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History of the Schroor family
The origen of the Schroor name
In the Netherlands in 1811 the Napoleonic decree made it law that the head of each family should register at their local municipality a chosen surname. This led to a large increase in newly adopted 'fixed' surnames. Particularly in the north and east of the Netherlands where many families had until this time not used permanent surnames. Rather from generation to generation they would adopt the male parent’s first name as a surname for the next generation and as a result, each successive generation would have a different last name (surname).
Clever man Napoleon, as it aided him in conscription for his many wars. The Schroor (tailor in Frisian) family on my mother’s side goes back to two brothers that were conscripted to go with Napoleon to Russia where general Winter reigned supreme and only one of them survived. Napoleon went to Russia with 680,000 soldiers of whom only 50,000 returned. A similar fate befell a member of the Lammers family who wisely turned homewards (deserted) at the first opportune moment and lived to tell the tale.

The matrilineality (female line) of the South African connection

   My grandparents Jelle and Aaltje Schroor

     Hoofdstraat 68 in Beetsterzwaag where Jelle Schroor, my grandfather,
     lived and worked at the then "De Boerenleenbank".
     The house with the Adelaar (see Butterballs) is on the left of the picture.

The Schroor's from Beetsterzwaag

The Schroor family settled in Beetsterzwaag around 1840. Geert Durks Schroor and Sjoukje Annes de Boer came to Beetsterzwaag with their two sons Anne and Durk van Oldeboorn. Geert Durks then became the owner of the flour mill. Before that, he was an apprentice to a grain miller in Oldeboorn. In addition to being a miller, GeertGeerts worked as a turn shipper with his father, but in 1855 he died at the age of 33. He left behind a daughter Sjoukje, who died shortly thereafter.

Son Durk Geerts is still a miller until 1870, after which he sells the mill. He now fully focuses on the turn-around shipping of his father; he also starts making and selling ‘the butterballs’. Durk Geerts marries Engeltje Annes Faber and they have 11 children of which six die at a young age.

The other five all married in Beetsterzwaag so that the Schroor family grew in numbers around 1900. From around 1910 a family photo was made on which Durk Geerts and Engeltje Annes with their children and grandchildren appear. All the grandchildren were born in Beetsterzwaag, some stayed in Beetsterzwaag, others settled elsewhere. The Schroor's who still live on the Sweach are all descendants of Durk Geerts and Engeltje Annes.

Durk Gerbens Schroor Mr Tailor in de Knipe
The origin of the Schroor family lies in the Knipe near Heerenveen. Around 1800 Durk Gerbens lives here with his wife Elske and children. He is a tailor by profession; the old Friesian name for this is 'skroar'. In 1811 when Napoleon introduced the population register, everyone had to have a surname. In Friesland, surnames were unusual at that time. Durk Gerbens names himself after his profession.

The Knipe was then an elongated peat village along the Schoterland-based Compagnonsvaart and divided into upper and lower Knipe. Durk Gerbens, born in the Bovenknipe, lived with his family in the Benedenknipe. The canal through the Knipe was dug further and further to the east, to remove the peat from the areas around Jubbega via Heerenveen. Shippers and peat diggers moved via the Knipe to the peat areas. This presented opportunities along the canal and provides the middle class here with an existence.

The Schroor family in the Knipe is Roman Catholic. At that time a small religious faith, whose obscure church was in ‘het Meer’ between the Knipe and Heerenveen. Before 1799 the Catholic faith was officially still forbidden but was tolerated in the vicinity of Heerenveen. There was also a small Catholic enclave here with believers from the surrounding area. The first DTB book was created by pastor van Lidth in 1756, which also contains the marriage and baptismal data of the Schroor family. Geert Durks was baptized in 'het Meer' in 1806, his uncle Geert Gerbens is godfather.

As far as known now, only Geert Durks has male offspring. The name Schroor from the Knipe is as far now known probably only continued in Beetsterzwaag.

Millers in Oldeboorn and Beetsterzwaag
Geerts Durks marries in Joure with Sjoukje Annes de Boer. Sjoukje Annes comes from a miller family from the area of ​​Workum. Their first son, Anne Geerts, is born in the Knipe. In Oldeboorn Elske is born who dies there at a young age, and in 1831 Durk Geerts is born.

Geert Durks is a grain miller's apprentice for several years at Molenaar de Roos in Oldeboorn. In 1840 he buys the corn mill in Beetsterzwaag and moves there with his family. In Beetsterzwaag were once two mills, namely the eastern and western mill. This is the western mill. The mill originally stood close to the revenue house where the milling tax was paid. This house known as 'de Kombuis' is still there and is still inhabited (molenlaan nr.15). In 1840 the mill had been moved several hundred meters to the south. This was necessary because the trees in the gardens behind the noble houses took away too much wind. Son Durk Geerts takes over the miller's profession from his father.

In 1869 Durk Geerts sold the windmill to Tinco Martinus Lycklama a Nijeholt who laid out a hiking forest to the east of the mill. As a result, the wind was taken away once more and the next owner Jan Jans Weis transferred the mill to Oud Beets in 1874, where the cloverleaf of the A7 motorway now lies. The piece of walking forest at the corner of the Merkelaan and Boslaan is popularly called 'pakeboskje' after pake (grandfather) Durk Geerts Schroor who had to the north of here a garden.

Scheduled shipping between Sneek and Leeuwarden
In 1852 Geert Durks is registered in Sneek as a turn shipper. He probably maintains this service first with his son Anne Geerts and after his death in 1858 with his other son Durk Geerts. The ship was a small 12-ton covered sailing vessel called "the young Anna", with which, in addition to goods, also transported people.

