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Up until now, I’ve written very little about my great-great-grandfather Johannes Zuijdweg (Zuidweg). He was married to Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg. I wrote about her knitting skills for U.S. troops here. Johannes and Jennie were my grandfather’s paternal grandparents. He talked about Jennie to me, but he didn’t really know his grandfather who died when Grandpa was only three.

The birth of Johannes is an important moment in the history of our family because his parents tie together the Zuijdwegs/Zuidwegs and the Mulders. Grandpa was a Zuidweg, and Grandma was a Mulder. Both families were from Goes, Netherlands, and they both are descended from Karel Mulder, the jailer’s hand.

The record of the marriage of Johannes and Jennie I found at wiewaswie. Here is a transcription of the marriage document:

BS Huwelijk met Johannes Zuijdweg

Groom
Johannes Zuijdweg
Profession
kruideniersknecht
Birth place
Goes
Age
26
Bride
Jenneqien Bomhoff
Profession
dienstbode
Birth place
Zwolle
Age
31
Father of groom
Adriaan Zuijdweg
Mother of the groom
Johanna Mulder
Profession
Arbeidster
Father of bride
Lúcas Bomhoff
Mother of the bride
Johanna Danser
Event
Huwelijk
Event date
04-11-1869
Event place
Goes

To read (in Dutch) the pages of the record, read the page on the right of the first image and the page on the left of the second image. If you look at the signers on the document itself you will see that one of the signers was a Van Liere. That is another family that has shared a path with my family.

Johannes was born in Goes on 23 December 1842. Here is the transcription on wiewaswie:

BS Geboorte met Johannes Zuijdweg

Child
Johannes Zuijdweg
Birth date
23-12-1842
Birth place
Goes
Gender
Man
Event
Geboorte
Event date
23-12-1842
Event place
Goes
Document type
BS Geboorte
Institution name
Zeeuws Archief
Institution place
Middelburg
Collection region
Zeeland
Archive
25
Registration number
GOE-G-1842
Sourcenumber
171
Registration date
24-12-1842
Certificate place
Goes
Collection
Goes geboorteakten burgerlijke stand

birth record of Johannes Zuijdweg

In the Netherlands, Johannes worked as a grocer’s hand, a crier, and a merchant. Johannes and Jennie had three children. When Johannes was in his fifties, on 4 April 1894, the youngest child, Lucas (now a young man) was killed in an accident. According to Grandpa, he fell on a boat anchor.   Within a few months of the death of Lucas, there was an astonishing development in Johannes’ life. He was sentenced to prison!

 

On the Facebook group “Dutch Genealogy,” a kind person translated as much of the document as he could.

Column 1: (record number) 496 —
Column 2 (First Names and (last) names) Johannes Zuidweg
Column 3: Occupation koopman (merchant) —
Column 4: (Location and date of birth) Goes on 20 December 1842
Column 5: (Place of Residence) Goes
Column 6: (not sure, I guess date entered in the book?) 19 June 1895
Column 7: (again nit sure, I guess date of judgement) 31 May 1895, Jurisdiction Court Middelburg
Column 8: (description of offense) Diefstal (Theft) —
Column 9: (Opgelegde Straf,, Punishment) twee maanden gevangenstraf (two month imprisonment) — \
Column 10: (dagtekening straf ingaat , start of punishment) 19 June 1895
Column 11: (dagtekening straf eidigt, end of punishment) 18 August 1895
Column 12: (again, nut sure. Date of transfer?) 19 June 1895 (and signatures)
Column 13: ( ) 19 June 1895
Column 14: () had te kenning gegeven dat hij een verzoek om gratie had ingedient ( he noted that he had requested clemency)
Column 15 (): Officier van Justitie, Middelburg, 19 June 1895 —
Column xx: () Geene (none)
Column xx () Geslacht (gender) Mannelijk (Male)
Vader (Father) Adriaan
Moeder (Mother) Johanna Mulder
Nationality : Nederlandse
Burgerlijke Stand (civil status): Gehuwd (Married)
Godsdienstige gezindte (religious affiliation): Gereform. (I think, reformed)
Lager onderwijs genoten (elementary education): yes
Ouderdom (bij opneming) (Age at time of entering prison): 52 years
Gedrag in het gesticht (behavior in institute): (not filled in; he may have served)
Column yy (): Length 1m 60 cm; Color Hair: Blond; Eyebrows: Blond; Forehead: low; eyes: grijs (grey) neus (nose): groot (large); mond (mouth) )can’t read; kin (chin) round; baard (beard) none, aangezicht (face) round; kleur (facial tint): gezond (healthy); gewone taal (ordinary language): (—) Byzondere teekenen: geene (none). Handteekening (signature) (blank space)

