Kroes Family 3


Kroes Family 4

Betty Kroes continued:


Church marr. .. .. 1891

It is remarkable, that nobody of the Oteman family is mentioned at this marriage.


In a letter to his cousin Jan in Wijk bij Duurstede NL in 1938 (Oct.12th.), William Oteman , Betty’s husband, 72  years old at the time, speaks of his golden wedding within two years.  He died 1941, so he just got through it.

His father always said: "If I can't get a nice old age, then a bad one is  also acceptable.!" But Conrad, his father , only became 63.!


Spouse is Johannes Wilhelmus (William) OTEMAN, Blacksmith, born 25/10/1866 Zyfflich DL.

In an official document of Gendt NL, page 618, a visit of Wilhelm to his brother Theo is mentioned. (Jan. 30th. 1891 ‑ Febr. 2nd.1891).

That is very remarkable, for William registered himself at the Courthouse of the community, where his brother Theo lived, only for 3 days!


As birth-date  of William is stated here: October, 25th. 1866. This date is also mentioned in the wedding certificate of William and Betty. (Nr.4  27-02-1891). Officially William is named: Johannes Wilhelmus. Probably he was called “Willem” because of the death of his little brother Willem .(1862‑1864).


The records of the notary at Beek NL (near Nijmegen), (Reg.IV,5/3/89-3/4260) mention a minor Willem, living with his minor sister Anna ( the later nun Nicoleta) in Ubbergen (Community of Beek NL.), at the succession of mother Hendrina Awater, widow of Coenraad Oteman.


The witnesses at the official registration of William at Niel DL, Oct.26th. 1866, were: Johann Keders, 29 year from Zyfflich  DL and Gerard Püplichuisen, 50 years old,  from Zyfflich DL ( brother of his grandmother.)

Coenraad himself, his father, is 29 years old at the time.


Chr. (RK) 23/10/1866 Zyfflich  DL .

(witn.: Joannes Kreeders and Elisabeth Awater.).

The godmother of William, Elisabeth Awater, can't be identified. She is not a sister of Hendrina. Probably a cousin.?


Died 04/10/1941 Racine WI

William and Betty are buried side by side at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Racine WI. Henk and Wim Oteman from Holland found their graves (numbers. 1 and 2 lot 115 block 2), when they visited Racine WI in Oct.1996.)


Bur. 08/10/1941 Racine WI.


William emigrated 13-051891 to America 25 years old. His father,  blacksmith Coenrad Oteman had died in 1890. His young bride, Elisabeth, 19 years old and her  21 years old brother Theodorus  (*1869) went with them to America.  It is only in 1935 that William and Betty returned to Holland on the occasion of the World Exhibition in Brussels.

Thea Oteman, their cousin from Wijk bij Duurstede (NL, daughter of William’s nephew Jan remembers that she got, as a gift of them, a pair of black lacquer shoes.  She was  5 1/2 years old at the time. (She herself thinks she was ½ year old. In that case it must have been in 1930!)


In the beginning William lived and worked at Little Chute WI, a small village near Appleton WI on the Northside of the Winnebago lake, where many Dutch and German immigrants lived together. Still today the village has an unmistakably Dutch character and new settlers were not totally uprooted by their lack of knowledge of the English language. They found there countrymen or family. William was a skilled blacksmith, so  probably  he could easily earn his living, because in those days a blacksmith had an important function in daily life.

Nevertheless ,after a short period, he moved, somewhere between 1895 and 1897, to Racine WI , abigger city on Michigan Lake. ( Edgewood Avenue 1701. Parish St.Jozef.)

That is quite a distance even to day! (About 120 miles!). How he did do that at the time with his wife, children and his household goods, is a mystery.  Hattie, his third daughter was born in Little Chute WI in 1895. (See birth certificate Nr.7 293 ), whereas the fourth child, Conrad, was born in Racine WI in 1897. In the parish church of William, St.Johannes Nepomucenus in Little Chute WI, the pages of the baptismal register between 1890 and 1900 are missing, so Henk, Wim and George Oteman couldn't find anything about the family in Little Chute WI, when they were there in October 1996. But in Appleton WI, the nearest city, which at the  time had a streetcar connection with Little Chute WI, they found in the Courthouse the birth-certificates of : Anna Maria (Mary), Henrica Wilhelmina (Minnie) and Henrica ( Hattie) Oteman . As father and mother are mentioned: Wilhelm Oteman and Elisa (Elizabetta) Kroes, both born in Holland.


