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Archive for the ‘Michigan history’ Category

Frank Tazelaar was married to one of the daughters of my great-great-grandmother’s sister. He’s the husband of my first cousin 3x removed. Yup, that is easy to remember, right? Remember the Paak/Peek sisters and brother? Mary Peek (the spelling she used) married Richard Remine. For decades I thought there were four Remine children: Jenny, Genevieve, Therese (Tracy), and Harold. I had information for all four. But after more work, I finally found a very important divorce record and now know that Jenny and Genevieve were the same person.

This is Jenny (when she was younger) or Genevieve (once she was married to Frank Tazelaar). My grandfather identified her as Jane, so she might have used that name when she was young also. Her grandmother’s name had been Jana. I will refer to her as Genevieve because that is the name she ended up using for decades.

Here is Frank:

But why am I writing about Frank Tazelaar now? Because Sharon Ferraro is researching the effects of the influenza pandemic in 1918 in Kalamazoo. And Frank’s name is on the list as someone who contracted the illness and survived. It does not appear that he was treated at a hospital. He was ill and off work for ten days and then was able to go back to “his store.” In the 1920 census he was listed as a salesman/buyer in a clothing shop (same entry in the 1930 census). On the influenza document, his wife is listed as Genevieve and they lived at 124 N. West. Although I have verified that this information is correct, I have never heard of that street in Kalamazoo.

Genevieve was born 24 June 1881 in Kalamazoo, the first child of her parents, Richard and Mary. She was first married to a man she might have met in Chicago. His name was Harry Cohn. They were married in Paw Paw, Michigan, on 29 January 1903, when she was 21 years old. Three years later, on 23 June, 1906, they were divorced. The grounds were listed as “desertion,” but who deserted whom? If that was really what happened. Apparently, though, they had not been together for quite some time because about two weeks later, on 9 July 1906, Genevieve and Frank married in Chicago.

Frank was born in Wissenkerke, Netherlands, on 18 January 1876, to Peter Tazelaar and Adriana Bek Tazelaar. When he was a boy, his family moved from Holland to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was a few years older than Genevieve. His native tongue was Dutch, whereas Genevieve was American-born. It’s hard to imagine what happened with Genevieve’s first marriage or how she happened to marry Frank–and what the Chicago connection was between Genevieve, Frank, and Harry. In fact, unless she went away to Chicago to school, I can’t imagine her leaving her parents’ home by the age of 21. Was she sent away for some reason? Since she never had any children, it’s less likely that she was pregnant, although always possible. 

Genevieve did not have children with either Harry or with Frank. When Genevieve passed away on 17 September 1930 of appendicitis (leading to gangrene and peritonitis), the couple was living at 423 S. Westnedge with her parents, Mary and Richard. That must have been awkward because on 21 March 1932 he married Bernice Dayton, the manager of “Lerner Shop.” Could this be the same Lerner store (part of the nationwide chain) that I grew up with? It’s likely because the Lerner Shops were first opened in 1918. (As a cool aside, the uncle of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was one of the two founders).

Here is another photo of Frank Tazelaar, at the Whistle Stop in Kalamazoo, on 15 February 2014, four years before he contracted the flu.

Frank Tazelaar
near Whistle Stop
Kalamazoo

As with most of my other blog posts, this story is ripe for more research. In particular, I’d like to search City Directories for addresses and businesses, as well as the local newspaper for articles about the couple and, possibly, “his” store.

OK, I peeked. There are many Kalamazoo Gazette articles about Frank. In fact, there are over 50 articles! Let’s see what we can find . . . next time.

But it won’t be ready until after my son’s wedding, so I will post Frank’s shenanigans on May 1!

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, was born 105 years ago today. This is a page from her 1929 high school graduation scrapbook. There is a photo of Grandma–maybe her senior pic–and one of Grandma (the Class Historian), Blanche Stauffer (Valedictorian), and Grandma’s sister Dorothy Mulder Plott (Salutatorian). In the 3rd photo, five girls are in dresses decorated with ribbon or twine.

You can read more about the graduation of these young ladies in Who Put the Ring Stain on the Scrapbook? and in Scrapbook Treats.

What do you think about the dresses on those girls? I don’t know why this photo is on the same page with the others or the meaning of it. Any ideas?

I can’t let an April 17 go by without thinking a lot about Grandma. She was a wonderful grandmother and inspirational to me in many ways.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I am awaiting an obituary for Nellie Mulder, the daughter of Peter and Nellie. In an earlier post, I shared the letter that Peter had sent to his brother Jan after his wife had passed away. He wrote, “It’s a heavy day for me Jan, there I have a daughter who always must be under my eye. She is not trusted to just go out unless a person familiar is with her.” As it was first explained to me in the 1970s, Nellie was “slow.”

UPDATE:

the obituary came in, and I also heard about Nellie from my uncle who knows a lot about the family history.

SEE UPDATED INFO BELOW THE HEADSTONE PHOTO!!!

