Basic Info on Tuberculosis

People have forgotten just what a scourge the disease of tuberculosis was. In the farming communities of the 1800s and early 1900s entire families were afflicted by this disease and it was a common cause of death among the young as well as the old. TB has been around a long time – researchers have found evidence of the disease in prehistoric human remains and Egyptian mummies. I’m going to stay very non-technical in this post – if you want to know more just go Google the history of tuberculosis and prepare to be overwhelmed!

The two types of tuberculosis we dealt with in our family were known as pulmonary tuberculosis and “bone” or extrapulmonary tuberculosis. The primary cause of TB is a bacillus – in really lay terms “a bacterium” that can divide roughly every 16 to 20 hours. It’s not considered a fast grower, but it is a hearty little devil and can withstand weak disinfectants and survive in a dry state for several weeks.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is spread by the cough, sneeze, or spit of an infected person becoming airborne and someone else inhaling it. Think about the close living arrangements of families on farms and it’s easy to see how entire families were infected. Infection with TB did not always equate to the disease becoming active – I have seen numbers in my reading that show from 15-40% on the number of infected who became active.

Generally, the bone type of TB was acquired through the consumption of unpasteurized milk or consumption of meat from an in infected cow. On the Washington State Department of Agriculture website there is a compiled history concerning the State Veterinarian. There is an entry discussing tuberculosis testing of cattle and states, “Herds of up to 150 head were often found to be 100 percent reactive.”1 This was during a time when every farmer had from 4-10 dairy cows for production of, at least, the family milk, and usually sold the extra to the local dairy. The farmers also had a few young steers that they raised to butcher and almost all of these cattle carried the disease. “It would take until 1988 before Washington is declared Tuberculosis free by the Washington State Agricultural Department.”2

The real break-through with TB came in 1944 when a new antibiotic called Streptomycin was administered for the first time. It immediately stopped the progression of the disease and the bacteria disappeared from the sputum and the chance of recovery was excellent. All diseases mutate to survive and TB immediately did so, but combinations of drugs solved most of those problems. In developed countries TB has been significantly reduced. It remains a huge problem in undeveloped countries and new drug resistant strains are still being found. This development came after many in my Burgraff and Kortlever line died from the disease.

1. Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, Washington State Dept. of Agriculture – Animal Health ( : accessed 19 Jun 2009), 1929 entry.
2. Ibid.

Research Update

I was in Salt Lake City recently doing research and I worked hard on the Burggraaf information that I was missing.

There was no record found concerning the death of Peter Burggraaf (b. abt 1824) in either Marion or the surrounding counties. There was also no record of land exchanges concerning Peter Burggraaf.

There was no record of death for Willem Burggraaf (1822-1900) or Sygje Stek Burggraaf (1820-1901) I checked Marion County for Willem and Marion, Sioux and Lyon counties for Sygje. The last document I find is a land sale in April 1900 for Willem and the best I can figure is that Willem sold his property off shortly before his death.

There is no record of death for Elizabeth Burggraaf (John’s first wife) or for Little Albert in either Sioux or Lyon counties.

The only thing left to do will be to attempt to find a church in Holland Township, Sioux County that may have recorded the passing. Failing that I will be reduced to hiring a researcher to look at the Dutch papers in both areas for information.

Ah well, a negative result is still a result, but I sure would have liked some closure on these folks.

Peter & William Burgraff

As you could tell by the previous post and article, the family is now using the Burgraff spelling. After the death of Little Arrie in South Dakota, the family moved back to Iowa, where they can be found on the 1895 Iowa Census for Lyon County, Iowa.1 Shortly after that census they moved to Nobles County, Minnesota, and the family was enumerated on 21 June 1895 on the Minnesota State Census in Bigelow Township.2

In the aftermath of the tragedy Peter would adopt the letter A. in front of his name in honor of his brother Arrie. He grew into a quiet man who lived out his life farming in Whatcom County, Washington. According to family members that knew him, he was very private and did not have a close relationship with his father John. He appeared to always get along well with his step-mother Mary and he visited her frequently before her death. Peter married Myrtle E. Nichols on 27 October 1908 in Whatcom County, Washington.3 He died 23 April 1956 and is buried in Lynden Cemetery, Whatcom County, Washington.4

William survived his injuries although they were severe. He had been hit by several pieces of shot in the chest, arm, neck, and head. According to family members he had a spot of white hair where a pellet had lodged in his scalp. He also did not appear to get along well with his father, but according to one of his daughters, he was very close to his step-mother Mary Kortlever. William lived in Washington for some time with his family and married Lelia Bell Faler on 1 December 1907.5 After Lelia’s death in 1910,6 William moved to back to Minnesota and on 4 March 1912 he married Gertrude Stootman in Willmar, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota.7 William would remain in Minnesota for the rest of his life and died on 14 February 1940 in Raymond, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota.8

I had often wondered about the relationship later in life between Peter and William and started asking family members that knew them both. By all accounts the brothers had a push-pull relationship throughout their lives. They visited each other and stayed in touch, but when together they often fought. Mad at each other one minute, the next minute they were over it. It comes as no surprise that neither men kept guns in their homes or hunted. That they were able to maintain a relationship at all is a tribute to the strong family ties that must have been fostered after the accident.

None of their younger siblings or their children knew anything of Little Arrie’s death or the role that Peter played in it. In fact none of them were even aware of the existence of Little Arrie or his brother Little Albert until one of their nieces began doing research in the 1970s. They all knew about Sadie because one of children had found her death certificate in John’s desk.

1. Iowa State, “Iowa State Census, 1895,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 5 Jul 2009), John Burgraff; 1895 Iowa State Census, Des Moines, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa.
2. 1895 Minnesota State Census, Nobles County, Minnesota, population schedule, Bigelow, p. 10, family 73, John Burgraff; digital images, The Generations Network, Ancestry ( accessed 5 Jul 2009); citing Minnesota Territorial and State Censuses, 1849-1905.
3. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, 3719, Peter Burgraff-Myrtle E. Nichols, 27 Oct 1908; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham.
4. Whatcom County Historical Society, “Whatcom County Funeral Notices,” database, usgenweb
( accessed 7 Jul 2009), Burgraff, A. Peter; USGenWeb Whatcom County, Washington.
5. Washington State Archives, marriage certificate 5481 (1 Dec 1907), Will Burgraff-Lilia B. Faler; digital image, Washington State Archives, “Spokane County Marriage Records,”Washington State Digital Archives (
6. Latah Cemetery (Latah, Spokane, Washington), Lelia Bel Faler Burgraff marker, Plot 2-6-4; Photo online.
7. Family Group Sheet of William Burgraff (1883-1940), Burgraff-Scott Family Archives; privately held.
8. Family Group Sheet of William Burgraff (1883-1940), Burgraff-Scott Family Archives; privately held.

The Kindness of Strangers

I know I promised the next post would be about Peter and William – I swear it will be the next one – but I need to take a minute here to talk about the kindness of some people.

When I was working on my research of Arrie Burggraaf I received an incredible amount of help from people that had no personal stake in this research, but went out of their way to help me.

There had been a small blurb in one of the newspapers in Sioux County, Iowa, about the death of Arrie. It simply gave me a where and when, so I went in search of a local paper near Running Water, South Dakota. Carol Hagen answered the phone when I called The Springfield Times, and asked for help finding the news article based on the date provided. I asked if they had an archive department and Carol informed me she was the archive department and the editor! She kindly went through the old papers and transcribed the article for me.

Carol then pointed me at people in Bon Homme County that might be able to help me locate the right cemetery. Three phone calls ensued and three different people in Bon Homme County were on the search. While each one thought the other might have the right information, none of them stopped looking. The next day I had a phone call with a cemetery name, and the name and phone number of the head of the cemetery committee.

I called Ron and Lois Hornstra of the Pioneer Cemetery at 3 pm in the afternoon and the next morning I had pictures in my email of Arrie’s gravesite and the cemetery. Complete with directions to locate the grave should I ever be able to visit.

This is the kind of thing that makes genealogy and family history so special. It is amazing that these folks took the time to help me solve a family mystery. I can’t thank them enough for all their help and kindness.