But  in the American census of 1900 , we find the family in Racine WI and the registrations state a William Otemann (!) and Lizzie (!), born in Germany (!) and the daughters Mary, Minnie, Hattie and son Conrad. The family in America always had the idea that they were Germans of origin, because William was born in actual Germany. But he was Dutch as his father was and came back with his father Conrad to this side of the actual Dutch/German border and served in the Dutch National Militia. The father of Betty already came in 1830. As profession William stated  "blacksmith". He had already lived in USA for nine years, (since 1891) was not yet naturalised, but had a PA. (Permanent Admittance) The two eldest children are at school. As age of parents and children is recorded: 33, 28, 8, 7, 5, and 3 years)


His whole life William practised his profession of a blacksmith in the company of  J.I.Case in Racine WI. This firm, which still exists today, is a rather big company, which produces and sells farm tractors, construction equipement, tools and agricultural implements. Maybe, at William’s time, it was a starting business. William was  a worker in the forge and later in the foundry. He didn't want to be a foreman for in that case he was supposed to work more hours and he already had a reasonable income for his big family.He drove a car. (Hupmobil) During the depression after WWI, the family however was poorly off. Son Conrad was an exception. As a mail-carrier he worked for the State and had a fixed income. He drove a big car and took the whole family on Sundays to church. When father and mother in 1933 at any price wanted to see Holland again, they sold their wooden house at Edgewood Avenue, in St.Jozeph’s parish, to Conrad.

Initially Conrad would have accompanied his parents to Holland, but that was cancelled, because he didn’t speak enough Dutch!

After they had sold their house,  they continued to live there till the death of William. Conrad lived with his wife upstairs and William and Betty  downstairs.  So William died in this house. Later his youngest daughter Ceil lived in this house with her husband Erwing Hady and mother Betty.

The last years of her life Betty lived alternately with some of her children: Conrad, Ceil and George.

The grandchildren remember Betty as a very devout woman , who every day  said the complete rosary  (3x5, or 15 decades !), and the matins and other parts of the breviary. The grandchildren all remember that rosary, which was said all in once and they thought the prayer would never end, as Grandma also was a bit slow of speech in praying. It was a huge rosary; each bead was the size of a small plum

William was a much more adventurous character. He had a big moustache, in which the foam of the beer was always left behind as the grandchildren remember.

Conrad , the eldest son was a strapping fellow and became rather popular in Racine WI.  He was a mailman, so everybody knew him. Like his father he had a moustache in which the foam of the beer was left behind.


Theodorus (Ted) Kroes:

Betty's brother Ted Kroes, who came with Betty and William to America, died in 1943, at the age of 74 years in Racine WI. He  married in USA  Grada Schennink and one of his children, daughter Dorah Kroes  later married  a Czech: Frank Korzinek. Two of their sons became priests: Richard  (*.1922) and Wilbur  (*1924), who was named Francis, when he became a priest .( father Frank ) The latter died in October 1984 at the age of 60.  Richard (in 1996) is a pastor in the St.Camille’s Church, 11876 Durwards Glen Leish Road, Baraboo, WI 5391 . This Richard studied in  Rome and was ordained priest on May,12th. 1953 and celebrated his first Mass in Nijmegen NL. He belonged to the oder of St.Camillus.. He corresponded with Ger Oteman, my brother ( today in Vancouver) about the family.

Frank was  an misionary of the order Glenmary  and was ordained in May, 17Th. 1953 in Cincinatti OH. He died of cancer in 1984.


William Oteman.(Continued)


Willem, living as blacksmith in Erlecom after his father’s death, on January 30th.1891 to Gendt (Netherlands) to his brother Theo ( also a blacksmith as his father Conrad and his father‑in‑law)  and leaves some days later in February 2nd. 1891 for Ubbergen NL. We found these dates because William had registered himself at the Courthouse in Gendt NL.(Page nr.618 Gendt) It is remarkable that he changed his plans and left some days later. In February 27th. he got married in Ubbergen NL. (Certificate nr.4). The certificate mentions that he came from Huissen NL, another community not far from Gendt NL. He must have been registered in that place! As profession the certificate states: blacksmith.

