Archive for the ‘Dutch Genealogy’ Category

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).


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.


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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There is so much to see and research in every photograph, every document, and every story. It’s no wonder I always feel that I have not exhausted a topic. One of those topics is the hat that Jennie Zuidweg (wife of Johannes and mother of Lucas who died on the anchor) wore in her photos. She wore it when she was younger and, no doubt, living in the Netherlands–specifically Goes, Zeeland.

And she wore it when she was old and living in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

And then I saw another Dutch relative wearing the hat.

I put all this in the back of my mind, and then on a Dutch Facebook group somebody mentioned a type of hat, and it clicked in my head that I needed to research this hat.

What I found is that this type of hat seems to be called a Kapothoed. According to Google translation, this means hood hat or bonnet. So I did a Google search of Kapothoed. Although all that comes up are not the same, there are several that are.

Google Search for Kapothoed

and from Pinterest.


What this shows me is that what I assumed to be an old-fashioned country bonnet was really an actual style that existed in the Netherlands. Some of the bonnets or kapothoed that I found by searching Dutch museum collections online are closer to the head, but there are some that are high like these.

Here is a high one from Europeana Collections, an online digital collection of artifacts.

Now that I have seen more kapothoed designs, I can see that the hats Jennie wore when she was younger and when she was elderly are two different hats, two different styles of bonnets.

These bonnets are very different from the traditional Dutch caps which look like the variations in these photos from Wikipedia.

Actually, the caps that women in Goes, Zeeland, wore were the most dramatic, along with the hair combed back at the forehead and the large jewelry worn at the temples.

I spent a lot of time trying to find an image online that I am allowed to download and put into this post, but I couldn’t find the right image of the Goes costume. Instead, I did a Google search of the “traditional costume of Goes, Zeeland” and created a screen shot to show you.

These are oorijzers or ear irons. Various styles had different names. The block or cube style were boeken (books). A spiral metal style were called krullen (curls). This next photo is a woman from Spijkenisse in 1900. I am including it to show you the krullen style ear irons.


Here is what Wikipedia has to say about oorijzer. I am quoting them because it’s the best information I found online:

The ear iron is part of the costume for women, especially in the northern provinces of the Netherlands and Zeeland . It originally formed part of the civic power, which was taken over in the regional councils.

Initially the ear iron was a metal bracket to keep the caps in place. It was worn over a cap and a luxurious top hat was put on it. In the course of time the ear iron grew into a showpiece. Decorative gold plates or curls stuck out at the front of the ear irons . . . .

Only in the 19th century did various forms of the ear-iron form a specific part of Dutch regional dress. In Images of dress, morals and customs from 1803-1807 there is no question of ear iron in women from Friesland. In the French era, when the so-called independent regions of the Republic of the United Netherlands come under a single administration, the need for maintaining their own identity arises in the regions. In the Netherlands, the ear iron force is cultivated and has its own development. The prosperity is great, as a result of which the ear iron is getting bigger and bigger. In the course of the century, the narrow band is becoming wider, the buds become larger and flatter and take the form of a flower pot.

Different Ear Irons in the Zuiderzee Museum

A slang term for them might be kissers. A tradition (not universally shared) has it that the kissers were meant to keep boys away from the girls. I’m amazed how the hair looks so plain and yet the cap and oorijzers are so extravagant looking. Coral bead necklaces are part of the traditional costume. You could tell if a woman was Protestant or Catholic by her cap.

If you would like to read more about the oorijzers, here is a blog post by a graduate student in fashion. The Oorijzer

As you know, I am no expert on traditional Dutch costumes. I found this information online. But I think knowing that my ancestors wore outfits like this is eye-opening.

One last thing I’d like to point out is that although I have a couple of traditional costume antique photographs, they are not from Goes, unfortunately. I wish I had a photo of my ancestor dressed this way. Instead, what I do have from late 19th century Netherlands is not traditional attire, but more “modern” European clothing.

P.S. The unidentified lady (called “Mother’s aunt” and written about here) was photographed in Groningen. For fun I thought I’d share a link about Albarta ten Oever (1772–1854), an artist from Groningen who happened to be a woman. Check it out.

by Albarta ten Oever

Koetsreizigers in Schipborg (1806)

landscape of “coach travelers” in Schipborg, a village in Drenthe

And then here’s another article of interest to this blog, Calvinism in the Netherlands. When I was a history grad student (never finished that particular degree) my specialty was religious history, particularly the history of the Reformation (where Protestantism, often in the form of Calvinism, replaced Catholicism for masses of Europeans). So the full history of what has happened with Calvinism in the Netherlands is of particular interest to me. My own family background from the Netherlands was Dutch Reformed (Calvinism), but before my mother was raised, the family had moved away from a strict form of Protestantism.

