This is especially written for my two sons, Frans Brinkman and Martin Brinkman, also for their wives Heather and Helene, so they will know more about their background. The Hofmans were Baptists and because of that were persecuted in Switzerland where they lived..They fled to Holland and settled in the province of Groningen in the northeast. This was in 1700. We belong to the branch of GRIETJE DERKS HOFMAN. She lived from 1824 1883. She had among others a son : Jan Cornelis Hofman who lived from 1861 1898. This Jan Cornelis was your great grandfather. He married Anna Alida Wendelgelst, your great grandmother.

Jan Cornelis Anna Alida had 4 children No.1 Gesina Hofman No.2 Anna Alida Hofman No.3 Jan Cornelis Hofman No.4 Karel Ferdinand Hofman Jan Cornelis divorced and later married Neeltje Mooijboer on May 6, 1897 and died in 1898. No children.

Jan Cornelis and Anna Alida, your great grandparents had a butcher shop on the Rozengracht (Rose canal) in Amsterdam. After the 4 children were born and my mother was about ten or eleven years old, your great grandmother took off with the employee, who worked in the shop ! His name was Frans ! I don’t know his last name or if they were ever married. But I do know she had a very tough life with him. My mother has never been able to quite forgive her and did not want much to do with her anymore. Jan Cornelis in time, married a young woman, NEELTJE MOOYBOER.In the beginning, Oma could not except that either. But Neeltje was a good woman and cared well for the children. But what happens ? Your great grandfather dies suddenly ! He had a brain tumor. They were married such a short time and now this young woman had 4 children to raise ! There was a Baptist orphanage somewhere near Gorssel, a small town and Neeltje brought the children there. It was too hard for her to handle. The children stayed there till they were 18 years old. Neeltje herself married twice more and again her husbands died some time or other. She was financially well off and has lived in Breda, a city in the Dutch province of Brabant. She lived in the States and in Canada Always had good contact with the "Hofman kids". I called her Aunt Neeltje ; I got to know her quite well and wrote to her. She died during the 2nd. world war of breast cancer. I visited her in the hospital in Haarlem (close to Amsterdam). My mother was recovering from a heart attack at that time. Your great grandmother died just before the war. She was bathing in the North sea : it was chilly and she got a gallbladder attack. They operated but she did not survive the operation. I never knew her or saw her.

The Hofman children had a very strict upbringing in that institution. They had to work hard ; the girls had to cook, do laundry, iron and starch everything, mend, clean, scrub floors and knit socks all the time ; and knit so many rows before you could go to sleep. Mom could knit one sock per day ! She also studied there to become a nurse and worked in a small hospital, where rich ladies were treated who were mentally ill. Some of them gave Mom a very hard time. Her brother Jan Cornelis went to a Technical School to learn all about painting and letter setting, gold leafing on glass, making your own paints and colours ; etc. I don’t know what Sina studied there, nor do I know what (Karel) Ferdi did, but he was the youngest and the last one to leave. Sina was a bit of a coquette and liked to doll up. Oma was a Tom Boy and liked to climb trees and was a rebel. Always came up in arms against unjustness and fought against it. Jan was a sweet and calm boy. Ferdi had a hot temper. When he was mad he paced back and forth with his arms up in the air, calling out loud all the time : Damn it, Damn it !! Oma got to know Opa in that orphanage. He was sent there too, but I will write about that in another chapter.


Written by Sonja Brinkman Buning, the daughter of Anna Alida Hofman and Frans Buning and made possible through the Hofman family booklets, sent to me by Rudi Hofman (a cousin) Bilthoven, Holland and retired minister of the Baptist Church in Utrecht, Holland.



Gesina Hofman came from a family of 4 children and was the eldest. No.1 Gesina Hofman born : Aug.16 1885 died : April 11 1969. She married Willem Hendrikx in 1906. Willem Hendrikx born : Nov. 5 1877. died : AUG.23 1962. No children.

