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My next fill-in-the-gaps couple is Grandma’s great-grandparents–my 3x greats, Jan Gorsse and Kornelia Heijman Gorsse.

Here are the Ancestry-created bios:

Jan Gorsse was born on October 29, 1840, in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands, the son of Neeltje and Willem. He married Kornelia Heijman on September 4, 1862, in his hometown. They had two children during their marriage. He died on April 25, 1911, in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 70.

When Kornelia Heijman was born on February 1, 1840, in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands, her father, Willem, was 27, and her mother, Pieternella, was 27. She married Jan Gorsse on September 4, 1862, in her hometown. They had two children during their marriage. She died on December 20, 1909, in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 69.

Notice that the bios state that the couple had two children. That is all I know about right now. It is possible that there were more. Since I am so focused this year on my direct ancestors I am not putting the time into searching laterally right now. The two children I know about are my great-great grandmother Neeltje Gorsse Mulder and her sister Wilhelmina. Because Neeltje wasn’t born until almost seven years after the couple married and then her sister two years later, it is possible that the couple did have other children before Neeltje–children that either lived or died in infancy.

I read over that paragraph and thought: why not do a quick wiewas wie search. Just for a few minutes. Guess what I discovered? Three children of Jan and Kornelia who all died in February 1879: 5-year-old Gerard, 3-year-old Jan, and 15-month-old Hendrica. So I did some conjecturing. These children were younger than Neeltje and Wilhelmina, thus more vulnerable. One of Neeltje’s descendants believed that the tuberculosis that killed her was something that she brought with her from the Netherlands. Could her younger siblings have died from it?

I am guessing that Neeltje named her sons Jan and Henry after her deceased siblings, but it is possible she only used the names for her father and another family member. Here are the death records.


 

 


 

Keep in mind that I need to do a more exhaustive search in the future. I need to look for the birth records for these children, as well as seeing if there were other children in the family.

For both Jan and Kornelia I am lucky enough to have birth, marriage, and death records. Maybe it helps that they both were born, lived, and died in Goes–all in one city.

From Yvette, I obtained Jan’s military record. Here is a summation:

  1. 29 October 1840, Goes m. 4 September 1862, Goes

Jan married in a period where marriage supplements do not survive. He married at 22, so either he did not have to serve, or got permission from his commanding officer. Enlistment records in Goes were checked.

Jan Gorsse in militia registration, 1859 Source: Goes, lists of men registered for the National Militia, levies 1851-1862, 1859 no. 21, Jan Gorsse; call no. 1438, archives of the city of Goes, 1851-1919, Goes Municipal Archives, Goes; scans provided by Goes Municipal Archives.

Abstract:

Jan Gorsse, born Goes 24 October 1840 Physical description: 1.683m, oval face, narrow forehead, blue eyes, ordinary nose and mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, no noticeable marks. Son of Willem [Gorsse] and Neeltje Reijerse. Occupation: laborer, father broom maker. Informant: himself.

This record gives Jan’s name as Jan Gorsse, not Gorsee and has a slightly different birth date than the date provided by Luanne Castle. The original birth record showed the name as Jan Gorse, born 29 October 1840. The birth record named the parents as broom maker Willem Gorse and Neeltje Reijerse.1 This information perfectly matches the information in the militia registration, proving this is the correct record.

1 Civil Registration (Goes), birth record 1840 no. 184, Jan Gorse (29 October 1840); “Zeeuwen Gezocht,” index and images, Zeeuws Archief (http://www.zeeuwsarchief.nl : accessed 13 March 2020).

Jan Gorsse in militia enlistment, 1859 Source: Goes, lists of men registered for the National Militia, levies 1854-1862, 1859 no. 17, Jan Gorsse; call no. 1484, archives of the city of Goes, 1851-1919, Goes Municipal Archives, Goes; scans provided by Goes Municipal Archives.

Abstract:

No. 17.

Jan Gorsse, born Goes 29 October 1840, height 1.683, son of Willem [Gorsse] and Neeltje Reijerse. Occupation: laborer, father: broom maker. Informant: Himself

Assigned lot number 61.

Designated for duty.

Entered into service in the place of Petrus Arnoldus Franken, levy 1858, deceased. 2nd regiment infantry. Passport 1 March 1863 muster roll no. 48491.

This record has the correct birth date of 29 October 1840.

This shows that he was initially not supposed to serve, but entered in the military to make up the numbers because another man in his levy passed away.

Military record of Jan Gorsse Source: 2nd Regiment Infantry (Netherlands), muster roll of petty officers and men, 1859-1860, no. 48491, Adriaan Zuijdweg; digital film 008341183, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSTP-QWV9-4 : accessed 10 March 2020).

Abstract:

No. 48491.

Jan Gorsse Son of Willem [Gorsse] and Neeltje Reijerse Born Goes 29 October 1840, last residence Goes

Physical description at arrival: 1.709 m, oval face, narrow forehead, blue eyes, ordinary nose and mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, no noticeable marks.

Service: On 14 May 1859 assigned as soldier for the time of four years as a conscript of the levy of 1859 from Zeeland, Goes no. 61. Replaces the deceased soldier Franken, Petrus Arnoldus of the levy of 1858 see no. 25 regiment grenadiers and hunters. reserve On 17 April 1860 inactive On 15 July 1861 on grand leave

Promotions [blank] Campaigns [blank]

End of service: 1 March 1863 received passport of for expiration of military service.

