Archive for June, 2014

In Part I, I introduced George’s middle child, Theresa Pake, who was born in 1893.


Professor Lawrence has put much effort into piecing together his mother’s educational history.

At some point Theresa lived with foster parents, Una Orline and Oliver Oratio Pickard.  Prof. Lawrence thinks she maybe have gone to live with them as early as age six, which would mean she wasn’t under the care of her older sister. However, the newspaper article about the fire in 1902 would show that she was still living at home at the time of the fire (nearly 8 years old). Regardless, at some point, the Pickards became the caregivers of Theresa. None of the other children in the family seem to have gone to live with the Pickards.

The Pickards sent Theresa to Jennings Seminary, a private Methodist school in Aurora, Illinois, from 1911 – 1913.  Here  is a link to the history of Jennings Seminary, but to give you an idea, it was a school for young ladies and once considered one of the finest private high schools in the middle west.

Jennings Seminary

Jennings Seminary

From there, Theresa went to Chicago Evangelistic Institute. After studying at CEI from 1913-1915, she graduated from the missionary course.

Theresa moved on to Western State Normal School’s High School Department.  She attended the program for at least the school year of 1916-17, participating in a play (where she played “mother-in-law”) and gave a speech advocating Republican Charles Evans Hughes (who was supported by Teddy Roosevelt) as the next President of the United States. She took classes such as anatomy, chemistry, French, and children’s literature.  Western was a teaching college, and the high school department was designed to not only give an excellent education to its students, but to provide a sort of student teaching experience for the college teaching students who planned to teach in high schools. Theresa graduated, at the age of 24, in June 1917 with 27 other graduates. At this time, it is possible that Theresa planned to become a teacher.

Here is a description in the yearbook about the high school program at the teaching college:

Here is Theresa’s yearbook photo. Note that in the above portrait, Theresa is not wearing glasses, but in the yearbook photograph she is wearing them. I think it’s likely she began to wear them in her early 20s.

In 1919, Theresa went to Wilmore, Kentucky, to attend Asbury College. At that time, Mrs. O. O. Pickard, at 1846 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, Michigan, was listed as her parent, so Theresa still was being educated under the guidance of the Pickards. Theresa had matriculated at age 25 with the intention of becoming a missionary. She attended Asbury for four semesters, from 1919-1921.

But Theresa’s education was far from over!

A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902


Saved from the Fire

Who is George Paake, Sr.?

Curious about George

George Paake’s Legacy, Part I


Read Full Post »

In continuing the story of the Paake/Paak/Peek/Pake family, I will share with you what I’ve discovered about George’s family.

Today the subject is my first cousin 3x removed, daughter Theresa Pake, the mother of Professor Edgar Lawrence, the man who shared the photos and stories of this branch of my family.

Theresa was born Tracy Paak, on October 2, 1893, in Oshtemo, Michigan. Oshtemo is very close to Kalamazoo.


Although her birth certificate says her name was Tracy, and her siblings called her Tracy, Theresa always referred to herself as Theresa, so that is how I will refer to her.  Her parents were George and Lucy Paak (note that the birth certificate calls the mother Lizzie), who were both born in the Netherlands. Theresa’s mother died on May 28, 1900, when Theresa was only 6.5 years old. Theresa had two older sisters, one younger sister, and her brother George was the youngest of all the children.

According to the article about the fire that destroyed their residence in 1902, Cora, the oldest child, was taking care of the household and the children. That makes sense because she was fourteen, and the other children were far too young.  So at a very young age, Theresa had to go from living in a home nurtured by a mother to having a young teen sister “playing” mother to her and her siblings.

In this photo, Theresa is quite young. She is not yet wearing glasses. I took the liberty of altering the photo by using a sepia finish, as well as by adding a frame.

The following might be my favorite photograph of Theresa (also note that she is not wearing glasses). She looks so happy. She also looks like a girl who loves babies.  The photograph is from 1912.


For my next Paak post I plan to share photographs and information about Theresa’s education and career plans.

A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902


Saved from the Fire

Who is George Paake, Sr.?

Curious about George


Read Full Post »

Happy Father’s Day to my father this Sunday!

For Father’s Day last year, I posted about my dad’s military service here. In light of the holiday, I thought I would share with you something about my dad. He has two speeds: 1) keep going (hyper) and 2) asleep. I’m kind of like that myself, which is why I am always doing something. If I’m not doing work-work, I’m puttering around the house, doing “stuff.” Blogging even ;).

My dad has a pole barn with a full workshop, and he has a basement with lots of stuff going on down there, too. He likes to make arty crafts and give them away to people. He doesn’t sell them, but he always is making something for somebody else.  He is a wood-worker and also crafts really cool scrap metal sculptures.

