Archive for December, 2012

This post is dedicated to Yvette Hoitink at Dutch Genealogy.

Two wonderful events have occurred recently which add to my treasure trove of genealogical information and old family photos.  One is that my mother sent me my grandmother’s high school graduation (and beyond) scrapbook.  In my last post I showed off my grandmother’s teacher contract from 1931-32 and a photo of my grandparents two years before they married.  These were from the scrapbook.   I will be posting more of these treats in the future.

The other event is that Yvette Hoitink, a Dutch genealogist, quickly and easily found a wealth of information about the Zuidweg family–my grandfather’s Dutch ancestors.  Dutch Genealogy is a site which describes Yvette’s services.  You can contact her through that site.  What would have taken me years of effort and a good knowledge of the Dutch language, took Yvette a few hours.  In the next few posts, I’ll be examining some of the information Yvette found.  Among other tidbits, she discovered incorrect information I had catalogued, information which discredited family stories, and an intriguing coincidence.

Today’s post is to share the coincidence.  My grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, born in 1908 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, married my grandmother, Lucille Edna Mulder, in 1932.  See the last post for a photo of them as a young couple.  Here is a wedding photo.

Adrian Jr. and Edna (Mulder) Zuidweg

Adrian Jr. and Edna (Mulder) Zuidweg, 1932

Grandma’s father was Charles Mulder, of Caledonia, Michigan.  His name at birth, in 1885 in Goes, the Netherlands, was Karel Pieter Phillipus Mulder.

My great grandfather Charles Mulder with his parents and siblings.  He's front row, second from the right.

My great grandfather Charles Mulder with his parents and siblings. He’s front row, second from the right, with the curly dark hair.

In the 5th generation of the Zuidweg family, Yvette discovered a Carel Mulder, who was born about 1781.  She writes, “On 5 May 1836 he was a jailor’s hand in Goes, Zeeland, the NetherlandsHe died on 19 May 1847 at the age of 66 in Goes, Zeeland, the Netherlands.”  I’ll hazard a guess that this is a common name, but the same town name is certainly intriguing.

Looking back a little further, I see that my great grandfather’s grandfather was Karel Mulder, born February 21, 1837 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands.  He died in April 22, 1881, also in Goes.  Obviously not a match.

Not his father either.

But look!  Another generation back was yet another Karel Mulder, born March 8, 1780 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands.  He died  May 19, 1847, also in Goes.  HE’S A MATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And now I know that this ancestor of my GRANDMOTHER and of my GRANDFATHER was a “jailor’s hand.”  Whatever that is.

My husband isn’t as excited about information like this.  He says, “Do you know how many people were alive in those days?  It’s not that big a coincidence to have that happen.”  And actually today, in the land of Facebook, where I’m two degrees removed from almost every other American Facebooker, it might not be that big of a deal either.  But to me it was fascinating to see that name which is a “staple” of my grandmother’s line show up on my grandfather’s!

According to Ancestry.com the “jailor’s hand” is my “5th great grandfather”:

Karel Mulder (1780 – 1847)
Son of Karel
Son of Karel
Son of Karel
Son of Pieter Philippus
Daughter of Charles Peter (Karel Pieter Phillipus)
Janet Ann Zuidweg
Daughter of Lucille Edna
You are the daughter of Janet Ann
This is the marriage which connected the Zuidweg and Mulder families back then: Adriaan Zuijdweg, a tailor who was born about 1801 in Goes married Johanna Mulder on 5 May 1836 in Goes.  She was born about 1807 in Goes.  She worked as a maid and a laborer and died on 11 June1878 at the age of 71.

This is a family rumor which proved to be true.  My mother has always told me that my grandparents were cousins of sorts.

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, graduated from Western Normal School and accepted a job as a teacher in Kent County for the 1931-32 school year.

1931-32 Teacher Contract

1931-32 Teacher Contract

This contract, pictured above, shows that she was hired on at a salary of Xxxty-five dollars per month.  That’s right:  Xxx because that portion of the paper document has worn away over the years.  Any guesses how much her salary was?  $25?  $45?  $65? $85?  It doesn’t look like it was over a hundred.  I found a list of salaries in Johnson County, Kentucky, for the same year.

According to these salaries, it’s likely that, as a new teacher, my grandmother could have been hired in at $75 or $85 per month.  If anybody has a better idea of salaries in rural Michigan at that time, I’d love to hear it.

When my grandmother started her teaching job, she had already been dating my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.  They married at the end of the school year, on May 21, 1932, in South Bend, Indiana.

Adrian Zuidweg and Edna Mulder1930

Adrian Zuidweg and Edna Mulder

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Western Michigan University was created in 1903 as the 4th teacher training school in Michigan.  It was known as Western State Normal School and offered a two-year training program.  In 1927, the school’s name was changed to Western State Teachers College.  During that period, my grandmother Lucille Edna Mulder (born 1912) moved from her parents’ farm in Caledonia to Kalamazoo to attend college.  She rented a room from the Schensul family. They owned the most memorable restaurant of my childhood: Schensul’s Cafeteria in downtown Kalamazoo, which served the best fried chicken and orange pop on the planet.

Grandma’s alma mater became Western Michigan College of Education in 1941. During that period, my parents both attended college there.  My father, Rudy Hanson, an army veteran, went to school on the GI bill and, there, he met my mother, Janet Zuidweg.

In 1957, Western became the 4th public university in the state.  In 1960, when I was five, I sat at my Aunt Alice’s knees and watched her color code drawings for science classes she took at Western. Then I attended Western as an undergraduate from 1973-1977, and so did my husband.  During the time I was a student, my mother whose college career had been interrupted by a case of mono and then a case of marriage, completed her education and graduated a year ahead of me.  A few years later, my brother graduated from Western. Then I went back and earned two graduate degrees.

OK, Mom, let me know if I got any facts wrong :).  If you have more info on other relatives who went to Western, I’ll add them here.

The postcard image above was given to my mother’s great aunt’s husband, Louis Leeuwenhoek, by Johnson Paper Supply as a credit slip.  See image below.


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