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The more I peer into the past, the more I feel like Pandora. In addition to discovering wonderful information about my ancestors, sometimes I discover sad, tragic, or even disturbing events.

For instance, I have found out more about the sentencing of my great-great-grandfather Johannes Zuijdweg (Zuidweg).

Unfortunately, what I discovered is not positive.

Here it is cropped a bit to make it easier (thanks for the idea, Amy!). His entry is the third down on both pages.



According to this document and the kind translators on Facebook, Johannes did serve two months in jail for theft, from July 15 to September 13, 1895. Imagine how Jennie felt. She had just lost her youngest child (of three) to a gruesome accident and now, a year later, her husband was serving time in jail. Everyone in their neighborhood and at their church must have known.

I don’t know if I will ever discover what was stolen or what the situation was, but I will always believe that the death of Lucas had something to do with it–given that death, the older age of Johannes, and his otherwise respectable history.

Remember for that last document when Johannes’ hair and eyebrows were translated as blond? The translation I received for this document for his looks is this way:

I can only read the enlarged part…. sex: male father: Adriaan mother: Johanna Maria Mulder nationality: Dutch civil status: married religion: reformed lower basic education: yes age (at inclusion) 52 behaviour (in institute (?) : good lenght: 1.64 m hair: greyish eyebrows: same (greyish) forehead : low eyes: grey nose: large mouth: ordinary chin: round beard: none face: oval complexion: healthy language spoken (literally: ordinary language) special features (?): none

“Greyish” hair and eyebrows!

I’ve sponsored Johannes’ memorial at Findagrave. You can find it here. I discovered that someone had posted an obituary for him on the site. Since the paper had apparently misspelled two names, I put a note explaining what the spelling should have been.

JOHANIUS ZUIDWEG. Following a long Illness, Johanius Zuidweg, aged 68, died at his home, 214 east Vine street, 9 o’clock last night. He came to this country from Holland nine years ago. He is survived by a widow, a daughter, Mrs. Marleilus Van Liere, and a son, Adrian Zuidweg, all of this city. The funeral will be held at the residence 1:30 o’clock Friday afternoon and from the Fourth Reformed church at 2 o’clock, the Rev. Mr. Frost officiating. The interment will be in Riverside cemetery. Kalamazoo Telegraph-Press May 17, 1911 (copied as written in paper)

Note:Johanius should be Johannes. Marleilus should be Marinus.

I was sorry to see that Johannes suffered a long illness before he passed away. 

However, when I look at the death certificate, his illness appears to have been 20 days. The cause of death was broncho pneumonia. I wonder if he had another illness that then turned into pneumonia.

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Up until now, I’ve written very little about my great-great-grandfather Johannes Zuijdweg (Zuidweg). He was married to Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg. I wrote about her knitting skills for U.S. troops here. Johannes and Jennie were my grandfather’s paternal grandparents. He talked about Jennie to me, but he didn’t really know his grandfather who died when Grandpa was only three.

The birth of Johannes is an important moment in the history of our family because his parents tie together the Zuijdwegs/Zuidwegs and the Mulders. Grandpa was a Zuidweg, and Grandma was a Mulder. Both families were from Goes, Netherlands, and they both are descended from Karel Mulder, the jailer’s hand.

The record of the marriage of Johannes and Jennie I found at wiewaswie. Here is a transcription of the marriage document:

BS Huwelijk met Johannes Zuijdweg

Johannes Zuijdweg
Birth place
Jenneqien Bomhoff
Birth place
Father of groom
Adriaan Zuijdweg
Mother of the groom
Johanna Mulder
Father of bride
Lúcas Bomhoff
Mother of the bride
Johanna Danser
Event date
Event place

To read (in Dutch) the pages of the record, read the page on the right of the first image and the page on the left of the second image. If you look at the signers on the document itself you will see that one of the signers was a Van Liere. That is another family that has shared a path with my family.