Uncle Willem came from Limburg, the most southern province of Holland. He was the son of a language professor. There were 9 children were in the family. I only knew one brother, who also lived in the States, somewhere around College Point, N.Y. His name was Henry and was younger than Uncle Willem, terribly shy and never married. He died in 1970. I do not know how Sina and Willem met, but after they married in 1905 they went to the U.S.A. and lived in College Point, N.Y. Some time earlier Willem had started a business there, namely a pipe factory (smoking pipes).He was a genius in many ways, invented all sorts of things. He had a patent on his pipes. He made beautiful pipes and cigaret holders and used rare woods, gold, amber, ivory. His invention was a special tube of steel inside the stem of the pipe, so that any nicotine never entered the mouthpiece and the pipes always stayed nice and dry. He was a scientist you might say. He could also build radios and he was always busy with experiments, like "Perpetual Motion". He had built a whole contraption to prove this and he always said : I almost got it, one more thing and I am there ! He also believed that the atom could be split and my father and him had lots of arguments about that too. my father said that it was impossible. Well, they were both 50% right ! After time had passed, Uncle Willem got disappointed with life, that in those days was getting very hectic already and there were troubles in the factory. He had quite a few men working in the factory for him, but they never did things to his satisfaction. You can imagine what a perfectionist he was !

He sold his house and business and they wanted to live in the country. They bought a piece of land (40 acres) with a 100 year old farmhouse on it in Ulster Park, N.Y. Ulster Park is about 90 miles north of New York City. Closest to Ulster Park is Kingston, a city, where many Dutch people are settled. The scenery is beautiful, hilly and the Catskill Mountains in the back ground. At the back of the farm you could climb right up the mountain. A part of it belonged to his land as well. Uncle Willem wanted to be a "farmer" now and he bought a tractor and a plough. All the neighbors laughed, because the ground was full of big stones and they had warned him about this. But he knew better. But he soon found out, that they were right every time his blades broke ! Uncle and Aunt had to work very hard. The house had no electricity or water. Outside, close by, they had a well with spring water. He installed electricity in the house and put the water in the kitchen and bathrooms on both floors. Aunt Sina was making beautiful gardens and flowerbeds. She made new drapes in the house and embroidered them. And new curtains everywhere. She was a terrific housewife in every way and a fantastic hostess and did a lot for the community. In the beginning they also had chickens and sold the eggs. And they had a cow and drank the milk. I remember drinking it, but I do not know, who milked the cow ! I think, Aunt Sina did ! It did not take long for Uncle to build a workplace in the back of the property, a small factory ; Also a big barn and a garage. Then he started making pipes again, but now he worked by himself ! Especially during the war. His pipes went over the whole world to the solders and people came by car from far and near up to the door to buy his pipes. he also made pipes for several speciality shops in New York. Sina and Willem were all for their health, but did not believe in doctors. Uncle even operated on his own eye, when a tiny piece of iron went into his eye ! He took care of his own teeth and had all sorts of dental tools, I still have some of them, but do not use them for my teeth ! They both agreed, that when they became old and sick, they themselves would end it. After Uncle had a stroke, he always carried a gun with him in a box. He was then already 80 years old. He started to talk all mixed up and it was very difficult for Aunt Sina. He thought she was going to leave him ! Sina was never sick. And if she was, you never heard about it. She always had a saying : "I AM TOUGH AND HOW !". She looked down on people who were sick and said it was just a put on ! You felt guilty if you were sick ! Uncle Willem got another stroke and couldn’t do much anymore, especially when he wanted to dress himself and then he got very upset. On Aug.23 1962, when Tante Sina came home from shopping, she found him dead in his little factory. He had shot himself ! But Tante Sina was tough ! We, Dad and I went to visit her. We took the free way from Buffalo to New York. We were glad we went. You stayed with the Dickinsons. We spent a couple of nice days together and really had a good talk together about everything. The house was up for sale, because she wanted to live in Brussels. She couldn’t look after the house anymore or the land. She wanted to live with her brother Jan and his wife Maria but it took more than 2 years before the house was sold. Jan and Maria were also anxious to move and find a ground floor for Sina and dogs. At last she could fly to Brussels with her two dogs Tokalon and Daisy. She was always crazy about her dogs and said that they were better friends than people ! It was 1965 when she moved to Brussels. She lived a while with Jan and Maria, but things were not going too well with 2 women to run the household and when Oom had a heart attack in 1966 and died, she went to live on her own. Victor, Margo, Jean and Denise(wife of Jean) looked after Tante Sina. She was getting difficulties and one day found her unconscious on the floor and had been that way for a long time. She was rushed to the hospital. She had kidney poisoning and a total prolapse of the uterus. She must have suffered a long time and could have easily been cured and operated. But no doctor ! She was tough and how ! But now it was too late and died April 11th ’69. Jean and Denise had the dogs put to sleep by the vet as was promised to Sina ; they were at least 16 years old ! Sina was cremated and Jean strew her ashes over the North Sea as planned and this was the life of Gesina Hofman.

