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Archive for the ‘Richard DeKorn’ Category

There is a tintype in a beautiful family album that I scanned with the other photographs. Since then, I’ve passed by that unidentified photo many times. Something always struck me as familiar; in fact, the woman looked like one of my great-great grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn’s sisters–perhaps Carrie or Mary. Carrie had no children. Mary had two girls and a boy and this woman is standing with two girls.

But it wasn’t right and I knew it. One of Mary’s girls was born much too late to be in a tintype.

So I let it go.

Until I saw it again the other day and it all snapped into place for me.

I focused on the girl with the face in clear image, and I knew who she was. That led me to consider the woman and the other girl.

Bingo. I thought to myself, “We have a match.”

The girl on our left (the woman’s right) is Janna DeKorn, aka Aunt Jen who I knew until I was twelve years old. Aunt Jen was born in 1873. Her younger sister, my great-grandmother Cora, was born Jacoba Wilhelmina DeKorn in 1875.

Alice, Lou, and Jennie (DeKorn) Leeuwenhoek

That means that the woman is Alice Paak DeKorn, their mother. No wonder she looks like her sisters. Gee whiz. Why did I not recognize her? There are a couple of reasons. For one thing, the photos I have of her when she’s older tend to be snapshots, and she had the loveliest smile. In this studio portrait, she is non-smiling, probably because she had to hold still for at least six minutes for a tintype. That would explain why Cora’s face is blurry. She must have moved while the image was being captured.

The other reason Alice looked different to me is that she has darker, curled hair here. She does not have curled hair in other images, and most of the photos show her with light hair, which I  now realize was gray.

If we look back at the image on Kin Types of the tintype of her as a teen or young woman, we can see that her hair was brown and that this woman is, indeed, Alice Paak.

I thought you would enjoy the details of the clothing in the tintype of Alice and her daughters. The photo would have been taken most likely after 1881 when the youngest DeKorn, Joseph, was born. Jennie looks 10-12 here and Cora 8-10. That would place the year as between 1883 and 1885.

I had a thought about the “picket fence” as it seems an add-on since it doesn’t match the possible banister behind them. It looks as if it was used for subjects to “lean on” to help steady them for the long wait for the image to develop.

Here is another photo that was given to me by Professor Lawrence of Jennie DeKorn as a child. Although the photographer’s name is cut off here, I recognize that this photo was taken by John Reidsema who was a professional photographer in Kalamazoo from at least 1888. If this was 1888, Jennie would be 15 years old, which could be right. Notice that the photo I posted above of Jennie with her husband and child was also taken at Reidsema’s studio.

And this one is also from Professor Lawrence of Jennie and Cora.

So I have three good images of Jennie as a child, but only one of Cora because of the blurred face in the tintype. the tintype is especially precious because it shows Alice Paak DeKorn when she was a young mother, whereas our other shots of her are when she was younger and, mainly, much older.

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Here is an unidentified photo from a family album. The album is from the Remine/Paak branch. Because the subject is a toddler, it is almost impossible to identify the photo. But let’s see what we can figure out.

The most important clue comes from the photographer.

According to the well-researched list of photographers found HERE, I can calculate that this photo must have been taken between 1882 and 1899. See the screenshot below to see how I figured that. Abbey was at the East Main location during those years.

So the fact that the baby looks a little bit like Grandpa is irrelevant because it isn’t him as he was born in 1908. In fact, the child would be at least 11 or 12 years older than Grandpa.

Are we sure it’s a boy? I’m going to say it is a boy, based on the outfit. But if you disagree, let me know!

Could it be Harold Remine? He was born in 1897.

This is Harold:

I don’t see the resemblance. To me the baby pic and the young man pic look alike, but the baby/toddler unidentified pic looks more like Grandpa or even my mother. Does anybody else think the pic does look like Harold?

If it could be a girl, we have Therese Remine, born 1895, and Alice Leeuwenhoek, born 1897, but that baby is not Alice who had a very distinctive look as a baby and child. Here is Therese:

Therese Remine

Another possibility is that the child could belong to one of George Paake’s children. I don’t really think so, but their ages are all within the right time frame except the only boy was born in 1898 and would be too young. And the children would be photographed together, so it could only be the oldest, Cora, and I do not see a resemblance.

Front row: Theresa and Cora
Back row: Frances, George Jr., Jennie (Jane)

The only other child of the right age range from the Paak family (which is the broader branch associated with the photo album this image comes from) would be Joseph DeKorn, son of Richard and Alice, Grandpa’s Uncle.

