Editor: Lynda Jean Reyst Klema
Among my many roles I am a family historian for the Reyst and Smouter families. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, USA, and still live within the Metropolitan Detroit area. I am a direct descendent of Dutch immigrants to the United States in the later half of the 1800s. Both of my father’s parents were Dutch. My grandfather was born in the Netherlands, and his family emigrated here when he was about 5 years old. My grandmother was born just months after her family arrived here in Michigan from the Netherlands.
My research into my ancestral past has indicated that all those with the surname of Reyst with roots in Michigan are descendents from the same family tree; we all have the same great-great grandparents. My hope in writing this blog is to both obtain a better understanding of the person behind the name on my family tree and to learn more about the Dutch community in Detroit around the turn of the twentieth century.
So read along and learn with me.
In search of relatives who left for the States in the 1800 I came across your story about Helena de Reus Reijst.
As you see the Dutch way of writing the name is different from the one you use nowadays, we still use the ij combination in stead of the y.
This might be a problem while searching in Dutch archives where I found at least one of your messing dates, being the death certificate of Johannes Jacobus born 18/12/1886.
He died on april the 20th 1887 according to the “regionaalarchiefwestbrabant.nl” register.
Also the birth of Pieternella Jacoba (14/4/1888) is mentioned but no record of death, however it seems she was on the passengerlist arriving in New York march 1890 together with Cornelis….both of them registered as Rijst, which may be the reason you couldn’t find them.
Helena’s mother (Elizabeth Entink ) and Jan de Reus also lost their son Christiaan Frederic born 24/3/1867 who died 5/9/1868 and their daughter Maria born 9/4/1871 who died 5/7/1872.
Hope this information may be usefull to you
Jacqueline de Reus, Heesch
Thank you for your reply. At the time I wrote the post about Helena I had gathered all my Dutch heritage data from the old Genlias website, which I had finally mastered how to search. I had noted that the family used two spellings of their surname: Reijst and Rijst (about 10 years after arriving in the USA they would consistently use the spelling Reyst, according to US Census and City of Detroit phone directories). When the new website, WieWasWie, launched it had no English interface so I was unable to pursue my searches any further. But I noted earlier this year that there was now some English translation available, particularly in the search engine, so I was able to confirm the death record for Johannes Cornelis as you noted in your comment. No such luck with Pieternella Jacoba though. I have a copy saved of the ship’s manifest on my family tree in Ancestry.com, and only 4 persons are listed as arriving in port at New York City: J Reijst, H Reijst, C Reijst, and J Reijst (male infant). On WieWasWie I was finally able to locate my great uncle’s birth announcement. He was born in Breda on September 21, 1889, so he was the infant on the manifest, the other child was my Grandfather, Cornelis (age 5). Since ship’s manifest were usually prepared shortly before arriving in port, Pieternella may have been boarded the ship and passed before arriving in port. I had also found some information on Genlias regarding Helena’s siblings. So I knew about 3 other children her mother had conceived with Jan de Reus: Christiaan Frederik, Johannes Christian, and Maria. Genlias records I could find indicated Christiaan Frederic’s birth and death, but only Maria’s death. So thank you for the birth information. As to Johannes Christiaan, I found birth and marriage records on Genlias. He married Elisabeth Cresee shortly after Helena emigrated to the United States on October 24, 1890. By any chance are you a descendent of Johannes Christian de Reus? We may be distant cousins.