Photo by Jay Kruizenga, 2018

Westside Grand Rapids construction off Leonard Street near the Alpine intersection has uncovered the vintage late 1800s sign of Jacob Baker, horseshoer (type of blacksmith) and wagon/sleigh maker.  As a lover of all things historical this photo is right up my alley.  To see how well the lettering has been preserved for over a century makes me want to jump right in and discover all I can about Jacob: to see how he came to own this particular Grand Rapids shop and his early family life.  And that is precisely what I aim to do in this post.
Jacobus Bakker was born at 9:45pm on 22 March 1850 at Gemeente Leeuwarden in the Netherlands Province of Friesland to Frederik Bakker and Henderika Venendal.  Frederik was then 30 years old and employed as a windmill maker’s helper.  Frederik’s signature may be seen on Jacobus’ birth certificate.  [1]

1860 FAMILY SNAPSHOT

The above page is a snapshot of the Frederik Bakker family in early 1860: at this time, Jacobus would be 9 years old.  His was an extensive family.  This document is a population register required of all citizens similar to the American Census but it gives richer detail.  As a family moved or as children left the family the register(s) would reflect this change in status.  [2]

According to this document the Frederik Bakker family then included (in relation to Jacobus):

Frederik Bakker, father, born 4 October 1819 at Leeuwarden, who worked as a windmill maker.  Frederik lived to the age of 84 dying as a widower on 14 May 1904 at Kollumerland c.a.. [3]

Henderika Veenendal, mother, born 11 April 1821 at Weerenveen.  Henderika died at the age of 79 at Kollumerland c.a. on 21 December 1900. [4]

Janneke Bakker, sister, born 29 November 1844 at Leeuwarden.  On 3 December 1870 Janneke Bakker, then age 26, wed Cornelis van Wely, then 29, at Kollumerland c.a.  [5]  Janneke died at the age of 61 on 10 March 1906 at Haren.  [6]

Jennikje (Iennikjen) Bakker, sister, born 18 August 1846 at Leeuwarden.  On 6 May 1876 Iennikjen Bakker, at the age of 29, wed Floris Westerbaan, then 24, at Kollumerland c.a. [7]  Iennikjen died at the age of 76 on 21 July 1923 at Leeuwarden. [8]

Johannes Bakker, brother, born 22 June 1848 at Leeuwarden.  On 18 May 1876 Johannes Bakker, then age 27, wed Grietje Jaarsma, then 28, at Westdongeradeel. [9]  Johannes died at the age of 77 on 1 September 1925 at Leeuwarden. [10]

Jacobus Bakker, born 22 March 1850 at Leeuwarden.  See marriage and other info below.

Cornelis Bakker, brother, born 11 June 1852 at Kollum.  On 21 October 1876 Cornelis, then age 24, wed Aafke Meersma, then 20, at Kollumerland c.a.. [11]  Cornelis and his family of 9 immigrated to Grand Rapids from Antwerp, Belgium aboard the Friesland arriving 17 May 1892 with 5 boxes.  [12]

Trijntje Bakker, sister, born 13 April 1854 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 28 November 1877 Trijntje, then age 23, wed Tjeerd Ytsma, then 23, at Leeuwarden. [13]  Trijntje died at the age of 85 on 8 August 1939 at Leeuwarden. [14]

Pieter Bakker, brother, born 14 February 1856 at Kollumerland c.a..  Pieter and his family of 4 immigrated to America from Rotterdam, Netherlands aboard the Rotterdam arriving 1 March 1887 with 2 trunks. [15]

Syberen Bakker, brother, born 8 January 1858 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 24 May 1884 Syberen, then age 26, wed Fokje Krol, then 27, at Tietjerksteradeel. [16]  While a date of death has not yet been located for Syberen (due to the many variations in spelling), it is alleged that he stayed in the Netherlands as his wife Fokje died on 20 November 1926 at Velp (Rheden) in the Gelderland Province. [17]

