Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Other Mayflowers, Voyage 2

Unknown Ship, from Rotterdam to Salem, Massachusetts

This is part two of a series of Thanksgiving blogs for my ancestors who DIDN’T come on the Mayflower. Today I’m thinking about my 3x great grandfather Peter Hoogerzeil. We don’t know the name of the ship he took to arrive in America, and we don’t know the date, but the other details of his immigration are so interesting my cousin wants to write them into a historical romance. I’ll let you be the judge!

The Hoogerzeil family not only has an interesting surname, but the origins of the name are interesting, too. In the Netherland, this family tree goes back to the 1500’s with names that are patronymics. Arijen Bruynen, born in 1631 had a son named Bruin Arijens, born in 1661, and his son should have been named Ocker Bruins, but instead he took the name “Hoogersijl” which means “High Sails” because he was a sea captain. From that moment on he created the Hoogerzeil family tree. Everyone in the world with the name Hoogerzeil or Hogerseil or its variations is a cousin.

There is a long line of sea captains in this family, and in my lineage they were whaling sea captains. In Europe, the whaling center was the Netherlands, like New England, especially New Bedford, for the United States. They fished for the whales off Greenland, and I have some fascinating journals and ships logs of their adventures off the coast of Europe I’ll have to save for another blog. In this lineage, Captain Simon Hogerseijl of Nieuwpoort, Holland had a son named Peter, born in 1803. Being the younger son, for some reason he was unsatisfied with life in the Netherlands, and in the 1820s he stowed aboard a ship full of hemp out of Rotterdam, bound for the rope works in Salem, Massachusetts.

Either Peter was very lucky, or very charismatic, however he was not punished for being a stowaway on board Captain Josiah Stone’s ship. Of all things, he ended up marrying Captain Stone’s youngest daughter, Eunice, on 30 December 1828 in Beverly, Massachusetts! Peter is listed as a caulker and engraver on the early census records, and on his children’s birth records he is also listed as a mariner. At the Phillip’s Library in Salem I found him under the ship’s registers of the brig “Pioneer” in 1826 bound for Havana, the brig “Jones” in 1828 bound for Matanazas, and aboard the ship “Clay” in 1829 for the Pacific Ocean. I know the family also visited Holland on and off over the next fifty years, and many letters survived from both sides.

Like my Mayflower ancestors, the Hoogerzeil family thrived in Massachusetts. Peter and Eunice had six children, who all married and left many, many descendants. In this family there have been factory workers, inventors, teachers, musicians and draftsmen- a full range of occupations across the board, just like the people I meet at Mayflower meetings. And like the Mayflower passengers, they left Holland and found their place in America, starting in Massachusetts. Happy Thanksgiving!

See my blog posting on 2 September 2009 "The Value of Posting Brick Walls on Genealogical Bulletin Boards" for more on the Hoogerzeil family.


Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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