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Last week I wrote a Fill in the Gaps Project post for my 3x great-grandparents, Teunis and Jacoba (Bassa) Peek/Paak.

Since the publication of that post, I have been blessed with more information about Teunis’ life. Because there is so much, I am posting all the new info here, rather than just updating that post.

Amberly was as mystified as I was by who “Perina Pick” might be. She was listed on the 1870 census in Cooper Township (Michigan) in the wife position after Teunis. Then Amberly found a Findagrave memorial which must belong to her.  PERINA PECK This page indicates she died in 1890. There is not a photo of a headstone or any other information, so this information might have come from cemetery records. Since the last name reads as Peck it seems unlikely that Teunis would have had the headstone engraved. Furthermore, she isn’t listed with the family in the 1880 census.

So who was she? An unknown relative? A housekeeper who happened to have a similar surname or took on the family surname? Amberly wondered if it had been a marriage of convenience. I questioned if he had met her on the ship to America since a mere two years after arriving he was already married.

I was almost falling asleep over my iPad when I decided to check out “Paak” on Genealogy Bank. Guess what popped up?  Several notices dated 24-30 September 1881.

 


Tannis Paak vs Priera Paak, divorce; J F Alley for complainant, T R Sherwood for defendant. I don’t know what “Chancery–Fourth Class” means to this case, but it looks to me as if Teunis was the one to file for divorce. This makes him the first direct ancestor I have ever found who went through a divorce.

Therefore, I conclude that he did indeed marry this woman at some point after arriving in the  United States (there is no marriage record in the Netherlands, where the records are much much better than the U.S. ones for the time period). That said, Perina/Priera does appear to be from the Netherlands, according to the census.

While I was in the newspaper files, I discovered a 10 February 1882 notice for a sale of farm equipment by Teunis and his son George.

 

I believe this is close to when Teunis moved from Cooper to Kalamazoo–effectively retiring. I was struck by the fact that he didn’t just farm celery, apparently, but also had cows and sheep.

You have to wonder where this left his only son George (Joost) because I think Teunis and George were in business together. There are several newspaper notices of buying and selling (especially buying) of land throughout this period. I do not know if they were all used for celery farming or for other purposes. They were generally somewhat sizable and expensive parcels.  Also, the amazing genealogy volunteer Wayne Loney discovered a map of interest. Notice the “Paak & Son.”

This is an 1890 map of Kalamazoo Twp. At the top of the page the look at “Kalamazoo” and below the Z, in section 10 where the RR tracks become closer, you will find a 10 acre plot which says Paak & Son. The road at the west edge of the property is Pitcher St. and the area is currently (and it depends) either the now defunct Checker Motors or what was the Brown Co. It has been several different paper companies and I have no longer been able to keep up with its current name. But, at one time, it became very expensive property.

If you think that this map looks remarkably like the one where Jacob Verhulst’s farm was later located (the post about Annie Paak Verhulst), you would be right. It looks like property that might have belonged to Teunis and son George Paak ended up eventually with daughter Annie and her husband Jacob.

Another fact that Wayne uncovered has to do with where Teunis is buried. Here is a map of Riverside Cemetery.

Wayne remarked: “Tannis PAAK is buried in Riverside Cemetery and is the only occupant of the entire 8 grave plot, in Section U, Plot 87. There are 7
unused graves. U,087,01 is the City of Kalamazoo’s description.”

Wow, did he buy eight graves, expecting his children to be buried near him and then nobody was buried there? That is another mystery I can try to solve by discovering where all his children were buried. I can also try to contact the cemetery to see if I can get more information.

Back to the immigration of Teunis and his family. According to an index available on Ancestry which Amberly discovered, Teunis traveled with five children to “Port Uncertain” in 1868. Five children. Not six, which is what it would be if Willempje was with them. However, I can’t take it too seriously since Teunis is indexed as age 23! He was 46. There is no wife mentioned either, which I do think is accurate. I do know that 1868 is accurate because Yvette Hoitink was able to find that information in the Dutch emigration records.

Yet another area of future research is the probate records. Wayne knows where they are and will get them when he can. WOOT! Plus, I know they are worth reading because from the time of Teunis’ death in April until March of the following year (1894) probate dragged out. I know this because there are many notices in the newspaper. My great-greats Richard and Alice DeKorn are mentioned. It will be interesting to see what property was left at the time of his death and who inherited it.

