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Archive for the ‘Kalamazoo history’ Category

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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My cousin Susie (actually my  mom’s cousin, but that’s being picky)  sent me some treasures the other day.

Here is one of my favorite people, my maternal Grandmother, in a color or tinted photo I’ve never seen before.

(Lucille) Edna Mulder
1929

Then there were some newspaper clippings. In the first one, Grandpa is in a photo I’ve shared on here before, but it’s attached to a little story in the “Looking Back” section of the Kalamazoo Gazette. The photo is of my grandfather, who shared the image and the story.

The next clipping is a mention of my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary in the same newspaper (not the same issue).

And, finally, this clipping is an announcement for the senior community where my grandparents lived during their last few years.

I often think of how much I miss these two.

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My family first arrived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, between 1860 and 1864, when the immigrant Boudewijn DeKorn(e) family moved from Zeeland, Michigan. Their residence was still Ottawa County in 1860, but the mother, Johanna Reminse DeKorn, was buried in Kalamazoo in 1864. This nails the time period unless, of course, Johanna was first buried near Zeeland and then her body later buried in Kalamazoo. I find that to be highly unlikely for many reasons.

In 1869, Alice Paak and her family (her father Teunis and her siblings) immigrated from the Netherlands to Kalamazoo.

In 1872, Richard DeKorn, the only son of Boudewijn and Johanna, married Alice Paak in Kalamazoo.

Richard DeKorn
picking strawberries
on Maple Street

In 1878-79, Richard was brick mason for the new and gorgeous building for the Ladies Library Association. In 1895 he would be lead brick mason on the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital Water Tower. According to his obituary he also was the contractor for the Pythian building and the Merchants Publishing Company building.

Richard built the brick house at the corner of Burdick and Balch Streets in Kalamazoo for his family in the early 1880s.

In the beautiful video I am posting here, Kalamazoo is “seen” during 1884, the year the village of Kalamazoo (the largest village in the entire country) became a city. My relatives are not mentioned in the video, but the Ladies Library Association and the “asylum” (where Richard would build the water tower 11 years later) are mentioned. To give you an idea where my family fits into the city at that time, using the terminology of the film, they had arrived in the United States from the Netherlands, but quickly could be classified as “middle class.” They were literate people as they could read and write. In some cases, they had trades, although I think they mainly learned their trades on the job as young men. Teunis became a successful farmer and land owner. Boudewijn’s son Richard became a successful building contractor and brick mason.

Kalamazoo was founded by mainly English settlers, beginning in 1829, but the Dutch began to immigrate to southwest and west Michigan in increasing numbers in the 40s and 50s and 60s. My ancestors were part of this group that ended up becoming a sizable chunk of the Kalamazoo population. If I have any quibbles with the video it is that other than mention of the first Reformed church in town, it is that there is no recognition of how the Dutch would help shape the City of Kalamazoo, but in all fairness it’s possible that the influence wasn’t yet felt in 1884.

(This film lasts about a half hour. If your interests are not with the city, I won’t be insulted if you decide to skip it; however, it gives a nice overview of the time period, as well). Either way, Happy Thanksgiving and please stay safe!

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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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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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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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This past week I organized my files and folders and Ancestry account for my 2x great-grandparents, Richard and Alice (Paak) DeKorn. I have written so much about them. He was a building contractor and mason in Kalamazoo who built many important buildings in town. She was the hero who ran into a burning home to help the family next door and sustained serious burns. Read about it here. She is the face of my chapbook Kin Types.

For Richard I noticed that I once again had not yet received the transfer of management on Findagrave to me. And because Alice died in her fifties, Richard married a second time–and I do not have the documents relating to that marriage. I contacted my buddy Grady who is related to Richard’s second wife, Jennie Jansen Sootsman. He gave me a transcription of the marriage record. When things start moving again, I will ask Wayne Loney if he can get a copy

For Alice I cannot find the 1870 census, which would have been just after she and her father and siblings arrived in the United States. I also do not have her obituary, although there were a lot of newspaper articles relating to her injuries in the fire.

Amberly is working on immigration and naturalization for both of these ancestors.

In this photograph, Alice is seated in the front center with her hands clasped together. Richard is seated directly behind her. On the left side of the photograph is their daughter Jennie (Janna) and son-in-law Lou Leeuwenhoek. I believe the other man is Richard Remine and his children are seated with Alice Leeuwenhoek, the daughter of Jennie and Lou. Richard was married to Alice’s sister Mary, so the children were actually first cousins of Jennie, not of Alice.

It would be nice to have a little relationship calculator on hand.

I actually have a good many more photos of Richard than of Jennie because she died in 1908 before most of the family picture-taking began in earnest.

Stay safe, everyone. I have been working really hard on business matters pertaining to the Thing going on (not fun being self-employed in this chaos), so I’m not going to write more here now. My focus regarding genealogy right now is to get as many gaps filled and everything organized and to give my daughter a copy of what I get done as I get it done.

 

 

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