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Archive for April, 2017

Frank Tazelaar was married to one of the daughters of my great-great-grandmother’s sister. He’s the husband of my first cousin 3x removed. Yup, that is easy to remember, right? Remember the Paak/Peek sisters and brother? Mary Peek (the spelling she used) married Richard Remine. For decades I thought there were four Remine children: Jenny, Genevieve, Therese (Tracy), and Harold. I had information for all four. But after more work, I finally found a very important divorce record and now know that Jenny and Genevieve were the same person.

This is Jenny (when she was younger) or Genevieve (once she was married to Frank Tazelaar). My grandfather identified her as Jane, so she might have used that name when she was young also. Her grandmother’s name had been Jana. I will refer to her as Genevieve because that is the name she ended up using for decades.

Here is Frank:

But why am I writing about Frank Tazelaar now? Because Sharon Ferraro is researching the effects of the influenza pandemic in 1918 in Kalamazoo. And Frank’s name is on the list as someone who contracted the illness and survived. It does not appear that he was treated at a hospital. He was ill and off work for ten days and then was able to go back to “his store.” In the 1920 census he was listed as a salesman/buyer in a clothing shop (same entry in the 1930 census). On the influenza document, his wife is listed as Genevieve and they lived at 124 N. West. Although I have verified that this information is correct, I have never heard of that street in Kalamazoo.

Genevieve was born 24 June 1881 in Kalamazoo, the first child of her parents, Richard and Mary. She was first married to a man she might have met in Chicago. His name was Harry Cohn. They were married in Paw Paw, Michigan, on 29 January 1903, when she was 21 years old. Three years later, on 23 June, 1906, they were divorced. The grounds were listed as “desertion,” but who deserted whom? If that was really what happened. Apparently, though, they had not been together for quite some time because about two weeks later, on 9 July 1906, Genevieve and Frank married in Chicago.

Frank was born in Wissenkerke, Netherlands, on 18 January 1876, to Peter Tazelaar and Adriana Bek Tazelaar. When he was a boy, his family moved from Holland to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was a few years older than Genevieve. His native tongue was Dutch, whereas Genevieve was American-born. It’s hard to imagine what happened with Genevieve’s first marriage or how she happened to marry Frank–and what the Chicago connection was between Genevieve, Frank, and Harry. In fact, unless she went away to Chicago to school, I can’t imagine her leaving her parents’ home by the age of 21. Was she sent away for some reason? Since she never had any children, it’s less likely that she was pregnant, although always possible. 

Genevieve did not have children with either Harry or with Frank. When Genevieve passed away on 17 September 1930 of appendicitis (leading to gangrene and peritonitis), the couple was living at 423 S. Westnedge with her parents, Mary and Richard. That must have been awkward because on 21 March 1932 he married Bernice Dayton, the manager of “Lerner Shop.” Could this be the same Lerner store (part of the nationwide chain) that I grew up with? It’s likely because the Lerner Shops were first opened in 1918. (As a cool aside, the uncle of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was one of the two founders).

Here is another photo of Frank Tazelaar, at the Whistle Stop in Kalamazoo, on 15 February 2014, four years before he contracted the flu.

Frank Tazelaar
near Whistle Stop
Kalamazoo

As with most of my other blog posts, this story is ripe for more research. In particular, I’d like to search City Directories for addresses and businesses, as well as the local newspaper for articles about the couple and, possibly, “his” store.

OK, I peeked. There are many Kalamazoo Gazette articles about Frank. In fact, there are over 50 articles! Let’s see what we can find . . . next time.

But it won’t be ready until after my son’s wedding, so I will post Frank’s shenanigans on May 1!

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, was born 105 years ago today. This is a page from her 1929 high school graduation scrapbook. There is a photo of Grandma–maybe her senior pic–and one of Grandma (the Class Historian), Blanche Stauffer (Valedictorian), and Grandma’s sister Dorothy Mulder Plott (Salutatorian). In the 3rd photo, five girls are in dresses decorated with ribbon or twine.

You can read more about the graduation of these young ladies in Who Put the Ring Stain on the Scrapbook? and in Scrapbook Treats.