I had not been able to find anything on Nellie for years, although I had seen her image in the family photo when I was still in college.

 

She is in the front row, on our left, wearing glasses. Peter and Nellie are in the center of the front row and my great-grandfather Charles Mulder is to his mother’s left (our right).

Thanks to Find-a-Grave I found Nellie’s headstone and the year of her death.

DAUGHTER

NELLIE MULDER

1902-1968

She is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Who ordered the headstone? Her parents were both dead by 1968, so it must have been ordered by a sibling, and yet the stone says “daughter.”

But what was her life like after her mother died in 1932? The family story is that she wound up in an institution. But where? And who went to visit her? Was she happy?

THE UPDATED INFORMATION

Here is the obituary that arrived yesterday:

Couple this information with what is remembered by my uncle. He says that Nellie had Down syndrome and “was the happiest person in the family. She always remembered everyone’s name and gave the best hugs!” She stayed for periods of time with relatives in Grand Rapids and also with my great-grandfather in Caledonia.

Nellie also stayed in a “home” in Grand Rapids. Family always made sure to include Nellie in all the family gatherings until “age took its toll on both her and [her] older siblings.”

My uncle believes that Nellie’s grave was probably handled by the children of my great-grandfather’s youngest brother, “Uncle Pete.” To make clear: both great-grandpa and Pete were brothers of Nellie.  Pete was a gravestone engraver, in fact, and died at age 64 of silicosis. Add this lung disease death to the tuberculosis deaths in the family, and it seems the Mulders were plagued with lung troubles.

Pete was a gravestone engraver, in fact, and died at age 64 of silicosis, four years before Nellie’s death. Add this lung disease death to the tuberculosis deaths in the family, and it seems the Mulders were plagued with lung troubles.

I don’t have a death certificate for Nellie (or her brother Pete, for that matter). But the obituary makes clear Nellie died in a nursing home. Whether this was the “home” she was living in or a nursing home because she needed medical care, I don’t know.

The obituary shows that Nellie was a member of Seventh Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. I got a kick out of that 7th! I have heard of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but not 7th! Here is a little history of the church that is still in existence:

Seventh Reformed Church has been in existence for well over a century. Our congregation was organized on May 1, 1890. It was the first church of reformed persuasion on the west side of Grand Rapids.

The first services were held at a temporary building located on Jennette Street between Twelfth and Leonard. In 1892 a new church building was completed, located on the corner of Jennette and Leonard.

Seventh, being a Dutch immigrant congregation, held all services in the Dutch language. In 1905 the first evening service was held in the English language, but not continued until 1919. Later in 1929 the morning service was also held in English, preceded by a Dutch service. In 1942 the Dutch service was moved to the afternoon and then in 1947 it was discontinued.

Our present church building was dedicated on June 18, 1952. In 1969 the East wing containing the pastor’s study, offices, Chapel and classrooms were completed. In 1989 as we began celebrations for our Centennial Year, another extension to the building was added in the form of a large foyer on the West side with more classrooms upstairs.

Eventually I expect to find the death certificates for Nellie and Peter and other members of the Mulder family. Part of the problem is that the Grand Rapids certificates do not seem to be readily available. They are quite expensive at $20 each, and I have to rely on staff to locate them.

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Working on family history and genealogy is a never-ending project. It also is subject to the whims of windfalls and time constraints. By that I mean that when I receive information about a branch of the family that I am not working on, I might have to move that branch to the forefront for a little while. And even when I have some wonderful “leads” to follow, if I don’t have the time, I have to postpone work on that branch.

Sometimes I get so many active branches going, I can’t even keep track of what I should work on next.

Lately, these are the branches I have been tracking down:

  • MULDER family: I have been trying to put all the most important information about the Mulder family in a timeline format. When Peter Mulder contacted me with more Mulder information (including the fascinating story of Jan Mulder), I thought I would stay with the Mulders for a long time.
  • PAAK family: but then I also heard from Ed Lawrence with more photos of the Theresa Paak Lawrence family, and I posted about Theresa’s foster parents, the Pickards. Although there is more to share on this line, something sidetracked me.
  • FLIPSE/KALLEWAARD family: I heard from Jan Denkers with his information about this branch–people who actually lived just a couple doors down from my grandfather and continued living in the same neighborhood my mother grew up in. I posted a photo of the Kallewaard house, but still have more information to sort and post.

And, of course, I always keep all the other branches in mind! To further my information about the Mulders, I ordered some very important death certificates and received them for Peter and Nellie Mulder, my great-great-grandparents.

I knew that my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder, had had tuberculosis (I visited him in a TB sanitarium when I was a kid) and that his brother Henry had died from it in 1947, at age 50. What I didn’t know was that their mother Nellie also died from “pulmonary TB” in 1932, when she was 63. Now I wonder if “only” those three were afflicted or if others in the family also had TB.