Years ago I wrote blog posts about the fire at George’s house in 1902. His wife Lucy had passed away two years previously, leaving him with five young children. At the time of the fire, George did not have funds or insurance on his home. He also had been ill and had not been working because of his health. This is only nine years after the death of “prosperous celery farmer” Teunis. I can’t wait to read the probate record! By the way, my chapbook Kin Types also has a story called “The Weight of Smoke” based on the fire at George’s house.

Additionally, Wayne gave me Teunis’ death record, which I did not have. He died of cancer of the stomach.

Although Teunis immigrated before many of my other ancestors, there are so many documents relating to his life. I suspect that eventually much of his story will be clear. I just wish I had a photograph of my 3x great-grandfather.

 

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I am moving backward in time now to my 3x great-grandparents. Three sets of my 3x greats were immigrants to the United States. For this couple, sadly, only Teunis left the Netherlands for the United States with the couple’s children. Jacoba passed away in 1865 in the couple’s hometown of Lexmond, which is in the province of Utrecht and is not part of Zeeland. I guess you could say only 2 1/2 sets immigrated.

I do not believe I have photos of Teunis and Jacoba. They were born in the 1820s, and she died before the age of 50. To supplement for that, I will post here a painting of a family in Utrecht from 1849 signed by David van der Kellen III, 1827-1895, Utrecht.

The first child of Teunis and Jacoba, Joost (later, in America, George) was born in 1850, so this is pretty close in time.

So what do I have on this couple and what am I missing?

For Teunis (or Tannes or Tennes or Thomas) and Jacoba, I have their birth records (born in 1822 and 1824). I also have their marriage record for 1848.

Yvette Hoitink was able to discover for me that Teunis was not called to the military. From his military physical description, we can see what Teunis looked like. He was a blue-eyed blond with a round face.

 

One thing I want to note about the surname is that in the Netherlands the records show Teunis with the surname Peek. Once the family was in the United States they tended more toward Paak.

There are birth records for their children, so I know that Teunis was a farmer in the Netherlands. One large gap for me is that one of their daughters, Willempje, was born in 1856, but I cannot find a death record for her in the Netherlands. Since I do not have immigration and naturalization information yet, I didn’t know if she came to the United States or passed away as a child.

In 1865, both Jacoba and Teunis’ mother passed away. Teunis brought his family to the United States in 1868, where they lived in Cooper Township for over a decade. I could not find them in the 1870 census. But I have them in the 1880 census in Cooper, where Teunis was a farmer.

Then an amazing thing happened: Amberly found an 1870 census that just has to be them, although the names are a little screwed up.

In this census record the family surname is Pick, but Willempje is listed, albeit as a male (William). However, Alice is listed as Ellis and a male. There are a lot of errors, but it’s doubtful that anybody else in Cooper Township fit the general “shape” of this family the way Teunis’ would. Keep in mind that the census taker, a man named Smith, probably didn’t understand Dutch or the Dutch accent or types of names very well. The family had only been in the country two years at the time of the census.

So this census tells me that Willempje probably did immigrate with her father and siblings, and sometimes between the 1870 and 1880 census takings, she passed away.

My great-great grandmother Alice named my great grandmother Cora after her mother Jacoba. Cora was a nickname for Jacoba. But she also named her daughter for Willempje because Cora’s middle name was Wilhelmina.  In this way Alice memorialized her sister.

The 1870 census also initiates a new mystery: who is listed in the “wife position,” keeping house for the family?! Her name was ostensibly “Perina Pick.” This names doesn’t fit a sister for Teunis, and there is no record of him remarrying in the Netherlands.

Amberly tried to find a record of Teunis becoming a naturalized citizen, but found no trace of it. I suppose it’s very likely that he did not become a United States citizen.

I am blessed to have found an obituary and a headstone for Teunis. According to his obit, he was a “prosperous celery farmer,” in a region of celery farmers. If only Jacoba had lived to be part of that success.

 

I believe there is an error in the obituary in that Anna’s last name should be Verhulst, not Van Hulst.

