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Archive for the ‘Caledonia Michigan history’ Category

When I was growing up, my grandmother’s sister Vena and brother Chuck lived in Kalamazoo. I knew the family grew up in Caledonia, which is in Kent County, not Kalamazoo, so it was more surprising that three of the siblings ended  up in Kalamazoo than that Peter and Dorothy lived out of town in more rural areas. Here are the five siblings: Chuck, Vena, Edna (Grandma), Dorothy, and Pete.

Peter Godfrey Mulder was the fourth child and older son of Charles and Clara (Waldeck) Mulder. Godfrey was the Americanized version of Gottfried, the name of his Prussian maternal grandfather. Peter (Pieter) was his Dutch paternal grandfather’s name. He was born on 2 November 1915, most likely in Caledonia. He’s the baby in this photo

As he grew older, Pete became an all-star athlete at Caledonia High School. He was very popular with the girls. Pete wanted to go to engineering school after high school, but that dream was cut short because he suffered a ruptured appendix. He was not able to serve in the military.

When Pete recovered from the medical emergency, he lived in Kalamazoo and worked in a factory; he lived with his brother Chuck and cousin, Herb Waldeck.

Pete met Ruby Elizabeth Ayers, a cheerleader from Martin High School, at the Dixie Pavilion, a popular dance club overlooking Doan’s Lake, south of Wayland. Duke Ellington and his orchestra played there. Both Pete and Ruby loved to dance.

Pete and Ruby (born 6 February, 1920) were married on 10 August 1940, when Pete was 24 and Ruby was 20. Here is their marriage record. They were married, as were Vena and Al, by Pete’s cousin, Ed Waldeck.

At that time, Ruby had been living in Martin and already working as a teacher. She attended “County Normal,” where one could teach school in a rural setting with little formal education. Ruby taught at Jones School in Dorr in a one-room school house.

Later, Ruby took correspondence classes to finish her teaching degree. Her daughter, Shirley, remembers taking classes with her mother when she was a teenager. Ruby later taught in an elementary school for Wayland Union schools, which she loved.

Pete and Ruby lived with his parents on the farm in Caledonia for a few months before buying an 80-acre farm in Martin, which is in Allegan County, NW of Kalamazoo. All three of the children, Larry, Shirley, and Sharon, were born in Allegan County. At the back of the property was a lake, called Lake 16. Ruby liked to swim and made sure all the children took swimming lessons and craft classes in the summer through the school district.

Pete became a dairy farmer, milking all of his cows by hand. The whole family drank their milk from these cows and it made wonderful whipped cream as well. Later, Pete gave up being a dairy farmer and raised beef cattle (angus). The whole family would put buckets on the maple trees in the spring of the year to collect sap so Pete could boil it down to make maple syrup. Then Ruby would can the syrup and other fruits and vegetable to hold them over for winter. The children were always present in activities around the farm. Pete continued to work in the shop in Kalamazoo as a Tool and Die Maker in the winters for additional income. Pete and Ruby
loved to live life to its fullest. They were active in their community. They were always entertaining relatives or visiting relatives on a weekly basis. They participated in a square dancing group.

 

Here is Uncle Pete and Aunt Ruby’s whole family at their farmhouse on Thanksgiving, November 1952. All Grandma’s siblings and their families attended, as well as her parents. This was the last holiday season her mother was still alive. The next year they would hold Thanksgiving at Dot and Con’s house. Photos here.

And here is Ruby from the same day:

Here is a photo at Pete and Ruby’s on the same day with all of Grandma’s parents’ grandchildren.

It was fun to visit their farm in Martin because Shirley (who was on the Queen’s Court, Allegan County Fair (one of the largest fairs in Michigan), and won the Cherry Pie contest, and Sharon were teenagers when I was a little girl, and they were very sweet to me. Aunt Ruby herself was a very sweet woman. She reminded me of country and gospel music, so I must have heard it at their house. Uncle Pete loved to sing country music. The stereo was right where you walked into the living room. Uncle Pete used to sit with the other men on lawn chairs outside under the big tree. Pete loved to play horseshoes in the summer and bowl during the winter time. When the children were teenagers, he bought a speed boat and took the children waterskiing on the lakes in the area.