The attached page is a telegram from the courthouse in Middelburg to the Prison in Goes, stating that “Nu Zuijdweg verklaart gratie the hebben gevraagd moet hij niet worden opgenomen, doch moet de beslissing op zijn verzoek afgewacht worden” (Now that Zuijdweg declares that he asked for clemency, he must not be taken in, but await the decision on his request), signed by the officer of the court, Van Hoek.

Johannes was 5’4 1/2 inches tall. While this seems short for a Dutch man by today’s standards (today the average height for a Dutch man is over 6′ tall), it probably was not that unusual in the 1800s.

According to the translation, Johannes was sentenced to two months in the penitentiary. The person who translated the document believes that Johannes was given clemency and did not serve the time. There might be other documents relating to this issue, and I will keep probing to try to find out more information.

I have been told by several Dutch people that times were very different then, and that it was very “easy” to end up in jail over minor infractions. I believe that this had something to do with the death of Johannes’ youngest son a few months before, but that is just a guess. I do wonder if this happening had something to do with the decision of Johannes and Jennie, both older people, deciding to emigrate.

In 1901, Johannes and Jennie followed their son Adriaan to Michigan. Three years later, their remaining child, Johanna Zuidweg Van Liere, immigrated with her husband, Marinus, and son to Michigan. Marinus owned a shoe store on Burdick Street.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Johannes and Jennie lived in at least two different homes, if not more. For a while they lived in one of the houses owned by Richard DeKorn. Sometimes Johannes’ name is spelled John. He passed away after living in the United States for ten years.

In one of the many changes in birthdates I’ve found in researching family history, Johannes’ birth record shows that he was born in 1842, but his headstone states that he was born in 1843. I believe the birth record, as the Dutch records are astonishingly well documented. I wish I knew more of what Johannes’ life was like in that last decade of his life. He was surrounded with male grandchildren as Grandpa was the only child of son Adrian and daughter Johanna and Marinus had eight boys!

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My father knew I loved family heirlooms, so he used to give me items as he came across them.

These are some of his mother’s costume jewelry with the jewelry box they were in. My grandmother always loved jewelry, but I only remember her wearing pearls (both cultured and costume) and diamonds and rhinestones. She may have worn jet, but I am not sure.

The items on the bottom row are button studs. They work like buttons in a buttonhole, but are removable. These are usually used for men’s tuxedo shirts.

On the second from bottom shelf are two hatpins. I remember those nasty little things from my childhood. You wouldn’t want to sit down on one by mistake!

I suspect most of my grandmother’s jewelry came from Marshall Field & Company at State and Washington in Chicago. That’s where my grandmother worked as Head Fitter for many years.

When I got married, it was only a year after my grandmother passed away. Her only daughter (who had three boys) sent me the wedding pearls Grandma had given her when she was married in 1955. They came in a Japanese black lacquer box. Aunt Marge did not wear them for her wedding portrait or on the day of her wedding.

Aunt Marge

I am quite certain that my grandmother would have made her dress.

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In scanning the beautiful antique album this fall, I came across this tintype that kind of haunts me. Maybe it’s because the tintypes are so rare in the family collection. Maybe it’s because of her eyes.

Just ignore the strange corners. I tried to clean it up a bit at the corners (just for this post), and it didn’t turn out as I expected!

