My Grandma, brother and cousin in the early 1950's.

My Dutch Grandma left Michigan the year I was born. She, my Aunt and Cousin traveled on a troop train during The War to Arizona because my cousin had asthma and they had heard Arizona was a good place for asthmatics. In the 1940’s and 1950’s people didn’t travel like they do now so I probably only saw Grandma 5 times in my life. She was special because when she came to Michigan she loved to play cards with Cousin Margaret and me, or take us to play miniature golf. My Dad always told me that I was like my Grandma. I can remember sitting on the couch in this cottage as she took my hand in hers and tried to teach me a Dutch rhyme that named the different fingers. To me, she had such a beautiful voice and accent. As I grew older I forgot the rhyme and all I did remember was the word likkepot.

About 15 years ago, a Dutch importer had an open house and I went. They had an area to sit and have tea, cookies or coffee. A lovely lady, Rena, there with her daughter, asked me to join them. Rena had come to the US after The War in the 1940’s. She had the same lovely voice and accent that my Grandma had. I told her about the rhyme and she couldn’t place it as different areas of the Netherlands have their own customs. We exchanged addresses and planned to meet again as I was so trying to find out about my Dutch heritage. That night Rena went to bed and as she was falling asleep she remember the rhyme. She got up immediately and wrote it down. A couple of days later I received a card with the rhyme enclosed. What a wonderful piece of my past given back to me.

Naar bed, naar bed
Zei duimelot
Eerst nog wat eten
Zei likkepot
Waar zal ik het halen
Zei langelot
Uit moeders kastje
Zei ringeling
Dat zal ik verklappen
Zei tkleineding.

To bed, to bed
says the thumb.
First something to eat
says lick a pot.
Where will I get it
says the long finger?
Out of mother’s cupboard
says the ring finger.
I’ll tattle on you
Says the pinkie finger.


This family picture of my Grandparents, my Dad and Aunt, was taken in Amsterdam in 1912 before my Grandfather left for the United States.

I have spent hours and hours and hours searching for my maternal Great Grandparents who lived in Holland, Michigan.  I have found very little and still haven't found any information of my Great-Great Grandparents.  I couldn't even imagine starting to look for my Dad's family as he and his parents left the Netherlands in 1912.  I did ask about it and a librarian told me to try Genlias.NL (see LINK in Dutch Links).  I didn't even know my Dad's Mom's maiden name.  In a half hour, using Genlias, which has an English version, I had traced my complete family back to 1816.  I was ecstatic.  Genlias.NL is FREE for anyone to use.

If you are a Dutch descendant like me who has never been able to visit the Netherlands or if you just love flowers, check out the Dutch links of Keukenhof for a slide show of the famous Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands.

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