Archive for December, 2013

Here’s another photo I need a little (OK, a lot of) help understanding.  Here is what I know:

  • The photo was in my aunt’s photo collection, and it presumably comes from photographs belonging to my father’s grandmother who lived in Elmhurst, Illinois
  • The family came from Budesheim, a village outside of Bingen. This is in the district of Bitburg-Prüm, in Rhineland-Palatinate, an area along the Rhine river in western Germany.
  • The family was Catholic.

What are the ways I can discover more about the photograph?  Any ideas on how to find information on the photographer? What do you think is the occasion of the photo? The girls’ dresses are what kind of lace? What is the pole behind the girls? Why does the window appear to be barred? Does the umlaut over the “a” in the photographer’s name indicate that the photograph was taken in Germany, rather than the United States?

I will say that from the time I first saw this photograph, because its appearance is so different from the rest of the family photographs, I assumed it was either brought with the family from Germany or was sent from a family member in Germany to my great-grandparents in the U.S.

Read Full Post »

My last post was about the Bataille branch of the family from Etaples, France.

On 5 May 1836, Karel Mulder married Rose Melanie Bataille in Goes. It appeared that her family had immigrated to the Netherlands from France, but then it also seems that the Netherlands was part of the French empire at the time.

Since then I’ve gotten more information from my friend Adri.  This is what he provided.

Rose’s father, Philippus Franciscus Bataille (Philippe Francois Marie), was born on January 28, 1772 at Wimille (near Boulogne in  France). His parents were Pierre Philippe Bataille and Marie Nicole Austrebeth Fontaine. Philippus died on April 28, 1818 at Goes.

Philippus was married on November 28, 1802 at Waterdijk (Holland) to Rosalie Goduin, daughter of Jean Goduin and Marie Jeanne Oudaert.  Rosalie was born in 1780 at Bevercamp (probably Belgium), died on December 7, 1802 at Waterdijk (Holland).

Then Philippus  was married to a second wife on July 31, 1805 at Waterdijk (Holland). This wife was Rose’s mother, Melanie Regina Barthaux (Melanie Berthaudt), daughter of Adrien Joseph Bertaux and Marie Joseph Godart.  Melanie was born on June 28, 1782 at Meenen (Belgium) and died on October 18, 1853 at Goes.

Here are the children of Philippus and Melanie–Rose and her siblings:

1  Caroline Ugenie Stephanie Bataille was born on May 2, 1806 at Hoek (Holland), died on December 10, 1878 at Goes.

2  Maria Joseph Bataille was born on October 11, 1807 at Hoek (Holland) , died on February 3, 1873 at Goes.

Maria was married on May 15, 1834 at Goes to Jan de Munck, son of Pieter de Munck and Martijna Sloover.  Jan was born in 1803 at Goes, died on September 19, 1847 there.

3  Rose Melanie Bataille was born in 1809 at Etaples (France), died on July 10, 1887 at Goes.

Rose was married to Karel Mulder, son of Carel Mulder and Johanna Cornaaij.  Karel was born on December 3, 1812 at Goes, died on January 3, 1870 there.

4  Pierre Philippe Bataille was born in 1812 at Outreau (France), see III.

5  Angelica Louise Bataille was born on November 17, 1813 at Goes, died on February 8, 1857 there.

Angelica was married on August 15, 1839 at Goes to Leonardus Johannes Theuns, son of Pieter Theuns and Helena Briens.  Leonardus was born on September 11, 1813 at Kattendijke, died on November 22, 1867 at Goes.

Leonardus was married on July 2, 1857 at Goes (2) to Adriana Meulblok, daughter of Quinten Meulblok and Anna Elizabeth van Steveninck. Adriana was born on November 5, 1829 at Heinkenszand.

6  Catharina Johanna Bataille was born on May 28, 1817 at Goes, died on December 23, 1817 there.

Here is a little more information about Rose’s brother, Pierre:

Pierre Philippe Bataille, son of Philippus Franciscus Bataille (Philippe Francois Marie) (II) and Melanie Regina Barthaux (Melanie Berthaudt), was born in 1812 at Outreau (France), died on June 21, 1857 at Goes.

Pierre was married on November 22, 1849 at Goes to Victoria van Ranst, daughter of Adriana Francisca van Ranst.  Victoria was born in 1824 at Doel (Belgium), died on July 9, 1868 at Goes.