This confirms he served in the place of someone else. He served for four years, including two years of training and two years of grand leave. He got out of the army on 1 March 1863.

Let me sum up the summation (haha). At first Jan (pronounced Yahn) did not have to serve (he won the lottery so to speak), but then he had to take the place of someone who had passed away in order to keep up the numbers for his area. He ended up serving for four years, being discharged on 1 March 1863, which is a half year after he and Kornelia married.

Something I have started to notice from the descriptions that I have been provided for the men on my maternal side. I haven’t found one yet that wasn’t a blue-eyed blond. When I was little, I remember my father telling me about how blue eyes were a recessive gene, which of course went way over my head. What I took away was that he was surprised that I had blue eyes since he had brown eyes and my mother blue. But at least one of Dad’s grandparents was blue-eyed (his mom’s mother) and it looks like my mother’s family was awash in blue eyes, so I guess it makes sense that my eyes turned out blue. Of course, I still don’t understand recessive and dominant genes!

This is a windmill in the hometown of Jan and Kornelia, Goes in Zeeland, built in 1801. it’s called De Korenbloem.

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My next fill-in-the-gaps couple is Grandpa’s 4th and final set of great-grandparents–my 3x greats, Lukas Bomhof and Jeuntien Dansser Bomhof.

Here are the Ancestry-created bios:

When Lukas Bomhof was born on December 9, 1788, in Windesheim, Overijssel, Netherlands, his father, Albert, was 32 and his mother, Zwaantje, was 31. He married Jeuntien Dansser on October 13, 1825, in Zwolle, Overijssel, Netherlands. At that time, Lukas was a kastelein (inkeeper) in Zwolle. On 5 March 1838, Lukas was a shoemaker in Zwolle. They had five children in 10 years. He died on September 16, 1847, in Zwolle, Overijssel, Netherlands, at the age of 58.

Jeuntien Dansser was born on April 26, 1806, in Zwolle, Overijssel, Netherlands, the daughter of Maria and Johannes. She married Lukas Bomhof on October 13, 1825, in her hometown. They had five children in 10 years. She died on January 31, 1842, at the age of 35.

Let’s take that apart. Lukas was born 200 years before my daughter!!! He was 18 years older than Jeuntien. There might be a reason for that delay in his marriage, so hold on to that thought. When the couple married, Jeuntien was 19 years old, but Lukas was 37. From the ages of 23 and 33, Jeuntien, who I believe was also called Johanna, gave birth to five children. All these children survived to adulthood. One of them was my great-great-grandmother who immigrated to the U.S. in middle age and lived far longer than any of her siblings.

Two years after the birth of her children, Johanna died at age 35. Very sad, but a story that is just too familiar in family history.

Keep in mind that this is my fourth 3x great grandmother named Johanna!

So where was Lukas before he met Johanna? And what documents am I missing from their lives?

I do have the marriage record and supplements. What are marriage supplements? According to Yvette Hoitink’s website:

Since the introduction of the civil registration in 1811, a bride and groom had to submit several documents to prove they were eligible to get married. Not only do these records tell you when your ancestors were born, but they may also provide information about their physical appearance, death dates of parents and previous spouses or even of their grandparents.  These documents are known as the ‘Huwelijksbijlagen‘ and most of them still exist and can be found online.

Read more about these supplements here.

I have the index for Johanna’s death, although I have not gained access to the death record itself.

I also have the index record, but not the death record for Lukas’ death:

I do not have birth records for either Lukas or Johanna, although I have the basic information of dates and places.

So I really need both death and birth records. Lukas was born with the surname Nijentap, but in 1812, his father Albert changed the family name, which included the surnames of his three adult sons, Lukas and his brothers. So his birth/baptism records will be under the name Nijentap.

What I do have for Lukas, though, is pretty cool. Yvette found his military records. I am copying the summation from Yvette, followed by the records themselves.

You will see that Lukas, a musketeer under the command of the Duke of Wellington, helped to defeat Napoleon, most likely at Waterloo. He served in the army from 1814-1817. He was 26-29 years old.

LUKAS BOMHOF b. 9 December 1788, Windesheim m. 13 October 1825, Zwolle  His marriage supplements do not include proof of military service.3 Since he would have reached the age of 19 in 1807, during the French occupation, he would not have been required to show proof of service.

A Lucas Bomhof, sergeant, is on a list of Waterloo gratifications: Lucas Bomhof as recipient of Waterloo gratification Source: Foundation of the encouragement and support of servicemen in the Netherlands, gratifications, 1817-1817, vol. F, infantry National Militia, entry 1956, Lucas Bomhof; call no. 718, Foundation of the encouragement and support of servicemen in the Netherlands, record group 355, consulted “Indexen,” index and images, Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchief (https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/deeds/fc874cd5-df5a-4a2f-b7d894f8533f4f95?person=95a7409f-829b-4a53-e053-b784100ad337 : accessed 10 March 2020).  Abstract: Batallion Infantry National Militia no. 4 Sergeant, no. 1956 Lucas Bomhof, received 461 francs, 20 centimes – 217 guilders and 92.5 cents. Paid 27 September 1817 to council of Amsterdam. Military record of Lucas Bomhoff Source: Batallion Infantry National Militia no. 4,muster rolls, Lucas Bomhof, no. 2469; imaged as film 008341006, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSTP-97RH-C : accessed 10 March 2020). Abstract: No. 2469 (corrected from 493): Lucas Bomhof Father: Albert Bomhof Mother: Swintein Jansen Born Winsen, 14 December 1788 Last residence: Zwolle Physical description: 5’ 4”, round face, round forehead, blue eyes, wide nose, ordinary mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, poxy complexion. Where and how arrived in the batallion:  Called to the land militia in 1814 from the militia district Overijssel from the region Zwolle, municipality Zwolle. During the lottery drew lot no. 810. Arrived in service as “fusilier” [musketeer]  on 26 April 1814. Where served previously: [blank]

This shows he served in the Dutch army from 26 April 1814 to May 1817.  This was the time when the Dutch army was fighting Napoleon. The gratification was given to all soldiers who were under command of the Duke of Wellington during the battles of 15 to 18 June 1815, who were involved with blockades and sieges in France, or who joined the allied army in France prior to 7 July 1815.4  The 4th battalion had an important role during the battle of Waterloo. The battalion, under command of captain Van Hemert, flanked the French cavalry to halt their advance.5 Given the regulations for the gratification and the known actions by the battalion he was a member of, it seems most likely that Lucas Bomhof was indeed at the battle of Waterloo. If he was not at Waterloo, he at least contributed to Napoleon’s defeat.

No Lucas Bomhof found in (partial) indexes of military records in French period at Nationaal Archief website.6 He was not found in the database of Dutch soldiers who were part of the army of Napoleon.7

 

4 “Waterloogratificaties 1815,” Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchief (https://archief.amsterdam/uitleg/indexen/17waterloogratificaties : accessed 13 May 2020).  5 Marc Geerdink-Schaftenaar, “De Waterloo Campagne,” PDF, Grenadier Compagnie (http://www.grenadiercompagnie.nl/Bestanden/2.9%20Waterloo.pdf : accessed 13 March 2020).  6 “Indexen,” indexes, Nationaal Archief (https://www.nationaalarchief.nl/onderzoeken/zoeken?activeTab=nt_legacy : accessed 10 March 2020).  7 “Nederlandse militairen in het leger van Napoleon,” index, Ministerie van Defensie (https://www.archieven.nl : accessed 10 March 2020).

Soldier

 

3 Civil Registration (Zwolle), marriage supplements 1825 no. 75, Bomhof-Dansser (13 October 1825); “Netherlands, Overijssel Province, Civil Registration,, 1811-1960,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939J-99YY-P : accessed 10 March 2020).

 

 

 

 

Yvette found this image for me.

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My next fill-in-the-gaps couple is one that merged the Mulder and the Zuijdweg families—and the reason my grandparents, a Mulder and a Zuidweg, were distant cousins because it grafted the Zuijdwegs onto the Mulder tree. Note: even in the Netherlands, the surname is sometimes spelled Zuijdweg and sometimes Zuidweg.

Adriaan Zuijdweg was born in 3 February 1805 in Goes, Netherlands. Adriaan was a tailor, so I found this image online to represent him. Unfortunately, I can’t locate anyone to credit for it, but would love to do so.

Apparently this seated position was common to tailors.

Johanna Mulder was born 10 March 1807, also in Goes. She was baptized on 29 March. The couple married 5 May 1836. Johanna worked as a maid at the time of the marriage.

In 1846, facing economic and religious pressures, Adriaan applied for the town of Goes to pay for he and his family to emigrate to the US, but he must have been denied. I suspect he was part of the separatist movement within the Reformed Church and wanted to join the group in Zeeland, Michigan. He must have been very disappointed that he couldn’t emigrate. You can read about the documentation for this on the old post: My Dutch Family Almost Arrived in the U.S. Decades Earlier.

Five years later, on 2 April 1951, he was dead at the age of 46.

The couple had six children. One of them was my 2x great-grandfather, Johannes Zuijdweg.

The youngest child, Willem, was a baby when his father died. Life must have been hard for Johanna after that. The economy in Goes at the time was not good and now she had six children, even a baby, to support by herself.

Many years later, Willem immigrated to Michigan in 1889 with his wife and two sons (a baby girl died in the Netherlands). The older brother, Adrian, was named for his grandfather, as was my great-grandfather. He lived in Cascade in Kent County.  The younger brother, James William, changed his surname to Southway which is what Zuijdweg means. He lived in Detroit. Willem and his family were the first Zuijdwegs to live in the United States. Willem managed to fulfill his father’s dream of living in the United States. Willem’s brother Johannes, my great-great-grandfather, did not immigrate until he was much older–he followed his own son to the U.S.

On 11 June 1878, Johanna passed away at the age of 71. There is documentation that she was working as a “laborer” when she was in her early sixties. I suppose it’s possible she worked until she died.

I have the marriage and death records for both husband and wife. I also have the documention of Adriaan’s denied request to leave the Netherlands. I was able to get Adriaan’s military records from Yvette Hoitink.

According to Yvette’s research Adriaan did not serve in the military. Here is the military record (part of it):



I am missing both birth records for Johanna and Adriaan. And I sure wish I had photos, but considering that they were born in 1805 and 1807, I suppose that hope is unrealistic!

