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Archive for the ‘Adrian Zuidweg’ Category

I chose Adrian Zuidweg, Jr., my maternal grandfather, as the starting point for this project of filling in the information/document gaps of my direct ancestors. His family inspired the blog because of the photograph collection that Grandpa had owned, which included glass negatives from the photography of his uncle, Joseph DeKorn.

I’ve always known that Grandpa was born on 31 October 1908 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  What I didn’t realize was that I had no record or documentation of that birth! So that was the first gap I set out to fill.

I wrote Wayne Loney, the genealogist in Kalamazoo who has helped me in the past. He found Grandpa’s birth recorded on the county record birth book: book 6, page 146, record 10294. Adrian Zuidweg, white male, was born in the City of Kalamazoo to father Adrian Zuidweg and mother Cora DeKorn. Adrian Sr’s place of birth was listed as Holland, and Cora’s was not listed. The residence was Kalamazoo. Adrian Sr.’s occupation was “Fish Dealer.” Yes, he owned a fish market.

Wayne shared a tip with me: not to order a birth certificate from county because they would just type up the same info that the record shows, affix their seal, and charge me for it. I took his advice, so I am just posting the following (he’s second to last):

As I continued down my list of the most basic documents for genealogy, I realized that I also did not have a record of the 21 May 1932 marriage of my grandparents. They were married in Indiana, not Michigan, and I had not been able to find the record before. This time, I found enough information online to order the marriage record and certificate from St. Joseph County. They have my request, and I am awaiting the documents.

I had 3 of the 4 census records that would be available. I had a copy of 1910, 1920, and 1930, but did not have 1940. His name didn’t come up in a search for that one, but knowing how often his name was mangled, I decided to search by address instead. And there I found Grandpa with Grandma, mom, and my uncle. See lines 6-9 below.

There is a military record for Grandpa, although he was too young for WWI and too old for WWII. He registered for WW2, though.

At one time I made a Findagrave profile for him, and I have a photograph of the headstone he shares with Grandma.

I also have Grandpa’s death certificate because when I undertook the project of searching specifically for death records of my direct ancestors I located it.

Question for researchers: what is the best way to find out a burial date? I can assume in many cases that it is the date of the funeral, which I can get from most obituaries. Are there other ways to make sure?

With this new emphasis on filling in the gaps, I saw that I did not have Grandpa’s obituary. So I contacted the Kalamazoo Public Library and they found two obituaries in the Kalamazoo Gazette, published one day apart. I will post them here. Here is the first one:

With this information, I would say that Grandpa’s burial occurred on Saturday, April 15, 2000.

The next one mentions a brave and scary time in my grandfather’s life when he stood up against other people.

 

Here is a transcription of the second obit.

Adrian Zuidweg’s work ethic, friendliness, and reputation for honesty probably would have been enough by themselves to ensure his success as the owner of a gas station.

But Zuidweg added to that a desire to give his customers the absolute lowest price he could on gasline, which endeared him to the gas-buying public, but didn’t win him friends among other gas station owners.

“He always wanted to try to give his customers the lowest possible price he could provide them and still make money,” said his son, Donald Zuidweg. “He got a lot of static from the Retail Gasoline Dealers Association, but he did his own thing.”

Zuidweg’s Sunoco station on South Burdick at Balch Street was front-page news in 1965 when other service station operators and employees, upset that he was charging 31 cents a gallon to their 34 cents, formed a gas-pump blockade, lining up for a nickel or dime’s worth of gas each and insisting that Zuidweg check their oil and water and wash their windshields as part of the bargain.

Zuidweg said he made about $1 during the three-hour blockade.

The ploy backfired, however, when customers who read about his lower prices in the newspaper showed up the next day to fill their tanks.

Zuidweg, a lifelong Kalamazoo area resident who died Thursday at his Portage residence at the age of 91, was a hard-worker who always mnaged to find time for his family, said Donald Zuidweg, who began helping his father when he was 4 and continued working at the station until he was through with graduate studies.

“I think I learned as much about business and people (by) working with him as I did in school.” Donald Zuidweg said.

“He worked very hard six days a week, but never worked on Sunday,” the son said. “We always had family time on Sunday.”

Although Adrian Zuidweg tried to give his customers the best deal he could, he also made sure his family had all they needed.

“He always provided for his family and put three kids through college,” his son said.

Zuidweg, who was born Oct. 31, 1908, in Kalamazoo, left school in his teens because his parents became ill and he had to take care of them.

His first job was working in the fish market his family owned. When they sold it, he started a garden and would walk north on Burdick, peddling his produce to neighbors.

After that, he worked at a confectionary owned by his father, which he eventually razed and replaced with the service station he ran until his retirement in 1972.

