Fokke Zee was the son of Jan Zee & Grietje Bootsman. He married Ebeltje Prins, and emigrated to Alberta, Canada after World War II.

In 1943, Fokke Zee was taken prisoner by the occupying German forces in Holland, after he was found harboring a person in hiding. That story is here (in Dutch): Fokke Zee In Gevangenschap 1943-1944.

Another story involving Fokke Zee was his correspondance with Queen Wilhelmina, which started in 1935.

Early years in Andijk

This lovely photograph from around 1914 introduces us to the life of Fokke Zee. His father Jan ran the store in Andijk, which his grandfather Bruin Zee had bought around 1872. Jan Zee took the store over when he was 18. Fokke is second from the left in the white shirt, to his right is his sister Trien Zee, and brother Meindert Zee.

L-R Albert van Dokkum, Fokke Zee, Trien Zee, Meindert Zee, Jan Zee Meindertsz., and Trijntje Kwantes Ariesdr. (married to Jaap Prins). Andijk ca. 1914

Fokke joined the Dutch army and was in training for eight and a half months, after which he came home and worked on the land with Ebeltje’s father Jacob Prins in Andijk, and then was called up during mobilisation in August 1914. He was posted to Den Helder, at the northern tip of North Holland, to do guard duty. Fortunately, this was not too far from Andijk. After Fokke and Ebeltje were married in 1915 they lived together in Den Helder. Ebeltje moved back to Andijk in February, 1917 as she was pregnant with their first child, Grietje; Fokke left the service in July 1917, moved back to Andijk where he had already bought a house and started as an independent market gardener in 1918.

Fokke Zee in March 1913 on joining the Dutch army.
Ebeltje Prins. Fokke carried this picture (original size 5 X 8 cm.) in his wallet throughout his entire life.

Engagement of Fokke and Ebeltje, 23 March 1913

Fokke and Ebeltje were married in Andijk in 1915.

Marriage Certificate Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins, 10 Nov 1915
Signatures of all present at the wedding registration: Fokke Zee, Ebeltje Prins, Jan Zee (his father), Grietje Bootsman (his mother), Gerrit Prins (Ebeltje’s father), Wijntje Vriend (her mother), Meindert Zee (Fokke’s brother), Jacob Prins (Ebeltje’s brother)

In 1949, Fokke and Ebeltje emigrated to Canada. They first lived in a very small house near Picture Butte, Alberta from 1949-1953, before they moved to Red Deer, Alberta. [more to come on emigration]


Fokke Zee and family, 15 Oct 1942. The girl with the white bow in her hair is Wilhelmina.
Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins pictured in front of their house in Picture Butte, Canada, ca. 1949 – the family reunited after progressive emigrations from Holland. L-R Ralph Prins, Wijntje Zee, Wilhelmina Zee, Simon Swier, Ebeltje Prins, Anje Zee, Fokke (Frank) Zee, Trintje Zee, Jantje Zee, Dieuwertje Zee.

Fokke Zee and Ebeltje Prins had nine children: Grietje, Gerrit, Wijntje, Aafje, Anje Pietje, Trijntje, Jantje, Dieuwertje, and Wilhelmina Helena Paulina Maria! Eight daughters and one son.

Wijntje Zee

Wijntje married Roelof Prins. Wijntje and Roelof were the same age, both born in 1920, and knew each other very well growing up. In fact, they were second cousins. In 1939, with the threat of war looming, Roelof’s father was interested in moving to Canada, and sent Roelof over to Canada to check out land possibilities. His brother Jan Prins was already there.

Roelof arrived in Canada in August of 1939, and war broke out the next month. He decided to enlist from there (Alberta) and he was stationed in Curacao in the Caribbean. He served there for the whole 5 years of Worl War 2, and then returned to Andijk. While home for 3 or 4 months he courted Wyntje, and got engaged on Dec 23, 1945. He then returned to Alberta, and purchased a farm. 14 months later Wijntje came over on the first boat of war brides. They were married here on April 30 1947.

Roelof Prins & Wijntje Zee, 30 April 1947

This was a marriage that lasted 60 yrs, and produced 4 sons and 3 daughters, the youngest son being Alfred Prins. There were 25 grandchildren and about 50 in the succeeding generation.

