Martinus Jongsma

Last Updated: Saturday, 02 May 2015 Written by Martinus Jongsma


He was born on June 30, 1944 in Boelenslaan near Surhuisterveen. After graduating from high school, he was employed as bookkeeper with a number of businesses. In 1970 he started his own offset-printing business in Surhuisterveen, and in that same year he also became a council-member of the County of Achtkarspelen. He served for 23 years in that capacity. During this time he was chairman of the local Labour Party for 8 years and he also held the position of alderman for 7 years.
Since 1960 Jongsma was involved in the sport of cycling. Right from the start he wrote reports about cycling events for some newspapers: Het Nieuwsblad van Noord-Oost Friesland, De Feanster and De Friese Koerier.
But in 1979 he really got involved in cycling in a big way. At that time he became a member of a cycling-committee in his hometown of Surhuisterveen. Because of that he played a big part in the birth of the “Proftour of Surhuisterveen”, an annual event for professional cyclists. He became the secretary/bookkeeper of the committee, and eventually its chairman. On June 1, 1983 Jongsma became a member of the Royal Dutch Cyclists Union of the district of Friesland. A year later he became its chairman. On January 1, 1988 he was named consul of the KNWU in Friesland. He was chairman of this district for a few years and he also served as interim-treasurer for a while. In 1984 Jongsma obtained his jury-diploma, but when he became a consul, he kind of put this jury-work on hold.
Ever since the beginning of the nineties, genealogy became his main hobby. Almost every week you could find him in the Archives in Leeuwarden and in the Archives of the County of Achtkarspelen in Buitenpost. At the request of friends and acquaintances he enjoys putting together detailed pedigrees.


Martinus Jongsma found more than 8000 family-members. Years of research produces a thick book.

By Jan Benus

SURHUISTERVEEN – It is possible that Tineke Hiemstra is a descendant of Charlemagne! The lines are very, very thin, but her husband Martinus Jongsma has his own thoughts about that. The sixty-year-old citizen of Surhuisterveen is quite certain about more than 8000 other persons whom he was able to find during his research into the families Jongsma and Wijkstra. All of them are listed in a 686-page book which is the result of seven years of research.
The past is Martinus Jongsma’s great passion! He is the former alderman of Achtkarspelen. In 1998 the book “Wielrennen in Friesland door de jaren heen” appeared,
which he wrote together with Bernard Pijper. The book, which took years to produce, is a historical overview of the rich cycling-history of Friesland. After that he gave his all to researching his family. “For the research of the cycling book I went every Friday to the Provincial Library in Leeuwarden, which took me past the Ryksargyf. Whenever I looked inside through the windows, I noticed people stooped over old books. At one time I entered the building and found there the birth certificate of my dad, who was born in 1898. I was sold right there! And before you know it you are a genealogist!
Ever since that time Jongsma is like a child at home in the Ryksargyf. He is very excited about that place. “The Civil Registries of all counties in Friesland from 1811 till 1950 is available there on microfilm. In 1811 Napoleon determined that everybody had to have a family or last name. For information before that date I have used all kinds of other sources, like baptism and marriage books, but also mortgage and orphanage books. Those you can find there as well.
I would write everything down because making photocopies was too expensive. At home I entered all that information into my computer. I spent every Friday in Leeuwarden. Then I bought a salted herring at a fish-stand near De Noorderbrug and headed for home.
Jongsma covered pretty well all of Holland in order to obtain the information he needed of people who wound up outside of Friesland. “I have been in various archives, like in Zwolle, in Haarlem and in Utrecht, but also in the national Archives in The Hague. I was a member of a committee of the union of cyclists, and once a month I had to attend an evening meeting in Woerden. My wife and I would leave quite early on days like that. She would go shopping and I would quickly go to the archives. Today E-mail is the answer for me. That way I received information from all over the world, from places like Canada, the States, South Africa and Australia.”
The research took a long time, but it produced results. “In some cases I was able to go back all the way to the year 1000. My wife is a descendant of the Dutch nobility from the western part of Holland. One of those sources even said that she descends from Charlemagne! But proof of that is very slim. I do not accept everything just like that. I want to be reasonably sure it is true. As far as my own family is concerned, I was able to get back as far as 1640. My roots are in Roden. The names of my earliest ancestors are Albert Eytes and Anje Willems. I think they were farmers. Later on there came a Frisian branch. For many generations there was a shoemakers-family in Augustinusga that had our name.
The book does not only have names, dates and places, but also other information. To his own big surprise Jongsma is related to the wellknown IJe Wijkstra who in 1929 murdered 4 police officers near Kornhorn because they came to get his girlfriend Aaltje van der Tuin. “I am a second cousin twice removed of IJe, but also the skater Lieuwe de Boer, who won bronze in the 500m. at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, is related to me.
And you discover all kinds of cute and interesting things. Many children died very young and many persons in those poorer regions were unable to read and write. You could see that because the official certificates of birth or marriage were often not signed. Also the number of illegitimate children born in the ‘Heidestreek’ (area of heather) was far higher than the national average.”
The book contains over 8000 names, some with lots of personal information. Jongsma writes that it took approximately 5000 hours of work to produce the book. “Each person has his own peculiar traits. I have always been interested in history. You never get finished, even after the book was printed more information showed up. But somewhere you have to put a stop. However, I continue with my research and I have plans to write more books. I like to produce a book about the Ongersma family, but also about the families of Mijnheer, Bouwer and Kamminga, names that you often meet in this region.”

