Heritage Hall

Heritage Hall of Calvin College Archives in Grand Rapids, Michigan has gathered no less than 4,970 letters concerning Dutch emigrants of which 2,793 were American postings and 2,179 were from the Netherlands to the United States. The collection is known as "The Dutch Immigrant Letter Collection". To assemble the collection, the Archives conducted four major manuscript collection campains in the Netherlands and the United States between 1976 and 1990. These efforts accumulated at least eight thousand items: letters, travel accounts, emigrant memoirs and photographs.
Half of the letters from emigrants cluster between 1873 and 1893, accurately reflecting the numerical configuration of Dutch emigration. Moreover, emigration peaks in 1848-1857 , 1867-1888 and 1892-1915 are followed a year or two later by peaks in correspondence.

Some of the letters were sent to or from Ferwerderadeel and give us a glimpse of how the emigrated family was doing or what had been going on in their hometown in Ferwerderadeel. These letters are published thanks to the kind cooperation and courtesy of Heritage Hall:

     Gerk Dirks de Groot to his brother Klaas (1852)
     Gerk Dirks de Groot to his brother Klaas (1854)
     Maaike Dirks van der Wagen to Gerrit Tietes Fennema (1900) 
     Lieuwe Meinderts de Vries to Gerrit Tietes Fennema (1907)
     David Tjisses Dijkman to Poortinga family (1925)