Family newsletter 2018

Newsletter No. 42; January 2018

Dear Relatives:

Best wishes for health and happiness in the new year! With this wish, the board of the “Family Cnossen-Knossen” Foundation will join you to make 2018 a special year. In May of this year, we hope to present the long-awaited second part (Part II) of our family book at a family reunion event on the historical ground in Bolsward, Friesland. In August, we will repeat the presentation during a family reunion event in the United States.

In this Newsletter we will present more detail these two events.  Of course, we also have included a story about a noteworthy Cnossen-Knossen person, and as well the typical family reports

Book Presentation ‘CNOSSEN-KNOSSEN history of a Frisian family’ Part II In 1988, the Cnossen-Knossen Foundation Board presented our family history in book form. This was a unique document that had been worked on for decades. It is still a valuable reference work for enthusiasts inside and outside the family. Now, exactly 30 years later, the second part appears. This will be on May 26 in the Martinikerk in Bolsward.

Content of the Family Book Part II 

Up to the youngest generations in the 21st century, an attempt has been made to include as many family members as possible in the new book. A total of around 9,000 family members, spread over 21 generations, are included, from the years 1400 to 2017. Family data known before the year 1400 are included. In addition, with the help of genealogical scientists, research was done into the ownership situation around the hamlet of Knossens, the birthplace of our family. Also included is information about our possible Scandinavian connection and the origin of our family name there.  Since our family traditionally has agricultural roots, some history is included on a number of (Frisian) farms, where Cnossens / Knossens had lived.  And these are just a few of the interesting topics covered in the 850-page work, What is also very special is that this new book is being published in an English translation, especially for our family members in the United States and Canada.

Performance The book is beautifully bound and features numerous color and black-and-white photographs, illustrations and drawings. The size is 15.8×23.8 cm, the hardboard band is covered with red linen, with silver print. The thought was that if Part I and Part II are adjacent on the shelf, they should appear as one entity. Therefore, new covers will be available for Part I. The printing is done by Drukkerij van der Eems in Easterein, Friesland, the same printer as for Part I.

Pricing  The Dutch version of the book ‘CNOSSEN-KNOSSEN history of a Frisian family’ Part II can be ordered in advance until 1 April for a special introductory price of € 50. Given the size and implementation of the book and of course the decades of work by professionals and volunteers, the Foundation Board is proud to be able to offer the book for this low price. After April 1, 2018 the book will be for sale for € 57.50. In both cases, shipping costs (€ 6.95) are added. You will be assured of a copy of this unique book by purchasing in advance.  Advanced purchase can be made via EFT to the Cnossen Foundation account at INGB bank.  For the English version of the new book, similar purchase arrangements exist. Advance purchase orders must be received on or before 1 April for a special price of $65. (This price is slightly higher than the Dutch version because of the translation costs.) After April 1, 2018, the book price will be $75. In both cases, shipping costs ($8.75) are additional.  Advance purchase can be made by check made out to the “Cnossen Family Foundation” and mailed to our US Ambassador, Jim Cnossen, 4125 Lakeridge Dr., Holland, MI 49424-2262.

With a later purchase, the risk is that the first edition printing may be sold out and that you might have to wait until the next printing. The timing of the next printing is uncertain at this time. When ordering, please think about the interest of your children and/or other family members that are not on our address list.

Book Presentation in Bolsward and Holland, Michigan

The official presentation of the new book will take place on 26 May in a place with a lot of family history, the picturesque city of Bolsward, Friesland. The Board of the Family Foundation invites you here with pleasure. Naturally, in addition to the presentation, it is also possible to catch up with (distant) family members. The setting for the festivities is the surroundings of the Martinikerk, a striking place where some of our ancestors attended worship services. You may be aware that the first generation of our ancestors (16th century) was buried in the Broerekerk in Bolsward. In 1880 the two still existing tombstones were moved to the Martinikerk. Part of the program takes place in the adjacent conference center, Het Convent.

