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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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

I will continue to move forward with updates about my fill in the gaps project. If anything, the pandemic has reinforced to me that I need to get the rudiments of my family history completed so that I can get digital copies to other family members.

So I moved on to Grandpa’s Zuidweg grandfather, Johannes Zuidweg, born 23 December 1842 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands.

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

I have these records: birth, marriage, criminal, death, obituary, 1910 census, headstone, photo, and I manage his memorial page on Findagrave.

Did Johannes serve in the Dutch military? I did ask Yvette to research this question, and this is her summary reply:

Johannes Zuijdweg, born 1842. He was found fit for duty and designated to serve.
Unfortunately, the enlistment registers did not identify the regiment he served in, so his
military records could not be located.

What a shame! I would love to know more about his military service, especially in light of the disturbing news that he served two months in jail for theft after the accidental death of son Lucas. I discuss this crime in the two blog posts above.

Here is Yvette’s more detailed response:

Johannes Zuijdweg in militia registration, 1861
Source: Goes, lists of men registered for the National Militia, levies 1851-1862, 1851 no. 8,
Johannes Zuijdweg; call no. 1438, archives of the city of Goes, 1851-1919, Goes Municipal
Archives, Goes; scans provided by Goes Municipal Archives.
Abstract:
No. 8, Johannes Zuijdweg, born Goes 23 December 1842.
Physical description: 1.601 m, long face, narrow forehead, grey eyes, ordinary nose and
mouth, round chin, brown hair and eyebrows, no noticeable marks.

Son of Adriaan [Zuijdweg] and Johanna Mulder
Occupation: “kruidewerker” [spice worker, probably: grocer], father deceased, mother maid
Informant: himself.
Johannes Zuijdweg in militia enlistment, 1861
Source: Goes, lists of men registered for the National Militia, levies 1854-1862, 1861 no. 36,
Johannes Zuijdweg; call no. 1484, archives of the city of Goes, 1851-1919, Goes Municipal
Archives, Goes; scans provided by Goes Municipal Archives.
Abstract:
No. 36, Johannes Zuijdweg, born Goes 23 December 1842.
Height: 1.601 m
Son of Adriaan [Zuijdweg] and Johanna Mulder.
Occupation: “kruidenwerker” [grocer], father deceased, mother maid
Informant: himself
Lot number 59
Designated to serve.
Regiment: [blank]
These registers show that Johannes Zuijdweg was found fit for duty and designated to serve.
Unfortunately, the register does not indicate which regiment he was in, so his military record could
not be located.

As far as Johannes’ immigration and naturalization information, I am awaiting the completion of the project Amberly is undertaking for me. He only lived in the United States for ten years before his death (1901-1911), so I think it’s unlikely that he was naturalized.

My immigrant great-great-grandmother Jennie Zuidweg knitted socks for the military during WWI.

Like her we can help by sewing masks for healthcare workers and first responders. My son is a manager for Providence, the third largest healthcare system in the United States. They have issued a challenge: they need 100 million masks and want us to make them.

Providence 100 Million Masks

I actually got this idea from José on his blog at How to Make Face Masks. I tried to reblog his post, but it didn’t work for some reason. So I wrote my own.

If you make masks for Providence you can pick up kits to make 100 masks. Providence is located in California, Washington, Oregon, and Montana. Some of these other ideas require you already having or else obtaining the supplies. I saw a friend chatting on Facebook about needing elastic, although she had the fabric.

We’re all in this together!

Stay safe, my friends. XOXO

I am going to avoid the elephant in the room in this post. You know, the Thing that has taken over our lives. But let’s go back to family history and just pretend for a few minutes that everything is normal.

So far I have searched for gaps in my immediate maternal ancestors going back through the great-grandparents.  From that point on, this is what I have been up to. I am bolding the questions I have in case anyone can answer.

