Postcard showing women in traditional Dutch clothing, and tulips, in Michigan.
Methodology Spotlight

Filippus Vinkemulder in emigration registers

When genealogists in other countries find out that they have Dutch ancestors, the first question they want to answer is: when did my ancestor leave the Netherlands? Passengerlists are a big help, but usually exist in the country of destination. Are there documents in the ‘old’ country that provide this kind of information? Today we look at an example of such a document: a list of emigrants from 1848, which shows Filippus Vinkemulder from Groningen.

King’s Commissioner (province of Groningen, Netherlands), staat van landverhuizers [list of emigrants] in 1848, page 2, entry 17, Filippus Vinkemulder; “Zoeken op naam,” database with images, AlleGroningers (https://www.allegroningers.nl : viewed 15 July 2020), search results for ‘Filippus Vinkemulder’.

Explanation

The header of the list says: “List of emigrations to North America or other overseas areas, which took place in the year 1848.” The emigration register is divided into several columns:

  • municipality
  • surname and (first) names of the head of the family, or the (single) person
  • occupation
  • age
  • religion
  • financial situation (four columns): are they wealthy, less wealthy or poor, do they pay taxes
  • number of persons that left (three columns): women, children, servants
  • reason for emigration
  • destination
  • remarks or comments

When we look at the entry for Filippus Vinkemulder, a 24 year old baker from Slochteren, we see that he wanted to emigrate to Michigan for one (important!) reason: “to make a fortune.”

This register from 1848 contains five pages with a total of 132 entries.

Emigrants

The registers show various reasons for emigration. Most families were looking for better livelihoods, prosperity and wealth. Others belonged to a denomination that experienced oppression and discrimination. They were looking for religious freedom. And there were emigrants, who were simply looking for adventure.

“Staten van landverhuizers” or lists of emigrants like this not only exist for the province of Groningen. List for other provinces are in the archives of the Ministry of the Interior, at the National Archives in The Hague. The good news: a database is available. The bad news: these registers only cover the period 1848-1877. And, unfortunately, not all lists are digitized. Those for Groningen are and are accessible through the website AlleGroningers.

Information board ‘Dutch in Michigan’ in Centennial Park, Holland, Michigan (photo credits: Wikimedia Commons, user rossograph)

Filippus Vinkemulder

Do we know what happened to Filippus? Ancestry shows fragments of his life in the United States.

  • he arrived in New York on 29 May 1848, travelling with the ship Angelique
  • he married twice, in 1851 to Be(r)diena (or Baredina) van Raalte, and in 1890 to Anna Bisschop
  • on 8 September 1903 he died in Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan; cause of death: chronic nephritis, leading to uremia and paralysis of the lower extremities
  • he was burried in North Holland Cemetery on 10 September 1903

His death certificate says he was a retired farmer. The Muskegon Chronicle of 9 September 1903 names him “a pioneer of Holland.” None of these documents demonstrate if Filippus succeeded in his dream: did he make a fortune in Michigan? Maybe we have one of his descendants as a reader? Please let uw know, we are very curious!

4 Replies to “Filippus Vinkemulder in emigration registers

  1. Maybe not a fortune in cash money, but, as the owner of an 80 acre farm producing well, he probably was pretty fortunate. What did he leave behind? It’s a;; relative!
    He lived just up the road from my great-great grandfather.

  2. My ancestor was not the one in the article, but they did come over with Van Raalte. I am wondering if there is an documentation of their coming over. I do not know the ship or exact landing area.
    Thank you.

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