During 25 years William sang in the choir of Racine WI (St.Joseph’s) and his brother Hendrikus ( Henk’s grandfather)served as his counterpart in Holland!  

There is a letter of October 12th. 1938 in which he writes to his nephew Jan Oteman in Wijk bij Duurstede  NL  " All the children are married and do well. Conrad has no children, but George has four girls and a son. So the name Oteman in America is guaranteed." The son  in question  (George II) weighs 10 pounds  at birth. "so a robust boy!  Next Sunday is the baptismal festivity.!"



                               The American branch of the Oteman family.


                                            Willem Oteman (1865‑1941)

                                                        x 1890

                                            Betje Kroes        (1871‑1962)


    |          |            |           |           |         |         |             |            |           |          |            |

Mary  Minnie  Hatty  Conrad  Anne  Lis  George  Rose   Pauline  Gerty   Dorot.  Cele  

1892  1893      1895   1897     1899  1901 1903     1904   1905      1908    1911    1912 

1948  1970      1981   1958     1959     ?    1974         ?     1965      1980                           

  x         x           x         x          x        x         x         x          x           x           x        x       

  ?      1914      1919      ?        1921  1927  1927    1930   1927      1925    1936    1934 

E.S    G.L        H.K     C.L      F.B    J.F     G.L      V.E     H.M      W.J B  E.M     E.H  




E.S = Edward Sandera. Children: George, Bernard, Dorothy, Joan, Edward. (CA)

G.L = Gerhardt Lui.Children: William, Raymond, Rosemary, Virginia,Marceline.

H.K = Harold Kreyche. Children  Robert, Eugene, Eleanor, Gerald, Doris.

CL   = Catherine Langenfeld

G.M = Genevievre Mauld  and   Myra Oteman ‑ ?

                                     Lives in CA.

F.B   = Frank Bednar. Children  Lorraine, Norman, Roger, Frank, Richard.

                                     Live in Racine WI.

J.F    = Joseph Fleury. Children: Jacqueline, Thomas

                                     Live in Racine WI.

G.L.= Genevievre Langefeld

                                     Children: Mary, Elaine, Jean, Martha, George, Carolyn ,David                                     Live in Racine WI

H.M = Henry Milbauer. Children: William, James, Richard, Jane

                                     Live in Milwaukee WI.

W.J B = William Jennings Bell.

                                      Children: William. Live in Chicago IL

E. M = Eugene Mikulesky.

                                      Children: Diana, Mary Lou, Marelyn

                                      Live in Milwaukee WI.

E.H = Erwing Hady    Children: Timothy .Iives in Racine WI

V.E = Virgil Ellis      Children: Larry, Ronald, Herbert

                                   Live in Milwaukee WI.



Son of Conradus (Conrad) OTEMAN and Hendrina Wilhelmina (Hendrina) AWATER.

From this marriage:

1.         Anna Maria (Mary) OTEMAN, born 13/01/1892 Little Chute WI (see also VI.25).

2.         Henrica Wilhelmina (Minnie) OTEMAN, born 20/06/1893 Little Chute WI. (see also VI.27).

3.         Henrica (Hattie) OTEMAN, born 06/03/1895 Little Chute WI. (see also VI.29).

4.         Conrad (Conny) OTEMAN, mail-carrier, born 27/07/1897 Racine WI  (religion: RK), died 25/11/1958 California.

Conrad was tall in stature, about 6’4’ feet, adventurous and extrovert. People in Racine WI remember him smoking, playing cards with a glass of beer in his hand and the foam in his moustache. Often he first mixed an egg in his beer before drinking it. Not that he was a drunk, but he was noisy and lively. He was not the type for his mother, Betty . She was a very devout and serious woman and didn't like Conrad  with his wild ideas at all, especially when he involved her husband, William, in his extravagant plans and daydreams. He was a mail-carrier and lived in the beginning in a small house not so far from his brother George. Later he bought the house of his father and mother and lived upstairs.

His first wife was, Catherine Langefeld, a sister of Genevievre Langefeld,  his brother George’s wife. She did not live so long and he remarried Genevievre Mauld.

