There are lots of great books and sites that can explain, far better than I, why so many Dutch migrated in the mid-1800s. The IowaGenWeb Project has up the Pioneers of Marion County by Wm. M. Donnel,1 and Part II, Chapter VI provides a good basic story of the immigration to Pella. Our three Burggraafs, Pieter, Willem, and Peter, departed Rotterdam in April 1847 aboard the Maastroom.2 Pieter Burggraaf was the third child of Jan Burggraaf, (1811-1892); he came with his wife Cornelia Verschoor (1816-1896),3 his sons Teunis (1842-1904) and Jan (1846 – ). According to the records on Genlias, Pieter and Cornelia had two other children, Jan and Jannigje who had died young.4,5
The passenger list was my first discovery of Peter Burggraaf. He is #59 on the line directly above Pieter and lists his age as 20. Willem is passenger #196 on a separate page of the passenger list and Sygje Stek is on the line directly below him, indicating there may already have been a relationship between them. Sygje is the only member of the Stek family listed, but she may have traveled with other relatives. It should be noted that Dutch women were known to be very independent and many did travel on their own.
They arrived 2 June 1847 in Baltimore, Maryland and there are some interesting accounts of the trip available from letters and also some fun things written up in the Souvenir History of Pella.6 Apparently the Dutch women cleaned the ship from stem-to-stern while at sea, and it was remarked upon by the inspectors at the Port of Baltimore.
From Baltimore the group of immigrants traveled to Pella via Pittsburgh and St. Louis and finally arrived in the fall of 1847. Sygje and Willem married in 1848 and settled into the hard work of farming in Marion County, Iowa. Their family of 5 children is fairly small by Dutch farm standards of the day. Also unusual is that all their (known) children survived to adulthood.
Older brother Pieter had a total of 9 children and he died in Pella on 20 Jan 1892.7 He is buried in Graceland Cemetery with his wife Cornelia. I have posted a family group sheet for Pieter Burggraaf, but I don’t plan on providing any more information on his family in this blog. His line is well documented on Ancestry, Rootsweb and FamilySearch.
The family of Peter Burggraaf (I have come to think of him as Peter the Younger) will be discussed as they are closely intertwined with Willem’s family.
1. William M. Donnel, Pioneers of Marion County (N.p.: n.p., 1872), Part II: Chapter VI, transcribed on the Iowa GenWeb Project, http://iagenweb.org/marion/DONNEL.
2. National Archives, Washington, D.C., “Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1848,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Jul 2009), Ship name: Maasstroom, Passenger: Willem Burggraaf, age 24, Farmer; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore, Maryland.
3. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 9 Jul 2009), Marriage – Pieter Burggraaf and Cornelia Verschoor 2 May 1840; Civil Register – Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
4. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 9 Jul 2009), Death – Jan Burggraaf, 24 May 1841; Civil Register – Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
5. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 9 Jul 2009), Death – Jannigje Burggraaf, 12 Jun 1845, age 1; Civil Register – Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
6. G.A. Stout, Souvenir History of Pella Iowa, (Booster Press, 1922).
7. Graceland Cemetery (Marion County, Iowa), Pieter Burggraaf marker.