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Archive for the ‘family heirloom’ Category

Today is where I veer off my “grandma’s siblings” schedule. Instead, I’m sharing some photos of the wedding of one of my dad’s siblings. Uncle Frank married Aunt Dolly at 10AM on 12 April 1958 in Bellwood, Illinois, at St. Simeon Church (501 Bellwood Avenue). Bellwood is a Chicago suburb. At that time, Bellwood had a lot of residents of  Italian, Serbian, and Polish ethnicity. Today it is about 70% African-American. Aunt Dolly’s family had originally immigrated from Poland.

My paternal grandmother made Dolly’s wedding gown, as well as accessories to go with the dress. My grandmother was the head fitter of the 28 Shop (couture) at Marshall Field’s flagship store. She dressed many celebrities and other prominent Chicago people. In this photo, my grandmother Marie is helping Dolly dress on the special day.

Uncle Frank passed away in the fall of 2019, about a year and a half after Aunt Dolly’s passing. They left behind one son, my cousin Dave. Dave’s family is not sentimental and not interested in hanging onto the family heirlooms. So Dave sent them to me. These packages he sent included the wedding dress itself. This is a photo of the detail of the seed pearls at the neckline.

Grandma also made the veil. The crown is the part of the veil that I received.

The garter is just one of several wedding accessories that came to me. This one was store-bought.

Although it wasn’t part of my family’s tradition, in Aunt Dolly’s Polish family, the dollar dance was an important feature of a wedding. My grandmother made this symbolic representation of a money dance apron for the wedding. It’s not only beautiful, but meant to be a fertility boost with pink and blue ribbons and little baby dolls sprinkled all over it. If you click on the photo, you can enlarge it to see the little dolls.

Dave also sent me a huge wedding album, as well as the wedding shower album. I’ve scanned all the photos and will be sending them to Dave for his family. Here is the happy couple. The bride is wearing the apron!

I’ll leave you with one last photo. Groomsman (my father), bridesmaid (my mother), and the flower girl (me), only 2 3/4 years old. Our dresses were blue. My most enduring memory of that wedding is the interminable time we spent waiting through the ceremony for them to get hitched. There was a full mass, and I was supposed to be kneeling the whole time with the bridesmaids. Aunt Dolly’s mother wasn’t too happy that I was so antsy and didn’t want to kneel. The photo was taken before the wedding, but that expression on my face is as if I knew what I was in for.

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I began writing a post about one of my grandmother’s siblings and quickly realized it will take more than a week at a time to write about each of the siblings. There is simply too much material to put together into a cohesive narrative. While I am working on the first one, I thought in light of last week’s DeKorn treasure I would write about the subject of:

WHAT TO DO WITH OUR TREASURES AND HEIRLOOMS?

Recently I’ve had several people mention that they have no place to leave their treasures at end of life (or before). They have no children or other relatives who have shown any interest, or they have no close relatives at all. In many cases, they have photographs. In most cases, they have done at least some family tree work, if not extensive work.

This rings a bell to me because I feel similarly. I have a beautiful collection of family photos and documents and have spent a lot of time organizing and researching. I have cousins with children who may or may not have any interest in the treasures or the organization into story. I do plan to eventually pull it all together into one digital format and distribute to everyone. Then they can decide what to do with it. God willing, I will be able to complete the project.

But this still leaves me with two problems. One is that it’s possible that not one of the people I give the digital copy will end up passing it on to future generations. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a storage place for all this that would go on to “live” in perpetuity?

Do you consider an Ancestry family tree to be just that, if one adds all the photos and documents for each family member? I know that Ancestry has been a bit unreliable with DNA, but I don’t foresee them shutting down the giant tree they are constructing. Anything is possible, I suppose. I also use My Heritage, but have not gone through the laborious process of putting photos and documents on my tree over there.

Or are there other ways to save the information for people outside the family?

