Geesjen Broene

By Bentheimers International Society

Hand-drawn map of Hocklenkamp, where Gesina Broene was born in 1862.

A portion of General Major von Le Coq‘s Grafschaft Bentheim map (1805) depicting the settlement of Höcklenkamp. Geesjen Broene was born here in in 1855.

Geesjen Broene was born May 10, 1864 in Höcklenkamp to  Harm Hendrik Broene and his third wife, Jennechien Dyke. Geesjen was their fourth and last child to be born in Germany. When she was around one year old, she emigrated from Graftschaft Bentheim to Graafschap, Michigan, along with her parents, five half–siblings, and three siblings.

Geesjen Broene’s Background

Geesjen Broene was the tenth child born to Harm Hendrik Broene. She had six half-siblings, the children of her father’s first marriage to Kunnegien Nyboer. One of these children had also been named Geesjen, but she died when she was around three years of age. The other half-siblings were Geert, Egbert, Andina, Frederik, and Jan Hendrik Broene.

Geesjen’s father Harm Hendrik had inherited the Broene farm in Höcklenkamp. After the deaths of his first two wives, Harm Hendrik married  a milk maid on the farm, Jennechien Dyke. They had a son and two daughters before their daughter Geesjen arrived on May 10, 1864.

Emigrating to America

Harm Hendrik Broene, Jennechien Dyke Broene, and their four children—along with the five surviving children from Harm Hendrik’s first marriage to Kunnegien Nyboer—decided to emigrate from Grafschaft Bentheim to America around the time of Geesjen’s birth. The original plan included Geesjen’s paternal grandfather, Geert Broene, but he died a few days before the date of departure.

The Broene family sailed on the S.S. New York for New York Harbor, arriving on July 31, 1865. Then they traveled to Michigan and purchased a farm just south of Graafschap. Just four and a half months after settling on their farm, Geesjen Broene passed away. She was one and a half years of age.

On January 7, 1868, her parents had a fifth child, their first to be born in the U.S. They named her Geesje (Grace in English). She would marry two emigrants from Grafschaft Bentheim: first Hendrik Lotterman from Emlichheim, and then Jan Hendrik Gemmen from Veldhausen.

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