How did my family come here from Germany and Dutch?

+12 votes
in Genealogy Help by anonymous G2G Crew (490 points)
retagged by Carrie Quackenbush
Do you have any full names of your ancestors who came over from Germany? Can you say when they came over?

I'm puzzled by the "and Dutch?" at the end of your question. Does it mean that some ancestors were Dutch and came over from Holland? If so, do you have any names and what year they came over?
The name "Timmerman" is a real Dutch name (meaning carpenter) so there is a good change that you do have Dutch roots and your ancestors came from the Netherlands. (Not Germany)

Here you can find some Timmermans who left Netherlands:

These websites help you:

  • On the website of Ellis Island at New York you can find data about European emigrants who entered the USA between 1890 and 1924.
  • Here is the site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mormons). You can find here info from several American sources.
  • Via the website geneaknowhow you can find some American sources where you can search by last name.
My last name is Timmerman so who knows maybe we are related Kayla :)

And it's not so strange to have ancestors coming from Germany , than from the Netherlands and emigrating to again a different Country.

People moved around a lot, some fled for religious reasons, some for economic reasons, a lot of wars going on so we of course see a lot of families that originally came from one and ended up, sometimes after spending some time in a different Country, emigrating to again a different one..

Maybe they emigrated or moved to the Netherlands without a solid last name and just the patronymics for economic reasons (work , a better life) and father was working as a carpenter and when they emigrated had to adopt a last name and decided to adopt 'Timmerman' for last name ?

The language in these countries (the Netherlands and Germany) long ago were very similar, Low Saxony was a 'world' language back than and was spoken and written in a large part of the world (Just like English is nowadays)
Unfortunately Kayla, there are no short cuts to this process.  You need to track your family back as far as you can until you get hints "born in Germany (or other)".  Resources such as Family Search, Ancestry, Find a Grave, Roots Magic will assist in this process.  Once you know when somebody may have arrived, all of these sources provide access to immigration records. But a simple match on your last name in an immigration record is nota good match.

Here is a link for ship passenger lists.

Just click on one of the links in the links to immigration records section.

In the search bar type the surname you are looking for and click search.

You will receive a page with the number of records found and a list of where they were found.

3 Answers

+5 votes
Kayla, my grandparents on my mothers side were named Timmerman.  My great grandfather immigrated  from Neermoor, Ostfriesland, Hannover, Prussia Germany, which is very near the border with the Netherlands.  There are many Timmermans in both Germany and the Netherlands.

My great grandfather, Heinrich (Henry in English) Timmerman was born in 1856 and came over, I THINK, in 1871.  I have looked at many ship passenger lists and have not found him for sure, but I have a passenger who I THINK was him.  Still researching.

If you do a search for ship passenger lists, then do a search within those lists for Timmerman and his first name initial (don't use the whole first name as there were many abbreviations and misspellings).

If their ship went to New York between 1820 to1896 or so, you can search here:

How far back have you made it?
by Marvin Bultena G2G Crew (540 points)
Hi Joke,

Thank you very much for your response.  I had actually stumbled on RootsWeb a couple days ago and was beginning research on it.  I had gotten through the Timmermans found there through 1871, and was going to continue as soon as I had time.  I was looking at all the  Timmerman's hoping to see if Henry (Heinrich) had travelled with family.

Thanks to your reply, you made my research much quicker.  It appears he traveled alone.

My family name (on father side) is Bultena.  I've been trying to find why our name changed to Bultena after 1755 (traced our name back to Harm Klaassen, born 1755), and we then where know as Bultena.

Closest I can come to it so far is Bult I Dutch means "bump."  In old Dutch or a local dialect (Freisland?) it could have meant small hill?  Anyway, I discovered that right across the border where my family is from is a village called Bellingwolde, Groningen, with an area there called Bult (it MAY have been an old defense fortification) and the people in that area often took an alias name of Van De Bult, which could have then become Bultena.  Don't know.

Again, thank you very much for your response.  It is highly appreciated.
Marvin, one of my friends has the last name "Bultema," with an "m."  The "-ema" ending is very common in Friesland; is it possible that your family name was originally "Bultema?"
Nevermind; a quick search at wiewaswie shows twice as many records for "Bultena" than for "Bultema."
+3 votes

Hi Kayla,

Today I was looking at the Vedder family after reading your question. In the tree I saw a Timmerman, with German ancestors:Zimmerman.


This happened a lot: difficult names were Americanized.

by B. W. J. Molier G2G6 Mach 9 (92.5k points)
+2 votes

I have Timmermann with double n in Hasenmoor, a municipality in the district of Segeberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

I have DNA confirmation with a cousin from this line. So anyone who is willing to test. I suggest using familytreedna. Then we can confirm the German Timmermann line.


by Arne Schwarck G2G Rookie (260 points)

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