Dutch Emigrants to North America
Assisted by the Immigration Committee of the Christian Reformed Church in North America 1946-1963 - Compiled by Janet Sheeres
In 1946 the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) appointed an Immigration Committee for Canada to provide information, guidance, and spiritual support to Dutch emigrants considering moving to Canada, through a program sponsored by both the Canadian and Dutch governments. The CRC was particularly interested in assisting those emigrants coming from the Gereformeerde Kerken Nederland (GKN), a sister denomination of the CRC. Of the nearly 150,000 emigrants to Canada after WW II, approximately 13 percent were members of the GKN. Beginning in 1946 those GKN members planning to move to Canada could send their names and family information to Christelijke Emigratie Centrale, Christian Emigration Central, and later Het Algemeen Bureau, or Central Bureau of the GKN in Utrecht headed, beginning in 1948, by G.M.A. Laernoes.
The names and information were transferred to typed lists which were sent to the CRC committee in Canada, with copy to the Christian Reformed Church headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This committee, comprised of ministers and lay people (called fieldmen), attempted to find sponsors, employment, and housing for these immigrants. Representatives of the committee meet the immigrants upon arrival at Pier 21 in Halifax with instructions and directions, often also escorting them to their final destinations across Canada.
What follows contains information about 9,703 families from the copies sent to Grand Rapids and now stored in the Archives, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although the committee worked primarily with those moving to Canada, it also assisted a small percentage of emigrants to the United States. Janet Sheeres keyed all the data into spreadsheets, which data were later exported to a database, and from there exported to the attached PDF format.
Although data for the entire period 1946-1963 are included, most of those for the years, 1955-1956, are missing. The attached file is copyrighted but permission is hereby granted for non-commercial duplication provided appropriate credit is given.
Janet Sheeres, with Richard H. Harms, 2010