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Archive for the ‘Lucille Edna Mulder Zuidweg’ Category

Today I move on to Grandma’s 3rd set of Dutch great-greats. My 4x great-grandfather Willem Gorsse was born on January 25, 1802, in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands to 19-year-old parents. At the age of 23, he married Catharina Opperman. They had eight children together. The four girls all survived into adulthood, but the four boys all died in infancy. With the birth of the eighth child, a boy named Kornelis, Catharina herself passed away in 1839. She wasn’t my ancestor, but my sympathies are all with her. She was only 38 years old.

Eleven months later, on 30 January 1840, Willem married my 4x great-grandmother, Neeltje Reijerse in Goes.

Neeltje was not a young girl. She was 34 years old (born 1805) and had given birth to at least two children. At the age of 19, when she was working as a maid, she gave birth to a son, Geerhard. No father was listed. That makes it appear that this was an illegitimate birth. Then nine years later, Neeltje gave birth to a daughter, Adriana. No father was listed for Adriana either. Both children had been given Neeltje’s surname at birth.

Here is Geerhard’s birth record:

Someone in a genealogy translation Facebook group kindly translated the record for me:

On the 31st of March, in the year 1824 at 11AM, in front of Gerard de Leeuw, servant of the civil register of the city of Goes, district of Goes, province of Zeeland: Maria Drentz, 40 year old midwife living here, showed us a male child born on the 30th of March 1824 in Goes at 4 in the morning in house #312 to Neeltje Reijerse, 19 year old worker, living in this city district, and declares that the child has been given the name Geerhard. Verifying this declaration is witness Johan Gerard van Maldegem, 43 year old cow-milker living in house 3w, and Willem Legs, 32(?) year old labourer living in house 312. [Note from me: I suspect that address 3w was actually 310. Take a look at the record yourself and see if you agree with me.]

This is the first time I have run across this issue of fatherless children in all my research on my Dutch ancestors. Sometimes the first baby was not a “nine month” birth. But years ago my grandmother told me that it was common in the Netherlands that after the banns were read (this indicated that the couple were to be married), a little fooling around was not frowned upon. This was meant to be a fertility check, according to Grandma. So what happened when the girl didn’t get pregnant?! I’d like more detailed information about this practice. Nevertheless, that isn’t what happened in Neeltje’s case. The father or fathers of her children remain anonymous, and I can find no record of a marriage for Neeltje before the one to Willem.

I wish I knew what made Willem and Neeltje decide to marry. Did Neeltje want a husband or a father for her daughter Adriana (Geerhard died as an infant)? Did Willem think a little older woman who had a living daughter might be able to give him more children? Or did she seem a good mother for his four daughters? We will never know the personal history of these two and how they knew each other and what led to their marriage.

Willem and Neeltje did end up having four children together. Geertruid and Marinus both died as infants. But Jan and Gerard lived longish lives. Jan, my 3x great, died in 1911 at age 70, and Gerard lived until 1920 at age 74.

Willem died on 29 November 1867, in his hometown at the age of 65. Neeltje passed away on 11 November 1869 also in Goes. Three of her six children survived, and six of Willem’s twelve children survived.

I have all the basic records for this couple except for Willem’s birth or baptismal record–as well as any military record that might exist for him. But I have both his marriages, his death, and Neeltje’s baptism, marriage, and death records. Willem’s occupation was bezemmaker. I believe, but am not certain, that this means broom maker.

The more I read about the infant mortality experiences of my ancestors and the deaths of young women from childbirth the more I wonder about the emotional landscape of these people. Although the experiences of both Catharina and Neeltje were different, their lives were completely defined by their childbearing. How did it feel to have and raise a daughter knowing that she might very well be dead a few years after she married? That she might spend most of her adult life pregnant or nursing? That the likelihood of a stepmother raising your grandchildren was so great? How did girls feel growing up seeing how dangerous childbirth was for women? Did it change how girls were raised and treated?

I keep thinking about the lullabye “Rockabye baby.” Although Wikipedia lists many possible origins, one that is not mentioned is the one I learned in researching for an academic text chapter I wrote years ago: the rhyme was meant to make the “evil eye” think the mother didn’t love her baby so that the baby wouldn’t be taken away (die). Did the children feel less loved because of these fears?

Rock-a-bye baby
On the treetop
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock
When the bough breaks
The cradle will fall
And down will come baby
Cradle and all

History was one of my college majors, so I like to think I know a little bit about the subject. But the more genealogy I study the more I realize history was like a movie to me before. Now I really wonder about the interior lives of the people.

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My 4x greats, Izaak Boes and Adriana van de Walle, are the second of four Dutch couples that my grandmother, L. Edna Mulder Zuidweg, was descended from.

Ancestry’s bio for Izaak reads this way:

Izaak Boes was born in 1805 in IJzendijke, Zeeland, Netherlands, the son of Maria and Jannis. He married Adriana Vandewalle and they had 10 children together. He then married Cornelia van de Merrelaar and they had two children together. He died on March 13, 1891, in his hometown, having lived a long life of 86 years.

Keep in mind that as I get new information this will change.

Adriana Vandewalle was born in 1809 in Groede, Zeeland, Netherlands, the daughter of Maria and Januarius. She married Izaak Boes on March 24, 1830, in IJzendijke, Zeeland, Netherlands. They had 10 children in 12 years. She died as a young mother on December 15, 1842, in IJzendijke, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 33.

Poor Adriana. She died at 33, whereas Izaak lived to be double that plus twenty!!! Adriana passed away 8 days after her son Izaak Jacobus Boes was born.  Without his mother’s care perhaps, Izaak died in April of the following year.

I am going by their marriage record that Izaak was born in Ijzendijke and Adriana born in Groede. I do not have a birth or baptismal record for either.

This is the marriage record for the couple:

 

Here is the index:

Adriana’s death record:

And the index:

Here is Izaak’s second marriage to Cornelia van de Merrelaar:

Here is the index:

Izaak died:

Here is the index for his death record:

Cornelia passed away 8 days after Izaak.

Index:

Although Izaak and Cornelia were elderly and both without occupations when they passed away, at the time of Izaak’s first marriage, he was listed as a tailor*. Adriana was listed as a maid, but I am guessing that was just until she married. The same was true of both Izaak and Cornelia when he remarried.

*The translator had given me “dressmaker” instead of tailor, but I was corrected by readers that it meant that Izaak was a tailor.

 

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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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I’ve written quite a bit about my Kalamazoo grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg. I’ve posted her high school graduation information, about her time at Western Normal School (now Western Michigan University), about her marriage to my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.

In my big organization-and-shred project I found something that I love. Grandma wrote me a letter when I was a grad student. She and I had had a phone conversation about how she wanted me to never give up creative writing because she had done so and regretted it. Grandma and I had a love of writing in common.

So she found a newspaper clipping and sent it to me in this letter. Note that we have “cleaning out the desk” in common, too haha.

I sure did love her stories. And Grandpa’s stories, too. I am positive that their storytelling is what inspired me to write poetry and stories.

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Yes, I said FREE!!!! Deadline Sunday, June 9, 2019

I have exciting news for anybody with old photos like mine that you would like to see colorized. To celebrate her blog’s second anniversary, Val at Colouring the Past is offering a FREE photo colorization with a very minimal “catch” (I can’t even really call it a catch). Go check out her post where she tells about it.

Click here.

Be sure to get over there right now so that you don’t miss the deadline!

You might have seen some of the gorgeous work she’s done for me. Here’s a sample:

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Last spring I posted a photo of my great-grandmother Clara Waldeck Mulder (1884-1953) that I discovered. You can find the post here. It was the first time I saw what she looked like as an older woman. Up to then, I had seen her as a bride and as a young mother.

The other day my mother sent me another old album and loose photos. Guess what? There are TWO new photos of Clara! In one of them, she is young. It’s taken before she was married–or even engaged, I am pretty sure. The photo has a little damage–a white mark across her skirt and a dark spot on her cheek. I did my best to fix the cheek, but left the white mark alone.

How old does she look here? 16-18? If so, the photo would be from around 1900-1902.

And here is another photo, this time from around 1940.

In my post My Great-Grandmother’s Lifetime of Service it’s clear that Clara was very devoted to her service groups. I wonder if this dress has something to do with a ceremony in Eastern Star or Rebekah Lodge. Any other ideas about the dress?

