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Archive for the ‘DeKorn’ Category

Mary Ann S., who runs the Facebook group Reconnecting Kalamazoo, made a big find relating to this blog and my family. Thank you so much, Mary!!! She emailed me that she had found something on ebay I might be interested in.

Let me catch you up on something first.

Four years ago, I published a post on some of my research into Frank Tazelaar. I had found dozens of newspaper articles about Frank. Check out my post, After Reading Fifty Newspapers about Frank Tazelaar. Frank was the husband of my 3x removed 1st cousin, Genevieve Remine Tazelaar. Actually I’m related to Genevieve through two branches of the family so that isn’t reflected in the “3x removed 1st cousin” label.

In that post I wrote about a fish supper held by the Knights of Pythias. Here is a quote:

On June 25 [1911], there is a somewhat humorous article about the fishing teams of the Knights of Pythias lodge. Frank is one of the team captains.  This article is notable for sharing Frank’s photo. He was about 39 here . . . .

This article is ALSO notable for mentioning my great-grandfather’s fish market! Referring to the fish caught in the contest, the article says, “All fish must be delivered at Zuideweg’s [SIC: should be Zuidweg’s] market in Eleanor Street by Monday noon . . . .” So you know the connection, Genevieve Remine Tazelaar was the first cousin of my great-great-grandfather Richard DeKorn whose son-in-law was my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg who owned the fish market. Now the most important part: Richard DeKorn built the Pythian building known as Pythian Castle and, earlier, as the Telegraph Building. The link explains about the building.

I’ve posted a photo of the fish market in the past.

Fish Market on Eleanor Street with Adrian Zuidweg and helper

Now, what is the big find?

A mailer/flyer about the fish dinner!!!!!! Yes, I definitely ordered it from ebay.

It’s very hard to get the color right in a photograph or a scan, but it is actually fire engine red. Notice that my great-grandfather’s fish market is mentioned on here, as well as Frank Tazelaar as one of the captains.

I think this card might have been addressed to Vernon G. Bellows, a nurse at the Kalamazoo State Hospital in 1911. I found him in the City Directory. I realize the initials are switched, but that would be an easy mistake or even the way Bellows sometimes signed his name. Maybe he was a member of the Pythians.

Imagine finding a family treasure on ebay!

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I found this photo in my mom’s childhood photo album. She’s holding a very large doll. So I asked her about it, and she told me that somebody from Grandpa’s side of the family gave her that doll. She remembers the doll very well, but some of the details surrounding the doll were a little hazy, as with most memories from long ago.

Mom’s guess was that maybe it was Aunt Tena’s doll. Aunt Tena was married to Grandpa’s Uncle Joe DeKorn, and they lived in Grand Rapids. Their sons, Grandpa’s cousins, were Philip and Richard. So I examined the background in the photo. The rock garden is probably the most distinctive feature.

Phil DeKorn’s album that Sue sent me has several photos of the outside of their house in Grand Rapids. But was there a rock garden? Every photo is from a little different angle and cuts off the sides at different places. Some of the photos led me to believe Mom’s photo was taken at the DeKorn home. Then I found this one with the rock garden, and I was sure. It’s Phil just before enlisting in 1943.

It might even have been Uncle Joe’s camera that took both photos. I’m guessing Mom’s photo was taken a few years earlier, perhaps 1939.

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There is a tintype in a beautiful family album that I scanned with the other photographs. Since then, I’ve passed by that unidentified photo many times. Something always struck me as familiar; in fact, the woman looked like one of my great-great grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn’s sisters–perhaps Carrie or Mary. Carrie had no children. Mary had two girls and a boy and this woman is standing with two girls.

But it wasn’t right and I knew it. One of Mary’s girls was born much too late to be in a tintype.

So I let it go.

Until I saw it again the other day and it all snapped into place for me.

I focused on the girl with the face in clear image, and I knew who she was. That led me to consider the woman and the other girl.

Bingo. I thought to myself, “We have a match.”

The girl on our left (the woman’s right) is Janna DeKorn, aka Aunt Jen who I knew until I was twelve years old. Aunt Jen was born in 1873. Her younger sister, my great-grandmother Cora, was born Jacoba Wilhelmina DeKorn in 1875.

