The Kingma Family in Brazil 
 
Jan Barend van Erp log in voor tekstopties 
an abbreviated history as of 1/1/2003

Jan Kingma emigrated in the year 1907 from the Netherlands to Brazil. His ancestral home was a relatively small farm in the village of Lemelerveld in the province of Overijssel. His grand parents had settled in Lemelerveld in the 19th century after leaving the province of Friesland.
According to what Jan Kingma told his children and grand children, he had found an advertisement in a Dutch newspaper offering a job in a dairy factory in the town of Juiz de Fora in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Being young and of an enterprising nature, he applied and got the job. Jan Kingma arrived in Rio de Janeiro by ship during the days of carnival. For a young man, arriving in Rio at carnival time after a long sea journey on a cargo ship, this must have been an interesting experience. It certainly left a great impression on him because all his remaining life he talked about it.

When he arrived in Juiz de Fora, some 200 km inland from Rio de Janeiro, he found out that the dairy factory did not yet exist and that he had first to build it. He must have done a reasonably good job because the factory he built at that time existed until 2001. He worked in Juiz de Fora for a number of years, being in charge of the operation of the dairy factory. Later he moved to Mantiqueira, a small village amidst the rolling hills of Minas Gerais. The state of Minas Gerais is well known for its excellent dairy products.

The village of Mantiqueira was and is strategically located for three reasons: Firstly, it is situated in the middle of excellent grazing land for cattle, secondly, it has a narrow-track railroad connection to Rio de Janeiro and thirdly, it is borders on the "Estrada Real", the old road from colonial times that connected Rio de Janeiro with the gold mines of Ouro Preto and that was at that time the only existing road. For many years, Jan Kingma was sending by train large quantities of frozen milk for consumption in Rio de Janeiro. In those days there were no refrigerated transport vehicles.
Jan Kingma had a keen business sense and recognized the need for a Brazilian source of rennet ("coalho" in Portuguese; "stremsel" in Dutch) for the production of cheese. He returned to the Netherlands in order to study the production of rennet. Upon his return in Brazil, Jan Kingma started a rennet factory that he named "Coalho Frisia" in remembrance of his Frisian roots.

In starting the rennet factory, Jan Kingma had two other financial partners, one German and one Brazileiro. For many years this rennet factory was the only source of rennet in South America, delivering to many countries in that continent. In recognition of his valuable contribution to the industry of Brazil, Jan Kingma was honored by the state of Minas Gerais, receiving a special meritorious award.
The Sá Fortes family into which Jan Kingma married in or around the year 1914, belongs to the influential landed gentry ( in Brazil called "familia tradicional"). It can be traced back to the early Portuguese settlers who arrived in Brazil in the 16th century, shortly after the discovery of Brazil by Pedro Alvares Cabral in April of the year 1500. Reportedly the Sá Fortes family was involved in the foundation of Rio de Janeiro.
In early 1900, it was considered highly unlikely that a poor immigrant, arriving in Brazil with very little to his name, could marry into such a "familia tradicional". However, Jan Kingma's friendly manner, cheerful nature and hard work must have caught the eye of Maria Luiza Fortes Azevedo.

They were married and lived happily together ever after, as may be concluded from their large offspring consisting of five girls and three boys. Jan Kingma and his wife Maria Luiza are buried together in one of the tombs of the Sá Fortes family in the cemetery of the village of Novo Coral, MG, where most deceased members of the Sá Fortes members are interred (about 20 km removed from Mantiqueira).
Jan Kingma married in 1950 Catarina Cosentino, born in Lauria It. 25-09-1908; died 02-09-1995.


Marten Kingma, the oldest brother of Jan, came to Brazil at Jan's invitation a few years after Jan's arrival. Marten started a cheese factory in Mantiqueira that produced excellent cheese. Some of the cheese types he introduced still carry the name he gave to it ("Queijo do Reino" - cheese of the kingdom). Unfortunately, Marten died young and did not leave any offspring.

During a four month period in the years 1925 - 1926, Jan Kingma received a visit in Mantiqueira from his father and his sister Agneta ("Netje" Kingma. A photo album, covering this visit, was found in the legacy of Netje Kingma. Jan's only other sister, Maria van Erp Kingma, inherited this photo album and gave it to Jan Kingma's son, Joao Jose Kingma, medical doctor and university professor in Belo Horizonte.


The business, that was started by Jan Kingma, flourished. This allowed him to enlarge it and to purchase adjacent land as it became available for sale for increased production of milk and meat. At its peak, the property owned by Jan Kingma comprised approximately 2000 ha of land in and around the village of Mantiqueira. His farm was well known in the far surroundings and on many occasions, cattle from his farm won special awards at agricultural fairs from independent selection committees. Jan Kingma was an exemplary employer who took good care of his workers, including their housing and health care. Among his good deeds may be named the fact that he took care of a deaf-mute orphan of African-Brazilian descend by the name of Nick who grew up in the Kingma family as a son. In Mantiqueira, a public square is named after him (Praça Kingma).


Santos Dumont, a Brazilian of French origin, is honored in Brazil for being the first person to ever fly an airplane. The Brazilian contention is that he Santos Dumont did this before the Wright brothers in the USA, wich are usually credited with this feat. Regardless of who flew first, there is no doubt that Santos Dumont was an important aeronautical pioneer. Santos Dumont was born near Mantiqueira and used to be a frequent and welcome guest on the farm of Jan Kingma. The city of Santos Dumont, near Mantiqueira, has been named in honor of this Brazilian national hero.

Jan Kingma was a real outdoors person; he liked nothing better than getting on his favorite horse and going around his land, often climbing to the top of one of the hills on his property and enjoying the commanding views of the surrounding countryside.
It was customary for Jan Kingma to invite all members of his family as well as his co-workers, employees and neighbors for parties at this home in Mantiqueira. According to eyewitnesses, some of these parties extended over several days and involved ample consumption of food and drinks. The food included the Brazilian national dish "feijoada" and various types of meat prepared on the "churrasco" (Brazilian grill); the drinks included the national Brazilian drink "caipirinha".
Jan Kingma did not stand on formalities, was generous and was very much liked by all. He was a friendly person who liked to be surrounded by his family and friends and who enjoyed life to the fullest.
His greatest legacy is a beautiful extended family in Brazil that still holds him in great honor.