This woman’s work: Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk

There aren’t a lot of records or history about women years ago, but I did find some interesting information on one of my women ancestors, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother, Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk. Jannetje, her husband Pieter and their only daughter, Neeltje, came from Holland with the original group of settlers that founded Roseland in 1849. Sadly, Pieter died during the voyage of cholera and was buried at sea.

In his book, “The History of Roseland and Vicinity”, Simon Dekker mentions Jannetje in his section about doctors:

When the pioneers of 1849 settled on the prairie what is now called Roseland, there was no doctor among them. The nearest town to them was Blue Island, a small place a few miles to the southwest, where there was a doctor. And his name, if I remember well, was Dr. Egan. It was not an easy matter to get him if he was needed in those pioneer days. The quickest way to get him was to go on foot as the only way of transportation was by oxen team, and that was a slow process. In confinement cases, they hardly ever got a doctor, only in case of emergency.

There was a widow among them, Mrs. Jantje Oudendyke (sp), who acted as midwife for a number of years, until a doctor settled here, and that was about twenty years after the first settlers came. All these years she acted as midwife. And she was successful in this work…this old lady was an all around lady. She had different homes where she would come certain days of the week to do the mending of the old clothes or of shoes and stockings. She had her home with her only daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Johannes Ambuul.

It is very rare to get a glimpse of a pioneer woman’s life, but with Mr. Dekker’s snapshot, we can see what this woman did, and the important contributions she made.

Too bad I don’t have a photo! But here is a painting of a pioneer midwife!

Midwife: Thy Path Her Chosen Way, by Crystal Haueter, courtesy Church History Museum

Thanks for reading!

Jan and Teetje Jonker

I’m focusing a little bit on the Bass side right now, and today’s post is about Jan Jonker, whose sister is Grietje (Jonker) Bass, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother. Jan Jonker was one of the first settlers of Roseland, he came over on the boat with the group that included Johannes Ambuul, my maternal great-great-great-great grandfather. In fact, Johannes’ daughter, Trijntje, married Grietje’s son (and Jan’s nephew), Pieter Bass.

A quick note before I go on. I go back and forth about using Dutch and Americanized names in my blog posts, but for this post I am starting with the Dutch names and then changing to the Americanized names. When I refer to the family’s time in America, I will use their Americanized names unless census records show them different.

Jan was born Jan Jonker, but when he died his name was John Yonker. He was born in Schoorl, Netherlands on December 28, 1811. He and Grietje’s parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannetje van Lienen, and they had another brother, Sijmon. Schoorl is in the municipality of Bergen in the province of North Holland.

Here is also a photo of present day Schoorl:

On November 28, 1841, Jan married Teetje (Tillie) Veldhuis, who also lived in Schoorl and whose parents are Cornelis and Kniertje (Van Der Velde) Veldhuis. Tillie was born on January 21, 1821, and ten years younger than Jan.

In 1849, they were ready for the voyage to America. Sadly, they had a baby right before they sailed but the baby died in LeHavre, France. There is confusing information in some of the sources about this. I like the book Down an Indian Trail in 1849-The Story of Roseland by Marie K. Rowlands, but have found a number of errors. For example, it says that Johannes’ wife died during the sailing, however, I have a copy of a church record that shows she did not die until she was in America some years later. The book also says that Jan and Teetje sailed with their two children, one born in 1811 (!?) and the other born in 1821 (!?) – well this is an impossibility as Jan himself was born in 1811 and Teetje was born in 1821.

The book is actually a compilation of articles written and published in 1949 for the 100th anniversary of Roseland. I attribute that some of these stories were passed down through many people and inaccuracies occurred along the way. However, I’ve seen that people still rely on some inaccurate information (i.e., Facebook thread and others). This is why it is always best to check your sources.

Through records on WieWasWie, I have confirmed their children:

Jannigje, born 1842 (died 1926)
Cornelis, born 1844 (death year unknown)
Gerrit, born and died at 11 days old in 1845
Kniertje, born and died at 8 months old in 1846
Kniertje, born and died at 3 months old in 1847
Unnamed baby born and died in LeHavre, France in 1849 (mentioned above)
Garrit, born 1850 (died 1913)
Kniertje, born 1852 (died 1900)
John, born 1853 (died 1943)
Cornelius, born 1855 (death year unknown)
Klaas Nicholas, born 1856 (died 1896)

I have seen Katherine listed as a child but have not confirmed her existence yet. Also, Kniertje is the Dutch name for Cornelia.