In general, now that I am back with an early generation in the Netherlands, this is what I can look for:

  • birth record
  • marriage record (including if there was more than one marriage)
  • death record

These are what I can generally find, but not always, through Wiewaswie and other online sources. Yvette was able to search military records for me. And sometimes I have been blessed with information from Dutch cousins and readers, such as newspaper information. Because I can’t read Dutch if I want a less haphazard method of obtaining newspaper articles, I would need to hire a genealogist, such as Yvette, to search. Yvette’s expertise means that she knows how to find certain information that is not readily available–and where there are gaps of records because of fire, etc.

I had been frustrated that I have not been able to find birth records for Adriaan and Johanna as of yet.  BUT maybe that was because I should have been looking for baptismal records instead! When I searched for those, I found Johanna’s baptismal record dated 29 March 1807. Her religion at birth was “Low German Reformed,” which simply means Dutch Reformed. “High German” is Lutheran. I had to order this record for a cost, but it got to me yesterday, in time for this post. Here is the cropped page for 1807. Johanna is at the bottom of the image.

1 – Zeeuws Archief

Maybe one day I will find Adriaan’s birth or baptismal record. I wonder if there is a spelling discrepancy either on the record itself or in the indexing.

 

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The last fill-in-the-gaps couple I wrote about was Teunis and Jacoba Paak, the parents of Alice Paak DeKorn. Today I am writing about the parents of Alice’s husband, Richard DeKorn. He was born to Boudewijn and Johanna (Remine) DeKorn in the Netherlands.

Richard’s father Boudewijn (Dutch for Benjamin) DeKorn was born on June 11, 1816, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, to Jan DeKorne, 23 years old, and Geertruijd Engelse, who was 27. Boudewijn married Johanna Remine on May 21, 1847, in their hometown. Johanna was born in Kapelle to Dirk Gillesz Remijnse, 30 years old, and Adriana Krijger, also 30.

The couple had four children in 11 years: first born Geertruit died as an infant, but then Richard was born in 1851 and Maria in 1855. The fourth, Adriana, called Jennie, was not born in the Netherlands.

The family of four traveled to America on a sailing vessel which left April 13, 1856 and arrived at Kalamazoo June 22, 1856. The voyage was bad and long, and Richard and Mary, their children, stated it took 90 days. They located in Zeeland, Michigan, for a few years.

Eventually, the family moved to Kalamazoo, although I am not sure when they made that move. They were in Ottawa County (Zeeland) in the 1860 census, but when Johanna passed away in 1864, they may have been living in Kalamazoo because she is buried there.

Now we come to a big gap. I do not have a death record for Johanna because 1864 was a little before Kalamazoo started recording deaths. I don’t know exactly when she died, and I am using her headstone to give me a date. Maddeningly, it doesn’t even give her name! Just “MOTHER” and “WIFE OF B. DEKORN.” Good grief.

You know what else would be nice to have on Johanna? An obituary. I don’t have one for Boudewijn either, and I suspect that there might not be one. After all, Boudewijn was a laborer when he lived in the Netherlands. He didn’t live long enough in Zeeland to have built up a business. Then in Kalamazoo I’m not sure what he did. Since his son Richard became a very successful contractor, though, it is possible that he got his start from his father. So if Boudewijn did have a business in Kalamazoo, there might be an obituary for him, although not necessarily for Johanna since she obviously died soon after their move to Kalamazoo.

Boudewijn died on 1 July 1875 in Kalamazoo. I know this because Wayne Loney found the death record although the name was severely mangled. And the condition of the record is very faded. I tried to enhance it as much as possible. His entry is the 8th from the bottom. On the right page his son Richard’s name is clearly visible. Also his age at death of 59 and his job as laborer. But I really cannot read the cause of death, unfortunately.

I am hoping to get immigration and naturalization information on the couple from Amberly at some point. That will be very helpful as it will also provide the immigration for Richard and possibly a clue about his naturalization.

According to Yvette Hoitink, there was a fire in Kapelle in 1877 that destroyed the military records for that town, so there is no practical way to find out if Boudewijn served in the military.

So I will always be missing his military, and I am missing obits for both husband and wife. And hoping for the I&N. I have something on Boudewijn that I do not have for Johanna. A photo!

Pretty cool to have a pic of your 3x great! Is that some sort of plaid I am seeing on his shirt or am I imagining that? I was thinking that this was a reprint made a few decades after the original was made. Or even a reprint of a reprint. Could the original have been a tintype?

I keep going back to look through the photo album of Remine/Paak photos, thinking that if there was a photo of Johanna it would be in there, but nobody seems to be the right age In the right time period. It’s possible that in this portrait Boudewijn had already lost Johanna, in fact, since she died when he was 48.

I’ve started using paintings as portraits on my Ancestry tree for direct ancestors that I do not have photos for. I am also using a photo of baby feet for children who died before age five, and a photo of the back of a girl’s head with braids for girls who died before age 18. I haven’t had to find one for boys yet. Any ideas what to use?

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In April I shared that I had found an Ancestry hint on my great-grandmother Margarethe Klein’s Ancestry page. The hint directed me to the index of the birth of a little boy in 1906. George Joseph Klein was born 21 August 1906 in Chicago. I had never heard about this brother of my grandmother, and I don’t think my father or uncle had known about him either.

At the time, I quickly did a search for a death record and found the index. George passed away 22 March 1909.

I didn’t believe that I could get a copy of his death certificate because of Covid-19. However, my 2nd cousin who I have met through genealogy managed to obtain the copy. What he found made me so teary for George. This is one of the saddest situations I’ve encountered.

