Grietje (Jonker) Bas (now Bass) was the sister of Jan Jonker, one of the founding fathers of Roseland. She is my maternal great-great-great grandmother and one of the reasons why the Bass line continued in America and, of course Roseland. Her parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannitje Van Lienen and she was born in 1810 in Schoorl, a village in North Holland. Grietje married Albert Bas on June 6, 1835 in Zipje, North Holland when she was 24 years old. Here’s their marriage certificate—
The next document is an undated population register from the Netherlands. It is apparent from the record that Albert died on January 7, 1857 when he was only 47 years old. Sadly, Grietje became a widow with many young children. Nine children are listed in this record, some alive and some deceased.
However, when I was going through WieWasWie, I found records of more children. There are a lot of confusing dates and names, but this is a list I put together from actual Netherland birth registration records from through WieWasWie (I added known death dates as well) —
Jan Bas, Dec. 22, 1835 – Dec. 15, 1852
Gerrit Bas, 1838 – June 25, 1839
Pieter Bas, April 18, 1939 – May 23, 1919 (my great-great grandfather)
Jannetje Bas, 1840 – March 10, 1892
Gerrit Bas, 1841 – Nov. 16, 1852
Gerritje Bas, March 1843 – death date unknown
Maartje Bas, 1845 – Nov. 16, 1852
Aagje Bas, 1845 – 1927
Maartje Bas, 1847 – Feb. 8, 1915
Klaas Bas, Jan. 1849 – May 30, 1849
Unnamed stillborn, died Jan. 31, 1849 (assuming twin born with Klaas)
Klaas Bas, May 30, 1850 – Dec. 2, 1908
Jantje Bas, April 7, 1854 – death date unknown
Grietje gave birth to thirteen children! Very sadly, as you can see, more than half of them died very young.
Some years later, Grietje emigrated to America with her remaining living six children and her mother Jannetje: Pieter, Klaas, Jannetje, Aagje, Maartje, and Jantje. They sailed on the Duisburg of Prussia and arrived in New York on June 16, 1866 (Grietje is listed on the next page of the emigration record but here are the children and their ages):
This journey was described in the book Journey Homeward: Blokker, Ton, Zilligen, Mayer, by John Jay Blockker. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it and would love to get my hands on the entire book. Because Jannetje eventually married a Ton, it has some good information about her family in it.
Eventually everyone’s names became Americanized and Grietje was known as Margaret. The name of Bas also changed to Bass.
I had quite a bit of trouble locating information on Grietje after she and her family arrived in America. I cannot confirm exactly where she was in 1870, in fact, I cannot confirm where any of them were living that year as there are no census records on them. Unfortunately some 1870 census records are missing and most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. Also, many times names were transcribed incorrectly.
I did find her in 1880, living with one of her daughters and her family at 800 Worbach Avenue in Roseland. One thing I haven’t figured out yet is what the name of that street is now, many of Chicago’s streets were renamed but this one is a mystery. Anyway, Grietje is listed as Margret Bass, age 70, living with her daughter Maartje (Mary), Mary’s husband Henry Benschop, and their family. The spelling in the transcription is Renochop. Sure it looks like that in the census because of the handwriting but that is incorrect (again, incorrect transcription).
Grietje (Margaret) died on August 16, 1885 in Roseland at the age of 75 and is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.
Thanks for reading!