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Archive for March, 2016

This week I discovered a photo from the bunch that Grandpa had identified that I had not yet scanned.

So I scanned it.

 

And then I scanned the back of it.

Here is what it says:

Bessie Klosterman / Pete DeBoer shot (and killed) her mother

The name Klosterman (Kloosterman) sounded familiar to me, so I looked on the census pages where my family lived. I found her family in the general neighborhood. Then when I went back to look again, I lost them. Now I don’t know which census I found them in–or on what street. This is what happens when I try to “skim” something in the middle of working! So that is going to take more searching.

In the meantime I went to Genealogy Bank, but I couldn’t find any stories relating to a shooting involving a Klosterman or a DeBoer (or denBoer either). I can’t even find Bessie in a search for documents on Ancestry.

This is obviously a very sad (and unknown to me) story, and the fact that Grandpa had her photograph shows that the families were close.

UPDATE:

A friend saw my post on Facebook and said Bessie might have been:

Elizabeth Klosterman born 13 Sept 1883 Kalamazoo died 27 Jun 1962
Husband Henry. Hindrik H Ouding
Parents: Louise Newhouse and Peter Kloosterman

Off to check on that tip!

Better yet: here is the 1900 census showing Bessie and her brother Peter living with their maternal grandfather!

1900 Newhouse censusToday I will update you where the search has taken me. I will post a page of the 1894 Michigan census.
To sum up my findings:

1894 Michigan census

At 1137 South Burdick St. lived:

CORNELIUS DEBOER, 40 years old

Wife MARY DEBOER, 33 years old

Step children (of Cornelius)

1880 Elizabeth, 14

John, 12

Peter, 10

Cornelius, 8

The children were all born in Michigan, the adults in Netherlands.

At same house lived John DeKorte (father, widower). Could be an error in spelling or could be another explanation.

Cornelius was a labor, Mary a housekeeper, Elizabeth “at home,” and the boys at school.

The census indicates that Elizabeth has not attended school that census year, though the boys have.

Cornelius has only been in the US for 6 years (1888 arrival) and Mary for 25 years (since 1869 when she was 8 years old).

1900 federal census:

At 1645 S. Burdick Street lived:

Peter Newhouse, born 1839, 61 years old, an invalid, arrived from Netherlands 1868

Peter Klosterman, grandson, born 1885 so 15 years old, working as “callander man”

1882 Elizabeth Klosterman, granddaughter, born 1882 so 18 years old, can’t read her occupation

Both children born in Michigan

According to Ancestry trees, Elizabeth Klosterman was born 13 Sept 1883 in Kalamazoo and died 27 Jun 1962. Her husband was Henry or Hindrik H Ouding. And her parents were Louise Newhouse and Peter Kloosterman. She could also be Louisa or Louiza.

I wondered if there could be errors involved and if John and Cornelius had died, but I found a Cornelius Kloosterman, born 1889, who died in1973 and is buried at Mount Ever-rest.

Either they are two different families or the children were split between two families. This is a possibility because Grandpa Newhouse was an invalid and maybe two of the kids were there to take care of him.

I have to leave the Klostermans for now as I must return to searches for my own family (not to mention work haha). But I feel that the answers about Bessie’s mother and family will eventually fall into place.

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My 3rd great uncle, Charles Noffke, married Louisa Rutkofski. This event must have occurred back in the “old country.” Just where the old country was has not yet been determined. All I know is that the Noffkes (and the Waldecks) were some sort of “German.” They might have been from Pomerania, but maybe not. The Waldecks-Noffkes had regular family reunions for years, decades actually, and yet their origins are more murky than my other branches. It would make sense if these people came from an area that is now Poland because I do have Polish DNA, but also it might fit Louisa’s maiden name (which can be German or Polish, according to trusty Google).

Anyway, I am writing about the disturbing story of Louisa’s death. Charles, who was born in 1843, passed away on 26 May 1897 in Caledonia, Michigan, where the family had settled. Louisa, born 24 April 1845, never married again and passed away on 6 July 1920. So she lived alone, presumably, for many of those 23 years. The couple had two children, a son Herman, born 1871 and a daughter, Clara, born 1875. Herman was married in 1900 and Clara may have married soon after.

I had never heard of Louisa until I began to do family history research, particularly on Ancestry.com. That’s when the Noffkes began to populate my family tree. She threatened to remain an enigma because I had little information and, after all, she is not such a very close relative.

But when I plugged the name Noffke into the newspaper database on Genealogy Bank, I was startled to learn the circumstances of Louisa’s death.

 

Clothing torn from her body? Some articles of clothing missing? Trampled weeds along the lakeshore? Scratches and bruises on the body?

DEATH FROM INDIGESTION?

It sure sounds as if she was murdered.

Clearly this shows that an investigation was opened into her death.

THEN SILENCE. Nothing else appears in the newspaper except information about probate of her estate.

What do you think happened to her?

For a link to a beautiful image of the lake go here.

***

Adding Louisa’s death certificate, thanks to Su Leslie’s comment. Notice that the cause of death is even stranger: that she died by drowning in the lake while ill with acute indigestion. HUH? And notice that there is no DOB, although they seem to know her age in days. There are no parents listed, although her only son gave the information. I can’t tell who signed the certificate because of the spot on the paper.

One more thing. Her daughter Clara died eight years later, at age 53, in bed–dead from the gas from a coal stove.

 

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One of the wonderful benefits of blogging about family history and genealogy is learning from my fellow bloggers. Last week I read a post by Amberly, The Genealogy Girl, about a site called Genealogy Gophers. I’d never heard of it, but she made it sound easy (and free), so I hopped over to the site and entered (somewhat randomly) one of my family surnames in the search form.

