Contributed by:

Klaas Leen

On November 17, 1894 Enne Heins Krottje and Jeltje Harmens Friesema married at Ferwerderadeel. Enne was born at Vrouwenparochie on March 24, 1871 whereas Jeltje joined the world on December 8, 1872 in Hallum.
It were hard times in Friesland in particular in the northern clay areas. A lot of unemployment along with poverty and no hope for improvement on a short term. This made many farmhands, laborers, gardeners. etc. to emigrate. Among them were Enne Krottje, Jeltje Friesema and their two little daughters Tjitske and Saakje. The windmill where Enne was employed (located between Hallum and Marrum) had burned down leaving Enne without a job and thus the family headed for New Jersey. A brother of Jeltje who was living there had adviced them to come over and so it happened that the family arrived at New York aboard ss "Spaarndam" on May 1, 1900. Of course they had taken all their savings along: USD 17.--

It didn't take long to adjust their names: Enne became Andrew, Jeltje was Julia, Tjitske was known as Jessie and Saakje's name was "americanized" to Sadie. Furthermore the family name was simplified: instead of two, only one "t" was used and from then on the surname was Krotje. In 1904 the third daughter was born: Radea.
The picture shows the family in 1906. Five years later another child was born, this time a son: Henry. The Krotje family lived in Paterson where Andrew worked in the silk industry like many other emigrants. Amongst his jobs were foreman and color-mixer. At home the family was breeding chickens and rabbits to sell and all in all life was not bad. However, fortune changed in 1926  when Andrew died of sepsis in combination with pneumonia. Julia and her two teenage children had to sell the house and boarded at daughter Sadie. I have it that the family encountered some hard times.
As time went by all Krotje children married and had children of their own. In the meantime the fifth generation is still living in the USA and the surname Krotje is still present. Henry became father of four children, Jessie had two sons and Sadie one daughter. Radea was mother of three children and -if alive today- would have 13 grandchildren and almost 20 great-grandchildren.

Many thanks to Robert Walker, Mississippi and Enne Krottje, Ferwerderadeel.

Picture courtesy of Robert Walker.