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Maasdam emigrants to the USA

In the spring of 2001 Margery Marsden-Van Duyne and undersigned came in contact with each other via the bulletin board of ( Margery had been searching over the last 30 years for the ancestors of Johannes Maasdam, the great-grandfather of her husband Clayton Marsden. Johannes, son of Bastiaan Maasdam, left for the United States of America around 1850. By this web encounter Margery could become aquainted with the book "The Family Maasdam" written by Arie-Pieter van den Hoek (also a descendant of the Maasdam family) and M.A.M. Dam-Mast adding 350 years of family history to her genealogy up to AD 1500. At the same time, on the European side, the branch of Johannes could be completed with another 7 generations by the research that Margery had been doing over the last decades. Nothing was heard from Johannes after he left for the USA. It turned out that he settled in the rural town of Owasco, Cayuga County in the beautiful Finger Lake region of the State of New York, USA. Many of Johannes' descendants are still living in Cayuga County in a radius of 30 miles around Auburn. Clayton passed away on February 28, 2003 and Margery a year later on June 3, 2004. Carolyn J. Marsden Nicholas, daughter of Clayton and Margery completed the information of her parents' line and sent us beautiful pictures of the oldest generations in the USA and her parents.

Valuable information on the descendants of Johannes has been added since 2008 by Marjorie Ruth Dann of Moravia, NY. She is the granddaughter of Hazel Badman, born Masdam, fa Daniel, fs Johannes (see link in below box).

There is another Maasdam who went to the United States: Jaapje Maasdam (born 23 July 1822 in Zuid-Beijerland). She was an older sister of Johannes and married Pieter Luijendijk (born Zuid-Beijerland 29 August 1823). They married in Zuid-Beijerland 7 May 1847 and emigrated to the USA in 1849. They probably helped Johannes to emigrate as well. However, there was no further information about Jaapje and Pieter Luijendijk until.....May 8, 2007, exactly 160 years after the marriage of Pieter and Jaapje, when Brenda Rae Leyndyke-Glover informed us about the descendants of Pieter and Jaapje who moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thanks to ! 

On April 11, 2011 Dr. Earl William Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow at the A.C. Van Raalte Institute, Hope College, Holland, Michican and Professor of Religion Emeritus, Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, drew my attention to yet another sister of Johannes Maasdam who immigrated to the United States. It was his elder sister Pietertje, who had lived with her parents in Zuid-Beijerland till 1854 and left that year for the USA. On 26 December 1854 she arrived in New York City on board of the "Holland" that had left from Rotterdam.  She appears to have been living (as “Pealcher Masden,” aged “54”) with her brother “John Masden” (aged “72” or ”34”) in Owasco, New York, in the 1860 census.  On July 27, 1865 she married in Grand Rapids to Jan Oepkes Bijlsma (John Bylsma), a “laborer,” who had emigrated earlier from Franekeradeel, Friesland. Pietertje became his second wife. The couple had no children.  They belonged to a Grand Rapids congregation of the Reformed Church in America. Pietertje died 26 April 1884 in Grand Rapids and was survived by her husband. On the online transcription of the passenger list of those arriving in New York she was mistakenly called Pickdge Maasdam (the passenger list itself calls her Pietertje), while the online transcription of the marriage record calls her Pritze Moasdam, and the original of the federal census enumeration taken 10 June 1880 records her as Pietge Bylsma.

The genealogy of the the "lost branch" of Owasco, Cayuga county and the family members in Michigan complete very well the genealogy of the other Maasdams that settled in Pella, Iowa. That history is well described in the book of Arie-Pieter van den Hoek and M.A.M. Dam-Mast entitled: Het Geslacht Maasdam, (The Family Maasdam), Strijen / Puttershoek 1986, ISBN 90-9001230-3. The English sections can be downloaded in the right column of this page.

Tom de Meijer, April 2011.



Emigrants to the US

Family Tree of Jan living in Maasdam (± 1500 AD) with the 4 main branches of the Maasdams / Marsdens living in the USA (under preparation).

Those having access to the Ancestry website may open this link to the Family Tree built and updated by Marjory Ruth Dann.

Links related to the Maasdams in the USA

The Maasdam Pow'r-Pull Company of Abraham Gradus and his son Felber Maasdam at

The story of the Maadam Sorghum Mills, including a video, can be found here:

The Maasdam Sorghum Mills, Inc. Lynnville, Iowa 50153

Video about the Maasdam Sorghum Mills.

The town of Pella with orange tulips, the history of the emigrants (amoung them was Jacob Gerrits on the SS Nagasaki), Sinterklaas and even a real windmill!

Visit Cayuga County, NY, where Johannes Maasdam settled in 1854. Cayuga County has its own GenWeb project, with data regarding the Owasco Rural Cemetery where Maasdams and Marsdens are burried, registers of the Owasco Dutch Reformed Church, birth records and marriage registers of Montezuma. The town of Owasco has its own history page with interesting clues of Dutch settlements.

On Ellis Island you will find the Passenger records of immigrants arrivined in the US between 1892-1924. Among the arrivals of some other Maasdams you can see that Jacob Gesset (1871-1944) married to Catherine Wagaman (1870-1931) arrived from a trip to Holland on 17 October 1919. They left Southampton on board of SS Adriatic of the White Star and Dominion Lines.

RMS Adriatic postcard 616px

'De Nederlandse emigratie naar Amerika' is a good summary (in Dutch) about the emigration of Dutch to North America, written by Bas Kromhout in the Journal 'Historisch Nieuwsbald' 2-2007.



Emigrants to the USA


Emigrants to the United States of America


Het Geslacht Maasdam

Source: M.A.M. Dam-Mast en A.P. van den Hoek, Het Geslacht Maasdam, Strijen / Puttershoek 1986, ISBN 90-9001230-3
Under the tab "Maasdam" is summary of the first not numbered pages of the introduction of the book "Het Geslacht Maasdam" (The Family Maasdam) by M.A.M. Dam-Mast en A.P. van den Hoek.
Notes are added by Tom de Meijer, the author of this site, who is married to Mieke van Dorsser, daughter of Jacoba Maria Maasdam.

Parts of the book with the Preface in English, the Introduction is Dutch and the branch of Pella in English can be downloaded here.