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Matthijs Feenstra

A brief history of Matthijs Feenstra

Matthijs Feenstra arrived in America on the 29 August 1905 on the steam ship Rotterdam sailing from Rotterdam to start a new life. Matthijs was just 23 years old and only seventeen days married to Antje Knorr.

Matthijs was a carpenter by profession as was his father Fokke Rinkes Feenstra and grandfather Rinke Fokkes Feenstra. Matthijs hoped to establish a carpentery business in Paterson, New Jersey but was unsuccessful and returned to Bolsward in 1907. During this time Thijs and Antje's daughter Grietje was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1906.

The Ellis Island immigration records give the following details concerning Matthijs, anglocised name, Mathy Feenstra: 6' tall, dark hair and blue eyes. Returning for a second time to America at the age of 27 years and with only $35 US dollars in his pocket Mathijs arrived on the Steam Ship Potsdam sailing from Rotterdam and arriving at Ellis Island on July 13, 1909. Matthijs was making a second attempt at establishing a carpentery business in America. He traveled in the company of a 17 year old apprentice carpenter Dirk Veltman also of Bolsward. According to the Ellis Island immigration records both indicated that they were going to initially stay with Matthijs's brother inlaw Emke Knorr who lived at 50 Westerveld Avenue, Paterson, New Jersey.
Mathijs's wife Antje who initially remained in Bolsward was to follow several months later. Families often immigrated together during this era, although young men frequently came first to find work. Some of these then sent for their wives, children, and siblings; others returned to their families in Europe with their saved wages.

The Ellis Island Emigration records show that Antje and three year old daughter Grietje were passengers on the Steam Ship Nordam from Rotterdam to New York arriving in New York on the 5 October 1909. Antje and her daughter Grietje were both classified as non immigrant aliens. Antje was also in the company of her second cousin Tjipke Knorr. The Ellis Island records give the following details concerning Antje, anglocised name Anna Feenstra: 29 years of age, 1.65m (5'6") tall, blonde hair and blue eyes. On April 6, 1907 Matthijs's 21 year old brother Menno (5'4", fair hair, grey eyes) came to stay with Matthijs and Antje. They were at this time living at 8th Street, Paterson New Jersey.

Matthijs and Antje returned permanantly to Bolsward, Friesland sometime prior to the birth of their second daughter Nieskje (Jikke) in 1912. Matthijs and Antje had a third child, a son called Gerard.

In Bolsward, Matthijs continued to work as a carpenter, a profession he was said to be very skilled at. Matthijs inherited a sizeable family fortune in money and realestate. Antje passed away in 1947 and Matthijs passed away in 1954. Their daughter Grietje married Arnoldus de Vries and had five children. Matthijs and Antje's second daughter Jikke married Jacob Langenberg and had six children. In 1959 Jikke and Jacob emigrated to Australia with their four youngest children to join their two sons Herman and Matthijs (Martin) who had emigrated two years previous. Mathhijs and Antje's daughters Grietje and Jikke both died of complications from diabettes as had their mother Antje.

Owner of originalEric Langenberg
Linked toMatthijs Fokkes FEENSTRA; Antje KNORR

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