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View Tree for William HoogsteenWilliam Hoogsteen (b. February 15, 1849, d. May 30, 1931)

Picture of William Hoogsteen
Willem Hoogsteen

William Hoogsteen (son of Hendrik Boeles Hoogsteen and Fokeltje Eerdes Weening) was born February 15, 1849 in Achtkarspelen, Friesland, NL380, and died May 30, 1931 in Grand Rapids, Michigan381. He married (1) Elizabeth Westra on May 22, 1880 in Grijpskerk, NL382, daughter of Vogeltjo Westra and Grietje Vander Tuin. He married (2) Jennie Westra on Abt. 1884383, daughter of Vogeltjo Westra and Grietje Vander Tuin.

 Includes NotesNotes for William Hoogsteen:
Willem Hendriks Hoogsteen was born in the Gemeente Achtkarspelen, number 21, Friesland, NL, and lived to be 82.

He was married in the Netherlands and likely lived in Achtkarspelen, Friesland, until he emigrated with his wife and children to the United States in 1880. Why did he emigrate? Likely for economic reasons. Did he join family in the United States? We don't know for sure.

According to Jan War's letter of July 27, 2001, Jan War's mother told him that Willem Hoogsteen and his brother emigrated to the USA, and that the family then lost contact with him, apparently having never heard further from him after he emigrated to the USA. Perhaps the brother was the older brother Eerde Hendricks Hoogsteen. We don't know at this time. This information is also based on a handwritten letter to Joel Bergsma by Jan G. War of the Netherlands dated July 27, 2001. It is on file with Joel Bergsma as of July 27, 2001.

According to a letter of January 17, 2001, from Birdie Vander Vennen Van Antwerpen, on file with Joel Bergsma, the records she reviewed at Heritage Hall, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, disclose that in 1880 Willem Hoogsteen, age 30, a laborer, and his [first] wife, Elizabeth, age 26, a housewife, embarked from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to the port of New York, New York, in 1880, in steerage class aboard the ship P. Caland [N. Am. (New Amersterdam?) Steam Navigation Co.] William and Jennie became naturalized U.S. citizens.

We don't know if the Willem Hoogsteen family initially settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but it appears likely that they joined family or friends there.

The couple's first child, Henry Hoogsteen, was born on June 26, 1881 [according to U.S. soc. sec. records]. Henry Hoogsteen later changed the spelling of his last name to "Highstone" because he wished to make it easier for English speaking business associates to understand and speak it.

Elizabeth Westra Hoogsteen died shortly after giving birth to Henry Hoogsteen [perhaps from childbirth complications - we don't know.]

Willem Hoogsteen thereafter married the younger sister of Elizabeth Westra - Janna (Jennie) Westra.

The couple had several children, including George Hoogsteen who was born in 1889. At that time the family was living at 838 Baxter Street., Southeast, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Berdela Hoogsteen Van Antwerpen's letter, cited above, discloses that in 1900 the family was still living at the 838 Baxter Street house. The 1900 U.S. census record in Grand Rapids, Michigan, discloses this fact and lists the Willem Hoogsteen family as follows:

Name Date of Birth Age Occupation Citizen
William Feb. 1851 [shd be 1849] 49 [shd be 51]laborer No
Jennie (Janna) Dec. 1857 42

Henry June 1880 [shd be 1881] 19 clerk, grocery Yes
Gertie Oct. 1884 15 clerk, grocery Yes
Eddie Nov. 1887 12 Yes
George 1889 11 Yes
Birdie 1890 9 Yes

Willem Hoogsteen worked for the Hazeltine family of Hazeltine & Perkins Pharmaceuticals. He was a caretaker / handyman for the family's estate on 221 John Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sometimes Willem Hoogsteen worked inside the mansion, but mostly his work was outdoors. (This was a stone house that is called Guarnerie House, Maker and Restorer of Fine Musical Instruments, as of Feb. 2001, according to letter of 2-20-01 from Berdela Van Antwerpen, on file with Joel Bergsma as of 2-25-01.)