The second problem is that I still have to find an eventual home for the original photos and documents and other treasures (to be stored with their stories). How does one go about finding a young relative who actually cares about these things and would like me to pass them on to her or him when I am done with them? I could hold a contest and assign treasures to the contest winner, but it’s a contest nobody would show up to!!! LOL

A little side note: I have shown an interest since I was college-aged, which is why I was given photos and glass negatives and lots of stories. Imagine if somebody had already done all the work I am doing three generations before me? WOWSA, that would be something.

As I work on the organization and research of my family, I am sending folders to my daughter to hang on to as a backup. She knows who to send them to in the event of my sudden death. My daughter and son were both adopted and neither is very interested in history in general and their family history interest is mostly connected to the people who have affected their lives–their grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and their Kalamazoo great-grandparents (Grandma and Grandpa Zuidweg).

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Photo: part of a children’s coffee and tea service originally owned by Therese Remine

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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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I’ve written before that my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg, Sr. owned a candy and soda shop at the corner of Burdick and Balch in Kalamazoo.

At one time I believed that Grandpa (son Adrian) had taken over the business when his father died, but in researching for this blog I discovered that Adrian Sr. had sold the business before he died. Grandpa bought it back after his father’s death. Then he converted it to a service station.

Here is an advertising ashtray for the station. Notice the A-Z Lubrication (Adrian Zuidweg–AZ–get it?) The 5 digit phone number might put this ashtray between 1950 and 1958, but if anyone has information to the contrary I would love to hear it. If you want to find out more about advertising ashtrays as part of history and as collectibles, here’s a succinct article: Ashtrays collectible memorabilia

 

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THANK YOU, KALAMAZOO

Images of the Pfizer vaccine marching out of Kalamazoo (the Portage plant) on its way to various destinations fill the news. Portage is the largest suburb of Kalamazoo. When I was eight, we moved from Kalamazoo to Portage, but Kalamazoo is my hometown. Portage is its own city, but is truly part of Kalamazoo.

Until 1995, the Kalamazoo company that employed so many locals, brought in so many scientists, and influenced life in the city was The Upjohn Company. Many of my family members worked there over the years in a variety of jobs and professions. The Upjohn Company was a benevolent god in some ways to our town. I will admit that on bad days, if you lived in Portage, a disgusting smell (and pollution, I’m sure) was emitted back in the days when that was considered acceptable. Our medicines and vitamins often came in the light gray and white Upjohn label. The parents of our friends and our neighbors often worked at the company, too.

In 1995, Pharmacia merged with Upjohn. My husband and I had already moved away from Kalamazoo in 1990, but a few of our friends were affected by the merger. They had to move away from Kalamazoo at that time. Then Pfizer bought out the company in 2002-03.

Now the seeds of The Upjohn Company produce fruit yet again with the Pfizer vaccine. It’s exciting that Kalamazoo and Portage (where I grew up and went to school) can be part of this hope for the future. Way to go, Kalamazoo!

END OF THE YEAR PLANNING

On this blog for 2020 I focused on researching my direct ancestors. I wanted to Fill in the Gaps by locating documents that I was missing. For so many of my ancestors, there were easy-to-fill gaps, as well as more difficult or impossible ones. The reason I took on this project was because I typically have gone off on research tangents based on what photographs I own or information someone else has shared with me. Very often, these research subjects were not my grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc., but siblings or cousins of these people. I wanted to make sure I had properly researched my forebears.

I did go back through all my 4x great-grandparents on my mother’s side in 2020. I will continue to work back farther, but the information becomes more limited which makes me bored with my own blog posts. Therefore, I want to focus on something else for 2021. Whatever I choose, I plan to go about slowly because I still have exhaustion caused by the Valley Fever and because I have some non-genealogy projects I am working on.

So where should the focus fall for 2021? Here are some considerations:

  • Siblings of my direct ancestors starting with my maternal grandparents (probably the easiest choice)
  • My dad’s family (which would mean that the blog would be “away” from Kalamazoo/Michigan for a year as they immigrated to Illinois, and I don’t really want to do that)
  • My husband’s family on enteringthepale.com (the movement from his father’s family to his mother’s continues to feel overwhelming to me as her family was very large and complicated. It would mean leaving thefamilykalamazoo.com for a full year)

Does it seem like I should do the first one–the siblings? Or am I overlooking something else? Or should I switch it up and go back to being more spontaneous?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE! I’M PRAYING FOR A HEALTHIER, HAPPIER YEAR AHEAD. GOOD RIDDENS TO 2020.