NOTE : I knew a teacher in the Ulster Park area, Mary Polhemus. She did a lot of research in that area and wrote a book. Uncle William is mentioned. There is now also a museum and some of his pipes are on display.

Family Tree of Anna Alida HOFMAN.

Third Chapter

No. 3. Jan Cornelis Hofman born April 12 1889 died April 30 1966. He married Maria Marteau Brussels Maria Marteau born May 20, 1890 died Oct 26, 1971

There were two children

Jean Leon, from a previous relationship of Maria. He married Denise and they had a daughter Jacqueline. Jacqueline married "Bib". They got two children, who are grown up and most likely married.

Victor born Oct 4 1920. He married Margo (Marguerite Celine van Bressem) in 1945. From this marriage was born : Jean Pierre born May 25 1946.

Jean Pierre had a "free" marriage with Joelle van Rijkegem. They got two sons Mathieu Cornelis born Aug.14 1954 Kevin born Mar.27 1987

Jean Pierre is an entrepreneur and is now in the computer business. He lives with his family in Frejus, close to Nice in the south of France. Joelle broke off the relationship with Jean Pierre. His parents Victor and Margo live there too and help looking after the two boys, who also live part time with their mother.

Short History

When Oom Jan left the orphanage he got work in Delft, in the factory that makes "Delfts Blue", known over the whole world. He had to paint the tiles ; he kept that up for a while, but then he became restless and went to Brussels, where my parents were already settled. Opa had a job painting mostly for rich people, who lived in beautiful homes. He tried to get Jan a job also, but Jan was a real artist and once when he was working in one of these expensive homes, they found him sitting in the salon at ease painting a beautiful figurine, that he liked so much ! He was also sitting on one of their beautiful chairs ! That was of course unheard of specially in those days and got fired. And when the weather was beautiful no wild horses could hold him, he just had to go out in the country to paint landscapes ! Then again he was out of work. But Opa kept trying. He was very fond of his brother in law. All of their lives, they were best friends. Sometimes Oom Jan went to a cafe and would sit there painting Delft Blue tiles. Opa and Oma would drop by pretending not to know him and would watch and admire his work and other people there would hear them talk. My parents would buy some tiles, hoping the other people would too !

. Weeks on end he lived on yogurt and nothing else, because he had no money, but he stayed true to himself all his life. He became a well known artist who could make a living at it ! All his life he lived in Brussels and taught himself the French language by reading French papers. In the first World War he got called up for Military service in Holland. He refused and said he could only hold a brush and he did not want to hold a gun to kill a man ! He could not go back to Holland because of this. He would be arrested and heavens knows what then ! He met his wife Maria in Brussels. She was Belgian and a couturier and made beautiful clothes, men’s clothes and suits for instance. But she felt very bad and unhappy. She was pregnant and the father of the baby left her. He was the son of a rich lawyer. Uncle Jan loved her very much and married her. They always have been very happy together. A son was born : Jean Leon and Uncle Jan accepted the baby as his own. Jean became a commercial artist and married Denise. This happened all in the thirties. They have a good life and own a beautiful home in the country. They have a daughter Jacqueline. She has been married a long time. I lost contact with them since Aunt Sina died. Victor and his brother Jean can’t get along together ; I don’t know why and I don’t talk or ask about it. Tante Maria had a twin sister Nini, she was married to Pierre Troquet. He had a nice store for men’s hats. They have no children. All the family members live in Brussels or close by, till Jean Pierre moved to the south of France in Cagnes Sur Mer. In 1920 Victor was born, a second son for Jan and Maria. He also became a commercial artist, business man and inventor of all sorts of things. Always was his own boss. I always was very fond of my family in Brussels and in the summer spent 2 weeks there a couple of times. Theo, or Matt or in other words your father to be, we flew to Brussels in 1946 when we could cross the border again for the first time after the war a late honeymoon, being married in 1945. Dad got to know the whole family and we had the greatest time of our life and never laughed so much ! Dad got immediately adopted into our Belgian family and they welcomed him with open arms and we had a terrific party ! Tante Nini was soon standing on top of the dining room table. Dad couldn’t get over it and soon joined her, laughing and dancing too and joking. Well, we had so much fun and they all loved him and got along great. We also had gone through a horrible war, everyone of us and this was an enormous outlet. We were 12 all together, counting Jean Pierre, who wasn’t born yet. when I was expecting Frans we went there again and had a great time. When Frans was born in 1947 Oom Jan came back to Holland for the first time. At the border, he still had to come off th¬e train. He was still listed as a conscientious objector. He spent some stressful time ; but they took him off the list, more than 30 years had passed and he was free ! That was a relief ! And at last he got to see his sister, my Mom and his best friend, my father. And as a proud mother I got to show off our son Frans, So we had another party. After that we visited more often, When our Marty was born, they came by car with Victor driving. It was in the summer and Marty was about 5 months old. Jean Pierre was about 5 years old and Frans almost 4 years. But in 1953 we went to Canada and never saw Oom Jan again. For years Oom Jan lived at the same address with tante Maria. It was on the third floor and very steep inside stairs. It was not very big and therefore Oom Jan had a beautiful big studio downtown, where he worked. During the war, they had to hide there several times and Victor had to go underground for a while. They had to go through a lot during the occupation like we did.

In the 60’s the landlord wanted to fix up the whole building and that means a big mess. They also were getting older and those steep stairs started to bother them more and more. They wanted to look for a ground floor, but was not easy. They also were waiting for Aunt Sina to sell her house in Ulster Park. She too wanted a ground floor for her dogs and a bit of a garden. It was a nerve wrecking time for all, but they thought it would be great live together and much cheaper to share the cost. Well, in the nick of time it all fell into place. Aunt Sina sold her house and Oom Jan found a ground floor apartment, big enough and in 1965 she flew to Brussels with her dogs. Everything would have been fine, but Sina and Maria couldn’t get along at all ! Think, two women together, who had for years ran their own household, the way they thought best ! It was a total disaster. And Jan in the middle of this ! A sister on one side and a wife on the other. They never seemed to have discussed this beforehand. It was so bad. Two bosses in the kitchen is impossible. The wife complaining to her husband and a sister complaining to her brother. Oom Jan, being such a gentle man couldn’t handle this. He died of a heart attack on April 30, 1966. Aunt Sina moved out and found another ground floor for herself and the dogs. Oom Pierre died soon after and Victor found a nice Senior apartment building with an apartment for both his mother and Tante Nini on the same floor right across the hall from each other ! It was very cozy with all their things. Dad and I visited them in 1971, when we were in Belgium and Holland. we had tea and a great visit ! And I am glad about that ! Well Maria and Nini lived their quite content, but never got over the loss of their husbands. I remember getting letters from Aunt Sina, writing about them how rediculous it was of them to go to the cemetary every day ! And Aunt Sina died because she was so tough and didn’t believe in doctors ! It is a strange world. And then to think, that Sina and Willem who promised each other, when they got old and sick to both end it ! She did not keep that promise ! Well Sina died in 1969. Tante Maria died a couple of years later, and Tante Nini a couple of years after that. And this is


