Ancestors discussed in this article are:

Jantje Karsies (great-grandmother, 1857).

Hendrik Kornelius Ryskamp (2nd-great-grandfather, 1829).

Kornelius Ryskamp (great-grandfather, 1855).

Tr�ntje Willems Wisman(2nd-great-grandmother, 1826).

Emigration of Hendrik Kornelius Ryskamp (2nd-great-grandfather, 1829) and his family to Michigan.

      We don�t know much about the emigration of the Ryskamp family to America. We don�t know whether they came because of religious persecution or for economic reasons. Either or both are possible. They came as a family soon after Kornelius Ryskamp (great-grandfather, 1855) and Jantje Karsies (great-grandmother, 1857) were married in 1881 in Middelstum. The group included: Hendrik Kornelius Ryskamp (2nd-great-grandfather, 1829), his wife, Tr�ntje Willems Wisman (1826), his son Kornelius and new wife Jantje, and three more sons, Hendrik Ryskamp (1859), Jacob Ryskamp (1863), and Willem Ryskamp (1866). All of the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. After emigrating, Kornelius changed the spelling of his name to Cornelius and Jantje became known as Jennie.

Wallpapering and Painting.

      In 1882, they started a painting and wall papering business, �Ryskamp Brothers Wallpaper and Paint Store, Decorators,� in Grand Rapids.

Dutch Reformed and Christian Reformed Churches.

      According to Edna Ryskamp, some members of the family belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church and others joined the Christian Reformed Church in America. The history of Dutch protestant churches in the Netherlands and United States is complex. From when Calvin first influenced religion in the Netherlands in the 17th century, different groups seceded, splintered, and were created. In 1792, the Dutch Reformed Church in America separated from the Netherlands� Church. William I in 1816 created the Netherlands Reformed Church. Various groups splintered from this official government mandated church. The splinter groups were persecuted and one emigrated to Holland, Michigan. In 1850, this splinter group united with the Dutch Reformed Church in America. After the union, there were dissenters in the Dutch Reformed Church in Grand Rapids Michigan and a new group was created in 1857 called the Christian Reformed Church (Dutch Reformed Timeline).

Kornelius Ryskamp (great-grandfather, 1855). Top of Page

  Kornelius Ryskamp.

      According to Helen May Timmer, � Our Grandfather Kornelius (Cornelius) Ryskamp [great-grandfather, 1855] was a soldier in the infantry in the Netherlands. Uncle Harry has his discharge or passport papers dated 1880 and that he was a good soldier of good conduct papers. He went into the service May 12th, 1875 to September 14th, 1878. Uncle Harry has a book�a kind of diary of when he was in the army�how tall he was, his salary, what his clothes cost and what he had to do. It is all in Dutch and in his handwriting (Ryskamp).� We haven�t found his occupation on records at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Jantje Karsies (great-grandmother, 1857). Top of Page

  Jantje Karsies.

      We know more about Jantje (Jennie), the wife of Kornelius Ryskamp, because she didn�t die until 1945, many of her grandchildren remember her well.

Maid in Groningen.

      Jennie was a maid in Groningen before emigrating to Michigan (Loppersum Film 557939). Aunt (Tina) told Edna Ryskamp that when Jennie was a girl in Loppersum she worked hard scrubbing and polishing tile and brick floors, carried a yolk on her shoulders, and carried bread to sell. She learned to work very hard.

Edna�s Memories.

      Edna Ryskamp has a deep and lasting love for Jennie, her �little Dutch grandma�. She has many memories of her. �Another favorite memory of mine is that sometimes when we were playing outdoors our activity would spread out and some of us would wander into Grandma�s backyard. Occasionally Grandma would call one or two of us to come to her. She would say, �Etna (Edna), come a zeea.� She would invite us into her kitchen for a drink of Kool-aid and a graham cracker or a cookie. Often it was a spiced windmill cookie with sliced almonds. On rare occasions she would give us a really special treat of a chocolate covered wafer cookie and that was the greatest treat of all. I still greatly enjoy windmill cookies and chocolate covered wafer cookies.�

      Edna continues, �Some of the other foods that seem very traditionally Dutch to me are applesauce with cinnamon always served with pork chops. We also ate cooked red cabbage seasoned with a little vinegar and sugar. The dutch drank fresh cold buttermilk and barley soup. Dad loved his mother�s barley soup. He also especially enjoyed her special spice cake. Sometimes when Dad was visiting his mother she served him a piece of her spice cake with his cup of coffee. I have never discovered her recipe but I can almost smell it when I reminisce about how I loved my Dutch Grandma and the sweet smells in her house. On rare occasions if I was there visiting with Dad she served me a piece of her cake too. I remember Grandma drying celery leaves spread out on a newspaper in the sunshine on hot summer days. The dried celery leaves she later used in her soups. Rye bread with fennel or anise seed was another Dutch favorite and has carried over to being a favorite of mine in these recent years.�

      Edna remembers, �During the school year when we had overnight guests at our house Angell (Ann) and I would sleep at Grandma�s house. To this day these are still special memories for me. Grandma would have us climb into her big cozy bed; then she would bring us each a cup of warm milk with a little sugar in it. It always tasted so good and it never took us long to fall asleep. This was the Dutch way to sooth children to help them fall asleep quickly. To this day, especially on cold winter evenings, I love to drink a cup of warm milk or hot chocolate milk at bedtime.�

      Edna relates, �When I was very young mother and Dad occasionally left me for a couple of hours with Grandma. I loved her and I loved being alone with her in her house. I remember it was always so quiet and I always felt a sense of peace there. Sometimes I would sit in her big rocking chair and just be content looking around the room. On the wall was a picture of three sheep, two white and one black, resting in a grassy area near a cliff high on a mountain side. I would look at that picture and think �The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.� Sometimes an ice-cream wagon would go down the street and I�d tell her and she would buy an ice-cream cone for me.�

      Edna states, �Grandma�s kitchen was simple with a small wooden table and a chair at each end. There was also a wood-gas stove, a sink and an icebox. Her floors were all painted wooden planks. Her house was always neat and super clean. Dad was born in this house.�

      Edna remembers, �Grandma always seemed to be busy quietly cleaning, and clean she was. I remember watching her even mop her front porch and then the few steps to the sidewalk. She continued with the sidewalk and next she even took her bucket of mop water and washed the tree-trunk to about 4 or 5 feet high.�

      Edna states, �At Grandma�s house, Dad would always read from her Dutch King James Version of the Bible. At the beginning of the meal, each person said a prayer. After the meal was finished, each person again said a prayer. Grandma never did learn to speak English as she lived in a Dutch community and almost all spoke Dutch as well as English.�

Hendrik Kornelius Ryskamp (2nd-great-grandfather, 1829). Top of Page

  Hendrik Ryskamp.

      Hendrik Kornelius Ryskamp (2nd-great-grandfather, 1829) was an agricultural laborer in Groningen but created the painting business with his sons after emigrating to Grand Rapids. Jeanette Ryskamp (Aunt, 1908) remembers a little about him, �Way back, when I was about four or five years old, I just barely remember our great-grandfather [Hendrik Kornelius Ryskamp, his wife is Tr�ntje Willems Wisman] (we called him �Opa�) who stayed at Grandma�s house for a time. He had a long white beard and carried a cane. I thought him to be quite stern, especially when we kids got a little rough and lively, slamming doors, etc. he would shake his cane and say �Whoa, Whoas, vot! Here is neit ein saloon.� Edna Ryskamp states that Hendrik�s wife, Tr�ntje, was a diabetic.

  Tr�ntje Willems Wisman.

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