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Archive for the ‘Kent County history’ Category

Both my maternal great-grandmothers were born in the United States, but their husbands, my great-grandfathers, were immigrants. First I will discuss my maternal grandmother’s mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder.

I lack a birth record for Clara. Michigan did not insist on birth records for many years, so my inability to find anything about her birth could be a victim of that bureaucratic lapse. Because I don’t have a birth record I do not know for sure if she even had a middle name. Her death record says NONE for middle name.

Clara’s married name, Clara Mulder, is extremely common in Michigan. Mulder is a Dutch name akin to the English Miller. Her parents and all siblings were Prussian immigrants, but she took on her husband’s Dutch name when she got married.

I’ve posted quite a bit about Clara. You can read more about Clara at My Great-Grandmother’s Lifetime of Service.

Clara was a farm wife, which is a sort of business person, and so she did not have a job which earns a salary. Since Social Security was instituted in 1935, when she was 51, she might have gotten a social security number if she had needed it for work. I do not believe she ever got her social security number. That is unfortunate because she might have applied with her place of birth (the town) and a middle name.

I already have her death certificate, which I have posted in the past, and census reports for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. There is no 1890 census, so my records for the census are complete for Clara. I did sponsor Clara’s page at Findagrave, but I do not manage the profile, as I do for Grandma and Grandpa. I also have Clara’s obituary (see the link above for the obit) and her headstone, which she shares with her husband–but I did not have these items loaded to my Ancestry account. I remedied that problem.

While I would love to find more information on Clara, I really could not add anything at this point, so I decided to request to manage Clara’s profile on Findagrave as my weekly task.

Clara is the third ancestor whose records I have combed for gaps, and I have updated my Ancestry records. However, I still have not transferred these records to another tree OR cleaned up my computer files for these individuals. Going to take the opportunity of a light job here to go do that! Hope the rest of your week goes very well!

Clara and Charles Mulder

50th wedding anniversary

 

 

 

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Next up is Lucille Edna Mulder Zuidweg, my maternal grandmother. If you do a search for her under her maiden name (Mulder as Zuidweg is her married surname), you will find many blog posts about her, especially about her school years. I figured I had most everything available about Grandma, or Edna as she was known, but when I worked on Grandpa’s documents last week I discovered I did not have their marriage application or license. I was able to order it from St. Joseph County, Indiana, and it arrived in time for this post.

Here are their applications:

When it asks for Grandpa’s father’s name what does it say? I can’t make it out. UPDATE: with a little help from readers I now believe it says deceased. I do know grandpa‘s father‘s name was Adrian Zuidweg and Grandpa was a junior.


My mother says the reason her parents got married in Indiana is that it was much quicker and easier to get a license there than in Michigan. Also, Grandpa’s mother was dying, and Grandma needed to help take care of her. Them being married made that easier, and it certainly wasn’t a time for a wedding celebration.

This is the license:

I also found that I did not have Grandma’s birth certificate. I ordered it from Kent County, Michigan, and when it arrived, I realized that Wayne Loney, the Kalamazoo genealogist had been right about these old birth records. County just typed up the info they had, put a seal on it, and charged me. It doesn’t even have the location of her birth.

And guess what? I didn’t have Grandma’s obituary either! So here it is, thanks to the Kalamazoo Public Library:

 

I love how the obituary mentions how she used to say, “Let’s go!” Hah, so true. She also loved to sing along to Ethel Merman, but I doubt too many family members know that. She used to babysit me every day after kindergarten (and the year before that, too), so I’m sure her bashful personality felt more comfortable singing with a five-year-old than adults. She also used to sing folk songs to me, and every once in a while do a few dance steps to make me giggle.

I have treasures that belonged to Grandma and photos of her. I have the 1920, 30, and 40 census records. I have a photo of the headstone she shares with Grandpa at Mount Ever-Rest Cemetery. And I sponsored a page for her at Find-a-Grave, just as I did for Grandpa.

