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 . He is a farmer with four small children at home. The youngest, Little Sadie, would have only been four 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 1893 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 Mary was most likely pregnant with Maggie when she went to work for John. It is not known who Maggie’s father was, although it doesn’t matter. She was John’s daughter from the day of John and Mary’s marriage.
1. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : 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 (http://www.ancestry.com : 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 (http://www.ancestry.com : 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.