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Posts Tagged ‘antique photograph’

A while back I was contacted by Lisa M. DeChano-Cook, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University about my antique photographs. She said that she and her colleague, Mary L. Brooks, were writing a book about the Kalamazoo River and were interested in photos of that subject.

The book is now published, and Lisa sent me an autographed copy. It’s a gorgeous collection of photos and information about the history of the river. If you are interested, just click through the following image of the book to order from Amazon.

They used several of my photographs. And they also found photographs in the archives at Western that were taken by grandpa’s uncle, Joseph DeKorn. In the 70s or 80s, my grandfather donated a lot of photographs and glass negatives to the archives. Notice that the one at the archives is the same photograph that I use for the header of my blog–the flood at the Water Works Bridge in 1904.

***

The above is another one from the archives. I also have a copy of this one. In fact, I posted it a year and a half ago, wondering if it was it, in fact, the Monarch Paper Mill. According to DeChano-Cook and Brooks, it is the Monarch Mill. I guess I can go back and revise that blog post. (How many times have I said that–and then how often do I do it? I need a blog assistant–any offers? haha)

This is one of the photos I sent to Lisa:

The book states:

Many farmers tried to fence in their property because they knew that the river flow would change and they could not use it as a stable boundary. In the photograph, a wire fence spans a shallow part of the Kalamazoo River. The reflection of the fence in the water makes it appear as though it is a wire pedestrian bridge.

So thrilled when blog readers relate to what they find on this blog. I always end up learning a lot!

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Last spring I posted a photo of my great-grandmother Clara Waldeck Mulder (1884-1953) that I discovered. You can find the post here. It was the first time I saw what she looked like as an older woman. Up to then, I had seen her as a bride and as a young mother.

The other day my mother sent me another old album and loose photos. Guess what? There are TWO new photos of Clara! In one of them, she is young. It’s taken before she was married–or even engaged, I am pretty sure. The photo has a little damage–a white mark across her skirt and a dark spot on her cheek. I did my best to fix the cheek, but left the white mark alone.

How old does she look here? 16-18? If so, the photo would be from around 1900-1902.

And here is another photo, this time from around 1940.

In my post My Great-Grandmother’s Lifetime of Service it’s clear that Clara was very devoted to her service groups. I wonder if this dress has something to do with a ceremony in Eastern Star or Rebekah Lodge. Any other ideas about the 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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Some of you might remember the beautiful scrapbook of photographs that I was given by a very kind stranger. It belonged to one of the two adult daughters –Rhea or Lela–of my great-great-grandfather’s sister Jennie DeKorn Culver.

At least one of the three Culvers moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle on August 20, 1918. If only one Culver moved at that time, it wasn’t long before all three were living in the state of Washington. I have not been able to figure out exactly how the move occurred–or why–but it doesn’t stop me from being fascinated with the photos.

 

Although the majority of the photographs in the album are from 1917 and 1918, this one is marked 9-4-1915. It says it is on Riverside Drive. But what are those initials after the street?

In 1910 Jennie lived with her two daughters at 59 Kalamazoo Avenue in Kalamazoo. She was a seamstress in a corset factory. Rhea was 19 years old and a stenographer in a “paper stock company.” Lela, 21, was a teacher in a public school. I would really love to find out if Lela went to Western Normal School to become a teacher.

So is this Riverside Drive in Kalamazoo or elsewhere? According to Mapquest and Google, there is a Kalamazoo Avenue in Kalamazoo, but not Drive. Both Kalamazoo Avenue and Riverside Avenue are on the east side of Kalamazoo. There’s a famous Riverside Drive in NYC. I’m going to make a guess that those initials say N. Y.–New York City. Do you agree?

And is this one of the sisters? Unfortunately, I would say NO as both sisters had narrow faces. My guess is that this is a friend of the scrapbook owner.

On a slightly related subject, I just wanted to say:

CONGRATULATIONS to the WMU Broncos!!!

They are undefeated this season!!!! This is my alma mater. This is the alma mater of so many of my relatives. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want to get hyped up, watch the video and ROW THE BOAT!