 

The names of her parents are a little garbled. Her father was Jan Gorsse and her mother Kornelia Hijman. Interestingly, after I received her death certificate, I found another one online, where it had probably been misfiled. Not sure why there are TWO? My guess is that the one above was prepared at my request, but why is it less complete than the one prepared for me about Peter?

 

The second one explains that Nellie had had TB for 15 years and also had diabetes for 5. Maybe that explains why in Peter’s letter to his brother Jan it seemed that Nellie had struggled with ill health.

Peter’s death certificate also gives his cause of death.

 

Carcinoma of the face.

I am no skin cancer expert, but I believe that basal cell and squamous cell are carcinomas, but that melanoma is not. I find it frustrating that I can’t seem to find a good source to research basic understandings of fatal illnesses and their treatments for past periods of history in the U.S. and Europe. What did this diagnosis mean in 1953? Did he have a basal or squamous cell cancer and not realize it until it was too late? These carcinoma type skin cancers are not uncommon in my family with our fair skin, but to think of my G-G-Grandfather dying from it defies the imagination. The only other major health problem he had was arthritis?

Both Nellie and Peter died in the month of October, 21 years apart. They were both buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Remember the daughter that Peter was worried about leaving behind when he died? Maybe she is the reason he lived for those 21 years past Nellie. Her whereabouts–and birth and death–were complete mysteries until I found a lead. Now I’ve ordered an obituary for her from 1968 and have to wait a few weeks to receive it. Stay tuned.

I’ll be back with more on these and other branches in the future . . . .

 

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I have written about the Flipse family in Kalamazoo and my connection to them. My great-great-grandfather Richard DeKorn’s niece Frances DeSmit married Jacob Flipse. Now it looks to me as if there are least two connections between the Flipse family and the Kallewaard family, so when I use the name Kallewaard in the future know that I mean Kallewaard/Flipse.

Jan Denkers from the Netherlands contacted me with some information about the Kallewaard/Flipse family that lived in the Burdick and Balch neighborhood in Kalamazoo near my family. His father had carefully kept information about the family.

I will be writing another post or two about the family before too long.

In the documents that Jan shared with me was the above photograph. This house was probably the 3rd house north from my great-great-grandfather’s house on the corner of Burdick and Balch. Inside it lived the Kallewaard family: Cornelius, Mary (Flipse), and their children.

The next photo is my great-great-grandfather’s house at the corner. You can see the variety in styles of homes, although each is special in its own right.

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could find a photo of each house in the neighborhood and put them together to see the neighborhood in its heyday?

Although the DeKorn house is still standing, the Kallewaard house is not, unfortunately. Thank you, Google Maps.

 

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In “honor” of the weather some of the United States has been having this week, I am posting photographs from the Burdick and Balch neighborhood in Kalamazoo during the blizzard of 1978.The yellow house was my grandparents’ house at the corner of Burdick and Emerson.The white building was my grandfather’s Sunoco station.The other houses are from the neighborhood. As befitting a 1970s camera and film, the color is poor–yellowy and faded.

I’ve posted the house and gas station in the past. Here is the house from 1947:

Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Burdick Street

You can find the station at Down at the Station.

Meanwhile, Phoenix was about 90 degrees yesterday :).

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When Peter Mulder contacted me, he had a treasure that involved Jan Mulder and also my great-great grandfather, Pieter Mulder. After the death of his wife Neeltje, Pieter wrote to his brother Jan in the Netherlands. And here is the beautiful and heart-breaking letter.

Since the letter is written in Dutch, here is a translation that Peter provided for us:

October 23 1932

 

Beloved brother,

It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I must tell you my wife  has died  October 12th.

It’s a heavy day for me Jan,  there I have a daughter who always must be under my eye . She is not trusted to just go out unless a person familiar is with her. Oh, what I am missing Neeltje, she was everything to me. As children, we came together and we have been almost 48 years together, so we shared so much in life.

Now I am just about to the end all alone. Fortunately that Neeltje has passed away with the assurance that she went to the father House above. Often, she prayed for salvation  of this earthly life, yet she could not leave us because she knew I would be left behind with our daughter.

God gives my strength to the heavy loss.

I can not go longer Jan, write soon back to your brother. I’m moved now and living with my oldest son on the farm that gives me a little resistance.

 

My address is now

P Mulder

Caledonia

I will admit that this letter made me cry. I felt so bad because it sounds like Neeltje had suffered for a long time, which was why she prayed for salvation. Also, that Pieter felt worried about his youngest daughter. And I was so happy to see that Pieter felt close to Jan, his younger half-brother, even though they had been separated as children and had not seen each other in decades (because Pieter was in the U.S. and Jan was not). I was also happy to hear that he was content living in my great-grandfather Charles Mulder’s home.

Thinking about Neeltje’s health caused me to look for her death certificate, but I do not have it. If I can’t find it online, I might have to order it.

Pieter and Neeltje’s daughter must come in a later post as I have much to research about her. Pieter himself died in 1953 after moving between his children’s homes for 21 more years.

 

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