Theo Somsen [P227]


Dick Somsen [P130]



genealogy and databases

Hindenhoek 11


Monteverdilaan 175

8172 AC Vaassen


8031 DL Zwolle

tel.: +31.578.572867


tel.: +31.38.4542360





Gree van Daatselaar-Somsen [P53]


John Somsen [P2353]

vice chairman


USA and Internet

Esstraat 22


35 Springdale Avenue

7131 CT Lichtenvoorde


Holyoke, MA. 01040-3421

tel.: +31.544.375783





tel.: +1 413 538 7724



Ada Somsen [P75]




Ben Somsen [P396]

Leusdenhof 298


audio-visual support

1108 DP Amsterdam Zuidoost


Lariksweg 1

tel.: +31.20.6961834


7151 XW Eibergen



tel.: +31.545.472546 - fax: +31.545.475359



Wim Somsen [P518]


vice secretary


Hoge Heurnseweg 8


7095 CJ De Heurne


tel.: +31.315.652115



Derk Somsen [P413]


Mrs Marieke Edwards-Jager Gerlings [P725]

vice treasurer


920 East Bay Dr. NE# 3D301

Weerdslag 67


Olympia, WA. 98506-1222

7206 BT Zutphen



tel/fax: +31.575.526048


tel.: +1 360 786 1583





Helmut Somsen [P1562]




Provinzialstrasse 70


46499 Hamminkeln


Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD)


tel.: +49.2873.536



Johan Somsen [P1089]


Somsen homepage:


Postbus 9


8160 AA Epe







A toast at the first meeting of the board in Lichtenvoorde on 07-02-1998. last row, l-r: Ada Somsen, Derk Somsen, Wim Somsen and Gree van Daatselaar-Somsen; front row, l-r: Theo Somsen, Johan Somsen and Helmut Somsen. [Click for larger image]




Somsen Horizon
is issued by the Somsen Foundation
twice a year, in May and November
Dutch: 150
English: 50
The magazine is sent to the supporters of the Somsen Foundation free of charge. The minimum annual contribution is $15.00, which can be transferred to:
Mrs Marieke Edwards,
920 East Bay Dr. NE# 3D301
Olympia, WA. 98506-1222, USA

Editorial staff Somsen Horizon
Hindenhoek 11
8172 AC Vaassen
The Netherlands
Somsen Stichting
Leusdenhof 298
1108 DP Amsterdam Zuidoost
Tel. +31 20 6961834




Objective of the Foundation

The aim of the Foundation is:
to preserve and promote the solidarity between people bearing the family name of Somsen, those who are/were related to them or those who are interested in them.

The foundation will try to achieve this object for example by:
· doing historical research into the family history and the history of the region
· collecting documentation and genealogical data
· keeping and taking charge of a family archive and data bases
· publishing a periodical
· providing information to persons, institutions and official authorities
· organising activities so as to realise the object of the foundation.



Board and advisors 2

Colophon 3

Contents 3

Objective of the Foundation 3

Preface 3

Extra: DIS-Magazine 4

The Somsens on the Internet 4

Camping weekend 4

Cultural tip 4

Impression of the reunion 5

Somsen relics 14

As a toddler to America in 1851 14

The life of Aaron John Somsen 14

Family announcements 15

Book review 16


Objective of the Foundation

A wish has been fulfilled. The wish to provide a continuation of that marvellous family reunion of last year and the world-wide contacts that were made there. Many of us thought that such a splendid thing should not be lost and again a number of Somsens was prepared to fight for that continuation. Enthusiastically they started the Foundation, shared out the tasks, recruited supporters and… collected copy for this very first issue of Somsen Horizon.

We do hope you will enjoy reading this family magazine and we would also like you to delight in all the other activities the Foundation intends to organise. Moreover we do hope that you can inspire more family members to join in as supporters. For they all belong to the United Somsens from Aalten!

On behalf of the board,

Theo Somsen






There are close connections between the USA and the Netherlands. In the 17th century the Dutch founded the colony of New Amsterdam, which was later to develop into present day New York. Also after that the United States became an independent nation the ties remained.

The keen observer will recognise the Dutch heritage in the USA even today.


In the Netherlands there is a foundation which endeavours (as this foundation itself states) to create a platform for "everything which is related to the Dutch heritage in North America".

This foundation, the Foundation DIS – Dutch International Society – Netherlands, published its first periodical in the autumn of 1997: the DIS-Magazine. In this fine and fascinating magazine no less than eight pages were dedicated to our Somsen Family Reunion!