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Those of you who have been reading The Family Kalamazoo for a time know that I published a chapbook this past year based on my research findings, my imagination, and some historical knowledge. Kin Types is a collection of lyric poems, prose poems, and flash nonfiction.

On Monday I woke up to discover that Kin Types was a finalist for the prestigious Eric Hoffer Award. It’s in stellar company.. This recognition validates the work I did on the book and on this blog. Best of all, the book gets a gold foil sticker for the cover ;).

It will kind of look like this when the sticker is put on the book (only not such a large sticker).

If you click through the link to the Amazon page, the book can be ordered for a real deal right now; check it out. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.

 

 

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Because of Women’s History Month, I thought I would pull together information on how the women who came before me passed away. I wanted to put all my grandmothers together in one post and thought by sharing their deaths it would shed some light on their lives, at least at the end. I also have a ghoulish fascination with looking them over for the variety of ways I might die myself. After all, their deaths could be a form of inheritance.

But what I discovered made me pretty mad at myself. I have so neglected death certificates. I think it’s because a death certificate in Michigan tends to be a document that I have to pay for that I have relied on social security death info, as well as burial info and death registry dates. I haven’t been assertive about going after the certificates themselves. This is why I don’t call myself a genealogist, but a family historian. I’m more of a storyteller than a rock solid researcher.

Here are my grandmothers and great-grandmothers and how they died.

My maternal grandmother, Lucille Edna Mulder Zuidweg, passed away on 21 September 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at age 88. After the death of my grandfather three months earlier, she was ill and living at a nursing home for round the clock care. The real round the clock care came from my aunt who slept in a chair in Grandma’s room. She was with her most of the time. What my aunt did is wonderful because Grandma hated being in an institutional place. She was like me about that, and it must have been horrible for her there. Thank goodness, she had her daughter with her.

Grandma on our left

I didn’t have her death certificate, so I had to order it from Kalamazoo County. It arrived without a hitch. I see that the cause of death was congestive heart failure. The documentation gives no evidence of all she went through with the cancers that she had. The congestive heart failure might be explained by science in one way, but my explanation is that she died of a broken heart after losing my grandfather.

My paternal grandmother, Marie Klein (Kline) Wakefield, passed away on 25 April, 1974, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She had been living in the Upjohn Nursing Home, which at the time was the premier nursing home in Kalamazoo. Her ex-neighbor and friend, Shirley Kulp, was the head nurse so there was always someone to watch over Grandma. Grandma was 82.

The above photo is my grandmother, Marie. In case you’re wondering about the difference in styles between the one of my grandmother, Edna, Marie was fully 20 years older than Edna.

I didn’t have Marie’s death certificate either, so I had to order it from Kalamazoo County.

Are you noticing the pattern here? [Knocking head against wall]

Luckily, it came in the mail with my other grandmother’s certificate.

Grandma passed away from uremia. I did remember that cause of death, although I had heard of it as a diagnosis while she was still alive, but dying in the hospital. This grandmother is who I inherited my congenital primary lymphedema from.

Then there are my four great-grandmothers.

Margarethe Wendel Klein died 24 May 1932 in Elmhurst, Illinois. I have her death certificate (woohoo!). I also have a corrected certificate. The only thing corrected is her birth date, and guess what? Both documents are wrong! According to the Catholic church books in Budesheim, Margarethe was born on June 25, 1869, NOT May 30, 1869 as it says on the death certificate and NOT June 24, 1870 as it says on the corrected copy.

She died of a diabetic coma and also had nephritis and myocarditis. Her health had obviously been poor, although she was only 62–the age I am now. She had also already lost two of her five children, so she had been through a lot. When Margarethe died, her body lay in a casket in their house in Elmhurst. My father told me that there was a thunderstorm during the time it was there, and that the grandchildren were terrified at the combination of events and hid under the huge picnic table style dining room table. She was buried on May 27, but it looks like (from historical rainfall records) the storm most likely occurred the day after her death, on May 25.

Francoise Schirmer (Schermer) Scholler died 22 October 1914 in Duluth, Minnesota.