When the latter died, he remarried a certain Myra and disappeared to California, where he died. It seems that he didn't have any children. Maybe Myra had some or Conrad had one, who died at birth. More information we don't have about Conrad.

As eldest son, Conrad got from his father, William,  his gold watch with a photograph of William inside. However, when he remained without children he gave it to his younger brother George, who, thereupon left it to to his son , George jr..

Not only Conrad, but also his sister Minnie, were great smokers.


Marr. (1) Catherine LANGENFELD, marr. (2) Genevievre MAULD, marr. (3) Myra NN.

5.         Anne OTEMAN, born 28/01/1899 Racine WI  (see also VI.35).

6.         Elisabeth. (Betty) OTEMAN, born 21/08/1901 Racine WI (see also VI.37).

7.         George (George)  OTEMAN, born 28/09/1903 Racine WI (see also VI.38).

8.         Rose     OTEMAN, born 28/04/1904 Racine WI (see also VI.41).

9.         Pauline OTEMAN, born 21/02/1905 Racine WI (see also VI.43).

10.       Gertrude (Trudy) OTEMAN, born 16/12/1908 Racine WI  (see also VI.45).

11.       Dorothy        OTEMAN, born 24/12/1911 Racine WI  (see also VI.47).

12.       Cecilia (Ceil) OTEMAN, born 22/02/1912 Racine WI  (see also VI.49).


V.11    Bartholomeus (Bart) KROES, born 22/02/1873 Ooij NL, died 28/04/1953 Ooij NL.

Had 3 children. Left in 1898 for Nijmegen NL, but came back in 1923, bought in Ooij NL the house Bandijk 10 and started farming.

Married 04-05-1898 Ooij Johanna Hergraven, died 23-09-1945.

From this marriage:

1.         Gradus (Gerrit) KROES, born .. .. 1916 (see also VI.50).


V.17    Gerard (Gerrit) KROES, born 11/11/1877, died  26-08-1960 Nijmegen

Had 6 children. ( 2 girls and 4 boys) One of them became a priest: Father Henk Kroes of S.V.D.

Married 09-04-1902 Ooij. Ann (Anna) HUISMAN, born o2-09-1878, died 14-04-1949.

From this marriage:

1.         Henricus Gerardus (Henk) KROES  O.O.N. Priest SVD, born 15/09/1903 Ooij NL, died 15/03/1989 Teteringen NL, bur. 18/03/1989 Teteringen NL.

After his primary school, Henk worked for one year at his parent’s farm before starting his studies at the seminary at Uden ( Order of  SVD Glenmary Missionaries Netherlands), where he hoped to become a missionary. He milked about 4000 cows that  year and was at the same time a milkman at Beek/Ubbergen NL near Nijmegen NL. (200-250 liters a day)  In the beginning of August Henk  went to Father Teurlings of his parish and asked him to write on his behalf to SVD in Uden  NL. He wanted to be accepted, after the holidays, as a priest-student. " He is decent boy and from a devout Catholic family- is also very quick-witted. So he can easily make the studies.",  the parish priest wrote.  " And if Father Rector could arrange a thing or two".

September 3rd Henk started his studies and he finished them in the regular time of 6 years with a State Examination, (Grammar school certificate.)

After his noviciate (started in September 7th. 1923) and his philosophy studies in Helvoirt NL, he became a teacher in Uden NL.  At the same time he was ordered to get a license in History in Tilburg  NL. He finished that study in 1930 ( Certificate M.O. History). Next he went to Rome to the Gregoriana for his theological education. ( Licentiate in 1933)

He was ordained  a priest in October, 26th. 1933 and nominated as a professor at the Catholic Fu‑Jen University of Peking.

Departure in October 26th.1934 with the "Oldenburg" from Rotterdam.

In a short time he picked up very well the extremely difficult Chinese language and taught General and Ecclesiastical History.  Also he had the function of Study Director.

He stayed in China until 1949 although his work was interrupted by an internment in a Japanese camp in Weishin from March 1943 until August 1945.

Cardinal Tien, when he visited Rome at a later date, stated about him: "Cardo est Universitatis",  he was the heart of the university.

He started  also the preparation for a Catholic Encyclopaedia in the Chinese language  by order of Pope Pius XII, the Propagande Fide and his Father‑General Grendel. But because of the capture of Peking by the communists this project ended up on the shelf.


