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Archive for the ‘DeKorns’ Category

This is the best image I have ever seen of my great-great grandfather Richard DeKorn, Kalamazoo mason and building contractor.

Notice that this portrait is signed. It seems to say L. C. Robinson ’27.

So who was L. C. Robinson? From a directory of early Michigan photographers:

Robinson, Leo Carey
Dowagiac student …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1900
Grand Rapids student ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1910
Grand Rapids manufacturer of studio furniture for photographers ………………………………………………………… 1910-1911
Grand Rapids photographer for Carey B. Robinson ……………………………………………………………………………………..1912
Grand Rapids PHOTOGRAPHER at 115 ½ Monroe av ……………………………………………………………………… 1913-1921
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 414 Main st west ………………………………………………………………………….. 1923-1925
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 426 Main st west ………………………………………………………………………….. 1926-1927
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 426 Michigan av west …………………………………………………………………… 1929-1931
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 346 Burdick st south …………………………………………………………………….. 1939-1942
Leo was the elder son of photographer Carey B. Robinson and Lettie Alena (Lewis) Robinson, was born on February
25, 1893, at Delton, Michigan, and became a tall man with light brown eyes and brown hair. Her father came from
Indiana and Alta was born at Plainwell, Michigan, in June of 1893, sixth of the nine children of Charles C. and Frances
Ardella (Nichols) West. She grew up on an Allegan County farm, and she married Leo in 1914. Their children were
born in Michigan: Chester in 1915, Doris in 1916, Rueben (later Richard) in July of 1919, Jack about 1924, Avis in
May of 1926, and Eileen in February of 1928. The furniture manufactured by C. B. Robinson & Sons was sold across
the nation and in several other countries. Though Leo, along with his brother Ralph and his father, was a principal of
this company through 1911, Leo and his mother operated the photograph studio while his father supervised the
furniture factory. Leo became the nominal proprietor of the Grand Rapids studio about 1913, though his mother and
father still were involved with its operation and finances. He called it Robinson’s Art Loft in 1917. Late in 1923 he
purchased the Spaeth Studio, located in its own building on West Main Street, and within a couple of years had
developed one of the largest portrait trades in Kalamazoo. Leo died at Kalamazoo in 1942.

This photograph has a strange sheen to it and a pattern that overlays it all–visible in certain formats on my computer screen. This must be a certain type of photography, but I don’t know what it is.

I do know that I am grateful for this photograph dated three years before Richard’s death.

Dated. But taken? Richard was born in 1851 in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. In 1927, he would have been 76 years old.

Did he dye his hair? Could those moderate “living lines” be from 76 years of living? I find this photo a little confusing if it’s meant to be from 1927.

What do YOU think?

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Although I started this blog five years ago next month, and that sounds like a long time, I’ve been working (on and off–mainly off while raising my kids and teaching) on family history, family photos, and genealogy since I was just out of college and beginning a master’s in history (which I did not complete and ultimately switched to English and creative writing).

I was blessed with many antique and vintage photographs and a grandfather with a great memory and a talent for storytelling.

But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I got the idea of putting my research and knowledge of our family history together with my creative writing. Then I began to write lyric poems, prose poems, and a few pieces in a genre that was new to me–flash nonfiction, which is a form of very short prose–based on individuals from my family’s past.

Ultimately, I pulled these pieces together into a chapbook (44 pages) which has been published by Finishing Line Press and is now available, not only on their website, but also on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Kin Types looks at what the lives of my ancestors were like. The locales are mainly Kalamazoo (and other towns in southwestern Michigan), Elmhurst (Illinois), and the Netherlands. Using the fruits of my research, which included studying newspaper articles, documents, and the details of antique photos, I tried to “inhabit” the lives of some of the people who have come before me.

If you click through the link to the Amazon page, the book can be ordered for $14.99. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.

Here is a sample poem from the collection:

Genealogy

 

Tigers die and leave their skins;

people die and leave their names.  ~Japanese Proverb

 

The more relatives I unearthed,

the more Franks rose to the surface

like deer bones after a storm.