 Source: Drachtster Courant (2004)


Martinus Jongsma has a million names in his computer

Surhuisterveen – Martinus Jongsma (64) from Surhuisterveen has a very special hobby. He keeps himself busy with genealogy, the research of genealogies or family trees. With the help of information and data which he finds in archives and old newspapers, he puts together family trees of different families. Jongsma has at present approximately 1,000,000 names of persons from the Frisian-Groningse border region in his computer.
“It starts with yourself”, says the Surhuisterveenster Martinus Jongsma. “I first started with my own family tree. A person knows his own family, and you know your parents and grandparents, etc. You know what kind of work they were doing and you know what kind of people they were. Were they good people? Were they ever in trouble with the law?” Jongsma started looking for answers to such questions. The result was: 3 thick volumes! Jongsma calls this the crown upon his work. “For these 3 books I have done research for my father’s family and also for my wife’s side of the family. And also for the family tree of my grandparents on my mother’s side.”
Jongsma had ordered 500 copies of each book, and they were soon sold out. “People love reading the history of their own family”, says Jongsma. “I have always been very interested in the history of the village and its surrounding area. When I in the mid-90’s quit working and had more free time, I wanted to use that available time in a positive way. In order to write a book about cycling, I went every Friday to the provincial library in Leeuwarden to dig up articles about that topic. One day I passed the Ryksargyf and saw there all kinds of people doing research for their family trees. I joined them for a while and ….. I never left them again!”
He discovered that he had the same ancestors as IJe Wijkstra, the man from Doezum who, in 1929, killed four policemen.
The nicest discovery he made, according to Jongsma, is that he found out that his wife is a descendant of the people who around 1500 reclaimed land in Friesland from the sea, built a dyke around it, and called it Het Bildt. “Those were people of nobility and my wife is a direct descendant of them. I have proof of that. Those are great discoveries.” His wife and he are about 4 or 5 times related, according to Jongsma.
This family tree researcher can be found in the archives on a weekly basis. He checks births, marriages, and deaths certificates and enters all that data into his computer. He now has over one million names in his data-base. “Every time a newspaper enters my door, it’s a feast for me”, says Jongsma. The obituaries give him new information that he stores in his computer.
His main interest in genealogy is for families who lived in the County of Achtkarspelen and its surrounding areas. Sometimes people ask him to do research for their family. He only charges them the actual cost of expenses he makes. “Making money for this is not my goal. It’s simply my hobby. A time-consuming hobby, true, it keeps me busy every day.”
Martinus Jongsma has a website, too, which has a lot of complete pedigrees and genealogies, usually covering 5 generations. Among them are some well-known persons, like Doutzen Kroes from Oostermeer and Member of Parliament Joop Atsma (CDA). What drives Jongsma is especially the curiosity part. “I am simply curious. When I see a name like Doutzen Kroes, I think right away: who is she and who are her parents. Then I start and once you have the names of the parents and grandparents, you are on your way.”
Jongsma does believe that a family tree should have more than just names, dates, and places. It’s nice to know what kind of work they did. A job he is presently busy with is writing a book about crime in Achtkarspelen and area. For that he works his way through the prison archives in Groningen and Leeuwarden. “I want to know for what kind of crimes the people were locked up, and for how long.” Jongsma has been busy with this project for a few years already and he hopes to finish it in another 2 years.

SOURCE: De Streekkrant d.d. 2 June 2009


Grandpa has a lot to answer for.

SURHUISTERVEEN – Throughout the ages a lot of people committed murders or stole things from others in Achtkarspelen. Today it is possible to check what our forefathers got into during their lifetime.
Genealogist Martinus Jongsma (1956-) had already spent seven thousand hours paging through archives when his neighbour knocked on his door and asked him: “Have you found my grandfather already? He killed somebody, around 1934.” And indeed, Jongsma found that crime in the archives of Tresoar.
That man’s name and the crime he committed are now mentioned in Jongsma’s book ‘Criminaliteit in Achtkarspelen’. Jongsma, who lives in Surhuisterveen, collected approximately four thousand crimes committed by a thousand citizens of Achtkarspelen between 1750 and 1935.
In his book he has listed the perpetrators in alphabetical order so that each person with roots in Achtkarspelen can quickly check for what kind of crime his or her ancestors were convicted.
The chance of finding one of your ancestors described in the book is ‘fairly high’, according to Jongsma. Especially if the ancestor hailed from one of the ‘heather-villages’ such as Twijzelerheide, Boelenslaan and Harkema Opeinde where the crime-rate was higher than average due to poverty.
“And in those villages you meet, time and again, all through the centuries the same family names”, states Jongsma. He does not hesitate to note: “ Those are the Alma’s, the Kooistra’s and the family De Wind”.
“Isn’t that a bit of digging up bad things about a family, so many years later?” one might ask. But Jongsma has no problem with that. “You can find all of this information in the public sources and besides all those closely related to these persons have died a long time ago”, he says.
According to the author people should know what their ancestors have done. “Around here we are bit rougher and do not get scared that easily when we hear or see the facts”, he says. Of the 250 books that were printed, already 150 have been sold.
He obtained his information mainly from the archives at Tresoar and from the reports of the court-proceedings printed in the Leeuwarder Courant. He encountered cases of murder, but especially lots of thefts, caused by dire poverty.
Perhaps cases of class-justice have left the deepest impression on him. Take, for instance, the extremely poor girl named Pietje Groenewoud from Surhuisterveen (Boelenslaan) who at the close of the nineteenth century was arrested in possession of a few stolen bread buns. “You will stay in a juvenile-detention centre till your 18th year”, the judge told her.
“After that she went to Germany. What became of her there? I would like to know, but the trail ends somewhere.”
And what about policeman Geuchien de Vries?
This Groninger was appointed in the nineteen-twenties to put things in order in Drogeham. A group of young guys made it a fun game to march through the village while singing loudly, which was a forbidden activity.
“One evening the policeman got a hold of a fellow by the name of Dirk Visser”, Jongsma tells. “He hit Visser on the head with a stick. Two days later Visser was dead”. The policeman was sentenced to 3 months conditional jail time. Jongsma still gets angry when he thinks about this case. “Such a thing is an outright shame, isn’t it?”

Source: Stef Altena in the Leeuwarder Courant, dated 22-01-2013



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