So how do I go about narrowing in on who might be in the image?

Because all the photos so far in the antique album seem to be related to the 5 Paak siblings and their familys, I feel that it is likely that she is related to the Paaks somehow.

I have such a desire to find a photo of Janna Kakebeeke Remine, the mother of Dick, grandmother of Therese, Genevieve, and Harold, who immigrated to Kalamazoo and passed away in 1910. She was the mother-in-law of Mary, one of the Paak sisters. But Janna was born in 1827. I was thinking 1880s for this dress, and this woman is not 60. In fact, as usual, I have no idea how old she is, what year her dress was, or what year her hairstyle was. It can’t be Dick’s mother-in-law Jacoba Bassa Paak either. She died in 1865 in the Netherlands!

What I have to get used to is the fact that the photographs I own are never of those earlier individuals, so they are images of more “recent” generations. I posted this one on a Facebook group for dating photographs.  Very consistently, readers thought the tintype is around 1880. They based this on two main aspects: the fact that it is a tintype and not a photograph and the woman’s outfit. Tintypes were most frequent a bit earlier than the ’80s, but they can be found in the 1880s and even later.

I thought that the silhouette of her dress and the finishings looked like the 1880s. One thing I can file away in my brain for later is the dress appears to black, a mourning dress, so someone close to the woman had died within perhaps the previous year. Of course, that is very subjective–I mean, it seems as if they would have always been in mourning dress! I’m not very happy with books or websites about women’s clothing styles. They tend to focus on the clothing of the wealthy, the fashionista, and those in evening wear. My relatives were not fashionistas, they were not wealthy (although often not poor either), and sometimes they were governed by a religious conservatism. They didn’t get their photographs taken in evening wear, if they even had any.

For further consideration, I’ll use the date of 1880, knowing it could be 10 years difference either way.

The only way I can now find the woman in the tintype is by comparing her with photographs of known Paak women and women who have married into the family AND using the data on my family tree for birth and death dates.

Do you think this woman is about 25? or younger or older? Let’s say she’s 25, for the sake of trying to figure out who she is. If so, she was born around 1855. That would make her a contemporary of Alice Paak DeKorn (born 1852) and her siblings.

 

Aaltje (Alice) Paak DeKorn

Anna Catherina (Annie) was born 1855

 

Maaike (Mary) Paak Remine born 1859

 

Cornelia (Carrie) Paak Waruf born in 1862

So. There are four* Paak sisters, and I don’t see this woman as one of them, although she could be a contemporary–or a bit older.

* There actually were five Paak sisters, but Willempje, who was born in 1856, did not immigrate with the girls, their father, and their brother. Although I have not been able to find a death or marriage record, I suspect she died as a child. The brother, George, married Lucy Kliphouse, who is not the woman in the tintype.

Lucy Kliphouse Paake

Alice had two SILs–Jennie DeKorn Culver and Mary DeKorn DeSmit.

Jenny DeKorn Culver

 

Mary DeKorn DeSmit

Is she one of them? (I don’t think so).

Mary Paak Remine had two SILs that I know of.

 

Adrianna (Jennie) Remine Meijer was born in 1860

Jennie was the sister-in-law of Mary Paak Remine. Another sister-in-law of Mary was Johanna Remine Bosman, born in 1855.

None of these look right to me. And these last two are sisters, but don’t look like it.

Carrie Paak Waruf’s husband Henry (Hank) does not appear to have had any sisters. He immigrated as a child with his parents from the Netherlands to Kalamazoo, and I don’t see a record of any siblings in the census records I have been able to find.

That leaves Annie, the least known of any of the sisters. Annie was married to Jacob Salomon Verhulst (whose grandmother, by the way, was a Flipse–see Flipse posts, if you’re curious). The only photo I have that I know is Annie is the full-length photo I posted above. I never heard anybody talk about her, except when Grandpa identified the photograph.

I don’t know if Annie and Jacob had any children. I have found no record of any children. They married in 1890.