When the couple neared retirement age, they built a mobile home park on their farm along the lake. They also sold mobile homes as a side business. They traveled to Hawaii and made several trips to Las Vegas.

Pete and Ruby’s daughter Sharon experienced a great deal of loss and succumbed to cancer at the age of 67.  She was a teacher of K-2 and also Headstart. As a teen, like her big sister Shirley, she was a drum majorette and later on Sharon took over her sister’s baton twirling business. Their brother Larry, who was a draftsman and engineer for a Volkswagen subcontractor, died at age 59 of brain cancer.

Pete died in 1986 at the age of 70 of cancer.

 

 

You can see from Pete’s obituary that he developed and was the owner operator of the mobile home park, but there is no mention of his earlier life as a farmer.

Ruby was living in a mobile home park in Wayland when, on 6 February 2007, her mobile home caught fire and Ruby was not able to get out of her home. Tragically, she died on her 87th birthday.

I wish I had a better photo of their headstone, but this is what I found on Findagrave.

DCIM100SPORT

DCIM100SPORT

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In my story about Grandma’s sister Dorothy and her husband, Conrad Plott, dated February 17, we left off with this photo of my mother with Aunt Dorothy and Aunt Vena.

Today I am writing about Aunt Vena (to mom’s right–our left–in the photo) and her husband, Uncle Al.

Vena’s full name was Alvena Nell Mulder at birth. She was named after her grandmother, a Prussian immigrant, Alwine Noffke Waldeck. Although the names are spelled differently in German and American versions, they are pronounced similarly. I never heard Aunt Vena called anything but Vena, so I think she generally went by her nickname.

Vena was the third girl (Dorothy, then Grandma, then Vena) and third child of Charles and Clara Mulder of Caledonia, Michigan, and she was born 20 October 1913, probably in Caledonia at the house. Although I have no birth records for any of the siblings, it’s likely that Dorothy was born in Hastings, and then Grandma and the rest were born in Caledonia, after great-grandpa bought the farm.

You can see that Vena was a very pretty girl.

Much of my information about Vena and her husband Al comes from Uncle Don and their middle daughter, mom’s cousin Elaine.

Vena attended Caledonia High School just as her older sisters had done. She was a year and a half younger than Grandma, so the question is, was she “on track” for her age for graduation or did she graduate early as Grandma did? Did she graduate in 1930, 1931, or 1932? The school records I’ve found only go through 1925.

Vena followed her older sister, Edna (Grandma), to what was then called Western State Teachers’ College (now Western Michigan University). I don’t know how Aunt Vena met Uncle Al (although I remember hearing the story years ago and thought it involved horses), but he also attended Western.

Al was born Alton William Stimson in Middleville, Michigan on 20 January 1911. Middleville is a little village near Grand Rapids, and Uncle Don says Al grew up on a farm, and this is corroborated by the 1930 census.

Uncle Don gave me some information about Vena and Al. He said that they were close in age to his parents (Grandma and Grandpa) and that the two families were close. Al actually lived with Grandpa for a time while Al and the two sisters were attending WMU. Al washed the dishes once a month or when they ran out of dishes. Grandpa liked to tell that story.

This is Uncle Al’s 1934 Western yearbook photo. Next to his name is his degree earned: an AB.

I don’t know if Aunt Vena boarded with someone while she went to college, as my grandmother did (with the Schensul family).

Al and Vena married 1 June 1935 in Caledonia by Edward August Waldeck, pastor of the Portland Baptist Church, Vena’s first cousin. I wrote about his bike accident (as a teen) quite some time ago. Here is a 1912 newspaper article about the accident: CLICK HERE

Al graduated from WMU as an Industrial Engineer. He might have first worked as a teacher and then for Atlas Press, before he was hired by the Upjohn Company. He was a a time and motion analyst—time-study. He stayed with Upjohn until he retired at the end of his career.

At the beginning of their marriage, Vena and Al lived on Balch Street in that same area where my grandfather and then my mother grew up. The address was 317 Balch Street, according to the 1940 census.