William and Jennie Hoogsteen made sure their children attended school. Their (Dutch) Christian Reformed faith, church, and Christian education were central to their family life.

Willem never earned a sufficient income to buy a car, but he enjoyed reading and keeping up on world events. His house on 838 Baxter always had a bookcase full of books.

According to Birdie Van Antwerpren in a letter to Joel Bergsma dated February 20, 2001, Sylvia Highstone Drukker, a granddaughter of Willem Hoogsteen, wrote on 9/14/84: "How well I remember them [the Hoogsteen grandparents - Willem and Janna]. Grandpa had such a sense of humor and Grandma was always the dignified lady. I loved them both."

Willem Hoogsteen lived to be 82 and died from sclerosis of the liver, in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan. His obituary appeared in the Grand Rapids Herald on June 1, 1931.

According to his granddaughter Berdela Van Antwerpen, Willem Hoogsteen "had a vision on his deathbed." Janna Westra, Willem's wife, wrote a Dutch poem about his last hours entitled "In Remembrance of Father." It recalls, in part, her belief that "[w]hile yet in this life, God sent His messenger to him" to take him home. [A copy of the poem (along with four others she wrote) is on file with Joel Bergsma as of March 3, 2001.]

[The source of some of this information is a 16 page typed document entitled "Birdie Hoogsteen Van Dellen" at pages 13-15. I received this document from Berdela Van Antwerpen of Grand Rapids on or about March 2001, and the document is on file with Joel Bergsma as of that date.]

What follows is Willem Hoogsteen's 1900 census record. It accurately states that he emigrated in 1880, and is a laborer, and states his estimated year of birth as 1851. Source: CD #269 FTM's Immigration Records: Dutch in America, 1800s.


Hoogsteen, William

Sex: Male
Year of Birth 1851
Birthplace: Netherlands, Holland
Father's Birthplace: Netherlands, Holland
Mother's Birthplace: Netherlands, Holland
Spouse's Birthplace: Netherlands, Holland
In 1880 Census: No
In 1900 Census: Yes
Household Head 1900 Yes
Maritial Status 1900 Married, Spouse Same Nationality
Occupation of Household Head 1900: Laborer
Province in Netherlands: Unknown
Municipality: Unknown
Year of Emmigration: 1880
Destination: Unknown
Reason for Emigration: Unknown
Religion: Unknown

In the 1910 census, William and his wife, Jennie, are living at 98 (or should it be 838?) Baxter Street in Grand Rapids. Both are recorded as being born in Holland and speaking, reading, and writing English (although the writing is difficult to read and could be no). William Hoogsteen's occupation in 1910 is recorded as janitor for (an unintelligible name of business). The occupation for his 21 year old son, George Hoogsteen, is carpenter working out of the home, and for 19 year old daughter Birdie, a servant for another family. Edward has no occupation, and Henry Highstone is not listed as living with the family (he was older so was now on his own). A copy of the 1910 census record is on file with Joel Bergsma as of 10.19.2004.

The following is 1910 census data from's image records as of 10.19.2004 -
Name: William Hoogsteen
Age in 1910: 57
Estimated birth year: 1852
Home in 1910: 98 Baxter Street, 10-WD GRAND RAPIDS, KENT, Michigan
Race: White
Gender: Male
Series: T624
Roll: 657
Part: 1
Page: 254B
Year: 1910

In the 1920 census, William and his wife, Jennie, are again recorded as being born in Holland. They are able to speak English, but the space is blank as to whether they read or write English (possibly meaning they cannot do so). No children are living with them. William Hoogsteen's occupation in 1920, at age 68, is a janitor (or other type of worker) for a shoe factory. Jennie, his spouse, age 62 according to the census form, is working as a laborer and servant in another household. They own their home. They became naturalized citizens in the year of the immigration into the USA. A copy of the 1920 census record is on file with Joel Bergsma as of 10.19.2004.

