Archive for May, 2014

I shared a couple of photographs of my artist mother-in-law the other day. They were from the 60s and early 70s and had turned yellow. I was very frustrated with the damage to the photos.


Paula Taylor saved the day by converting them to black and white photos. Here you can see the changes:

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And here:


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I’m really happy with them. Thanks, Paula!Enhanced by Zemanta

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Let’s go back to George Paake/Paak/Peek/Pake today.

I mentioned that George was married at least three times–possibly as many as five times. It was pointed out to me that it would be very unlikely that George was married more than three times.

Take a look at the timeline:

George immigrated to the United States when he was ten or eighteen years old. I have conflicting sources on this. Either way, he married his first wife, Lucy Kliphouse, in Kalamazoo, on December 17, 1886, when he was 36 years old. The couple had five children, named after the grandparents. George was married to Lucy for fourteen years, when she passed away.

In 1902, at the time of the fire, George was a widower.

On April 15, 1906, George married Esther M. Cook. Adri van Gessel mentioned to me that by February 14, 1906,  the oldest daughter Cora (who, according to the newspaper article about the fire, was taking care of the household) was already married, so there was no one to take charge of the house. On Nov 21, 1907, Esther died of pneumonia.

On July 11, 1908 George was married to Addie Amelia Gifford (Wilder). Addie seems to have outlived George.

  • According to the 1910 Census, George (listed as Joseph G. Peake) was still married to Addie. He was listed with his wife Addie, his daughter Fanny, his son George, and Addie’s daughter Florence Wilder (from her previous marriage).
  • According to the 1920 Census, George (listed as George J. Pake) was still married to Addie. He was listed with his wife Addie, his son George, and Addie’s daughter Florance D. Wilder.

George died on December 9, 1925 after being married to Addie for seventeen years.

This photo of George (using the spelling Pake) and Addie and their family was taken not long before he passed away.



A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902


Saved from the Fire


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Although I’m in such a busy period that I can’t work on genealogy, I do have my daughter’s help right now to scan some old photos, so I will post some of them while I am too busy for research.

On the back of this photo it says Frank Tazelaar (near Whistle Stop).

Frank Tazelaar near Whistle Stop Kalamazoo

Frank Tazelaar
near Whistle Stop

So I looked up Frank Tazelaar on my family tree. Sure enough, he’s on there. He was born January 17, 1876 in the Netherlands, to Pieter Tazelaar and Adriana Bek. The family immigrated to the United States when he was 12, in 1888. On July 9, 1906, he married Genevieve Remine in Chicago. Genevieve was my first cousin 3x removed. Frank died in 1950.

So what is “Whistle Stop”? It’s the train station. But when I tried to figure out if it was the same Whistle Stop where my friends and I used to go to eat and drink (and a building that my father owned) or if it was the other train depot (where we owned a concession stand with my father), I discovered that there were actually seven train stations in Kalamazoo. Here is a fascinating article that says that Kalamazoo may have had more train depots than any other city. I am going to tentatively assume that this photo was taken near what I knew as the Whistle Stop.

Here is a painting my mother-in-law did of the Whistle Stop. I apologize for the flaws in my copies on the computer for the next two photos.

The Whistle Stop  Kalamazoo

The Whistle Stop

And here is one she painted of the other train depot:

Train depot Kalamazoo

Train depot

OK, dad correct me if I made any mistakes!

What does the date on the photo of Frank Tazelaar say? Is it 1904 or 1914?

Be sure to note the type of rig he was driving, the dog, and his clothing compared with the men up on the roof. What is that pole thing coming down from up there? What do you think Gaslight means? The mark (pencil or crayon?) going through the photo wasn’t noticeable until my daughter scanned it. And thanks to Amberly at The Genealogy Girl she is scanning into .tif files.

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In the past few months I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had time to work at genealogy the way I wish. I have a lot of wonderful material on the Paak family, which has been given to me by Professor Edgar Lawrence. I also have some interesting material to share from Elmhurst research about the Klein and Van Gessel families.