Alice, Lou, and Jennie (DeKorn) Leeuwenhoek

That means that the woman is Alice Paak DeKorn, their mother. No wonder she looks like her sisters. Gee whiz. Why did I not recognize her? There are a couple of reasons. For one thing, the photos I have of her when she’s older tend to be snapshots, and she had the loveliest smile. In this studio portrait, she is non-smiling, probably because she had to hold still for at least six minutes for a tintype. That would explain why Cora’s face is blurry. She must have moved while the image was being captured.

The other reason Alice looked different to me is that she has darker, curled hair here. She does not have curled hair in other images, and most of the photos show her with light hair, which I  now realize was gray.

If we look back at the image on Kin Types of the tintype of her as a teen or young woman, we can see that her hair was brown and that this woman is, indeed, Alice Paak.

I thought you would enjoy the details of the clothing in the tintype of Alice and her daughters. The photo would have been taken most likely after 1881 when the youngest DeKorn, Joseph, was born. Jennie looks 10-12 here and Cora 8-10. That would place the year as between 1883 and 1885.

I had a thought about the “picket fence” as it seems an add-on since it doesn’t match the possible banister behind them. It looks as if it was used for subjects to “lean on” to help steady them for the long wait for the image to develop.

Here is another photo that was given to me by Professor Lawrence of Jennie DeKorn as a child. Although the photographer’s name is cut off here, I recognize that this photo was taken by John Reidsema who was a professional photographer in Kalamazoo from at least 1888. If this was 1888, Jennie would be 15 years old, which could be right. Notice that the photo I posted above of Jennie with her husband and child was also taken at Reidsema’s studio.

And this one is also from Professor Lawrence of Jennie and Cora.

So I have three good images of Jennie as a child, but only one of Cora because of the blurred face in the tintype. the tintype is especially precious because it shows Alice Paak DeKorn when she was a young mother, whereas our other shots of her are when she was younger and, mainly, much older.

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Here is an unidentified photo from a family album. The album is from the Remine/Paak branch. Because the subject is a toddler, it is almost impossible to identify the photo. But let’s see what we can figure out.

The most important clue comes from the photographer.

According to the well-researched list of photographers found HERE, I can calculate that this photo must have been taken between 1882 and 1899. See the screenshot below to see how I figured that. Abbey was at the East Main location during those years.

So the fact that the baby looks a little bit like Grandpa is irrelevant because it isn’t him as he was born in 1908. In fact, the child would be at least 11 or 12 years older than Grandpa.

Are we sure it’s a boy? I’m going to say it is a boy, based on the outfit. But if you disagree, let me know!

Could it be Harold Remine? He was born in 1897.

This is Harold:

I don’t see the resemblance. To me the baby pic and the young man pic look alike, but the baby/toddler unidentified pic looks more like Grandpa or even my mother. Does anybody else think the pic does look like Harold?

If it could be a girl, we have Therese Remine, born 1895, and Alice Leeuwenhoek, born 1897, but that baby is not Alice who had a very distinctive look as a baby and child. Here is Therese:

Therese Remine

Another possibility is that the child could belong to one of George Paake’s children. I don’t really think so, but their ages are all within the right time frame except the only boy was born in 1898 and would be too young. And the children would be photographed together, so it could only be the oldest, Cora, and I do not see a resemblance.

Front row: Theresa and Cora
Back row: Frances, George Jr., Jennie (Jane)

The only other child of the right age range from the Paak family (which is the broader branch associated with the photo album this image comes from) would be Joseph DeKorn, son of Richard and Alice, Grandpa’s Uncle.

If the child isn’t Joseph, then I’d have to look a little further afield. Keeping in mind that the Remines were related to Grandpa twice over–through both his maternal grandmother and maternal grandfather–I could look at some other families. However, I have two roadblocks to doing so. I cannot see that Ancestry, which is where my tree is located, has the ability to search by birth dates, for instance. Does My Heritage? i do have my tree loaded there as well. I’d like to be able to search through categories like that. Does anybody know a program that sorts like that?

The second roadblock is that farther out, my tree is still a little too sketchy or spotty to do a good job, especially when I would have to do it individual by individual.

What I can hope for is that one day I can make a good guess as to the identity of this baby. As you probably have experienced yourself, looking like Grandpa or mom is meaningless. My mother and her next door neighbor/good friend are often mistaken for sisters and they do look so much alike, much more than my mother does with her own sister. Mom and her friend just explain to people that they’re both “Dutch” hah. The reality is that we can compare unidentified photos with other photos to search for exact features, but when a child grows and becomes an adult some of those features can change remarkably. We can’t even begin to compare unidentified photos with family branches by examining features.