When George was born, his brother Frank, Jr. was ten years old. His three sisters were teenagers. The family must have been thrilled to have another boy that his older sisters could dote upon.

This certificate says George was over three years old, but I don’t see that from his birth and death dates. Death date: 22 March 1909 as I mention above and as it is on the certificate. Birth date: 21 August 1906. That is only two years old, by my count. Two years, seven months.

But what killed George? According to this death certificate he died from Tubercular Basal Meningitis, a horrible disease. The symptoms include headaches, behavioral changes, fever, a stiff neck, and vomiting. Look how long George was in the hospital: One year and four months! Imagine being sick with those symptoms for that long–and only being a toddler! That breaks my heart. You have to wonder how he got this disease at such a young age.

Then the most heartbreaking fact on this certificate of all: he died without the names of his parents listed and in an orphanage.

So how did George end up in an orphanage? This is what my cousin and I believe happened. Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease. With four other healthy children living in the home, no doubt the parents wanted to protect them and would need to quarantine George. Also, it is possible that his symptoms made it difficult to care for him–especially because this disease affects the brain. His mother Margarethe wasn’t a nurse. The nuns at the orphanage hospital would have been skilled at caring for a sick child, and they probably had the facilities for quarantining contagious patients.

Did this mean that Frank Sr. and Margarethe couldn’t see their son once they turned him over to the sisters at Angel Guardian Orphan Asylum? That I don’t know. What I know is that George effectively died an orphan. The pain must have been terrible for the family. Perhaps that is why they never talked about George.

George is buried in Saint Boniface Cemetery, and I have put in a request on Findagrave for a photo of his grave.

What was Angel Guardian Orphan Asylum like?

Angel Guardian Orphan Asylum

First line: The charitable care initiative that would become Angel Guardian Orphanage illustrates how immigrant German religious women were able to succeed in America. The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (PHJC), an order of German sisters newly arrived in the United States, mentored and inspired other German immigrants through their work at the German Catholic Orphanage of the Holy Guardian Angels, which would later be known more simply as Angel Guardian Orphanage. This asylum existed in West Ridge for over 100 years. The orphanage’s founding and its first 35 years of existence set the stage for its later development into a major mission for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and a source of pride for Chicago’s German Catholic community.

Archdiocese of Chicago Archives

First line: Angel Guardian Orphanage began as an alternative to the separate boys and girls orphanages that the diocese of Chicago operated to ensure the health, faith, and cultural heritage of German children.

Loyola University Chicago–link through image

 

What happened to the orphanage?
Today, most of the cottages are gone, Misericordia Heart of Mercy occupies the old A.G.O. grounds.  Misericordia cares for children and adults with mild to profound developmental disabilities.  If you would like to take a tour of what is left of A.G.O., Misericordia has always been very accommodating when it comes to allowing formers to visit.  History of Misericordia

from Angel Guardian Orphanage Alumni

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I have a lot of catchup to do on my fill-in-the-gaps project, so I thought I would share with you a link that Jose sent me of the Kalamazoo State Hospital.

I’ve written about the hospital a couple of times in the past. First there were my posts about my grandmother’s uncle Fred Waldeck. He was severely brain-injured in an accident and, subsequently, lived out the rest of his life at the State Hospital.

Fred Waldeck Mystery Solved

Waldeck Family Research with Fred’s Death Certificate

My research and writing on Fred Waldeck’s wife Caroline featured in Broad Street Magazine

Then more recently, I wrote about my great-great grandmother’s sister Annie Paak Verhulst. I discovered that she passed away at the State Hospital, and the best guess is that she went there as so many had because she was elderly with health issues and it was the only place that could take care of her. There were no nursing homes in those days.

So what did this place, the Kalamazoo State Hospital, look like? Here is the link Jose sent.

PHOTOGRAPHIC RECONSTRUCTION OF KALAMAZOO STATE HOSPITAL

This is really an amazing project. Enjoy.

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Last week I wrote a Fill in the Gaps Project post for my 3x great-grandparents, Teunis and Jacoba (Bassa) Peek/Paak.

Since the publication of that post, I have been blessed with more information about Teunis’ life. Because there is so much, I am posting all the new info here, rather than just updating that post.

Amberly was as mystified as I was by who “Perina Pick” might be. She was listed on the 1870 census in Cooper Township (Michigan) in the wife position after Teunis. Then Amberly found a Findagrave memorial which must belong to her.  PERINA PECK This page indicates she died in 1890. There is not a photo of a headstone or any other information, so this information might have come from cemetery records. Since the last name reads as Peck it seems unlikely that Teunis would have had the headstone engraved. Furthermore, she isn’t listed with the family in the 1880 census.

So who was she? An unknown relative? A housekeeper who happened to have a similar surname or took on the family surname? Amberly wondered if it had been a marriage of convenience. I questioned if he had met her on the ship to America since a mere two years after arriving he was already married.

I was almost falling asleep over my iPad when I decided to check out “Paak” on Genealogy Bank. Guess what popped up?  Several notices dated 24-30 September 1881.

 


Tannis Paak vs Priera Paak, divorce; J F Alley for complainant, T R Sherwood for defendant. I don’t know what “Chancery–Fourth Class” means to this case, but it looks to me as if Teunis was the one to file for divorce. This makes him the first direct ancestor I have ever found who went through a divorce.

