They came from Rijssen

One nice aspect of researching family history is learning not only about the people who preceded us, but about the places they lived … especially those who migrated to the United States. It’s interesting to contemplate the conditions in their native countries and towns at the time they lived there, and of course, to speculate about what provoked certain people to cross the ocean. Perhaps I will dive into this more in a later post (or … not), but a vision of hope for a better future was almost surely … always … a part of what prompted migration to America.

One of the families for whom I had the easiest time identifying a geographic origin was the Dutch family that migrated to Iowa in the 19th century from the town of Rijssen, which is in the province of Overijssel in the eastern part of the Netherlands, about 90 miles from Amsterdam. Those Rijssen origins have never been lost to my family, and some older relatives were able to visit there in the 1970s and see the house where our ancestor was born.

What I’ve learned after some superficial research is that Rijssen in the 19th century was involved in textile manufacturing that has now given way to the transport and construction industries. Farming seems always to have been present. Rijssen today, a town of about 30,000 people, appears to have several churches, including the historic Schildkerk in the town center, where they seem to make some truly lovely music … as well as a memorial Jewish cemetery honoring those lost in the war, and a Canadian WWII cemetery in neighboring Holten. The town also has a restored, functioning windmill, called the Pelmolen, as well as a popular “dischoteque” and some surrounding campsites. They have an impressive men’s chorus. The town even has its own anthem. You can see the people of Rijssen as they were in 1960 and in 1930. It appears the town is doing well these days. Still, I am interested to see what more I can learn of its history. Some information indicates that our ancestors may have been in the Rijssen area since at least the 1700s, possibly the 1600s. I’d like to learn more about those eras. Obviously, I still have some research to do. And perhaps I will make it to Rijssen myself some day …

Series: They came from …

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3 Responses to They came from Rijssen

  1. Pingback: They came from Øyer | Branch and Leaf … a family history blog

  2. Pingback: Letters to the Netherlands: The waves rise mountain high … | Branch and Leaf … a family history blog

  3. Pingback: They came from Doornspijk | Branch and Leaf … a family history blog

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