The Arrie Burggraaf Tragedy

Little Arrie Burggraaf is the youngest son of Elizabeth and Jan Burggraaf. He was born 27 April 1886 in Sioux County, Iowa, but would live a very short life.1 Jan Burggraaf had married Mary Kortlever and in late 1893 the Burggraaf family (John, Mary, Peter, William, Arrie, Sadie, and Maggie) moved west to Bon Homme County, South Dakota. The circumstances of the move are not well known, but it is possible that the death of Little Albert the year previous may have played into the decision. It would be a fateful decision for the family and its impact would be felt for years.

A newspaper article from The Springfield Times dated 16 November 1893 tells the story.2

Warning: The newspaper article that I’m about to quote is extremely graphic – journalism in the 1890s was a little more free-wheeling.

Accidental Shooting
Last Friday a telegram was received from Running Water asking the immediate attendance of Dr. Keeling at the residence of Mr. Burggraff, who lives two or three miles north of that place, where it was stated that one boy was killed and another injured by a gun. On the arrival of the doctor at the place it was found that the affair was the result of the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of the oldest son of Mr. Burggraff, a boy named Peter, about 16 years of age. The piece was loaded with buckshot, for the purpose of goose hunting, and at the time of the discharge was pointed in the direction of the two younger brothers, Arrie and Willie, who stood in the doorway. The head of the former was nearly blown off and he was instantly killed, the blood and brains being scattered about the floor and on the screen. Willie, the younger child, received four shot and was considerably injured, but is in a fair way to recover under the treatment of Dr. Keeling.

The father was absent in Iowa at the time of the accident and was immediately telegraphed for.

A coroner’s jury was impaneled Saturday, and brought in a verdict of accidental death.

The family have but recently come to this county from Iowa. Mr. Burggraff having bargained for the I. W. Seaman place southwest of here, but the trade having been declared off, had moved to the location above described, being only a temporary residence, as it is said that he will move to Nebraska, where he has purchased a farm.

While the article didn’t get all the ages or information about where the family was going correct, the event itself appears to be correctly documented. Little Arrie is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Bon Homme County. The cemetery committee placed a plaque on his grave some years ago, but got the birth date wrong. It should be 1886 – 6s and 0s in old handwriting are frequently confused. I am grateful to the committee for marking his grave.

Arrie Burgraff Marker

I’ll have more on the aftermath of this tragedy in the next post when I talk about Peter and William.

1. Family Group Sheet – Jan Burggraaf, Burgraff-Scott Family Archives; privately held.
2. Carol Hagen, Springfield, South Dakota to Sharon Scott, e-mail, 11 Apr 2007, “Article in November 16, 1893 paper”;

John Burgraff and Mary Kortlever

Jan Burggraaf began to use the spelling John Burgraff in the early 1890s and never used the original spelling after 1900, so from this point on I’ll refer to him by the spelling we use.

John Burgraff found himself in fairly dire straits after the death of his wife Elizabeth circa 1890. He is a farmer with five small children at home. The youngest, Little Sadie, would have only been 2 or 3 at the time and he needed help. Apparently, several family members helped out for a little while, but eventually John hired a full time housekeeper – Maria Kortlever. [update – see the 16 May 2011 post for the correct information provided by a recent discovery.]

Maria (Mary) Kortlever was born 17 October 1874 in Leerdam, Zuid, Netherlands.1 She was the oldest daughter of Jan Kortlever and Maaike Flora Bel. [Maaike is pronounced Maw-key and becomes Anglicized to Maggie.] Jan Kortlever had arrived in May of 1882 and his wife and family followed, arriving 15 September 1882 aboard the W. A. Scholten in New York and then travelled to Sioux County, Iowa.2 She is enumerated with her family on the 1885 census in Alton, Sioux County, Iowa.3

One of our family stories is that Mary arrived in Iowa without being able to speak English. She attended school in Sioux County and by the end of the first year was speaking English with almost no accent.

I believe that Mary went to work for John sometime in early 1891 although there are no specific records. On 20 March 1893 daughter Maggie Burgraff is born.4 John and Mary Kortlever married on 12 August 1893 in Rock Rapids, Lyon County, Iowa.5 They may have been married prior to this date, but I have found no other record and according to their younger children, it was an open secret that Maggie arrived before the minister.