BUT WAIT.

Belatedly I see something that I didn’t notice before. In the same album there is a portrait of another child which has the exact same advertising from the photographer on the backside. The “setting” looks the same with the same chair. I suspect these are photos of siblings that were taken at the same time.

With the two photos, here side by side, it becomes important to narrow in on the genders and the ages because with the answer to those questions, I might be able to figure it out.

At this point, I really need help figuring out if these are boys or girls or one of each. My feeling is that the older child is a girl and the younger a boy, but that is a guess. And what age would you say each one is? I suspect that if they were considered babies they would be wearing white dresses, no matter what the gender, but the littler one certainly looks young enough for the white dress treatment, so that’s a little confusing. In a word, help!

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I have no idea at all if the Dutch in Michigan celebrated Pinkster 100 or more years ago. Pinkster (Pinksteren is Dutch for Pentecost) is a holiday connected with Pentecost and loosely related to May Day and spring festivals. It typically occurs in May or June. Here is a photo from the very limited Wikipedia article about Pinkster.


Notice how the children hold ribbons around a pole, much like what we tend to think of as a traditional Maypole.

The reason I started thinking about this is because I found this very damaged photo which I believe belonged to Alice Leeuwenhoek, born 1897 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her family, like all my grandfather’s family at that time, belonged to the Reformed church where all the Sunday School children were likely to be Dutch.

If you look carefully at this photo, you will see these children are all holding what looks to be a ribbon of some kind. At first I thought maybe a paper chain, but I don’t think it is. Also, notice the flowers. The children are dressed in their Sunday best and so is the woman standing behind them. This would not be a regular school day, then, but Sunday School or a holiday. I do see the American flag near the woman’s right shoulder which does seem to indicate a schoolroom. Would public school have celebrated a religious holiday if the student body was fairly homogeneous? Click on the photo to enlarge.

Look carefully at the girl third from our left. What is in front of her? Is that a doll on the ribbon? Or, is it what my daughter suspects, a ghost?

If you read more about Pinkster you will see that Africans in the United States took over the holiday and made it their own–and why. It has to do with being enslaved and that it was a holiday where they got “time off” work and could see family and friends.

Do you have other ideas about the photo or see something that I missed? I’d love to hear!

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Phil and Marianne (Haadsma) DeKorn’s niece Sue Haadsma-Svensson has once again sent me a family treasure. This binder looks to have been put together by Phil DeKorn and shares photos and history of both his father’s family, the DeKorns, and his mother’s family, the Blandfords.


I can’t wait to scan all the items in the binder!

Also, I have been working on the histories of my grandmother’s siblings and will be posting about them soon.

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My family first arrived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, between 1860 and 1864, when the immigrant Boudewijn DeKorn(e) family moved from Zeeland, Michigan. Their residence was still Ottawa County in 1860, but the mother, Johanna Reminse DeKorn, was buried in Kalamazoo in 1864. This nails the time period unless, of course, Johanna was first buried near Zeeland and then her body later buried in Kalamazoo. I find that to be highly unlikely for many reasons.

In 1869, Alice Paak and her family (her father Teunis and her siblings) immigrated from the Netherlands to Kalamazoo.

In 1872, Richard DeKorn, the only son of Boudewijn and Johanna, married Alice Paak in Kalamazoo.

Richard DeKorn
picking strawberries
on Maple Street

In 1878-79, Richard was brick mason for the new and gorgeous building for the Ladies Library Association. In 1895 he would be lead brick mason on the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital Water Tower. According to his obituary he also was the contractor for the Pythian building and the Merchants Publishing Company building.

Richard built the brick house at the corner of Burdick and Balch Streets in Kalamazoo for his family in the early 1880s.

In the beautiful video I am posting here, Kalamazoo is “seen” during 1884, the year the village of Kalamazoo (the largest village in the entire country) became a city. My relatives are not mentioned in the video, but the Ladies Library Association and the “asylum” (where Richard would build the water tower 11 years later) are mentioned. To give you an idea where my family fits into the city at that time, using the terminology of the film, they had arrived in the United States from the Netherlands, but quickly could be classified as “middle class.” They were literate people as they could read and write. In some cases, they had trades, although I think they mainly learned their trades on the job as young men. Teunis became a successful farmer and land owner. Boudewijn’s son Richard became a successful building contractor and brick mason.