My grandparents–at least as the older and then elderly people I knew–had exceptionally cute personalities. I think everybody who knew them would agree with that!

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Last week I let you know that I had a new packet of lovely documents to go through. I also have a lot of emails with leads on family history. And I am at the point where if I keep feeding the blog, I will get more and more disorganized. So I am going to take a little break from posting on TFK.

I plan to post as often as I can at:

Entering the Pale

You can find me over there or just leave me a message here or email me.

But I really want to get my maternal family history in some order before I begin to post again.

Leaving you with a photo of yours truly at age 2 or 3 (Mom????). I’m feeding the deer at Deer Forest in Coloma, Michigan. I really loved that place. We took our son there, too.

 

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Philip DeKorn’s niece–his brother Richard’s daughter–didn’t want the family documents Phil left behind. She has enough papers, and she is not particularly interested in genealogy. Phil’s niece through his wife Marianne, Sue Haadsma-Svensson, is a genealogist who has worked extensively on her branches and compiled several books, as well. She understands the value of these papers. My mother told her about my interest in family history and about this blog, and she very kindly mailed me the documents that were discovered.

Opening the package was quite exciting as I didn’t know what I would find.

There are original death certificates for both Uncle Joe and Aunt Tena, Phil’s parents. There are also newspaper articles, photographs, and letters. Once I have a chance to scan (and digitize) everything and to put each document and photograph into an archival sleeve, I will post my discoveries!

Sue gave me this photo of sailor Phil home on temporary leave on 4 July 1944 sitting with his parents, Uncle Joe and Aunt Tena.

 

 

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The last living DeKorn (carrying the name) from the Boudewijn (1816-1873) and Johanna (Remijnse) (1817-1864) family has passed away at age 97.

Philip Eugene DeKorn was one of two children of Joseph DeKorn. Philip’s brother Richard died in 2004. Joseph, my grandfather’s uncle, took many of the photos I shared on this blog. Phil is the last of Kalamazoo contractor and brick mason Richard DeKorn’s grandchildren to pass.

I would like to share Phil’s obituary today because it shows he was one of the “Greatest Generation,” serving in WWII in the U.S. Navy. The obituary is available at this link.

DeKorn, Philip 8/4/1922 – 9/6/2019 Grand Rapids Philip Eugene DeKorn was born in the community of Fairview in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 4, 1922, the son of Joseph Peter and Christina (Blandford) DeKorn. He passed away September 6, 2019 at the age of 97. Philip attended and graduated from Fairview School, Union High School and Grand Rapids Junior College. On August 28, 1942, he enlisted in the US Navy during World War II. He took naval training at the US Naval Center, Great Lakes, IL and US Radar School at Virginia Beach, VA. He was then assigned to the USS Uhlmann (DD607) and served as a radar operator in CIC (Combat Information Center) until the end of World War II. CIC had direct radio and radar communication with other US Third Fleet ships. After World War II, he completed his college education and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration in 1950. He then worked as a sales representative for the Mennen Company and Revere Copper and Brass Inc. On January 5, 1968, Phil married Marianne Haadsma and they were together for almost 50 years. Marianne passed away October 2, 2017. Phil was also predeceased by his older brother, Richard B. DeKorn, who passed away on June 20, 2004. Phil is survived by his brother-in-law Roger Haadsma, his nieces and nephews and their families: Gayle (Jay) Polverelli, Jim (Luanne) Haadsma, Luanne (Larry) Dewey, Mari Dawley, Gail Sherry, Sue (Kjell) Haadsma-Svensson, Bob (Jen) Haadsma, Ken (Judy) Glupker, and Kathy (Ken) Basoff. The family would like to thank Theresa Johnson for all the special care she gave Phil throughout his final years. The family would also like to thank Gloria from Kindred Hospice for her caring work. The family will greet relatives and friends Monday, September 9, 2019 at the Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 1601 Post Dr. NE from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Funeral services will follow at 12:00. Inurnment will be at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials can be made to the General Fund at First Reformed Church, Holland Michigan or Kindred Hospice, Grand Rapids. To share a photo, memory and sign the online guestbook please visit www.stegengafuneralchapel.com

Published in Grand Rapids Press on Sept. 8, 2019

Like his father before him, Phil graduated from the University of Michigan. Although he never had children, Phil still had a close family through the members of his wife Marianne’s family and through his brother Richard’s family.