1. Genlias database, Genlias ( : accessed 10 Feb 2010), Maria Kortleever, 17 Oct 1874, Kedichem; Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
2. “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images, Ancestry ( : accessed 10 Feb 2010), manifest, W.A. Scholten, 15 Sep 1882, Line 33, Marie Kortlever.
3. 1885 Iowa State Census, Sioux County, Iowa, population schedule, Alton, p. 6 handwritten, 266 stamped, dwelling 32, family 37, line 26, Marie Kortlever; digital images, The Generations Network, Ancestry ( : accessed 28 Jun 2009); citing Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925.
4. Burgraff Bible, family pages; Photocopy held privately. Maggie 20 Mar 1893.
5. Iowa District Court, Clerk’s Certificate as to Marriage Record, Rock Rapids (12 Aug 1893), John Burgraff-Mary Kortlever; Lyon County District Court, Rock Rapids.

Jan & Elizabeth Burggraaf

As I explained in my post of 2 Feb 2010, Jan Burggraaf had two distinct family groups and each had their own stories.

Jan married Elizabeth in 1879 in Marion County, Iowa, and first child Pieter was born there on 23 December 1880. Our family story is that Jan and his father did not agree on many things. While Willem appears to be a staid Dutch farmer, youngest son Jan is an American. He loved to dance, drink and according to his family was a man that saw himself as more of a boss than a worker.

Things in Pella had become expensive and land was at a premium in the late 1870s which may have precipitated the move to Sioux County. The young family moved to Holland Township in Sioux County a short time after Peter is born, and second son William is born there 12 August 1883. The 1885 Iowa State Census shows the family before the birth of their third son Albert. It also states that William was born in Marion County, but William always stated his place of birth as Sioux County. The next three children are all born in Holland Township: Albert on 15 November 1885, Arrie on 27 April 1886, and Sadie on 29 November 1887. These dates were provided on an un-sourced family group sheet. I plan on checking the available birth record for that period, and I will be looking for a local church for the family in Sioux County.

The 1885 Iowa State Census is currently the last documentation that I have for Elizabeth. She passed away 5 Dec 1892 of “bowel trouble and according to a letter from her niece, Minnie Van Den Top, was buried in Rock Valley Cemetery. cemetery record for Elizabeth. Her obituary in the Rock Valley Register, 8 Dec 1892, p5 is simple— “On Monday morning [5 Dec 1892] Mrs. John Burgraff died at the family home about four miles northeast of town, of inflammation of the bowels. Deceased was about 32 years of age, and leaves a sorrowing husband and four children to mourn her untimely death. The sympathy of all goes out to them in their affliction.”

Sadly, three of Elizabeth’s five children would die in less than 10 years. First to pass away before his mother, was Little Albert, who died circa 1891/92. We know he is deceased based on the number of children in Elizabeth’s death notice. Little Albert is believed to have died of illness and was buried in a small cemetery near Doon, Iowa. What cemetery is not known and I have found no formal record of his passing. The reason I can’t use words of a more positive nature is that there are no records for Little Albert. The date of his birth was found on a family group sheet and was verified in a birth index for Sioux County by date and his parents, but not by name. He does not appear on any census record and the only mention of his passing is in the previously mentioned letter from Minnie Van Den Top.

Arrie died 10 November 1893 in Running Water, Bon Homme County South Dakota. I will cover Arrie’s tragic story in a future post.

Little Sadie died 25 February 1899 in Bigelow, Nobles County, Minnesota. While her death certificate does not list her cause of death, her niece told me that it was due to tubercular meningitis. There is no burial location given on her death certificate and a researcher in Nobles County told me there was no tombstone with any information for any Burggraafs in their records. It is possible that she was brought to Sioux County (not a great distance) and buried with her mother, but currently her place of burial remains unknown.

I have been using the term “Little” with these three children because none of them lived to maturity. The other reason is to help distinguish them from children of the Jan’s second marriage who bear the same names.

1. Family Group Sheet of Peter Burgraff (1880-1956), Burgraff-Scott Family Archives; privately held.
2. “Sioux County, Iowa State Census, 1885,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 5 Jul 2009), Jan Burggraaf, Dwelling 126, Fam 126; Sioux County, Iowa State Census, 1885, FHL Film #1020183.
3. Minnie Van Den Top, Letter dated 1973 to [Private] detailing death and burial locations of Burggraaf family members.
4. Nobles, Minnesota, death certificate (25 February 1899), Sadie Burgraff; Nobles County Superior Court, Worthington, Minnesota.

