Families [Van] Bolhuis
Nieuwsletter September 2004<

In the year 754, now 1250 years ago, the missionary Bonifacius was murdered at Dokkum. He earned a sainthood for that, and later a statue in the town. The statue was made by the sculpturer Gerrit Bolhuis.

The last half year was rather productive. Three books written by a [Van] Bolhuis were publiced. Firstly Liesbeth Bolhuis, gained a Ph.D. from the Agriculture University of Wageningen: "Personalities in pigs". She observed that indivudual pigs have distinct character. Moreover it can be meassured in an early stage. Meat production is influenced by the character.

Also in Wagingen the book "The invented land" by Peter van Bolhuis was spresented. Peter is landscapesarchitect and aereal photographer. In the book (English and Dutch) different landscapes in the Netherlands are discussed. More info on: www.pandion.nl.

Finally Bert Bolhuis published a Dutch language book "Vrijgemaakt door de Zoon" (Freed by the Son). Argumenting his decission the be baptised again

Questions and answers
To start with the open questions.

We had noted a couple, Kurt en Annemie Bolhuis, ecological farmers in Belgium. It turns out that the farm is named Bolhuis, the occupants have a different familyname.

The man with the wooden leg in Grootegast has been identified. And he is a Bolhuis. It concerns Jan Bolhuis, * Grootegast 13.8.1856, Grootegast 16.1.1936, x Grootegast 7.5.1892 Pietertje Top, * Grootegast 28.7.1864, Grootegast 15.7.1941, daughter of Jan Top en Wemke Penninga. Jan Bolhuis was machine driver on a combine. He had in his work an accident and lost a leg. Again added information about one of the persons in the genealogy,it must have had en severe impact on his entire life.

The question who was the Bolhuis who was arrested in World War II for resistance activities, and imprisonned in Krefelt (Germany) remains as yet open.

Background information and personal notes
In the previous newsletter I announced that this newsletter would deal with history connected to the genealogy. It is good to have names, data, places. But who were these people? And how was their life?
To start with the last question, the genealogy contains about 60 "blocks" dealing with certain historical events, folkloristic habits, professions that disappeared, education etc. As an exemple (because of its limited size) a block about hygiene.

The countering of body odeur resulted, according to the experts of the 17th and 18th century, in a weakening of the organism. In the late 18th century more understanding emerged of the beneficial effects of washing the face, hands and feet with water, also "from time to time" the entire body, because dust would prevent the "breathing of the skin. "Nevertheless, this view met with resissstance, also from the majority of the physicians. Taking a bath coud lead to indolence and auto erotic temptations. And using soap would produce infections. Too much washing would lead to infertility with girls, further to mentally defectiveness, paleness or corpulence. Even defenders of freshness insisted on prudence: no bathing when weak, after a meal or during menstruation. And after taking a bath: take a good rest and lay down to recuperate from this attac on the nervesystem. In short, washing was not a priority untill well in the 19th century. Regular clean underwear, changing of sheets and checking on lices and flees. Simple measures giving beter hygiene. But the usefulness of those measures was often not recognised. The canals in the cities provided only part of the year water of drinking quality. When in the summer the water level went down, the sluices were closed, and untill autumn the quality of the water went from bad to worse. The town of Groningen knew since 1822 a regular public service collecting waste from houses and roads. The reason was in the first place economic. The waste was composted and sold to the agricultural sector. Toilets with a flushingsystem were still unknown. The excrements were collected in tons, and removed by cart. The cart was commonly known as "the boldoot-kar" after a well known eau de tiolette (!) brand. The poor housing conditions (see seperate block) contributed to regular epidemies. 1817 typhoid, 1832 and 1866 cholera, 1819 flue. Each of these diseases required a deathtoll. The "disease of Groningen" (symptomes: bilious fever, typhoid, malaria) reduced the population with 10%!!

There is a second type of backgroundstory, regarding individuals. This could be very concise and short like:

Eibe Bolhuis emigrates in 1866 with his wife to the United States, final destination unknown. He motivates this decision the with wish to join family and/or friends. His church affiliation is "Afgescheiden" (Christian Reformed). With the German ship "Duisburg of Prussia" the family crossed the ocean and arrived 16.6.1866 in New York.


When Jantje Rozema becomes 100 years of age, she lives in the Menno Lutterhuis. She is sound in body and mind, and lives mainly indipendent. Only walking and seeing becomes more difficult.

But also more elaborate descriptions occur, providing an interpretation of somebodies character.

My grandmother was a handsome woman, with a reserved, later, when she grew older, "hard"face. She could laugh wholeheartely, but usually she managed only a mocking smile. She was; well aware of her status as a farmerswife and had disdain for the "burgers"of Veendam, only the really big manufacturers she held in esteem. Her mentality was liberal with a materialistic edge, only slightly religious. She rarely left her farm or later her house. I recall that she once visited us in Groningen. That should be some years after 1904. In spite of the fact that she lived close to three of her children she never visited them. The children visited her and on Saterdayeveninga they all were present. The bond with the children was very strong, in particular with the sons. Deep inside she was convinced that no better children existed, even when she did nog turn a blind eye to their flaws. Even if she was not blind, just like her children she was deaf. I still see her with the tooter at her ear. The sons in law were second grade, she always adressed them with their familynames, in those days not unusual. My father, as a "burger", may have been third grade, even when he in social standing had passed all children. She lived many years, till her death, with her unmarried daughter Jantje. I stayed often and long with my grandmother. First on the big farm. The barn of the farm burned down end 19th century. The living quarters were saved. She had much old porcelain, a major part of it was broken when the building was emptied by helping neighbours. In 1934 the samen thing happened, and again the contents of the house was outside. But uncle Gerhard brought every thing inside again, because when the house burned down, the insurance would pay, but not for what was outside!

Jan van Bolhuis

This newsletter is only distributed to persons of whom I have an e-mail adress. Perhaps readers will pass the letter on to interested familymembers not having e-mail. I appreciate getting e-mail adresses not yet in my files. These adresses will only be used for distribution of the newsletter and in due time to announce the publication of the book. These way of communication is the most cost-effective. My e-mail: j.van.bolhuis@wxs.nl