But am I sharing any of it in this post? No. I want to do a good job of pulling it together, and I can’t do that now, as overworked busy as I am. Instead, I thought I would share a photo from the Kalamazoo of my youth.  On the right side, you can see my mother-in-law, the artist Diana Dale Castle. I wrote about her in my post The Todd House.

She’s at Bronson Park, which is the town square of Kalamazoo. When I was growing up, the park was surrounded by the “First Churches” of Kalamazoo (First United Methodist, etc.) and City Hall. Its enormous oak trees had sheltered Abraham Lincoln when he gave a speech in Kalamazoo.  The park had the best Christmas decorations every year, and everything from political rallies to art fairs were held there.

My mother-in-law used to show her art at the art fairs.

Here is my MIL painting in her New York City apartment in the 1950s. Look at how horribly yellow the photograph has turned! Do you know if this can be fixed–and how to fix it?

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Cora Wilhelmina DeKorn Zuidweg and her son Adrian Zuidweg Kalamazoo, Michigan circa 1910

Cora Wilhelmina DeKorn Zuidweg and her son Adrian Zuidweg
Kalamazoo, Michigan
circa 1910

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This post is dedicated to my mother. I grew up in the same town she did–Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Zuidwegs and Mulders and DeKorns and Paaks and Waldecks and Noffkes and Gorsses and Bomhoffs are her relatives and ancestors. I “inherited” them from her.

But I always assumed that my interest in local and family history came from my father who enjoys history and always has been a magnet for “old stuff.”  He’s also a collector, whereas my mother (other than collecting her beautiful bells) prefers to start fresh with new and not keep  a lot of “old stuff” hanging around the house.

As I’ve gotten older, I see that it’s not quite that simple. But I still didn’t realize where my interest actually originated until last week. Suddenly, I knew: Aha!

My interest in vintage American culture, local history, and my family (and by extension, this blog) developed when my grandmother babysat me. My mother’s bedroom still had her books, miniature collection, hope chest treasures, and the little “dickies” she wore with her sweaters. Dickies were collars that made it look as if she were wearing white blouses under her sweaters.

Mom's dickies were like the style in the upper right

Mom’s dickies were like the style in the upper right

So while my love of history was nurtured by my father, what really triggered my love of the old was finding the scrapbooks my mother had made when she lived at home with her mom and dad.

Born in 1934, she was an inveterate scrapbooker. Her scrapbooks collected American culture of the 1940s, as seen by a middle-class girl. I learned about Shirley Temple and Frank Sinatra. About what color lipstick and nail polish to wear for my complexion. If I’d found the original teen magazines that her clippings came from, it wouldn’t have been as interesting. This was the culture through the prism of my mother’s perspective. That made it closer to how I would have seen the world if I had been born in 1934.

Many of the scrapbooks made it to my house, and I remember being eleven and looking at them stacked on the shelf of my closet, happy that I had these mementos.

Of course, eventually my mother, true to her nature, got rid of the scrapbooks ;). I don’t remember when or how, but I don’t think they exist any longer.

My mother’s love of scrapbooking didn’t disappear with the old scrapbooks, thank goodness. One by one, she’s made scrapbooks for each of her children and grandchildren.  Our lives as prismed through Mom’s perspective. Pretty neat.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Mom, the oldest, with her two siblings

Mom, the oldest, with her two siblings

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Let’s continue the Paake/Paak/Peek/Pake family saga.

I grew up not knowing that great-great-grandmother Alice had had a brother named George. When I discovered him, it was, in part, because of a newspaper clipping I found among the family papers. I’ve already written about George’s family here:

A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902


Saved from the Fire

In the Paak-a-Boo post, I contemplated whether an unidentified photo I owned could be George Paake, based on the resemblance to great-great-grandmother Alice.

It turns out we still don’t know who is in that photo, but I now know what George looked like!


Here is a photo of Lucy Kliphouse (her name was Anglicized from the original Dutch: Lukkien Kliphuis ), the mother of George’s five children.

This is his first wife. After she passed away in 1900 (two years before the fire), George went on to marry a few other women. It’s said he might have had five wives.

Stay tuned for more information about the leaves and blossoms of George’s branch of the family!

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