What do you think about the dresses on those girls? I don’t know why this photo is on the same page with the others or the meaning of it. Any ideas?

I can’t let an April 17 go by without thinking a lot about Grandma. She was a wonderful grandmother and inspirational to me in many ways.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I am awaiting an obituary for Nellie Mulder, the daughter of Peter and Nellie. In an earlier post, I shared the letter that Peter had sent to his brother Jan after his wife had passed away. He wrote, “It’s a heavy day for me Jan, there I have a daughter who always must be under my eye. She is not trusted to just go out unless a person familiar is with her.” As it was first explained to me in the 1970s, Nellie was “slow.”

UPDATE:

the obituary came in, and I also heard about Nellie from my uncle who knows a lot about the family history.

SEE UPDATED INFO BELOW THE HEADSTONE PHOTO!!!

I had not been able to find anything on Nellie for years, although I had seen her image in the family photo when I was still in college.

 

She is in the front row, on our left, wearing glasses. Peter and Nellie are in the center of the front row and my great-grandfather Charles Mulder is to his mother’s left (our right).

Thanks to Find-a-Grave I found Nellie’s headstone and the year of her death.

DAUGHTER

NELLIE MULDER

1902-1968

She is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Who ordered the headstone? Her parents were both dead by 1968, so it must have been ordered by a sibling, and yet the stone says “daughter.”

But what was her life like after her mother died in 1932? The family story is that she wound up in an institution. But where? And who went to visit her? Was she happy?

THE UPDATED INFORMATION

Here is the obituary that arrived yesterday:

Couple this information with what is remembered by my uncle. He says that Nellie had Down syndrome and “was the happiest person in the family. She always remembered everyone’s name and gave the best hugs!” She stayed for periods of time with relatives in Grand Rapids and also with my great-grandfather in Caledonia.

Nellie also stayed in a “home” in Grand Rapids. Family always made sure to include Nellie in all the family gatherings until “age took its toll on both her and [her] older siblings.”

My uncle believes that Nellie’s grave was probably handled by the children of my great-grandfather’s youngest brother, “Uncle Pete.” To make clear: both great-grandpa and Pete were brothers of Nellie.  Pete was a gravestone engraver, in fact, and died at age 64 of silicosis. Add this lung disease death to the tuberculosis deaths in the family, and it seems the Mulders were plagued with lung troubles.

Pete was a gravestone engraver, in fact, and died at age 64 of silicosis, four years before Nellie’s death. Add this lung disease death to the tuberculosis deaths in the family, and it seems the Mulders were plagued with lung troubles.

I don’t have a death certificate for Nellie (or her brother Pete, for that matter). But the obituary makes clear Nellie died in a nursing home. Whether this was the “home” she was living in or a nursing home because she needed medical care, I don’t know.

The obituary shows that Nellie was a member of Seventh Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. I got a kick out of that 7th! I have heard of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but not 7th! Here is a little history of the church that is still in existence:

Seventh Reformed Church has been in existence for well over a century. Our congregation was organized on May 1, 1890. It was the first church of reformed persuasion on the west side of Grand Rapids.

The first services were held at a temporary building located on Jennette Street between Twelfth and Leonard. In 1892 a new church building was completed, located on the corner of Jennette and Leonard.

Seventh, being a Dutch immigrant congregation, held all services in the Dutch language. In 1905 the first evening service was held in the English language, but not continued until 1919. Later in 1929 the morning service was also held in English, preceded by a Dutch service. In 1942 the Dutch service was moved to the afternoon and then in 1947 it was discontinued.

Our present church building was dedicated on June 18, 1952. In 1969 the East wing containing the pastor’s study, offices, Chapel and classrooms were completed. In 1989 as we began celebrations for our Centennial Year, another extension to the building was added in the form of a large foyer on the West side with more classrooms upstairs.

Eventually I expect to find the death certificates for Nellie and Peter and other members of the Mulder family. Part of the problem is that the Grand Rapids certificates do not seem to be readily available. They are quite expensive at $20 each, and I have to rely on staff to locate them.

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