On the trails I could follow,

I found seven named Frank,

three Franz, three Francis.

Frans, Francois, and Franciscus.

Frances and Francisca,

the women peeking out

from under their fathers’ names.

The name passed forward

like a cross polished by many hands.

The verb frank means to allow free passage

for man or post. But these Franks

and Franciskas paid with their labor

and their babes buried along the way.

If you read this blog, some of the characters of the book might be familiar to you. And because the project is quite unique I think people passionate about family history, genealogy, history, and local history will probably be particularly interested. Some of the pieces have been published in literary magazines. Combined together, they tell a story of the history of “forgotten” women.

So what are you waiting for? 😉 Go to one of the links and place your order!  And thank you very much.

 

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This past week I was back in Michigan for a visit with Mom who was having surgery. Surgery went very well, and Mom is doing great!

I came home with some vintage and antique photos. Eventually I will share some of them.

For now, I have to go through the process I use for all these photos.

  1. Scan each photo, using the scanner attached to my computer. I originally bought it for business, but it’s just a simple home scanner. I scan them into .tiff so that the best quality is preserved.
  2. The originals are then put into acid-free clear (plastic) sleeves and sometimes then into acid-free photo boxes for storage, preferably in a fire safe (locked file cabinet that can withstand fire up to a certain temperature).
  3. Then I use my zamzar.com account to convert the .tiff files into .jpg. Jpeg is easier to use as I wish because it’s a very accepted file type. Each new jpeg has to be downloaded to my computer individually. This takes a bit of time. Zamzar is the best program I have found for file type conversions, and it is well worth the subscription.
  4. I create appropriate folders and store the .tiffs and the .jpgs together in the folders.
  5. Photos from the 60s and 70s sometimes need a little TLC as they are already turning yellow or even brown. I use Picmonkey not because it’s better than photoshop (it isn’t), but because it is extremely user friendly and doesn’t take up too much time.
  6. I create another folder for each new folder. These use the same folder names, but add the term “watermarked.”
  7. Then I use Water Marquee to create a watermark for thefamilykalamazoo.com and watermark one full set from each “watermarked” folder.
  8. At this point, I have both watermarked and unwatermarked jpegs for sharing.

That’s it! Then I’m done. What is your process for saving old photos?

From a Joseph DeKorn glass negative

Adrian Zuidweg (Grandpa) on the right

The dog is Bobby

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I dug into the bottom of a file drawer and pulled out a book I forgot that I had. It was put together by the Kalamazoo Gazette and featured photographs sent in by individuals of Kalamazoo from the past up to the early 1960s.

My grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, is listed as one of the contributors, so I went through and tried to find the photos he might have sent in.

Definitely these two photos. The little boy in the check dress and straw hat is grandpa himself. And the little girl on the hammock is his cousin Alice Leeuwenhoek.

Those are the relatives sitting on the front porch. Gosh, I own that photo! I didn’t realize that was Richard Remine (though I can see right now that it is, of course, him)–or his children Therese, Harold, and Jane either. It would fit that the two little girls are Alice (next to her grandma Alice Paak) and Therese. With Harold behind the children. But Jane doesn’t really look old enough in this photo. According to my records, Jane was 14 years older than Therese. Something is off here. That big gap in age between Jane and Therese bothers me, and it always has. And if you recall when I wrote about Frank and Jane Tazelaar, I had been confused for awhile about if there had been 4 Remine children and 2 girls of similar names.  This photo must be somewhere around 1901, based on the assumed aged of the 3 little children. Jane was born in 1881 and is not 20 here!

The known people: back row is Aunt Jen DeKorn Leeuwenhoek, Richard DeKorn, Richard Remine. Front row is Lambertus (Lou) Leeuwenhoek, Alice Paak DeKorn, and then the little girl next to Alice definitely looks like Alice Leeuwenhoek, Jen and Lou’s daughter. It would seem plausible that the three other children belong to Richard Remine, but Jane could not have been that small.

What else? Here is Harold Remine big enough to go fishing at Long Lake. The other photo is not from my family, but it does show off a great collection of hats!

