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Family History

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Family History - Page Text Content

FC: Carla Zandstra Language Heritage Project

1: My Family Tree | Me- Carla Zandstra | Dianne (Rooy) Zandstra | Duane Zandstra | Sadie Folkerts | Charles Zandstra | Sidney Rooy | Mae Van Dyke | Great Grandma Folkerts | Great Grandpa Folkerts | Trijntje De Ruiter | Bartele Zandstra | Jeanette Bouma | George Rooy | Mace Van Dyke | Sadie Pousma

2: Paternal Great Grandparents- Bartele Zandstra & Trijntje De Ruiter | Parents | My great-grandparents on my dad's side originally immigrated from the Netherlands. Trijntje "Trina" De Ruiter spoke Frisian and Dutch and immigrated from Friesland, a province of the Netherlands, in the early 1890's to the Chicago area. She met Bartele (Bart) Zandstra soon after and the two lived in a Dutch community in Chicago. Bart and Trina learned some English, but their Dutch accent was quite noticeable.

3: My great-grandma Folkerts (unsure of her maiden name) immigrated from Friesland to be married at 17 years of age. Her husband had moved from the Netherlands to New Mexico to be a rancher. Several years later, my great-grandparents moved to Alamosa, Colorado where they raised a family. They spoke Frisian and Dutch, but slowly learned English, preserving their native accents. | To learn more about the Frisian language, check out this link: | The Folkerts

4: Maternal Great Grandparents- George Rooy & Jeanette Bouma | Ancestors of my great grandpa Rooy resided in France, but later moved throughout the Netherlands as fishermen. George Rooy immigrated from Haarlem to Iowa in 1910. Several years later, he met Jeanette Bouma, who immigrated from Friesland in 1912, the year the Titanic sunk, to Oskaloosa, Iowa. Jeanette Bouma knew Fresian and some Dutch, while George Rooy spoke Dutch. Slowly they learned the English language.

5: Mace Van Dyke & Sadie Pousma | Mace Van Dyke spoke both Fresian and Dutch and immigrated to Paterson, New Jersey where he met his wife Sadie Pousma. Sadie was born in the U.S., but her parents immigrated from Friesland. Sadie's parents still spoke Fresian often, but since she was born in New Jersey, naturally she learned English at school. | *

6: My Paternal Grandparents | My grandparents, Charles Zandstra and Sadie Folkerts, met in Colorado. Charles was born in the Chicago area, while Sadie was born in Denver. According to my dad, neither had a strong accent and both spoke English. Grandpa Chuck had many Dutch influences growing up and he could understand more than he could speak. Grandma Sadie learned some Dutch through rituals, such as prayer, but relied on English as her first language. Both used key phrases as a couple, often when either wanting to hide something from the kids or when offering a prayer- a daily routine in my dad's household.

7: When raising their children, Chuck and Sadie used certain Dutch words and phrases because it simply conveyed the feeling or meaning better in Dutch than in English. My dad said certain phrases, according to his parents, "are more descriptive and more specific" than the English vocabulary. For example: the Dutch word "gazellig" describes a very specific feeling that means: warm, cozy, loving, and peaceful. In the one Dutch word it takes 3-5 adjectives in English to describe the true meaning and feeling of the word gezellig

8: Grandpa Sidney and Grandma Mae met in Grand Rapids, Michigan while attending college. After my mom was born, they moved to New Jersey and lived there for 7 years. Three more kids later, they moved to the Netherlands where all children began to learn Dutch. My mom also learned some French. Four years later, the family moved to Argentina and all members learned Spanish, specifically Argentine Spanish. | My Maternal Grandparents

9: As a result, my mother Dianne was influenced by English, Dutch, French, and Spanish. Her early years were spent speaking a Northern Midland New Jersey accent, which followed with Dutch in the Netherlands ((earning some French in school) and Argentine Spanish throughout her high school years. To this day, I hear a subtle accent from her New Jersey days. As a Spanish professor, she is strongly influenced by the Argentine dialect she picked up during high school and years later when my family lived in Argentina for 6 years. All four of her children spoke English and enough Spanish to "get by" in school and when playing with friends. | Various regions, affecting language in my mom's upbringing:

10: My role in all of this: | As a result, I have had Dutch influences and some Spanish influences, although I speak English as my native language. As a child, I had a very authentic Spanish accent, as my early years were spent being exposed to the culture and language on a daily basis. My parents spoke with us at home mostly in English to make the transition back to the U.S. easier. Unfortunately, I lost almost all of my Spanish as a result of living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Just as my dad used to pray in Dutch with his parents, we still to this day preserve some family rituals as we pray in Spanish. In addition, my parents discuss Dutch phrases at times and compare their Dutch influences growing up with parents and grand parents who carried on the tradition.. Now, I must say I have a Northern midland accent, characterized as the "Michigan accent'. | *For a peak at the well- known Michigander accent:

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  • Title: Family History
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  • Started: almost 6 years ago
  • Updated: almost 6 years ago