Therefore, I conclude that he did indeed marry this woman at some point after arriving in the  United States (there is no marriage record in the Netherlands, where the records are much much better than the U.S. ones for the time period). That said, Perina/Priera does appear to be from the Netherlands, according to the census.

While I was in the newspaper files, I discovered a 10 February 1882 notice for a sale of farm equipment by Teunis and his son George.

 

I believe this is close to when Teunis moved from Cooper to Kalamazoo–effectively retiring. I was struck by the fact that he didn’t just farm celery, apparently, but also had cows and sheep.

You have to wonder where this left his only son George (Joost) because I think Teunis and George were in business together. There are several newspaper notices of buying and selling (especially buying) of land throughout this period. I do not know if they were all used for celery farming or for other purposes. They were generally somewhat sizable and expensive parcels.  Also, the amazing genealogy volunteer Wayne Loney discovered a map of interest. Notice the “Paak & Son.”

This is an 1890 map of Kalamazoo Twp. At the top of the page the look at “Kalamazoo” and below the Z, in section 10 where the RR tracks become closer, you will find a 10 acre plot which says Paak & Son. The road at the west edge of the property is Pitcher St. and the area is currently (and it depends) either the now defunct Checker Motors or what was the Brown Co. It has been several different paper companies and I have no longer been able to keep up with its current name. But, at one time, it became very expensive property.

If you think that this map looks remarkably like the one where Jacob Verhulst’s farm was later located (the post about Annie Paak Verhulst), you would be right. It looks like property that might have belonged to Teunis and son George Paak ended up eventually with daughter Annie and her husband Jacob.

Another fact that Wayne uncovered has to do with where Teunis is buried. Here is a map of Riverside Cemetery.

Wayne remarked: “Tannis PAAK is buried in Riverside Cemetery and is the only occupant of the entire 8 grave plot, in Section U, Plot 87. There are 7
unused graves. U,087,01 is the City of Kalamazoo’s description.”

Wow, did he buy eight graves, expecting his children to be buried near him and then nobody was buried there? That is another mystery I can try to solve by discovering where all his children were buried. I can also try to contact the cemetery to see if I can get more information.

Back to the immigration of Teunis and his family. According to an index available on Ancestry which Amberly discovered, Teunis traveled with five children to “Port Uncertain” in 1868. Five children. Not six, which is what it would be if Willempje was with them. However, I can’t take it too seriously since Teunis is indexed as age 23! He was 46. There is no wife mentioned either, which I do think is accurate. I do know that 1868 is accurate because Yvette Hoitink was able to find that information in the Dutch emigration records.

Yet another area of future research is the probate records. Wayne knows where they are and will get them when he can. WOOT! Plus, I know they are worth reading because from the time of Teunis’ death in April until March of the following year (1894) probate dragged out. I know this because there are many notices in the newspaper. My great-greats Richard and Alice DeKorn are mentioned. It will be interesting to see what property was left at the time of his death and who inherited it.

Years ago I wrote blog posts about the fire at George’s house in 1902. His wife Lucy had passed away two years previously, leaving him with five young children. At the time of the fire, George did not have funds or insurance on his home. He also had been ill and had not been working because of his health. This is only nine years after the death of “prosperous celery farmer” Teunis. I can’t wait to read the probate record! By the way, my chapbook Kin Types also has a story called “The Weight of Smoke” based on the fire at George’s house.

Additionally, Wayne gave me Teunis’ death record, which I did not have. He died of cancer of the stomach.

Although Teunis immigrated before many of my other ancestors, there are so many documents relating to his life. I suspect that eventually much of his story will be clear. I just wish I had a photograph of my 3x great-grandfather.

 

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I am moving backward in time now to my 3x great-grandparents. Three sets of my 3x greats were immigrants to the United States. For this couple, sadly, only Teunis left the Netherlands for the United States with the couple’s children. Jacoba passed away in 1865 in the couple’s hometown of Lexmond, which is in the province of Utrecht and is not part of Zeeland. I guess you could say only 2 1/2 sets immigrated.

I do not believe I have photos of Teunis and Jacoba. They were born in the 1820s, and she died before the age of 50. To supplement for that, I will post here a painting of a family in Utrecht from 1849 signed by David van der Kellen III, 1827-1895, Utrecht.

The first child of Teunis and Jacoba, Joost (later, in America, George) was born in 1850, so this is pretty close in time.

So what do I have on this couple and what am I missing?

For Teunis (or Tannes or Tennes or Thomas) and Jacoba, I have their birth records (born in 1822 and 1824). I also have their marriage record for 1848.

Yvette Hoitink was able to discover for me that Teunis was not called to the military. From his military physical description, we can see what Teunis looked like. He was a blue-eyed blond with a round face.

 

One thing I want to note about the surname is that in the Netherlands the records show Teunis with the surname Peek. Once the family was in the United States they tended more toward Paak.

There are birth records for their children, so I know that Teunis was a farmer in the Netherlands. One large gap for me is that one of their daughters, Willempje, was born in 1856, but I cannot find a death record for her in the Netherlands. Since I do not have immigration and naturalization information yet, I didn’t know if she came to the United States or passed away as a child.

In 1865, both Jacoba and Teunis’ mother passed away. Teunis brought his family to the United States in 1868, where they lived in Cooper Township for over a decade. I could not find them in the 1870 census. But I have them in the 1880 census in Cooper, where Teunis was a farmer.

