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Archive for the ‘Kent County history’ Category

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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Awhile back I posted a photograph of the Mulder family reunion in SW Michigan. I’m pretty sure the date is around 1940, based on the ages of the identified people in the photograph.

Between Mom, cousin Susie, Uncle Don, and cousin Merry we have many of the people, but definitely not all, identified.

The couple on our right, Mom thought could be Jack and Josie (John Lawson Gerow, Jr. and Josephine Ann Slinsky Gerow–Jack was the son of John Gerow and Cora Mulder, great-grandpa’s sister), but Susie says no. Some of the individuals are not clearly seen so we can’t do much with those. What seems clear is that certain family groups were present and others were not. For instance, Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con and their children don’t seem to be in the photo. This helps because if we see children we can be pretty sure their parents are in the photo–and vice versa.

Here is the Mulder family photo that would have come before this family group. In the center is Pieter/Peter Mulder and his wife, Nellie Gorsse. Nellie died in 1932, 8 years before the reunion photo, but Peter was alive until 1953 and is in the photo, in the center, wearing a hat.

In the back row are Peter, Cora, and Henry. Peter was the husband of Alida Van Elk, who is identified in the reunion photo. Their children included Rod, born 1923, and the twins Bob and Bill. I believe all 3 boys are in the photo and I have labelled the twins.

Cora married John Gerow, and they had five children (I think): Ruth, Eleanor, George, John/Jack, Marian. Jack was born in 1918, so I think it’s unlikely that the man on the right is Jack (as Susie also says) because he looks older than 21. Possibly the Gerows are not in the photo.

Henry married Hettie Mae Simpson, and they had Eloise Fern, James, Mary Ellen, and Judith. Because Mae and Jim, Mary Ellen, and Judy were identified by Merry in the reunion photo, I wanted to believe that Henry and Eloise/Fern are also in the photo, but Merry cannot find them. Mary Ellen and Judy are the two teen girls kneeling on the right side of the photo. Jim is the boy in front of Uncle Chuck, seated on the left side of the photo.

In the front row, the girl with the glasses on our left is Nellie who was mentally challenged. She was still living at home in 1930, but I am not sure where she lived after the death of her mother in 1932. There is a woman in the reunion photo who appears to be wearing dark glasses who is seated directly behind the little blonde girl (Joann) that could be Nellie–or could be someone else.

Then there is Jennie who married Edward Kooistra or Koistra. They had a son, Karl. I know very little about this branch and don’t know if they are in the reunion photo or not.

On the other side of Nellie, is her oldest child, my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder. He and his wife Clara had five children, and I see four of the five in the photo, along with their families. It is her oldest, Dorothy, that I do not see.

Rose (Rosa) is on the other side of Great-Grandpa. She married John Kohles, and they had at least one child, Leonard, but she died in 1936.

 

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I am posting more “new” photos today and relaxing about not doing research outside of the photos (for now).

This photo is a Mulder family reunion. I’d like to see if we could identify everyone. I see Uncle Al, 3rd from left seated. And Aunt Vena, standing, with her arms crossed in front of her, looking over her left shoulder. I think my grandparents MIGHT be peeking over shoulders in the back.

Mom? Uncle Don? Can we figure out who all is in the pic?

This photo was taken at my great-grandparents’ farm–that of Charles and Clara Waldeck in Caldedonia.

In another farm pic, this is Uncle Chuck and Uncle Pete, the two sons of Charles and Clara.

Again at the farm. Is this Aunt Vena as a teen? Or is it Aunt Dorothy? I read a joke on Facebook the other day about someone taking care of chickens being a “chicken tender.”

I am hoping we can put some names to these photos. Also, these photos are from different years. I wonder how close we can come to figuring it out.

The first clue for the reunion photo, which is useful as one of many, is that Aunt Vena and Uncle Al got married in 1935. That is not enough by itself, of course. Then I wonder if the women’s hairstyles and clothing could be from the 40s. Any ideas?

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At the end of this post, I wrote an update.

Instead of griping about not having time to do genealogy research, I’ve decided to change my attitude. I am so blessed with so many old family photos, that my time is best spent right now trying to identify the photos!

Today’s photo is labelled, but it still presents a few problems. The date is 1951. I don’t know the location, but believe that the location is probably in southwest Michigan. The names are Cora, Fred, Godfrey, Anna.

Waldeck surname

Godrey has to be Gottfried Waldeck (Jr), born 18 December 1880 somewhere in “Germany”–most likely Prussia. He was married to Anna Christine Ruehs. She was born 2 December 1882 (same birthday as my mom!). My mother knew them as Uncle Godfrey and Aunt Anna. I’ve written about him before–how he drove his tractor down the block to work in his fields when he was blind. How I saw him do just that.

I asked Mom, and she confirmed that the two on our right are definitely Uncle Godfrey and Aunt Anna.

I like the photo without the orange a bit better.

