Lambertus Halsema (1804 - 1878)

On January 15, 1812, at the age of 7, Lambertus was taken with his father, his sisters Anjes (Anna, age 10 ) and Aagje (Agatha, age 5) to officially take on the family name of Halzema. (with a z)

It is a tradition in many Dutch families, for the oldest son the take on the name of the maternal grandfather. Lambertus' maternal grandfather was Lammert Jansen. Since his elder brother Lambert died as a baby, he was named Lambertus also. It is a name that has become very familiar to the Halsema clans of Lafayette, Indiana.

On August 9, 1827 Lambertus married Anna Willems Slinger in Kloosterburen. Their son Rembertus was born seven months later, on February 13, 1828, and five days after that, Anna died.

On May 29, 1834 he married Neeltje (Cornelia) Louwes Smit, also in Kloosterburen, and their first child, Louwe, was born two months later, on July 31, 1834.

Meanwhile in Texel, the first of several polders (the Eijerlandse Polder) was diked and reclaimed for cultivation. Lambert took the opportunity and moved there. His family of eleven children grew up on the farm in Eijerland, north of Texel, surrounded by marshes, connected only to the main island of Texel by dikes. Nearby is a bird sanctuary for the Wadbirds.

Texel farmers of the nineteenth century tended sheep. Only when the polders developed, did some turn to tilling the soil. Many Texelers were seamen and fishermen. Convoys of merchant ships traditionally gathered south of Texel, before setting out to their various destinations: The only way in to the port of Amsterdam was through the narrows south of Texel.

Between 1835 and 1877 several polders were diked in. Lambert and Neeltje prospered. The family grew, but there was also tragedy along the way.

On February 25 1849 Jan, Neeltje's third child died. The boy that was born the following year was then called Jan also. On August 27 1859 Neeltje passed away. She left behind her husband Lambertus and many growns sons and Elisabeth who was only 5. On December 10, 1868 Harmen (26), Neeltje's fifth son died.

For Texel at large, progress stopped after 1877. Between 1863 and 1876 a canal was build from Amsterdam directly to the coast of the North Sea. Ships no longer needed to go around North Holland and out though the Texelstroom. Texel ceased being the "Last Home Port" for merchant ships. It became a backwater country. Farmers, used to growth and great opportunities, now had to look elsewhere.

Many from Texel turned to the United States for a new life.

The first Halsema to move to the United states was Lambertus' younger sister Agatha who emigrated from Kloosterburen with her husband Bernardus Hiebels Pel and all her children on April 15, 1854. Bernardus was a shoemaker and settled in Lafayette, Indiana.

In 1867 Cornelius, Lambertus' third son (31) moved to Lafayette. He took with him his wife, Petronella Smits (27) and three children: Lambertus (5), Peter (4) and John (1)

Five years later, in 1871 Schelte (Charles) came at the age of 26. He married his Dutch wife Catherine de Ruiter on Nov 26, 1872. Lambertus (68) himself came to Lafayette in time to be at the wedding, and brought three more children with him: Nicolaas (24), Jan (22) and Elisabeth (18).

On November 7, 1876 Lambertus became a U.S. citizen, two years before he died on October 6, 1878. He left behind four children in Texel: Rembertus (50), Louwe (44), Ben (38), and William (32). Eventually both Louwe and William came to Lafayette with their families. Ben and his descendants stayed in Texel. Rembertus moved to Amsterdam and founded there a large family himself.

  • This information courtesy Martha Halsema Donnelly of Rensselaer, IN
  • Please contact John Ketelaars, for corrections or additions.

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