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Archive for the ‘Caledonia Michigan history’ Category

Although this photo is a bit blurry because of the dog jumping, it is a photo of my mom in front of her house on Burdick Street with the family dog. I can see the Richard DeKorn brick house down at the next corner and a car in front of it. I wonder what year that car is or how old Mom is here. Is the dog Sandy or a dog that preceded Sandy? I only ask because I knew Sandy, and when I was very young, was bit by that @#%^ dog.  (I love dogs anyway).

Here are a few photos (early 1940s) of my mother, Janet Zuidweg, with her little sister, Alice Zuidweg.  The first one seems to be taken at a park that is riverside or creekside.

 

 

The second photo shows the girls at their grandparents’ (Charles and Clara Mulder) farm in Caledonia, Michigan.


In this one, the girls seem to be near a back door. Is this at the farm or elsewhere? Mom! Uncle Don! Help!

Love Mom’s saggy socks in this last one!

P.S. to Mom: maybe you can show this post to Aunt Alice!

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Awhile back I posted a photograph of the Mulder family reunion in SW Michigan. I’m pretty sure the date is around 1940, based on the ages of the identified people in the photograph.

Between Mom, cousin Susie, Uncle Don, and cousin Merry we have many of the people, but definitely not all, identified.

The couple on our right, Mom thought could be Jack and Josie (John Lawson Gerow, Jr. and Josephine Ann Slinsky Gerow–Jack was the son of John Gerow and Cora Mulder, great-grandpa’s sister), but Susie says no. Some of the individuals are not clearly seen so we can’t do much with those. What seems clear is that certain family groups were present and others were not. For instance, Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con and their children don’t seem to be in the photo. This helps because if we see children we can be pretty sure their parents are in the photo–and vice versa.

Here is the Mulder family photo that would have come before this family group. In the center is Pieter/Peter Mulder and his wife, Nellie Gorsse. Nellie died in 1932, 8 years before the reunion photo, but Peter was alive until 1953 and is in the photo, in the center, wearing a hat.

In the back row are Peter, Cora, and Henry. Peter was the husband of Alida Van Elk, who is identified in the reunion photo. Their children included Rod, born 1923, and the twins Bob and Bill. I believe all 3 boys are in the photo and I have labelled the twins.

Cora married John Gerow, and they had five children (I think): Ruth, Eleanor, George, John/Jack, Marian. Jack was born in 1918, so I think it’s unlikely that the man on the right is Jack (as Susie also says) because he looks older than 21. Possibly the Gerows are not in the photo.

Henry married Hettie Mae Simpson, and they had Eloise Fern, James, Mary Ellen, and Judith. Because Mae and Jim, Mary Ellen, and Judy were identified by Merry in the reunion photo, I wanted to believe that Henry and Eloise/Fern are also in the photo, but Merry cannot find them. Mary Ellen and Judy are the two teen girls kneeling on the right side of the photo. Jim is the boy in front of Uncle Chuck, seated on the left side of the photo.

In the front row, the girl with the glasses on our left is Nellie who was mentally challenged. She was still living at home in 1930, but I am not sure where she lived after the death of her mother in 1932. There is a woman in the reunion photo who appears to be wearing dark glasses who is seated directly behind the little blonde girl (Joann) that could be Nellie–or could be someone else.

Then there is Jennie who married Edward Kooistra or Koistra. They had a son, Karl. I know very little about this branch and don’t know if they are in the reunion photo or not.

On the other side of Nellie, is her oldest child, my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder. He and his wife Clara had five children, and I see four of the five in the photo, along with their families. It is her oldest, Dorothy, that I do not see.

Rose (Rosa) is on the other side of Great-Grandpa. She married John Kohles, and they had at least one child, Leonard, but she died in 1936.

 

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I am posting more “new” photos today and relaxing about not doing research outside of the photos (for now).

This photo is a Mulder family reunion. I’d like to see if we could identify everyone. I see Uncle Al, 3rd from left seated. And Aunt Vena, standing, with her arms crossed in front of her, looking over her left shoulder. I think my grandparents MIGHT be peeking over shoulders in the back.

Mom? Uncle Don? Can we figure out who all is in the pic?

This photo was taken at my great-grandparents’ farm–that of Charles and Clara Waldeck in Caldedonia.

In another farm pic, this is Uncle Chuck and Uncle Pete, the two sons of Charles and Clara.

Again at the farm. Is this Aunt Vena as a teen? Or is it Aunt Dorothy? I read a joke on Facebook the other day about someone taking care of chickens being a “chicken tender.”

I am hoping we can put some names to these photos. Also, these photos are from different years. I wonder how close we can come to figuring it out.