The Family Stick

Every family has cousins that marry and the Burggraafs are no different. It becomes a royal pain in the keester when you are dealing with the repeating first names found in the line and then add in the same last name. We had a son and daughter of Willem and Sygje marry a daughter and son of Peter and Tryntje.

Jan Burggraaf married Elizabeth Burggraaf on 11 December 1879 in Marion County, Iowa.

John’s sister Annetje (Anna) married Elizabeth’s brother Arie on 4 October 1886 in Sioux County, Iowa. Arie had previously been married to Aaltje DeVries, but whether they divorced or she passed away is not yet known. Arie is listed as single and living with John and Elizabeth in Holland Township in Sioux County at the time of the 1885 census.

John and Elizabeth name their children:
Peter – Elizabeth’s father
William – for John’s father
Albert – for John’s brother
Arrie – for Elizabeth’s brother
Sadie – For John’s mother

Arie and Anna name their children:
Peter – for Arie’s father (I believe that Peter is deceased by now since this child is named for him not Willem)
Sadie – For Anna’s mother
Jennie – For Anna’s older sister Jantje.

It became even more interesting when I found that step-children had married:
Tryntje Brouwer and Peter Burggraaf had a son William Burggraaf born 1873,
Dirk J. Eggink and Wilhelmina Eskes had a daughter Johanna Eggink born 1868,
Tryntje and Dirk married in 1883 after the death of their first spouses and brought their families together in Sioux County.
William Burggraaf then married Johnann Frederika Eggink in about 1893/94.

1. “Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 10 Feb 2010), Arie Burggraaf to Aaltje DeVries, 1 Mar 1882.
2. Iowa State, “Sioux County, Iowa State Census, 1885,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 5 Jul 2009), Arie Burggraaf, Dwelling 126, Fam 126; Sioux County, Iowa State Census, 1885, FHL Film #1020183.
3. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism William Burggraaf, 6 Jun 1873; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.

Peter Burggraaf (1824 – c.1877)

People that are not in your direct line are often called collateral and genealogists research them to see if they might provide documentation leads for other generations. Willem’s younger brother (Peter the Younger), is so much more than collateral in our family. He appears on the passenger manifest for the Maastroom with Pieter (the older) and then I tracked him through the early years in Pella. Peter’s granddaughter Muriel stated in a phone interview that her father William told her that his parents John Burggraaf and Elizabeth Burggraaf were cousins. It is probable that Peter is the first cousin of Willem Burggraaf. This is based solely on the concept that he and his wife Katie followed the naming patters – if so than he could be the son of Arie Burggraaf and Teuntje Van Stenis of Schoonrewoerd. I have not yet located a birth registration for him.

Peter is important to our family because two of his children married two of Willem’s children – which made for some very confusing research when I first began.

Peter’s timeline:

16 Feb 1824 – Peter Burggraaf is born in the Netherlands,
June 1847 – Arrival in Baltimore, Maryland, on the Maastroom,1
Sep 1850 – Laborer, Pella, Marion County, Iowa, census,2
c. 1855 – Married Tryntje (Katie) Brouwer,
1854 – Voter, militia, with a female, Pella, Marion County, Iowa, state census,3
1856 – Farmer, Pella, Marion County, Iowa, the 1856 Iowa State Census lists Tryntje and Father Wybe Brouwer in his household,4
c. 1856 – Daughter Teuntje (Jane) is born in Pella, (named for his mother)
Sep 1857 – Daughter Sientje (Zynthia) is born in Pella, she married John Vanden Oever (named for her mother)
21 Mar 1859 – Daughter Adriana (Matilda) is born in Pella,5 she later married Linzy Enos.
Aug 1860 – Farmer, Pella, Marion County, Iowa, census,6
11 Sep 1860 – Daughter Elizabeth is born in Pella,7 she later married William’s son John.
21 Aug 1862 – Son Arie is born in Pella,8 he later married William’s daughter Annetje (Anna). (name for his father)
1864-65 – Military service, Private with the Pella Guards, Iowa State Militia,9
16 Oct 1868 – Daughter Goverdina is born in Pella,10 she later married Barendt Otten.
Aug 1870 – Farmer, Pella, Marion County, Iowa, census,11
19 Mar 1873 – Son William is born in Pella, he later married Johanna Eggink. (name for her father)

