History of the Wiarda family association

In the beginning of the 19th century it looked as though the East Frisian (German) branch of the Wiarda family would gradually come to an end, as historian Tileman, Dothias Wiarda only had one daughter and his younger brother Georg, Jacob only one son. The latter had nine children, of which four surviving sons, who were the founders of three, partly large families, who in the course of several generations extended to a considerable number of Wiarda sons and daughters.

It was Hans von Wiarda (1869-1935) who, on the basis of his genealogical work, dealt with the question of whether it was desirable to set up a family association, thereby promoting the cohesion of the meanwhile larger family. He left a large number of notes about the purpose and form of such an association. Regardless of this, around 1935 his son Edzard von Wiarda compiled a draft regulation for a family association. Heinz von Wiarda (1892-1947) was also in favour of establishing such an association. The actual establishment of a family association only became concrete after the Second World War, when Siegfried Wiarda personally contacted the West Frisian, (Dutch) Wiarda families in 1952 during a visit from Hyltje Sybren Wiarda. Here he was reminded of the importance of a family association that would include both German and Dutch family members.

Partly due to active support from Rixa von Wiarda (Edzard’s cousin) , Siegfried Wiarda and Edzard von Wiarda went to work. They collected as many addresses as possible from family members in Germany and the Netherlands, after which they organized the first Wiarda family day. After the draft regulations of the association were prepared, the first family day took place on May 22 and 23, 1965 in Neuenhaus, Germany, the residence of Siegfried Wiarda. This place was chosen because of the favourable location in relation to the Dutch family members. A total of 85 members of the family came to the family day. The association was founded on May 22, 1965. The regulations were established and approved. The board was then elected. After the family representatives or branch elders were also appointed, the association was ready to go to work.

According to the regulations, the bearers of the name Wiarda or von Wiarda, who believe that they belong to the offspring of the potestaat (Frisian army commander => title from Charles the Great) Siurt Wiarda, just like their daughters - even after their marriage - can join the association as normal members. According to the rules, the family association wants to strengthen the bond of common descent and to arouse interest in the next generation for their special origins dating back to the Middle Ages. In addition to promoting personal contact between members of the association, knowledge about former family members will be expanded and that about their descendants will be constantly supplemented. This will happen through the following activities:

Organizing family days every 3 years.

The publication of the Wiarda Announcements at least once a year. This function will be taken over in 2020 by a newsletter from the website.

Additions to the family archive.

Cooperation of the representatives of the individual family branches, the so-called Branch Elders (m / f).

It is not possible for the board to maintain contact with each member individually. Yet this contact is of great importance for the cohesion of the family. Therefore, according to the regulations, the individual family branches must each appoint a family representative or branch elder. His task is to maintain contact with all members of his family branch, to promote research into the history of his own family within this branch and to support the board in his work.

The very first board (22-05-1965) of the association consisted of the following people:

  1. Edzard v. Wiarda sen. as general chairman and chairman of the German family branches (1 & 2 and 3)
  2. Hijltje Wiarda as chairman of the Dutch Wiardas (branches 4/5, 6 and 7)
  3. Siurt v. Wiarda as secretary-treasurer
  4. Yme Hendrik Wiarda as deputy chairman of the Dutch Wiardas

The following were elected Takoud elders of the 7 family branches:

  1. Edzard v. Wiarda-Bemerode / Hanover,
  2. Siegfried Wiarda-Neuenhaus,
  3. Udo Wiarda-Dortmund,
  4. Yme Hendrik Wiarda-Bilthoven,
  5. Sybren Wiarda-Paterswolde
  6. Jacob Wiarda-Leeuwarden.
  7. Jan Wiarda-Groningen

An important contribution to a flying start of the association was made by Hyltje A. Jorritsma, son of Augustinus Jorritsma and Jetske Jelles Wiarda. He was a first cousin of Jelle Y. Wiarda, the father of later chairman Yme H. Wiarda. At a young age Jorritsma was already an enthusiastic genealogist, who had already made contact with Hans von Wiarda, mentioned earlier here after the First World War. Jorritsma worked out in particular the family tree of the Dutch Wiarda’s in detail. With this he provided a big surprise for all participants on the first family day in May 1965 in Neuenhaus. Quite unexpectedly, he presented the fruit of years of labour there. When in 1967 it was decided to publish a book about the family history in the context of the 1969 anniversary year, Jorritsma took on the task of further elaborating the Dutch part of the family tree, citing the many sources from which he had drawn . He was also of great support to the book's editor-in-chief, Siegfried Wiarda, through his tireless research in the Frisian archives. Jorritsma has always remained an active and enthusiastic member, to whom the Wiarda family association owes many thanks.