Zuidweg retired before self-service gasoline stations came into vogue, but understood the reasons for the changes in the business, his son said.

“It bothered him at first to see women have to fill up their own cars, but he knew that . . . (times were) changing,” Donald Zuidweg said.

Adrian Zuidweg and his wife, Edna, loved to travel and ventured farther and farther from home as time went on.

“After all of us (children) were through college, he and my mother went around the world several times,” Donald Zuidweg said.

Adrian Zuidweg was a member of First United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo for more than 60 years and served as Sunday school treasurer for nearly half that time.

Surviving are Edna, his wife of 67 years, two daughters and a son, Janet and Rudy Hanson and Donald and Jean Zuidweg of Kalamazoo and Alice Carpentier of Portage, six grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park, with burial in Mount Ever Rest Cemetery.

I remember when the gas war happened because my father was there at the station and came home telling my mother about it. Although the obituary doesn’t mention it, my father said that the men threatened violence against Grandpa.

Grandpa stood up for what he thought was right.

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Thanks to Wayne Loney, a Kalamazoo genealogy volunteer, I have my great-grandfather’s probated will with list of assets at the time of his death. He found the document, located at the Probate Court in Kalamazoo, so that I could order it.

Fifty-eight-year-old Adrian Zuidweg, Sr., died on 19 December 1929, which happened to be two months after the Wall Street crash. The cause of death was uremia (for three days) and chronic interstitial nephritis, as well as a valve disease of the heart and mitral insufficiency and general artheroma (disease of the arteries). I looked up the nephritis because it sounds like the real disease behind his death, but read that it usually is caused by medications or auto-immune disorders like lupus. So I don’t really know why he was sick or why he died.

The family story version is that he ate a dinner plate-sized steak every night for dinner, and that that routine caused the nephritis. I guess it might cause some artery damage, too.

But before we assume his eating completely caused his death, I will say that heart disease does seem to run in the family through my grandfather to my grandfather’s children–and my 23andme report shows that by far my worst health genes (that are researched through 23andme) are all coronary issues.

This probate document is signed by my grandfather, who was 21; Adrian Sr.’s sister, Mrs. Marinus Van Liere; and my great-grandmother, Cora, his wife.

In this will, Adrian leaves his entire estate to his wife, Cora, to do with as she sees fit. He expressly does not leave anything to grandpa, his son. However, he seems to suggest that Cora might want to use some of the estate for the benefit of Adrian’s “belofed boy,” (his first language was Dutch) but he is not tying her hands to do so in the will.

I wonder how common it was to make a will out this way. Perhaps he thought that Grandpa would be able to make his own way in the world, but Grandpa was blind in one eye, so I am a little surprised that nothing was left to him.

Here is a typed version of the handwritten will.

I don’t plan to post an image of the estate inventory. If family members want to email me and ask to see it, I’ll be happy to send over a copy. What I thought was interesting was the list does not include any cash at all, whether on hand or in banks. The listing includes real estate, notes payable, and stocks. I think this means that the money was already in Cora’s name.  Again, I wonder how common this practice would have been.

It seems to me that there must be more of this sort of document available for my other ancestors, but I am not sure how much light it has shed on anything for me. Adrian was apparently a good husband, father, and provider, but maybe didn’t take the best care of his health, if the steak-eating story is true.

What information have you gleaned from probate records?

I will be taking off blogging next week for some needed time away from the computer. See you in a couple of weeks!

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I’ve written quite a bit about my Kalamazoo grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg. I’ve posted her high school graduation information, about her time at Western Normal School (now Western Michigan University), about her marriage to my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.

In my big organization-and-shred project I found something that I love. Grandma wrote me a letter when I was a grad student. She and I had had a phone conversation about how she wanted me to never give up creative writing because she had done so and regretted it. Grandma and I had a love of writing in common.

So she found a newspaper clipping and sent it to me in this letter. Note that we have “cleaning out the desk” in common, too haha.

I sure did love her stories. And Grandpa’s stories, too. I am positive that their storytelling is what inspired me to write poetry and stories.

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Yes, I said FREE!!!! Deadline Sunday, June 9, 2019

I have exciting news for anybody with old photos like mine that you would like to see colorized. To celebrate her blog’s second anniversary, Val at Colouring the Past is offering a FREE photo colorization with a very minimal “catch” (I can’t even really call it a catch). Go check out her post where she tells about it.

Click here.

Be sure to get over there right now so that you don’t miss the deadline!

You might have seen some of the gorgeous work she’s done for me. Here’s a sample:

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Is this a goat or a ram? I thought goat, but the animal looks unusual to me. This photo is marked on the back. The boy is Jim Van Liere, grandpa’s first cousin, born in 1912. How old do you think he is here?

