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Thanks to Wayne Loney, a Kalamazoo genealogy volunteer, I have my great-grandfather’s probated will with list of assets at the time of his death. He found the document, located at the Probate Court in Kalamazoo, so that I could order it.

Fifty-eight-year-old Adrian Zuidweg, Sr., died on 19 December 1929, which happened to be two months after the Wall Street crash. The cause of death was uremia (for three days) and chronic interstitial nephritis, as well as a valve disease of the heart and mitral insufficiency and general artheroma (disease of the arteries). I looked up the nephritis because it sounds like the real disease behind his death, but read that it usually is caused by medications or auto-immune disorders like lupus. So I don’t really know why he was sick or why he died.

The family story version is that he ate a dinner plate-sized steak every night for dinner, and that that routine caused the nephritis. I guess it might cause some artery damage, too.

But before we assume his eating completely caused his death, I will say that heart disease does seem to run in the family through my grandfather to my grandfather’s children–and my 23andme report shows that by far my worst health genes (that are researched through 23andme) are all coronary issues.

This probate document is signed by my grandfather, who was 21; Adrian Sr.’s sister, Mrs. Marinus Van Liere; and my great-grandmother, Cora, his wife.

In this will, Adrian leaves his entire estate to his wife, Cora, to do with as she sees fit. He expressly does not leave anything to grandpa, his son. However, he seems to suggest that Cora might want to use some of the estate for the benefit of Adrian’s “belofed boy,” (his first language was Dutch) but he is not tying her hands to do so in the will.

I wonder how common it was to make a will out this way. Perhaps he thought that Grandpa would be able to make his own way in the world, but Grandpa was blind in one eye, so I am a little surprised that nothing was left to him.

Here is a typed version of the handwritten will.

I don’t plan to post an image of the estate inventory. If family members want to email me and ask to see it, I’ll be happy to send over a copy. What I thought was interesting was the list does not include any cash at all, whether on hand or in banks. The listing includes real estate, notes payable, and stocks. I think this means that the money was already in Cora’s name.  Again, I wonder how common this practice would have been.

It seems to me that there must be more of this sort of document available for my other ancestors, but I am not sure how much light it has shed on anything for me. Adrian was apparently a good husband, father, and provider, but maybe didn’t take the best care of his health, if the steak-eating story is true.

What information have you gleaned from probate records?

I will be taking off blogging next week for some needed time away from the computer. See you in a couple of weeks!

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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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I’ve written quite a bit about my Kalamazoo grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg. I’ve posted her high school graduation information, about her time at Western Normal School (now Western Michigan University), about her marriage to my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.

In my big organization-and-shred project I found something that I love. Grandma wrote me a letter when I was a grad student. She and I had had a phone conversation about how she wanted me to never give up creative writing because she had done so and regretted it. Grandma and I had a love of writing in common.

So she found a newspaper clipping and sent it to me in this letter. Note that we have “cleaning out the desk” in common, too haha.

I sure did love her stories. And Grandpa’s stories, too. I am positive that their storytelling is what inspired me to write poetry and stories.

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Yes, I said FREE!!!! Deadline Sunday, June 9, 2019

I have exciting news for anybody with old photos like mine that you would like to see colorized. To celebrate her blog’s second anniversary, Val at Colouring the Past is offering a FREE photo colorization with a very minimal “catch” (I can’t even really call it a catch). Go check out her post where she tells about it.

Click here.

Be sure to get over there right now so that you don’t miss the deadline!

You might have seen some of the gorgeous work she’s done for me. Here’s a sample:

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I am involved in a project to give my genealogy research a jumpstart. I realized that I needed more room in my fire safe file cabinet for my antique photos, so I sorted files in one of my regular file cabinets and came up with three banker boxes of shredding! Then I moved files from my fire safe to the regular that are no longer as important as they were a few years ago. That means I have an extra drawer in the fire safe to spread out.

Next I will inventory albums and packages of photos as best I can as I arrange them in the drawers devoted to the old photos.

As I do that I plan to look for the originals of a few photos that were poorly scanned. Fingers crossed on that endeavor.

Sometimes I feel that I am always organizing and throwing away, but in the past year I have been more determined and now I am buckling down even more. I’ve been doing Swedish death cleaning in other areas of the house, but that too will take a long time. I have so many drawers and boxes of academic papers and stories and poems, as well as critiques from workshops and drafts of finished work.

In the meantime, I have a list of a lot of things I’ve lost track of. I hope I find some of them!

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Here is an unidentified photo in a family album. It’s likely she is a family member, perhaps someone I’ve already posted about! The portrait was taken in Kalamazoo.

 

The coat and muff are quite elaborate, and the hat seems a bit unusual. Lovely. Best guess is that she is Carrie Paak Remine.

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I keep waiting for that day where I can get caught up on my genealogy research for a month straight. First I need to organize what I have. I pulled out the pedigree report book I had prepared almost five years ago by Uwe Porten, a German genealogist, of my grandmother’s Klein family that immigrated to the United States from Budesheim.

Today I find this an old-fashioned way of handling genealogy research, but it’s certainly beautiful and lends more “gravity” to the project.

You can see that this is called the Klein Family Research Project because Grandma’s maiden name was Klein. Her mother was Margarethe. Last week I shared her photo that Val repaired and colorized.