Rest in peace, Philip Eugene DeKorn. Thank you for your service, sir.

Phil DeKorn at the plaque for the Kalamazoo State Hospital water tower built by his grandfather Richard DeKorn

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As a side note, you can see that two of Phil’s nieces are named Luanne, spelling it correctly as I do . . . .

In case you wonder how I go about deciding when to post a recent passing on my blog, all I can tell you is I decide on a case by case basis. When my father died, I posted because so many knew he had been sick for months and it seemed strange not to say anything. But during the past few years I have also lost two dear aunts and a cousin, and I did not post about these because their deaths were more sudden and shocking. Our grief, individually and as a family, felt too raw to write about them so soon.

Here are a few more photos of a day Phil spent with his wife Marianne and his cousin’s children, my mom Janet, my father Rudy, Uncle Don, and Aunt Jean at the water tower.

Don, Jean, Phil, Marianne, Rudy, Janet

 


 

The following (sorry it’s angled) shows a layout of the hospital with the water tower in the center. I will have to ask Uncle Don or Mom to chime in here. Is that how the layout really was at one time? It looks like the classic “Panopticon” that Michel Foucault wrote about–a tall tower to watch the prisoners, er, patients. But as we know this is a water tower, not meant to be a guard tower.

 

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Although this photo is a bit blurry because of the dog jumping, it is a photo of my mom in front of her house on Burdick Street with the family dog. I can see the Richard DeKorn brick house down at the next corner and a car in front of it. I wonder what year that car is or how old Mom is here. Is the dog Sandy or a dog that preceded Sandy? I only ask because I knew Sandy, and when I was very young, was bit by that @#%^ dog.  (I love dogs anyway).

Here are a few photos (early 1940s) of my mother, Janet Zuidweg, with her little sister, Alice Zuidweg.  The first one seems to be taken at a park that is riverside or creekside.

 

 

The second photo shows the girls at their grandparents’ (Charles and Clara Mulder) farm in Caledonia, Michigan.


In this one, the girls seem to be near a back door. Is this at the farm or elsewhere? Mom! Uncle Don! Help!

Love Mom’s saggy socks in this last one!

P.S. to Mom: maybe you can show this post to Aunt Alice!

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In the latest batch, I found a portrait of a man.

And I was thrilled to see an identification on the back.

So a man named Jacobus Zuidweg was living in Grand Rapids on or around 7 January 1901! And he was a cousin of Grandpa’s father, Adrian Zuidweg, Sr. Woohoo!

This made me go to my family tree on Ancestry and see who he would be related to. The only sibling of Adrian Sr’s father, Johannes Zuidweg, to immigrate to the United States was the youngest, Willem.

Then what did I see? I had connected with a man some time back who was related, but his family had changed their surname to Southway. Yes, that is what Zuidweg means in Dutch! And the ancestor that we had connected on was JAMES WILLIAM SOUTHWAY, born 16 August 1880 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands. He passed away on 12 December 1922 in Detroit.

Funniest thing: my connection had used this exact portrait for James’ “headshot” on Ancestry. I wonder if he knows his name? Going to message on Ancestry!

It looks like Jacobus/James had a brother named Adriaan/Adrian who did keep the surname Zuidweg. He passed away in 1949 in Kent County, Michigan.

I am guessing that James moved from Grand Rapids to Detroit some time between 1901 (when he was 21) and 1914 (when he was 34) because he married and had children in Detroit, plus as I mentioned above, he passed away in that city. James is my first cousin, 3x removed.

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