We are very grateful to this foundation for the attention they were willing to spend on our family reunion. We are even more grateful for their willingness to offer all the supporters of the Somsen Foundation a free copy of this first edition of the DIS-Magazine.

This copy will be sent to you together with the first issue of Somsen Horizon.


Hopefully, you will be so much fascinated by the DIS-Magazine that you would also like to receive the following editions of the DIS-Magazine. If so, you can contact the secretariat of the DIS foundation (see for address etc. page 5 of the DIS-Magazine).

A number of Somsens preceded you!





Until June 13 there is a special exposition in the Museum Frerikshuus in Aalten about the "Hexathlon 1968".

In that year Aalten was a very successful participant in this NCRV – television contest.

About half of the Dutch population watched it at the time. Amongst other things a promotion film is shown about Aalten in 1968.

Furthermore there is a summary of the NCRV television movie: This was Hexathlon. An interesting detail is that one of the Somsens contributed considerably to the great scores of the Aalten team.







Thanks to John Howard Somsen [P2353], our Internet guru, we have an extremely fascinating web-site on the Internet at our disposal.

John rendered an incredible lot of work to shape the Somsen homepage on the Internet.

In this extensive homepage you will find amongst other things:

  • the whole family tree
  • family announcements (birth, decease etc.)
  • everything about the Great Reunion (newspaper articles, speeches and... a great many colour photographs)
  • all the newsletters of the reunion committee
  • the email addresses of the Somsens
  • everything about the Somsen Foundation.


Of course we realise that not everybody is on the Internet yet, but if you know someone who is you might have a look:


And if anything changes in your branch of our family, please feel free to contact John Somsen. His address can be found on the page of the board of the Somsen Foundation.





14-16 AUGUST 1998

Last year a great number of Somsens used the mini camping ‘t Hoftijzer in IJzerlo as a starting-point for all sorts of activities in the area. Then the suggestion was made that this should become a yearly happening.

Now we have planned to renew the acquaintance with this place or see it for the first time in the weekend of 14-16 August 1998.

At that time there is also the well-known IJzerlo Orange festival.

We do not intend to plan all kind of activities but it does not take much trouble to arrange a collective barbecue.


If you are interested would you please contact undersigned so that we get some idea how many Somsens can be expected?


Wim Somsen [P518]

Hoge Heurnseweg 8

7095 CJ De Heurne

The Netherlands

Tel.:+31 315 652115





Gree A.J. van Daatselaar - Somsen [P53]
26 August 1997

I have a feeling that I have to hurry up now. All the impressions and emotions, encounters and conversations have been given a great deal of thought and have been allotted a place. If I do not record them now I am afraid they will vanish.

The predominating impression of the whole happening is one of deep recognition, of great warmth and involvement, immense pride to be allowed to be a member of such a family.

The penetrating feeling of "this is something you only experience once in a lifetime" is always present.

This you could also see and feel in the eyes, in the faces of many members of our family: an intense enjoyment of this specific happening.

Natural affection existed all over.

What am I going to do now? Am I going to stick to a chronological order or am I going to give an overall impression with some salient items here and there?

I experienced so much that I will stick to a chronological order so as to give some body to this personal account of the reunion.

Friday afternoon, 8 August 1997

There is an agreement with Dick, via e-mail, that we are to meet at the water-tower of Aalten around 5 o’clock p.m. to welcome the coach with the American Somsens.

In this coach there are, among many others, our distant relatives from Utah, USA, who will be our guests.

More than an hour before we get a phone-call from a young American/German voice, asking if his parents have already arrived.

Surprise on our side.It is Darren Somsen inquiring about his parents Don and Susan Somsen from Utah. Lovely! The beginning of a "feeling of reunion" is born at that moment.

Darren and his bride have driven down all the way from southern Germany to be present at the reunion. They are staying at Hotel Reijrink in Lievelde and they would like to join us to pick up Darren’s parents. It does not take us long to make an appointment. Jan and I will drive up to Reijrink and pick up Darren and Catherine. They are still very cosily eating on the terrace at the front. A place so well-known to us.

Introductions. Shaking hands and "How do you pronounce your name? Gree?" After some practice they succeed in producing a sharp g-sound. In a cue we drive to Aalten. Just a short drive which, with all the windows open, brings us some cooling.