The first clue for the reunion photo, which is useful as one of many, is that Aunt Vena and Uncle Al got married in 1935. That is not enough by itself, of course. Then I wonder if the women’s hairstyles and clothing could be from the 40s. Any ideas?

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The different ways that family history and genealogy intersect with other aspects of the culture is growing. But I think this project might be a first for family history.

Broad Street Magazine, which publishes nonfiction narratives in a variety of genres, has begun a six-week series of feature articles on six poems from my family history poetry and flash prose chapbook Kin Types. Each article publishes one poem and then provides information on the research that went into the poem. Included are family photos, historical records, and old newspaper articles.

An introduction to the series can be found here. SERIES INTRODUCTION

The first feature article is Family Laundry: “An Account of a Poor Oil Stove Bought off Dutch Pete,” by Luanne Castle

 

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Last spring I posted a photo of my great-grandmother Clara Waldeck Mulder (1884-1953) that I discovered. You can find the post here. It was the first time I saw what she looked like as an older woman. Up to then, I had seen her as a bride and as a young mother.

The other day my mother sent me another old album and loose photos. Guess what? There are TWO new photos of Clara! In one of them, she is young. It’s taken before she was married–or even engaged, I am pretty sure. The photo has a little damage–a white mark across her skirt and a dark spot on her cheek. I did my best to fix the cheek, but left the white mark alone.

How old does she look here? 16-18? If so, the photo would be from around 1900-1902.

And here is another photo, this time from around 1940.

In my post My Great-Grandmother’s Lifetime of Service it’s clear that Clara was very devoted to her service groups. I wonder if this dress has something to do with a ceremony in Eastern Star or Rebekah Lodge. Any other ideas about the dress?

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Those of you who have been reading The Family Kalamazoo for a time know that I published a chapbook this past year based on my research findings, my imagination, and some historical knowledge. Kin Types is a collection of lyric poems, prose poems, and flash nonfiction.

On Monday I woke up to discover that Kin Types was a finalist for the prestigious Eric Hoffer Award. It’s in stellar company.. This recognition validates the work I did on the book and on this blog. Best of all, the book gets a gold foil sticker for the cover ;).

It will kind of look like this when the sticker is put on the book (only not such a large sticker).

If you click through the link to the Amazon page, the book can be ordered for a real deal right now; check it out. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.

 

 

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Last week, for Women’s History Month, I shared the death certificates of my 2 grandmothers and 4 great-grandmothers. I then searched for death certificates for my eight 2x great grandmothers. All eight were born in other countries: Netherlands, Germany, and Alsace (now France).

MATERNAL SIDE

This one is for Alice Paak DeKorn, who died 5 May 1908 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The cause of death is heart disease. Since she was only 55, that seems somewhat unusual. She is the woman who survived a terrible fire. Could that have caused permanent damage to her heart?

Next up is Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg who passed away 13 December 1924 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at age 86 of senility.


That cause of death as senility is a bit mystifying to me. Grandma remembered his grandmother. After all, he was born in 1908, so when she died he would have been 16 years old. He never said anything about her having dementia at all when he talked about her, and I have to believe he would have mentioned it. She looks pretty old in this photo, and she looks like she knows her own mind, so to speak.

But can I quibble with a death certificate when I wasn’t there at the time?

Alwine Noffke Waldeck died 9 June 1912 in Caledonia, Kent County, Michigan. She was 65 years old.

The cause of death is “interstitial nephritis” and dropsy. Dropsy means edema, a subject close to my thoughts because I have lymphedema. Hmm, here is another kidney disease death, like the two in last week’s post. Only this one is on my mother’s side and not my father’s.

Alwine is the mother seated in the middle.

My fourth maternal 2x great grandmother was Nellie Gorsse Mulder who died in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on 12 October 1932. Cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis, which she had had for 15 years. She also had had diabetes for 5 years.

This is Nellie who died at age 63.

PATERNAL SIDE

I’ll be darned, but I don’t have a single death certificate or death record for these four women. Note that my maternal 2x greats all passed away in the United States, but the paternals did not (to my knowledge).

Elisabetha Adelseck Wendel and Elisabetha Wink Klein were both born in Budesheim, Germany. Presumably they both died there. I wrote for records, but have not received a response. I am not sure how to obtain these records on my own if I can’t get responses to my emails.

Same problem with the other two.

Anne Reihr Schirmer from Leumschwiller, France, and Madeline Groll Scholler from Muespach, France. Again, I think they both died there. But nobody has responded to my requests.

Until I can get those records, it’s hard to feel that they are “real.”  I have no photos of these women either, but feel very lucky to have the four above.

As to the 3x great grandmothers and beyond, I do have some records of many of the Dutch ones because the Dutch records are so easily available online. They makes things so much easier for me! Of course, none of these have causes of death listed.

Any ideas on how to move forward on finding death records for the women from Germany and France?

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