Jacob did have two sisters, that I can find. One was Cornelia who died as a child in Holland. The other was Pieternella, was born 1843 in Kortgene and died 18 days later.

So there you have it. Those are the Paak women and their sisters-in-law. My next guess would be a cousin of the Paaks–or like Annigje Haag, the fiancee or wife of a cousin.  So I will keep searching in that “outer layer” of family members.

That said, if you see any flaws in what I’ve determined so far, please let me know, and I will expand my search even more.

Now that it’s a new year, I want to keep my genealogy goals focused.

  1. Continue scanning of all photographs
  2. Organize the physical photos, documents, and heirlooms.
  3. Create a list of provenance for all heirlooms
  4. Bring my Ancestry tree up to date with all info I have
  5. Find and work on software for a tree that is just for my tree
  6. Continue trying to identify photographs
  7. Research gaps and brick walls

Pretty ambitious, I know. Some of my blog posts will just be updates on how I am doing on items 1-5, rather than the results of actual research. Be patient. You know how helpful you all are to me, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know. Thank you!!!

 

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These photos have been a mystery to me since the 1970s. On the back of the woman’s photo it says “Mother’s aunt.”

 

Notice that the photo says the photographer was in the city of Groningen. This is the largest city in the north of Netherlands, and a very old city. But it’s not where my family came from. And here is another photo that was right next to the lady’s photo.

 

These are the only photos I have from Groningen, to my knowledge. The people don’t show any familial resemblance, but that–as we know–doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

What is more confusing is whose aunt she is. I have to assume that “Mother” means Cora DeKorn Zuidweg, Grandpa’s mother. It couldn’t be Grandma’s mother. Not only are most of our photos from Grandpa’s family, Grandma’s mother wasn’t Dutch, but Prussian.

So Cora. Or Cora’s mother? Or Grandpa’s father’s mother?

First, I looked at Cora’s aunts. Her aunts all came to the United States. They were the Paak sisters–none of whom look ANYTHING like the woman in this photo. And then on her father’s side, Mary DeKorn DeSmit and Jennie DeKorn Culver were her aunts. NOT these ladies.

Second, I went back a generation. Alice Paak’s aunts were the Bassas–no Groningen there–and the Paaks–no Groningen there either.

What about Richard DeKorn’s aunts? His mother had a lot of brothers, but only one sister–and she remained in Kapelle her entire life. His father had one half-sister (and a lot of half-brothers and one brother), Pieternella DeKorn. That family is still a bit of a mystery. She might have been born in Kruiningen, but I don’t know where she lived or when she died.

So how can the lady in the photo be “Mother’s aunt”??? The only other possibility that I can think of would be Jennie Zuidweg (Jennegien Bomhof), Grandpa’s grandmother. Let’s say his mother Cora wrote “Mother’s aunt” and meant her mother-in-law’s aunt. Is that possible? Jennie is from the only branch that was completely outside of Zeeland (until she came to Goes and married Johannes Zuidweg). She was born in Zwolle, Overjissel. That is 66 miles from Groningen, whereas Goes is 205 miles away.

BUT!!! Before we get too excited, what years did Reinier Uges have a photography studio? 1889-1914!!  How can that be the aunt of a lady (Jennie Zuidweg) who was born in 1838 (and died in the U.S. in 1924). This lady would have to be a generation younger than Jennie, wouldn’t she?

All in all, I’m pretty sure that “Mother’s aunt” meant Grandpa’s mother’s aunt, thus an aunt of Cora DeKorn Zuidweg.

But that is impossible.

You see how frustrating this is?!

Any ideas about the age of the woman and the age of the man would be helpful!!

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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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After reading the tragic story of August and discovering that maybe, just maybe, he was born in Schwetzkow, Pommern (Pomerania), Prussia, I decided to do a little more digging.

I started with the family reunion notes. The Waldeck-Noffke family held regular family reunions, had officers, and kept notes. Imagine people doing that today!