But then they built a new house on a beautiful lot on Kilgore at the border of Kalamazoo and Portage. Their house and yard were characterized by an excellent sense of design and a lot of hard work. Elaine said that their lovely yard was designed by a friend of theirs so that there were flowers blooming year round when weather permitted. They both liked to garden. Al also kept a small vegetable garden alongside the house. As a kid, I was so impressed by the flowers and the birds that Vena and Al attracted to the yard. The inside of their house was also beautiful with a living room that looked out upon that backyard and a fish tank that mesmerized me. At least three generations of family had many wonderful family gatherings at their home.

Vena left school to start their family, and beginning in 1937, they had three girls in this order: Joan(ne), Elaine, and MaryAnn. The three girls attended State High up at Western’s old campus which was a state training school for teachers and was reputed to be one of the top schools in the state.

Al registered for the WWII draft, but he was not called to service. I do not know if it was because of needing to support his children or because he was color blind.

When the girls were “well along” in school, according to Uncle Don, Aunt Vena went back to college and graduated with Honors in 1962, the same year their youngest daughter graduated high school. This reminds me of my mother who did the same thing. I hadn’t realized when my mother graduated a year ahead of me from college that her aunt had been a groundbreaker in the family.

The Portage Public School System hired Aunt Vena as a kindergarten teacher, which she remained (1st and 2nd a bit, as well) until she retired. I’m sure she was a favorite with the kids and their parents because she had a gentle and elegant manner.

Aunt Vena and Uncle Al were members of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Kalamazoo for over sixty years. This is the same church that my grandparents belonged to and where my mother is still a member. I remember Uncle Al was an usher and my grandfather worked in what I thought of as the “money office.”

Aunt Vena and Uncle Al enjoyed their retirement years golfing, bowling, being members of Club 75, and the Cloverleaf Square Dancing Clubs.

Al kept busy with many craft hobbies. He made Christmas presents of shop gadgets and jewelry that he had made. He made jewelry out of plastic, drilling the flowers into the plastic. He made pins, necklaces, cufflinks, and so on. Some pieces he colored in with nail polish.

When I was a little girl, Uncle Al taught me to say what sounded like oskeewawa every time I saw a white horse. I thought it was a Native American word. When I tried to look it up, I couldn’t find anything until I discovered the University of Illinois school song:

Oskee-Wow-Wow
Old Princeton yells her Tiger,
Wisconsin, her Varsity
And they give the same old Rah, Rah, Rah,
At each University,
But the yell that always thrills me
And fills my heart with joy,
Is the good old Oskee-Wow-Wow,
That they yell at Illinois.

Uncle Don has fond memories of going on many camping trips with the family. He felt a bit like Uncle Al’s substitute son for these adventures. After all, Uncle Al lived in a house with four women/girls ;).

In the next photo, it is Grandpa and Grandma’s 40th wedding anniversary, and they are standing with Vena and Al on my parents’ front porch. The image is blurry, but I like that the two couples are photographed together.

 

In the Christmas photo above, I see Uncle Al and Aunt Vena from the era I knew them best. In fact, we used to go first to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Christmas Eve, and then to Vena and Al’s–at some point my parents’ house was added as one of the houses visited for the Progressive Dinner.

Uncle Al suffered from Parkinson’s and passed away on 11 January 1996 in Kalamazoo.

Aunt Vena moved into what was then the new, state of the art retirement community in Kalamazoo. She died on 9 June 2000, which is the same year that my grandparents died.

They are buried at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park South in Kalamazoo.

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder (Zuidweg) had four siblings. The kids were born in this order: Dorothy (aka Dot), 1910-1996; Lucille (aka Edna), 1912-2000; Alvena (Vena), 1913-2000; Peter (Pete), 1915-1986; and Charles (Chuck), 1917-1989. They grew up on a farm in Caledonia, Michigan. My grandmother’s childhood story that most impressed me when I was young was that all the kids slept in the same big bed. The girls across the bed as usual, and the boys perpendicular at the girls’ feet. I used to try to imagine how five kids could get to sleep like that because somebody would always be annoying somebody else. The upstairs of the farmhouse had two bedrooms–one for  the parents and one for the kids. I imagine that in the winter it was cold up there, too, which meant that the group body heat helped keep everybody warm.

