Category Dutch Americans

A Census Anomaly or a Large African American Migration in upstate New York?

North of Albany, along New York’s border with Vermont, Washington County formed in 1772, and grew quickly in its first decades. If the census is to be trusted, there appears to have been a large migration of free African Americans into and then out of the county between 1800 and 1820. Census records note that […]

Dutch American consulate stamps and letterhead from the 19th century

Dutch consuls in the United States in the 19th century were unpaid. A consul was motivated by patriotism, but also accepted the position for its prestige, or the business connections it offered. That is why,  in most cases the Dutch consuls in the United States were businessmen. Consulates sometimes had a stamp, or they had […]

Yankee Dutch from 1682

Brandt Schuyler writing to Robert Livingston in New York in 1682. The English had taken over New York just 18 years beforehand, and both English and Dutch languages competed for control of the Hudson Valley. Here, Brandt writes “Liffingston” for “Livingston” and in the second line uses the English word “opportunity”  [oppertunietyt].    

The Legend and History of Peter Van Liere (continued)

In my previous post, I presented a selection of a text from Ray Nies, writing in about 1939 or 1940, recalling one of Holland, Michigan’s storied characters, a perpetually drunk but kind-hearted horse doctor named Piet Ver Liere. I discovered in a newspaper search that his actual name was Peter Van Liere, and that the […]

The Legend of Old Piet ver Liere, by Ray Nies

The following was written in 1939/1940 by Holland, Michigan’s Ray Nies. I have a lot more to say about Nies, but I will save that til later. The text below demonstrates Nies’ skill as a writer. In fact, if the Dutch of West Michigan ever had a Mark Twain, Nies was it. Although Nies was […]

Veneklasen Brick Research (15 years later)

Since writing my first book, Veneklasen Brick, in 2004, I never did any additional research on the topic of the Veneklasen family, their brickyards, and the Dutch American building tradition using their bricks. Mostly this was because I felt that by the time the book was published in 2005, I had learned just about everything […]

You can’t spell “onafhankelijkheid” without the letter “ij”

In 1850, the Sheboygan Nieuwsbode was the only Dutch language newspaper in the United States.  The editor, Jacob Quintus, was proud of his new nation, its history and freedoms. To educate the Dutch immigrants about their country, he published a Dutch translation of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  Unfortunately, this seems not to have been […]

Yankee Dutch (Dutch American Language in the Midwest)

Yankee Dutch can refer to a number of hybrid English-Dutch varieties. I’m particularly interested in the Midwestern variety at the beginning of the 20th century. One form, Grand Rapids Yankee Dutch, was popularized through  Dirk Nieland’s ‘N Fonnie Bisnis.  Nieland’s Yankee Dutch was always meant to be comical, an exaggeration of how Dutch Americans spoke. […]

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 […]

Dutch Newspaper Research – Sheboygan Nieuwsbode

A few months back, I discovered that Delpher.nl has an incredibly large collection of digital, searchable Dutch-language newspapers online. Unlike some Dutch websites and archives, Delpher doesn’t require any registration or payment. The website is in Dutch, and it takes a while to figure out all of the advanced search features. But once you have […]