To read more about the Halsemas and their stories, go to the
The name "Halsema" came from the property "Groot Halsum" where the Halsemas were farmers. If would seem that if you live there, then you were a Halsema. In 14621 it belonged to Tjasse Halbetsuma, a sometimes judge in Kloosterburen. To be a judge was a duty that rotated from year to year among the farmers who owned land in rural Groningen. There was a ceremonial chair that was placed in the home of the current judge. No doubt people referred to the lands belonging to Tjasse and his family as "Halsum", which rolls off the tongue a lot easier than Halbetsuma.
The prevailing opinion2 is, that the name Halsema itself likely came from the Dutch word for neck: hals. The Halsema property was build near the opening (neck) of a gully outside the dikes on the Waddenzee.
This website deals with the descendants of Schelte Halsema, who lived in the mid 17th century. As far as I know, all the people who today call themselves Halsema are descended from him. There were other Halsemas in the 15th and 16th century, but how they are related to Schelte's family is in part the subject of new research3 .
With few exceptions, there are today two main families of Halsemas, the
descendants of Catharina, and
the decendants of Jemme. Representatives of both
groups moved to the USA: The five sons of Julle
Eisses Halsema, representing the Catharina Halsemas, originally moved
to Ohio, and the children of Lambertus Halsema
representing the Jemme Halsemas, moved to Indiana.