Margarethe Wendel Klein

The next photo gives you an idea of what the book contains.

and this:

Notice the records that the book contains. I also have these on CD. I think it’s amusing that two of the family surnames are Link and Wink. Because they rhyme!

All these Catholic records had to be obtained in person. That is why I had to hire Uwe to do this work. Unlike the Dutch records which are readily available online, the German records are much more difficult to locate.

The above page begins a summary of Uwe’s findings. Notice that he says he was first able to prove that Margarethe’s husband Frank came from Budesheim. He traced the Klein family “as well as several of the related ancestral families.” Margarethe’s grandfather Friedrich Wendel was located.

Frank Klein’s father actually came from Hergenfeld, which was about 10 miles west of Budesheim. Then he made his way to Budesheim. Notice it says that Hergenfeld was considered “abroad” because at that time, “Budesheim was part of the Grand-Duchy of Hesse-Darnstadt, and Hergenfeld was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Does that make Frank’s father Johann Peter a Prussian? Grandma used to tell me a story about how she remembered her family saying “the Prussians are coming,” as though that was something bad. I find the whole Prussian thing VERY CONFUSING. And the more it is explained to me, the more confused I get. I don’t think it’s stupidity on my part. I think that I would need a PhD in Prussian studies to truly “get it.”

Share Your Research–Or Not?

Presenting some of the opening pages of the book here makes me think of a subject I’ve been pondering lately. On some of the Facebook genealogy groups people sometimes discuss how some family history researchers don’t want to share their work with others. And others do want to share. Nobody asked me, but I’ll give you my two cents on the matter.

I paid a small fortune for this research report from Uwe. In general, I’ve spent more money than I should on genealogy. And much much more time.

Do you think I am leading up to why would I share it then?

Why WOULDN’T I share it? Does sharing it make it cost me less in time or money? Does sharing it take away from my findings? It’s not like I’ve written the Great American novel and letting other people sign it.

The more information we share, the more information we reclaim. I like the notion of thousands of trees that all interconnect and our remembering of history grows in value.

Even more importantly, why wouldn’t I want to share CORRECT INFORMATION? All that shoddy info going around on Ancestry and other places is because of people who are too lazy or cheap/poor to do the work themselves. So why wouldn’t I want to help clean up the information by providing what is correct (or as correct as can be at this point)?

Bottom line: SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.

Now my photos are another story. Please do NOT share my photos without giving credit to me or my blog. Those are family heirlooms. UPDATE: I am adding this so there can be so mistaking my point about the photos. I have family photos because lots of family members have shared them with me. They belong to my family. Since starting this blog, in addition to all the amazing information I’ve gleaned and connections I’ve made, there have been some people who have:

  • Shared my photos online, such as in Facebook groups, without giving me or my family credit and severing the connection between photo and information behind it.
  • Shared my photos in Ancestry, posting them with the wrong identities!
  • Taken my photos and used them for their own commercial purposes, such as for their own books.

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I was finally able to ask Val Erde at Colouring the Past to colorize another photo from my collection.

I had a portrait of my paternal grandmother’s mother, Margarethe Wendel Klein, but it was in pretty bad shape.

I put it together like this for Val:

Using this photograph and researching from a “snapshot” I posted before.

Val was able to do a wonderful job with this damaged photo–both in sepia and in color.

RIP MARGARETHE WENDEL KLEIN

BIRTH 25 JUNE 1869  Budesheim, Mainz-Bingen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

DEATH 24 MAY 1932  Elmhurst, Du Page, Illinois, United States

 

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This week I’m sharing photos of my father’s family in Illinois. This photograph was taken in July 1960 in Chicago.

 

From left to right: Aunt Anna, Aunt Marge, Aunt Dolly, Grandma, and Mom

Grandma and Aunt Anna were sisters–maiden name Klein. They grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, which is in DuPage County. They were only a year apart in age and born in Budesheim, Germany, in 1892 and 1893.

Aunt Marge was Grandma’s daughter (Dad’s sister) and married to Guido (Joe) DiBasilio. Her sons Michael and Steven were already born by 1960 and James was born in April 1960. He was a new baby at the time of this photo.

Aunt Dolly was Uncle Frank’s (my dad’s twin) wife. She was born Doloria Pawlak. My cousin Leah was also born in 1960, February, so she was also a little baby when the photo was taken. David wasn’t born until 1962.

I was five years old at the time this pic was taken. My brother not born for three more years.

Look at the box of Kleenex table napkins on the table. The Corningware coffee pot. The dome clock behind them is in my living room today.

You see my mother’s beautiful very sheer dress? I remember it very well.

OK, in the lower right from our view? A baby bottle. So it could have belonged to Jim or Leah–or maybe even Steve who was only three?

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I’ve shared the photo above before (it’s one of my favorites). My dad, his two siblings, and their mom. This was taken years before the photo of the women.

Do you see the picture behind Dad’s left shoulder?

This is it:

It’s a needlepoint that my father brought back from the Korean War. It hangs in my bedroom. The frame and mat are still in great shape because Grandma always liked to buy the best. So we know the photograph was taken after Dad got back from the war. Maybe he was already a college student at Western Michigan University, but the photograph was taken in my grandmother’s home in Chicago.

Have you seen similar Korean needlework before? I’d love to see other versions.

 

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