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18 January 2014

Always Have Your Eyes Open?

In 1873 a man named Habbe Agena immigrated to the United States with my ancestor Fokke Goldenstein. The two 16 year olds are listed adjacent to each other on the manifest and I assumed they knew each other before immigration. Easy searches didn't locate Habbe and I went on to other things.

When manually searching church records in Hancock County, Illinois, in the 1890s for Fokke's children, there he was Habbe Agena. I don't know it's him, but the name combination is fairly unusual.

It always pays to keep your eyes "open" for those lost people. Twenty years after their immigration together, the men are neighbors attending the same church.


  1. Habbe Agena sounds like it could be an Americanization of a Frisian name, from the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. The Frisian form could be Halbe Agema. A lot of Frisians emigrated to the US in the 1870s-1890s, many of them settling in Michigan and Illinois.

  2. Yvette-

    Habbe and his travel companion, Fokke, were natives of Ostfriesland--which as you know is not far away. Fokke was born in Wrisse and Habbe was probably from near that village as well. Many Ostfriesens settled in Illinois and later went to Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas.

    Habbe apparently went by Harm at various times as well.

    1. That explains it then! Friesland and Ostfriesland shared much of their culture and language.

    2. Yes, they did. All my maternal ancestors are from Ostfriesland--they immigrated to Illinois from the 1850s through the 1880s. My incomplete ahnentafel is posted here for anyone who is interested http://rootdig.blogspot.com/p/my-ahnentafel.html