After almost nine months of corresponding with Dr. Paul-Heinz Pauseback at the Nord-friisk Instituut at Bredstadt, Germany, I think all of the history that can be documented has been.
"Laurens Duyts was apparently born and raised on the island of 'Strand' west of the city of Husum, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (then a part of Denmark). Most of the people on this island made their living by deep sea fishing. In 1634 a catastrophic tidal wave nearly destroyed the island tearing it into 3 separate islands and killing several hundred people. The area where Laurens lived is now the island of 'Nordstrand'. Either as a result of the storm or other reasons, Laurens moved ashore; apparently around the town of Friedrichstadt in an area referred to as Nordfriesland. There are people from this family living in that area today using the spelling 'Dyrsen."
A map of the area in question is available from the Federation of East European Family History Societies. Nordstrand is on the left. Oldenburg is on the right. Personal footnote: Having visited both Friedrichstadt and Bredstadt last September, I can say that it is a historic area to visit and I hope to return there this year. Friedrichstadt is most apparently a Dutch area even though in a Danish-German setting. I have seen a copy of a Statement of Intent to Marry posted on a site or two and this has convinced me that Laurens moved to Amsterdam and later sailed for America.
More follows from Robert.
Just received another letter from Dr, Pauseback in Nordfriesland. Nothing earthshaking. Other than personal comments I will condense: "The catastrophic stormflood in 1634 destroyed the island 'Alt Nordstrand' completely, leaving two islands 'Nordstrand' and 'Pillworm', also the Halligen. (Don't recall if the map I sent you showed the Halligen or not. It is an offshore area running roughly from Heide in the south to Tondor in the north and going west covering the island areas. It is an area of many islands some of which are periodically covered by water either doing high tides or storms at sea). Thousands of people died. The few survivors didn't have the strength nor the money to rebuild the demolished 'Deiche' (Dikes). The exception were the inhabitants of the former 'Pellwormer-Harde'.
Many survivors found refuge on other islands, as 'Fohr', on the nordfriesisch mainland, in the cities of 'Husum', 'Friedreichstadt' and 'Bredstadt'. Their names can be found in the churchbooks. Others went to the Netherlands where they found close contact for voyages. From there some left for the Netherlands' overseas colonies, mainly the New Netherlands on the Hudson river. Some, like the group of 'Jonas Bronk auf der Brand van Trogen' left directly from Schleswig-Holstein.
The name 'Dyrssen' still exists today in Nordfriesland, Dithmarschen and also on the island of Nordstrand.
As I said, nothing earthshaking, but a slight increase in detail from earlier coments. I suspect this may be about the end of detail from over there unless I am fortunate enough to find churchbook information in September. I am somewhat surprised that the ship left from there rather than Amsterdam area. I had assumed they had sailed from the Netherlands.
Greg Dye sent the above "map".
"Typical" home in the area
Sand dune scene at Holstein.
high alttitude view of Holstein and islands