We had so fervently hoped for good weather, many of us, we had crossed our fingers, supplicated, and we really did get splendid weather! Twenty-six to thirty degrees centigrade, a clear blue sky and not a breath of wind, throughout the weekend and a long time after!

At the water-tower soon Dick’s jeep is approaching. He gracefully parks his car and all of a sudden there are two billboards.

Gree and Jan van Daatselaar-Somsen [P53/P679]. [Click for larger image]

They are put on the roof of the car. Somsen Reunion - World Wide, in very big capitals. A beautiful beacon for the bus that is approaching. More callers are joining us and then the coach with the Americans appears. "Hello" and "Pleased to meet you" are heard all over. Darren and his parents had not seen each other since November last, so that is a very happy encounter. We are also very curious about our guests. We had already exchanged letters and photographs , but seeing and speaking each in the flesh, that is the real thing.

Thursday night, after all the turmoil of preparing meals, spare bedroom and cleaning the house and putting flowers everywhere, - oh, and how late it was- , I had made a placard.

Jan: "Is that really necessary Gree? And where are you going to hang it?"

Gree: "On the carport, as a welcome. Nice isn’t it?"

Jan: "That isn’t easy!"

Gree: "Who says it should be easy? I bet you can do it."

No more discussion, fortunately. Somsens are inventive and headstrong. We are to learn this during the coming weekend in various ways. With a sense of humour, with fun, also with a bit of pride we hear about these family traits.

Very skilfully fixed to the front of our house by Jan, from Friday morning there is the life-size placard "WELCOME TO DON AND SUSAN, our American Somsens!" The passers-by were not even surprised for everybody in our good village reads the regional papers and the Somsen family-reunion had been given attention several times. And since many of our acquaintances know that we read a national paper, we got multiple newspaper-cuttings in our mailbox. So nice! And also very easy to hand out to my brothers who live in the west of the country.

That Friday we drive home in a procession by six o’clock. Of course we also invite Darren and Catherine for dinner in our shady back-garden. The placard really is a surprise for Don and Susan. "How nice" and "incredible" we hear and we get hugs and kisses. At that moment the silent decision is taken to give them the placard as a true reunion trophy. But first a picture of all of us has to be taken!

We have a splendid evening in the garden, getting to know each other mutually and exchanging information. We would have liked to bring out a toast or have drunk champagne, but we had to stick to water since Don and Susan are Mormons. But, oh, water also makes one happy and keeps the head cool. What an advantage. We exchange gifts. With some ritual, Susan offers me an extraordinarily beautiful and home-made present, a quilt! Hours, no, days of work and precision to arrange all the patches in a colourful and geometric connection. "Pure cotton", Susan says, "for I am a puritan". A piece of priceless hobbyism as a present, just like that! And carried along with them all the way from America for us. I am so pleased with it and proudly show the quilt to every visitor here. A real quilt like the ones that were made by the first settlers from their garments out of sheer poverty.

Close by twelve Jan coaches the young guests to their hotel. After that we turn in. Don and Susan are exhausted! But all four of us are eagerly looking forward to the oncoming days.


Half past eight, breakfast on the terrace. Hot rolls, farmer’s cheese and home-made jam. A pot of tea on the table, fresh orange juice and a jug of ice-water for the guests. The jam is put on top of the cheese... Then the doors and windows have to be locked. Don one more time breaks his tongue on my name. Bags are packed, cameras checked and off we go!

Erve Kots

That first impression at Erve Kots I shall never forget. We are rather early, not many cars in the large parking-place yet. We are driving in - a very well-known place for the two of us - and then there is all of a sudden such a beaming curly-head, such a broadly-smiling Somsen-boy, who is enthusiastically pointing out our place. Well, you feel more than welcome, it is as if a bi front-door is widely opened and as if a cordial voice says: "Very pleased to meet you!" We enter, shake hands, kiss, look at badges repeatedly, try to imprint names on the memory.

Somsen T-shirts and Somsen wooden shoes [Click for larger image]

There is a large info-desk with all the necessary papers: programme-booklets, buffet-vouchers, stickers, T-shirts with the Somsen-emblem, the badges with names and genealogical numbers are all ready, also the videos that were ordered, etc. etc. There is a computer-desk with screens, printers, fax, portophones and what not ! It is as if we are at an international hightech congress. Everything is bilingual and that will be so throughout the weekend and very professional indeed. I am starting to be so proud about so much know-how in one family. And this is only the very beginning.

