Family newslettter 2020

Newsletter No. 44; April 2020

Dear Relatives:

The year 2019 is now history. This Newsletter provides highlights about the Cnossen family during the past year. The Family Newsletter has a wide circulation. The Dutch version of the Newsletter is sent to approximately 600 postal addresses in the Netherlands. It is also translated into English and emailed to some 140 relatives in the US and Canada. We are a very large family with particularly strong family ties, with a family tree dating back to the year 1400, and with an authentic family crest. We can certainly be a little proud of this. Our first ancestors were Friesian dairy farmers and leaders in church and government. What a privilege that we as a family have such a treasure trove of historical data available! We have discovered this as a result of years of scientific historical and genealogical research. In 2018 we documented all that data and recorded it in a unique family book entitled: “Cnossen-Knossen, History of a Frisian Family Part II” This book, with almost a thousand pages, is available in limited quantities in either Dutch or English. When I proudly show the book to my acquaintances, there is without exception an exclamation in many variants of the word ‘Wow’. Usually followed by something in the sense of: “I believe my uncle is also working on a family tree” or “Yes, we also have a family book, but it is nowhere near yours.” We also presented the book to the Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG Center for Family History) in The Hague. They wrote a response stating that it is a Magnus opus (Latin: Great work). The book is also in the Friesian archives at Tresoar in Leeuwarden. In the US, the book is in the historical archives at Hope College in Holland and at Calvin University in Grand Rapids. We regularly receive positive feedback from researchers who consult there.

As a Foundation, 2019 brought us a number of pleasant and unpleasant surprises. To start with the pleasant: We have been able to rejuvenate the board. In the persons of Dr. Ingrid Cnossen (FCN and Paul Cnossen (AAB, we have found two new Foundation Board members who bring the average age down nicely. At a time when association and foundation boards find it difficult to find replacement and succession, this is special for us. Without exception, our Board Members consider it an honor to be a member of the Cnossen Family Foundation Board. Proof of this is also the fact that longer-term board members, who for a while were part of the Executive Committee of the Board (i.e., Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer), still remain on the Board to support the work of the Foundation with their knowledge and experience. As a Board we are very happy with their involvement. It also often makes Board meetings pleasant because anecdotes from the past regularly come up. They are often about special family members. Maybe we should write the stories down so that they don’t get lost. Our former board member Tjalke Ates has already put a number in writing. Another pleasant news item is that we had our 50-year Board meeting in February 2020 and that two Board members celebrated a special anniversary: Johan (FCO has been on the board this year for 50 years. During the 2015 Family Reunion, he was made an Honorary Member of the Cnossen Family Foundation. He was Secretary to the Foundation for many years and helped to create both family books. Our current secretary, Clarence Cnossen (AAB, has been on the board for 25 years this year. His strength is conscientiousness, a quality that is always reflected in the Secretariat. Until the arrival of Ingrid and Paul, he was our youngest Board Member. This year Clarence will take over the role of Treasurer from Foeke Cnossen and Ingrid will become Secretary. Foeke has also been on the board since 1974, also for almost 50 years. Paul will maintain the ancestry records in the genealogy program Aldfaer. In time he will also keep the websites up to date. At the Board Meeting in February, we celebrated the 50-year Jubilee. Now we come to the unpleasant surprise of the past year: We received far fewer donations than in other years. We think there are reasons for this. You will find more information about this under the heading Financial Affairs below. In the coming years, we particularly want to involve the younger generation of Cnossens and Knossens much more in the Foundation through a new way of communicating. A communication plan to achieve this is in the making.