The following is 1920 census data from's image records as of 10.19.2004 -
Name: William Hoogsteen
Age: 68 years
Estimated birth year: 1851
Birthplace: Netherlands
Race: White
Home in 1920: Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan
Home owned: yes
Year of immigration: 1887
Able to read & write: No. Neither one.
Roll: T625_778
Page: 21A
ED: 75
Image: 0868

In the 1930 census, William 81 and his wife, Jennie, 72, are again recorded as owning and living at 838 Baxter Street in Grand Rapids. Both are listed as being born in Holland. Age at first marriage, 31 for William and 20 for Jennie. They are able to read and write English. No children are living with them. William at age 81, and Jennie, at age 72 are no longer employed. They own a radio. They immigrated to the USAa in 1880 and both became naturalized U.S. citizens. A copy of the 1930 census record is on file with Joel Bergsma as of 10.19.2004.
1930 census record -
Name: William Hoogsteen
Age: 81
Estimated birth year: abt 1849
Relation to head-of-house: Wife
Home in 1930: They owned the home at 838 Baxter Street, Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan
Occupation: None. [Retired.]
Education: They both can read and write.
Military service: No
Rent/home value: $200
Age at first marriage: William 31 and Jennie 20
Their and their Parents' birthplace: Holland
Owned a radio: Yes
Image source: Year: 1930; Census Place: Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan; Roll: 1002; Page: ; Enumeration District: 69; Image: 650.0.

The following information was provided by Jitske Dankert's "Genealogie van Sibbele Gjalts en Rienk Hendriks Hoogsteen uit Achtkarspelen," dated Feb. 22, 2004.

XIII-h WILLEM HENDRIKS HOOGSTEEN, born in Achtkarspelen on Thursday February 15, 1849, died in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Saturday May 30, 1931, aged 82 years, son of HENDRIK BOELES HOOGSTEEN (XII-d) and FOKELTJE EERDES WEENING.
Willem was married in Nederland circa 1874 (1) to ELIZABETH WESTRA, born in Nederland in the year 1854, died in Grand Rapids, Michigan circa 1882, aged approximately 28 years.
From this marriage:

1 HENRY WILLEMS HOOGSTEEN (HIGHSTONE), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sunday June 26, 1881, follows XIV-l.

Willem was married at the same time in USA circa 1882 (2) to JANNA (JENNIE) WESTRA, born on Saturday December 18, 1847, died in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Thursday June 26, 1947, aged 99 years.
From this marriage:

2 GRIETJE (GERTIE) WILLEMS HOOGSTEEN, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday October 15, 1884, follows XIV-m.

3 EERDE (EDDIE) WILLEMS HOOGSTEEN, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in November 1887, follows XIV-n.

4 GEORGE WILLEMS HOOGSTEEN, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on Thursday March 21, 1889, follows XIV-o.

5 VOLGELTJE (BIRDIE) HOOGSTEEN, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on Thursday December 18, 1890, follows XIV-p.

More About William Hoogsteen:
Burial: Unknown, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

More About William Hoogsteen and Elizabeth Westra:
Marriage: May 22, 1880, Grijpskerk, NL.384

 Includes NotesMarriage Notes for William Hoogsteen and Elizabeth Westra:
Source is Dijkshoorn Family Genealogy,, as of 10.19.2004.

More About William Hoogsteen and Jennie Westra:
Marriage: Abt. 1884385

Children of William Hoogsteen and Elizabeth Westra are:
  1. +Henry Highstone, b. June 26, 1881, Grand Rapids, Michigan386, d. October 1976, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Children of William Hoogsteen and Jennie Westra are:
  1. +Gertie Hoogsteen, b. October 15, 1884, Grand Rapids, Michigan, d. June 1975, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  2. +Edward Hoogsteen, b. November 1887, Grand Rapids, Michigan, d. May 31, 1955, Grand Rapids, Michigan387.
  3. +George Hoogsteen, b. March 21, 1889, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA388, d. January 21, 1980, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA389.
  4. +Birdie Hoogsteen, b. December 18, 1890, Grand Rapids, Michigan, d. February 16, 1979, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
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