The rooms start filling, get full and fuller. Well over four hundred guests are expected. The atmosphere is lovely. "Have you seen so and so? She must be there in the third row." People you have not seen for thirty, forty years appear to have almost the same fine sweet faces. I see my two brothers, discover my cousins, aunt and great-aunt and make the acquaintance of members of my family that I have never met before.

With a cup of coffee and a slice of currant-bread - always too much butter there - we take up our seats in the great hall. We are waiting for the official opening. "Welcome to this Somsen-reunion and more than welcome in the region where we all come from originally!", thus Theo Somsen opens this festive meeting of relatives with a warm ring in his voice. Johan Somsen, who is standing next to him, translates these words without any difficulty in beautiful English. That is going to be a sparkling duet of the two of them. A pleasure to listen to. And that is to continue for the rest of the morning in this way.


The presentation of the family-book is a climax that morning. For that matter, it is a jewel of professional skill, both concerning the contents and the get-up.

When a few days before the reunion "SOMSEN OMNES GENERATIONES" was delivered to Jan and me by Dick from Eibergen, I was gone for hours and hours. For the whole Sunday I carried my mind back to the fortunes of the generations before us.. With ever increasing interest, with ever increasing astonishment and with ever increasing respect for what many had to go through and have achieved, both in the Achterhoek and in the New World. The writers-duo Derk and Theo should certainly be placed in a golden frame.

"As far as we know there are no family-books that are bilingual. So that is unique", thus Theo continues his speech. Well, that is a certain fact. It is amazing that there is so much talent in the reunion committee: translators, writers, movie-makers, a poet of the Somsen-song, financial, business and organisation qualities, also talents in the field of music and entertainment, and all this united in one group, that is hardly believable. And then I did not even mention the expertise in the field of genealogy and computer information, both here and in the States.

We are flabbergasted by all this. Our American guest, Don, is moved to tears from time to time. "That I have got such relatives, that I may be part of them. I did not even know that they existed..."

Premiere Video Film Somsen Panorama

Ben Somsen, a professional movie-maker, has made a solo achievement in complete silence. Filmed at sites, even from the air, photographs transformed into movie-pictures. He was moved by conversations with relatives - also in our conversation - and has composed a beautiful story about the fortunes of many Somsens.

All of us are listening and watching in complete silence. Sound and pictures are sublime. The spoken texts are brief and clear, "which is clever, especially when a Somsen is involved, for they love chattering so much", according to Theo. How recognisable is this remark. Our in-laws also always say the same thing and we, we react greatly surprised with big questioning eyes: "That is very normal, isn’t it?" It gives me a very good feeling that I have two video-films , two Somsen Panoramas, in my bag. That will be the loot to bring home and one of them will very soon fly across the ocean : Somsen-greetings to a Van Daatselaar-Somsen son.

That is just lovely, isn’t it?

l-r: Cindy Somsen Zignego [P814], Mary Somsen Gilbert [P820] and Sally Rasmussen Berkholder [P2771] [Click for larger image]


Lunch, inside or outside, in the shade or in the glowing sun, strolling with your plate along the Somsen-booths, it is all possible. It is a very lively happening and you almost forget to eat, there is so much to talk about and so much to be seen. Harmien, Riekie and Ada, my Aalten cousins, have filled a whole booth with precious items from the Landstraat 7 , the house of our grandfather. The very swivel-chair of his desk was even there. Books with letters from the office of the smithy, ancient photographs , e.g. of our grandmother, the most beautiful girl of Barlo at the time, the old type-writer .... I can hardly get away from all this. It is as if my father is standing beside me. How often am I thinking today: "I wish they could be part of this". My beloved who are no longer there.

In the opening sentence this morning Theo conveys the same thought. That gives a warm feeling. "We dedicate this reunion to all those who would have loved to be there."

Rich of love, rich of loyalty.

Together with Don and Susan we seek cooling in the archaeological museum Erve Kots, under the big trees or in the ancient buildings. High spirited conversations everywhere, peals of laughter, children sporting about playfully. Inside many reunion-members who have their relationships found out or who study the yard-long family-tree. Don and I belong to the tenth generation and in the second generation we have a common father. It is remarkable to go back in time so far with all the images that turn up then.

The badges, worn by everyone, are a perfect means to get in touch fast. "Oh, you are from the "cold side, so am I", someone says to Jan with laughter. A nice joke, but no more than that. All the in-laws are automatically part of it and, moreover, it is very fascinating to find out with what partners the Somsens share their lives. In response to what is said above Jan once remarked: "I have few relatives and have not grown up with family-ties, but when I married I got relatives and surprisingly many." An observation that is dear to me.