This is all actually a really good example of the Dutch naming system. All of the children up until John were named after the grandparents, and then John was named after his father. Jannetgje is not the exact spelling as Jannetje, but it still means Jane. Klaas is Nicholas but I don’t know who he is named after, perhaps an uncle on Tillie’s side? Usually the order in the Dutch naming system is for boys, grandfathers first, then father, then uncle. Same way for girls, grandmothers first, then mother, then aunt.

The above is from the 1850 census, a year after the family landed in America. At this time, John is 38, Tillie is 29, Janka (Jannegje) is 8, Cornelis is 6, and there is a baby but I cannot read the name. This confirms that they sailed to America with the two oldest children.

The 1860 census shows that the family as living in Worth. John and Tillie now have a total of five children: Cornelis, 16; Garret, 9; Grete, 8; John, 7; and Nicolaus, 4. The last name is also now Yonker, but the name is mistakenly spelled at Younker.

In 1870 above, the census shows that the family is living in Calumet. John is working as a gardener, and is 58. Tillie is 49, Garret is 19 and working with the railroad; Cornelia is 18 (listed in the 1860 census as Grete); John is 17; Nicholas is 14; and there is now a Cornelius, age 7. Since there is now a younger Cornelius who is 7 years old, I can guess that the older Cornelius died somewhere between the last census taken in 1860 and 1863.

In 1880, the family is still living in Calumet. John is 68 and Tillie is 59 and the last name is again mistakenly listed as Younker. The only children still living at home are Nicholas, 24, and Cornelius, 17.

John died on March 25, 1891 at the age of 79, and Tillie died on April 2, 1891 at the age of 70. I don’t have photos of their tombstones but both are buried in Homewood Memorial Gardens in Homewood, Illinois.

Thanks for reading!


The other day my sister, father and I were texting about Roseland and my sister included a link to the Dennis DeYoung song “Goodbye Roseland“, which is a pretty, sad song when thinking of how much Roseland has changed. Anyway, I said wouldn’t it be really cool if we were related to him as I know we have DeYoungs in our family????

Well, I am sad to say I have found no connection yet to Dennis DeYoung. However, one of our DeYoungs was the founder of another very Dutch enclave in another south side area of Chicago, South Holland. Roseland was known as “DeHooge Prairie”, or “The High Prairie”, and South Holland was known as “DeLaage Prairie”, or “The Low Prairie”.

Source:  Glen H. DeYoung

This is Hendrik Arie DeJong, and he is the grandfather of my great-great uncle, Harry DeYoung. Hendrik (Harry) DeYoung was married to Jannetje (Jane) Ambuul, one of the daughters of my great-great grandfather, Johannes Ambuul. DeYoung is the Americanized version of the DeJong name, but some still keep the DeJong name, as I noticed on my DNA match list.

Apparently Hendrik and his wife, Guurtje (DeVries) DeJong had a massive brood of children (12), and they, along with 11 of them, emigrated from Noordeloos, Netherlands to America in 1847. What I’m amazed at is none of them died, what with cholera being a huge threat on those ships during that time. They were originally going to settle in Wisconsin, but according to the Village of South Holland’s website, Hendrik DeJong purchased 300 acres along the Little Calumet River which is now in what is known as South Holland. They became its first settlers. The community’s first post office came about as a result of Pieter DeJong, Hendrik’s son. In 1860, Hendrik built a combination general store and post office and the post office was recognized by the federal government in 1870. DeLaage Prairie officially became the village of South Holland that year.

The area settled by the Dutch in the south side area includes the communities of Roseland, South Holland, Lansing, Munster, and Highland. So, that makes THREE ancestors I am related to that founded three out of five of these Dutch communities:

     Johannes Ambuul — Roseland
     Hendrik Arie Dekker – South Holland
     Jacob Monster (Munster) – Munster

Have a great fourth!

Thanks for reading!