Roelof Prins’s father passed away in 1948, so he never did move to Canada, but his two younger brothers ond one older one did move here, so there are a lot of Prinses in Central Alberta.

In turn, Wijntje’s sisters and parents and brother all moved here in singles and groups, and eventually the entire Fokke (Frank) Zee family was all together again here in Central Alberta. Roelof became Ralph, and Wyntje became Winnie.

Aafje Zee

Aaf Zee was born in 1923 in the village of Andijk, Noord Holland on Easter Sunday – the fourth child of Fokke Zee and Ebeltje Prins-Zee. As a child, Aaf loved to join her father in the tulip fields and preferred this as it got her out of house-work, which she notoriously never loved throughout her entire life. Aaf never shied away from sharing this with others, proudly hanging in her kitchen was a plaque that said “Dull women have immaculate houses.” She cherished time spent playing with her eight siblings and her numerous cousins. She especially enjoyed playing ‘mother’ and being with young children. After Aaf completed seventh Grade in Andijk, she enrolled in a formal tailoring/seamstress course and was known to have a sharp eye for detail, passing this skill along to her daughters. In her teen years she worked for various neighbours and relatives doing childcare and housework in different locations in the Netherlands. Aaf met Jan Kooiman (John) and after a lengthy courtship they were engaged the Christmas of 1947 and married on July 1, 1948 in Andijk.

Aafje Zee & Jan Kooiman

As a new couple, Aaf and Jan decided to follow in the brave footsteps of her family, responding to the urge to immigrate. They embarked on a journey across the ocean to start a new life in Canada in the spring of 1949.

Arriving in Quebec City on July 1st, they took the train to Alberta with their minimal belongings and only a jar of jam, a bag of oranges and a loaf of bread. Upon their arrival in Southern Alberta, they initially worked in Picture Butte on a sugar beet farm and relocated to the Gleddie sheep farm in Tilley that fall. After the birth of their first child, Aaf expressed that she didn’t realize she could ever love someone so much. While expecting her second child, she worried she would not have the ability to love like she did with her first, but found her heart had the capacity to multiply and experience this profound love with her second, and all of their children that followed.

In April 1953, Aaf and Jan moved to Red Deer with their first two children, where they had purchased an acreage just north of the city on the C & E Trail. On this acreage their family continued to grow. Jan proactively enrolled mom for driving lessons and in the spring of 1958 she was the first of her 7 sisters to receive her license. This helped dad a great deal, but it also afforded mom a lot of freedom, unanticipated by her husband!

Throughout these years Aaf provided tremendous support to Jan in his business “Red Deer Landscaping and Lawn Service” and in running the potato farm. Aaf was known for her unpretentious hospitality. Nescafe and the sugar pot were always on the table, indicating a readiness to receive anyone for coffee and conversation. With a bustling household, a thriving business and a farm to run, Aaf and Jan did not get much time alone together. After supper while the children were absorbed with chores and homework, Aaf frequently joined her husband in the root cellar. This became their time for companionship and intimate conversation. Aaf and Jan treasured extended family and gathered frequently for milestone events. Family was first for Aaf, and she made every effort to maintain strong and harmonious relationships with everyone.

Mom was a talented poet, sharing this gift at numerous occasions. Mom was a kind and caring Oma and will be fondly remembered by her grandchildren for making each one feel loved, special and being a good sport for their wild ideas. She frequently said to her family, “You can’t come often enough.”

Mom enjoyed working the land on the farm as it reminded her of the time spent working with her father in the tulip fields. The farm in the County of Red Deer provided a great place for family life and for raising her children. In her late 70’s Mom recognized a move off the farm was imminent. Through an ad in the paper, Mom discovered that a new senior’s development was being built on land where her parents had lived. The appeal of this was an answer to mom’s prayers, and in 2002 they made Legacy Estates their new home. Source: Obituary 04-Nov-2020 [>].

Grietje Zee married Joost Prins

Joost Prins & Grietje Zee

Anje Zee married Simon Swier

Simon Swier & Anje Zee

Gerrit Zee married Grietje Gorter, and they had eight children.