Johannes was born in Goes on 23 December 1842. Here is the transcription on wiewaswie:

BS Geboorte met Johannes Zuijdweg

Johannes Zuijdweg
Birth date
Birth place
Event date
Event place
Document type
BS Geboorte
Institution name
Zeeuws Archief
Institution place
Collection region
Registration number
Registration date
Certificate place
Goes geboorteakten burgerlijke stand

birth record of Johannes Zuijdweg

In the Netherlands, Johannes worked as a grocer’s hand, a crier, and a merchant. Johannes and Jennie had three children. When Johannes was in his fifties, on 4 April 1894, the youngest child, Lucas (now a young man) was killed in an accident. According to Grandpa, he fell on a boat anchor.   Within a few months of the death of Lucas, there was an astonishing development in Johannes’ life. He was sentenced to prison!


On the Facebook group “Dutch Genealogy,” a kind person translated as much of the document as he could.

Column 1: (record number) 496 —
Column 2 (First Names and (last) names) Johannes Zuidweg
Column 3: Occupation koopman (merchant) —
Column 4: (Location and date of birth) Goes on 20 December 1842
Column 5: (Place of Residence) Goes
Column 6: (not sure, I guess date entered in the book?) 19 June 1895
Column 7: (again nit sure, I guess date of judgement) 31 May 1895, Jurisdiction Court Middelburg
Column 8: (description of offense) Diefstal (Theft) —
Column 9: (Opgelegde Straf,, Punishment) twee maanden gevangenstraf (two month imprisonment) — \
Column 10: (dagtekening straf ingaat , start of punishment) 19 June 1895
Column 11: (dagtekening straf eidigt, end of punishment) 18 August 1895
Column 12: (again, nut sure. Date of transfer?) 19 June 1895 (and signatures)
Column 13: ( ) 19 June 1895
Column 14: () had te kenning gegeven dat hij een verzoek om gratie had ingedient ( he noted that he had requested clemency)
Column 15 (): Officier van Justitie, Middelburg, 19 June 1895 —
Column xx: () Geene (none)
Column xx () Geslacht (gender) Mannelijk (Male)
Vader (Father) Adriaan
Moeder (Mother) Johanna Mulder
Nationality : Nederlandse
Burgerlijke Stand (civil status): Gehuwd (Married)
Godsdienstige gezindte (religious affiliation): Gereform. (I think, reformed)
Lager onderwijs genoten (elementary education): yes
Ouderdom (bij opneming) (Age at time of entering prison): 52 years
Gedrag in het gesticht (behavior in institute): (not filled in; he may have served)
Column yy (): Length 1m 60 cm; Color Hair: Blond; Eyebrows: Blond; Forehead: low; eyes: grijs (grey) neus (nose): groot (large); mond (mouth) )can’t read; kin (chin) round; baard (beard) none, aangezicht (face) round; kleur (facial tint): gezond (healthy); gewone taal (ordinary language): (—) Byzondere teekenen: geene (none). Handteekening (signature) (blank space)

The attached page is a telegram from the courthouse in Middelburg to the Prison in Goes, stating that “Nu Zuijdweg verklaart gratie the hebben gevraagd moet hij niet worden opgenomen, doch moet de beslissing op zijn verzoek afgewacht worden” (Now that Zuijdweg declares that he asked for clemency, he must not be taken in, but await the decision on his request), signed by the officer of the court, Van Hoek.

Johannes was 5’4 1/2 inches tall. While this seems short for a Dutch man by today’s standards (today the average height for a Dutch man is over 6′ tall), it probably was not that unusual in the 1800s.

According to the translation, Johannes was sentenced to two months in the penitentiary. The person who translated the document believes that Johannes was given clemency and did not serve the time. There might be other documents relating to this issue, and I will keep probing to try to find out more information.

I have been told by several Dutch people that times were very different then, and that it was very “easy” to end up in jail over minor infractions. I believe that this had something to do with the death of Johannes’ youngest son a few months before, but that is just a guess. I do wonder if this happening had something to do with the decision of Johannes and Jennie, both older people, deciding to emigrate.

In 1901, Johannes and Jennie followed their son Adriaan to Michigan. Three years later, their remaining child, Johanna Zuidweg Van Liere, immigrated with her husband, Marinus, and son to Michigan. Marinus owned a shoe store on Burdick Street.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Johannes and Jennie lived in at least two different homes, if not more. For a while they lived in one of the houses owned by Richard DeKorn. Sometimes Johannes’ name is spelled John. He passed away after living in the United States for ten years.