Nine Founding Fathers of Roseland

My first post on this blog was about Johannes Ambuul, my maternal great-great-great grandfather, one of the nine founding fathers of Roseland. Little did I know that I am connected in some way to not just him but SEVEN of the founders!  See if you can keep up!!

Johannes Ambuul:  You already know about this, but I’ll repeat the connection – Johannes married Neeltje Oudendijk; their daughter Trijntje (Katherine) was married to Peter Bass, they are my maternal great-great grandparents.

Pieter De Jong:  Pieter and fellow founder, Jakob DeJong, were brothers. Pieter was married to Trijntje Dalenberg. Their daughter Antje (Annie) married Simon Dekker, brother of Gertrude Dekker, who is my paternal great-great grandmother.

Jakob De Jong:  See above. Also, Jakob was married to Geertje Eenigenburg, who was the sister of Gerrit Eenigenburg. Gerrit was married to Jannetje (Jane) Ton, daughter of fellow founder, Jan Ton (whose brothers were connected by marriage to both of my maternal and paternal lines, see below).

Klaas Dalenberg:  Brother of Trijntje Dalenberg, whose daughter married Simon Dekker, brother of Gertrude, my paternal great-great grandmother.

Pieter Dalenberg:  Brother of Trijntje Dalenberg. See above.

Jan Jonker:  Jan Jonker is the brother of my maternal great-great-great grandmother, Grietje (Margaret) Jonker (mother of Peter Bass).

Cornelis Kuyper:  No connection.

Jan Ton:  Jan Ton’s brother Jacob married Jannetje (Jane) Bass, daughter of my maternal great-great-grandmother Grietje (Margaret) Jonker and sister of Peter Bass. Jan Ton’s other brother Cornelis married Grietje Schoon, sister of Aaltje Schoon Dekker, my paternal great-great grandmother. AND…….their daughter, Hillegonda Ton, married George Dekker, who happened to be the brother of Arie Dekker, Aaltje Schoon’s husband.  Huhhhhh?

I did a schematic for that one because I was really confused, here it is.  

Leendert Van der Sijde:  No connection.

Wow, I am disappointed that I am not connected in some way to the remaining two founders, I was really on a roll there for awhile. When my father said the Dutch were clannish, he was really right about that. Then again, all of these people were just starting out in a new country and knew no one outside of their whole group. It is seriously mind boggling — who knew how deep my family’s roots really go into Roseland!!

Dutch names

In my first post about Johannes Ambuul, I mentioned there were three sons named Willem. After the first Willem died, the next son was also named Willem, and then again for the third after the second Willem died. This custom was in line with the traditional Dutch practice of baby naming at that time. It usually followed this pattern:

–First-born son is named after paternal grandfather

–First-born daughter is named after maternal grandmother

–Second son is named after maternal grandfather

–Second son is named after paternal grandmother

For the rest of the lot, children were many times named after uncles and aunts.

However, if a son died before his next brother was born, the younger brother was usually given the same name, and it was the same for a daughter. If the father died before his son was born, the son was usually named after him, the same with the mother.

I have not fully researched Johannes Ambuul’s family line, but what I have found on a couple of other private family websites (all data needs to be confirmed) is his father’s name was Willem. I’m going to guess that is correct.

Johannes Ambuul, one of the founders of Roseland

Welcome to my new family history blog! I will be posting about my four family lines, Ooms, Bass, Kros and Schoudel. My goal is to share with others what I have learned about my family and to make sure and save all of this information for future generations. I hope you join me on this journey and also share with me what you know. Let’s go!

Since this first post is the beginning of my blog, I will start with another beginning. Johannes Ambuul was one of the nine men who founded Roseland in 1849 and my great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side (Bass family). At that time, Roseland was known as High Prairie, located in the very far south side of what is now Chicago. Although we moved from the area when I was only two years old and don’t remember much, I have been told by family and have read that Roseland was an idyllic place for families. Unfortunately, the collapse of the steel mill and automotive industries and other issues led to decades of economic decline, blight, and high crime, and it is sadly not what it once was. As most of my ancestors are from Roseland, look for more posts about it in the future!

In the middle of April 1849, at the age of 31, Johannes said goodbye to his relatives and home of Schoorl, a little town in North Holland in the Netherlands, to seek a new life in America. With him were other families also looking for a new life, 62 people in all. The group first left from Rotterdam by steamboat to Le Havre, France and then set sail on the “Massachusetts” of Boston. Johannes was not alone, also traveling with him were his wife, Aaltje (maiden name Van der Veen), age 28, and their two children, Willem (“William”), aged 3, and Saakje (“Jacob”), aged 1. Unfortunately, during the voyage tragedy struck which took may lives — the dreaded Asciatic cholera. In all, 19 died, including Willem and Saakje, and to try to contain the spread of the illness, all who died were buried at sea. It has been reported in other sources that one child and Aaltje died, however, that is incorrect. Aaltje indeed made it through the voyage but died three years later in 1852, two months after she had given birth to their baby, Wiebe. Sadly, the baby died not long after the mother. How do I know this? Through the South Suburban Historical Society I obtained copies of the actual membership records from the Thorn Creek Reformed Church, aka The First Reformed Church of Roseland, which was the church that this group formed once they were settled. In that document, Aaltje’s death is listed as July 19, 1852 (thank you to Glen DeYoung for the records and also for the photo!). After a forty-two day voyage, the group arrived in New York, and then traveled by steamboat along the Hudson River from New York City to Albany, NY, and then by canal boat to Buffalo, NY, through the Erie Canal. The final part was a steamboat to Chicago.

After they settled in High Prairie, as this time period was before the advent of modern medicine, death was very common, especially in young children. Johannes and Aaltje sadly lost a total of 5 children during their marriage. Besides Willem (born January 8, 1846) and Saakje, (born March 3, 1848), another baby named Willem who was born on August 20. 1850, died on October 19, 1852, only a couple of months after Aaltje and Wiebe died. Pieter died on December 28, 1857 (according to family history passed down from the Albert Bass family).

By the way, if you’re confused by all of these children named Willem, look for future posts on Dutch baby naming practices!

On October 21, 1852, three months after Aaltje died, Johannes married Neeltje (“Nellie”) Oudendijk, 22. Neeltje was also new to America, joining her father and mother, Pieter and Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk on the same ship as the others in 1849 — unfortunately her father died during the voyage.

Johannes and Neeltje had a total of four children during their marriage: Pieter (“Peter”), born July 30, 1853; Trijntje (“Katherine”), born September 24, 1854; Willem (“William”), born January 15, 1856; Jannetje (“Jane”), born June 14, 1857; and Pietertje, born June 4, 1859 (my best guess for her name is “Petra”, but I have found no translation yet for Pietertje). All of these dates were confirmed through baptismal records from Thorn Creek Reformed Church. Once I’m able to figure out how to post documents, I will include the records in the documents section (well, once I figure how to set up that section, I’m having some issues).

Now here’s the connection to me: Trijntje (Katherine) married Pieter Bass. One of their sons, William Bass, married Bertha Conner. Their son, William Peter Bass married Madeline Schoudel — their daughter, Patricia (Bass) Ooms, is my mother.

To get back to Johannes, The First Reformed Church of Roseland retained him as its first janitor and caretaker of its cemetery from 1849 until sometime during the 1860’s. Although he kept handwritten notes of the locations of burials (located at 107th and Michigan Avenue), the notes were lost, and thus, many grave locations and the names of those buried were lost. The property was eventually sold and bodies needed to be moved and the decision was to bury them at Mt. Greenwood Cemetery. However, Mt. Greenwood Cemetery wanted proof of ownership/identification or it could not accept the bodies. For any bodies where there was no identifying paperwork for, they were buried in a mass grave in Mt. Greenwood. When 107th Street was widened, more bodies required relocation and were moved to a different location in the churchyard. This undertaking is described in detail in “The Trail South Out of Chicago” by Ross K. Ettema.

On November 22, 1887, Johannes was once again left a widower when Neeltje died at the age of 57 from chronic nephritis. Johannes lived until the age of 75, dying on April 7, 1894. Both are buried at Mt. Greenwood Cemetery — once I get photos of the tombstones I will post them!

So that’s my first post, hope you enjoyed it and will keep coming back! Feel free to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the follow button.