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Archive for the ‘Michigan 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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I chose Adrian Zuidweg, Jr., my maternal grandfather, as the starting point for this project of filling in the information/document gaps of my direct ancestors. His family inspired the blog because of the photograph collection that Grandpa had owned, which included glass negatives from the photography of his uncle, Joseph DeKorn.

I’ve always known that Grandpa was born on 31 October 1908 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  What I didn’t realize was that I had no record or documentation of that birth! So that was the first gap I set out to fill.

I wrote Wayne Loney, the genealogist in Kalamazoo who has helped me in the past. He found Grandpa’s birth recorded on the county record birth book: book 6, page 146, record 10294. Adrian Zuidweg, white male, was born in the City of Kalamazoo to father Adrian Zuidweg and mother Cora DeKorn. Adrian Sr’s place of birth was listed as Holland, and Cora’s was not listed. The residence was Kalamazoo. Adrian Sr.’s occupation was “Fish Dealer.” Yes, he owned a fish market.

Wayne shared a tip with me: not to order a birth certificate from county because they would just type up the same info that the record shows, affix their seal, and charge me for it. I took his advice, so I am just posting the following (he’s second to last):

As I continued down my list of the most basic documents for genealogy, I realized that I also did not have a record of the 21 May 1932 marriage of my grandparents. They were married in Indiana, not Michigan, and I had not been able to find the record before. This time, I found enough information online to order the marriage record and certificate from St. Joseph County. They have my request, and I am awaiting the documents.

I had 3 of the 4 census records that would be available. I had a copy of 1910, 1920, and 1930, but did not have 1940. His name didn’t come up in a search for that one, but knowing how often his name was mangled, I decided to search by address instead. And there I found Grandpa with Grandma, mom, and my uncle. See lines 6-9 below.

There is a military record for Grandpa, although he was too young for WWI and too old for WWII. He registered for WW2, though.

At one time I made a Findagrave profile for him, and I have a photograph of the headstone he shares with Grandma.

I also have Grandpa’s death certificate because when I undertook the project of searching specifically for death records of my direct ancestors I located it.

Question for researchers: what is the best way to find out a burial date? I can assume in many cases that it is the date of the funeral, which I can get from most obituaries. Are there other ways to make sure?

With this new emphasis on filling in the gaps, I saw that I did not have Grandpa’s obituary. So I contacted the Kalamazoo Public Library and they found two obituaries in the Kalamazoo Gazette, published one day apart. I will post them here. Here is the first one:

With this information, I would say that Grandpa’s burial occurred on Saturday, April 15, 2000.

The next one mentions a brave and scary time in my grandfather’s life when he stood up against other people.

 

Here is a transcription of the second obit.

Adrian Zuidweg’s work ethic, friendliness, and reputation for honesty probably would have been enough by themselves to ensure his success as the owner of a gas station.

But Zuidweg added to that a desire to give his customers the absolute lowest price he could on gasline, which endeared him to the gas-buying public, but didn’t win him friends among other gas station owners.

“He always wanted to try to give his customers the lowest possible price he could provide them and still make money,” said his son, Donald Zuidweg. “He got a lot of static from the Retail Gasoline Dealers Association, but he did his own thing.”

Zuidweg’s Sunoco station on South Burdick at Balch Street was front-page news in 1965 when other service station operators and employees, upset that he was charging 31 cents a gallon to their 34 cents, formed a gas-pump blockade, lining up for a nickel or dime’s worth of gas each and insisting that Zuidweg check their oil and water and wash their windshields as part of the bargain.

Zuidweg said he made about $1 during the three-hour blockade.

The ploy backfired, however, when customers who read about his lower prices in the newspaper showed up the next day to fill their tanks.

Zuidweg, a lifelong Kalamazoo area resident who died Thursday at his Portage residence at the age of 91, was a hard-worker who always mnaged to find time for his family, said Donald Zuidweg, who began helping his father when he was 4 and continued working at the station until he was through with graduate studies.

“I think I learned as much about business and people (by) working with him as I did in school.” Donald Zuidweg said.

“He worked very hard six days a week, but never worked on Sunday,” the son said. “We always had family time on Sunday.”

Although Adrian Zuidweg tried to give his customers the best deal he could, he also made sure his family had all they needed.

“He always provided for his family and put three kids through college,” his son said.

Zuidweg, who was born Oct. 31, 1908, in Kalamazoo, left school in his teens because his parents became ill and he had to take care of them.

His first job was working in the fish market his family owned. When they sold it, he started a garden and would walk north on Burdick, peddling his produce to neighbors.

After that, he worked at a confectionary owned by his father, which he eventually razed and replaced with the service station he ran until his retirement in 1972.

Zuidweg retired before self-service gasoline stations came into vogue, but understood the reasons for the changes in the business, his son said.

“It bothered him at first to see women have to fill up their own cars, but he knew that . . . (times were) changing,” Donald Zuidweg said.

Adrian Zuidweg and his wife, Edna, loved to travel and ventured farther and farther from home as time went on.

“After all of us (children) were through college, he and my mother went around the world several times,” Donald Zuidweg said.