“Zuidweg” brought up several entries because I hadn’t narrowed down to time or place. This isn’t surprising because my Dutch cousin Elly thinks that Zuidweg might be a fairly common name, especially in Zeeland.

Before I could search the entries  individually, one popped up, clamoring for attention. It was one of those rare finds that I probably could have never found without this source.

An Honor Roll

Containing a Pictorial

Record of the War Service

of the Men and Women of

Kalamazoo County

1917-1918-1919

The entry in this book mentions my great-great-grandmother Jennie Zuidweg. Born Jennegien Bomhoff on 5 March 1838 in Zwolle, Overjissel, Netherlands, Jennie married Johannes Zuidweg in 1869, at age 31. She was a maid at that time and both her parents had already passed away. They had 3 children, but Lucas passed away at age 21. In 1901, Jennie and Johannes immigrated to the United states. She was sixty-three years old. She was older than I am. I can’t imagine uprooting my life at that age and moving so far away that I would never be able to return to the country I’d lived in all those years.

Johannes died in 1911, when Jennie was 73. She lived on, a widow, until her death in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on 16 December 1924 at the age of 86. My grandfather was the only child of her remaining son, Adriaan. He was 16 when his grandmother died. She had many grandchildren through her daughter Johanna VanLiere.

Between the death of Johannes and her own death, WWI occurred. So what was Jennie doing with her time when she was 80 years old?

According to this honor roll she had some remarkable knitting skills.

Jennie Zuidweg knit 38 pairs of socks 1917-1918

The Social Service Club had five centers in Kalamazoo. During 1917-1918 women who volunteered for these centers contributed a total of:

128 sweaters

14 caps

148 pair of socks

148 pair of wristlets

34 helmets

37 mufflers

5 wash cloths

Kalamazoo Country contributed a total of 514 knitted articles, 377 sewn articles, as well as 600 shot bags and 1,000 gun wipes.

The only volunteer singled out here is Mrs. Jennie Zuidweg, 80 years of age, at the Burdick Street Center, (who) knit 38 pairs of socks.

I used to knit when I was a kid, and socks sound like a lot of boring work to me. That is true dedication.

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In my post, Mulders Everywhere, I wrote about finding Merry, my 2nd cousin, 1x removed. I mentioned that Merry is the granddaughter of my great-grandfather Charles Mulder’s younger brother, Henry (born Hendrik). We are all descended from Pieter Philippus and Neeltje (Peter and Nellie) Mulder who arrived in Grand Rapids with two babies.

Great-grandpa was the oldest child. Henry was in the middle of the family, born April 19, 1897, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a stonecutter who engraved monuments.

Henry married Hettie Mae Simpson. I think Hettie was known as Mae. Merry, please let me know where I’m wrong and what I should add!! By the way, do you know his middle name? Did it begin with a J?

Here are photos of Henry and Mae from Merry.

 

More photos of Henry and Mae:

 

A very cute couple!

Henry and Mae had four lovely children: Eloise/Fern, James, Mary Ellen, and Judith. All four children were born in the 1920s.

Henry and Mae: each with their four children

 Henry passed away from tuberculosis in a sanitarium on May 27, 1947. According to Merry:

He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids. I was 2 years old when he died so I do not remember him at all. I do know that my mom took me to the sanitariium so he could see me but she had to stand across the room at a distance for this. A few years ago I had my mom write about both of her parents and this is what she said. “My dad, Henry, was a very gifted man. He had a beautiful singing voice, played the violin and could draw beautifully. Dad only got to see 2 or 3 of his grandchildren as he spent the last 4 years in a hospital with TB. He loved children. Dad was a good father. He wanted the best for his children. Dad died at the age of 50, too young.”

My great-grandfather also had TB and sometimes had to spend time at a sanitarium. I remember visiting him there.

It means a lot to me that Merry and I have found each other because my great-grandfather was very overtaken with grief when Henry passed away far too early. They must have been quite close.

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Actually the house was right in the middle of the city, not in the woods, but that sounds nice–very Ingalls-Wilder-ish.

A while back I posted a photo of a house with Alice Leeuwenhoek standing in front of it on Thanksgiving 1907. The address on the back was 126 Balch Street, which didn’t seem to conform to current addresses. I asked a lot of questions about it. Uncle Don explained that were some buildings behind the houses on the street.

 

126 Balch Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Then I heard from Jill-O, a librarian in Kalamazoo. (P.S. You will love her blog so go check it out!)

Here are the results of her research in a 1908 insurance street map of Kalamazoo:

Jill-O says:

It looks like the numbers are in the same location as today. There are a couple of outbuildings behind 126, so either the house was torn down and rebuilt, or the one of the outbuildings was used.

Here is the house that  is on the street, numbered 126, today.

Let’s look at the pic and think back to 1907. In the photo you can see an outbuilding behind the house, so it’s unlikely that it’s off the street, behind another building. But if it was 126, wouldn’t the outbuilding be poking out on the other side? And wouldn’t the house be larger? As to the second question, maybe not. The house shows one room and behind it another room, so maybe from the photo we can’t see the depth of the house. As to the first question, what if the photo is reversed? I don’t know too much about the process of taking photos or developing them in those days, and maybe the photo is reversed.

OR. What if this is an outbuilding and that building off to the left is a house on the street from another angle?

The more answers I find, the more questions I have. I think my husband is right: I ask way too many questions.

This map is invaluable to me because so many of my relatives lived in this neighborhood. I am going to use it to plug in the addresses on the census reports–yippee!!!

Thank you, Jill-O!

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