You know the Biblical expression “the salt of the earth,” meaning virtuous, good people? That was the Mulder family. Not perfect, but definitely good, dependable people.

This post is devoted to Aunt Dorothy, the oldest of the siblings, and her husband, Uncle Con. That’s how I knew them: Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con. But when Grandma talked about them it was always “Dot and Con.”

When Grandma and Dorothy were still in school, they walked a long way every school day. Occasionally their mother would take them or pick them up in an Amish buggy, but walking was much more common.

Grandma on left; Dorothy on the right

Although Dorothy and Grandma were in the same grade, Dorothy was 1 1/3 years older than my grandmother. Grandma had to be pushed ahead so that the girls could be in class together. That must have worked out because both girls were good students. You can read about their high school graduation and experience here:

Who Put the Ring Stain on the Scrapbook?

The following, I believe, if Aunt Dorothy’s high school graduation speech, or Salutatory (2nd highest grades in class).

After high school, Aunt Dorothy went to nursing school at Battle Creek Sanitarium. It gets a little confusing because her yearbook was from Emmanuel Missionary College, but EMC had moved to Berrien Springs from Battle Creek by 1901. Actually, the Training School for Nurses was in Battle Creek, called Battle Creek Sanitarium also, and part of EMC. Emmanuel Mission College, operated until 1938. It was part of Andrews University, a 7th Day Adventist institution.

For the cropped yearbook photo below, I left the photo of the other young woman because their names on the right are both on this clipping.

During the time that Dorothy was at school, she met her future husband, Conrad Rudolph Plott, born 21 March 1905, from North Carolina.

This photo of the Plott family was shared by my 2nd cousin, Mike Plott. Uncle Con is in the back row, on our right. The date is unknown. 

They married on 29 October 1934 in Steuben, Indiana. This is what my grandparents did, as well. The marriage laws were looser in Indiana than in Michigan, so they could go “down” there, buy a license, and be married–1, 2, 3.

I was able to order a copy of this application and license.

I do have Uncle Con’s WWII draft card–he was 35 years old. Mysteriously, his name is listed as Rudolph Conrad, instead of Conrad Rudolph. Since I do not have a copy of his birth record, I can’t verify which one is correct. But, as you can see, the marriage application lists him as Conrad Rudolph.

Conrad Plott

Together the couple had three children: Jeanne, John (Bill), and Pat. Jeanne followed her mother’s footsteps and became a nurse. She had a stellar career as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I know that my family is very proud of her service to our country. John was a college professor. Pat was employed by Western Michigan University as assistant to the chair of the sociology department for thirty years. She and I attended grad school in the English department at the same time.

Uncle Con worked as a mechanic for the Kellogg Company for most of his working days. He was very active in the Kellogg factory workers’ union, even serving as President for a number of years.

When I was a little girl, we went a few times to visit Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con, but mainly we saw them at large family gatherings. But one day, and this memory is very vivid to me, they stopped by our house. I don’t know if my mother knew they were coming or not. They brought me a present, and no doubt they brought some of the peanut brittle Uncle Con was famous for in our family. His brother Pryor made the North Carolina classic, and Uncle Con used to help him sell it at state fairs and other venues.

I still have the adorable little apron they gave me.

My Uncle Don told me that Con’s family were very welcoming hosts whenever our family visited them in North Carolina. They always had a room to stay in and huge family dinners–“even when we were just passing through.” I am guessing that the passing through was on the way to Florida from Michigan.

My mother still has photos of a train trip she took with Jeanne to North Carolina in 1952. My mother, being raised in Michigan by Michiganders, was struck by seeing the separate drinking fountains and restrooms for black people. She also noticed that the thunderstorms were so much wilder and more severe than in Michigan.

These two photos are two facing pages in a photo album my mother put together when she was a teen.