Leaving you with another cute ornament idea. I saw this Instagram post, and the poster recommends an ebook that describes how to make them.

 

To purchase the book, follow the LINK to The House that Lars Built.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!

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Last week I told you about the great special to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Val Erde’s blog, Colouring the Past.

I was so blessed to get one of her free colorizations!

She chose my paternal grandmother, Marie Klein, as a very young woman. This is the photo:

And this is the gorgeous colorization that Val created:

Now I feel like I could touch my grandmother’s hair and her blouse! Val did an amazing job, as she always does. I think her skin tones are very accurate, and that has got to be one of the most difficult things to get right.

This photo shows me that my grandmother’s love of pearls started young. She always wore pearls and collected a bit more pearl jewelry over the years. She gave my aunt a string of pearls for her wedding, and eventually my aunt gave them to me (she only had sons). You can check that out at this post, if you like: Vintage Jewelry.

Val will be able to answer any questions about the colorization process, if you leave a comment here for her. And I will respond as usual, although I don’t know anything about colorizing!

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

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

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

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

 

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Last week I wrote about the Remijnse (Remine) family from the beginning (of our current knowledge). There is a huge pedigree chart available online, and while I need to take it all with a grain of salt, it is extremely useful. It prints out to exactly 248 pages!

My new chum Jacob Remijnse decided to try to figure out the identity of the people in the unidentified Remijnse family photo, using the pedigree chart.

The photograph seems to have been taken upon the occasion of a wedding–the bride is in the white dress in the center and the groom is to her left (our right). The other seated man is probably the father. Let’s assume the five standing behind are siblings.

The only thing I know about this photo is that my family believes it is of one of the Remijnse branches. I figured out it has to be from the Netherlands because it doesn’t fit the Remijnse family members who came to this country.

Using the clothing as a guide, especially the styles of the dresses and the women’s hats, I think the photo was taken somewhere between the late 1870s and 1890. Jacob came to that independent analysis, as well.

Then he drew up a chart of the Remijnse family with dates of birth, dates of death, dates of marriage, and names of spouses. He made columns for how old each person was in 1865, 1875, and 1885. This was extremely helpful.

Using this analysis, it seemed likely that the young couple was one of two choices.

Jan Remijnse 29-05-1863 01-05-1900 2 12 22
07-08-1885
Cornelia Bijlo 06-03-1863 01-04-1942 2 12 22

Jan was 22 in 1885 when he married 22-year-old Cornelia Biljo. There is no doubt that this couple looks 22 or so.

OR

Dina Remijnse 17-02-1856 09-01-1943 9 19 29
07-05-1886
Francois Bijlo 09-08-1864 09-09-1942 1 11 21

Dina was 29 when she married Francois Biljo in 1886. Francois was 21.

Doesn’t Dina seem a better candidate for the standing woman in the back? She would have been 29 here and married the following year at age 30.

So what was the next step?

We needed to look at the family groups. Were Jan and Dina siblings? Was their mother deceased by 1885 since there is no mother in the photograph?  Were Cornelia and Francois siblings? The last is purely curiosity because I think this photo is a Remijnse family photo with the new spouse included. I don’t think it is a combination of members of the Remijnse and Biljo families.

Here is info on Dina Remijnse:

Dina Remijnse, born Sunday 17 February1856 in Kapelle. Notes at birth: Witnesses Pieter Staal and Jan Loijs. Dina died on Saturday, January 9th1943 in Kapelle, 86 years old. Note Dina: Religion Dutch Reformed. Profession housewife. Dina married, 30 years old, Friday 7 May1886 inKapelle [source: huw.akte nr. 13 BS Kapelle] with Francois Bijlo , 21 years old, born Tuesday 9 August1864 in Kapelle as son of Willem Bijlo and Maria van de Linde. Francois died on Wednesday 9 September1942 inKapelle, 78 years old. At the marriage ceremony the following witness was present: Nicolaas Remijnse (ca.1858 – 1909).