If the child isn’t Joseph, then I’d have to look a little further afield. Keeping in mind that the Remines were related to Grandpa twice over–through both his maternal grandmother and maternal grandfather–I could look at some other families. However, I have two roadblocks to doing so. I cannot see that Ancestry, which is where my tree is located, has the ability to search by birth dates, for instance. Does My Heritage? i do have my tree loaded there as well. I’d like to be able to search through categories like that. Does anybody know a program that sorts like that?

The second roadblock is that farther out, my tree is still a little too sketchy or spotty to do a good job, especially when I would have to do it individual by individual.

What I can hope for is that one day I can make a good guess as to the identity of this baby. As you probably have experienced yourself, looking like Grandpa or mom is meaningless. My mother and her next door neighbor/good friend are often mistaken for sisters and they do look so much alike, much more than my mother does with her own sister. Mom and her friend just explain to people that they’re both “Dutch” hah. The reality is that we can compare unidentified photos with other photos to search for exact features, but when a child grows and becomes an adult some of those features can change remarkably. We can’t even begin to compare unidentified photos with family branches by examining features.

BUT WAIT.

Belatedly I see something that I didn’t notice before. In the same album there is a portrait of another child which has the exact same advertising from the photographer on the backside. The “setting” looks the same with the same chair. I suspect these are photos of siblings that were taken at the same time.

With the two photos, here side by side, it becomes important to narrow in on the genders and the ages because with the answer to those questions, I might be able to figure it out.

At this point, I really need help figuring out if these are boys or girls or one of each. My feeling is that the older child is a girl and the younger a boy, but that is a guess. And what age would you say each one is? I suspect that if they were considered babies they would be wearing white dresses, no matter what the gender, but the littler one certainly looks young enough for the white dress treatment, so that’s a little confusing. In a word, help!

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The last fill-in-the-gaps couple I wrote about was Teunis and Jacoba Paak, the parents of Alice Paak DeKorn. Today I am writing about the parents of Alice’s husband, Richard DeKorn. He was born to Boudewijn and Johanna (Remine) DeKorn in the Netherlands.

Richard’s father Boudewijn (Dutch for Benjamin) DeKorn was born on June 11, 1816, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, to Jan DeKorne, 23 years old, and Geertruijd Engelse, who was 27. Boudewijn married Johanna Remine on May 21, 1847, in their hometown. Johanna was born in Kapelle to Dirk Gillesz Remijnse, 30 years old, and Adriana Krijger, also 30.

The couple had four children in 11 years: first born Geertruit died as an infant, but then Richard was born in 1851 and Maria in 1855. The fourth, Adriana, called Jennie, was not born in the Netherlands.

The family of four traveled to America on a sailing vessel which left April 13, 1856 and arrived at Kalamazoo June 22, 1856. The voyage was bad and long, and Richard and Mary, their children, stated it took 90 days. They located in Zeeland, Michigan, for a few years.

Eventually, the family moved to Kalamazoo, although I am not sure when they made that move. They were in Ottawa County (Zeeland) in the 1860 census, but when Johanna passed away in 1864, they may have been living in Kalamazoo because she is buried there.

Now we come to a big gap. I do not have a death record for Johanna because 1864 was a little before Kalamazoo started recording deaths. I don’t know exactly when she died, and I am using her headstone to give me a date. Maddeningly, it doesn’t even give her name! Just “MOTHER” and “WIFE OF B. DEKORN.” Good grief.

You know what else would be nice to have on Johanna? An obituary. I don’t have one for Boudewijn either, and I suspect that there might not be one. After all, Boudewijn was a laborer when he lived in the Netherlands. He didn’t live long enough in Zeeland to have built up a business. Then in Kalamazoo I’m not sure what he did. Since his son Richard became a very successful contractor, though, it is possible that he got his start from his father. So if Boudewijn did have a business in Kalamazoo, there might be an obituary for him, although not necessarily for Johanna since she obviously died soon after their move to Kalamazoo.

Boudewijn died on 1 July 1875 in Kalamazoo. I know this because Wayne Loney found the death record although the name was severely mangled. And the condition of the record is very faded. I tried to enhance it as much as possible. His entry is the 8th from the bottom. On the right page his son Richard’s name is clearly visible. Also his age at death of 59 and his job as laborer. But I really cannot read the cause of death, unfortunately.

I am hoping to get immigration and naturalization information on the couple from Amberly at some point. That will be very helpful as it will also provide the immigration for Richard and possibly a clue about his naturalization.

According to Yvette Hoitink, there was a fire in Kapelle in 1877 that destroyed the military records for that town, so there is no practical way to find out if Boudewijn served in the military.

So I will always be missing his military, and I am missing obits for both husband and wife. And hoping for the I&N. I have something on Boudewijn that I do not have for Johanna. A photo!

Pretty cool to have a pic of your 3x great! Is that some sort of plaid I am seeing on his shirt or am I imagining that? I was thinking that this was a reprint made a few decades after the original was made. Or even a reprint of a reprint. Could the original have been a tintype?

