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Archive for the ‘Photography early 20th century’ Category

I have no idea at all if the Dutch in Michigan celebrated Pinkster 100 or more years ago. Pinkster (Pinksteren is Dutch for Pentecost) is a holiday connected with Pentecost and loosely related to May Day and spring festivals. It typically occurs in May or June. Here is a photo from the very limited Wikipedia article about Pinkster.


Notice how the children hold ribbons around a pole, much like what we tend to think of as a traditional Maypole.

The reason I started thinking about this is because I found this very damaged photo which I believe belonged to Alice Leeuwenhoek, born 1897 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her family, like all my grandfather’s family at that time, belonged to the Reformed church where all the Sunday School children were likely to be Dutch.

If you look carefully at this photo, you will see these children are all holding what looks to be a ribbon of some kind. At first I thought maybe a paper chain, but I don’t think it is. Also, notice the flowers. The children are dressed in their Sunday best and so is the woman standing behind them. This would not be a regular school day, then, but Sunday School or a holiday. I do see the American flag near the woman’s right shoulder which does seem to indicate a schoolroom. Would public school have celebrated a religious holiday if the student body was fairly homogeneous? Click on the photo to enlarge.

Look carefully at the girl third from our left. What is in front of her? Is that a doll on the ribbon? Or, is it what my daughter suspects, a ghost?

If you read more about Pinkster you will see that Africans in the United States took over the holiday and made it their own–and why. It has to do with being enslaved and that it was a holiday where they got “time off” work and could see family and friends.

Do you have other ideas about the photo or see something that I missed? I’d love to hear!

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My last post wrapped up my fill-in-the-gaps project through my maternal 3x great-grandparents. Before I begin on my 4x great-grandparents, I thought I’d take a little break–and give you a little break.

Switching over to my paternal grandmother and her family of origin who lived in Elmhurst, Illinois. Grandma’s parents, Frank and Margarethe (Wendel) Klein, had a lovely farmhouse that is still standing today.

Here it is more recently:

The farmhouse was complete with barn, cow, chickens–even a fish pond and gazebo. I know that once my father (who was very very young) threw a Roman candle in through the upper window of the barn. I can’t remember who told me, but it was either my father or his twin brother Frank. Since I highly doubt my father would tell on himself, I suspect Uncle Frank told me. In the following photos you can probably see the window where the Roman candle went in!

In these photos are my grandmother, Marie, and her mother Margarethe, along with their cow. In one of the photos, my great-grandfather Frank is turned from the camera. That is nothing new. With all the family action shots in existence, there isn’t one clear image of Frank’s face. You would almost think he was hiding from someone or something. Maybe he was. Who knows.

My great-grandmother looks like such a fun person. It’s a shame she died while my father and his siblings were still so young. Here is another photo of Margarethe, my great-grandmother (Grandma’s mom), colorized by my new genealogy research treasure, 2nd cousin Bill Stade.

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This week I worked on Grandpa’s grandmother, Jennegien (Jennie) Bomhoff Zuidweg, born 5 March 1838 in Zwolle, Overjissel, Netherlands. Unlike most of my Dutch ancestors, Jennie was not born in Zeeland. Overjissel is in the eastern part of the country and centuries ago was part of Utrecht. It might always remain a mystery how she came to marry a man from Zeeland.

You can find out about Jennie in these posts. A lot of information can be found there.

What Did She Keep in All Those Pockets?

Kalamazoo Woman Supports WWI Troops

Jennie died when Grandpa was about 16 years old. I wish I could ask him more information about her now, but maybe he didn’t remember that much about her. Jennie and Johannes Zuidweg were almost a generation older than Grandpa’s other grandparents, Richard and Alice DeKorn. They also immigrated when they were pretty old, whereas Richard was a tiny boy and Alice a teen, so Johannes and Jennie’s habits would have been European and not American. My impression is that it’s likely that the Zuidwegs were not as central to the lives of the rest of the family in the way that the DeKorns were.

A curious story that my grandfather told me very insistently was that Jennie’s family was Jewish and that made his father Jewish. Because Grandpa was sure, I was sure. However, once Jennie’s documents were discovered it became clear that this could not be true.  I don’t know where the story originated or if there is some truth hidden somehow behind the documents. Without more information, my conclusion is that Jennie came from a Protestant family.

I had marriage, death, 1910 census, headstone, photo, and I manage her memorial page on Findagrave. One point about her marriage. Jennie and Johannes married in 1869 in Goes, Zeeland. That is about 150 miles away from where Jennie was born and lived. According to Yvette Hoitink, “that is an uncommonly large distance for somebody to travel in the 19th century, especially for an unmarried woman from the working class. Further investigation showed that her brother Albert Bomhoff was married in Goes in 1867. It must be through this connection that Jennegien moved to Goes, where she worked as a maid prior to her marriage.”

I also had her birth record, but hadn’t loaded it on Ancestry or really done anything with it. I asked people on Dutch Genealogy group on Facebook to read the birth record for me. I was able to confirm the birth date that I had of 5 March 1838, the place being Zwolle, and the names of her parents. I also received the names of the witnesses: 1) Lambert Velthuis, age 37 job peat carrier living in Zwolle 2) Johannes Weijl age 40 peat carrier living in Zwolle.

This week I made a computer folder and put all Jennie’s records in it. I also ordered her obituary from the Kalamazoo Public Library. Since Michigan is locked down right now, it might be awhile, but I hope eventually they can find it

As with Jennie’s husband, Johannes, I’m waiting immigration and naturalization info from Amberly.

I am particularly grateful that I have three photographs of Jennie, and that Grandpa actually knew her. Because of my grandfather’s stories, he has brought to life for me all the family members that he once knew when he was young.

 

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Over two years ago I published this post, asking for the identity of a girl in a photo I discovered. I have another clue now, which I will post at the end.

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The photograph was created from a glass negative taken by Joseph DeKorn. All of his photographs were taken between approximately 1895 and 1918, and the majority were shot in Kalamazoo.

Although I don’t know who this lovely girl is, I have hopes that I can eventually discover her identity. The juxtaposition of the two houses might lead to a solution, for instance.

Any ideas on the time period of the dress, hair, and shoes (within that 1895-1918 range)?

I remember wearing tights that bagged at the knees like these stockings. Do you think they are cotton?

I’ll put Balch Street and Burdick Street in the tags for this post, just in case it was taken in the neighborhood where Joseph lived.

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OK, THE NEW CLUE.

I found another photo of the girl, taken probably at the same time, at the same place, but with the addition of an adult Alice Leeuwenhoek, but most likely before her marriage to Clarence Moerdyk.  The above photo was made from a glass negative, but this one was an actual photograph I found in a different family collection.

Alice was born in 1897, so can we say that this photo is somewhere around 1917?

 

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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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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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When I scan old family photos I always think it’s particularly cool when photos include other people in Kalamazoo (or elsewhere) because if I post them online, there is a chance the descendants of these people can find their relatives’ photos. This has happened before, and I hope it continues to happen.

The photo for today is of a Sunday School class of young “men” at Bethany Reformed Church in Kalamazoo. If you click on the next photo you can be taken to the church history on the church’s website.

The church began as a tiny chapel near the corner of Burdick and Maple in 1905. By 1907, the building above was built to house the rapidly growing congregation. By 1910 there were 69 member families, all of the Reformed denomination (and presumably Dutch or of Dutch ancestry).

As you can see by the back of my photo, it was taken around 1918 (so imagine the church growth by then).

The sticker was put on in the 80s, I imagine, by my grandparents.

Here is the front:

Let’s look at it a little closer:

The church was probably right by houses, but I don’t know whether the photo was taken outside the church (with a house behind the boys) or if it was taken in someone’s yard. They do look dressed for church here.

Do you think my grandfather was one of these boys? He would have been about ten in 1918.

Mom? Uncle Don? Anybody? There is only one boy here who I think looks at all like Grandpa.

About the church: although it was the Great Depression, the new building that still stands today was dedicated in 1932. It continued to be added on to for many years. In the 1960s, I attended Vacation Bible School for one summer. My grandmother was babysitting while my mother was working, so it was easy for me to go to Bible School across the street, although our church was out in Portage. Unfortunately, in 1972, vandals set fire to the sanctuary, which was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt within a year.

I took a screenshot of the church as it looks today on Google Maps. Same building where I went to class 55 years ago.

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In scanning this newest batch of antique and vintage photos, I ran across these two photos of Grandpa (Adrian Zuidweg, Jr.) as a baby! They are set in this handmade paper frame, and his name is written on the back, so there is no doubt as to who it is. Plus those blond curls are a big giveaway.

Grandpa was born in 1908 in Kalamazoo. How old do you think he looks here? These photos are clearly before the accident with the needle that blinded his one eye. That happened when he was three. But I don’t think he’s very far into “being two” either.

It might help to know what in the world he is “in” or standing with in the photo on the right. It appears to have rockers at the bottom. Any ideas?

Click once and then once again should make the image large.

I’ll repost the other photos I have where he is young so you can see the comparison. I think that by comparison with these others, that he is strictly a baby in the photos above. So less than two. But let me know if you disagree!

Cora and little Adrian circa 1910

Adrian Zuidweg 1908-2000

Adrian Zuidweg

I know I’m pretty lucky to have all these wonderful photos of Grandpa and many other relatives. The curse, though, is that I am responsible for scanning and organizing digital images, organizing actual photos, and then deciding and implementing how these photos will be passed on to future generations! I may have mentioned before ;): I need an assistant!

 

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