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Archive for the ‘Waldeck’ Category

I have a lot of catchup to do on my fill-in-the-gaps project, so I thought I would share with you a link that Jose sent me of the Kalamazoo State Hospital.

I’ve written about the hospital a couple of times in the past. First there were my posts about my grandmother’s uncle Fred Waldeck. He was severely brain-injured in an accident and, subsequently, lived out the rest of his life at the State Hospital.

Fred Waldeck Mystery Solved

Waldeck Family Research with Fred’s Death Certificate

My research and writing on Fred Waldeck’s wife Caroline featured in Broad Street Magazine

Then more recently, I wrote about my great-great grandmother’s sister Annie Paak Verhulst. I discovered that she passed away at the State Hospital, and the best guess is that she went there as so many had because she was elderly with health issues and it was the only place that could take care of her. There were no nursing homes in those days.

So what did this place, the Kalamazoo State Hospital, look like? Here is the link Jose sent.

PHOTOGRAPHIC RECONSTRUCTION OF KALAMAZOO STATE HOSPITAL

This is really an amazing project. Enjoy.

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Introducing my BRICK WALL of genealogy:

My great-great-grandparents, Gottfried and Alwine (Noffke) Waldeck. Gottfried was 1841 – 1913. Alwine 1846 – 1912.

Back row:  Fred (in a terrible accident and lived out the rest of his life at the Kalamazoo State Hospital) married Caroline Meier, Ada (Helene/Lena Ida) married Frederick Steeby, Anna (who was married, but I still need to iron out this “mess”–she was at least married to William Alexander Stewart), August (died in WWI, a bachelor)

Front row: Gottfried, Clara (my great-grandmother), Alwine, Godfrey married Anna Ruehs

There were other children who died young, but exactly who they were needs sorting out.

The family story in America may have started with Alwine’s older brother August. I wrote about him here: Pioneer of the Family

I have written many posts about my great-grandmother Clara and have also written about Fred and his accident and his wife and her family in other posts (search Waldeck).

Gaps might be a ridiculous word for what I have missing from this couple’s lives. I do not know where in Prussia either of them were born, although if the information is correct about August, it is possible that Alwine was born in Pomerania. However, together, the couple seem to have lived in West Prussia, where they may have worked on a large estate or two. I do have birth and/or baptism records for several of their children, but I can’t read them well enough and the place names for Prussia are soooo confusing. I will need help with this portion to create a timeline of locations.

If you are not familiar with Prussia, East Prussia was the province furthest east, but West Prussia is just to the west of East Prussia–still in what is now Poland and on the Baltic Sea. Pomerania, also on the Baltic, is just to the west of West Prussia. Posen is to the south of these provinces.

I don’t have a marriage record for the couple, so I don’t know which area of Prussia they were married–or how they might have met.

Gottfried and Alwine did arrive into Baltimore from Germany in 1882, but I don’t have any other immigration and naturalization records.

I do not have a headstone for either, but have put in a request through Findagrave. I also requested management of their memorials, but have not received a reply. I can only hope for the kindness of the current holder because at 2x greats, they are one removed from my right to manage their memorials. Hmm, but my mother could do it!

I don’t have any military information for Gottfried. Or an obituary.

So what in the world DO I have then (besides anything mentioned above)?

*Gottfried’s death certificate: he died of chronic nephritis. His place of birth is gibberish; nobody has ever heard of such a place.

*Alwine’s death certificate; she died of interstitial nephritis. Her place of birth is just listed as Germany. Notice they both had a form of nephritis and died a year apart.

*Land ownership map in Caledonia, 1894.

*1900 and 1910 census records. The 1890 doesn’t exist, and Gottfried died a few years after the 1910. When there are only one or two census records it really brings home how many of these immigrants only lived 10-20-30 years in this country before dying.

*I know it’s above, but let’s face it, having a photograph of your 2xgreats is pretty cool :).

*Alwine’s obituary, although it’s very limited–and spells her first name Albina. (Alwine is pronounced Alveena)

Finally, I would like to post the property map. The parcel owned by Gottfried is near the bottom, in the center darkened area. His land is a small piece. Do you see the darkened section in the middle at the bottom? His parcel is second from the farthest right (of the darkened section) and the second from the bottom. Although Gottfried and Alwine’s son-in-law, my great-grandfather Charles Mulder, eventually owned a lovely farm in Caledonia, 1894 was long before he purchased his property.