Peter disappears from the available records between the birth of his son in 1873 and prior to the 1880 census. Katie Brouwer Burggraaf marries Dirk J. Eggink on 21 May 1883 in Marion County,13 so Peter deceased by that date. I have not been able to locate Katie or the children on the 1880 census. I’ll be doing some in-depth searching later this year looking for, land, tax, and court records, and I’m hopeful that by going through all of these records I may be able to learn more about the situation. I would like to be able to go through newspapers, but the Pella Blade (which is in Dutch) is not yet available on line.

[note -There is also a marriage record for a Peter Burggraaf to Cornelia Vanham on 23 June 1853 in Marion County, Iowa.14 There are only two Peters in Marion County and Pieter’s wife Cornelia Verschoor appears to still be alive and married to him on later census records. I believe this Peter married Cornelia in 1853, but whether she died or they divorced is unknown at this time. It’s always another question!!]

[This post updated Jan 2015]

1. National Archives, Washington, D.C., “Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1848,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 9 Feb 2010), Peter Burgraff, age 23.
2. 1850 U.S. census, Marion County, Iowa, population schedule, Pella, p. 292A, dwelling 107, family 173, Pieter Burggraaf, age 24; digital images, Ancestry ( accessed 8 Feb 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 187.
3. 1854 Iowa State Census, Marion County, Iowa, population schedule, Pella, p. Roll 122, line 24, P. Burggraaf, voter, militia; digital images, The Generations Network, Inc., Ancestry ( accessed 8 Feb 2010); citing State Historical Society of Iowa.
4. 1865 Iowa State Census, Marion County, Iowa, population schedule, Pella, p. 16, dwelling 94, family 96, Peter Burgraff, age 31; digital images, The Generations Network, Inc., Ancestry ( accessed 8 Feb 2010); citing State Historical Society of Iowa
5. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism & birth, Adriana Burggraaf, FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
6. 1860 U.S. census, Marion County, Iowa, population schedule, Pella, p. 216, dwelling 1559, family 1464, Peter Burggraaf, age 34; digital images, Ancestry ( accessed 8 Feb 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 335.
7. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism & birth Elizabeth Burggraaf; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
8. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism & birth, Annetye Burggraaf, FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
9. Marion County, Iowa, Militia Rolls, 1861-1865, Peter Burggraaf, Private, Age 39; Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, Des Moines, Iowa.
10. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism & birth Goverdina Burggraaf; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
11. 1870 U.S. census, Marion County, Iowa population schedule, Pella, Lake Prairie Twp, p. 51, dwelling 413, family 411, Peter, age 44; digital images, Ancestry ( accessed 5 Jul 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 409.
12. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism & birth, William Burggraaf, FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
13. “Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 10 Feb 2010), Tryntje Burggraaf to Dirk J. Eggink, 21 May 1883.
14. “Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry ( accessed 10 Feb 2010), Peter Burggraaf to Cornelia Vanham, 23 Jun 1853.

Burggraafs and Earps

I was spending a day doing some side research in Pella, Iowa, and I found an interesting census record. It’s for the Earp family – yup those Earps! Attached are the 1850 census and the 1860 census for Wyatt and his family. As I was congratulating myself on my interesting find it dawned on me that Willem’s children would have attended the same school as the Earp children. Wyatt was 3 years older than Jantje, but she would have been in the same grade as Morgan.

It is cool to think that Willem’s children probably played with the Earp children. It is also interesting to contemplate what different paths these two groups of children took later in life. All of them grew up in the same community and attended the same schools, yet the Earp brothers went on to live lives on the edge, while the Burggraaf children all led fairly quiet lives in their farming communities. This is the kind of serendipity that makes genealogy so much fun. Do we have a relationship with the Earps – not at all! But do we have a context of time and place for both families now – you bet!