Uncle Don filled me in on some interesting info about Aunt Dorothy that I could not have gleaned from knowing her when I was a child. He said that when he stayed with “Dot and Con,” Aunt Dorothy talked about her nursing training. She had a lot of strange and humorous (to the listener) experiences. For example, she was assisting in a surgery, not knowing what the doctor was going to do, and he told her to grab the leg and hold it while he performed the surgery. All of a sudden, she was standing there holding a leg and the doctor said, “Just put it over there and help me clamp the veins and arteries.” That was her first experience with an amputation.
My uncle also said that Aunt Dorothy was the best scholar of the siblings and was the “leader of the pack!” She always helped family members and was present when my mother and Uncle Don and their sister were born. She was also there for the death of my great-grandmother, her own mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder. My grandmother trusted her with all medical matters.
Dorothy was very confident and had a take charge personality. She could be a very direct communicator, and the family loved and respected her greatly.

Uncle Con was not only active in the union and busy working at the Kellogg Company, but he was a farmer as well. On their farm, he grew corn, oats, and wheat. They had a big garden and even pasture for the cow.

Notice Jeanne photobombing in the lower right corner. Pretty cute!

 

Here is Uncle Con on his tractor in the 1950s.

 

Dot and Con had a cabin outside of Sault Ste. Marie on the river. One relative says it was the St. Lawrence and another says St. Mary’s. Maybe it was the St. Lawrence Seaway? They spent summers there, but closed it up during the winter.  Con did love to fish and spent a lot of time in his boat,  He also loved to get really close to the big boats. His daughter Jeanne says that very few people would get in the boat with him!

I don’t know what the occasion was for this photo, but here are Grandma’s siblings. The curtain behind them looks like something at a church, so I suspect this must be at a wedding.

Chuck, Vena, Edna (Grandma), Dorothy, Pete

Mike shared this photo of Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con with Mike’s parents at the wedding of the latter.

In this photo, which was taken in my parents’ front yard, Grandma’s siblings gather with their spouses. The occasion was my grandparents 40th wedding anniversary, in 1972. Standing from left: Con, Dorothy, Adrian (Grandpa), Edna (Grandma), Vena, Al. Kneeling from left: Ruthann, Chuck, Pete, Ruby. So the three sisters and their husbands are in back and the two brothers with their wives are in front.

After Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con retired, they moved to Florida, where they became an integral part of the community in Estero (Fort Myers area). If I hadn’t already known that, I could tell because I found numerous newspaper articles where Uncle Con, in particular, is mentioned.

Uncle Con passed away on 1 April 1989 in Estero.

At some point after that, Aunt Dorothy must have come back to Michigan. She passed away on 23 May 1996 in Kalamazoo and is buried at Mount Ever-Rest.

 

I have a photo of Aunt Dorothy’s headstone, but I do not have a photo of Uncle Con’s and do not know which cemetery in Lumberton, North Carolina, he is buried.

About a year before she passed, I saw Dorothy at my parents’ house at Eagle Lake. In this photo, my mother is with her aunts, Vena (on our left) and Dorothy (on our right).

 

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My cousin Susie (actually my  mom’s cousin, but that’s being picky)  sent me some treasures the other day.

Here is one of my favorite people, my maternal Grandmother, in a color or tinted photo I’ve never seen before.

(Lucille) Edna Mulder
1929

Then there were some newspaper clippings. In the first one, Grandpa is in a photo I’ve shared on here before, but it’s attached to a little story in the “Looking Back” section of the Kalamazoo Gazette. The photo is of my grandfather, who shared the image and the story.

The next clipping is a mention of my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary in the same newspaper (not the same issue).

And, finally, this clipping is an announcement for the senior community where my grandparents lived during their last few years.

I often think of how much I miss these two.

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Introducing my BRICK WALL of genealogy:

My great-great-grandparents, Gottfried and Alwine (Noffke) Waldeck. Gottfried was 1841 – 1913. Alwine 1846 – 1912.

Back row:  Fred (in a terrible accident and lived out the rest of his life at the Kalamazoo State Hospital) married Caroline Meier, Ada (Helene/Lena Ida) married Frederick Steeby, Anna (who was married, but I still need to iron out this “mess”–she was at least married to William Alexander Stewart), August (died in WWI, a bachelor)

Front row: Gottfried, Clara (my great-grandmother), Alwine, Godfrey married Anna Ruehs

There were other children who died young, but exactly who they were needs sorting out.

The family story in America may have started with Alwine’s older brother August. I wrote about him here: Pioneer of the Family

I have written many posts about my great-grandmother Clara and have also written about Fred and his accident and his wife and her family in other posts (search Waldeck).

Gaps might be a ridiculous word for what I have missing from this couple’s lives. I do not know where in Prussia either of them were born, although if the information is correct about August, it is possible that Alwine was born in Pomerania. However, together, the couple seem to have lived in West Prussia, where they may have worked on a large estate or two. I do have birth and/or baptism records for several of their children, but I can’t read them well enough and the place names for Prussia are soooo confusing. I will need help with this portion to create a timeline of locations.

If you are not familiar with Prussia, East Prussia was the province furthest east, but West Prussia is just to the west of East Prussia–still in what is now Poland and on the Baltic Sea. Pomerania, also on the Baltic, is just to the west of West Prussia. Posen is to the south of these provinces.

I don’t have a marriage record for the couple, so I don’t know which area of Prussia they were married–or how they might have met.

Gottfried and Alwine did arrive into Baltimore from Germany in 1882, but I don’t have any other immigration and naturalization records.

I do not have a headstone for either, but have put in a request through Findagrave. I also requested management of their memorials, but have not received a reply. I can only hope for the kindness of the current holder because at 2x greats, they are one removed from my right to manage their memorials. Hmm, but my mother could do it!

I don’t have any military information for Gottfried. Or an obituary.

So what in the world DO I have then (besides anything mentioned above)?

*Gottfried’s death certificate: he died of chronic nephritis. His place of birth is gibberish; nobody has ever heard of such a place.

*Alwine’s death certificate; she died of interstitial nephritis. Her place of birth is just listed as Germany. Notice they both had a form of nephritis and died a year apart.

*Land ownership map in Caledonia, 1894.

*1900 and 1910 census records. The 1890 doesn’t exist, and Gottfried died a few years after the 1910. When there are only one or two census records it really brings home how many of these immigrants only lived 10-20-30 years in this country before dying.

*I know it’s above, but let’s face it, having a photograph of your 2xgreats is pretty cool :).

*Alwine’s obituary, although it’s very limited–and spells her first name Albina. (Alwine is pronounced Alveena)

Finally, I would like to post the property map. The parcel owned by Gottfried is near the bottom, in the center darkened area. His land is a small piece. Do you see the darkened section in the middle at the bottom? His parcel is second from the farthest right (of the darkened section) and the second from the bottom. Although Gottfried and Alwine’s son-in-law, my great-grandfather Charles Mulder, eventually owned a lovely farm in Caledonia, 1894 was long before he purchased his property.

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On my Ancestry DNA account I probably have more matches to this branch of the family than any other. The Mulders were also the extended family we shared holidays and visits with more than the rest. They were my mom’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. The oldest person I knew in that branch was my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder.

Peter (Pieter) and Nellie (Neeltje) were his parents, and they immigrated from Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands when Charles, their first born, was just a toddler. He had a baby brother Jan who did not survive to grow up in the United States. After moving here, they had more children.

Here are a couple posts about this couple:

Pieter the Orphan Peter was sent to the orphanage.

Mulders Everywhere This post has a lot of photos of Nellie and Peter

The Treasure that Arrived in an Email This letter was written by Peter after Nellie passed away

When I went to organize what I had on Peter and Nellie, it was pretty easy because I already had so much information. What I do not have is Peter’s obituary, and I will order it when offices open back up. They are currently closed because of the pandemic. I do have Nellie’s meager obituary. I apologize that it appears blurry. That is the best that can be done with this article from 1932. It gives the list of those that survive her, her address, about the funeral and viewing. It also mentions she was 64-years-old.

From Nellie’s death certificate, we know she died of “pulmonary TB.” Her granddaughter Mary, one of Henry’s (Charles’ brother) daughters, recalled that her grandmother was sickly.  She thinks she was even sick when she came to the US from the Netherlands.  It is possible that she had TB when she emigrated to the US, and if so, very likely that she exposed/infected her family members with TB.  (info from cousin Merry)

Amberly worked on the immigration and naturalization of Peter and Nellie, but I already knew the couple had arrived on the Zaandam on 29 August 1887. There is one more piece of information we need, but I cannot order it until the archives open back up.

I also needed military information on Peter, which I did get from Yvette:

So Peter did not serve in the military. He was able to marry at age 19 and immigrate to the United States at age 21. This would not have happened if he had had to serve.

I’ve been blessed with a lot of information on Peter and Nellie. I also wrote about them in my chapbook Kin Types, imagining them as a young courting couple.

 

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Last maternal great-grandparent: Charles Mulder of Caledonia, Michigan. He was the only great-grandparent I knew–and I adored him.

Luanne and her great-grandfather Charles Mulder

Charles was born Karel Pieter Phillipus Mulder on 6 March 1885 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands. On my Ancestry page for Charles, I had posted a link to his birth record, but had not downloaded it. I now downloaded it, added it to his Ancestry page, and put it into a folder for all of his documents.

Amberly is helping me with his naturalization info. I do have a ship record (the Zandaam), so I know two-year-old Charles arrived in the U.S. with his parents and his brother Jan, a baby of one. Jan died very soon after the family immigrated.

In fact, I made the Charles folder because I had not yet done so. To that folder, I added his marriage record, death record, and all the census records that feature Charles: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. I also downloaded and added his military registrations for both WWI and WWII.

I was surprised to see that Charles had a social security number. For the sake of dotting all the Is and all that, I ordered  his application.

Charles and his wife Clara share a headstone, and I have that photograph. I added it to Ancestry and to the new folder.

I found that I had a copy of Charles’ obituary, so I added it to Ancestry and to the folder on my computer.

Reading over my great-grandfather’s obituary I was shocked to see he only lived to be 82 years old. I was about 12 when he passed away, and I remember feeling frustrated that I was not allowed to attend his funeral since I adored him. But I thought he was about  a zillion years old. No, he was elderly, but only 82. That doesn’t even seem old to me today.

Once again, I had sponsored my great-grandfather’s page on Findagrave, but am not managing it. I have submitted a request to transfer management to me, but I suspect as with the others I have mentioned before, that I have asked in the past and been ignored. We will see what happens.

 

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I’ll be taking a little blog break for a couple of weeks. Hope all is well with you and yours. I also hope that when I begin the search for gaps in my great-greats I don’t get too discouraged!

 

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Both my maternal great-grandmothers were born in the United States, but their husbands, my great-grandfathers, were immigrants. First I will discuss my maternal grandmother’s mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder.

I lack a birth record for Clara. Michigan did not insist on birth records for many years, so my inability to find anything about her birth could be a victim of that bureaucratic lapse. Because I don’t have a birth record I do not know for sure if she even had a middle name. Her death record says NONE for middle name.

Clara’s married name, Clara Mulder, is extremely common in Michigan. Mulder is a Dutch name akin to the English Miller. Her parents and all siblings were Prussian immigrants, but she took on her husband’s Dutch name when she got married.

I’ve posted quite a bit about Clara. You can read more about Clara at My Great-Grandmother’s Lifetime of Service.

Clara was a farm wife, which is a sort of business person, and so she did not have a job which earns a salary. Since Social Security was instituted in 1935, when she was 51, she might have gotten a social security number if she had needed it for work. I do not believe she ever got her social security number. That is unfortunate because she might have applied with her place of birth (the town) and a middle name.

I already have her death certificate, which I have posted in the past, and census reports for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. There is no 1890 census, so my records for the census are complete for Clara. I did sponsor Clara’s page at Findagrave, but I do not manage the profile, as I do for Grandma and Grandpa. I also have Clara’s obituary (see the link above for the obit) and her headstone, which she shares with her husband–but I did not have these items loaded to my Ancestry account. I remedied that problem.

While I would love to find more information on Clara, I really could not add anything at this point, so I decided to request to manage Clara’s profile on Findagrave as my weekly task.

Clara is the third ancestor whose records I have combed for gaps, and I have updated my Ancestry records. However, I still have not transferred these records to another tree OR cleaned up my computer files for these individuals. Going to take the opportunity of a light job here to go do that! Hope the rest of your week goes very well!

