Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Kent County history’ Category

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.

Read Full Post »

On my Ancestry DNA account I probably have more matches to this branch of the family than any other. The Mulders were also the extended family we shared holidays and visits with more than the rest. They were my mom’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. The oldest person I knew in that branch was my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder.

Peter (Pieter) and Nellie (Neeltje) were his parents, and they immigrated from Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands when Charles, their first born, was just a toddler. He had a baby brother Jan who did not survive to grow up in the United States. After moving here, they had more children.

Here are a couple posts about this couple:

Pieter the Orphan Peter was sent to the orphanage.

Mulders Everywhere This post has a lot of photos of Nellie and Peter

The Treasure that Arrived in an Email This letter was written by Peter after Nellie passed away

When I went to organize what I had on Peter and Nellie, it was pretty easy because I already had so much information. What I do not have is Peter’s obituary, and I will order it when offices open back up. They are currently closed because of the pandemic. I do have Nellie’s meager obituary. I apologize that it appears blurry. That is the best that can be done with this article from 1932. It gives the list of those that survive her, her address, about the funeral and viewing. It also mentions she was 64-years-old.

From Nellie’s death certificate, we know she died of “pulmonary TB.” Her granddaughter Mary, one of Henry’s (Charles’ brother) daughters, recalled that her grandmother was sickly.  She thinks she was even sick when she came to the US from the Netherlands.  It is possible that she had TB when she emigrated to the US, and if so, very likely that she exposed/infected her family members with TB.  (info from cousin Merry)

Amberly worked on the immigration and naturalization of Peter and Nellie, but I already knew the couple had arrived on the Zaandam on 29 August 1887. There is one more piece of information we need, but I cannot order it until the archives open back up.

I also needed military information on Peter, which I did get from Yvette:

So Peter did not serve in the military. He was able to marry at age 19 and immigrate to the United States at age 21. This would not have happened if he had had to serve.

I’ve been blessed with a lot of information on Peter and Nellie. I also wrote about them in my chapbook Kin Types, imagining them as a young courting couple.

 

Read Full Post »

Last maternal great-grandparent: Charles Mulder of Caledonia, Michigan. He was the only great-grandparent I knew–and I adored him.

Luanne and her great-grandfather Charles Mulder

Charles was born Karel Pieter Phillipus Mulder on 6 March 1885 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands. On my Ancestry page for Charles, I had posted a link to his birth record, but had not downloaded it. I now downloaded it, added it to his Ancestry page, and put it into a folder for all of his documents.

Amberly is helping me with his naturalization info. I do have a ship record (the Zandaam), so I know two-year-old Charles arrived in the U.S. with his parents and his brother Jan, a baby of one. Jan died very soon after the family immigrated.

In fact, I made the Charles folder because I had not yet done so. To that folder, I added his marriage record, death record, and all the census records that feature Charles: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. I also downloaded and added his military registrations for both WWI and WWII.

I was surprised to see that Charles had a social security number. For the sake of dotting all the Is and all that, I ordered  his application.

Charles and his wife Clara share a headstone, and I have that photograph. I added it to Ancestry and to the new folder.

I found that I had a copy of Charles’ obituary, so I added it to Ancestry and to the folder on my computer.

Reading over my great-grandfather’s obituary I was shocked to see he only lived to be 82 years old. I was about 12 when he passed away, and I remember feeling frustrated that I was not allowed to attend his funeral since I adored him. But I thought he was about  a zillion years old. No, he was elderly, but only 82. That doesn’t even seem old to me today.

Once again, I had sponsored my great-grandfather’s page on Findagrave, but am not managing it. I have submitted a request to transfer management to me, but I suspect as with the others I have mentioned before, that I have asked in the past and been ignored. We will see what happens.

 

###

I’ll be taking a little blog break for a couple of weeks. Hope all is well with you and yours. I also hope that when I begin the search for gaps in my great-greats I don’t get too discouraged!

 

Read Full Post »

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

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

###

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »