My very first best friend, possibly my very first friend, was a girl who lived across the street named Jacoba. Sadly she moved out of my neighborhood and although we were classmates through high school, we never really rekindled our friendship (until we reconnected as adults). I don’t know how to explain it, but through my childhood I still valued those days with Jacoba as my playmate.
I think I was about 11 years old the first time I filled out a family tree. It turns out that my great-grandmother (my mother’s father’s mother) was also named Jacoba! I felt an instant connection to her. Her name became my favorite name in all my family tree.
Which leads me to this week’s #52ancestor challenge prompt: “favorite name.”
Despite the fact that I love her name (and her face), until preparing for this post, I really didn’t know much about her.
Jacoba Fiet was born 29 May 1888 in Antwerp Belgium to Dutch parents. By 1890 her family was back in Holland. At age 6 she immigrated with her family, departing from Glasgow Scotland and arriving in New York on 1 September 1894. By December of that year her family was settled in Utah, likely Roy. She married young, only 16. Her groom, Richard Galloway was also an immigrant, but from England. They were married in Salt Lake City, Utah. Together they had nine children: 2 born in Utah, 5 in Idaho (including my grandfather Ernest Richard Galloway), and 2 in Oregon. by 1952 Jacoba and Richard returned to Utah, this time to Ogden. Jacoba died on 19 February 1963 and was buried in Ogden, Utah.
That’s everything I know. Here is what I wish I knew:
- Why were Jacoba’s parents in Antwerp Belgium at the time of her birth? They were married in Holland 7 June 1887, lived in Antwerp when Jacoba was born, and back in Holland when their second daughter was born in July 1890.
- Why did the Fiet family immigrate to the United States? I theorize that it was for religious reasons. Her parents were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 24 March 1891. That was near the end of the time period in which “‘gathering to Zion’ was the second step after conversion.”
- How did she meet her husband and how did she feel about marrying another immigrant but from a different country of origin?
- What drove each of their moves from Utah, to Idaho, to Oregon, and back to Utah?
Until I studied her life for this post I never realized that my maternal grandfather was a first native-born generation American. I love that realization, knowing how close I really am, in a family history sense, to Europe. This is especially interesting to me when I consider that my maternal grandmother descends from early New England settlers, including original Massachusetts Bay Charter members. But that is for another post.
Jacoba’s name first drew me to her, but the more I learn about her life the more I am interested in knowing her better. Next time I am at my mom’s place I am going to delve into the Galloway history books and see what else I can discover about Jacoba Fiet.