Somsen market l-r: Riek Somsen-Wijnveen [P620], Riet Somsen [P410], Ida Heinen-Somsen [P455] and Minke Heinen [P2212] [Click for larger image]

Saturday-Night Fever

The Somsen-market, the Happy hour and the buffet, they all fit seamlessly together. We are having a good time, and eat and drink deliciously. Ad and Aaf, my brother and sister-in-law from Edam, also have the day of their lives. They see Maarten and his family again with whom they lived on Curaçao together for many years.

Then it is half past seven. Everybody moves into the great hall. Don wants to have a seat in the front row. He wants to experience everything, yes everything at close quarters. A whirling show of folklore dances and square-dances, of singing and music and a true Somsen orchestra, all linked together by Derk, the great entertainer and writer, assisted by his daughter Marianne, translator. How many talents, how swinging and how much daring. Too much to be mentioned. Everything seems to be matter of course, but everybody who has organised something knows that such a happening must have been preceded by disciplined organisation.

Applause, applause, applause!

The complete reunion-committee is being introduced. We go on applauding. We can hardly get away....

Saturday Night Fever with Dick Somsen [P130] [Click for larger image]

That late evening there is a very pleasant atmosphere in our garden and it is nice and cool. We talk for a long time together with Ad and Aafje, whom we almost lost in the darkness of our little village. " Tomorrow morning half past nine, breakfast", that is the deal, then we will go for a walk.

Now first a shower and then to bed.

I cannot manage that fast.

I see all those people passing by like in a movie. I see resemblance’s in posture, line of the shoulders, back of the head, implantation of the hair, gestures. How wonderful.

I had very pleasant conversations with a Swiss Somsen, someone from Canada, Americans, Gé from Bolnes, Jan of the Snieder and aunt Len from Zelhem. With Frida and Anneke, cousins from Kampen in the past I also talked. Many said: "What a similarity between you and your mother", and that is a great compliment for me. For it is she and father who showed us the Somsen-way. (More about this later.)

Sunday, 10 AUGUST

A breakfast with the six of us, which is too copious, makes us decide not to have pancakes at the Gulle Waard in Winterswijk. Would have been nice, but enough is enough. Four of us are going to take a long walk in the surroundings of Lichtenvoorde. Don and Susan enjoy the beauty of the countryside. Aaf and I go into the kitchen. We are making preparations for the Sunday-evening dinner, for we will be away for the whole long day. Menu: Soup as a starter, Salad Niçoise with hot French bread. Cake for dessert. Now we can close the front-door.

By 2 o’clock in the afternoon we climb the stairs of St Helena’s Church in Aalten for the festive memorial meeting. Greetings of welcome with a tinge of nostalgia, that is how I experience the friendly person at the entrance who invitingly holds out a large basket to us. In the basket small one-person bags... with peppermint! "The Calvinist food of the people" of the past. Every single detail has been though about...

The old church embraces you as it were because of its round shape. The hum of voices, greetings, waving. Is it a Mokum, does it feel like coming home?

"Narrations, history, music and singing", it simply says in the programme-booklet. But how am I to describe the atmosphere that is developing there? We are carried along to times gone by, the days of the former tenant-farmers who owed much serfdom to the Lords of the neighbouring castles. We are carried along to the days that the Low Countries were catholic, up to the Reformation. To the Dutch this is well-known, we have grown up with this, with the 80-year-war, with Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. But for the Americans among us it is a little bit of a shock to learn this. "Are we of catholic descent? Is that the way it used to be?

And so as to enliven this history, suddenly Gregorian plain-chant sounded very devoutly through the church. When we have arrived at the Reformation Theo invites us to sing from psalm 42 in archaic Dutch and in whole notes. My face develops an unbelieving smile. This cannot be true? Whole notes? That is a stage we passed a long time ago, isn’t it? But listen! There we can hear the first lofty tones of the church-organ, played by Derk.

Memorial meeting in St. Helena's Church [Click for larger image]

A wave of emotion spreads through the church. At the front we see a man and a woman dressed in the ancient traditional costume of the Achterhoek. It is not any difficult at all to imagine to be back in time. "Just fancy - Try to imagine". When the farewell of the first Somsens is broached then, of course in two languages, and we can exactly see the pew where Aaltjen Somsen and later her brother Jan Hendrik Somsen used to sit and we sing the psalm again, which used to be sung to those who left a long time ago, well over 150 years, "The lord will always watch over you...", (psalm 121), then many of us get tears in their eyes and a lump in their throats.