The Van Lieres lived in the Burdick-Balch neighborhood of Kalamazoo, very near Grandpa (Adrian Zuidweg).

For more information on where Jim fits into the family, check out this post: The Van Lieres of Kalamazoo Redux

Do you think this was a photo taken at an amusement place or staged by a photographer?

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My maternal grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, was born in 1912 on this day.  This is one of my favorite photographs of Grandma and me.

I’m about five and wearing my favorite violet striped dress. This was a time in my life that I was spending a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house because I went to kindergarten across the street at McKinley school and stayed the rest of the day at their house while my parents were working. In this photo, it is dark outside, and I think this photograph was taken at night when others were in the living room. I associate this photo with eating ice cream that particular night . . . .

Happy birthday, Grandma. You are very missed.

Last week I posted two old photos and didn’t have a lot of information about them. With the help of some people on a Facebook group, especially intrepid FindaGrave photographer Jeff Phillips, the two little kids have been identified as Alice Leeuwenhoek and Harold Remine. I’ve written about both of them many times.  My mother reminded me that yesterday was Alice’s birthday (1897).

The house in the other photograph has probably been identified as well.

Here it is at the address 110 Balch Street.

That is it with the fresh coat of gray paint. Now look to our right and you just can just the dark brown brick corner house between the trees. That is the Richard DeKorn house I’ve written about so much. This gray house is next door to that house.

Guess who lived in that house (where the four boys are standing) in those days? Take a look:

 

 

Yes, the Leeuwenhoeks lived there, right next to Alice’s maternal grandparents Richard and Alice, and possibly her aunt (my great-grandmother Cora and her husband Adrian who lived with Cora’s parents). It appears that sometime between 1900 and 1910 Cora and Adrian moved from a home on the other side of Balch to her parents’ house. It’s possible that Richard owned that home at 121 Balch, but I have not investigated land records.

Any ideas on how to go about doing so?

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Here are two photos of my mother, Janet, and her brother, Donald. Take a look at the similarities and differences.

The one with Mom holding her doll shows a glimpse of their front porch on Burdick Street. Don is wearing short pants and long striped socks. They both have cute little hats on. The back of the photo is labelled April 1938. My mother was born in 1934 and Don in 1936.

Then this one:

In this photo they seem to be wearing the same outfits, although Don’s snowpants are now on and Janet has a scarf around her neck. There is melting snow in the yard.

So were they taken on the same day or is the second photo earlier than April? What do you think? Notice that little “trike” or whatever it is is in the same spot in both photos.

Another thing of note in the second photo is the phenomenal neighborhood view. This is the best neighborhood view down Burdick Street I can remember seeing. In fact, you see that brick house in the distance to the left of the tree? That is the Richard DeKorn house where Grandpa himself grew up. There are a couple of houses in between, then the service station Grandpa owned, and then Balch Street. The house is across Balch from the station. Grandma and Grandpa’s house where Mom and Uncle Don grew up was at the corner of Burdick and Emerson.

 

 

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When I scan old family photos I always think it’s particularly cool when photos include other people in Kalamazoo (or elsewhere) because if I post them online, there is a chance the descendants of these people can find their relatives’ photos. This has happened before, and I hope it continues to happen.

The photo for today is of a Sunday School class of young “men” at Bethany Reformed Church in Kalamazoo. If you click on the next photo you can be taken to the church history on the church’s website.

The church began as a tiny chapel near the corner of Burdick and Maple in 1905. By 1907, the building above was built to house the rapidly growing congregation. By 1910 there were 69 member families, all of the Reformed denomination (and presumably Dutch or of Dutch ancestry).

As you can see by the back of my photo, it was taken around 1918 (so imagine the church growth by then).

The sticker was put on in the 80s, I imagine, by my grandparents.

Here is the front:

Let’s look at it a little closer:

The church was probably right by houses, but I don’t know whether the photo was taken outside the church (with a house behind the boys) or if it was taken in someone’s yard. They do look dressed for church here.

Do you think my grandfather was one of these boys? He would have been about ten in 1918.

Mom? Uncle Don? Anybody? There is only one boy here who I think looks at all like Grandpa.

About the church: although it was the Great Depression, the new building that still stands today was dedicated in 1932. It continued to be added on to for many years. In the 1960s, I attended Vacation Bible School for one summer. My grandmother was babysitting while my mother was working, so it was easy for me to go to Bible School across the street, although our church was out in Portage. Unfortunately, in 1972, vandals set fire to the sanctuary, which was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt within a year.

I took a screenshot of the church as it looks today on Google Maps. Same building where I went to class 55 years ago.

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