Until 1860 there was not yet a connection with the 'Nijefeart' and one sailed via the winding route over the Koningsdiep to Warniahuizen, where one came out on the Boorn. After 1860 the Schipssloot connects the Beetstervaart with the Nijefeart, but the toll is due at the tilt bridge at 'Venebuurt'. Durk Geerts buys the ship in 1864 at Leeuwarden. The timetable is now as follows; Monday morning departure to Sneek, Tuesday's 12 o’clock back to Beets, Wednesday unloading and loading, and Thursday morning 6 o’clock departure to Leeuwarden, Friday's 12 o’clock departure back again to Beets. The clientele mainly came from Beetsterzwaag, Olterterp, and Beets. In the winter when ice laid up the ship, the most necessary goods were transported across the ice to the city. Perhaps that is why the Schroor's were generally known as good skaters. Later the sons Geert Durks and Bouwe Durks took over the route of their father. The brothers kept their route with the sailing vessel till the twenties and which was in the meantime extended by three meters.

In the twenties, Theo Schroor (son of Bouwe Durks) takes over the transit route. The sailing ship is sold, and the motor ship 'the Progress' is purchased. After the war, the motor ship will also be sold. The route will be serviced by car. The company will now also focus on relocations. In the seventies, the company moved to Drachten and grew into an international transport company. The sailing ship is still active as a pleasure cruiser. However, it is unrecognizable as a former transit barge; only the extension amidships is still visible and proves its origin.

‘Schroor's friesche boterballetjes'
Butterballs are sugar sweets previously called 'kokyntsjes'. In the past, several families in Beetsterzwaag made and sold 'kokyntsjes' but those of Durk Geerts Schroor are the best known. The butterballs were sold in his own shop by his wife. Their manufacture is precise and labour-intensive work. Bouwe Durks took over this sideline and manufactured and sold the 'balls' from 1889 from the house with the eagle (Main Street 70, now art gallery Hellinga). This characteristic building from 1754 remains connected for a century 'the famous Schroor's friesche butterballs', as shown on the billboard. In 1986 the production ended because of the high age (88) of manufacturer Theo Schroor (grandson of Durk Geerts). The specific recipe and preparation method is still known to the descendants of Theodoor, and for special occasions 'de boterballetjes' are still being manufactured.

Worth knowing
Anne Durks was a contractor in Beetsterzwaag; he built, among other things, 'Huize Olterterp' (now Fryske Gea). He also later bought land along the 'de Stripe' (now Boslaan) where the corn mill and the Tinco grove first lay. He sold this land in plots and built detached houses on them. The carpentry company later also found itself at the Boslaan, where it was continued by his son and grandson until the beginning of the 1990s.

Gerk Durks had a bookshop and was post office holder. Many postcards from before the war mention his name (also Durk Bouwes Schroor, forage and tobacco dealer, published postcards). Gerk Durks was one of the co-founders of the Christian school in Beetsterzwaag. He sat on the board of the establishment from around 1890 until his death in 1941. He was 71 years old and had been on the board for more than 50 years, most recently as chairman.

Engeltje Annes Faber, married to Durk Geerts, was the daughter of blacksmith Anne Bouwes Faber and Akke Gerks Huisma. The Fabers had been forging for generations in Rottevalle and Oostermeer. The smithy was next to the house with the eagle, in which now the goldsmith is located (Main Street 72).

Forest sound, various ed. from; a place may be a chat by Hans de Jong
Beetsterzwaag in old postcards, 1986
Beetsterzwaag in Beppe's time, 1993
From associates to turn shippers (Ernst Huisman / Gjalt Popma)

Author: Marcel Schroor

And then some more from my uncle Ate

Geert Schroor (grandfather of my mother Trudy) was a cargo shipper along with his brother Bouwe. They had a 14-ton sailing ship and ran a cargo service between Leeuwarden, the capital city of Friesland and Sneek the 2nd city of Friesland.

Thursday night, or very early the next morning, they sailed with their ‘scheepje’ over the ca 3,5 km inland waterway of canals and lakes to the capital, often loaded with cheese from the dairy factory. After unloading and loading, they returned Friday night to berth at Beetsterzwaag. It was unloaded on Saturday and the parcels and purchases were delivered.

They even brought items with such as clothing and reading glasses that were not available in a village.

On Monday, the boat was cleaned and loaded for example with goats and sheep for the market in Sneek, where they arrived early the next morning. On Wednesdays, purchases were made and loaded. It was a strenuous occupation, also because they had at times to pull and pole the boat; the wind was almost always from the West so the return trip was against the wind.

Apart from shipping, they were hunters of rabbits that were sold and they were also expert fishermen (pike) and egg seekers (plovers). They were much away from home, but nevertheless ‘Pake’ Geert fathered 8 children and Bouwe 5.

In Leeuwarden, they purchased oranges, ‘klompen’ (wooden clogs), and at times vegetables that their children had to sell. The ‘klompen’ that were of made of a white wood had to be painted and sold by the boys much against their wishes as other boys could play.

Apart from that, the family presented itself well. The children received no more than lower education with a few years of secondary education but that proved sufficient for their future existence. Schroor’s were zealous, diligent and quick-witted and no task stood in their way. Only aunt Hiltje was allowed to become a teacher.

Of the 11 children of Durk Geert Schroor and Engeltje Faber, only 4 survived. Aunt Sjoukje had two without a father and thus illegal and was the disgrace of the family. It was not talked about and no further mentioned is made of her.

Geert and Bouwe became, as mentioned shippers.

Anne became a carpenter and had knowledge about antiques.
Gerk had the post office and stationery store that was run by his wife along with the task of raising 8 children.

These 4 remaining brothers lived with their children in Beetsterzwaag, which had at that time about a population of 900. There is a photo of 1903 where 36 people named Schroor appear in.

Author:  Ate van der Werff



© Tjerk Lammers ZS1J / ZS6P