Family Tree of Anna Alida Hofman

Fourth Chapter

No. 4. Karel Ferdinand (was called Ferdi) born : April 14 1893 died : Feb. 12 1965. married : Maria Magdalena Nicolaas born : Feb. 5 1896 died : Oct. 18 1976. They had 5 children :

1. Jan Cornelis
2. Johanna Hendrika
3. KAREL FERDINAND died when he was two
4. Gesina
5. Karel Ferdinand

Short History

Uncle Ferdi and Aunt Leny came to Canada with their first child, Jan Cornelis sometime in 1921. Opa had taught him the painting and decorating business. They always lived in Montreal and he always has been a painter and janitor of an apartment building. His first son came to our door when we lived at Weigeliaplein 62 in 1945 in The Hague. That was quite a surprise to see our cousin from Canada visiting us and liberating us at the same time !! He was in the Canadian Army and had fought to free Holland. He was very tall and looked a lot healthier than we did ! We had a wonderful visit. His mother, Aunt Leny was the sister of a famous boxer Jan Nicolaas. Aunt Leny came to visit Holland in 1947, when Frans was a baby and she gave me a cute baby boy suit. Jan Cornelis, our liberator, died at age 54 of a rare blood disease. He had a wife and children and I know nothing about them. The other children : 2, 4 and 5 are all married and have children. I believe Gesina is married to a blind man. They live in Montreal or close by. Karel Ferdinand lives in Ontario and is a bank manager. I have never met any of the children nor Uncle Ferdi.

And this is the end of the Fourth Chapter.

Fifth Chapter History of : Frans Buning.

written by his daughter Sonja Brinkman Buning

Family tree : UNKNOWN

Frans Buning born : Dec. 23, 1887 died : Jul 1, 1969 .

And this is then the history of my father’s life told to me by him and as much as I can remember. The grandparents of Opa lived on the island of Java or nowadays called Jawa. The Dutch in those days "owned" the East Indies, named : Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, Java. Right behind Java is a string of small islands : Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor (half Portuguese). The Dutch ruled there for a long time, till the second war broke out and when the Japanese joined the war, took possession of these islands and all the Dutch became their prisoners all during the war and many were killed, or dropped dead, working on the Burma railroad. Women and children were kept in camps, almost starving to death.

