint to look further.

My Maternal Grandfather and Maternal Grandmother

Specifically, a common ancestor between Melvin Houseman and Rena Bouma.

While the Friesland line of the former seems mainly from around Kollumerland, and the Friesland line of the latter was from the area around Kimswerd before they moved to Harlingen, both families have Westras (her and her).

My Girlfriend and my Brother-in-Law

My girlfriend and my brother-in-law both have lines back to New Amsterdam, but I haven't yet located a common ancestor. The one line seem to be mainly from upstate New York and the other line more from New Jersey. Specifically, my girlfriend's line is through Miriam Quick and my brother-in-law's is through Nellie Covenhoven. (Apologies for the lack of sourcing in both lines.)

Jan Tjibbeles Kamp and Sint Hendriks Baron

Both are from Drachten, so it is plausible to seek a common ancestor for Sint Hendriks Baron and Jan Tjibbes Kamp.

My Mother and Sint Hendriks Baron

While there is less reason to suspect the existence of such a connection, a connection between Sint Hendriks Baron and either of Melvin Houseman and Rena Bouma would be even more interesting than the preceding, as it would link my aunt with her late husband.

Myself and Fridus Gerards Ritsema

Another connection for which I can't suggest any specific leads, but it would be very interesting if any of my four grandparents (Neale Paul Keegstra, Elizabeth Catherine Ritzema, Melvin Houseman, Rena Bouma) had a common ancestor with Fridus Gerards Ritsema from Ten Boer. (Three of my four grandparents, all but Rena, have strong connections to northern Groningen.)

User and MySource Pages

Railroads and Interurbans of West Michigan

(During a key period in the development of Michigan and the American Midwest, the railroads were the crucial linkages mediating that development. Since World War II they have lost that role to the interstate highways, and I would welcome a similar project to tie interstate exits to WeRelate places.)

Calvin College

Dordt College

Charter Members of Christian Reformed Church Congregations