Sjieuwke Bakker, sister, born 10 January 1860 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 17 May 1879 Sjieuwke, then age 19, wed Jacob Fennema, then 21, at Kollumerland c.a.. [18]  Jacob Fennema died on 10 March 1898 at Kollumerland c.a.. [19]

Hiltje Bakker, sister, born 27 July 1863 at Kollumerland c.a..  On 3 July 1886 Hiltje, then age 22, wed Johannes Jacobus Minnema, then 25, at Kollumerland c.a.. [20]  Hiltje died on 8 July 1947 at Leeuwarden at the age of 83. [21]

JACOBUS MARRIES

On 11 May 1878 Jacobus Bakker, then 28, wed Hillechien Schreuder, then 21, at Kollumerland c.a.. [22]

The document at right was much like the American Draft.  All males were required to serve.  This document dated 1878 states that Jacobus Bakker was then employed as a Smith, an occupation that would serve him well in America.

1881 IMMIGRATION

While the actual immigration document has not yet been found we have two indirect references that show Jacobus immigrated to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1881. First, the 1900 US Census records this information.  Second, Jacobus first appears in Grand Rapids on the 1882 City Directory living at 307 Kent street employed as a wagonmaker.  He was the first from his family to immigrate: brother Pieter followed in 1887 and Cornelius in 1892.

5 October 2018 – More info is pending.  Please check back periodically for updates.  This is a work in progress.  Thank you.

(1)  Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Geboorteregister 1850”, database with images, AlleFriezen (https://www.allefriezen.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Civil Birth Register No. 3399, Act No. 185, Jacobus Bakker, birth date 22 March 1850, act date 25 March 1850.
(2)  Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland Bevolkingsregister 1860”, database with images, AlleFriezen (https://www.allefriezen.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Kollumerland, Kollum, 1860-1880 (A-G) Periode: 1860-1880 People’s Register, Frederik Bakker.

[3]  Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Overlijdenregister 1904”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Frederik Bakker, archive 30-21, registration no. 3033, act no. 057.

[4] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Overlijdenregister 1900”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Hendrika Veenendal, archive 30-21, register no. 3029, act no. 141.

[5] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1870”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Janneke Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2019, act no. 71.

[6] Groningen Archive, Netherlands, “Haren Overlijdenregister 1906”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Janneke Bakker, act no. 12.

[7] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1876”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iennikjen Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2021, act no. 14.

[8] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1923”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iennikjen Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3809, act no. 362.

[9] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Westdongeradeel Huwelijkregister 1876”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iohannes Bakker, archive 30-40, register no. 2022, act no. 22.

[10] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1925”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Iohannes Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3811, act no. 456.

[11] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1876”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 28 September 2018), entry for Kornelis Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2021, act no. 51.

[12] “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957“, database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Cornellis Bekker, citing Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 588; Line: 18.

[13] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Huwelijkregister 1877”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Trijntje Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3602, act no. 250.

[14] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1939”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Trijntje Bakker, archive 1002, register no. 3825, act no. 482.

[15] “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957“, database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Pieter Bakker, citing Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 504; Line: 47.  Ancestry gives an age of 34 but the actual image differs showing an age of 31 for Pieter, indicating a birth year of 1856.

[16] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Tietjerksteradeel Huwelijkregister 1884”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Syberen Bakker, archive 30-37, register no. 2033, act no. 62.

[17] Gelderland Archive, Netherlands, “Velp (Rheden) Overlijdenregister 1926”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Fokje Krol, archive 0207, register no. 8690, act no. 276.

[18] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1879”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Sjieuwke Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2022, act no. 27.

[19] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Overlijdenregister 1898”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Jacob Fennema, archive 30-21, register no. 3027, act no. 021.

[20] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1886”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Hiltje Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2024, act no. 37.

[21] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Leeuwarden Overlijdenregister 1947”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Hiltje Bakker, archive 1003, register no. 5496-5497, act no. 308.

[22] Friesland Archive, Netherlands, “Kollumerland c.a. Huwelijkregister 1878”, database with images, WieWasWie (https://www.wiewaswie.nl : accessed 29 September 2018), entry for Jacobus Bakker, archive 30-21, register no. 2022, act no. 26.