We are given time to "swallow away" our emotions and to listen to Derk on the organ and his granddaughter on the German flute. A beautiful ensemble. So long, good-bye. Theo is coming to a conclusion. He quotes the words from a beautiful letter by one of our relatives from America. She wrote:

"I see my trip to Holland as a pilgrimage, a way to thank a remarkable family for a wonderful legacy. I call it the Somsen-way: strong love to family, the capacity to dream big and work hard, a sense of service and commitment to others, a deep reverence for education, as well as spiritual appreciation of being accountable to something larger than oneself."

How strikingly expressed. A Somsen-way goes past borders and time. That is the way I was brought up. What a valuable asset.

Narration by Johan Somsen [P1089] [Click for larger image]

Then the "Wilhelmus" (the Dutch national anthem) resounds, beautiful and lofty. We sing it at the top of our voices. Even Don and Susan, their noses close to the paper, do their utmost. With much pleasure we also exert ourselves to join in with the singing of the American national anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner". Fortunately the organ gives us firm support.

We keep lingering on leaving the church, look around one more time, say how much we have enjoyed everything..., go back one more time to pew number A 71...

This story is going to be too long.

There is the Japikshuis with the lime-tree, planted in commemoration of those who left from there. A heart-warming happening. We will certainly go there very often to have a look or to drag all our relatives and friends along and tell the stories.

Planting the lime-tree at the Japikshuis in IJzerlo. front, l-r: Jeanie Somsen Jacobson [P773] and Noah Jacobson [P2384] [Click for larger image]

Somsen-house, IJzerlo. last row, l-r: Ron Zignego [P822], Jon Somsen [P2389], David Berkholder [P3263] and Cornelius Somsen [P2682]. middle row, l-r: John Somsen [P2353], Janet Flaskamp Somsen [P2324], Irene Johnson Somsen [P832], Roger Somsen [P2387], Marilyn Dallman Somsen [P2388], Cindy Somsen Zignego [P814], Sally Rasmussen Berkholder [P2771], Shannon Kerr and Jon Somsen [P2692]. front row, l-r: Kathy Somsen Reed [P833], Dikky Somsen-Lenselink [P133], Paula Somsen Crist [P816], Dick Somsen [P130], Mary Somsen Gilbert [P820] and Donald Somsen [P831]. [Click for larger image]

Emma Somsen [P1120] in trouble during the 'Somp-trip' in the Vragenderveen-swamps, 12-08-1997. [Click for larger image]

Finally we have coffee at the camping-site "’t Hoftijzer". We taste wine, talk with everybody. We can hardly get away.

Farewell, good-bye!

Many many thanks, thanks enormously!

See you on Monday when we see "our Americans" to the bus in Aalten.

Gree A.J. van Daatselaar-Somsen
30 August 1997.





For those interested we have still got some items for sale:


Somsen Omnes Generationes (familybook, 311 pages)

$ 75,=


Somsen Panorama (video, NTSC-system, English subtitles)

$ 27,=


Audio cassette

  • Memorial meeting St Helena’s Church, Aalten 10-08-97
  • Radio 5 "The time of your life" 08-08-97 (Dutch version)

$ 10,=

To order one or more articles, please make your check (or money order) payable in US-dollars to

  • Mrs Marieke Edwards

920 East Bay Dr. NE # 3D301

Olympia, WA. 98506


  • Please mention with your payment the number(s) of the item(s) you order (1 to 3)
  • All prices include packing and mailing.



Gree van Daatselaar-Somsen [P53]

He learned walking at the Japikshuis in IJzerlo near Aalten, the root of the American Somsens, where we also planted a lime-tree at our great reunion in August 1997 to commemorate all the Somsens who emigrated to America in the last century.

Arent Jan (Aaron John) Somsen emigrated as a two-year old toddler, together with his parents, brothers and sisters to America in 1851. That must have been a drastic event for everyone involved.

His parents: Hendrik Jan Somsen (1801-1863) and Johanna Berendina Rensink (1811-1862) departed from the Japikshuis with four young children to Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

In 1852 another son was born there.

Arent Jan learned walking in the quiet Achterhoek, but he had to learn to stand on his own feet in distant America. He succeeded quite well.

