A Family Crest

by John Ketelaars

Not only the Nobility, but many burger and farming families, carried their own coat of arms. There were no restrictions on who could or could not display their arms. Only after 1795 did the Dutch government start restricting arms. Many families then have arms that are not registered, but are found on heirlooms, gravesites etc.

A certain Jacob Halsema who married Johanna Elema and died in 1587 has the crest you see in the background. According to H.W.M.J. Kits Nieuwenkamp in his book: Nederlandsche Familiewapens (part III, pp. 71-72, reprinted by Gijsberts en Van Loon, Arnhem, 1975), it was found on his grave stone. The colours are not known, but these are the most likely colours, judging from other families in the region. Jacob Halsema is buried in Baflo, not far from Kloosterburen. He is a contemporary of the other Jacob, who lived in Groot Halsum

Approximately 50% of Friesian and Groninger arms contain the one half Friesian eagle. The half-eagle not only seems to belong to the region, but also indicate landownership. The horizontal bar only occurs in Groningen and indicates water. The star indicates an important family, and the clover leaves probably symbolize farming.This page and the Crest courtesy of John Ketelaars, Whitby, Ontario, Canada. You can view his complete site at: http://members.rogers.com/jkete
If you notice any errors, please send corrections to john@ketelaars.org

John gratefully acknowledges the contributions made by Martha Halsema Donnelly of Renselaer, Indiana. Martha collected the information on the Indiana Halsemas over a period of 50 years.