Notes on marriage: Witnesses Leendert Monter, 50 yr. Anton Leijs, 32 yr. Worker, Cornelis Markusse, 42 yr. Innkeeper.

Here is info on Jan Remijnse:

Jan Remijnse, born Friday 29 May1863 in Kapelle [source: certificate no. 34 BS Kapelle].

Notes at birth: Witnesses Thomas Snoep, 22 yr. Quartermaster and master, Johannes Staal, 29 yr., Tailor. Jan died Tuesday, May 11900 in Kapelle, 36   years old. The following witness was present at the death report: Nicolaas Remijnse (ca.1858 – 1909). Note on the death of Jan: Witnesses Willem Bijlo, 75 years of field worker, father-in-law. Profession: Field worker Religion: Free Evangelical. Jan married at the age of 22 on Friday 7 August 1885 inKapelle with Cornelia Bijlo, 22 years old, born on Friday 6 March1863 inKapelle as a daughter from Willem Bijlo and Maria van de Linde. Notes on the birth of Cornelia: Witnesses Pieter Snoep, 58 yr., Laborer, Nicolaas Mieras, 40 yr., Laborer. Cornelia died on Wednesday 1 April1942 in Goes, 79   years old [source: deed no. 75 BS Goes]. Note on death Cornelia: Witnesses Cornelis Sleutel, 55 yr., Caregiver. Note Cornelia: Religious Affection Dutch Reformed. At the wedding ceremony the following witness was present: Nicolaas Remijnse (ca.1858 – 1909). Notes on marriage: Witnesses Pieter Hoogstraat 34 jr. Merchant, brother-in-law of Jan, Simon Kramer, 63 jr. Shopkeeper, Dingenis Jeremiasse, 55 jr. Tailor.

On the big document where I pulled the above info from, I saw that Jan and Dina were, in fact, siblings, the children of Marinus and Jozina. But when I searched for siblings, I was dismayed to see that they had two sisters, Adriana and Wilhelmina–and only ONE brother, Nicolaas. This does not fit the portrait with all the young men.  While this might be explained away, the mother Jozina was alive in 1885 and 1886, not dying until 1896. And the mother is not in the photo.

My conclusion: We do not have a match.

But Jacob is not ready to give up on it. He has another scenario worked out, but for that we need more info on the Bijlo family!

###

I might be off-the-blog for a week or two, but I’ll be back with more Remijnse information (I hope)!

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A while back I was contacted by Lisa M. DeChano-Cook, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University about my antique photographs. She said that she and her colleague, Mary L. Brooks, were writing a book about the Kalamazoo River and were interested in photos of that subject.

The book is now published, and Lisa sent me an autographed copy. It’s a gorgeous collection of photos and information about the history of the river. If you are interested, just click through the following image of the book to order from Amazon.

They used several of my photographs. And they also found photographs in the archives at Western that were taken by grandpa’s uncle, Joseph DeKorn. In the 70s or 80s, my grandfather donated a lot of photographs and glass negatives to the archives. Notice that the one at the archives is the same photograph that I use for the header of my blog–the flood at the Water Works Bridge in 1904.

***

The above is another one from the archives. I also have a copy of this one. In fact, I posted it a year and a half ago, wondering if it was it, in fact, the Monarch Paper Mill. According to DeChano-Cook and Brooks, it is the Monarch Mill. I guess I can go back and revise that blog post. (How many times have I said that–and then how often do I do it? I need a blog assistant–any offers? haha)

This is one of the photos I sent to Lisa:

The book states:

Many farmers tried to fence in their property because they knew that the river flow would change and they could not use it as a stable boundary. In the photograph, a wire fence spans a shallow part of the Kalamazoo River. The reflection of the fence in the water makes it appear as though it is a wire pedestrian bridge.

So thrilled when blog readers relate to what they find on this blog. I always end up learning a lot!

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

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

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

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

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

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