Gerrit Zee & Grietje Gorter

Fokke Zee – Dutch Resistance hero

During the German occupation of Holland during World War Two, the work of the Dutch resistance was instrumental in bringing safety and hope to those worst affected. Fokke Zee was one such volunteer, and the story of his experiences in helping to harbour refugees and ending up in captivity himself is here (in Dutch). Fittingly, Fokke was awarded the Resistance Commemorative Cross in 1982.

The photograph was in the Edmonton Journal, of Friday, 26 November, 1982.

Joop Hemmerlé and Fokke Zee, December 1943 From the Red Deer Advocate, 1 Jun 2010 (with corrections to names) [>]

Joop Hemmerlé sat with fellow captives in a German prison cell in Amsterdam, awaiting transport to the concentration camp at Dachau.

It was December of 1943. Hemmerlé, who lived in the coastal village of Andijk, about 100 km north of Amsterdam, had been arrested for harbouring Jews and for taking part in the Dutch resistance. Weighing on the young man’s heart was concern for his young wife Tine and her unborn child.

Serving a much lighter sentence in the same prison was Frank (Fokke) Zee, a fellow Andijker who had been caught hiding one of the many young men who were being rounded up to work in German factories.

Zee was about to get a temporary release from prison so he could go home and harvest his crops. He promised Hemmerlé that he and his wife, Ebeltje, would look after Tine and her new baby.

Sixty-six years later, the little girl born one month premature in Frank and Ebeltje Zee’s bedroom is visiting Canada for the first time, reuniting with the five surviving daughters of the family who took her mother in during the war. The Zee family left The Netherlands for Canada in 1949, leaving the Hemmerlé’s with little more than memories. While her father had survived Dachau in body, his spirit was permanently broken. He died in 1970, says Olga Hemmerlé-Warnau.

Although she was too young to remember the Zee’s, her mother told her who they had helped the family and she made it her mission to visit and thank them personally. “I didn’t know them at all. I only knew they went to Canada after the war.” Hemmerlé-Warnau had no memories of the family, but her mother always kept an album of photos to go with the stories.

Helena Kits was only eight years old when the Hemmerlé baby was born. But she and her sisters have never forgotten the baby or her mother. Their names come up every time someone in the family celebrates a birthday, Kits said while visiting in the Red Deer home of her sister, Tina Opdendries. The Zee sisters had been searching for Olga, too. The mystery unfolded when a weekly newspaper, de Andijker, published a story about Hemmerlé-Warnau’s search for the Zees. One of their nieces, Ebeline Hawtin, saw the article and phoned her aunt, Aaf (Agnes) Kooiman. By the end of that day, Hemmerlé-Warnau had talked to three of the sisters and was starting to make plans to visit them in Canada.

Ebeltje Zee died in 1985 and Frank died four years later. Fortunately for Hemmerlé-Warnau, their five surviving daughters all live in Red Deer or close by. Kooiman and Opdendries are in the city while Kits and Dorothy Meindersma live in Lacombe and Jenny Brink lives in Bentley. Hemmerlé-Warnau said she was impressed to see so much Dutch influence in Central Alberta, pointing out the wooden shoes mounted outside Opdendries’ door. Hemmerlé-Warnau said the most important stop in her tour was on Monday morning, when she went with the five sisters to lay flowers on their parents’ grave.

“It was important to give honour, because the parents of them did so much for my mother.” One of the biggest surprises came in church on Sunday. Simon Swier, whose late wife, Ann was one of the Zee sisters, handed Hemmerlé-Warnau a small, faded picture with her father’s handwriting on the back — in English. Hemmerlé’s elegant cursive outlines the story of his first daughter’s birth. On the front, the tiny infant is nestled in her mother’s arms, with Frank and Ebeltje Zee standing behind them. Swier found the photo in a collection of Ann’s belongings after she died.

Emigration from Andijk to Canada

From the book “Van Strijd en Zegen” comes a list of emigrants from Andijk, leaving for Canada, among which are listed many Zees and Prinses. The dates come from the records of the Gereformeerd Church in Andijk.

