While I am making connections and doing more behind the scenes (haha, sounds important) work on the genealogy, I thought I’d share an uncleaned-up photo from the Joseph DeKorn collection. The spots are just a little extra treat. I’d love to hear ideas about the best way to get rid of them!
126 Balch Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan
The little girl behind the bench is Alice Leeuwenhoek, and the date is Thanksgiving 1907. I trust that this is Alice because Grandpa told me in the late 70s, and he knew Alice. Old writing on the back indicates the date. But is the address correct?
In the 1910 census Lambertus, Jennie, and Alice all lived at 110 Balch Street. The houses are numbered 110, 112, 120, 130, 210, 216. No number 126.
Is this the Leeuwenhoek house or not? I’m going to hazard a guess. The address written on the back of this photo is in my handwriting, which means that Grandpa gave me the address. I already suspect that the numbering was changed at some point on Burdick and Balch because the older numbers do not match to the current addresses. Maybe Grandpa gave me the address that was correct in the late 1970s, but not the address as it was in 1907.
Because of the way Alice is standing behind the bench, near the house, and alone, I think this is her own house.
The placement of this house would have been very near Richard DeKorn’s brick house at the corner of Burdick and Balch. I wrote about it in this post The Richard DeKorn House. Alice was Richard’s granddaughter as her mother Jennie was Richard’s daughter and my grandfather’s aunt. Grandpa and Alice were first cousins.
I looked on Google Maps to see what the area looks like today. 126 Balch is about the 4th house down from the DeKorn house on the corner. So, is it possible that in 1907 they lived in 126 and in 1910 they lived in 110? It’s possible because maybe Richard owned several houses on Balch Street. That would not be inconceivable. Or that he had owned the land and gave or sold parcels to family members.
Maybe all the families living on Balch street are not on the census with the Leeuwenhoeks because they weren’t home when the census taker came. That would further complicate things. All this makes me wish I had some time in Kalamazoo to get my hands on some of the property ownership records!
Still, I do feel confident that this is Alice standing in front of her house on Balch Street in 1907, and that she lived quite near her grandparents. Her grandmother, Alice Paak DeKorn, would die the following year–and Grandpa would be born.
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