The European Brinks 

I am re-reading the information I received from the Nordhorn church, and noticing things I didn't before. Could it be that it's the first time I've had a good look since speaking with Mrs. Harger in December? I'm specifically picking up on the word "Huurman" which Mrs. Harder had explained to my Mother and I was a hired man, or in other words a farmhand.

I'm reconciling the two sources of information, that coming from my aunt, and the other coming from the church.

My aunt's notes go back further in time beginning with the birth of Jan Brink on February 23, 1783. The two sources both agree that he married his first wife Gese Strootman on May 20, 1806. A church reference adds that Jan was a "heuerling", another word for "huurman" or farmhand.

According to my aunt, their children were Hendrik Brink, born in 1806, followed by Geert Brink on April 18, 1807, followed by Harm Brink in 1809 all born in Frensdorf. Our line continues with Geert Brink.

Gese Strootman died somewhere around 1812. Jan took her younger sister Janna Strootman as his second wife on May 20, 1811.

The church gives a reference for a Geerd Brink (there is a slight spelling difference), born April 18, 1807 in Frensdorf to a Jan Brink and a Gese Rademaker. This is where the two accounts differ.

Both accounts agree that Geerd Brink married his first wife Harmtjen Hagelskamp who was 26 on May 7, 1841. The church reference describes Geerd as the son of Jan Brink and the late Gese Strootman. In addition the church reference indicates that he is a farmhand to Mr. Johannick in Frensdorf and that Harmtjen whose father was a weaver was working at the time for the Aalderink family as a "huurman". If the elder Jan Brink was a landholder, then this would indicate that the older brother Hendrik probably lived to inherit the family farm.

According to my aunt, Jan and Harmtjen had four children, the three youngest of which all emigrated to West Michigan and married there. They were in order of birth Janna, Gese, Jan the younger (the only boy) born on October 2 1846 in Frensdorf, and Harmtjen born on January 7, 1849.

The church reference seems to suggest that at the time of Jan the younger's birth, Geert was a farmhand for the Gesink family.

Harmtjen Hagelskamp died at the age of 34 on January 23 1849 in Frensdorf, not long after the birth of little Harmtjen.

Geerd took Geerdjen Eersink (whose father was a weaver) as his second wife in August of 1849. They went on to have a daughter who emigrated to West Michigan and a son who stayed in Germany.

According to my aunt's notes, Geerd died on August 25, 1854 in Frensdorf. The church reference adds that he was 48 and that he died of pneumonia. Jan the younger was 8 years old. Geerd's father, Jan the elder died a year later at the age of 72 on March 23, 1855 in Frensdorf and his stepmother in the same year. Jan's stepmother, Geerdjen died 4 years later. At that time Jan's oldest sibling Janna was only 16 years old.

The church timeline ends with the death of Geerd. My aunt goes on to say that Jan the younger emigrated to America, arriving in Baltimore on May 19, 1868. He would have been 22.

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