 

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OK, we’re going to try this again. You might have seen my post last week about this–which I subsequently deleted when it became obvious I’d missed a clue.

My great-great-grandfather’s sister Jennie DeKorn Culver (divorced) and her two adult daughters moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle at some point. All three women died there. Only Lela seems to have married–at the age of 63.

Two weeks ago, I posted the photo that gives the exact date the Culvers moved to Seattle. Here it is again with the date of August 20, 1918 written on it. One of the Culver daughters is in this photo.

 

I also posted a photo of all three Culver women–Aunt Jennie DeKorn Culver and her daughter Rhea and Lela–with some identified travelers or perhaps people seeing them off on their travels.

After much searching I did find one newspaper “jotting” that mentions the move. It was posted in the Kalamazoo Gazette on August 13, 1918.

 

Of COURSE, the mystery deepens. Why does it mention only Rhea and not her mother or sister? I can’t believe they wouldn’t be mentioned if they did, in fact, move at the same time.Maybe Rhea went with the other people in the photo? If so, when did Jennie and Lela move?

I will say that Jennie does look as if she is dressed for travel (she is the 3rd from the left). Do you agree with me? The other daughter, the one in the striped silk could be dressed for travel–or not.

In 1918, Rhea (born 1890) was 28 years old. She was single and a grown woman. I wonder if she went with any of the Culver family or she went with a religious group. Lela was also single and 30 that year. Jennie was 61. I will be 61 this summer. I can’t imagine making that move with my two daughters if I didn’t know anybody else in Seattle.

Also, this new information sheds light on that photo of the young Culver woman with the older woman (above). Maybe that is Rhea and she IS going with that woman to Seattle.

This is where it gets even more confusing.

In the 1920 census, Rhea, stenographer, is living in Kalamazoo with a cousin and the cousin’s husband, Charles Pierce, and daughter! The cousin is Cora DeSmit Pierce, the daughter of Jennie’s sister Mary. WHAT? So Rhea left for Seattle on her own and came back to Kalamazoo? Homesick?

Cora DeSmit Pierce

But wait.

Also in the 1920 census, Jennie and Lela (teacher) were living in Seattle! So Rhea moved to Seattle, according to the paper. It doesn’t say she joined her family there. It sounds as if she is the first Culver to move to Seattle. But how did the others end up in Seattle and Rhea NOT by 1920?

Can this get any more confusing? I will have to study the photo album more to see if I can find any other clues in there. I would like to examine yearly city directories in both Seattle and Kalamazoo, but even if I could, it still might not divulge what happened.

What do you think? Did Rhea move first and the rest of her family come later? Any ideas on where to research next?

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Last week I was given the most wonderful identification of the church that I thought was in Seattle circa 1918. It turned out to be First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1917!!!

The young lady in plaid is a Culver, I’m sure. I don’t know who the other lady is. All dressed up for travel. What does the caption say? STARTING FOR SEATTLE AUG. 20, 1918. Hah, you can’t ask for anything better than that in genealogy and family history research. The actual answer–to the day–complete with new outfits and a Gladstone bag in the hand of the older woman. Look it up. It was named after Prime Minister Gladstone, and it’s a very specific and stylish type of luggage. I know this because . . . ta dum . . . I used to own a luggage store. Look at how crisp their clothing was. These poor orphanage girls, daughters of a woman who had to figure out how to make a living for her family of divorce, looks like they are doing pretty well. No idea why . . . .

Here are other photos. Tell me: what does it look like. Are these other people traveling with the Culver women? If so, why are they going to Seattle? Are they all planning to settle there? They seem to be “of a group” because the man is carrying a bag. But what if he’s holding the lady’s Gladstone for her? Maybe they aren’t all going.  I’m confusing myself. What I do believe is that that is Jennie to our right (and their left) of her plaid-skirted daughter. And I think the boldly decorated young lady on plaid’s right (to us she is farthest left) is the other Culver girl. 

 

Remember that this date is before the end of WWI, which ended in November.

While I have solved the mystery of when the Culver women left for Seattle, I still do not know WHY or WITH WHOM.

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