The junction of the two families was the marriage between Gottfried Waldeck and Alwine Noffke, both of Prussia, my great-great-grandparents.

At the beginning of the notes is an attempt to sum up the “pioneers” of the family in the United States.

The first person who immigrated–or as I think of him, the canary in the coal mine–was August himself, the man who I wrote about last week, Alwine’s older brother. He was born in 1841 or 1842 and left Schwetzkow in 1869 at age 28.

INFO FROM PASSENGER LIST

August Noffke

Male

Age 28

Tischler (carpenter)

DOB abt 1841

Residence: Schwetzkov, Prussia (Germany)

Departure Date: 7 May 1869

Port of Departure: Hamburg

Port of Arrival: Hull (New York via Liverpool)

Ship: Roland

Captain: Paulsen

Shipping clerk: Louis Scharlach & Co.

Shipping line: H. J. Perlbach & Co.

Ship Type: Dampfschiff (steamboat)

Ship flag: Deutschland

Accomodation: ohne Angabe (without indication)

Volume: 373-71, VIII B 1 Band 015

Household members: August Noffke, age 28

Hull might be a port for “transmigrants” in England. I wish I knew what “Hull (New York via Liverpool)” really means.

The family notes say that his “parents and family” followed him “in about three years.”

The notes also say that August first went to Chicago, then resided in Caledonia township (Kent County, Michigan) with his parents, before returning to settle in Chicago. Also written is that the family doesn’t know when the pioneers (being August and his parents) died. So he was written off to Chicago.

There are records for an August Noffke in Chicago, but then there are quite a few August Noffkes. It apparently was not a rare name.

The Grand Rapids city directories show August living in Grand Rapids in 1872 (and throughout the 1880s), marrying Maria Mueller (Mary) of Big Rapids, Michigan, on 2 November 1875, and having children subsequently, all in Grand Rapids.

The passenger list shows that August was a tischler, which means carpenter. The article in the paper at the time of his death mentioned that he was a cabinet maker.

I do wonder why he left Prussia at age 28. Wouldn’t he have been married already? Why wait until that age?

More questions than answers, as usual!

Apparently, August was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids. I’ve requested a photo of his headstone through Findagrave. Amberly at The Genealogy Girl suggested I look for the divorce filing since the newspaper article indicated that he had tried to file for divorce and then had stopped because of the children. I am awaiting news from the Western Michigan University archives on that matter.

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Two years ago I posted about Grandma’s uncle Fred Waldeck and his wife Caroline Meir (Meier). Fred was terribly injured in a streetcar accident. Because of severe brain damage, he had to live out the rest of his life at the State Hospital in Kalamazoo. He lived there for over 53 years.

Before the accident, the young couple had had one child, Edward. He also was involved in an accident when he was fourteen years old–when a man hit his bicycle in a hit-and-run!

Here are two posts about Fred, Caroline, and Edward.

The Waldeck Search Begins to Yield a Few Answers

Waldeck Family Research

I had never seen a photograph of Caroline or Ed, although I do have the one photograph of Fred with his family of origin. Fred is the man standing on the left, behind his father. The mother is Alwine, the younger sister of August Noffke. The little girl seated is my great-grandmother, Clara.

Recently, I made contact with a man named Roy through Ancestry.com who is related to Caroline Meir Waldeck. He rescued some negatives of the Meir family that his father was going to throw away and had them made into photographs.

 

Caroline Meir Waldeck, Wilhelmina Draheim Meir, and Louise Meir Schulz (Caroline’s sister)

Both Roy and I would like to know if Edward Waldeck is in the group shots. Edward August Gottfried Waldeck (1897-1971) was my first cousin, 2x removed.

Here is one of the young men so you can focus on them. Roy has names for the ones on each end, and thinks he knows who the second from left is.

Could the third from left be Edward?

Here he is with a young woman, maybe his future wife or wife Cora van Strien? Does he show resemblance to Caroline and/or to Fred? If you know who these people are, please let us know.

So wonderful that Roy saved the negatives and thus the images of the Meir family!

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