With kind regards on behalf of the Foundation Board Members, Jelle Cnossen (AAB, Chairman

Family Reunion in 2021

Next year we are planning to have a Family Reunion in the Netherlands. The reunion will take place on Saturday May 15, 2021. We are a bit earlier than usual with this announcement. The reason is that we have heard that some of our relatives in US and Canada may wish to attend this reunion and start advance planning for their trip. This announcement will also be included in the English Newsletter sent to our US and Canadian relatives. But it would be appropriate if you let any of your relatives, who might be interested to come to this reunion and inform them of the date for the 2021 Cnossen Family Reunion. If there is enough interest, we may be able to anticipate their arrival by organizing some extra activities immediately before or after the reunion. We would like to have the contact details (i.e., email address, mobile phone number, postal address) of interested foreign family members, along with their (provisional) travel plans. We request that you pass this information to our Board Member Paul Cnossen (AAB at email Please send it before September 30, 2020, so that we can discuss this in our October Board Meeting.

Supplement Cnossen-Knossen promotional items

From the reunions in Bolsward and Holland Michigan in 2018 we have still a number of articles that can now be ordered via the website ( It concerns articles with the Cnossen-Knossen cote of arms. Below you can see them in a picture. 

  The costs are:

  • nuggets $ 5
  • badges $ 7,50
    All articles shown on the website have been re-photographed by a professional photographer.

(These articles are available and can be ordered from the Cnossen website.)

Family Coding

We regularly receive questions about how the family coding works. On page 5 of the new family book something has already been written about this. But we will briefly repeat it here: Around 1650 Sierck Johans thoe Knossen (IXa) had six children. These six are the progenitors / mother of the six Cnossen Knossen branches that we know. We indicate them with the letters “A” to “F”. See also the family book part II pages 163 to 166. Letter “A” represents Johan Sierks. He is the progenitor (early ancestor) of all Cnossens-Knossens whose code starts with the letter A. Letter “B” represents Trijntje Siercks. She is the ancestor of the B-branch. Letter “C” represents Jetske Siercks. She was married and had three children. We do not (yet) know any details of this C-branch. Letter “D” represents Hid Sjerks. He was also married with nine children. We also don’t know anything about their offspring. Letter “E” represents Antje Siercks. She was married and had nine children. She is the ancestor of the Nooitgedacht family from IJlst. Nooitgedacht was once a famous Frisian factory for chisels and skates (Friesian skates and Frisian Norwegians) Letter “F” represents Wybe Siercks. He is the progenitor of our largest family branch, the F-branch. For each subsequent generation, this letter is then followed by two more letters and then a numerical sequence. The family tree before 1650 has a different numbering, which is indicated with Roman numerals. It starts with a 0 with Johan thoe Knossens in 1450. Ten generations then follow until we reach Sierck Johans around 1650. The reason we have two different codes is in history. At one point, Sierck Johans looked like the ancestor and we started our coding with him. When ten earlier generations were later found, they also had to be numbered and a numbering with Roman numerals customary in the genealogy was then chosen. With the arrival of the new book (in 2018), we could have changed the coding. For the reason of the existing recognizability (one is A-Cnossen / Knossen, B-Cnossen / Knossen or F-Cnossen / Knossen), we have decided to maintain the existing coding system.

Family Tree Extension

Sometimes new information comes from an unexpected source. In October we received an email from Mr Eijbers from Zeeland. He had researched his own genealogy and discovered that he was descended from Harings Tjallings (1691) and his mother Mints Johannesdr. Cnossen. Mints was an older sister of our ancestor Sierck Johans (IXa), 1689. Mints married Tjalling Siuckez Itsma and had six children with him, including Haring Tjallings. We did not know the descendants of the children of Mints Johannesdr yet, but with this e-mail another piece of the puzzle was made. Eijbers discovered there are ten generations between him and Harings Tjallings. With our genealogy data, his family tree goes back six generations.

Financial Matters

We already mentioned in the preamble that we received far fewer donations in 2019 than in other years. We think there are several reasons for this. The first is that we as a board have forgotten to place a call for donation in the 2019 Newsletter. As a result, a number of family members have probably forgotten this. A second possible reason is that we no longer send payment forms. The costs are quite high and we thought they were unnecessary. Another possible reason could be that, due to the publication of the new family book, a number of family members have thought that the work of the Foundation has now been completed and that no contribution is therefore needed anymore. What most people may not realize is that we as a Foundation also have a number of structural operational costs, such as keeping websites up to date, the publication of the annual Newsletter, and the initial costs of organizing the next family reunion (2021). In addition, we absolutely want to continue to achieve our objectives: Strengthening family ties and conducting further genealogical research. In the previous Newsletter we have already mentioned a number of topics that we would like to investigate further. We often cannot conduct such research ourselves because the sources are too distant. This means that we must have financial resources for this. Hopefully you understand that we are therefore very happy to receive your annual donation. We ask an annual contribution of only $15, but we are also very happy with either more or less. Some very involved family members give more and we are of course doubly happy with that. Because the use of giro collection forms (in the Netherlands) was going to be abolished, we no longer sent giro collection forms. However, the consumer association (in the Netherlands) has objected to this, with the result that the acceptance giro forms can be used again indefinitely. However, the costs of these acceptance giro cards are relatively high, which is why we ask those of you in the Netherlands to transfer your donation to our bank account via bank transfer. For those of you in the US and Canada, we ask that you send a check (in US dollars made out to the Cnossen Family Foundation) to our US Ambassador (Jim Cnossen, 4125 Lakeridge Dr., Holland MI 49424). We assure you that the money will only be used to achieve the aforementioned Foundation objectives. The Board Members pay all their own costs and not reimbursed for anything.

Family Data


Bouwe Marten Pieter Cnossen Groningen 21-12-18 AAB 66 yr.

Jacoba Johanna Cnossen-Menke Mijdrecht 21-01-19 FCN 91 yr.

Taeke (Theo) Cnossen Koudum 24-01-19 FCN 82 yr.

Aaltje Cnossen-Tjoelker De Wilgen 19-02-19 FCO 68 yr.

Gertrude Cnossen Artesia, CA (US) 05-03-19 FJD 7.4.4 94 yr.

Geartsje Cnossen-Abma Bolsward 18-04-19 FCO 90 yr.

Folkert van der Gaast Ontario (Canada) 24-04-19 FCO 77 yr.

James Lee jr (Jim jr) Cnossen W. Bloomfield, MI(US) 09-07-19 AAB 55 yr.

Haring Cnossen Wolvega 10-07-19 FCN 74 yr.

Sjoukje Cnossen Rotterdam 05-08-19 AAB 41 yr.

Jennie Cnossen-Bril Zwaagwesteinde 22-08-19 AAB 64 yr.

Akke Cnossen-Roskam Buitenpost 23-08-19 FCN 85 yr.

Bauke Veenstra Drachten 31-08-19 FCA 63 yr.

Jenny Tolsma-DeBoer (Jeltje Cnossen) Lynden, WA. (US) 03-10-19 AAB 5.14.6 98 yr

Johannes Hommes Leeuwarden 04-10-19 FIA 72 yr.

Hiltje Hoogland-Osinga Sneek 10-11-19 FCN 95 yr.

Edzard Schelte-Westra Diever 11-11-19 FCN 84 yr.

Marie Cnossen Enumclaw, WA. (US) 13-11-19 FCA 101 yr

Aukje Troost-Gerbrandy Utrecht 01-12-19 FCO 84 yr.

Antje Gerbrandy-Posthuma Sneek 09-12-19 FCO 79 yr.

Joukje Hilles Cnossen Calgary, AB.(Canada) FBG 90 yr.


Burke Eko Cnossen Hamilton, ON (Canada) 01-11-19 AAB

Theo James Cnossen Grand Rapids, MI. (US) 22-04-19 AAB

Aimée Helena Felina Buiten Rotterdam 25-04-19 AAB

Romijn Jonathan Cnossen Leeuwarden 16-10-17 FCN

Marije Cnossen Heeg 21-07-19 FCN

London Victoria Cnossen Charlotte, NC. (US) 10-08-19 FCA

Emmersyn Sue Ross West Des Moines, IA. (US) 22-08-19 BBB

Estelle James Cnossen Grand Rapids, MI. (US) 16-10-19 AAB

Koelt Steven Sniadecki Toledo, OH. (US) 24-10-19 AAB

Reid Michael Tcherneshoff Great Falls, MT. (US) 07-12-19 FCA

Harvey Jon Cnossen Traverse City, MI. (US) 27-12-19 FCA

Marc Johannes Pieter van Rijn 30-12-19 AAB

Maud Pien Lotte Allaart Hoofddorp 11-02-20 AAB

Marcus Langereis Blaricum 29-02-20 FCO


Caleb Jon Cnossen & Lynn Lofton

Lake City, MI. (US) 03-04-19 FCA

David Pieter Cnossen & Diana Capozza Tebaldi

Esslingen am Neckar, Duitsland 22-3-2019 FCN

Garet William Cnossen & Alyssa Jane Westmaas

Falmouth, MI. (US) 15-06-19 FCA

Leslie Alane Cnossen & Hayden Mc Grath

Hudson Valley, NY. (US) 30-11-19 BBB

Ryan Andringa & Shannon Belcher

14-12-19 AAB

Tetje Rose Cnossen & Joshua Thomas Buck

Lake City, MI. (US) 29-02-20 FCA

Alexander Evan Ross & Casey Risius

Cedar Rapids, IA. (US) 19-05-20 BBB


Cnossen, Harmen Marten Wiebes (FCN

In the ongoing series “Significant Cnossen-Knossens”, this time we have the following contribution from Yttje Cnossen (FCN

The Liberation

This year marks 75 years since World War II ended and the Netherlands was liberated. In addition to the celebration of the liberation, there is room for commemoration. The Dutch population suffered from the occupation in the form of deprivation of liberty, scarcity of food and goods, hunger, sorrow and fear of the enemy. Many stories are known from this dark period about people who experienced the horrors of the war firsthand. We must not forget their stories. People within our family have also passed on what they have experienced. One of them is Harmen Marten Wiebes Cnossen (FCN

Early Life

Harmen Marten Wiebes was born on August 23, 1919 in Oudega, Wymbritseradiel, now municipality of Fryske Marren. He is the second son of Wiebe Piers Cnossen (FCN 6.2.1) and Rinske Harmens Bruinsma. Harmen Cnossen died in 1982 at the age of 62 in Leiden Harmen grew up in Oudega. When he is eight years old, his mother died and his father was left with four sons. In 1929 his father remarries Aaltje ten Hoeve, who takes care of the four boys as a mother. The family moves to Woerden, where eight more children are born. Harmen studies theology in Utrecht and starts his career as assistant preacher for the Dutch Reformed congregation in Amstelveen. In 1943 he marries Cornelia Hoogendoorn and settles as a minister in Oosternijkerk, a village in the municipality of Noardeast Fryslân. The village was created in the 11th and 12th centuries after the area was dike. Harmen Cnossen is the fifth preacher to inhabit the rectory, dating from 1913. Four children are born from the marriage, Wiebe Pier (1944-2004, FCN, Jan Gijs (1945, FCN, Aaltje Rinske Cornelia (1946, FCN6. and Wouter Harmen Marten (1958, FCN In 1946 Harmen takes a job in Breukelen. Later, Gouda and Amsterdam respectively will be his location. From the period in Oosternijkerk, the last years of the war, stories and archive documents have been preserved that give us a picture of the events in the life of Harmen Cnossen.