I keep going back to look through the photo album of Remine/Paak photos, thinking that if there was a photo of Johanna it would be in there, but nobody seems to be the right age In the right time period. It’s possible that in this portrait Boudewijn had already lost Johanna, in fact, since she died when he was 48.

I’ve started using paintings as portraits on my Ancestry tree for direct ancestors that I do not have photos for. I am also using a photo of baby feet for children who died before age five, and a photo of the back of a girl’s head with braids for girls who died before age 18. I haven’t had to find one for boys yet. Any ideas what to use?

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This past week I organized my files and folders and Ancestry account for my 2x great-grandparents, Richard and Alice (Paak) DeKorn. I have written so much about them. He was a building contractor and mason in Kalamazoo who built many important buildings in town. She was the hero who ran into a burning home to help the family next door and sustained serious burns. Read about it here. She is the face of my chapbook Kin Types.

For Richard I noticed that I once again had not yet received the transfer of management on Findagrave to me. And because Alice died in her fifties, Richard married a second time–and I do not have the documents relating to that marriage. I contacted my buddy Grady who is related to Richard’s second wife, Jennie Jansen Sootsman. He gave me a transcription of the marriage record. When things start moving again, I will ask Wayne Loney if he can get a copy

For Alice I cannot find the 1870 census, which would have been just after she and her father and siblings arrived in the United States. I also do not have her obituary, although there were a lot of newspaper articles relating to her injuries in the fire.

Amberly is working on immigration and naturalization for both of these ancestors.

In this photograph, Alice is seated in the front center with her hands clasped together. Richard is seated directly behind her. On the left side of the photograph is their daughter Jennie (Janna) and son-in-law Lou Leeuwenhoek. I believe the other man is Richard Remine and his children are seated with Alice Leeuwenhoek, the daughter of Jennie and Lou. Richard was married to Alice’s sister Mary, so the children were actually first cousins of Jennie, not of Alice.

It would be nice to have a little relationship calculator on hand.

I actually have a good many more photos of Richard than of Jennie because she died in 1908 before most of the family picture-taking began in earnest.

Stay safe, everyone. I have been working really hard on business matters pertaining to the Thing going on (not fun being self-employed in this chaos), so I’m not going to write more here now. My focus regarding genealogy right now is to get as many gaps filled and everything organized and to give my daughter a copy of what I get done as I get it done.

 

 

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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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As I mentioned two weeks ago, both my maternal great-grandmothers were born in the United States, but their husbands, my great-grandfathers, were immigrants. At that time I discussed my maternal grandmother’s mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder. Today I will talk about my maternal grandfather’s mother, Cora Zuidweg. I wrote some anecdotes about her life in 2012 at this link: Cora DeKorn Zuidweg

I’ve posted this photo before, but it is my favorite one of her, along with the portrait that Val colorized. That’s her only child, my grandfather, with her.

Cora was born Jacoba Wilhelmina DeKorn on 2 January 1875, something I did not realize until I had been researching for a couple of years.

When I looked for gaps in my documents for Cora, I noticed that while I had her baptismal record, I did not have a birth record. There actually was a birth record, which is pretty remarkable, but she was listed under the name Minnie. I suspect that she was given that nickname by her parents as a baby (from Wilhelmina), but that she outgrew it at a young age.

Wayne Loney was able to get me this copy of the birth record.

I do have Cora’s other records: census records, obituary, death record, marriage record. and headstone. Here is her obituary:

I have asked to manage her page at Findagrave, and I also submitted a request for edits. I just don’t hear back from these people, and I guess I’m going to have to start to be get loud about it if I don’t get any satisfaction about my family’s pages.

Cora might be the last of my “easy ones,” as it has been more difficult to research my other ancestors.

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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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The last living DeKorn (carrying the name) from the Boudewijn (1816-1873) and Johanna (Remijnse) (1817-1864) family has passed away at age 97.

Philip Eugene DeKorn was one of two children of Joseph DeKorn. Philip’s brother Richard died in 2004. Joseph, my grandfather’s uncle, took many of the photos I shared on this blog. Phil is the last of Kalamazoo contractor and brick mason Richard DeKorn’s grandchildren to pass.

I would like to share Phil’s obituary today because it shows he was one of the “Greatest Generation,” serving in WWII in the U.S. Navy. The obituary is available at this link.