Adrian Zuidweg was a member of First United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo for more than 60 years and served as Sunday school treasurer for nearly half that time.

Surviving are Edna, his wife of 67 years, two daughters and a son, Janet and Rudy Hanson and Donald and Jean Zuidweg of Kalamazoo and Alice Carpentier of Portage, six grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park, with burial in Mount Ever Rest Cemetery.

I remember when the gas war happened because my father was there at the station and came home telling my mother about it. Although the obituary doesn’t mention it, my father said that the men threatened violence against Grandpa.

Grandpa stood up for what he thought was right.

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Welcome to 2020!

This year I had difficulty keeping up with my family history research and writing on this blog. I have been very busy with business and family, and then I added on researching my husband’s family and writing at Entering the Pale. But I have been writing The Family Kalamazoo for seven years and still have so much research to do and so many photos to share.

Sometimes when a project seems daunting it is helpful to break it down into smaller pieces. I have decided on a way to break it down for me. I hope it won’t be too boring for you to follow along with my 2020 project.

Each week I will take one individual who I am directly descended from to work on. I will begin with my grandparents, checking over the following:

  • my computer files
  • my tree on Ancestry
  • copying that portion of the tree elsewhere (not decided yet)

Then I will use this blog to:

  • share any new info I discover
  • report on my organization efforts
  • list big gaps that still need figuring out

For the individuals I have no photos of to post, I will instead post an unknown photo with any clues I have about its identity.

For years now, I have kept 2 to-do lists every day of my life. I have one list that is “permanent”–items that must be done every day or almost every day. Then I always have another list of other tasks I have to accomplish. Since I tend to work well within that structure, I hope the one I’ve designed above works for me!

I am notorious (in my own mind haha) for going off on tangents, collecting all kinds of info on people who are not related or are distantly related. I love those journeys. But for this year, I plan to try to stick to the plan. Wish me luck, please.

Any thoughts or ideas to add? Please share!

Yours truly with Mom and Dad

In front of our apartment on John Street in Kalamazoo

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This post was published on 18 September 2019, but I subsequently received information so that I can update this post. I will bold my additions. My amazing blogger buddy, José at Enhanced News Archive went all the way to the Kalamazoo Public Library to find the answer to the question I posed in my original post: is there an announcement in the newspaper about the wedding of Alice and Clarence. I wanted to see where they were married and thought the info might have been published. I searched in Genealogy Bank for the article in the Kalamazoo Gazette, but I could find nothing. If you read the original post, skip to the next bolded passage.

On 12 September 1923, Grandpa’s cousin Alice Leeuwenhoek married Clarence Dewey Moerdyk in Kalamazoo. They are the last couple listed on the following (cropped) image.

Clarence was 25 and Alice 26. He held a job as a foreman, and she had no employment. I found that interesting since the family thinks of her as an accomplished seamstress. In fact, I discovered a jottings ad from 14 May 1922 about Alice’s trade. She advertises her hemstitching and picoting, which is an embroidery loop edging used as ornamentation.

Right under Alice’s ad is one for the family’s Ramona Park dancing.

Their fathers are listed: Peter Moerdyk and Lambertus (Uncle Lou) Leeuwenhoek.

Their mothers were Cora Stevens and Jennie (Aunt Jen) DeKorn.

The couple was married by Benjamin Laman, Minister of the Gospel. Mr. Laman had become the 4th pastor of Bethany Reformed Church on 7 June 1923, just three months before Alice’s wedding. I tried to find a society page mention to discover if they were married in someone’s home, but neglected to find anything. In the search, I found articles about both their parents’ weddings though!

José found the article the old-fashioned way! By searching the microfiche of the newspaper at the Kalamazoo Public Library! So much for the accuracy of the cataloging skills at Genealogy Bank. It’s a reminder that there is NOTHING like primary sources in genealogy or family research. I will post the article itself and at the end of this post I will post the full front page of the newspaper from that date: 12 September 1923.

Look at this great info. First of all, now I know where Alice and Clarence were married: in Reverend Laman’s (sic in the article) home. I have to wonder if this was a parsonage owned by the church. Then we can see that they honeymooned in Chicago and were going to live temporarily with her parents, Lou and Jennie Leeuwenhoek, at 110 Balch Street. So they didn’t have a lot of extra cash would be my guess. Another great piece of information is that Alice’s dress was tan. I can see that the dress below definitely could be tan, but I’m not sure that it is crepe de chine. Is it?

I wrote about the church here: Bethany Reformed Church, circa 1918

and about Alice’s marriage here: Aunt Jen and Uncle Lou’s SIL Clarence Moerdyk

When I wrote these posts I did not know that I had in my possession the wedding portrait of Alice and Clarence. In my opinion, it’s a stunning photograph, mainly because of Alice’s sense of style and model’s grace.

I really love Alice’s hat!!!

The portrait is in a cardboard folder.

I hate to take it out of the folder, but I would bet that the cardboard is not acid-free. I think I will keep the parts separate, in 2 different acid-free sleeves, and then tape them together.

I’m sure Alice would love that we admired her dress and hat all these years later.

Here is the full front page of the Kalamazoo Gazette from 12 September 1923:

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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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