Clara and Charles Mulder

50th wedding anniversary

 

 

 

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Next up is Lucille Edna Mulder Zuidweg, my maternal grandmother. If you do a search for her under her maiden name (Mulder as Zuidweg is her married surname), you will find many blog posts about her, especially about her school years. I figured I had most everything available about Grandma, or Edna as she was known, but when I worked on Grandpa’s documents last week I discovered I did not have their marriage application or license. I was able to order it from St. Joseph County, Indiana, and it arrived in time for this post.

Here are their applications:

When it asks for Grandpa’s father’s name what does it say? I can’t make it out. UPDATE: with a little help from readers I now believe it says deceased. I do know grandpa‘s father‘s name was Adrian Zuidweg and Grandpa was a junior.


My mother says the reason her parents got married in Indiana is that it was much quicker and easier to get a license there than in Michigan. Also, Grandpa’s mother was dying, and Grandma needed to help take care of her. Them being married made that easier, and it certainly wasn’t a time for a wedding celebration.

This is the license:

I also found that I did not have Grandma’s birth certificate. I ordered it from Kent County, Michigan, and when it arrived, I realized that Wayne Loney, the Kalamazoo genealogist had been right about these old birth records. County just typed up the info they had, put a seal on it, and charged me. It doesn’t even have the location of her birth.

And guess what? I didn’t have Grandma’s obituary either! So here it is, thanks to the Kalamazoo Public Library:

 

I love how the obituary mentions how she used to say, “Let’s go!” Hah, so true. She also loved to sing along to Ethel Merman, but I doubt too many family members know that. She used to babysit me every day after kindergarten (and the year before that, too), so I’m sure her bashful personality felt more comfortable singing with a five-year-old than adults. She also used to sing folk songs to me, and every once in a while do a few dance steps to make me giggle.

I have treasures that belonged to Grandma and photos of her. I have the 1920, 30, and 40 census records. I have a photo of the headstone she shares with Grandpa at Mount Ever-Rest Cemetery. And I sponsored a page for her at Find-a-Grave, just as I did for Grandpa.

My grandparents–at least as the older and then elderly people I knew–had exceptionally cute personalities. I think everybody who knew them would agree with that!

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Nothing beats a genealogy blog for finding family members! I’ve met two cousins–or rather my mother and their father are first cousins. Grandma’s sister Dorothy was their grandmother. Does that make us 2nd cousins? Please don’t tell me to go check out the chart . . . .

These cousins came bearing photographs, and that makes me doubly happy.

Today I will post the first one.

My new cousins and I share the same great-grandparents: Charles and Clara (Waldeck) Mulder. I’ve written about them many times, but here is a photo I have never seen before.

Charles and Clara were married on 30 April 1910 in Hastings, Michigan. This photo was first identified (to me)  as their 50th anniversary photo, but on closer inspection, I am guessing maybe 40th. Her dress is more fitting for 1950, and since she died in 1953, the photo was taken before then.

This photo feels very special to me because it’s the first one where I have seen them together since they were young with young children–or since their wedding portrait.

Here is their marriage record—first the cropped portion.  I will post the whole page at the bottom.

 

 

Doesn’t it look like her name is recorded as Cora? I know this is their record because of the names of their parents. I was surprised by a couple of things. One is that they were married in Hastings. I believe Charles’ brother’s family lived in Hastings and perhaps his family still does. I was surprised that my great-grandfather was a machinist and that Clara was a bookkeeper.

So I went to the 1910 census. Wow, another surprise. They were both boarders at a home in Hastings, which is in Barry County. Charles was a machinist for a car seal factory. The head of household was the married man Otto Jahnke, a German immigrant. He was also a machinist at the same factory. Otto’s wife Mildred was a homemaker. Single Clara was a bookkeeper for a book case factory.

Another surprise was that they were married in a Presbyterian church. Great-grandpa came from the Reformed tradition, and Great-grandma from the Lutheran. Neither church was in Hastings at the time. Presbyterian doctrine is very similar to Reformed. They both sprang from Calvinism.

I can’t read the pastor’s last name.

What in the world was a “car seal” in 1910?

 

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