DeKorn, Philip 8/4/1922 – 9/6/2019 Grand Rapids Philip Eugene DeKorn was born in the community of Fairview in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 4, 1922, the son of Joseph Peter and Christina (Blandford) DeKorn. He passed away September 6, 2019 at the age of 97. Philip attended and graduated from Fairview School, Union High School and Grand Rapids Junior College. On August 28, 1942, he enlisted in the US Navy during World War II. He took naval training at the US Naval Center, Great Lakes, IL and US Radar School at Virginia Beach, VA. He was then assigned to the USS Uhlmann (DD607) and served as a radar operator in CIC (Combat Information Center) until the end of World War II. CIC had direct radio and radar communication with other US Third Fleet ships. After World War II, he completed his college education and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration in 1950. He then worked as a sales representative for the Mennen Company and Revere Copper and Brass Inc. On January 5, 1968, Phil married Marianne Haadsma and they were together for almost 50 years. Marianne passed away October 2, 2017. Phil was also predeceased by his older brother, Richard B. DeKorn, who passed away on June 20, 2004. Phil is survived by his brother-in-law Roger Haadsma, his nieces and nephews and their families: Gayle (Jay) Polverelli, Jim (Luanne) Haadsma, Luanne (Larry) Dewey, Mari Dawley, Gail Sherry, Sue (Kjell) Haadsma-Svensson, Bob (Jen) Haadsma, Ken (Judy) Glupker, and Kathy (Ken) Basoff. The family would like to thank Theresa Johnson for all the special care she gave Phil throughout his final years. The family would also like to thank Gloria from Kindred Hospice for her caring work. The family will greet relatives and friends Monday, September 9, 2019 at the Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 1601 Post Dr. NE from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Funeral services will follow at 12:00. Inurnment will be at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials can be made to the General Fund at First Reformed Church, Holland Michigan or Kindred Hospice, Grand Rapids. To share a photo, memory and sign the online guestbook please visit www.stegengafuneralchapel.com

Published in Grand Rapids Press on Sept. 8, 2019

Like his father before him, Phil graduated from the University of Michigan. Although he never had children, Phil still had a close family through the members of his wife Marianne’s family and through his brother Richard’s family.

Rest in peace, Philip Eugene DeKorn. Thank you for your service, sir.

Phil DeKorn at the plaque for the Kalamazoo State Hospital water tower built by his grandfather Richard DeKorn

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As a side note, you can see that two of Phil’s nieces are named Luanne, spelling it correctly as I do . . . .

In case you wonder how I go about deciding when to post a recent passing on my blog, all I can tell you is I decide on a case by case basis. When my father died, I posted because so many knew he had been sick for months and it seemed strange not to say anything. But during the past few years I have also lost two dear aunts and a cousin, and I did not post about these because their deaths were more sudden and shocking. Our grief, individually and as a family, felt too raw to write about them so soon.

Here are a few more photos of a day Phil spent with his wife Marianne and his cousin’s children, my mom Janet, my father Rudy, Uncle Don, and Aunt Jean at the water tower.

Don, Jean, Phil, Marianne, Rudy, Janet

 


 

The following (sorry it’s angled) shows a layout of the hospital with the water tower in the center. I will have to ask Uncle Don or Mom to chime in here. Is that how the layout really was at one time? It looks like the classic “Panopticon” that Michel Foucault wrote about–a tall tower to watch the prisoners, er, patients. But as we know this is a water tower, not meant to be a guard tower.

 

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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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My maternal grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, was born in 1912 on this day.  This is one of my favorite photographs of Grandma and me.

I’m about five and wearing my favorite violet striped dress. This was a time in my life that I was spending a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house because I went to kindergarten across the street at McKinley school and stayed the rest of the day at their house while my parents were working. In this photo, it is dark outside, and I think this photograph was taken at night when others were in the living room. I associate this photo with eating ice cream that particular night . . . .

Happy birthday, Grandma. You are very missed.

Last week I posted two old photos and didn’t have a lot of information about them. With the help of some people on a Facebook group, especially intrepid FindaGrave photographer Jeff Phillips, the two little kids have been identified as Alice Leeuwenhoek and Harold Remine. I’ve written about both of them many times.  My mother reminded me that yesterday was Alice’s birthday (1897).

The house in the other photograph has probably been identified as well.

Here it is at the address 110 Balch Street.

That is it with the fresh coat of gray paint. Now look to our right and you just can just the dark brown brick corner house between the trees. That is the Richard DeKorn house I’ve written about so much. This gray house is next door to that house.

Guess who lived in that house (where the four boys are standing) in those days? Take a look:

 

 

Yes, the Leeuwenhoeks lived there, right next to Alice’s maternal grandparents Richard and Alice, and possibly her aunt (my great-grandmother Cora and her husband Adrian who lived with Cora’s parents). It appears that sometime between 1900 and 1910 Cora and Adrian moved from a home on the other side of Balch to her parents’ house. It’s possible that Richard owned that home at 121 Balch, but I have not investigated land records.

Any ideas on how to go about doing so?

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