My fathers’ grand father was appointed by the Dutch government to be the “Adsistent resident" of Java, a pretty high rank, to govern the island. I don’t know if there were more of these adsistents. But he had to make many trips and he often had to move. He would go first and then his wife and family would follow later with their possessions and the servants etc. the family would travel in a sort of open hut with a roof, fastened on bamboo poles and so the coolies could carry them through the jungle. There were curtains all around the hut, that they could close. It was a way to transport people through the jungle. I don’t think there were many “highways” in those days ! Opa often listened to these stories, sitting on his grandma’s lap. She told him about the time, she was attacked by a lion, while she was traveling through the jungle. A bamboo pole had broken and the men put the hut down, so they could find another pole and cut one down. While she was sitting in the hut, she was attacked from the back by a lion and she reacted very quickly by thrusting her arms back and with great force stuck her 2 forefingers into his eyes ! Blinded and roaring in pain the lion took off ! She had deep wounds on each side of her neck. The coolies heard all the noise and hurried back, but I don’t know if they killed the lion ; they had enough to do to take care of her wounds. She was left with 2 deep scars left and right in her neck and Opa remembers they were big enough that he could put two fingers in each side. Another story was, if you needed black thread, you put white thread through the ink, let it dry and voila : black thread ! Well, one day, my Dad’s grandfather died. I don’t know why or how, but the widow had to travel back to Holland. In those days that meant a sailboat. Opa’s grandmother had by then 10 children ! 1 Child died on the way home. They were close to Elba, where Napoleon was buried. The captain gave permission to let the child be buried on that island and that was a great privilege. Normally you get buried at sea. I don’t know, what happened to the other children. One of them would become my fathers mother, my grandmother and your great grandmother. I do know, that several sisters lived in Abcoude, a small town, south of Amsterdam and they became very old. Opa’s mother ended up in Elburg, also a very small town and lived there with her mother. Opa’s mother met a cousin, Willem de Mol, who became a well known botanist and scientist. They fell in love, but then couldn’t marry because they were cousins. There was much sorrow. The worst thing was, she was pregnant, the very thing, that should have been prevented ! On Sept. 6, 1877, a girl was born : Antonetta, Gustaphine Agathe de Mol. At least she got her fathers name. Later on Opa’s mother married a traveling salesman. He was a German and we know nothing about him. His name was Buning and maybe his first name was Frans. Anyway, Opa was born on Dec.23, 1887. His half sister, called Net for short, was already 10 years old. Opa never knew his father ; he died when Opa was still was very young. He only remembers, that his mother cried a lot. So Opa was brought up by a mother, grandmother and his sister Net ! This was a great combination to get spoiled to the hilt ! And that’s what happened ! Never wanted to learn in school and misbehaved by teasing and doing all sorts of pranks. Opa often showed me a scar on his right fore finger, which he got by cutting himself with a knife so that he couldn’t write in school and write tests. At home he got a lot of pity, that the poor child had cut himself so badly ! Now and then he would take a sheet out of the linen closet and go to the cemetery, wrap the sheet around him and played ghost to scare people or older children. He did this in the evening, when his mother thought that he was fast asleep like an angel ! He smoked a pipe when he was 14 and he liked to hide under his sisters bed to scare her half to death when she went to bed. He got such a kick out of that, he couldn’t stop laughing. So he often was a naughty boy ! Besides all this, Opa could also write poetry and soon could recite that beautifully. He was very intelligent and very clever ; also very handsome with blond curls. When there was company, he was always asked, to recite something and he was very much liked. Except for his teacher in school, who didn’t know what to do with him. Opa asked too many questions and would not accept the teachers answers readily or at all. A lot of the time it was about religion. The teacher would get very mad and would pull him out of his bench to punish him. But Opa held on to his bench. So the teacher started to pull him by his ears and that would hurt too much and Opa would let go. This would happen a number of times and his ears started to bleed ! His mother took him to the village doctor who on top of that used a big spout to clear his ears with water or something. After several of these treatments my father became totally deaf. This lasted for several years at least, but at last, with help of friends his mother got an appointment with a famous ear specialist in Leiden (University City) He really checked Opa out and was able to save one ear ! It was a very delicate operation ; he cut a tiny opening in the drumhead in the shape of a tiny heart. It was quite a revelation for my father to hear the sound streaming back into his ear and he could hear again ! For the rest of his life, other doctors, that saw this tiny small heart shaped opening in his drumhead were amazed and full of admiration ! When Opa was 14 or 15, the “3 women" ( Oma, Mom and sister) realized, that they couldn’t handle him and Opa ended up in the same place as the Hofman children ! A place for "half" orphans. This was just what he needed : a very strict upbringing and he couldn’t get away with a thing ! They sent him to the same technical school as Oom Jan went to and the same courses and Opa got to know Oma in the process and after a while fell in love ! They were really careful to keep this quiet. They stayed there, till they were 18. That is also the age when you have to decide if you want to be baptized. Sina did, but not my father or mother nor Oom Jan. I don’t know about Ferdi, he was the youngest and still had 2 years to go. My father was already a " freethinker" and my mother too of course. And now I will close this chapter and will continue later on.