EMIGRANTS 1850 - 1880


Emigrants arriving at New York

(Drawing from Harper's Weekly ,1858)

Apart from poverty (e.g. 1846 was a disastrous harvest year of a.o. potatoes), the emigration of Dutch in the above mentioned period was dominated by the consequences of the Secession of 1834. The Seceders were maltreated, fined heavily, ridiculed, etc. and felt they had no freedom to practise their religion which made some 13000 of them to emigrate between 1845 and 1880. They left in the largest proportions and almost all settled in colonies. In 1849 Seceders numbered a little more that 1% of the Dutch population, yet they contributed 65% of all emigrants from the Netherlands in the peak years of Seceder emigration: 1846 through 1849. In these early years the emigration of groups was organized and led by ministers such as Marten A. Ypma, Hendrik P. Scholte and Albertus C. van Raalte. They founded colonies like Vriesland and Holland in Michigan and Pella in Iowa whereas other ministers settled with their groups in areas such as South Holland (Illinois) and Sheboygan (Wisconsin). In later years many members of both the Reformed as the Catholic church decided to follow the example of the Seceders who first made migration a normal response to the diminished future in the home country.

An estimated number of  7100 emigrants left the Netherlands in 1846 and 1847. No less than 6600 of them departed from Rotterdam. In 1848 more than 2000 "landverhuizers" boarded ship in Rotterdam to emigrate to North-America. Furthermore another 9500 emigrants from abroad -most of them being from Germany- chose Rotterdam as the last place for them to set foot in Europe during these three years. Although they all boarded in Rotterdam the ships first had to pass a canal (the "kanaal door Voorne") after which their journey and adventure actually began at the town of Hellevvoetsluis. Even though many emigrants left from Rotterdam they did not all sail on board Dutch ships. In fact: in 1846 only 10 Dutch emigrant-ships sailed to North-America against 43 ships from abroad.

After the "emigration epidemic" of the years 1846-1847-1848 it slowed down. Although Seceders still emigrated, the reason was gradually changing: the motive was no longer a religious one but the search for economic improvement, attracted and stimulated by letters of their relatives and friends in America. Obviously the same poor standard of living was reason for many others to cross the Big Pond and look for a better life.

The above facts and figures as well as the pictures on the next pages were abstracted resp. copied from:
- "Family Quarrels in the Dutch Reformed Churches of the 19th century" by Elton J. Bruins and Robert
    P.  Swierenga. Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,Grand Rapids.
- "Toen zij uit Rotterdam vertrokken" by Cees Zevenbergen and published by Waanders Uitgevers,  Zwolle.  

On to the emigrants from Ferwerderadeel:

 Amelander - de Jong
 Dekken - Kingma
 Klok - Stienstra
 van der Laan - Wierda
 Wiersma - Zwart