Talking to the dead: Ancestors who were reputed to be mediums

A stack of notes.

This is what’s currently at the top of my stack of ancestry notes. If you’re like me, you have plenty of notes written by random family members that need to be deciphered.

I’m one of those people who likes to think things through logically and at times I can be downright cynical, but I will also admit that while I would like to think ghost stories aren’t real, I’ve had some very strange, inexplicable experiences in my life.

It would seem I am not alone.

As I was organizing my ancestry documents and photos this weekend, I came across some notes I believe my grandfather Johan Siersema wrote about the Siersema line of my family, which mentioned two reputed mediums.

Klaas Nicholas Siersema, who went by his middle name or “Nico,” was born Feb. 3, 1836 to Ettje Wolthers and Gerrit Siersema (1813), and was christened two days later. He had two sisters, Attje Siersema and Maike Siersema, and a half brother, Nanno Claussen Siersema. He married Elisabeth Clasina van Eijsden (or Eysden) on Sept. 30, 1863 in Groningen.

Klaas was reputed as a medium who would stand above graves and speak to the occupants, according to my grandfather’s note.

Klaas and Elisabeth had two sons, Gerrit Siersema and Johannes Elto Siersema. Gerrit’s daughter Elisabeth Helena Siersema (or “Bets”), who was born July 22, 1894 to Gerrit and Arentje Vermaas, inherited her grandfather’s talent for talking to the dead. Bets may or may not have been mentally handicapped (Cousin Anje found records of employment for her), according to one note, and did not have any children.

Anyways, as always, if you do have any info the share, please post the details in the comments!

Note: I should add that the sources for this post were handwritten notes and results on FamilySearch.org and the old Genlias.nl website.

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4 comments on “Talking to the dead: Ancestors who were reputed to be mediums

  1. Gerrit Siersema and Arentje Vermaas had 2 daughters:
    1. Helena Elisabeth Siersema born July 26, 1893.
    2. Elisabeth Helena Siersema born July 22, 1894.

    The first one is likely to be called “Leentje”, the second one “Beth”.
    The first one Leentje married Leendert Vlasblom, for the second one Beth , I can’t find a marriage.

    Source https://www.wiewaswie.nl/en/home/ .

  2. I doubt Beth was mentally retarded. I found her name on 2 cards in the Dutch Register of Population of Rotterdam and on both cards a profession was mentioned: “office worker” and “radio operator”.

    • Wow! Thank you Anje. That explains a lot with their names being so similar. I do wonder if the “retarded” note by Bets’ name was because she was a medium and it was just a bad interpretation or her being different. Also, I haven’t been able to tell which is which in family photos, but now that I know who is older, that will be a lot easier.

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