Cause of death at age 71: chronic nephritis and arterioschlerosis.

Cora DeKorn Zuidweg died at age 57 on 16 September 1932 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have posted about this one in the past.

Cause of death: Exhaustion – debility from gen – metastatic sarcoma spindle cell – primary in left thigh, followed injury was removed 9-16-29 – had existed there 5 years.

Clara Waldeck Mulder died on 6 September 1953 in Kent County, Michigan, at age 69. I did not have her death certificate and ordered it from Kent County.  I knew that she died of cancer, but I had eagerly awaited the actual cause of death on the certificate. When I received the document, I saw that cause of death was carcinoma of the uterus. That is what I had been told.

Don’t tell me it doesn’t unnerve you a little when you see that your ancestors died too young, even if they were older people. Since my grandmothers were 82 and 88, I figured that was a normal lifetime. But when I add in the great-grandmothers’ ages at death the average goes way down. The average of the age at death of all six ladies is 71.5. The average age for the 4 greats is 64.75. I feel blessed that they were all old enough when they died to see their children grow up. Every woman doesn’t have that opportunity, obviously. And look at the pattern. All four greats died much younger than my grandmothers, so things are improving, probably from better healthcare.

Of six grandmothers, I had three death certificates and was able to order the other three. Can I take it back another generation to the 2x greats? There will be eight women. How many certificates will I produce? A future post, peeps!

 

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For as long as I could remember my family always celebrated Christmas Eve the same way. After the Christmas Eve service at church, the family would head over to my grandmother’s house–or that of one of her siblings. There was a progressive meal so after awhile we would move on to another house. I remember three houses and three courses, but eventually, I think it became two houses. Nobody does it any longer as my grandmother’s generation is all gone now.

While there were always a lot of delicious Christmas desserts (Grandma, in particular, was a wonderful baker), the main course–the one that couldn’t be avoided missed–was the oyster stew. Year after year, I watched the women stirring the pot of oyster-studded milk, but do you think I ever thought to ask where this tradition came from? Well, maybe I did, but I never got an answer. Maybe nobody knew.

What I should have specifically asked Grandma is “did your mom make the oyster stew on Christmas Eve, too?” But I didn’t.

Suddenly this year I wondered where oyster stew came from. It seemed so out of the ordinary, and my family’s holiday eating habits were not out of the ordinary at all. Turkey or ham, casseroles, cole slaw, jello dishes, cookies–“All-American” food.

I thought about how Grandma’s whole family participated in this tradition. Nobody ever said, “Hey, let’s make clam chowder instead.” Or meatballs. Or tamales. Nobody said, “Let’s try this new recipe.” Nope. Oyster stew.

I wondered if the recipe and the tradition had been passed down in the family. If so, they would have gotten it from Grandma’s mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder. And if it went back still further, it would have come from her mother, Alwine Noffke Waldeck, who might have been born, as her brother August was, in the little Pomeranian town Schwetzkow. Schwetzkow is about 12-15 miles from the Baltic Sea. Alwine was an adult with children when she immigrated her, so she would have brought her traditions with her.

To try to get to the origins, I researched the subject through my friend Ms. Google. One of the most popular articles right now is this one: Oyster Stew on Christmas. This writer argues that the origin lies with the Pilgrims who were “oyster crazy.” She says that when the Irish Catholics came in the 19th century, they latched onto the oyster stew because it closely resembled the traditional Irish ling stew and ling (a type of fish) was not available in the United States. Hmm, my oyster-stew-slurping family are definitely not DAR and not Irish and not Catholic. I couldn’t imagine anybody choosing a tradition of oyster stew just for the heck of it.

At least one article said that Germans couldn’t get oysters because the water is too cold, but then why does Russia get oysters from the Baltic? All in all, the research was very sparse about the Baltic, other than the problems with invasion of foreign species and pollution. Another issue is that in the 19th century, oysters were inexpensive and could be eaten by people without means. Canned oysters have also been readily available in the winter.

I posed my question on both my personal Facebook page and on the Prussian Genealogy group on Facebook. Interesting to see the difference in responses. On my personal page, where I am friends with people who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, only two people (besides family) had heard of the tradition. They both ate oyster stew on Christmas Eve with their Swedish in-laws. This didn’t deter me because Sweden and Pomerania were on opposite sides of the Baltic, and part of Pomerania was even Swedish for some time!