But who are Cora and Fred? Godfrey had a brother, Fred. He’s the one who lived at the state hospital. He had brain damage from a terrible accident that happened when he was young and newly married with a young child. Fred was born in 1869 and died in 1953, so he would have been 81 in 1951. You can read more about him at Waldeck Family Research. This man does look the right age, but would he have been in good shape like this? Dressed up in a nice suit and tie?

Take a look at this photo of one of the old Kalamazoo State Hospital photos. It could be the building behind them.

Here is the family photo that includes Fred as a young man. Fred is back row, left side. Godfrey is front row, right side.

I am hoping that I can get verification that this is, indeed, Fred Waldeck who lived at the State Hospital. In comparing the younger Fred to the older Fred in the photos, I do think it is the same person.

If I could find out who Cora was that would be even more amazing!

UPDATE:

Thanks to Linda Stufflebean from http://www.emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/ I was able to put together the pieces of who is in the photo and who is probably holding the camera.

All along I have been imagining Fred as abandoned at the “asylum” all those years. After all, his son was still almost a baby when Fred was injured. His wife Caroline Meir had to work for a farmer and leave her son Edward with her mother in Grand Rapids. Eventually she became a nurse and lived with her mother and with Edward. Caroline probably worked very hard her whole life and raised Edward to become a pastor. She passed away in 1946.

This new “find,” the photo identified as Cora, Fred, Godrey, and Anna, 1951, shows that the family visited Fred. Cora is Fred’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Edward who must be taking the photograph. So on this day in 1951, Fred’s son and daughter-in-law, and his only surviving brother, Godfrey, and Godfrey’s wife Anna visited Fred who was dressed up in a suit and tie for the occasion. The only close family members not in the photograph, in fact, are my great-grandparents, Clara and Charles Mulder. Clara was Fred’s only surviving sister by 1951.

Little tidbit of info: Fred was to die less than two years later, in January 1953. Clara died mere months after her brother, on 6 September 1953.

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My maternal grandmother’s family wasn’t from Kalamazoo, but from Caledonia, Michigan, which is in Kent (not Kalamazoo) County. Both counties are in SW Michigan, but I wouldn’t want to walk between these places! I’ve written before about the high school graduation of my grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder, and her sister, Dorothy. You can find the posts here:

April 17 Always Reminds Me of Grandma

In the new album of photographs my mother gave me, there is a black and white version of this tinted graduation photo of the sisters.

And for the first time I am seeing high school graduation photos of their siblings!

To give a context, here is a little family tree information. Charles and Clara (Waldeck) Mulder had five children. Dorothea Rosa was born on 7 December 1910, the grandma was born 17 April 1912. These sisters graduated together in 1929.

On 20 October 1913, daughter Alvena was born.

My memories of Aunt Vena are of a retired school teacher and a gracious hostess who had a beautiful home with a fish tank inside and bird feeders outside.

Peter Godfrey Mulder was the first boy, born 2 November 1915. He and Aunt Ruby lived in a farmhouse in Martin when I knew them. I will always associate him with the big tree in the backyard and his (remnants of) curly hair. I saw him as a ginger. My mother says his hair was reddish, but she didn’t think of him as a redhead. Like most of the family he had very fair skin. He was named after his paternal grandfather (Peter) and his maternal grandfather (Godfrey). In my memories of him, he is always smiling.

The “baby” was born on 30 July 1917: Charles Peter Mulder, named after his father and his paternal grandfather.

Uncle Chuck had the same sweet smile as Grandma. He joined the U.S. Army right after Pearl Harbor.

I wish the Caledonia school yearbooks were available through Ancestry as so many are now, but alas, there is only a school record through 1925. I am so lucky to have Grandma’s scrapbook from her and Aunt Dorothy’s graduation.

Then I found another photo of an 8th grade graduation.

You see the girl in the second row, third from the left? That’s Grandma! And her sister, Dorothy, is seated in the front row, second from the right. Seated to Dorothy’s left (our right) is probably Blanche, Grandma’s best friend who became valedictorian when they graduated high school. Dorothy was salutatorian and Grandma was class historian.

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This is the sixth and final week that the beautiful creative nonfiction journal Broad Street magazine has published one of the pieces from my chapbook Kin Types along with documents and photographs that helped me piece together these old family stories.

The subject of the poem “Someone Else’s Story” is Caroline Meier Waldeck, the wife of my grandmother’s Uncle Fred, a German immigrant who, as a young husband and father, was hit by a streetcar and suffered severe brain damage from the accident.

You can read it here: Family Laundry: “Someone Else’s Story” by Luanne Castle

 

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

The second feature article is Family Laundry 2: “What Came Between A Woman and Her Duties” by Luanne Castle

The third feature article is: Family Laundry: “More Burials” by Luanne Castle

The fourth is: Family Laundry: “The Weight of Smoke” by Luanne Castle

The fifth is: Family Laundry: “Half-Naked Woman Found Dead,” by Luanne Castle

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

 

 

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