In one of the many changes in birthdates I’ve found in researching family history, Johannes’ birth record shows that he was born in 1842, but his headstone states that he was born in 1843. I believe the birth record, as the Dutch records are astonishingly well documented. I wish I knew more of what Johannes’ life was like in that last decade of his life. He was surrounded with male grandchildren as Grandpa was the only child of son Adrian and daughter Johanna and Marinus had eight boys!

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In scanning the beautiful antique album this fall, I came across this tintype that kind of haunts me. Maybe it’s because the tintypes are so rare in the family collection. Maybe it’s because of her eyes.

Just ignore the strange corners. I tried to clean it up a bit at the corners (just for this post), and it didn’t turn out as I expected!

So how do I go about narrowing in on who might be in the image?

Because all the photos so far in the antique album seem to be related to the 5 Paak siblings and their familys, I feel that it is likely that she is related to the Paaks somehow.

I have such a desire to find a photo of Janna Kakebeeke Remine, the mother of Dick, grandmother of Therese, Genevieve, and Harold, who immigrated to Kalamazoo and passed away in 1910. She was the mother-in-law of Mary, one of the Paak sisters. But Janna was born in 1827. I was thinking 1880s for this dress, and this woman is not 60. In fact, as usual, I have no idea how old she is, what year her dress was, or what year her hairstyle was. It can’t be Dick’s mother-in-law Jacoba Bassa Paak either. She died in 1865 in the Netherlands!

What I have to get used to is the fact that the photographs I own are never of those earlier individuals, so they are images of more “recent” generations. I posted this one on a Facebook group for dating photographs.  Very consistently, readers thought the tintype is around 1880. They based this on two main aspects: the fact that it is a tintype and not a photograph and the woman’s outfit. Tintypes were most frequent a bit earlier than the ’80s, but they can be found in the 1880s and even later.

I thought that the silhouette of her dress and the finishings looked like the 1880s. One thing I can file away in my brain for later is the dress appears to black, a mourning dress, so someone close to the woman had died within perhaps the previous year. Of course, that is very subjective–I mean, it seems as if they would have always been in mourning dress! I’m not very happy with books or websites about women’s clothing styles. They tend to focus on the clothing of the wealthy, the fashionista, and those in evening wear. My relatives were not fashionistas, they were not wealthy (although often not poor either), and sometimes they were governed by a religious conservatism. They didn’t get their photographs taken in evening wear, if they even had any.

For further consideration, I’ll use the date of 1880, knowing it could be 10 years difference either way.

The only way I can now find the woman in the tintype is by comparing her with photographs of known Paak women and women who have married into the family AND using the data on my family tree for birth and death dates.

Do you think this woman is about 25? or younger or older? Let’s say she’s 25, for the sake of trying to figure out who she is. If so, she was born around 1855. That would make her a contemporary of Alice Paak DeKorn (born 1852) and her siblings.


Aaltje (Alice) Paak DeKorn

Anna Catherina (Annie) was born 1855


Maaike (Mary) Paak Remine born 1859


Cornelia (Carrie) Paak Waruf born in 1862

So. There are four* Paak sisters, and I don’t see this woman as one of them, although she could be a contemporary–or a bit older.

* There actually were five Paak sisters, but Willempje, who was born in 1856, did not immigrate with the girls, their father, and their brother. Although I have not been able to find a death or marriage record, I suspect she died as a child. The brother, George, married Lucy Kliphouse, who is not the woman in the tintype.

Lucy Kliphouse Paake

Alice had two SILs–Jennie DeKorn Culver and Mary DeKorn DeSmit.

Jenny DeKorn Culver


Mary DeKorn DeSmit

Is she one of them? (I don’t think so).

Mary Paak Remine had two SILs that I know of.


Adrianna (Jennie) Remine Meijer was born in 1860

Jennie was the sister-in-law of Mary Paak Remine. Another sister-in-law of Mary was Johanna Remine Bosman, born in 1855.

None of these look right to me. And these last two are sisters, but don’t look like it.

Carrie Paak Waruf’s husband Henry (Hank) does not appear to have had any sisters. He immigrated as a child with his parents from the Netherlands to Kalamazoo, and I don’t see a record of any siblings in the census records I have been able to find.