I wrote to my friend, the Swedish writer Catharina Lind, and asked her. She said that there have “never been oysters either in the Baltic Sea or the Bottnian sea, the east coast of Sweden. The salinity level is too low for oysters and the water is too cold. There are oysters in the Nordic sea, but very few, so oysters have never really been part of any Swedish tradition. There are no oyster dishes in Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, Finland) Christmas traditions. Though a lot of fish, mostly herring and whitefish, and in modern times also salmon. We traditionally eat plenty of pork.” Catharina went on to speculate that perhaps the Swedish Christmas soup made with porcini and oyster mushrooms could have evolved over time to mean fishy oysters instead of mushrooms.

So I thought it was all over.

But then, on the Prussian Facebook Group, where everyone has Prussian, if not only Pomeranian roots, people began to chime in–lots of people have said that their Midwestern Prussian relatives always served oyster stew on Christmas Eve.

Then somebody found the recipe for several German Christmas soups printed in German–and oyster stew is one of them!

OYSTER SOUP RECIPE

Recipe in English

Servings: 4

24 pcs oysters (including juice)

40 g of butter

3/4 cup whole milk (hot)

sweet paprika

salt

pepper

For oyster soup, cook the thrown oysters in the hot butter with oyster juice. When the oyster margins begin to ripen, add the milk, season with salt and pepper and heat. Serve the oyster soup in soup bowls sprinkled with sweet paprika (if desired).


None of this research leads to a definitive answer about the origin of my family’s tradition. Clearly, a lot of ethnicities in the United States have claimed oyster stew. If you’ve ever eaten it, you might wonder why anybody would want to claim it. The only time I liked it was when my husband joined the family and “sneaked” wine and spices into the dish. Now it’s been years since I’ve eaten oyster stew, and I don’t miss the taste, but I do miss everybody who was there at the time.

I wonder if anybody in my family still serves oyster stew!

Catharina’s Christmas books are available here. I also recommend her beautiful book, “Fly Wings, Fly High!” It’s a lyrical memoir about the magpie family she shares her yard with and her own struggles with heart disease.

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At the corner of Burdick and Balch, Adrian Zuidweg’s Sunoco Station in 1939, looking much as it did when I was a kid in the 60s–except for the car in the garage!

I am taking a little blogging break this week. Hope you enjoyed the peek into 1939 and “see” you soon!

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When my grandparents, Adrian and L. Edna (Mulder) Zuidweg got married on 21 May 1932, Grandpa’s mother, Cora DeKorn Zuidweg, was dying of cancer. He was staying home to take care of her because his father had died in 1929 and he was an only child.

In 1931, Grandpa had asked Grandma to marry him as he drove her in  the car from Kalamazoo to her parents’ farm in Caledonia. But Grandma had to wait a year to teach and give the money to her family who were struggling financially because of the Great Depression.

So there was no big celebration for my grandparents. Aunt Jen, Cora’s sister stayed with Cora while they got married. They drove to South Bend, Indiana, although Grandpa was from Kalamazoo and Grandma from Caledonia, two southwestern Michigan towns. They could get a marriage license and marry immediately in South Bend.

Traveling with them were Grandma’s sister Vena and her boyfriend Al Stimson’s cousin, Herb Thorpe. They had forgotten to get flowers, so they plucked spirea along the way.

On the way back, they ate dinner at a restaurant in Cassopolis.

Grandma immediately moved into the house at 1520 S. Burdick Street. She helped take care of her mother-in-law who died on 16 September 1932.

When the school year began, Grandma continued to teach that first year and would come home on the weekend. So that Grandpa wouldn’t be alone, Al Stimson moved in with him. Al was a student at WMU. His job was to help Grandpa with the housework. His way of handling the dishes was to load the dirty ones under the sink all week and then just before Grandma was due home for the weekend he would wash them all.

I imagine Grandma was happy to quit teaching and get rid of living in the “frat boy” atmosphere haha.

I’m happy they managed to send out some engraved wedding announcements.

And their portrait, too.

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