On 11 August there will be another book presentation, but about 6,500 km to the west. Then the Cnossen / Knossen / Crossen family will meet in Holland, Michigan. This also is a place that has an important place in our family history.

2018 Cnossen Family Reunions

 Family Reunion (Netherlands)

A full-day program is planned for the presentation of ‘CNOSSEN-KNOSSEN history of a Frisian family’ Part II on 26 May. This is not yet complete, but the following preliminary program gives you a good impression of the day. The final program can be found at a later date on the Cnossen Family Foundation website

Preliminary Program for 26 May: Book Presentation and Family Reunion Event in Bolsward

  • 00-10.30 hrs: Reception
    • Coffee and orange cake in the club building Het Convent next to the Martinikerk, Groot Kerkhof 26, Bolsward
  • 30 am Welcome by the Chairman
  • 45-12.15 h Morning Program.
    • There are different possibilities to meet and experience the family history:
    • Possibility to visit the Broerekerk. The walking distance is about 500 meters
    • Visiting the Martinikerk with the family gravestones; Organ is played by organist Piet Cnossen from De Steeg (AAB 5.295).
    • Visiting the Cnossenlaan; in the country it is indicated where the ancestral farm stood in the 16th century.
    • Talk with family members and acquaintances while enjoying a drink There is also selling lots for the well-known Cnossen / Knossen lottery
  • 30-13.30 h Lunch break (on-going buffet)
  • 15 h Results of raffle

Then we go to the adjacent Martini Kerk for the afternoon program. Parallel to this program there will be activities for children.

  • 13.30 h Opening of the meeting by the Chairman
  • 1400-14.15 u Music by the “Johannen Trio”, together with and alternated by Piet Cnossen on the organ.
  • 15-14.45 h Speech by a prominent historian
  • 56 u Presentation by the Chairman of Part II of the Family Book to a special Cnossen

That is the end of the official part of the day. After the official program there is an opportunity in The Convent to collect the advanced ordered books, buy available books and other family items.  In the Convent, there is an opportunity for those present to chat with coffee offered by the board. The costs for participation in the reunion and lunch buffet are € 30 per person, children up to eighteen € 15 each. Please pay in advance to the Cnossen Foundation account at INGB bank in Sneek.


  • If you do not want to attend the family reunion, but do attend the festive book presentation, you are very welcome at 13.30 in the Martinikerk.
  • If you arrive by public transport, the Foundation will take care of the transport from the Sneek train station. Please contact Foeke Cnossen, telephone +31 (0) 515-417627
  • Below is a map of the Bolsward area showing the location of Martinikerk

Family Reunion (US & Canada) A three-day event is being planned for the family reunion in Holland MI USA. The dates are August 10 -12 with the main event being the afternoon of Saturday (11 Aug) when there will be presentations of family emigration stories, family history, and special presentation of the new book. The other events are considered optional. The following events are being finalized; the dates and times will not likely change.  (An email will be sent in early June providing additional detail and requesting a RSVP attendance for each of the planned events.)   ·       Friday, August 10 (optional)o   17.00-19.30 h Dinner Cruise with music by paddle boat on Lake Michigano   Cost: $50/adult, $25/child which includes dinner ·       Saturday Morning, August 11 (optional)o   9.30-12.00 am Bus excursion along historical sites with a Dutch background, such as Windmill Island, windmill De Zwaan, Big Red lighthouse and the Dutch Museum §  Cost: $10/person·       Saturday Afternoon, August 11 (main event)o   14.00-19.00 h Family reunion in the Tunnel Park, on the shores of Lake Michigan§  Program with speakers, book sales, lottery, meeting§  4.00 pm dinner buffet§  Cost: TBD (approximately $20/person) ·       Sunday, August 12 (optional)o   9.00-10.00 h Worship Service in the Historic Pilar Church§  This church was founded for the Dutch immigrants in 1856 by the Dutch reverend Dr. A.C. van Raalteo   14.00-19.00 u Farewell meeting for traveling relatives who are leaving§  5.00 pm dinner buffet Ten rooms are reserved for family members from far away in the Haworth Conference Center, on the Hope College campus. This location is within walking distance to the center of Holland City. In addition, there are many other hotels/motels in the local Holland area. (Contact Jim Cnossen for details.)  Cnossens-Knossens not residing in the USA or Canada are cordially invited to attend this family reunion. It would be nice if a large Dutch delegation were able to participate. At the moment (at the beginning of January), eight Dutch family members have expressed a desire to attend and meet their overseas family members. The board will also be present (at its own expense).