Kalamazoo was founded by mainly English settlers, beginning in 1829, but the Dutch began to immigrate to southwest and west Michigan in increasing numbers in the 40s and 50s and 60s. My ancestors were part of this group that ended up becoming a sizable chunk of the Kalamazoo population. If I have any quibbles with the video it is that other than mention of the first Reformed church in town, it is that there is no recognition of how the Dutch would help shape the City of Kalamazoo, but in all fairness it’s possible that the influence wasn’t yet felt in 1884.

(This film lasts about a half hour. If your interests are not with the city, I won’t be insulted if you decide to skip it; however, it gives a nice overview of the time period, as well). Either way, Happy Thanksgiving and please stay safe!

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I was so intrigued to see the project that my 4x cousin Joel’s wife, Peggy Davis Reeves of Williamsburg, Virginia, undertook. Joel, who is descended from Boudewijn DeKorne (1816-1875) as I am, wrote, “Peggy decided to do a research project on family members that served in the military. She called this ‘My Family Heroes’ and collected information on 100 individuals that represent the period from 1746 (Virginia Militia) to 2020 (West Point graduate). This represents only a small sample of the number of our relatives that have served in the military.”


Peggy first spent six months doing the research through Ancestry and Fold3. Joel sums it up this way: “She learned a lot about these brave individuals. Some families were divided during the Civil War – 2 brothers on the Union side and 3 brothers on the Confederate side. A set of twin brothers enlisted together. Other were prisoners of war, wounded or lost their lives. Some died of disease, such as bronchitis or rubella. Some won medals of honor, such as the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Oak Leaf Cluster. Other received land grants for their service. All these individuals took a stand to join the military to serve their country in war time and peace. We are proud of these service men and women that protect this country and our freedom. This is our way of saying thanks to all of them on this Veterans Day.”

When she was ready to create the ornaments, Peggy used Dollar Store plexiglass magnetic refrigerator frames and removed the magnets from the back. Then she set up a template in Photoshop with a red-white-blue border and added an image of the individual or tomb stone or flag on one side and military information on the person on the other side.

Charles is the husband of my first cousin three times removed

After getting the pictures printed, she added a ribbon bow which varies by when the individual served or the branch of service. I particularly love that special touch. Peggy also created a Shutterfly book so that the family would have access to this wonderful work throughout the year.


I love the anchors on the ribbon for those that served in the Navy.

Isn’t this inspirational? What a great way to honor the military members of our genealogy family trees! Thinking of making a tree like this? If you have done a lot of research on your ancestors who were in the military you might be able to pull together at least a small tree by Christmas. If not, you can do what Peggy did and take a year to do the research and create the tree.

Peggy, thank you for letting me share your inventiveness and hard work.

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Like the great-greats in my last post, Jan and Geertruijd (Engelse) de Korne, Dirk Gillesz Remijnse and his wife, Adriana Krijger (Kriger), are ancestors of Richard DeKorn, the man who had a great influence on my grandfather. Richard was Grandpa’s grandfather, and he lived with his parents at the home of Richard. Richard’s given name was Dirk, so he was named after his grandfather, Dirk Gillesz Remijnse.

By the way, according to Family Search:

In Dutch the word for son is zoon; in Old Dutch, it is soen, zoen or soon, which can be abbreviated to sz, z, se, sen and x. Daughter in Dutch is dochter and in Old Dutch it is doghter which can be abbreviated to d, dr, s, se, sen, sens, and x.

Using this info, we can see that Dirk Gillesz means that his father’s name was Gillis or Gilles.

According to Dirk’s and Adriana’s life stories on Ancestry:

When Dirk Gillesz Remijnse was born on November 22, 1786, in Kruiningen, Zeeland, Netherlands, his father, Gillis, was 29 and his mother, Hendrika, was 23. He married Adriana Krijger on August 26, 1810, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. They had ten children in 15 years. He died on September 9, 1840, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 53.

When Adriana Krijger was born on June 11, 1787, in Biggekerke, Zeeland, Netherlands, her father, Jan, was 53, and her mother, Janna, was 31. She married Dirk Gillesz Remijnse on August 26, 1810, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. They had ten children in 15 years. She died on April 14, 1845, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 57.

I would add that of these ten children, nine lived to adulthood, whereas Pieter died at age 8. It is possible that there were other babies who passed away, but I have not yet searched for them. For the most part, these children are 1-2 years apart, though, so it’s likely that the family was blessed with good odds (for those days) and that the majority of their children survived.