  • All my Findagrave memorials through great-grandparents (direct line only) are completed for me and through grandparents for my husband. This means that I have sponsored them and now manage the memorials and can make appropriate edits and additions.
  • I have requested management of my maternal great-great-grandparents memorials from the current managers. There were 8. Almost immediately the manager of Peter and Nellie Mulder turned it over to me. That was so kind. I would have thanked him or her, but the person is not accepting messages at Findagrave. I am waiting to hear on the other six.
  • I requested management of my father’s paternal grandmother who was the first of my grandfather’s branch to die in the United States, and very quickly the manager transferred management to me. I recognized that it was a man I have corresponded with over the family on Ancestry. His wife is related to the branch, but is not a direct descendant of my great-grandmother. I was able to thank him. I already manage both paternal grandparents and my paternal grandmother’s parents. That means that I manage memorials for the all the paternals that are buried in this country.
  • I am making folders on my computer and putting docs on Ancestry for my ancestors on my father’s side, although not posting about them. Have my grandparents done so far. Need to keep moving backwards.
  • Amberly is working on immigration and naturalizations for all my ancestors who immigrated to this country.  I have some of the research findings now.
  • Yvette is working on the Dutch military records going back to my 3x greats. I have some of these research findings, as well.
  • I need 1920 census record for my paternal grandfather and 1900 census record for my paternal grandmother. I’ve searched for their other family members, but can’t find these entries. How certain are we that everyone is in the census?
  • Another question: I can’t find a social security number for my paternal grandmother. She worked until the 1950s (60s?) so why not?

Yvette Hoitink was able to find the military records for my great-grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg (Adriaan Zuijdweg), born 1871 in Goes.

This was particularly exciting for me because of the photograph. Here is a summary of what Yvette discovered:

He entered the 3rd regiment infantry on 11 May 1891. On 2 November 1891, he was promoted to corporal. On 30 July 1892 he was sent on grand leave. He did not fulfill his military duties but emigrated before his service was completed. He was registered as a deserter on 7 December 1893.

This is what Yvette explained about the “grand leave.”

Military service was five years. Typically, this consisted of eighteen months of active service followed by grand leave. At the end of their service, they were called back up for final training and then received their passport of fulfilled service. People who emigrated during grand leave were considered deserters and were registered in the police journal.

Here is the more detailed account of Adriaan’s military service.

ADRIAAN ZUIJDWEG
Posited: Adriaan did not marry in the Netherlands, so there are no marriage supplements. Since he emigrated, it is possible he went before completing his service.
Algemeen Politieblad 1894 Source: Algemeen Politieblad (1894), p. 555, entry 591, Adriaan Zuijdweg.
Translation
591. Adriaan Zuijdweg, soldier-corporal in the 3rd regiment infantry, born in Goes (Zeeland) 3 Jan. 1871, height 1.672 meters, long face, high forehead, blue eyes, small nose and mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, deserted 7 December.
7

This shows that Adriaan Zuijdweg was listed as a deserter in the police journal. He deserted on 7 December 1893. He would have been 22 years old, which suggests he had finished basic training and left while on grand leave.
Military record of Adriaan Zuijdweg Source: 3rd Regiment Infantry (Netherlands), muster roll of petty officers and men, 1890-1891, no. 80475, Adriaan Zuijdweg; digital film 008480935, FamilySearch (ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C39V-FQ7G-B : accessed 10 March 2020).
Abstract:
Number 80475. Adriaan Zuijdweg Father: Johannes [Zuijdweg], mother Jennegien Bomhoff Both Goes, 3 January 1871. Physical description upon arrival: 1.62 m, long face, high forehead, blue eyes, small nose and mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, no noticeable marks. On 11 May 1891 recruited as part of the levy of 1891 under number 40. On 30 July 1892 on grand leave [blank] returned [blank] on grand leave] Promoted to soldier-corporal 2 November 1891
On 7 December 1893 removed as deserter because not responding to being called to duty.
This confirms he did not return from grand leave and was marked as a deserter.

Very interesting that he left before completing his military duty. But such a long period of service for a young man eager to get on with his life. After all, this was not voluntary service, but the LUCK OF THE DRAW, much like our own draft (when we’ve had a draft).

