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Archive for the ‘Michigan history’ Category

Nothing beats a genealogy blog for finding family members! I’ve met two cousins–or rather my mother and their father are first cousins. Grandma’s sister Dorothy was their grandmother. Does that make us 2nd cousins? Please don’t tell me to go check out the chart . . . .

These cousins came bearing photographs, and that makes me doubly happy.

Today I will post the first one.

My new cousins and I share the same great-grandparents: Charles and Clara (Waldeck) Mulder. I’ve written about them many times, but here is a photo I have never seen before.

Charles and Clara were married on 30 April 1910 in Hastings, Michigan. This photo was first identified (to me)  as their 50th anniversary photo, but on closer inspection, I am guessing maybe 40th. Her dress is more fitting for 1950, and since she died in 1953, the photo was taken before then.

This photo feels very special to me because it’s the first one where I have seen them together since they were young with young children–or since their wedding portrait.

Here is their marriage record—first the cropped portion.  I will post the whole page at the bottom.

 

 

Doesn’t it look like her name is recorded as Cora? I know this is their record because of the names of their parents. I was surprised by a couple of things. One is that they were married in Hastings. I believe Charles’ brother’s family lived in Hastings and perhaps his family still does. I was surprised that my great-grandfather was a machinist and that Clara was a bookkeeper.

So I went to the 1910 census. Wow, another surprise. They were both boarders at a home in Hastings, which is in Barry County. Charles was a machinist for a car seal factory. The head of household was the married man Otto Jahnke, a German immigrant. He was also a machinist at the same factory. Otto’s wife Mildred was a homemaker. Single Clara was a bookkeeper for a book case factory.

Another surprise was that they were married in a Presbyterian church. Great-grandpa came from the Reformed tradition, and Great-grandma from the Lutheran. Neither church was in Hastings at the time. Presbyterian doctrine is very similar to Reformed. They both sprang from Calvinism.

I can’t read the pastor’s last name.

What in the world was a “car seal” in 1910?

 

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I have a lot of photographs of Alice Leeuwenhoek. She was an only child, and I suspect she might have been doted upon. And maybe she was a favorite subject of her uncle, Joseph DeKorn, the family photographer. Alice was born in 1897, and Joseph was born in 1881. He was doing a lot of photography when she was growing up, and she lived next door.

Here are a couple of photos that are marked with Alice’s name on the back.

Alice looks so cute here. She’s wearing a hat that looks to me like an Easter bonnet, especially on a child so small. Her coat with the cute flaps reminds me of a dress coat I bought for my daughter when she was little. She had been wearing hand-me-down dresses for dressup, and I wanted her to have one nice outfit, so I bought her a red dress with matching red coat.  The coat had a little cape very similar to Alice’s coat. Eighty-some years later.

Here is one from 1914. It doesn’t look to me a lot like Alice, but it is a tall lady with dark hair standing by the side of Richard DeKorn’s house. Richard was Alice’s grandfather, as well as Grandpa’s grandfather. And the photo is labeled Alice!

Now is when I need a horse expert. If Derrick stops by, I know he’ll know. Is this a pony? The reason I think so is that the proportions seem mature.

I would know Richard’s house anywhere because of the light stripe through the dark brick. Very distinctive.

 

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Thanks to Wayne Loney, a Kalamazoo genealogy volunteer, I have my great-grandfather’s probated will with list of assets at the time of his death. He found the document, located at the Probate Court in Kalamazoo, so that I could order it.

Fifty-eight-year-old Adrian Zuidweg, Sr., died on 19 December 1929, which happened to be two months after the Wall Street crash. The cause of death was uremia (for three days) and chronic interstitial nephritis, as well as a valve disease of the heart and mitral insufficiency and general artheroma (disease of the arteries). I looked up the nephritis because it sounds like the real disease behind his death, but read that it usually is caused by medications or auto-immune disorders like lupus. So I don’t really know why he was sick or why he died.

The family story version is that he ate a dinner plate-sized steak every night for dinner, and that that routine caused the nephritis. I guess it might cause some artery damage, too.

But before we assume his eating completely caused his death, I will say that heart disease does seem to run in the family through my grandfather to my grandfather’s children–and my 23andme report shows that by far my worst health genes (that are researched through 23andme) are all coronary issues.

This probate document is signed by my grandfather, who was 21; Adrian Sr.’s sister, Mrs. Marinus Van Liere; and my great-grandmother, Cora, his wife.

In this will, Adrian leaves his entire estate to his wife, Cora, to do with as she sees fit. He expressly does not leave anything to grandpa, his son. However, he seems to suggest that Cora might want to use some of the estate for the benefit of Adrian’s “belofed boy,” (his first language was Dutch) but he is not tying her hands to do so in the will.

I wonder how common it was to make a will out this way. Perhaps he thought that Grandpa would be able to make his own way in the world, but Grandpa was blind in one eye, so I am a little surprised that nothing was left to him.

Here is a typed version of the handwritten will.

I don’t plan to post an image of the estate inventory. If family members want to email me and ask to see it, I’ll be happy to send over a copy. What I thought was interesting was the list does not include any cash at all, whether on hand or in banks. The listing includes real estate, notes payable, and stocks. I think this means that the money was already in Cora’s name.  Again, I wonder how common this practice would have been.

It seems to me that there must be more of this sort of document available for my other ancestors, but I am not sure how much light it has shed on anything for me. Adrian was apparently a good husband, father, and provider, but maybe didn’t take the best care of his health, if the steak-eating story is true.

What information have you gleaned from probate records?

I will be taking off blogging next week for some needed time away from the computer. See you in a couple of weeks!

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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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I am involved in a project to give my genealogy research a jumpstart. I realized that I needed more room in my fire safe file cabinet for my antique photos, so I sorted files in one of my regular file cabinets and came up with three banker boxes of shredding! Then I moved files from my fire safe to the regular that are no longer as important as they were a few years ago. That means I have an extra drawer in the fire safe to spread out.

Next I will inventory albums and packages of photos as best I can as I arrange them in the drawers devoted to the old photos.

As I do that I plan to look for the originals of a few photos that were poorly scanned. Fingers crossed on that endeavor.

Sometimes I feel that I am always organizing and throwing away, but in the past year I have been more determined and now I am buckling down even more. I’ve been doing Swedish death cleaning in other areas of the house, but that too will take a long time. I have so many drawers and boxes of academic papers and stories and poems, as well as critiques from workshops and drafts of finished work.

In the meantime, I have a list of a lot of things I’ve lost track of. I hope I find some of them!

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Here is an unidentified photo in a family album. It’s likely she is a family member, perhaps someone I’ve already posted about! The portrait was taken in Kalamazoo.

 

The coat and muff are quite elaborate, and the hat seems a bit unusual. Lovely. Best guess is that she is Carrie Paak Remine.

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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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Is this a goat or a ram? I thought goat, but the animal looks unusual to me. This photo is marked on the back. The boy is Jim Van Liere, grandpa’s first cousin, born in 1912. How old do you think he is here?

The Van Lieres lived in the Burdick-Balch neighborhood of Kalamazoo, very near Grandpa (Adrian Zuidweg).

For more information on where Jim fits into the family, check out this post: The Van Lieres of Kalamazoo Redux

Do you think this was a photo taken at an amusement place or staged by a photographer?

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