7 Maart 1927 Jacob Prins Gtzn en Aafje Groot Sd met hun kinderen: Gerrit, Trijntje, Jan, Wijntje, Dieuwertje, Pieter, Jacob en Simmon Nanne
7 Maart 1936 Jan Prins Jbjnzn en Geertje Prins-Idinga met hun dochtertje Dina
20 Maart 1936 Gerrit Prins Dzn en Aafje Prins-Vriend m.h.k. Peter, Dirk, Geertje, Marijtje en Trijntje
20 Maart 1939 Pieter Prins Dzn en Cornelia Prins-Dekker met Trijntje
11 Aug. 1939 Roelof Prins Jbzn
28 Maart 1947 Wijntje Zee Fd
14 Juni 1947 Jacob Prins G.Jb.zn en Geertje Mantel Cd
6 Sept 1947 Evert Prins Dzn en Sjoukje Reker m.h.k. Trijntje, Aaltje Geesina, Dirk, Willem
6 Sept 1947 Klaas Prins Nzn en Antje Sluys Jn.d met Johan
20 Jan 1948 Gerrit. P. Prins Jn Gtzn, Anje P. Zwier-Zee
3 April 1948 Jacob Prins Jn.Gtzn
3 Juli 1948 Pieter Prins Jbzn en Geertje Kwantes Ad
14 Febr. 1949 Jan Anth. Prins Nzn en Jantje Trompetter Jnd m.h.k. Nanne Wijnand, Jan Peter en Catharina Wilhelmina
23 Mei 1949 Fokke Zee Jnzn en Ebeltje Prins Gtd m.h.k. Trijntje, Jantje, Dieuwertje en Wilhelmina
12 Juni 1949 Jan Kooiman Pjzn en Aafje Zee Fd
12 Aug. 1950 Gerrit Zee Fzn en Grietje Gorter Cd m.h.k. Ebeline, Cornelis Johan, Fokke Jan en Alfred Gerard
21 Maart 1952 Simon Prins Jnzn, Jacob Prins Nzn
Juni 1952 Grietje Prins-Zee met zoon Jacob Eduard
13 Feb. 1954 Jacob Prins Jnzn

Ancestral Line

Ancestral Line for Fokke Zee



F8 Fokke Zee
* 23-Sep-1893 Andijk [Jan Zee & Grietje Bootsman]
+ 04-Sep-1989 Red Deer, Canada
x Ebeltje Prins 10-Nov-1915 Andijk [>] [>]
* 22-Jan-1894 Andijk [Gerrit Prins & Wijntje Vriend]
+ 11-Apr-1986 Red Deer, Canada


G1 Grietje      18-May-1917 Andijk    x Joost Prins
G2 Gerrit       19-Nov-1918 Andijk    x Grietje Gorter
G3 Wijntje      23-Sep-1920 Andijk    x Roelof Prins
G4 Aafje        01-Apr-1923 Andijk    x Jan Kooiman
G5 Anje Pietje  21-Sep-1924 Andijk    x Simon Swier
G6 Trijntje     14-Jul-1925 Andijk    x Adolf Opdendries
G7 Jantje       11-Oct-1929 Andijk.   x Klaas Brink
G8 Dieuwertje   22-Jul-1933 Andijk    x Ben de Boon, Garret Meindersma
G9 Wilhelmina   03-Jan-1935 Andijk    x John Kits


G1 Grietje Zee
* 18-May-1917 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
+ 29-May-2002 
x (1) Joost Prins 03-Sep-1942 Andijk
* 11-Jun-1918 Andijk [Jacob Prins & Dina Sluis]
+ 21-Oct-1948

H1 Jacob Edward 11-Jan-1944

x (2) Bernard van den Brink
x (30 Peter Vanessa

G2 Gerrit Zee 
* 19-Nov-1918 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
+ 09-Mar-2004 Edmonton (aged 86)
x Grietje Gorter 03-Dec-1942
* 04-Aug-1920 Andijk [Cornelis Gorter & Aafje Timmerman]
+ 25-Mar-2011 Edmonton (aged 90)

H1 Ebeline Zee       Andijk   x John Hawtin
H2 Cornelis Johan    Andijk   x (1) Joan Hurd, (2) Doreen Bogdan
H3 Fokke Jan (Frank) Andijk   x Marlys
H4 Alfred Gerard     Andijk   x Ronda 
H5 Tena              Canada   x Abel Horneman
H6 Rosa              Canada   x John Lindemulder
H7 Annette           Canada   x Will Greenwood
H8 John Lawrence     Canada   x Shirley 