Here’s another one where I used Picmonkey’s Boost feature to pop a photo with mediocre lighting and bad loading:

Scrap metal sculpture bird (with rock ant in foreground)

He’s also took some pretty scrubby lake property and turned it into a beautiful garden.

Since this is a family history blog, I thought I would show a photo of his grandfather’s property outside his beautiful house in Elmhurst in the 20s and 30s. It looks like Frank Klein, my father’s grandfather, built a gazebo, fish pond, and rock garden. They also had a garden. Sounds familiar . . . .

In the photo, Dad is the twin boy with the lighter hair. His sister is the older girl, and the man is his uncle. The little girl might have been a neighbor child.



Read Full Post »

I started this blog in September 2012 with three private posts and then didn’t write again until November. The idea was that I would start to put the photos and stories I had accumulated “out there” for family members to access. Although the details aren’t that memorable to me, it seems that I switched to public but didn’t tag the posts at first, hoping that the posts wouldn’t get picked up by Google. That way, relatives could easily find the blog, but I was in hopes that nobody else would find it.

It didn’t take too long to see that some family members (Hi, Mom and Dad haha) and a few friends liked the blog and I thought it might be better just to tag the posts and connect with other WordPress bloggers. What I had seen of the bloggers working on family histories interested me a lot, so I wanted to feel more involved.

I had no idea what would happen. No, I don’t have an amazing number of blog followers, but those that do follow tend to be loyal and friendly. They are also kind and generous and have helped with looking at the details in photographs and giving me clues about where to search–as well as giving me some behind the scenes help.  You know who you are and you are fabulous.

Another aspect of blogging that I could not have predicted is how many wonderful non-bloggers have found the blog through internet searches and have shared information with me. I hesitate to name people because I don’t want to leave anybody out, so I will list just a few of the insights I’ve gained from these generous souls.

  • One of the biggest mysteries was the Paak family fire and that branch of the family–now I have info and photos to sort through and a new “cousin”
  • Information and photographs about my great-great grandfather Richard DeKorn’s second wife and her daughters.
  • Dates and names beyond count from a very kind and hardworking soul in the Netherlands
  • Through the previous individual, I found a first cousin once removed (I think that’s right) with a big heart–and photos and info–from my dad’s family
  • Photos and information of my ancestors in the Netherlands
  • Found the Noffke line
  • Found out more about the Jenny DeKorn Culver family–and received the gorgeous album of photographs and postcards
  • Information and photographs relating to Ramona Park, Long Lake, and the Waruf family
  • Learned more about the Bosman family
  • Learned more about the VanLiere family and corresponded with that branch and, yes, photos
  • Traced a branch from the Netherlands to the Holland area of Michigan
  • Identification of various photographs

I could continue as there are more goodies that have come my way since starting this blog. I am so grateful for the generosity of everyone involved. If I had kept this blog just to “us,” I wouldn’t have known how large my family truly is and how kind strangers can be.

That’s all I wanted to talk about today: how grateful I am and how thrilling it is to look back at all the information that has been shared here from such generous souls.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

In January I published a post called A Sister and Her Family: How Can I Find Out More?. At the time I was wishing for more information on the family of my great-great-grandfather’s sister, Jennie DeKorn Culver, and her family. They had moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle, Washington, over a hundred years ago, but there the trail ran cold.

Readers were very generous with their suggestions, and as I delve more deeply into this branch I plan to act on more of them.

In the meantime, at the end of April the ideal person, a woman named Joyce, a complete stranger to me and to my family, read my blog post and commented. She had a photo album of family photos that belonged to one of the Culvers!

The story of how this album came into Joyce’s possession is a study in respect and appreciation for history and family. Joyce’s father worked at a retirement community with nursing facilities called Bayview Manor in Seattle. Joyce says, “When the residents left, what ever was left in their apartments was given or thrown away. The things thrown, my father liked to pick up, as a lot was still usable. This album was one of them.” Joyce has kept the album for thirty years.

And now she has given it to me for our family. What a kindness. My daughter plans to scan the photos, and I will get Joyce a copy of them. And I plan to post some of the photos over a few posts after they are scanned. They are absolutely beautiful.

Here is a sample:


Imagine how I felt when I pulled this album out of the shipping carton!

Many of the photos are loose.

But some are affixed. These will be harder to scan.

Look at their lovely outfits!
I have not yet discovered which Culver left the album at Bayview Manor, but Jennie’s daughter Rhea died in 1976, which is 38 years ago. I have not yet found sister Lela’s obituary, but she was still alive in 1964.

Thank you so much, Joyce, for this wonderful treasure. My family and I thank you for your great kindness and compassion.

Read Full Post »