DNA Unknown, or not? Under this heading, in Newsletter No. 41 (April 2017), we reported on our research to gain more clarity on the origin of our family name and on the relationships between the largest family branches (AAB, BBB, FBG, GCA, FCN, FCO and FJD). As we stated at the time, it is possible to get more and more information about our genealogy from DNA. One of the starting points is that certain types of DNA only occur on certain parts of the globe. Because our DNA contains the characteristics of all our ancestors according to the heredity, it can be determined from which part of the world our family originates and to what extent there is a relationship between the above-mentioned family branches.

Further research in our family has yielded some interesting results. The execution of the research and the details of the results are published in our new book. We will not reveal anything about this yet, but we can indicate that it is interesting.  As a board, we were enthusiastic about the results thus far, have plans to do more research in genetic (i.e., DNA) genealogy, and hope that we have made you curious!

Family Data


Marthe Anna Cnossen, Enschede (2016)                     AAB

Lise Else Sjoukje Cnossen, De Knipe                           FCO 7.105

Juliet Lynn Cnossen, Detroit, MI (USA)                         AAB

Lena Grace Cnossen, Grand Rapids, MI (USA)             AAB

Wade Solomon Cnossen, Beamsville, ON (Canada)     AAB

Wrayns R. Harold Cnossen, Falmouth, MI (USA)                      FCA

Victor Joseph Mumaw, Atlanta, GA (USA)                     AAB

Weston Davis Kuipers, Washington DC (USA)               AAB



Cornelis Krikke, Drachten                                            FCN 6.189                   85 years

Grietje de Bruin-Cnossen, Krommenie                          FCN 6.131                   89 years

Grietje Cnossen-Piersma, Heeg                                               FCN 6.260                   103 years

Grietje Jantje Cnossen-Dijkstra, Wolvega                      FCO 7.86                     65 years

Ytje Cnossen, Zaandam                                              FCN 6.126                   94 years

Jetske de Vries-Cnossen, Fochtelo                              FCN 3.79                     86 years

Johan Haring Cnossen, Sneek                                     FCN 6.275                   87 years

Age Douwes Cnossen, Gaastmeer                               FCN 2 202                   84 years

Cornelia Cnossen-ten Hoeve, Gaastmeer                     FCN 2.202                   77 years

Akke Trijntje Jansen Verplanke-Cnossen, Zuid-Beijerlnd FCA 3. 392                  94 years

Edward Den Houten, Grand Rapids, MI (USA)               AAB               74 years

Gerben de Boer, Steenwijk                                          FJD 4.9                        81 years


Wybrich Riemke Cnossen en Pieter Maurits Simon Kortbeek, Utrecht    FCN 6.202

Christopher Cnossen and Alexa Berens, Grand Rapids, MI (USA)          AAB

Kolin Ross and Callie Peters, Urbandale, IA (USA)                                BBB      

 Supporting the Cnossen-Knossen Family Foundation Your continued donations are essential. As a Board, we have kept our expenses to the very minimum with volunteer labor and personally paying for many expenses.  However, the creation of the new family book is resulting in some additional one-time expenses.  And we would appreciate your contributions to help offset these expenses.  We ask that you kindly consider making a donation of € 15.00 (or $20 US) this year (a higher amount, of course, is always welcome). In the Netherlands, the account of the foundation “Family Cnossen-Knossen” is NL74 INGB 0005560474; Hemdijk 99, 8601 XK Sneek.In the US and Canada, please make your check payable to the “Cnossen Family Foundation” and mail it to Jim Cnossen, 4125 Lakeridge Drive, Holland, MI 49424-2262. Thank you for your consideration.

  Cnossen, Wiebe Piers (FCN 6.17) In the ongoing series “Significant Cnossen/Knossens”, this time we have the following contribution from Yttje Cnossen (FCN 6.222) from Drachten. Wiebe Piers was born at the Koufurderrige under Langweer, municipality Doniawerstal, on April 4, 1892 as son of Pier Wiebes Cnossen (FCN 6.2) and Yttje Lolkes van Wieren (FCN6.2). He died on 25 September 1971 in Woerden. He was the eldest of eight children. He spent his childhood at the farm on the Jeltesloot, on the Koufurderrige in Hommerts. This farm has now been demolished and replaced by a house (see Newsletter 38 and 39, 2014). On the photo Wiebe Piers is standing next to his mother, the woman with the white frisian bonnet.

Farm, Koufurderrige 3, around 1903.From left to right: man with bicycle unknown, two maids, lytse Age (FCN6.21), PierWiebes (FCN 6.2), Yttje Lolkes van Wieren (FCN 6.2), Wiebe Piers (FCN 6.17) and Lolke Piers (FCN6.18), the man on horseback is unknown, at the millDouwe Piers (FCN 6.19) and Ulbe Piers (FCN 6.20).

Wiebe’s father was a cattle breeder and also worked with mowing machines. He was a progressive man who saw opportunities for mechanization in the agricultural sector. He had confidence in his eldest son and sent the 13-year-old Wiebe with the Lemmer boat to Amsterdam to pick up a spare part of a mower that was not available, but needed. He also saw the importance of a good education and made sure that his son could continue to learn. After primary school, Wiebe went for further schooling in Sneek. In that period, he felt very lonely. What brightened up the school period for Wiebe still somewhat was the annual trip to the market in Sneek and occasionally a day spent with his father to visit the cattle market in Leeuwarden. Incidentally, he did not complain at all during that time. They lived rather isolated. It now seems as if the people were more satisfied than they are nowadays, but it boiled down to simply being able to fit in with their fate. Some workers’ children were sent to bed in the evening with a slice of turnip or a winter root to satisfy the worst appetite.

Wiebe Piers at the age of 20

After the follow-up class, Wiebe visited the Normal School in Sneek, an educational type that would now be called Pabo. One day when he cycled home from school, he saw two men engaged in a fight on the road. One turned out to be his father, the other Marten Siersma, a laborer, who was afraid of losing his livelihood with the arrival of mowers that took over the work. He was of the opinion that this was the fault of Wiebes father, who acted in mowers and threatened to kill him with his scythe. Wiebe jumped off the bicycle and managed to get the scythe away from the worker. With that, he saved his father’s life.Wiebe obtained the final diploma at the Normal School. In 1915 he became head of the Christian Primary School in Oudega. On December 29, 1915, Wiebe married Rinske (Ré) Harmens Bruinsma. The couple went to live in Oudega (now the municipality of De Fryske Marren). Four children were born: Pier (FCN 6.25) 1917, Harmen Marten (FCN 6.25) 1919, Lolke (FCN 6.27) 1921 and Marten Harmen (FCN 6.28) 1924, also known as Max. The salary of Wiebe was 850 guilders per year and free living. All in all, that was not a grease pot. The father of Ré supplemented the meager teacher’s salary with the price of half a cow every year. The life of the young family was tragically disturbed in 1927 by the death of Ré at the age of thirty-four. In addition to his work as headmaster, Wiebe spent time studying. He was interested in agriculture and obtained diplomas for agriculture and horticulture. In March 1929, he took up a position as head of the Emmaschool, a Christian Primary School in Woerden. In the same year he married Aaltje Ten Hoeve (1901). The couple settled with the four sons in Woerden. Together they had eight children: Zwaantje Rinske (FCN 6.29) 1929, Douwe Egbert (FCN 6.30) 1931, Egbert Jacob (Ep) (FCN 6.31) 1932, Wiebe Pier (FCN 6.32) 1934, Ietje Femmigje (FCN 6.33) 1936, Anna Martha (FCN 6.34) 1938, Gerrit Age (FCN 6.35) 1940 and Aaltje Regina (FCN 6.36) 1946. His talents for education combined with his interest in agriculture led to Wiebe being appointed head of the Christian lower Agricultural School at the Nieuwendijk in Woerden. As in the period in Oudega, he devoted time to study and deepening in addition to his work. He devoted himself to writing educational books. The book ‘Fertilizer’ was published in 1942 at NV Joh. Ykema’s Publishing Company in The Hague. The curriculum in the book was structured and involved the students in the lesson by asking questions, the use of illustrations and bold terms in the text. In each chapter, audit questions were formulated so that the student could test his knowledge himself.


The textbook Fertilizer

The Agricultural School came to fruition under the direction of Wiebe and his colleagues. In the first year there were already 32 student applications. After forty years the agricultural school had to close its doors in 1973 as a result of competition with other school types in the area.Wiebe was a man with a broad interest and a tremendous motivation. He devoted himself to society in many areas. He fulfilled various functions at the church level. In 1931 he was appointed church guardian of the Dutch Reformed Church in Woerden. In 1932 he became secretary of the church’s custody and in 1955 he became president of the church. From 1931 to 1945 he was chairman of the local Christian Youth Association. Wiebe also remained active in the field of agriculture. He was a member of the Christian Farmers ‘and Growers’ Association (CBTB) and of the Dutch Society of Agriculture. In 1933 a new board was appointed in which Wiebe was appointed as secretary. It was a difficult time for the farmers. The government’s restrictive measures, such as rules for the number of cows or heads of lettuce, were experienced as an obstacle. A membership of a farmers’ union was the last thing they were waiting for. Despite the mood among the farmers and market gardeners, Wiebe and the chairman were able to recruit new members with great effort. Due to the rise of National Socialism and the outbreak of the Second World War, the continuation of the League was so threatened that it was decided to lift the League. After the war the thread was picked up again in the form of the Foundation for Agriculture, of which Wiebe was chairman until 1969. Wiebe also held a position at the CBTB. From 1945 to 1963 he was second chairman. He was also chairman of the education committee of the CBTB and chairman of the Dutch Association of Heads and Teachers of the Lower Land and Horticultural Schools. In the political field, Wiebe worked for the Christian Historical Union (CHU). He represented the CHU in the city council in Woerden. He was also party leader of the cooperating Protestant Christian parties and temporarily became alderman for finance and education. He was chairman of the Christian Historical Union in Woerden and of the Christian Historical Union Chamber Choir of Leiden. He was also chairman of the agricultural committee of the CHU and also a member of the socio-economic committee. From 1947 to 1950 he held a seat in the Provincial States of South Holland. He gave his cooperation to the CHU weekly magazine ‘Queen and Fatherland’. In the field of education, Wiebe devoted himself to structure and clarity. Not only did he write study material, but he also played a role at the administrative level. He was chairman of the foundation Exams in the Organized Agriculture, board member of the foundation ‘De Landbouwgids’ and board member of the Farm Laboratory for soil and crop research in Oosterbeek. He was a member of the supervisory board of the Lower Agricultural School in Woerden. In addition, he was commissioner of the cooperative ‘De Rijnstreek’, a cattle feed and artificial fertilizer organization. When the radio came into fashion, Wiebe was able to pass on his enormous knowledge to a larger audience by means of radio speeches for farmers and market gardeners. Wiebe Piers Cnossen was a calm man with a broad vision. He enjoyed the trust of all who worked with him. It is almost inconceivable that in addition to the care, together with his wife for the family with twelve children, he has been able to commit himself to others. On 25 September 1971 Wiebe Piers died after a long illness. He left behind a big empty place, not only in his family but also within the organizations and institutions for which he had worked with so much energy.