His Arrest

On January 16, 1944, seven German soldiers in search of people in hiding visit the rectory in Oosternijkerk. The reason for that visit lies in the fact that Harmen expressed negative comments about the occupier during a sermon. Moreover, the NSB mayor suspects that people in hiding are in the rectory. The latter is indeed correct, but the people in hiding are not present on the day of the visit because of an arms drop. Their hiding place is discovered. The soldiers also find a false identity card. Reason enough to arrest Harmen Cnossen and lock him up with another man in the gazebo in the front garden before transporting him to the Palace of Justice at Zaailand in Leeuwarden, where he shares a tight cell with four others. Shortly afterwards, the men are transported to the Detention House, at the Blokhuispoort. On arrival, Harmen must return all personal belongings, after which he is registered as Prisoner 899. A friendly guard, however, allows him to keep his pocket bible with him and locks him with thirty other men in Cell 14. In the archive, Harmen notes: “There were already three men on straw bags. We talked a bit. I was really down. “No wonder, because Harmen had to leave his son and his wife, pregnant with their second child, abruptly. Harmen finds solace in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The pocket Bible has given him and the men who are with him much comfort in these uncertain days. Harmen takes care of the day closing. In addition, he is a support for many in these dark days.

His Captivity

During his detention, Harmen sees an opportunity to smuggle out a letter written on toilet paper. In it he tells of the ride with the arrestee car from Oosternijkerk to Leeuwarden and the armed guidance, which inspires him with fear. He also accurately describes life in prison, the daily schedule, the airing and the composition of the meals. They are little and should be eaten by five men with only two available spoons. Despite the unpleasant situation, his humor comes into play when he mentions that the blankets are not only very thin, but also have to be shared with “critters. “So make sure that the carbol is ready when I come back home,” he writes to his wife.

On January 23, 1945, Harmen managed to get a second note from prison. In it he does not mention anything about what happened on January 21. Probably not to worry his wife, because his archive shows that he was informed by a benevolent guard of the drama that took place in Dokkum the day before. Twenty men are executed in a meadow on the Woudweg. The reason for this execution is an attack by prisoners of resistance on a prisoner transport at the bridge of De Falom in order to free a captured resistance man. That works, but a member of the Sicherheidsdienst and his driver are killed in the attack. In retaliation for this, the Hauptsturm Führer of the SS in Leeuwarden has twenty random men executed. The bodies remain in the pasture for a day before they can be buried. It is the largest execution in Friesland during the Second World War. In memory of this horrific event, a monument was erected on the Woudweg in Dokkum in 1948. At the foot of the statue, the names of the twenty casualties are written. Harmen Cnossen gives a speech at the monument; in which he remembers how he is taken out of the cell with other men and how twenty men are randomly counted. They have to come along. The others, including himself, must return to their cells.

A few weeks later Harmen Cnossen is deported with fellow prisoners to Wilhelmshafen, Schwarzwer Weg camp in Germany. His Penal Camp: The Wilhelmshafen Schwarzer Weg camp is a penal camp for Dutch people who have committed criminal acts of a political nature, the so-called Polizeihäftlinge or police detainees. By the end of the war, Germany was facing a major labor shortage. Men are recruited from the Occupied Territories to work as laborers in factories and on land. These workers are housed in the so-called Freie Lager. However, there is no question of freedom. Nevertheless, thanks to his pastoral background, Harmen Cnossen also supports his fellow sufferers here. His fellow prisoner Bouke de Boer tells about this after the war that Harmen Cnossen has been comforting and encouraging other prisoners. The conditions in the prison camp are bad. People arrive there like rats. Heavy work, malnutrition and pollution take their toll. The SS comes by once a month to terrorize the prisoners. Harmen experiences that a few times, but now the war is drawing to a close and liberation is in sight.

His Return Home

Immediately after the Liberation, the prisoners from Wilhemshafen are transported to Delfzijl, where they regain their freedom and can be reunited with their family. Harmen Cnossen returns to his wife and son and remains a minister in Oosternijkerk until 1946

The Survivor

vague photos of full cattle wagons

the end was in sight

death and destruction as well

the silence that preceded it

he survived the prison camp

the track back is purification

man is a migrant in time

Yttje Cnossen (FCN

War Memorial Woudweg Dokkum