That leaves Annie, the least known of any of the sisters. Annie was married to Jacob Salomon Verhulst (whose grandmother, by the way, was a Flipse–see Flipse posts, if you’re curious). The only photo I have that I know is Annie is the full-length photo I posted above. I never heard anybody talk about her, except when Grandpa identified the photograph.

I don’t know if Annie and Jacob had any children. I have found no record of any children. They married in 1890.

Jacob did have two sisters, that I can find. One was Cornelia who died as a child in Holland. The other was Pieternella, was born 1843 in Kortgene and died 18 days later.

So there you have it. Those are the Paak women and their sisters-in-law. My next guess would be a cousin of the Paaks–or like Annigje Haag, the fiancee or wife of a cousin.  So I will keep searching in that “outer layer” of family members.

That said, if you see any flaws in what I’ve determined so far, please let me know, and I will expand my search even more.

Now that it’s a new year, I want to keep my genealogy goals focused.

  1. Continue scanning of all photographs
  2. Organize the physical photos, documents, and heirlooms.
  3. Create a list of provenance for all heirlooms
  4. Bring my Ancestry tree up to date with all info I have
  5. Find and work on software for a tree that is just for my tree
  6. Continue trying to identify photographs
  7. Research gaps and brick walls

Pretty ambitious, I know. Some of my blog posts will just be updates on how I am doing on items 1-5, rather than the results of actual research. Be patient. You know how helpful you all are to me, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know. Thank you!!!


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These photos have been a mystery to me since the 1970s. On the back of the woman’s photo it says “Mother’s aunt.”


Notice that the photo says the photographer was in the city of Groningen. This is the largest city in the north of Netherlands, and a very old city. But it’s not where my family came from. And here is another photo that was right next to the lady’s photo.


These are the only photos I have from Groningen, to my knowledge. The people don’t show any familial resemblance, but that–as we know–doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

What is more confusing is whose aunt she is. I have to assume that “Mother” means Cora DeKorn Zuidweg, Grandpa’s mother. It couldn’t be Grandma’s mother. Not only are most of our photos from Grandpa’s family, Grandma’s mother wasn’t Dutch, but Prussian.

So Cora. Or Cora’s mother? Or Grandpa’s father’s mother?

First, I looked at Cora’s aunts. Her aunts all came to the United States. They were the Paak sisters–none of whom look ANYTHING like the woman in this photo. And then on her father’s side, Mary DeKorn DeSmit and Jennie DeKorn Culver were her aunts. NOT these ladies.

Second, I went back a generation. Alice Paak’s aunts were the Bassas–no Groningen there–and the Paaks–no Groningen there either.

What about Richard DeKorn’s aunts? His mother had a lot of brothers, but only one sister–and she remained in Kapelle her entire life. His father had one half-sister (and a lot of half-brothers and one brother), Pieternella DeKorn. That family is still a bit of a mystery. She might have been born in Kruiningen, but I don’t know where she lived or when she died.

So how can the lady in the photo be “Mother’s aunt”??? The only other possibility that I can think of would be Jennie Zuidweg (Jennegien Bomhof), Grandpa’s grandmother. Let’s say his mother Cora wrote “Mother’s aunt” and meant her mother-in-law’s aunt. Is that possible? Jennie is from the only branch that was completely outside of Zeeland (until she came to Goes and married Johannes Zuidweg). She was born in Zwolle, Overjissel. That is 66 miles from Groningen, whereas Goes is 205 miles away.

BUT!!! Before we get too excited, what years did Reinier Uges have a photography studio? 1889-1914!!  How can that be the aunt of a lady (Jennie Zuidweg) who was born in 1838 (and died in the U.S. in 1924). This lady would have to be a generation younger than Jennie, wouldn’t she?

All in all, I’m pretty sure that “Mother’s aunt” meant Grandpa’s mother’s aunt, thus an aunt of Cora DeKorn Zuidweg.

But that is impossible.

You see how frustrating this is?!

Any ideas about the age of the woman and the age of the man would be helpful!!

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What a lovely review of Kin Types by genealogy blogger Ann Marie Bryant! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness!

Tales of a Family

Recently, a fellow blogger and an ever-encouraging supporter, Luanne Castle wrote a lovely book of poems about her family.  From the start, Kin Types captured my imagination with the thought provoking title and the intriguing cover.   It began with sage advice from familial ancestors who have lived a life of hard work and a heartfelt existence that helped those in need.

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