Published Works


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[Jan G. Post, who lives in the Netherlands, helped me with my genealogical research in Holland. At the Rotterdam archive, Jan learned much about the life of Hendrik Johannes HENNEKES from the family's Personal Cards, among other things that he had family ties in California. I telephoned Aart Hennekes in California and learned he is the eldest son of Hendrik Johannes Hennekes. Aart Hennekes said that his father's story had never been written down and agreed that it should be preserved. I have omitted some personal details.]

Here is his account. Hendrik Johannes ("Harry") Hennekes came from a large family, a family of more than 20, including those who were stillborn. It was no wonder then, like many other youngsters in those days, he had to help support the family. Harry quit school in the fifth grade and went to sea with the herring fishermen. He stayed at sea and went from one ship to another. At age 12, he "over wintered" on Nova Zembla when the ship got stuck on the ice.

Harry was on a ship in New York in 1916 when the United States was at war with Germany. While on shore, he met an American at a bar in Hoboken, New Jersey, who bought him food and many drinks. After some discussion about the war, they both decided to join. (Holland remained neutral during World War I.) When Harry awoke from his drunken stupor the story goes, he found himself in the U.S. Army and aboard a ship going to fight the war in Europe. His friend was nowhere to be seen.

Harry fought in France and was in many battles. He was exposed to mustard gas and was blinded in his right eye. He was also captured and briefly interned by the Germans. After liberation, he spent some time in New York and New Jersey area hospitals where he received medical treatment for his wounds and received an artificial eye.

He went back to the Netherlands in 1919 as an American citizen with decorations for valor and a Purple Heart. He also received a generous pension, which helped his family. In 1921, he married Jansje DE GRAAFF, who later bore him nine children of whom seven were either stillborn or died shortly after birth. The two children who lived were boys. The oldest son was born on 8 December 1925 and the other son was born on 11 September 1932.

Having to return to the United States every two years to maintain his citizenship, Harry (most likely in 1921) went back to America. While there, he was offered and accepted a job as a guard with the American Embassy in the Netherlands. However, it was then that Harry and his family became the victims of bureaucratic red tape when he failed to return to the U.S.A. in 1923 to renew his citizenship. Harry went back to the U.S.A. in 1927, renewed his citizenship, and worked alternately for the American consulate in The Hague and in Rotterdam until 1929, when due to the Depression many consulates had to lay off employees.

From 1929 to 1942, Harry held several jobs such as seaman, secondhand dealer, and maintenance worker. He worked for the Dutch government in clearing debris left by the bombardments in Rotterdam. (Though Holland had declared its neutrality in World War II, the Germans invaded Holland in May of 1940.) In the early part of 1942, Harry was taken prisoner by the Germans. He spent several months in a camp near Amersfort, the Netherlands, and then was sent to an internment camp in Laufen, Germany until February 1944.

Through the International Red Cross, he was sent to Geneva, Switzerland where he was exchanged for a German prisoner of war. From Geneva, he went to Marseilles, France, where he boarded the "SS Gripsholm," which was a Swedish Red Cross ship during the war. After arriving in New York, he went to Washington, D.C. where he got a job with the State Department as a security guard. In February 1945, Harry's wife, Jansje, and his two sons also arrived in New York as exchanged prisoners of war.

Shortly afterward, Harry went to work for the State Department in Ireland, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands. He returned to the U.S.A. between 1947 and 1948 and took a job at Andrews Air Force Base where, in 1953, he got cinders in his good left eye and lost most of the vision in that eye. Being now legally blind, Harry had to retire. He lived his retirement years in Riverdale, Maryland and in 1959 he moved to Long Beach, California. His wife died there in 1960 and Harry continued living in Long Beach until 1962, when he moved back to Rotterdam.

Written by [Johannes Lodewijk Hennekes,,].

Previously published by Julia M. Case and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links, Vol. 5, No. 9,
1 March 2000. RootsWeb:

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Due to the passage of time, it was forgotten by my branch of the family that our last name had not always been HENNEKES, although that has been the family name used since the early 1800s. Because my father and I were both born in Dordrecht, I began looking for my family roots in Holland. Within a year, the search led to documentation that our whole family descended from Laurens HEIJNEKEN, who was my fourth-great-grandfather. According to his 1759 marriage record, he had sailed on river vessels and had come from Bremen, Germany.

Soon after I began my research in Germany, I discovered that Laurens HEIJNEKEN was baptized at the Unser Lieben Frauen (ULF) church in Bremen on 2 January 1719. According to the original church book record, he was born as Laurentz HEINEKEN and his parents were Johan HEINEKEN and Magdalena ter STEGEN. Johan and Magdalena were also the parents of three older children. Over the course of the next several months, futile attempts were made in Bremen to locate their marriage record. During this time, I discovered a HEINEKEN family line known as the "Mayor's Branch" because one of its members, Dr. Christian Abraham HEINEKEN, became the mayor of Bremen in 1792.

I focused on the Mayor's Branch because, according to ULF church records, members of that branch were godparents at the baptisms of Laurentz HEINEKEN's siblings, Anna Catharina and Simon Johan. All of the godparents present were the siblings (or the spouses of the siblings) of Johann HEINEKEN, the great-grandfather of Dr. Christian Abraham HEINEKEN.

Around 1690, when he was about 20 years of age, Johann HEINEKEN moved to Wesel, Germany as a merchant. According to information from the Bremen Genealogical Society, Johann HEINEKEN had been married twice in Wesel. His marriage in 1692 to Ann Catharina GRAVERS established the line to the future mayor of Bremen. However, the information about Johann HEINEKEN's other marriage (all details purported also to have taken place in Wesel) was not so clear. The name of this wife was unknown, as was the date of marriage, but she did give birth to a son named Peter.

The information on hand showed that Johann's marriage to the unknown spouse occurred first, therefore she could not have been the mother of Laurentz HEINEKEN and I ignored this angle for many months. I began searching the Family History Library's database, where I learned of the 18 December 1707 christening of a Pieter Thomas HEINEKEN, whose parents were listed as Magdalena (no last name) and Johan HEINEKEN. A subsequent search found a record of the 15 February 1705 marriage of Johan HEINEKEN and Magdalena ter STEGEN. The birth of Pieter Thomas HEINEKEN and the marriage of Johan HEINEKEN, who was listed as a widower on the original marriage record, and Magdalena ter STEGEN had taken place in Moers, Germany, which is about 20 miles south of Wesel.

Later I discovered that, according to the Evangelical Church book records, Johann HEINEKEN and Anna Catharina GRAVERS had been in Moers. They were recorded in Moers as being the parents of two sons, who were born in 1700 and 1702. A record of the death of Anna Catharina also turned up in Moers, indicating that she had died on 9 July 1703, almost two years before the marriage of the widower Johan HEINEKEN to Magdalena ter STEGEN.

I contacted the Bremen Genealogical Society and asked if it were possible that the order of Johann Heineken's marriages in Wesel might be out of sequence. They answered that their genealogy software program automatically lists the unknown marriages before known marriages, and, furthermore, that Johann HEINEKEN was only 22 when he married Anna Catharina GRAVERS, making it unlikely that it was his second marriage.

Johan, the widower, and Johann, the merchant, were the same individual. In Fall 2000, a senior researcher in Bremen will append the "Golden Book" (a family history book of the important and influential members of Bremen Society) filling in the missing pieces of Johann HEINEKEN's life.

Written by [Johannes Lodewijk Hennekes,,,,].

Previously published by Julia M. Case and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links, Vol. 5, No. 25,
21 June 2000. RootsWeb: