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The Shirley Sleyster Book
Thomas > Thomas > Willem > Jan Jurjen > Albertus > Pieter J. > Jan Hendrik > Pieter J. > John F. > Arthur Leroy > Shirley
THE DESCENDANTS OF THOMAS SLEYSTER
How many of us as we approach later years look back? For me it began two years ago when my then 16 year old daughter, Chrissie, was given an assignment to trace her family tree. Inspired by her search, I began one of my own. In compiling these family records I have not been searching for men of greatness or for skeletons in the closet but rather pursuing my name as a means to better know myself through my ancestors. Seven years earlier I had attended my dad's funeral and gathered information on my family history from my aunts, Zella, Lillian and Grace. Fortunately, I had written this down and was able to give it to Chrissie who completed her project. She traced the Sleyster line to John, born 1861 and died 1908 This was the beginning of a new and fascinating interest for me which has culminated in this book. I was able to add eight generations taking the history back to 1625. I told a friend about publishing a book on my ancestors, and she was delighted for me. She also made the suggestion that I tell the readers exactly how to search for family ancestors. Genealogy is an art, not a science. There is no exact way to do it. The researcher is on his own with certain guide lines to travel the many byways. Some of these byways will result in a great deal of information for his efforts and others will end in disappointment after hours of searching. My one suggestion, which I cannot stress emphatically enough, is to talk to relatives of the older generations to gather information, because when they are gone those facts and remembrances are lost forever. Also, do take the time and effort to write them down. As you will see from my book, I was not sufficiently aware of this practice and my information about the family is a little sketchy. As a child growing up I hated the name Sleyster be-cause it was unusual; the children teased me about it.... and besides Smith was so much simpler. I have now come to love the name, knowing better who I am and from where I come. With an uncommon name like Sleyster, telephone books from across the country were helpful in contacting relatives who otherwise would not have been found. During the past two years I have gathered many papers and much information about the Sleysters. I have copies of the signatures of several Sleyster ancestors. I also have copies of Pieter Johannes' Declaration for Pension after the Civil War and also the inventory listing all his belongings at the time of his death. The Dutch people were most conscientious and kept extremely good vital records. Not only was the handwriting almost always legible, it was usually beautiful. My one big handicap was not being able to read the language, but I had no difficulty recognizing my name. This book has been done with emphasis on my paternal direct line; however, I have included an index as part of this work to assist you in identifying your direct line. My sincere thanks to all who have helped my by providing information, putting me in touch with others and filling out the family record forms. Without you this book would not have been possible. It is my hope that this work on the Sleyster genealogy, though incomplete, will serve as encouragement for others to continue the research. My apology is offered for any errors or Omissions.
THE NETHERLANDS"God made the world but the Dutch made Holland" runs a famous Dutch epigram. Holland means "water soaked" and the Dutch have been reclaiming land from the sea since the eleventh century. The country would be barely half its present size had they not done so. Synonymous with Holland are the windmills, dikes, dams and polders. It is fortunate that the Dutch are peace loving people because they have had to spend most of their time and energy waging war with the sea around them. The names for the country, Holland and the Netherlands, are used interchangeably; however, the country is correctly the Netherlands. North Holland and South Holland are names of two of the provinces in the Netherlands. Zutphen, where the first Sleyster settled, is a beautiful city on the IJssel River in Gelderland Province founded in about 1190. Some rumors have been handed down that the Sleysters were related to the Earl of Leicester (also Leycester) of England, because of the similar spellings, the pronunciation, and also because the Earl's nephew was killed at the Battle of Zutphen. However, my findings on this point are inconclusive. In fact, in all probability, Sleyster is a German name appearing for the first time in Zutphen in 1625 (Thomas Sleyster). The various forms of the name were: Sleysser... Schleisser... Klyssar... Slyster... Sleyser... Sleyers… Sleisters... Sleysters... Sleiser... Sleicers... Sleycers... Sleyter... Sleifers... Sleykers... Slytsers... Sleijter.