G3 Wijntje Zee
* 23-Sep-1920 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
+ 16-Dec-2007 Lacombe, Alberta, CAN (aged 87)
x Roelof Prins 30-Apr-1947 Lacombe, Alberta
* 1920 [Jacob Prins & Dina Sluis]

1 Dennis Prins x Ruby
2 Raymond Prins x Pauline
3 Harvey Prins x Agnes
4 Alfred Prins x Alice
5 Eleanor x S. Edward Drost
6 Judy x Edwin VanHaren
7 Laura

G4 Aafje Zee        
* 01-Apr-1923 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
+ 04-Nov-2020 (aged 97)
x Jan Kooiman 01-Jul-1948

1. Alice     1950   x Ed Tiemstra
2. Evelyn    1952   x Brian Martin
3. Peter     1953
4. Paulene   1954   x Don Kamps
5. Ruth     
6. Miriam           x Erick Jentink
7. Frank            x Donna
8. David            x Cheryl

G5 Anje Pietje Zee
* 21-Sep-1924 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
x Simon Swier 09-03-1948 Andijk [>]
* Enkhuizen

1 Peter
2 Lynn
3 Cathy
4 Walter
5 Rodger

G6 Trijntje Zee
* 14-Jul-1925 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
x Adolf Opdendries

1 Dick
2 Wilfred
3 Jane
4 Brenda
5 Gordon
6 Sharon

G7 Jantje Zee       
* 11-Oct-1929 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
x Klaas Brink

1 Kathleen
2 Elsie
3 Harvey
4 Wendy
5 Valerie
6 Fred

G8 Dieuwertje Zee
* 22-Jul-1933 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
x (1) Ben de Boon

1 Cornelius
2 Arnold
3 Frank
4 Henry
5 Debbie
6 Lisa

x (2) Garret Meindersma

G9 Wilhelmina H. P. M. Zee
* 03-Jan-1935 Andijk [Fokke Zee & Ebeltje Prins]
x John Kits

1 Lucinda
2 Ferdinand
3 Eleanor
4 Henry
5 Wilma


H2 Cornelis Johan Zee
* Andijk [Gerrit Zee & Grietje Gorter]
x Joan Hurd

I1 Jennifer Zee (adopted)
I2 Shawna Zee (adopted) 
I3 Kristina Zee
I4 Matthew Zee

x (2) Doreen Bogdan

I5 Benjamin Zee x Kristine Richard
I6 David Zee
I7 Abigail Zee
I8 Elizabeth Zee x Hafon Psheblo
I9 Sarah Zee
I10 Tabitha Zee


I5 Benjamin Zee
* Canada [Cornelis Johan Zee & Doreen Bogdan]
x Kristine Richard

J1 Luke Zee
J2 Ezra Zee


Fokke Zee

13-Jan-1916 Stormramp Andijk [>] Andijker Woningbouwvereniging created. Fokke Zee was comissaris in 1949 [>]

04-Jan-1919 Fokke Zee buys a house and land in the Geuzenbuurt in Andijk for fl. 2950, and P. Zee buys land at Voddenmarkt for fl. 2715  [>] At the same time, G. Prins buys land named "de Roosteen" for fl. 4250 in Andijk.

       1944 Joop Hemmerlé record from Dachau [>]

23-May-1949 Fokke and Ebeltje Emigration to Canada


Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Ebeline Zee-Hawtin says:

    Thanks Mark for all your hard work. We have corresponded on these matters, but for people reading the site now, if I add some additions and corrections, they will see it immediately which might be helpful. Hope you don’t mind….

    Generation G1
    Grietje Zee 18 May 1917 – 29 May 2002 married Joost Prins 11 June 1918 – 21 October 1948 on 3 September 1942.
    Their son Jacob Eduward was born 11 January 1944

    Generation G2
    Gerrit Zee 19 November 1918 – 9 March 2004 married Grietje Gorter (Cornelis Gorter & Aafje Timmerman)
    4 August 1920 – 25 March 2011 on 3 December 1942

    Thanks, Ebeline

  • Wilma Oddsson says:

    Hello Mark, just wanted to make one correction on my family, the order should be Lucinda, Ferdinand, Eleanor, Henry and Wilma

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