Renze and Auke Douma

The search database on Delpher.nl continues to be a great source for the history of Dutch Americans. The database includes the Sioux Center Nieuwsblad of Iowa.  For years, the Nieuwsblad had correspondents in Dutch-American hamlets who gave monthly reports.  One of these correspondents lived in Randolph, Wisconsin, where my great-grandfather Renze Douma, and his brother Auke Douma lived.

Mostly the correspondents wrote about the comings and goings of their neighbors.  The notices seem pretty straightforward, except it is difficult to know the motivation of the writer. Are they chiding Auke Douma for going hunting, picking on him for chopping wood for the summer (instead of the winter?), are there some inside jokes here about their personalities?  One theme I’ve noticed from other clippings is that the Dutch and Frisians in this area of Wisconsin  (and perhaps elsewhere) seemed to receive cash gifts at the birth of a child. Some other clippings mention money and baby gifts from a stork.

VolksvriendMarch13-1902
Volksvriend, March 13, 1902   “Ouke Douma, who has been in the Netherlands for a while, returned, and is now not well. With him came Sietse Visser, who is now working for Joe Dykstra for $20 a months; a good start in the new world.”
VolksvriendOct16-1902
Volksvriend, Oct 16, 1902 “R. Douma is thinking about making a short trip to the Netherlands to visit his parents. O. Douma and Jennie Westra shall soon be married and are living at H. Cupery’s farm.”
Volksvriend-April30-1903
Volksvriend, April 30, 1903 “Ouke Douma is busy nowadays with hauling wood for the summer.”
Volksvriend-Oct15-1903
Volksvriend, Oct 15, 1903 – “Ouke Douma received one thousand dollars ( a boy) in the busy bean-harvest.”
Volksvriend-February8-1906
Volksvriend, February 8, 1906 “Auke Douma disappeared. He took his horse and cutter to the city Saturday and without giving any reason he left his horse there and took the train to the west. He left a sick wife and two small children behind.”
Volksvriend-Feb15-1906
Volksvriend, February 15, 1906 “Auke Douma is in Northern Minnesota in the woods and would now like to come back home as soon as possible; he discovered that it is not everything out there; with him it is “home sweet home.”
DeVolksvriend-March8-1906
De Volksvriend, March 8 – 1906 “Auke Douma returned from Minnesota”
VolksvriendMay21-1908
Volksvriend, May 21, 1908  “With R. Douma and P. Westra and R. Alzum, family additions; bij D a son, by the others, daughters.”
Volksvriend-Feb15-1923
Volksvriend, February 15, 1923 “Renze Douma took the train to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to work for a few months. If it is better there, he will bring his wife and children over.”[/caption

Volksvriend-March15-1923 Volksvriend, March 15, 1923 – “Renze Douma came back from Grand Rapids, Michigan. And Doede Douma went there again.”

Volksvriend-Sept19-1929
Volksvriend, Sept 19, 1929  –  Andries Westra has died. His daughter is Mrs. Auke Douma.
Volksvriend-April23-1931
Volksvriend April 23, 1931 – “Auke Douma will have a filling station. We already have five, but, the more the better.”

 

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