Arent Jan is such a name, same as of so many emigrants, which is hard to pronounce. Very soon he was called Aaron John and later shortly: John.

John married Antonia Grooteboer, also of Dutch descent, in 1873. Her name became Jane.

John and Jane got fourteen children. Their daughter Josephine Henrietta (1890-1975) was their tenth child and at a later age she wrote down several interesting details from the life of her father.



(1846-1930) - [P753]

Josephine Henrietta Somsen Schaumburg

(1890-1975) - [P869]


I know little of Dad’s childhood; his parents died when he was about 15. Think both had "lung fever". I have heard him say he wished he had been brought up Catholic so he could have had some religious training; evidently his was not a religious family.


I have no idea when he moved to southeastern Minnesota: Fillmore County. Probably after his sister married and moved. I think he worked for the Bolands. My mother worked for Aunt Lizzie and it seems probable they met there. He was 25 when he married, Mother was 17 when they were married on September 2, 1873. I am sure he had at least one sweetheart with whom he quarreled, as I remember hearing that he told her "she could go to hell".

They lived in Lime Springs, Iowa at first where Dad worked in a store for Uncle Gerritt (I think). "Little Aaron" and Levi were born in L.S. The next 3 or maybe 4 children were born on the farm in Minnesota.

Later the family moved back to L.S. where the rest of the family of 14 kids was born. I think Dad and Uncle G. were in partnership in the store for a while, but as far as I personally remember, the sign on the store was John Somsen.


About 1898, part of the family moved out to the farm, which had been rented. The 3 older boys did the farming and the 2 older girls kept house. I remember spending part of my time on the farm; wonderful memories.

In 1904 (no, 1903) the family moved to Dakota. Fire had destroyed the original store building, also another one to which the business had been moved. The 1st 3 years were hard, my Dad planted corn every year, though few people raised corn. The climate was not considered suitable. I’m sure we all, including Eleanor’s Mother and brothers, remember the long, pleasant summers together.

In 1930, the machinery, stock, etc. were sold and Dad and Mother lived in part of the house while the farm was rented.

Arent Jan (Aaron John) Somsen [P753] and Antonia (Jane) Grooteboer [P754]. Photo on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, 02-09-1923. [
Click for larger image]


From my own experience, I feel my Father had arthritis for several years before he died. He was a large man and hard for women to take care of so he was taken to a nursing home in Valley City. During the years his mind gradually failed so at times he was confused in his thinking. He died in V.C. on July 25, 1930.

My Dad was a quiet person, not given to loud hilarious conversation. In fact, he didn’t talk a great deal. Maybe he didn’t get a chance, with the family he had. He was ambitious for his children, but after a disastrous attempt to educate the oldest son as a doctor, decided to let the others take their own course. He was modest in the extreme. I never heard him tell a shady story and he disliked to hear others tell them. He didn’t believe in making a great to do about birthdays or Christmas, but if a neighbor’s child needed shoes or some other necessity, he tried to see he got it.

I was an adult before I knew he was afraid of a thunder storm; didn’t believe in making us afraid even (?) he was.

Could mention (Barend H.Kroeze) as president of Jamestown College, said Dad was the brainiest man he had ever met.



In this column we draw your attention to the family announcements that reached us.

We are very much pleased to present them to you and we are grateful to everybody who took the trouble to inform us about the merry and sad events in their and our family.

Since this is the first time that this column is published we start this survey with the changes from 1 February 1997, which have not been listed in the family book Somsen Omnes Generationes.




Laura Somsen [3937], daughter of Rudolf Herman Somsen [994] and Janna Berendina Klijn Hesselink [1037]


Allora Kate Somsen [3921], daughter of John Howard Somsen [2361] and Barbara Mc Laughlin [2364]


Berendine Willemina Marie (Marline) Somsen [3922], daughter of Derk Jan Somsen [136] and Willemina Berendine Jantine Berends [197]


Laura Somsen [3948], daughter of Paul Hendrik Somsen [463] and Sandra Isabel Ramalho da Cunha [1547]


Carmen Maria Johanna Siemes [3938], daughter of Walter Maria Josephus Siemes and Johanna Gerharda Somsen [996]


Siggy Baloe Andersen [3960], daughter of Harry Evert Somsen [1193] and Laila Thalasa Andersen [2147]


Dirk Jan Somsen [3963], son of Daniel Jasper Somsen [677] and Gertruda Maria Gerarda Verhofstad [1607]


