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  • samuelalove219

The Frisian Playlist


On this day, 1270 years ago, my ancient Frisian ancestors killed Boniface, apostle to Germania. As I post this, English-language Wikipedia blames murderous marauders while Nederlands Wikipedia has a much more nuanced story.


I'm noting the day by sharing a YouTube playlist that I've been compiling the past few years - every Frisian-related video I've been able to find on the platform. Almost all of the videos are in English or have English-subtitles.



The playlist is loosely organized but as videos come and go from the platform be aware this will always be an evolving passion project. Inclusion in this playlist is not an endorsement of any views contained therein. I have not included videos about the horses or any channels doing wargaming or "alternate" history(sic).


The first videos deal with language, followed by history videos which I've tried to organize chronologically by the topic. The next set are grouped by channel creators who've produced multiple Frisian history videos. These are followed by videos about coinage, whitework silk, travel, and finally some Frisian music.


Most of the videos focus on West Frisia but there's a few in there about East and North Frisia. The historical lands of the ancient Frisians stretched along the North Sea coast, roughly from modern Belgium into modern-day Denmark.





I've been aware of my Frisian heritage since childhood, tho I knew little more than that it was a province in the northern Netherlands and that the Frisians spoke a different language than Dutch. In the days of paper maps it was exciting enough to see the Netherlands even listed, usually incorrectly labelled "Holland." But finding any information about half of my ethnicity, or even a simple reference, was just not possible.


Of my 13 Dutch immigrant ancestors 10 hailed from the province of West Friesland, with another 2 hailing from lands historically associated with Frisia.


Of course I can't know if their ancestors were near Dokkum that fateful day in 754 (we don't even know if the event happened in 754) but the whole saga helps illuminate something of the context of life in Frisia around that time: the end of an independent Frisian Kingdom, the shift from the old gods to the Christian one, and the constant struggle with storms, the sea, and flooding.


Did I even have ancestors living in Frisia in the middle 8th century? The oldest available genealogical records date to the end of the late 15th century, but there are clues in certain family and place names leading me to think that some in fact did. In all, I've noticed three patterns in the 5 centuries of available records, shedding some light on the question "Who are the Frisians?"


Some families lived in the same villages for centuries, with some being terpen communities or communities with toponymic names. I'm thinking these folks had been in there for a very long time.


Other families lived within a particular region over the centuries. One example is the Trynwâlden region, which brings with it a fun bit of folklore.


And some families moved frequently over the centuries, west across the Ommelanden (northern Groningen) and into West Friesland before landing in Chicago's Roseland Dutch community. A few of these branches I've been able to traces to points in modern day Germany, including Emden, in the historic region of East Frisia, and even a noble line from Thuringia.



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