Note: the photo at the beginning of this chapter has been manipulated by Jorritsma himself. The original photo shows the board members of the association with in their midst the hotelier of hotel "de Klanderij" in Leeuwarden, where the meeting took place. Jorritsma was unable to attend but saw the opportunity to take the place of the hotelier on the photo.


VON WIARDA, Siurt, “De familievereniging Wiarda” in: Siegfried WIARDA (red.), Wiarda 1369-1969, Bolsward, J. Osinga NV, 1970, 235-239


And then appeared in the early 60s Onkel Siegfried from Neuenhaus ...

Suddenly many Wiardas turned out to be alive, in Germany, the Netherlands and many other countries as far as America and Australia.

Unearthed from archives by Siegfried Wiarda [branch II-IX [2-9]] and close relatives as well as archival and genealogical experts approached by him and suddenly the idea came to inquire whether it would be a nice idea that the Wiarda’s of all countries should gather.

And so it happened. The first time at Uncle Siegfried's home, where the Wiarda Family Association was founded and at Jan's instigation it was decided to publish a book about the fortunes of the Wiarda family from 1369, the year in which the name Wiarda first appeared in an official Certificate was mentioned.

Incidentally, this mention was due to a tort rather than a heroic act by our oldest namesakes: in a judgment of April 30, 1369, the Grietmen of the district of Winninge ruled that Wiarda's people had imprisoned a number of Frisian citizens without reason and that these should be released.

To work!

Edzard von Wiarda [branch / sippe I-VIII] became the first president of the Familienverband. Assisted by his son Siurt von Wiarda [I-XIV] as secretary / treasurer and Hyltje Sybren Wiarda [branch Roordahuzum-XVIIIa], father of the later chairman Sybren Hyltje [XIXa]] as representative of the Dutch family members ..

Siegfried started production and editing of the book Wiarda 1369-1969. With his dedication, vigour and persuasion, he was able to persuade many family members and other involved parties to contribute to the book, not only about persons and faits divers of various family history, but also about the family's relationship with the province of Friesland and in those regions in East Frisia [Germany], where the Wiardas had played an important role over the centuries.

In addition, a family tree was composed by Siegfried and Mr Hyltje Jorritsma from Leeuwarden, an enthusiastic genealogist in his spare time and with input from many others. For the sake of clarity, the entire personal register of all Wiarda’s was divided into bite-sized chapters - Branches - and the Branch Elders made their entrance, which were supposed to warm and keep their members updated and interested for the family. To this end they also met periodically

I remember a meeting of the first Elders at our home in Groningen, including:

Edzard von Wiarda [I.VII [1/8]], Siegfried Wiarda [II.IX [2/9] ,: Yme Wiarda [XVIIg] father of the later secretary Ariëtte and webmaster Tjalling [XVIIg.1 and 2; 4-5 / 14 and 16] and host Jan.

The rest is history: the book was published in 1969 at the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the Family in Leeuwarden, triennial reunions followed and in 2019 almost a hundred Wiarda’s from all over the world came to Goutum, on the site of the former Wiarda State, gathered to commemorate the 650th anniversary.

There it was also decided to set up a website to store all the Wiarda information for eternity [well, for a long time].

Those Greetmen could not have foreseen that in 1369 ...


VON WIARDA, Siurt, “De familievereniging Wiarda” in: Siegfried WIARDA (red.), Wiarda 1369-1969, Bolsward, J. Osinga NV, 1970, 235-239
WIARDA, Willem, “Intocht der Wiarda’s" in: Jan Wiarda 1909-1993, 10-04-2020, 4-6