Archive for February, 2013

Alice Paak DeKorn

Alice Paak DeKorn (Aaltje Peek)

This lady was my great great grandmother, Alice Paak DeKorn.

She died May 5, 1908.  My grandfather, her grandson, was born October 31, 1908, so she never even saw him.  I think she has a kind face, but I don’t know any stories about her.

Yvette Hoitink observed that Alice’s marriage certificate states that she was born in Leymond.

Yvette says that this is “presumably Lexmond in Zuid-Holland. The Lexmond birth records are indexed on Genlias.nl. A search for Peek children born between 1850 and 1855 showed one candidate for Aleye Peek: Aaltje Peek b. 9 September 1852, daughter of Teunis Peek and Jacoba Bassa. The birth month and year match perfectly with Alice’s listing in the 1900 census.”

I noticed that Alice lived for 55 years.  Her daughter Cora, my great grandmother, died at the age of 57, so I can’t help but wonder if they both died of the same cause.  Cora died of leukemia or “cancer of the brain.”  Alice’s other daughter, Jennie, who was in last week’s post died at the age of 95.  Alice’s own mother died at the age of 41.

If you are working on your own family history, you might have noticed that you are interested in the age at death of your ancestors–for reasons of self-interest.

Although she was known as Alice for most of her life in the U.S., her American marriage certificate shows Alice as Aleye, which would have been Aaltje in the Netherlands.  I’m going to guess that some of the people filling out the documents in Kalamazoo were not Dutch.

Growing up in Kalamazoo, I had no idea that one of the family lines of my ancestry was Paak/Peek.  I went to school with kids with names like Peek and Peake, and I wonder if there is a connection.

Yvette discovered that Alice’s father, Teunis Peek, was found in the lists of emigrants at the National Archives website and that he left Lexmond for the U.S. in 1868.  She shows Alice emigrating in 1869, but it’s possible that they came together.

Jacoba had passed away in 1865, before her family emigrated.  Alice was one of six children, and I am guessing that Teunis brought all his children to the U.S.–or at least most of them.  The eldest was Joost, and he was 19 when the family moved.  It’s possible he stayed behind.

I’ll pick up the story of the Peeks in a future post.

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My grandfather was left-handed.  And so am I.  I get it from him because my parents are both right-handed.

Grandpa holding me

Grandpa holding me, his first grandchild, 1955

I’ve written about both Adriaan Zuijdweg/Adrian Zuidweg (the elder) and Cora DeKorn Zuidweg, my great grandparents.  They had one son, my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg (1908-2000).  He owned a Sunoco “filling station” on the corner of Burdick and Balch in Kalamazoo where his father had previously owned the soda shop.  In the photos above and below, he’s wearing his Sunoco uniform.

When I was a kid, I loved the fold-out maps Grandpa carried inside the station. Out back, he planted a strip of petunias and vegetables.  He knew how to make use of a small space for gardening.  When I visited, he would climb out of the pit where he worked under a car.  The most memorable part of the station for me was the lettering on the front door:

Adrian Zuidweg, Proprietor

A – Z Lubrication

I loved how it played off his initials A.Z.

"Adie" "Zuidy" by the pump

“Adie” “Zuidy” by the pump

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