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Both my maternal great-grandmothers were born in the United States, but their husbands, my great-grandfathers, were immigrants. First I will discuss my maternal grandmother’s mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder.

I lack a birth record for Clara. Michigan did not insist on birth records for many years, so my inability to find anything about her birth could be a victim of that bureaucratic lapse. Because I don’t have a birth record I do not know for sure if she even had a middle name. Her death record says NONE for middle name.

Clara’s married name, Clara Mulder, is extremely common in Michigan. Mulder is a Dutch name akin to the English Miller. Her parents and all siblings were Prussian immigrants, but she took on her husband’s Dutch name when she got married.

I’ve posted quite a bit about Clara. You can read more about Clara at My Great-Grandmother’s Lifetime of Service.

Clara was a farm wife, which is a sort of business person, and so she did not have a job which earns a salary. Since Social Security was instituted in 1935, when she was 51, she might have gotten a social security number if she had needed it for work. I do not believe she ever got her social security number. That is unfortunate because she might have applied with her place of birth (the town) and a middle name.

I already have her death certificate, which I have posted in the past, and census reports for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. There is no 1890 census, so my records for the census are complete for Clara. I did sponsor Clara’s page at Findagrave, but I do not manage the profile, as I do for Grandma and Grandpa. I also have Clara’s obituary (see the link above for the obit) and her headstone, which she shares with her husband–but I did not have these items loaded to my Ancestry account. I remedied that problem.

While I would love to find more information on Clara, I really could not add anything at this point, so I decided to request to manage Clara’s profile on Findagrave as my weekly task.

Clara is the third ancestor whose records I have combed for gaps, and I have updated my Ancestry records. However, I still have not transferred these records to another tree OR cleaned up my computer files for these individuals. Going to take the opportunity of a light job here to go do that! Hope the rest of your week goes very well!

Clara and Charles Mulder

50th wedding anniversary

 

 

 

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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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At the end of this post, I wrote an update.

Instead of griping about not having time to do genealogy research, I’ve decided to change my attitude. I am so blessed with so many old family photos, that my time is best spent right now trying to identify the photos!

Today’s photo is labelled, but it still presents a few problems. The date is 1951. I don’t know the location, but believe that the location is probably in southwest Michigan. The names are Cora, Fred, Godfrey, Anna.

Waldeck surname

Godrey has to be Gottfried Waldeck (Jr), born 18 December 1880 somewhere in “Germany”–most likely Prussia. He was married to Anna Christine Ruehs. She was born 2 December 1882 (same birthday as my mom!). My mother knew them as Uncle Godfrey and Aunt Anna. I’ve written about him before–how he drove his tractor down the block to work in his fields when he was blind. How I saw him do just that.

I asked Mom, and she confirmed that the two on our right are definitely Uncle Godfrey and Aunt Anna.

I like the photo without the orange a bit better.

But who are Cora and Fred? Godfrey had a brother, Fred. He’s the one who lived at the state hospital. He had brain damage from a terrible accident that happened when he was young and newly married with a young child. Fred was born in 1869 and died in 1953, so he would have been 81 in 1951. You can read more about him at Waldeck Family Research. This man does look the right age, but would he have been in good shape like this? Dressed up in a nice suit and tie?

Take a look at this photo of one of the old Kalamazoo State Hospital photos. It could be the building behind them.

Here is the family photo that includes Fred as a young man. Fred is back row, left side. Godfrey is front row, right side.

I am hoping that I can get verification that this is, indeed, Fred Waldeck who lived at the State Hospital. In comparing the younger Fred to the older Fred in the photos, I do think it is the same person.

If I could find out who Cora was that would be even more amazing!

UPDATE:

Thanks to Linda Stufflebean from http://www.emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/ I was able to put together the pieces of who is in the photo and who is probably holding the camera.

All along I have been imagining Fred as abandoned at the “asylum” all those years. After all, his son was still almost a baby when Fred was injured. His wife Caroline Meir had to work for a farmer and leave her son Edward with her mother in Grand Rapids. Eventually she became a nurse and lived with her mother and with Edward. Caroline probably worked very hard her whole life and raised Edward to become a pastor. She passed away in 1946.

