Christina van der Slik was born on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee in 1839 to Johannes Pietersz van der Slik and Jannetje Kruijthof. The history of both families on the islands is documented back to the 1500s. The van der Sliks immigrated to America in 1855, settling in Ottawa County, Michigan. Christina married GIjsbert Haan from Hilversum, Noord-Holland, Nederland. He was the son of Gijsbert Haan, founder of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and his wife Marretje Pos. Gijsbert died in 1869 of tuberculosis, leaving her with eight small children. In 1875, Christina married Jan de Groot from Menaldum, Friesland, Nederland, the son of Eeltje Aukes de Groot and Trijntje Teuniswas.
Gijsbert Haan was born in 1801 in Hilversum, Noord-Holland, Nederland. He was a carpet weaver and manufacturer, and lived on a farm at the corner of the Groest and the Herenstraat. As a part of Afscheiding (the Secession of 1834 from the Dutch Reformed Church), Gijsbert faced religious persecution and financial hardship. In 1847, he immigrated with his family to America, where he founded the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Gertrud Wilhelmina Frieda Behmenburg, better known as Wilhelmina Cooper, was born on 1 May 1939 in Culemborg, Gelderland, Nederland. She was the daughter of a German butcher, “Willy” Wilhelm Robert Karl Behmenburg and Klasina van der Straten, a cigar-maker’s daughter from Culemborg, Gelderland. The Behmenburgs immigrated to America in 1954, where Wilhelmina worked as a model, eventually founding her own agency, Wilhelmina Models.
Jacobus van der Moere is the earliest confirmed ancestor in our line of the van der Moere family. He was a sailor or skipper by trade and lived in the town of Wissenkerke in the province of Zeeland. At the tail end of Napoleon’s occupation of the Netherlands in 1813, poorly-armed citizens of the small island of Noord-Beveland fought back the last of the French occupying troops. Surprised by the determined resistance, the French troops tried to flee back to their ships. Jacobus van der Moere was among the Dutch fighters defending Noord-Beveland. He survived a stab wound to side of his body from a Frenchman’s bayonet.