This is the Ladies Library building that Richard DeKorn was the mason contractor for.

But I don’t think that is one of our family photos.

One of these photos could have been taken by Joseph DeKorn and been submitted by Grandpa. It is very similar to the ones that I own.

Take a look at the captions for the downtown views. Does it make sense? It doesn’t make sense to me for some reason.

Most importantly, Grandpa autographed this book!

Here is a bonus photo. It isn’t from my family, but isn’t it a cool reminder of the kitschy business architecture popular in those days?

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Here’s a lovely mention in a great post about genealogy and researching family history. It’s from February, but somehow I missed seeing it.

 

Cheri Lucas Rowlands blog

 

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My 3rd great grandmother, Johanna Remine deKorne had a brother named Gerrit Remine. He, like his sister and other siblings was born in Kapelle, Netherlands. Gerrit’s birthdate was 21 February 1825.

Gerrit and Johanna were both born Remijinse, but changed the spelling in Michigan. Gerrit was married to Janna Kakebeeke (Kakebeke). They had three children (that I know of). Johanna who gained the surname Bosman (I’ve written about Bosmans in the past), Jennie (or Adriana) who married Carlos Meijer (Meyer), and Richard Remine. Richard was Frank Tazelaar’s father-in-law, the father of Genevieve.

I never noticed that the deaths of both Gerrit and Janna were in 1910, and even if I had, they were 3 months apart. So Gerrit and Janna were the grandparents of Genevieve, Frank’s grandparents-in-law.

Imagine my surprise to find a newspaper article explaining what happened to Gerrit in 1910 and giving a hint about Janna. The Kalamazoo Gazette article was dated 7 January 1910.

Coal gas poisoning appears to be different than carbon monoxide poisoning. I will quote from the beginning of the following article only to give you a flavor of the 1896 explanation:

JOURNAL ARTICLE

A Discussion On The Pathology Of Coal Gas Poisoning

John Haldane, John R. Davison, Alexander Scott, Stewart Lockie, J. Lorrain Smith and T. W. Parry
The British Medical Journal
Vol. 2, No. 1866 (Oct. 3, 1896), pp. 903-910
Published by: BMJ
Page Count: 8

The coal gas could have come from cooking, lighting, heating, or even a broken pipe.

No death certificate yet for Janna, but when I do find that it should confirm that she died belatedly from the coal gas tragedy.

UPDATE: Well, never assume that once these people changed the spelling of their names that they stayed put. Although Gerrit’s death article used the spelling “Remine,” Janna’s did not. In fact, even her first name changed

In this article, Janna becomes Jennie, which to my understanding makes less sense in Dutch than it does in English. And Remine is now Reminse. And look at her daughter, Jennie (Adriana) is “Mrs. C. Myers.” So Meijer that became Meyer is also Myers. Whew. And Richard Remine is now Richard Reminse. Good grief. You don’t even want to know how many ways I’ve seen Gerrit spelled!

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I have written about the Flipse family in Kalamazoo and my connection to them. My great-great-grandfather Richard DeKorn’s niece Frances DeSmit married Jacob Flipse. Now it looks to me as if there are least two connections between the Flipse family and the Kallewaard family, so when I use the name Kallewaard in the future know that I mean Kallewaard/Flipse.

Jan Denkers from the Netherlands contacted me with some information about the Kallewaard/Flipse family that lived in the Burdick and Balch neighborhood in Kalamazoo near my family. His father had carefully kept information about the family.

I will be writing another post or two about the family before too long.

In the documents that Jan shared with me was the above photograph. This house was probably the 3rd house north from my great-great-grandfather’s house on the corner of Burdick and Balch. Inside it lived the Kallewaard family: Cornelius, Mary (Flipse), and their children.

The next photo is my great-great-grandfather’s house at the corner. You can see the variety in styles of homes, although each is special in its own right.

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could find a photo of each house in the neighborhood and put them together to see the neighborhood in its heyday?

Although the DeKorn house is still standing, the Kallewaard house is not, unfortunately. Thank you, Google Maps.

 

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