My current research project concerns my husband’s maternal lines. His mother’s maiden name was ALBERDING, her father an immigrant from The Netherlands. This is a new kind of research for me. Most of my direct family lines came to America in the 1600s and 1700s. This is the first time I have needed to dig into immigration records, foreign records, etc. It is much more interesting than I could have imagined.
I am very grateful for the wonderful Ellis Island site with their easy to use and comprehensive database. Of my great-grandparents in-law’s 10 children, 7 immigrated to the US. My grandfather-in-law was the first of the children to immigrate, Coenraad Abraham Alberding. He arrived on Ellis Island 10 Oct 1911 at the age of 21. There were relatives already here, living in New York City, and he settled with them for a time.
I only knew the names of some of the siblings who immigrated, so the challenge began there. A generic search of the surname in the Ellis Island database helped a lot. There is a column on the immigration form that the immigrant must fill out with the name and address of the relative or friend he or she is coming to see. By looking at this column on immigration records, I could see which Alberdings listed brother, C.A. Alberding as the person they were joining in America. The next to immigrate was Elisabeth, who arrived on Ellis Island 6 Jul 1914 at the age of 17. I have yet to learn much about her, so that will have to come in another post. Living relatives remember her as Aunt Betty and say that she lived in Queens, New York.
After Elisabeth came Johan, who arrived on Ellis Island 23 Apr 1915. He also settled in NYC and stayed there for the rest of his life. He married a woman named Elizabeth, maiden name not yet determined, Americanized his name to John, worked hard and was able to open a tuxedo rental shop in New York that he and his wife ran for many years. Sadly, Johan, or John, died from a heart attack at the age of 48. His wife ran the business successfully after his death.
Now, it gets really interesting. The next family member to immigrate was my great-grandmother-in-law, Johanna Blitz or Blis Alberding. She landed on Ellis Island 4 Dec 1916. Her immigration papers list her as widowed and her “person” in the US was her son, C.A. Alberding. There is also a column on the immigration papers for the immigrant to name their closest relative in the country of origin and Johanna listed “daughter, A. Kuyper” with an Amsterdam address. Johanna married again not long after arriving in the US, a man named George Riede. He was also a native of Holland, according to the 1920 Census, but no Ellis Island immigration information exists for him. He was about 20 years younger than Johanna. They are found together in the 1920 Census in Queens, NY as the proprietors of a boarding house.
The family story is that Johanna placed her minor children in an orphanage in Amsterdam when she immigrated. A family member has the paperwork on this and I am looking forward to seeing that. She also left behind a married daughter, A. Kuyper, based on the information on her immigration papers. At this point in the research, it wasn’t clear who else had been left behind.
Johanna was an astute businesswoman and reportedly bought several boarding houses. As she prospered, she must have decided it was time to bring over the children she had left behind. The next to immigrate was Antoon who arrived on Ellis Island 17 Apr 1921 at the age of 19. On his immigration papers he listed the relative he was come to be with as “Parents: G. Riede-Alberding,” and the closest relative in The Netherlands as “Sister: A. Kuiper.” There she is again, the mystery sister. He Americanized his name to Anton and married Mae Bascom. They lived and died in Brooklyn, NY.
George arrived on Ellis Island 5 May 1922 at the age of 18. On his immigration papers he listed the relative he was immigrating to be with as “Mother: G. Riede.” Listed as the closest relative in Amsterdam was “Brother, J.P. Alberding.” George married Adrianna Albers, an immigrant from The Hague, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. They settled in Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey and both died in the 1980s.
1 Nov 1924, the youngest and last of the Alberding children to immigrate from Amsterdam were Hendrick, age 18, and Hendrika, age 13. Johanna returned to Amsterdam in August of that year, presumably to make the arrangements to bring her youngest children over. Hendrika had been fostered in Amsterdam with a wealthy doctor’s family from the age of 5 until she was brought to the US at the age of 13. Apparently she was treated as a daughter in that home and never got over being taken from the fine home and brought to America where she had to work for a living. According to family members who knew her, she never got over it until they day she died at 83. years of age.
On Hendrick and Hendrika’s immigration papers, they listed as the closest relative living in Amsterdam “Brother: J. P. Alberding.” Now there is another brother to search for in Amsterdam. As the relative they are coming to be with, they listed “Mother: G. Riede.”
Hendrick became Hank and married Hermione Bascom, sister of the Mae Bascom who married his brother, Anton. They settled in New Haven, Connecticut and had two children. It is their daughter, Ellen, who has been a huge help to me in putting all of this together. Hendrika became “Rita” or “Ricki” depending on which relative was referring to her. She married Henry Muuse and they settled in Brick, Ocean County, New Jersey. Ricki and Henry had no children.
Much was revealed from these searches and just as many question were raised. When did my great-grandfather-in-law, Coenraad Abraham Alberding, die in Amsterdam? Who are the other three children, A. Kuyper, J. P. Alberding, and another sister called Cory, all who remained in Amsterdam?
Chapter Two – Research in the City Archives of Amsterdam – coming soon.