Photo: Helena Catrina Koster

Helena Catrina Koster (Willem Vlietstra)

Helena Catrina Koster (Willem Vlietstra/Contributed)

I don’t even know where to start with the story behind this photo, except to say that I am incredibly excited to have it.¬†The woman in the photo is Helena Catrina Koster — my great-great-great-grandmother, whom I have very little information about — and it was sent to me by a gentleman named Willem Vlietstra.

Last weekend, I found an unexpected email in my inbox from Willem, who stumbled across a mystery photo on this blog and decided to reach out. Willem, who was born in 1941 in Beverwijk, in his youth met the younger brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Freerk Bellinga Swalve and even remembers having conversations with him!

Now, see if you can follow me here. Freerk’s brother’s name was Heinrich. Heinrich was married to a woman named Rijntje Hagen. Rijntje had a sister, and that sister’s grandson is Willem. Which leads to how he has in his possession the photographs he sent me and granted me permission to share here.

That’s right — Photographs. As in, more than one! I’ll try to post more here in the coming days, as well as an update to that mystery photo mentioned above, as time allows.

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