Family symposium 3 September 2022

On Saturday afternoon, September 3, 2022, the Cnossen-Knossen Family Foundation organized a family gathering in the Laurentius Church in Kimswerd. This church is special to our family, because in the early 16th century Lord Wybe was vicar of this church. Heer Wybe was the son of Taka Hemmez, the first known resident of the Poorhouse Farm in the hamlet of Knossens near Bolsward. Lord Wybe had a son Taeke, mentioned in our second family book.

At a quarter to one the first family members arrived. They were welcomed with organ playing by board member Jelle (AAB, our vice-chairman.

At half past two, chairman Jelle (AAB opened the meeting with a welcome address, in particular for four American family members: Annetta Cnossen (FJD and Wes Dils from El Paso (Texas) and Carolyn Heysteck-Tolsma and John Tolsma (AAB of Lynden, Washington State. The great turnout, 80 family members, was surprising. The board had originally expected about half.

After an explanation of the program, the chairman asked board member Foeke to come forward and he addressed him as follows (shortened):

Foeke you have been on the board since 1974, so for 48 years, almost half a century. You were already fully involved in compiling the first family book and you also worked hard for the realization of the second book. For many years you were treasurer of the foundation and you ensured correct annual accounts. I often call you our living archive, because you know so much about the family. You are invaluable to our board.

History, genealogy and books are your passion and we benefit enormously from that as a foundation. Fortunately, the Cnossen family is close to your heart. Almost at every visit to your home, the Cnossen book comes on the table and is told about it. Tjitske was also always very closely involved with your hobby, or rather your passion. She also spent a lot of time on it, supported you and what many may not know is that she was the one who discovered the oldest Cnossen document in the archives in Workum, the seal with our coat of arms by Wpcke Johans, dating from 1456.

You, Tjitske and your three daughters were and are a real close-knit Cnossen family. Now that Tjitske passed away this year, the circumstances have changed, but we hope that you can continue to enjoy your hobby or passion for a long time to come.

The board would like to appoint you as an honorary member of our foundation and I express the hope that you will remain a board member for a long time to come. As tangible proof of this, I would like to congratulate you and hand you this certificate.

Then the floor was given to Drs Geert Wigsma (FCO, art historian and director of the Nienoord museum near Leek. In a very lively speech he painted us a picture of the time when Lord Wybe was vicarus; how they lived then, what they ate and what clothes they wore. He also made clear what the correct meaning is of the function vicarus. On this part of his speech he said:

“The Vicar of Kimswerd”
In Kimswerd, Lord Wybe is the vicar of this church at the beginning of the 16th century. His father Taka Hemmez is the first known resident of the Poorhouse Farm in the hamlet of Knossens near Bolsward. Lord Wybe’s son Taeke appears in our second family book (pages 99 and 100). Of the historic structures and interior pieces in the church, Lord Wybe himself saw and perhaps used or felt the oldest. They offer us a multitude of associations for a reconstruction of Lord Wybe’s life in the early 16th century, so roughly the period 1500-1550.

What does the vicar do?
In the Middle Ages, the vicar is a secluded property, the proceeds of which are intended for the sustenance of a priest.
The collator, often founder of such a vicar, chooses a vicar as the type of owner/operator. The bishop appoints him. He must also celebrate one or more holy masses at a particular altar, commemorate certain persons in prayers, and possibly perform other duties assigned in the foundation letter. After the Reformation, vicaries come under world empire law, the destinations are changed in, for example, study grants.

Listening family members
It was very quiet in the church during Geert’s presentation. That is very against the nature of Cnossens and Knossens and it characterizes Geert’s storytelling. This is clearly evident from the results of the survey we conducted afterwards.

After the lecture, the family was able to visit the burial vault in the church and the antiquities room, led by two guides.

And then it was time for the christening of the ‘Anna Wpckedr’, a 16m2 sailboat restored by Jelle Cnossen (AAB and named after our earliest foundation mother Anna Wpckedr. In the Newsletter of 2022, the story about the relationship between the boat and our family tree is presented in more detail. The baptism was performed by Marije Cnossen (AAB It turned out to be a stylish ceremony in which the attendees toasted our special founding mother and the boat with a glass of sparkling wine. The beautiful weather also helped to make it a special event.

Finally, there was the traditional raffle in which a number of beautiful Cnossen Knossen promotional items ended up with lucky owners. After some chatting while enjoying a cup of coffee and a sandwich, all the guests went home around five o’clock.

The foundation organized a few extra activities especially for family who came from abroad. There was a joint breakfast, a city walk led by a guide through Bolsward and a lunch in hotel Grutte Pier in Kimswerd. On Sunday morning, a number of board members went to a church service with the foreign guests in the Martinikerk in Bolsward and they drank coffee together on the Groot Cnossens mound with the current farmer Tonny Witteveen. A visit was also made to the Monument to American Airmen in Bolsward, which was erected in memory of the killed crew of an American B-24 bomber that crashed on December 22, 1943. This was especially special for Anetta Cnossen, because her father Jon Cnossen, as a member of the Princess Irene brigade, took part in the invasion of Normandy and the liberation of the Netherlands. Moreover, September 3 was also the 100th birthday of one of the fallen airmen.

During their visit to the Netherlands, the American guests were accompanied by several family members. At the cheese market, Wes and Annetta also met Jelmer Cnossen (AAB, who sells cheese there. That the tour guide was appreciated was apparent from a generous donation to the foundation afterwards, which meant that we were able to close the symposium with a small positive balance.

For the board, the organization of an event such as this symposium in Kimswerd is a highlight, which takes a lot of time. But what an enormous satisfaction when it all goes well, is well attended and the attendees appreciate it. That the latter is the case is apparent from the many positive reactions afterwards.