Dragons of Histh one of the pivotal events was the
Great Migration from a destroyed wartorn Europe to a New
World.This corresponded with the emigration of our family
from Holland to Canada in 1952.
Also in Dragons of Histh is
a picture of the Boothby
clan gathered for a family photo.Behind the Rumrunner
is located a childs sleigh.The sleigh represents the Boothby
that didn't survive.That child in the real world is
Uncle Joe(1),who died in 1934.
Although my greatgrandparents didn't make a
appearance in Dragons of Histh,their lives do touch us still
more than half a century after greatgrandfather Jan died.
Although people like
to portray post WW2 Holland as a
grim dismal place,that probably isn't the only reason my family
came to Canada.
That region of the Netherlands
had been reasonably treated
by the Germans.Hence my grandfather Herman and his wife
couldn't really complain on that score.One reason was because
the dutch in that area were the children and grandchilren of the
Germans who settled the area after the mid 19th century.
grandparents had a big farm beside Barger Oosterveld
in 1952.They had done well in WW2 trade with the German soldiers
and rich dutch folk.
They were not
broken and starving in 1952.Gramps could have done very
well if he'd remained in Holland.
Jan had been born in Lindenloh,Germany
as were many other of my greatgrandparents.
Jan was a farmer who lived in a
19th century brick peatworkers hut on the edge of town where
the peatfields turned into a sand plain on which Barger Oosterveld
He was a tightfisted farmer like most farmers.He is not
remembered for being kind and gentle,but for being tough.
and his wife Maria had to deal with their troubled crime
prone son Herman.(Grandfather Herman)
Sometime during WW1
Herman did do prison time.
Whatever hope he had of reform seemed to die when his mother
died young in 1922.
passed between Jan and Herman is a matter of
speculation.However by the time my dad was born they must have
patched things up to some extent.
In later years my dad would often stay overnight
in his grandfathers peatworkers house.One nice thing about
the old houses was that they had bunk beds built right
into the wall of the house.Dad and the other kids liked
that hideyhole feature of those bunkbeds.
look I got of Jan was at a family reunion in 2002.
Unknownst to me,some of my cousins were as interested in
family history as I was.They had collected old photos and two
of them were of greatgrandfather Jan.In one he's sitting on a
iron bench with one of his daughters.The photo was probably
taken in the 1930's and the old man in his cap gives no hint of
what he must have been like during WW1.
Later I took a trip
to Barger Oosterveld,and dutifully
snapped photos of the graves of Jan,his wife Maria and his
grandson Uncle Joe(1)
The first thing I noticed was that
both greatgrandparents had
similar graves and tombstones.I know that in 1922 the standard
grave for a Roman Catholic was a iron cross.Yet Maria's grave
did not look like a 1920's style.It would appear that her husband
had remembered his wife and had made sure that when he died
the two graves would be one in appearance,if not in location.
to my second discovery.Since husband and wife had died
two decades apart they lay in different sections of the St Geratus
cemetary.However as I sat beside the grave of Maria I sighted along
the cross that marks the grave of Uncle Joe(1).If you followed that
line of sight it crossed right over the grave of her husband.In death
all three of them were together in a sense.
My dad doesn't clearly
recall the death and burial of his
grandfather.Its just another minor event that occured during
the war years.
Probably when Herman decided to move his family completely
out of Holland in 1952
he did so partially because he associated the Barger
Oosterveld area with his troubled youth,the early death of his
mother and the harsh gaze of his dad .
So it could
be said that Greatgrandparents Jan and Maria
had a part to play in the Great Migration of Dragons of Histh.
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