So let’s look at Adriaan’s timeline. He did not return to duty on 7 December 1893. He seems to have shown up in the United States in 1893.

On 4 April 1894, his only brother Lucas was killed in an accident by falling on a ship’s anchor, so Adriaan was already in the United States. Thus, it seems to me that the reason he left the Dutch Army and the Netherlands was to begin a new life in the  United States. He was the first in his family. Eventually his parents and then sister and brother-in-law followed. They all settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Because Adriaan lived a reputable life in Kalamazoo and raised an upstanding son, my grandfather, I don’t view him as a military deserter. But maybe the Dutch viewpoint would be different.

I will be moving forward–I mean backward!–to other ancestors in my efforts to fill in the gaps. However, I’ve been gone for awhile, and I haven’t had a chance to do any research.

That said, Amberly did find records for me, and I will be posting about the results in the future. Also, the social security app I ordered for Charles Mulder arrived, but it did not give me any information I didn’t already have. The date on the application is 21 November 1955. Since Great-Grandpa was born in 1885, why would he apply at that late date for his social security number?

Ever so often I have wondered if being left-handed, as I am, is genetic, as I had been told. My mother isn’t left-handed, and neither was my father. But my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, was left-handed. I get my long-term memory and storytelling from him. I am good at math, and I believe he was, as well. So we have a lot in common.

Grandpa Adrian Zuidweg with my son Marc

Apparently, they have discovered the gene that causes left-handedness, although it’s not a cut-and-dried case of who gets to be left-handed, as it is with right-handers.

For me, the most interesting article about left-handedness is one that argues that the Netherlands has the highest percentage of left-handers in the world. I’m not presenting this as “gospel,” but it is fun. Click here or click on the image:

I read one article that insists that there is an environmental component to handedness, as if it isn’t innate. Trust me, my hand preference was completely innate. With two right-handed parents and no siblings until I was eight years old, I used the hand that came naturally to me.

Here is a very clear image of Grandpa with his cousins Dick and Phil DeKorn in the 1920s (the boys were born in 1920 and 1922). This could possibly be Long Lake in Portage, Michigan, but my family was associated with several different lakes, so it is impossible to know for sure.

Last maternal great-grandparent: Charles Mulder of Caledonia, Michigan. He was the only great-grandparent I knew–and I adored him.

Luanne and her great-grandfather Charles Mulder

Charles was born Karel Pieter Phillipus Mulder on 6 March 1885 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands. On my Ancestry page for Charles, I had posted a link to his birth record, but had not downloaded it. I now downloaded it, added it to his Ancestry page, and put it into a folder for all of his documents.

Amberly is helping me with his naturalization info. I do have a ship record (the Zandaam), so I know two-year-old Charles arrived in the U.S. with his parents and his brother Jan, a baby of one. Jan died very soon after the family immigrated.

In fact, I made the Charles folder because I had not yet done so. To that folder, I added his marriage record, death record, and all the census records that feature Charles: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. I also downloaded and added his military registrations for both WWI and WWII.

I was surprised to see that Charles had a social security number. For the sake of dotting all the Is and all that, I ordered  his application.

Charles and his wife Clara share a headstone, and I have that photograph. I added it to Ancestry and to the new folder.

I found that I had a copy of Charles’ obituary, so I added it to Ancestry and to the folder on my computer.

Reading over my great-grandfather’s obituary I was shocked to see he only lived to be 82 years old. I was about 12 when he passed away, and I remember feeling frustrated that I was not allowed to attend his funeral since I adored him. But I thought he was about  a zillion years old. No, he was elderly, but only 82. That doesn’t even seem old to me today.

Once again, I had sponsored my great-grandfather’s page on Findagrave, but am not managing it. I have submitted a request to transfer management to me, but I suspect as with the others I have mentioned before, that I have asked in the past and been ignored. We will see what happens.

 

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I’ll be taking a little blog break for a couple of weeks. Hope all is well with you and yours. I also hope that when I begin the search for gaps in my great-greats I don’t get too discouraged!