Then an amazing thing happened: Amberly found an 1870 census that just has to be them, although the names are a little screwed up.

In this census record the family surname is Pick, but Willempje is listed, albeit as a male (William). However, Alice is listed as Ellis and a male. There are a lot of errors, but it’s doubtful that anybody else in Cooper Township fit the general “shape” of this family the way Teunis’ would. Keep in mind that the census taker, a man named Smith, probably didn’t understand Dutch or the Dutch accent or types of names very well. The family had only been in the country two years at the time of the census.

So this census tells me that Willempje probably did immigrate with her father and siblings, and sometimes between the 1870 and 1880 census takings, she passed away.

My great-great grandmother Alice named my great grandmother Cora after her mother Jacoba. Cora was a nickname for Jacoba. But she also named her daughter for Willempje because Cora’s middle name was Wilhelmina.  In this way Alice memorialized her sister.

The 1870 census also initiates a new mystery: who is listed in the “wife position,” keeping house for the family?! Her name was ostensibly “Perina Pick.” This names doesn’t fit a sister for Teunis, and there is no record of him remarrying in the Netherlands.

Amberly tried to find a record of Teunis becoming a naturalized citizen, but found no trace of it. I suppose it’s very likely that he did not become a United States citizen.

I am blessed to have found an obituary and a headstone for Teunis. According to his obit, he was a “prosperous celery farmer,” in a region of celery farmers. If only Jacoba had lived to be part of that success.

 

I believe there is an error in the obituary in that Anna’s last name should be Verhulst, not Van Hulst.

Sometimes I wonder how much some of my immigrant ancestors told their children about their lives in the old country. The age of Teunis on his headstone is not correct. The stone lists his age down to the number of days, and yet he wasn’t 72 or 73, but only 70!

Teunis is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo. He passed away on 24 April 1893. I have been blessed to get management of his Findagrave memorial. He must have been very brave to bring his son and five daughters to a new country and start over at the age of 46.

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Introducing my BRICK WALL of genealogy:

My great-great-grandparents, Gottfried and Alwine (Noffke) Waldeck. Gottfried was 1841 – 1913. Alwine 1846 – 1912.

Back row:  Fred (in a terrible accident and lived out the rest of his life at the Kalamazoo State Hospital) married Caroline Meier, Ada (Helene/Lena Ida) married Frederick Steeby, Anna (who was married, but I still need to iron out this “mess”–she was at least married to William Alexander Stewart), August (died in WWI, a bachelor)

Front row: Gottfried, Clara (my great-grandmother), Alwine, Godfrey married Anna Ruehs

There were other children who died young, but exactly who they were needs sorting out.

The family story in America may have started with Alwine’s older brother August. I wrote about him here: Pioneer of the Family

I have written many posts about my great-grandmother Clara and have also written about Fred and his accident and his wife and her family in other posts (search Waldeck).

Gaps might be a ridiculous word for what I have missing from this couple’s lives. I do not know where in Prussia either of them were born, although if the information is correct about August, it is possible that Alwine was born in Pomerania. However, together, the couple seem to have lived in West Prussia, where they may have worked on a large estate or two. I do have birth and/or baptism records for several of their children, but I can’t read them well enough and the place names for Prussia are soooo confusing. I will need help with this portion to create a timeline of locations.

If you are not familiar with Prussia, East Prussia was the province furthest east, but West Prussia is just to the west of East Prussia–still in what is now Poland and on the Baltic Sea. Pomerania, also on the Baltic, is just to the west of West Prussia. Posen is to the south of these provinces.

I don’t have a marriage record for the couple, so I don’t know which area of Prussia they were married–or how they might have met.

Gottfried and Alwine did arrive into Baltimore from Germany in 1882, but I don’t have any other immigration and naturalization records.

I do not have a headstone for either, but have put in a request through Findagrave. I also requested management of their memorials, but have not received a reply. I can only hope for the kindness of the current holder because at 2x greats, they are one removed from my right to manage their memorials. Hmm, but my mother could do it!

I don’t have any military information for Gottfried. Or an obituary.

So what in the world DO I have then (besides anything mentioned above)?

*Gottfried’s death certificate: he died of chronic nephritis. His place of birth is gibberish; nobody has ever heard of such a place.

*Alwine’s death certificate; she died of interstitial nephritis. Her place of birth is just listed as Germany. Notice they both had a form of nephritis and died a year apart.

*Land ownership map in Caledonia, 1894.

*1900 and 1910 census records. The 1890 doesn’t exist, and Gottfried died a few years after the 1910. When there are only one or two census records it really brings home how many of these immigrants only lived 10-20-30 years in this country before dying.

*I know it’s above, but let’s face it, having a photograph of your 2xgreats is pretty cool :).

*Alwine’s obituary, although it’s very limited–and spells her first name Albina. (Alwine is pronounced Alveena)

Finally, I would like to post the property map. The parcel owned by Gottfried is near the bottom, in the center darkened area. His land is a small piece. Do you see the darkened section in the middle at the bottom? His parcel is second from the farthest right (of the darkened section) and the second from the bottom. Although Gottfried and Alwine’s son-in-law, my great-grandfather Charles Mulder, eventually owned a lovely farm in Caledonia, 1894 was long before he purchased his property.