Isaac Jerome Kippes [4010], sun of Kent Jerome Kippes [4009] and Leah Rachel Somsen [2698]


Priscilla Kylie Somsen [3962], daughter of Jan Roelof Somsen [1407] and Martine Gerrits [1699]


Anna Somsen [3997], daughter of Alfred Gerben Somsen [680] and Marleen of der Wilk [2582]


Christiaan Chiel Somsen [4001], sun of Christiaan Somsen [1382] and Maria Gerharda Bouwhuis [1392]


Henriëtte Nienke Gierveld [4013], daughter of Arend Jan Gierveld [1784] and Maria Allegonda Eva Somsen [1495]


Thomas Bart Marstello van Daatselaar [4014], sun of Jan Bart van Daatselaar [1622] and Laurette Marstello [2861]


Margje Johanna Nieuwenhuijsen [4017] , daughter of Henry Nieuwenhuijsen[2068] and Marieke Somsen [435]


Emma Ruth Somsen [4021], daughter of Willem Jan Somsen [1808] en Désiré Eleonore Appeldoorn [2585]



Iris Yolanda Somsen [2849] and Herbert (Bert) Morelissen [4020]

Iris and Herbert [Click for larger image]



Jan Vrieselaar [1010], 75 years old


Jan Willem Sluiskes [1030], 85 years old


Hendrik Jan Somsen [1240], 78 years old


Berendina Somsen [1340], 76 years old


Herman Ruesink [2155], 86 years old


Myrtle C.Cutler [2441], 83 years old


Doris Mae McCarty [2826], 83 years old


Wilhelmina Luiten [497], 72 years old


Johanna Gezina Arnolda Somsen [48], 78 years old







In the Oostgelders Tijdschrift voor Genealogie en Boerderijonderzoek (0.T.G.B.) of February 1998 we found a very positive book review of our family book Somsen Omnes Generationes.

We render the complete book review here.


We would also like to mention that the O.T.G.B. appears four times a year, that the annual subscription fee is ƒ 30,00 and that those interested can direct to

Abonnementenadministratie O.T.G.B.

Bloemendalsweg 6

7429 AL Colmschate

The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 570 651493


Book review SOMSEN, Omnes Generationes


Authors Derk J. Somsen and Theo D.F. Somsen; ISBN 90-803494-1-0; NUGI 647

Further information: Mr T.D.F.Somsen, Hindenhoek 11, 8172AC VAASSEN, +31.578.572867


Last summer we once more received one of those family books which not only the members of the family will search through with a great deal of interest, but also many other people. What other people? Well, genealogists for example. Not only those genealogists who traced down the name of Somsen in their own ancestry, but also many others. And furthermore history enthusiasts, certainly those who love regional history. And finally those who love reading a well-written scientific story which is not too difficult. It is just as it is in chess columns. Some of them are full of the kind of algebra which can only be understood and practised by the true chess players. In others we find among the diagrams enough reading matter that also appeals to the superficial amateur. The last kind compares best with the Somsen book. We count 311 pages and notice that the general text covers the first 107 pages. However, who thinks that well over one third of the book comprises the general reading matter and that two thirds deal with the family "bookkeeping" is a little wrong. The general part is bilingual because many of the Somsens ended up in America. So is the "general part" only a sixth part of the book? That would be a bit too simple for also the family "bookkeeping" is larded with a great many photographs that exceed the interests of the family since they reflect the atmosphere of a particular period.


The authors start with a witticism, namely their own creation story: In the beginning God created Adam Somsen, the dream of every genealogist. Since they realise that this is not feasible they take some gigantic steps through the rest of the world history to finally to turn to the characterisation and history of the region. That region is the surroundings of Aalten, for the name Somsen comes from a farmstead in IJzerlo of which the oldest record dating from 1609 was Sumbs. This is related to swampy, boggy land. Later on the house is referred to as Sompsstedeken, and from this the family name Somsen has arisen.


The genealogy begins with Roelof Boeinck from Lintelo, whose son Geert Somsen must have been born around 1666. Since the female Somsens with their family members have also been listed the genealogy is called a "parentage per generation". We feel very much tempted to render more interesting details, but we will not since we fear there will be no end to it. The book, which is beautifully bound and embellished with copies of topographical maps of Aalten/Lintelo/IJzerlo, shows that quite a sum of money had to be supplied for its publication. This is also illustrated by the fact that it is bilingual. So the book also renders an exercise in genealogical translating.


Jarich Renema