Victoria was married on July 22, 1858 at Goes (2) to Jacobus van Buijsse, son of Frans van Buijsse and Aleida Groeneveld. Jacobus was born on February 21, 1815 at Goes, died on February 17, 1876 there. Jacobus was before married (1) to Maaijke van Brakel.

From the marriage of Pierre and Victoria:

Pierre Philippe Bataille was born on April 16, 1853 at Goes.

Here is the information that I wanted to know about Rose’s father.  

In 1802, Philippe was an “employ de la douane”. This means that he was a customs officer. In 1805, he was listed similarly.  In 1817, Philippe was a laborer. 

His father, Pierre, was “sous Lieutenant a la Douanes.”

Look at how the French empire is all in darker green and includes the Netherlands (and therefore Belgium, too)

Now go back and look at the birth places of Rose and her siblings. Her older siblings were born in Holland, not France. So either the father has been assigned to various customs ports and moves around and is clearly French. Or the family is more Belgian (see Rose’s mother’s birth place), which would have been part of the Netherlands at that time. Or the family could have been the descendents of Huguenots.

One last thing: Karel Mulder, the husband of Rose Bataille, and the great-great-grandfather of Grandma, is the brother of Grandpa’s great-grandmother.

We are getting closer with this wonderful information! The more I know, the more I want to know . . . .

Read Full Post »

As you know if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, a lot of my ancestors were Dutch people from the town of Goes in Zeeland, the Netherlands.

When I read the family tree information on these branches, I see that generation after generation comes from this one town–or from near by. But one ancestor stands out from the others, like an iris in a bouquet of tulips.

Her name was Rose Melanie Bataille, and she was born about 1810 in Etaples, France.

How did she wind up in Goes, 200 miles away and why?

Her father was François Marie Bataille. He was also known as Philip François Bataille. He died before 5 May 1836 in Goes, Zeeland, the Netherlands, which means that he must have immigrated with his family to the Netherlands from France. Rose’s mother was Melanie Berthany, who was born about 1782.

On 5 May 1836, Rose married Karel Mulder, a shoemaker. He owned 3/8 of a house and yard in the “Papegaaistraatje [Parrot Street]” district C nr. 97 on 3 January 1870 at section D nr. 278 in Goes. On the wedding document, Rose was listed as a servant and her mother  Melanie was listed as a laborer.

On 22 April 1881, Rose was still living in Goes, and she died there on 10 July 1887 at the age of 77, having outlived her husband by eleven years.

Here is the timeline:

Rose was born in Etaples, France, in 1810.

The family was living in Goes, the Netherlands, by 1836.

The family stayed in Goes and all died there.

So at some point between 1810 and 1836 the Bataille family left France for the Netherlands. Why?

Because I had always been told we had French Huguenot ancestry, I first thought of them. But a quick refresher on their history showed that their emigration from France to the Netherlands (and other countries) would have stopped by the time the Batailles moved.

Was it a reason to leave France or a reason to go to Holland?  I checked out the history of the Netherlands during this time period and guess what I found? That the French, thanks to Napoleon, kind of appropriated the Netherlands!  This is according to Wikipedia:

The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1839) (DutchVerenigd Koninkrijk der NederlandenFrenchRoyaume-Uni des Pays-Bas) is the unofficial name used to refer to theKingdom of the Netherlands (DutchKoninkrijk der NederlandenFrenchRoyaume des Pays-Bas) during the period after it was first created from part of the First French Empireand before the new Kingdom of Belgium split off from it in 1830. This state, a large part of which still exists today as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was made up of the former Dutch Republic (Republic of the Seven United Netherlands) to the north, the former Austrian Netherlands to the south, and the former Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The House of Orange-Nassaucame to be the monarchs of this new state.

Since the Netherlands was for a short period part of France at the time Rose was growing up, it might not have been a stretch for the family to move to Zeeland.

Without knowing her father’s occupation, it is hard to tell if it was easier to make a living in Goes than in Etaples, but Rose married Karel Mulder who was a shoemaker (it wouldn’t be a leap to guess that her father might have had a similar occupation).

Let’s take a look at Etaples.

The first thing I discovered is that Etaples has a Dutch connection from its very origins.  According to Wikipedia, “Étaples takes its name from having been a medieval staple port (stapal in Old Dutch), from which word the Old French word Estaples derives.”  So Etaples is a port city and Goes is also on a river and somewhat close to the sea. In 1807, the population of Etaples was 1,507. Goes was a much larger town. Perhaps the job opportunities were greater for Philip/François in Goes.