The 1st. generation:
....... The 7th generation:
JAN HENDRIK SLEYSTER
The 8th generation:
GERRET (the second
son of JAN HENDRIK)
PIETER JOHANNES SLEYSTER
Again I had to rely on vital records to supply me with information about Pieter Johannes. He and Gerret apparently had strong family ties as they were found living close to each other in the census records.Pieter served in Company E of the 35th Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia during the Civil War The Enrolled Missouri Militia was in existence from 1862 to 1865. (Pieter enrolled August 1862 and was discharged April 14, 1865). President Lincoln informed the governor of Missouri that the war effort could not accommodate any increase and Missouri would have to shoulder the burden of its own defense. Hence, two bodies of militia soldiers, designated as Missouri State Militia and the Enrolled Missouri Militia were formed. These two military units were responsible for putting down internal disorders, protecting life and property and defense against Confederate invasions. The Enrolled Missouri Militia served intermittently and frequently with little or no pay. Rarely did they gain great victories or sustain crushing defeats. Their main duties were garrisoning, policing, scouting for Confederate invasions and skirmishing with guerrillas and jayhawkers. Pieter applied for a pension after the war as he was partially blinded. His petition was rejected. His physical description on the application for pension was height 5'6", complexion, hair and eyes, dark. A copy of the death record lists the cause as Pincardeth Complication Pneumonia and the attending physician's name was T.A. Martin. Some of the items that were listed on the executors inventory were: organ, clock, watch, sewing machine, two looking glasses, 600 lbs. bacon, 60 gallon molasses, 40 lbs. coffee.
JOHN FREDERIK SLEYSTER
Grandfather John died when my dad was twelve so again there is little first hand knowledge of him. And unfortunately, I did not start this hobby while my dad was living so the opportunity to gather his remembrances was lost. I have talked to his younger sisters and they gave me all the information they could. Aunt Maggie, (Margaret Yates) told me that while their mom went to church service at night their dad popped corn for the kids. While he was busy with that, all the children would shell walnuts for him. He kept his nut meats in the top dresser drawer for nibbling whenever he desired. He called my dad Puffy when he was a small boy and later all the family called him Roy. At school he was teased by the other kids who called him Slicer, Cutter, etc. as my brother and I were.
ARTHUR LEROY SLEYSTER
I have a picture of my dad with several other boys and men proudly
holding their rifles. There were three dogs in the picture very boastfully guarding their
huge catch of rabbits. Everyone must have had a fine feast that night. My dad came home from shooting rabbits one day when I was a young child.
My mom prepared them for dinner that night, and my dad could hardly wait to start eating the
tempt mg morsels. After he told me it was rabbit, I began feeling sorry for the poor thing. The
tears began streaming down my face till I couldn't eat a bite. After that episode,
whenever we were having rabbit for dinner my dad always told me it was chicken. My father was a poor, hardworking man. He liked his homebrew and loved
to dance and have a good time. He was rarely absent from work and was a very conscientious
employee. While not a church going man, he always tried to
follow the golden rule, "Do unto others...." He was a soft spoken, easy going
person. He married later in life and I don't know how well he coped with having two young
children after the age of 34. My mom told me that when she had errands to run, my dad
always had me in a pair of my brother's outgrown long pants before she returned home.
Perhaps he wanted two boys, but I like to think he did it to protect my legs while I was
crawling around on the floor. My dad was old enough to
serve in World War I, but because he had five sisters and a widowed mother, he was exempted.
During World War II he was too old for regular service so he joined the Merchant Marines. He traveled twice aboard ship to Europe to deliver supplies.
I was very proud of him for serving his country when almost 50 years old.
The 11th generation:
SHIRLEY JOYCE SLEYSTER
At the age of three I moved from Gilliam to Blair, Nebraska where my childhood years were spent. After graduating from Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska I worked for four years. I then moved to Los Angeles where I met and married Dick. Other than genealogy my hobbies and interests have been cooking, interior design, reading, bridge, dancing, my husband and children. I'm a member of Contra Costa Lawyers' Wives and when the organization originated, seven years ago, I formulated their philanthropic program. Dick was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from USC in 1953 and then served in the Korean War. He graduated from Southwestern Law School in 1965. He is presently Senior Vice President/Claim with Cal-Farm Insurance Company. Chrissie is in her first year at University of California at Davis. She is a member of Phi Mu Sorority, plays the glockenspiel in the marching band while carrying a 3.75 average. She enjoys skiing, tennis and oil painting. Chrissie is majoring in anthropology and hopes to study the social behavior of primates. Lisa is a junior in high school where she is head flag girl. Her hobbies include skiing, tennis and bowling. She hopes to work with young children after attending college in California.
Some more pictures from the book:
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