I found a death record for both husband and wife.

Dirk’s record:

Index of Dirk’s death record:

Adriana’s death record:

Index of Adriana’s death record:

I have not found a marriage record for this couple, nor a baptismal record for Dirk. But I did finally find a baptismal record for Adriana and ordered it from Zeeuws Archief. It arrived in time for this post!

At the birth of their daughter, Johanna, my 3x great-grandmother (who died in Kalamazoo in 1864), Dirk’s occupation was listed as bread baker. Probably a good thing, since he had all those mouths to feed! But think of him getting up really early and getting the ovens going. A pretty hard job, although a good smelling one.

I must confess that the birth date for Dirk and the marriage date that I show come from online family trees on “genealogy online,” a Dutch site. I do not have documents verifying them. So let’s just use them as place holders for now. Of course, the birth years are fairly accurate because of the ages listed on the death records, but I still need those documents!

Adriana was born in Biggekerke. This is a “ground sailor,” which is a term for a windmill that can be operated from the ground. Brassers Molen is a flour mill that was built in 1712, so it had already been around for quite some time when Adriana was born in 1787.

Brassers Molen from Wikipedia

Dirk hailed from Kruinengen, and that town also has an old flour windmill, Oude Molen (literally, Old Mill). This one was built in 1801 when Dirk was 25 years old.

Oude Molen from Wikipedia

If you would like to understand the role of some windmills in controlling the water in below-sea-level Netherlands, read Eilene’s wonderful post: Milling Water to the Sea

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My 3x great-grandfather, Boudewijn DeKorn and his wife, Johanna Remine, were the first generation in the DeKorn branch to immigrate to the United States. Boudewijn’s parents, Jan and Geertruijd (Engelse) de Korne (de Corne) were the last generation of my direct ancestors to remain in the Netherlands. By the time that the younger couple had emigrated in 1856, Boudewijn’s parents were already deceased.

Jan had passed away nine years before, on 10 November 1847 in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, at age 54. Although I knew that my 2x great-grandfather Richard DeKorn was born in Kapelle, I think this is pretty much the same area as Goes, where so much of the family came from. In fact, the cities are only 7 kilometers apart (less than 4.5 miles!).

Jan was born on or around 16 November 1792 in Kattendijke, but this is a village in Goes. This shows that this portion of the family was in Goes before the move to Kapelle. Kloetinge is another village in the city of Goes that I have seen mentioned in my relatives’ records.

This is a copy of Jan’s baptismal record.

Geertruijd had already been gone for some time when her husband passed. She died at age 40 on 23 May 1829 in Kapelle, just a few weeks after the birth of her son Pieter. She was born in Kruinengen, about 17 kilometers from Goes, so not far from Kapelle either, on or around 22 April 1789.

The couple was married on 22 April 1814 in Kapelle. According to Yvette Hoitink: “The marriage record of Jan de Korne and Geertruijd Engelse was found in the ZeeuwenGezocht.nl index of civil registration records. They were married in Kapelle on 22 April 1814. Scans of the 1814 marriage records of Kapelle are missing from the “Netherlands, Civil Registration, 1792-1952″ set of images at Familysearch.org so the original text has not been consulted. The (reliable) index provides the names of his parents: Boudewijn de Korne and Jacoba Loenhout and gives his age (21) and place of birth (Kattendijke).” Therefore, I do not have a copy of their marriage record.

At the time of their marriage, I believe that Jan was already living in Kapelle and working as a farmer. Whether his father or he owned a farm, I do not know. But he is listed as a farmer, not a laborer or day laborer, so it is likely that there was a family farm. I don’t know what brought Geertruijd to Kapelle.

After fifteen years of marriage and two living children (my 3x great Boudewijn and his brother Pieter–there were at least two infants who died, as well), Jan was left a widower. On 19 October 1832, he married Elizabeth Zandijk. After she passed away on or around 16 April 1833 (six months after their marriage!!!!), Jan married another Elizabeth. This third wife was Elizabeth Bustraan, and their marriage began on 16 April 1841 in Kapelle. I do not have a date for her death.

I do have copies of the marriage records for Jan’s second and third marriages.

I have a death record for both Jan and Geertruijd. Here is Jan’s.

And here is Geertuijd’s:

 

I hope to eventually find the couple’s marriage record. Additionally, I am looking for Geertruijd’s baptismal record and any evidence of a military record for Jan.

 

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