What is more puzzling is Rose’s religion. To marry Karel Mulder, she would have been Protestant, no doubt. But the period when France made it impossible to be a Protestant in that country meant that the Huguenots had either converted to Catholicism (about 3/4 of them) or had emigrated to other countries. How would the Batailles have still been Protestant in France?  Does anyone have any ideas about this?

Descendents of Rose Melanie Bataille and Karel Mulder

Karel Mulder and Rose Melanie Bataille had nine children. The oldest, Karel Mulder, was born 21 February 1837, Goes, Zeeland, the Netherlands and died 22 April 1881 in Goes. He and his wife, Johanna Boes, had several children, and Pieter Philip Mulder, born 1865 was my great-grandfather’s father, the generation to immigrate to the United States.

Karel Mulder and Rose Bataille


Karel Mulder and Johanna Boes


Pieter Philip Mulder and Neeltje Gorsse


Karel Pieter Philippus Mulder and Clara Waldeck


Lucille Edna Mulder and Adrian Zuidweg

(Yup, that’s my grandparents!)

Traditional Dutch clothing and house furnishings circa 1830

Traditional Dutch clothing and house furnishings circa 1830

Read Full Post »

Last month, I posted a link to an article in the Western Herald about my Dad’s Combat Veterans’ Writing Group. Dad’s story and others had been showcased in the article.

Dad has written another story about his experience in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  I’d like to share a bit of it with you. In this piece, he explains why it took a long time on the sea for him to arrive in Korea.

Let’s start at the beginning. His military service started in 1948. He was a graduate of Lane Tech High School in Chicago and had realized he did not want to work in a factory or a grocery store. He counted on the army to help him get to college via the G.I. Bill.

World War II was over and the close down of the army for its people and materials was on the downslide. My two-year enlistment was a growing time of my life. It opened up travel: Ford Knox (gold storage), black-and-white drinking fountains, Camp Carson (mountain troops), New York City, driving the old Alaskan highway, Whitehorse Yukon Territory Canada.

Dad also visited Washington, D.C., when he was at Quartermaster School.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By June 1950, Dad says, “my recall sent me back to Fort Knox for retraining with World War II veterans.” His enlistment had originally obligated him to a seven-year inactive tour, but this looked like change.

For two days we were issued tools and told to chop the corn down– (NO WAY!) All of these men were high-grade noncoms who had been commissioned officers during wartime conditions in World War II.

I asked Dad what “NO WAY” meant. Did they do it or didn’t they? Did they risk court-martial? He said the details are coming up in the next installment!

A few days later we boarded trains for Seattle, where we boarded the Navy troop ship, M.C. Meigs. The exact dates are foggy to me at this part of my journey. Once on board, we realized that half of the ship was the Canadian U.N. Army.

As the ship started out, we found that we were running north until we got to the Aleutian Islands and then for some reason we turned south, spending several days in Pearl Harbor. This was the first time I heard the song, “Harbor Lights.”

This video features Dinah Washington singing the 1950 version of “Harbor Lights.”

After 30 days, we arrived in Yokohama, Japan, where we were transferred to Camp Drake by Tokyo. After a few days, we departed for Inchon, Korea. We were lightly equipped and no personal arms.

The coincidence of this day was that the Chinese Army crossed the border, entering the Korean War: 3 November 1950. Chaos at that time was very evident to us. We were immediately loaded on a train for our destination, Pusan perimeter. As we moved south on the train, U.S. troops were suffering some of the worst part of the early part of the war: the retreat of our army!

The reason for the 30-day adventure was directly related to the Canadian UN troops. The Canadian government was not going to enter the war until the United Nations had declared it a Peace Action.

The REAL value of the story was not recognized by me until much later.

What Dad means is that because he had the luck to be connected with the Canadians at just that moment in time, he was “stalled” along with the Canadian troops until just after the worst danger was over.

This is how he tips his hat to the Canadians:

When playing golf now, I use a Canadian loonie to mark my golf ball.

Not being a golfer, I had to look up loonie because I might have gotten the wrong idea ;). However, it’s not about golf, but about it being Canadian. A loonie is a gold-colored Canadian one dollar piece, first created in 1987. Thank you, Wikipedia.