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In looking through some documents for my 3rd great grandfather Teunis Paak (or Peek), something on a document relating to one of his children caught my eye. Whenever I use the surname Paak, it could also be Peek. In fact, the history of the family in the Netherlands seems to indicate more usage of Peek, but in the United States there was more usage of Paak and Paake.

My great-great grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn, born 1852, was the oldest daughter, second oldest child. The third child was Anna Catherina or Annie, born 6 January 1855 in Lexmond, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. In 1865, their mother Jacoba Bassa Paak passed away. Three years later the family immigrated to the United States. They lived for some time in Cooper, then moved to Kalamazoo.

In this portrait is she wearing a cloth coat with a fur scarf/stole of some kind and a fur hat?

 

Although she must have been a pretty woman, Annie doesn’t seem to have married until she was 35 years old, possibly living at home with her father, a celery farmer, until she did marry on 20 March 1890. Her new husband was a fairly recent immigrant (8 years before) from the Netherlands, Jacob (possible middle name Salomon or L.) Verhulst, another celery farmer or farm worker, the grandson of a Flipse woman. You may have read my posts about the Flipse family; there are interconnections between several of the branches in my extended family. Jacob was 41. Was this his first marriage or had he been married in the Netherlands? I looked on wiewaswie, but did not find a marriage for Jacob.

Annie and Jacob did not have any children. I find them together, in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses.

Here are the locations:

1900: Kalamazoo Township (apparently farmland). The census doesn’t indicate if they owned the home or rented.

1910: North Parker Street, Kalamazoo Township (apparently farmland): I can’t find Parker Street–only Parker Avenue. I doubt that was it. I think this was rural and has changed names, but I could be wrong. The census doesn’t indicate if they owned the home or rented.

1920: 44 Mussel Avenue, Kalamazoo Township: owned the home. What an odd name for a street in Kalamazoo? I can’t find it on  Google maps.

I do think they purchased land. This is from the Kalamazoo Gazette on 8 May 1919:

I don’t know who Preintje was, but she was a Kloosterman, another surname associated with my family. Coincidentally, Annie’s great-grandmother was Annigje deWit, which is a variant of DeWitte.

This map showed up on Ancestry for Jacob for 1910, which would be around the time of the 2nd census listed.

You see the section going down on the right, near the railroad? The parcel listed for Jacob is the 7th down from the top. His neighbor, Klaas Mulder, is also listed as a neighbor on the 1910 census. I believe the Mulder family is also a neighbor on the 1900 census, so it’s highly likely that Annie and Jacob lived in the same home in both 1900 and 1910.

This parcel map and the transfer mentioned in the newspaper can’t be the same land parcels, since the transfer was in 1919, 9 years after the map showing a parcel owned by Jacob and Annie.  Perhaps after this 1919 transfer, the couple moved to the Mussel address and that is what is mentioned in the transfer? Or the transfer could have been an additional piece of property.

FIRST UPDATE: Sharon at Branches on Our Haimowitz Family Tree kindly did some research for me, and this is what she wrote: “I tried finding Mussel Ave myself on old street names. I noticed that there is a Mosel Ave ..checking the 1920 census it was written Mussel however looking at street directories 1929 & 1931 I found Anna and also Jacob with the listing on Mossel Ave 3 e of N. Westnedge (formally simply West) so ‘Mossel or Mosel’ was spelled wrong on census. definitely rural RFD – also I would say they possibly owned the farm land or leased it. It does indicate he was working on his ‘own account’ as opposed to ‘wage or salary.'”

Jacob passed away in 1923, and I do not yet have his death record.

HERE IS THE SECOND UPDATE: Sue Haadsma-Svensson found Jacob’s death ceritificate for me. Look at it carefully: does it look like his address was “Amsterdam Avenue”? If so, there is an Amsterdam Street in Kalamazoo, and it looks like they used to use “Avenue” more often than they do today–or perhaps it was used more informally.

What happened to Annie after Jacob’s death? This is where my interest was piqued!

I have not found her on the 1930 census. But I do have her death record for 6 October 1933. She died of an intertrochanteric fracture of the right femur and hypostatic pneumonia, which means she got sick and died from lying down too long with that broken leg.

Look where she died:

The Kalamazoo State Hospital. It says she lived there and died there. But why? Was it for a mental issue or was the hospital used at that time for other illnesses? THIRD UPDATE: Note that Jacob’s death certificate indicates that Annie lived at Amsterdam Avenue, not the State Hospital, in 1923.

I took the matter to the Facebook group “Vanished Kalamazoo,” a private group of 30,000 members. There are some great local historians on that site. This is what I discovered: What we know of as nursing homes really began around the time of WWII, so Annie died too early to have been in a nursing home. As an elderly woman, if she had mobility, mental (dementia), or illness issues, she would have needed to be taken care of somewhere. She had no children, and her husband was gone. According to these historians, the Kalamazoo State Hospital was used as a place for the elderly needing home and care. Remember, too, that her aging years were in the midst of the Great Depression. I am not sure if this had any bearing or not, but it is important to look at all the possible information.

One thing that troubles me is that she broke her leg at the State Hospital, so what was her care at the hospital like?

When I look at the Paak branch of the family, there are not a lot of descendants. which is a bit sad. Annie and Carrie had no children at all. Mary had three children, but zero grandchildren. Only Alice and George have descendants still living today.

 

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