Towards the end of 1950 he returned to Rome with the intention to get his Master's degree in theology, but halfway his dissertation in 1951 he was elected as Assistant of the General of the Order. (Vice‑General) From 1957 to 1958 he was Administrator‑General and from 1958 until 1967 Secretary General.

Since 1951 he co-operated with father Knöpfler SVD for the annual catalogue of the Congregation and by order of the General he produced statistic data for the several ministries of the Vatican. Till 1986 he remained in Rome and served, in addition to busy activities, as a confessor for the several religious communities in the city.

He was extremely sober and never wanted something for himself.

Every day he read in Greek the New Testament and meditated with The Imitation of Christ and the Constitutions. He said his breviary and his rosary, but never blamed colleagues who did not.

Since his comeback to the Netherlands in July 2nd.. 1986 he lived in Zuiderhout NL.

From December 4th. to February 16th. 1989 he stayed in hospital. (open leg) When he died, his last words to his colleagues were: "Adieu!"


He became an " Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau." (O.O.N.) A high, national, Dutch decoration which he got in Rome from the Dutch Ambassador.


Ellie and Jerry Kreyche, son of Henrietta Oteman, William’s 3d daughter, at that time at Chicago, had a fairly extensive correspondence with Fr.Henry and he provided them with much family information. They met him in Rome in 1971, where he became more Roman than the Romans, calling himself Enrico. He met Ellie and Jerry at the Da Vinci Airport and arranged for them lodging at Die Grauen Schwester Convent in the heart of Rome. It was humorous that in the convent, all signs were in German. Fortunately they could understand them.

Father Kroes and they went on a regular public bus to tour sites and his explanations were loud enough so that others on the bus could hear. Almost no one got off the bus, for his talks at each historic spot were so interesting. Jerry and Ellie were very proud of him.

When Cardinal Tien came to Rome, the Pope asked Father Kroes to accompany the cardinal, as he was fluent in Chinese.

His brothers and sisters: Gerrit 1905, Maria 1907, Rika 1908, Karel 1910, Anton 1912


V.19    Charles (Karel) KROES, born 30/08/1879, died 03-10-1952.

He had 5 children. 45 grandchildren.

Married 1908 Gertruda Van WAMEL, died 22-06-1955.

From this marriage: 6 children

1.         Anton KROES (see also VI.53).


V.23    Jan Baptist KROES, born 18-06-1881 Ooij NL.

In 1920 the part of the house nr.12 was still occupied by Jan Baptist  jr. and his wife and child. They left in 1927 and Nr. 12 passed into other hands.

Marr. Hendrika HUET, born .. .. 1879.

From this marriage:

1.         Theopphile MEULEMANS.

Foster child of Baptist and Hendrika.


V.27    Bartholomeus Johannus KROES, Farmer, born 02/05/1884 Ubbergen, died 07/01/1965 Nijmegen NL, marr. 03/05/1917 Ubbergen NL Bernadina LEENSEN, born 29/04/1886 Ooij NL, died 15/08/1956 Nijmegen NL, dr. of Johannes LEENSEN and Christina VIERBOOM.

From this marriage:

1.         Paulus (Pauw) KROES, born 24/12/1920 Ooij NL (see also VI.55).


V.31    Elisabeth Johanna KROES, born 11-04-1888 Ooij NL, died 05/02/1960 Ooij NL, married (1) .. .. 1813 Cornelis ARTS, born 12-08-1876.

In 1920 the southern part of "the Big Cat" got divided up. Cornelis Arts lived there, who successively was married with two daughters of Paulus Kroes.

Arts rented the house of Paulus Kroes  (*1888) and lived there with his wife, daughter and two sisters‑in‑law.

In 1923 Bartholomeus, who left Ooij NL in 1898 for Nijmegen, a  Dutch city at 3 miles' distance, came back, bought nr.10 and started farming.

Married. (2) 25-06-1941 Ooij Wilhelmus SLIEPENBEEK.

From the first marriage:

1.         Johanna Maria ARTS 24-08-1911 Ooij – 30-04-1971 Ooij..


VI.1     Robertus Carolus CROES, born 06/02/1942 Nijmegen.