The U.S. Army Center of Military History has an online page devoted to the phase of the Korean War which began November 3, 1950, the day Dad landed at Inchon, the day the Chinese entered the Korean War.

Next up: I will start tackling my list, beginning with Etaples!

Read Full Post »

I have a lot of genealogy projects I need to work on and posts I want to write, but it’s a busy time of the year, and so I am going to use today’s post to make my list and to show you what will be coming up here as well (bolded will be blog posts):

  • I have more results from Yvette Hoitink to share. One is about the Mulder family and how they made their living in Goes, the Netherlands.  This also relates to me and an occupation I have had in my life. So have my parents and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Any guesses?
  • Work on the occupations of my family in the Netherlands.
  • Check into the location of Etaples.
  • Work on my tree branch that connects to the Van Gessel family.
  • Write a post about my (Klein) connections with the Van Gessel family.
  • Update my tree with all the new information I have gotten from many sources.
  • Go through new information from Grady.
  • Write a post on the Flipse update and the DeSmits (one or two posts)
  • I plan to reorganize the pages of this blog (not the posts, but the pages, which are tabbed at the top of the page). I want to organize pages by family branch: DeKorns, Zuidwegs, Mulders, etc. 
  • Brook Lodge
  • Harold Remine
  • Alice Leeuwenhoek Moerdyk
  • Organize newspaper clippings and photos and eventually prepare posts

After I do all the above, there will be plenty more to do, including finding out more about some of these photos I have. Here is one of a boy in “Nymegen,” according to the name on the photo. W. Ivens is the photographer.  But so many mysteries. Who is W. Ivens? When was the photograph taken? Is Nymegen the same city as Nijmegen? If so, it’s a city on the opposite (eastern) side of the Netherlands than my relatives came from. Nijmegen is almost to the German border. It’s on the Waal River, which is the main distributary branch of the Rhine River and flows through the Netherlands. Who is the boy? Why is he so far from Goes?

Read Full Post »

Since I haven’t had time to work on any of my larger genealogical projects, I thought I’d share a smaller one today.  This photo is from the Joseph DeKorn collection. He was my great-grandmother’s brother, and he took a great number of our family photos during the very early 1900s.

Because someone took the time to write on the back, I felt that this photo was important to someone in the family. In fact, I believe the handwriting belongs to Uncle Joe.

Timber trestle bridge over the Huron River at Ann Arbor was designed and built by Professor Charles Ezra Greene.

Timber trestle bridge over the Huron River at Ann Arbor was designed and built by Professor Charles Ezra Greene.

Here is what is written on the back:

This is the bridge across the Huron R. It was designed by the late Prof. Greene. The place where the posts are close together is where the [?] fell through. The track in the foreground is the Michigan Central. The Ann Arbor crosses the bridge.

Where the WHAT fell through?

Does that say “where the car fell through”? Did someone’s car fall between the posts into the river?

I looked on the internet and all I found was that in the Detroit River, during Prohibition, this happened, according to Wikipedia:

There was no limit on the methods used by rum-runners to import alcohol across the river. Government officials were unable or unwilling to deter the flow of alcohol coming across the Detroit River. In some cases, overloaded cars fell through the ice, and today, car parts from this illegal era can still be seen on the bottom of the river.

But that’s not the Huron River. And what time period are we talking about for this photo?

On the back, it says “the late Prof. Greene.” Here is biographical and obituary information about Professor Charles Ezra Greene. He died in 1903. So the photo was taken at some point after that.  A steel bridge eventually replaced this bridge, and it might have happened in 1924.

In this bio, we learn this about Professor Greene’s credentials:

[Professor Greene] entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Here he was graduated Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1868. From this time until 1870 he was Assistant Engineer on location and construction of the   and   Railroad in Maine. The next year he was United States Assistant Engineer on River and Harbor Improvements in Maine and New Hampshire, and was then appointed City Engineer of, where he also carried on a general practice until the summer of 1872. In that year he was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan, a position which he held to the time of his death, October 16, 1903. When the Department of Engineering was established as a separate organization in 1895, he was made its first dean. In 1884 he received the honorary degree of Civil Engineer from the University of Michigan. In addition to his duties as professor he carried on an extensive consulting practice. He was Chief Engineer of the Toledo, Ann Arbor, and Northern Railroad from 1879 to 1881; Superintending and Consulting Engineer of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad bridge at Toledo in 1881-1882; designer and Superintendent of the construction of the Ann Arbor water-works in 1885; and designer of the Ann Arbor sewerage system in 1890. He paid special attention to the invention and development of graphical methods of analysis of frames, bridges, and arches. He published several works which were well received by the profession and which have been used in designing important structures: “Graphical Analysis of Bridge Trusses” (1874); “Trusses and Arches, Part I, Roof Trusses (1876), Part  , Bridge Trusses (1878), Part  , Arches (1879) “; “Structural Mechanics” (1897). He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; also of the Michigan Engineering Society, of which he was president for three terms. In 1872 he was married to Florence Emerson, of  , Maine, who with their two children survives him, – Albert Emerson (Ph.B. 1895, B.S. [ ] 1896) and Florence   (A.B. 1903).

Joseph DeKorn attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I’ll make a guess he took the photo when he was a student at Michigan. This helps narrow down the date of the photo because Uncle Joe was born in 1881, so he would have been studying at the university in the first few years of the 20th century.

Joseph Peter DeKorn (photography by Marion Studio)

Joseph Peter DeKorn (photography by Marion Studio)

What is perhaps very telling is that Uncle Joe studied Civil Engineering, so perhaps he was a student of Professor Greene before the man died.  It does sound as thought Professor Greene taught up to the last. It also sounds as if he was an amazing teacher. At the least, Joe would have learned of Greene’s influence in the classroom.

Joseph DeKorn stayed true to his studies and went on to become Chief or Supervisor of City Light and Water for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Additional information provided by my uncle in a comment to this post: Charles E. Greene was indeed Joe DeKorn’s prof. He learned both what to do and what not to do from him! Joe DeKorn was in charge of building the Grand Rapids water system which to this day draws it’s primary water from Lake Michigan.  As Uncle Don says, it was a big project!

What do you think that he writes on the back of the photo? Does it say car or cars? Or something else?


This article is from the January 29, 1904 Kalamazoo Gazette.

There is a long article in the Ann Arbor Argus-Democrat on the same day. It indicates a dispute over the cause of the accident and says that actually 13 cars were destroyed.  But the bottom line is that it was NOT a defect in the bridge that caused the accident, but a broken flange on a coal car.

Read Full Post »

First things first:  Happy Birthday, Mom!!! xoxo

Some time ago I wrote about Mom’s grandmother, Clara Waldeck Mulder, and her family in “I Uncovered a Stunning Clue in My Search.” I explained that I had had difficulty discovering any information about Clara’s mother. Her name was Alvena, and I had a photo with her in it, but her last name seemed to lead to a dead-end–as they say in specific genealogy jargon, I’d hit a brick wall.  Heh.

My mitochondrial DNA comes to me from her: Alvena to Clara to my grandmother Edna to my mother (who turns XX years old today) to me.

Alvena married Gottfried (Godfrey) Waldeck, and they had perhaps ten children. Clara was the youngest. Eventually I found that Alvena’s maiden name was Noffke, and I discovered on Ancestry that there are lots of descendents of Alvena and Godfrey throughout southern Michigan.

I have made contact with two people who share this ancestry. The female relative and I have DNA hits on both Ancestry and 23andme. She is from this Waldeck/Noffke branch. I also “met” a man with the last name Noffke and we are actually related in the same way, except that his dad was adopted so when he takes the DNA test, his results won’t help us narrow in on anything.

When I found the female relative, she gave me a copy of the minutes from years of family reunions. This report documents births, deaths, etc. I felt at that time that I was closer to finding out more about the Noffkes and to discovering where the Waldecks and the Noffkes came from.

We’ve always been told they were from Germany, although some documents I’ve read online say “Prussia.”

Germany at the time that Alvena's parents were born

Germany at the time that Alvena’s parents were born

But what now?

The concept of “Germany” could mean different things to different people in the 19th century, when the family emigrated. My 23andme report shows that I have at least one Polish gene. Could it be from that branch of the family?

How can I locate the area of Europe, even the town or village, that my ancestors came from?

I do have the names of Alvena’s parents. They are Ludwig (Louis) and Dora Couch. Couch doesn’t sound like a German name to me. It seems to be an English name. But where could that come from?

Brick walls are crazy-making.

Any ideas on where to go from here?

Read Full Post »