This new “find,” the photo identified as Cora, Fred, Godrey, and Anna, 1951, shows that the family visited Fred. Cora is Fred’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Edward who must be taking the photograph. So on this day in 1951, Fred’s son and daughter-in-law, and his only surviving brother, Godfrey, and Godfrey’s wife Anna visited Fred who was dressed up in a suit and tie for the occasion. The only close family members not in the photograph, in fact, are my great-grandparents, Clara and Charles Mulder. Clara was Fred’s only surviving sister by 1951.

Little tidbit of info: Fred was to die less than two years later, in January 1953. Clara died mere months after her brother, on 6 September 1953.

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My maternal grandmother’s mother’s family emigrated from somewhere in Prussia. Ancestry has further refined some of the ethnicity findings, and now they are showing me with 6.1% Eastern European (this has been there in varying amounts both here and on 23andme from the beginning). What is different is that Ancestry now believes that this small portion of my ancestors came specificially from an area right around and including Krakow. Their prediction is considered “strong.”

None of my ancestors were supposedly Polish, but approximately 12.5% were Prussians living in an area that is now considered Poland. They spoke German. The descendants of ancestors who stayed behind in Europe were probably relocated after WWII when the Poles expelled the Prussians. Some Prussians also fled the area on their own. I find this an interesting fact of history. I studied history throughout college and even did some graduate work in history, yet I never learned this information until I was researching my own family history. Have we swept the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans under the carpet because it came during the complete revelation of the extent of Nazi atrocities? Was it “payback” for what the Nazis did?

What might this Krakow DNA result mean?

I don’t know!

I started to go through the calculations and comparisons with my mother’s DNA again, but that really leads nowhere as they still have not refined things enough. For example, they haven’t found Krakow in my mother’s results. I checked my father’s just to see, and he has zero Eastern European DNA, so all this EE I have comes from Mom’s family. Interestingly, both my parents have DNA from Norway and Sweden, and mine shows up as all Swedish, but we know that means very little. What all this can mean is that Krakow is probably a clue to the Prussians.

More importantly, can this DNA result help me find my Prussians back in the days when they lived in Prussia?

I had it figured out that my Prussians might have come from Schwetzkow, Pommern (Pomerania), Prussia, based upon one record that I found that might apply to one of my Noffke relatives.

Where is Krakow in relationship to Schwetzkow? Krakow is at the south end of Poland, very near the border with the Czech Republic. It’s about 432 miles south of Schwetzkow (which was in Sweden at one point, although it’s on the continent).  I guess Krakow is just another clue I have to stick in the back of my mind for possible later use, I guess.

Or maybe Ancestry will take away Krakow when they update their results next time. Who knows.

Here is what I would like to learn: what does Prussian DNA tend to look like? Does it look German? Because German DNA according to Ancestry is spread out in rings around what we think of as Germany today. This includes a large portion of Poland. Does it look Scandinavian? Some of Prussia was, in fact, in Sweden, as I mention above. Does it look Polish, since so much of it was on the land that later became Poland? I have not really gotten a straight answer about this from anybody. Maybe they don’t really know yet!

In the meantime, I think DNA is not going to help me find my Prussian ancestors. I need RECORDS for that. Something I still do not have.

Back to the drawing board.

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On another note, I often write about my Dutch ancestors. Here is an interesting article that relates to the first wave of Dutch immigrants to the United States. It’s about a church building in Brooklyn that is over 200 years old–the church itself, a Reformed Church, was first founded in 1677. Can a Church Founded in 1677 Survive the 21st Century?

 

 

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This is the sixth and final week that the beautiful creative nonfiction journal Broad Street magazine has published one of the pieces from my chapbook Kin Types along with documents and photographs that helped me piece together these old family stories.

The subject of the poem “Someone Else’s Story” is Caroline Meier Waldeck, the wife of my grandmother’s Uncle Fred, a German immigrant who, as a young husband and father, was hit by a streetcar and suffered severe brain damage from the accident.

You can read it here: Family Laundry: “Someone Else’s Story” by Luanne Castle

 

The first feature article is “Family Laundry: “An Account of a Poor Oil Stove Bought off Dutch Pete,” by Luanne Castle

The second feature article is Family Laundry 2: “What Came Between A Woman and Her Duties” by Luanne Castle

The third feature article is: Family Laundry: “More Burials” by Luanne Castle

The fourth is: Family Laundry: “The Weight of Smoke” by Luanne Castle

The fifth is: Family Laundry: “Half-Naked Woman Found Dead,” by Luanne Castle

An introduction to the series can be found here.  SERIES INTRODUCTION

 

 

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