Thursday, February 1, 2018

In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Touring Krimpen aan de Lek, Netherlands

Krimpen aan de Lek, 1867

Part 1 of 3

Last fall I visited England and The Netherlands with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants Historic Sites Tour. That trip ended in Leiden, Netherlands, and since I’d never visited the country before, I ran to a map to see how far it was from the village of Krimpen aan de Lek, where my Hoogerzeil ancestors originated.  It turns out that Krimpen aan de Lek is just outside of Rotterdam, not far from Leiden, which was exciting to me but I wasn’t sure what to do next.  Then I remembered that I still had some cousins who lived nearby.

My immigrant ancestor, Peter Hoogerzeil (1803 – 1889), came to Massachusetts as a stowaway from Rotterdam, in a ship loaded with hemp and headed to the ropeworks in Salem, Massachusetts.   Looking at the map, I could see why he left Rotterdam.  His father, grandfather and great grandfather (and ancestors before them) had all been the masters of whaling vessels.  Peter was an experienced mariner, and still sailed many trips to the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean after settling in Massachusetts according to the many ships registry documents I have found online.  Peter’s place of birth was Dordrecht, on the Rhine River outside of Rotterdam, and his father,  Simon Hogerseijl (1776 – 1829) was born in Nieuwpoort, further upstream.  Simon’s father, Simon Machielszoon Hoogerzeijl (1743 – 1814), was born in Krimpen aan de Lek, closer to Rotterdam on the Lek River (a distributary branch of the Rhine). 

Even though my ancestor came to the United States nearly 200 years ago, my family has maintained correspondence with the Hogerzeil family in the Netherlands on and off over the years.  At first, since Peter Hoogerzeil was a mariner, he traveled back and forth with letters.  My Aunt Belle Hoogerzeil (1888 – 1960), Peter’s granddaughter,  kept up the correspondence and shared the letters with my own mother and her family (my mother was Belle’s niece).   When World War II  broke out, my mother’s brother served in occupied Europe and visited Dordrect and one of the Hogerzeil families.  You can see a blog post with photos from that visit HERE.  That was the last time anyone from my family visited the Hogerzeil’s in the Netherlands.

At lunch with Hans near Krimpen aan de Lek,
examining a letter from Simon Hoogerzeijl, 1785

Hans had an old family photo of the Hoogerzeil family
from Beverly, Massachusetts. We still don't know some names!
I have blogged about this photo:

And so, now it was my time, as another one of Peter Hoogerzeil’s descendants, to visit the Netherlands, and to see Dordrecht, Nieuwpoort and Krimpen aan de Lek.  I contacted my very distant cousin, Hans Hogerzeil, and he graciously made arrangements to meet us at our hotel and tour us around to “The land of the Hogerzeil Family”!  He brought along Erik Kon, the Hogerzeil family genealogist, whom I had met years ago in New Hampshire when he came to gather information on Peter Hoogerzeil’s descendants in New England.  It was a delightful day!

I’ll start with the village of Krimpen aan de Lek, which is where the Hogerzeils originated according to our genealogy.  It is what Hans described as a “ribbon village” since it existed all along the top of the dike by the Lek River.  Of course, now the village has grown to expand all along the canals by the dike and is a suburb of the larger city of Rotterdam.  This is too bad, since the original church no longer exists.  But the new church has a weathervane in the shape of a whale, in honor of the early industry of the town, and some of the streets are named for famous whaling masters.  There was a Hogerzeil street, and surprisingly, another street named “Annetje Ockersstraat”.  Annetje Ockers (about 1639 – 1696) was the great grandmother of Simon Machielszoon Hoogerzeijl (my 8th great grandmother), who was a revered midwife in Krimpen aan de Lek.  

Hans knew that Michiel Occersz Hoogerzeyl (1696 – 1779), the father of Simon Machielszoon Hoogerzeijl, had been buried under the church floor with an impressive tombstone.  But since the original church had been razed in 1939, we looked for the stone in the municipal cemetery.  Fortunately, his stone had been placed on the chapel wall, and was very legible and readable.  Michiel had been the master of a whaling ship out of Krimpen aan de Lek.  Hans and I both posed in front of his stone, which was next to the stone of Gerrit Knijnszoon van Holst (1720 – 1790), who owned his whaling ship.

There was not much else to see in the little town of Krimpen, which did not have many old homes or buildings from the time period when the Hogerzeil family lived here.  But it was fun to see how the family had been commemorated!  Hans occasionally publishes a very nice family newsletter “Hogerzeil Nieuws” which I have been receiving by mail for over ten years . He was able to include a nice two page story about my visit to the Netherlands and our tour in the newsletter, and distributed it to all the cousins around the world before Christmas.  Thank you Hans and Erik for our wonderful day in the Netherlands and your grand tour of the ancestral towns.

Stay tuned for the next blog post where we visited the tiny village of Nieuwpoort, which was much more picturesque.  Click on this link:   

My HOOGERZEIL lineage:

Generation 1:  Arijen Bruynen, baptized 11 May 1631 in Krimpen aan de Lek, Netherlands, died 22 August 1677; married Aeltie Jacobs.

Generation 2:  Bruin Arijens, baptized 1 June 1661, died before August 1667; Married Annetje Ockers, daughter of Ocker Joppense Stierman and Neeltie Gerrits.

Generation 3:  Ocker Bruins Hoogerseijl, born 18 October 1663 in Krimpen aan de Lek, died 27 January 1749 in Krimpen aan de Lek; married in 1695 to Lijsbeth van't Hof, daughter of Marten Dirkse Sieren. 

Generation 4:  Michiel Ockers Hogerzeijl, born 18 July 1696 in Krimpen aan de Lek, died 25 May 1779 in Krimpen aan de Lek; married on 25 January 1739 in Dordrect to Lijsbeth Schout[en], daughter of Simon Jans Schouten and Agnietje Engeldr van Thiel. 

Generation 5: Simon Machielszoon Hoogerzeijl, born 2 June 1743 in Krimpen aan de Lek, died 24 February 1814 in Dordrecht; married on 30 September 1764 in Krimpen aan de Lek to Anna Ooms, daughter of Adam Adriaans Ooms and Anna van der Ham of Nieuwpoort. 

Generation 6:  Simon Hogerseijl, born 7 July 1776 in Nieuwpoort, died 15 May 1829 in S'Gravendeel; married on 5 September 1799 in Dordrecht to Lissa Van Epenhuizen, daughter of Pieter Van Epenhuizen and Margrieta Koolhaalder.

Generation 7:  Peter Hoogerzeil, born 28 October 1803 in Dordrecht, Netherlands, died 12 May 1889 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 30 December 1828 in Beverly to Eunice Stone, daughter of Capt. Josiah Stone and Susanna Hix.  

Generation 8:  Peter Hoogerzeil, Jr., born 24 June 1841 in Beverly, died 10 May 1908 in Beverly; married on 14 March 1870 in Salem, Massachusetts to Mary Etta Healey, daughter of Joseph Edwin Healey and Matilda Weston.

Generation 9:  Florence Etta Hoogerzeil, born 20 August 1871 in Beverly, died 10 February 1941 in Hamilton, Massachusetts; married on 25 December 1890 in Beverly to Arthur Treadwell Hitchings, son of Abijah Franklin Hitchings and Hannah Eliza Lewis.

Generation 10:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

(Map in the image above from Wikimedia, J. Kuyper - Gemeente Atlas van Nederland (Municipal Atlas of the Netherlands), 1867)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “In the Footsteps of the Ancestors – Touring Krimpen Aan de Lek, Netherlands”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 1, 2018, ( accessed [access date]). 

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