Sometimes I wonder how much some of my immigrant ancestors told their children about their lives in the old country. The age of Teunis on his headstone is not correct. The stone lists his age down to the number of days, and yet he wasn’t 72 or 73, but only 70!

Teunis is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo. He passed away on 24 April 1893. I have been blessed to get management of his Findagrave memorial. He must have been very brave to bring his son and five daughters to a new country and start over at the age of 46.

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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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In looking through some documents for my 3rd great grandfather Teunis Paak (or Peek), something on a document relating to one of his children caught my eye. Whenever I use the surname Paak, it could also be Peek. In fact, the history of the family in the Netherlands seems to indicate more usage of Peek, but in the United States there was more usage of Paak and Paake.

My great-great grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn, born 1852, was the oldest daughter, second oldest child. The third child was Anna Catherina or Annie, born 6 January 1855 in Lexmond, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. In 1865, their mother Jacoba Bassa Paak passed away. Three years later the family immigrated to the United States. They lived for some time in Cooper, then moved to Kalamazoo.

In this portrait is she wearing a cloth coat with a fur scarf/stole of some kind and a fur hat?

 

Although she must have been a pretty woman, Annie doesn’t seem to have married until she was 35 years old, possibly living at home with her father, a celery farmer, until she did marry on 20 March 1890. Her new husband was a fairly recent immigrant (8 years before) from the Netherlands, Jacob (possible middle name Salomon or L.) Verhulst, another celery farmer or farm worker, the grandson of a Flipse woman. You may have read my posts about the Flipse family; there are interconnections between several of the branches in my extended family. Jacob was 41. Was this his first marriage or had he been married in the Netherlands? I looked on wiewaswie, but did not find a marriage for Jacob.

Annie and Jacob did not have any children. I find them together, in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses.

Here are the locations:

1900: Kalamazoo Township (apparently farmland). The census doesn’t indicate if they owned the home or rented.

1910: North Parker Street, Kalamazoo Township (apparently farmland): I can’t find Parker Street–only Parker Avenue. I doubt that was it. I think this was rural and has changed names, but I could be wrong. The census doesn’t indicate if they owned the home or rented.

1920: 44 Mussel Avenue, Kalamazoo Township: owned the home. What an odd name for a street in Kalamazoo? I can’t find it on  Google maps.

I do think they purchased land. This is from the Kalamazoo Gazette on 8 May 1919:

I don’t know who Preintje was, but she was a Kloosterman, another surname associated with my family. Coincidentally, Annie’s great-grandmother was Annigje deWit, which is a variant of DeWitte.

This map showed up on Ancestry for Jacob for 1910, which would be around the time of the 2nd census listed.

You see the section going down on the right, near the railroad? The parcel listed for Jacob is the 7th down from the top. His neighbor, Klaas Mulder, is also listed as a neighbor on the 1910 census. I believe the Mulder family is also a neighbor on the 1900 census, so it’s highly likely that Annie and Jacob lived in the same home in both 1900 and 1910.

This parcel map and the transfer mentioned in the newspaper can’t be the same land parcels, since the transfer was in 1919, 9 years after the map showing a parcel owned by Jacob and Annie.  Perhaps after this 1919 transfer, the couple moved to the Mussel address and that is what is mentioned in the transfer? Or the transfer could have been an additional piece of property.

FIRST UPDATE: Sharon at Branches on Our Haimowitz Family Tree kindly did some research for me, and this is what she wrote: “I tried finding Mussel Ave myself on old street names. I noticed that there is a Mosel Ave ..checking the 1920 census it was written Mussel however looking at street directories 1929 & 1931 I found Anna and also Jacob with the listing on Mossel Ave 3 e of N. Westnedge (formally simply West) so ‘Mossel or Mosel’ was spelled wrong on census. definitely rural RFD – also I would say they possibly owned the farm land or leased it. It does indicate he was working on his ‘own account’ as opposed to ‘wage or salary.'”

Jacob passed away in 1923, and I do not yet have his death record.

HERE IS THE SECOND UPDATE: Sue Haadsma-Svensson found Jacob’s death ceritificate for me. Look at it carefully: does it look like his address was “Amsterdam Avenue”? If so, there is an Amsterdam Street in Kalamazoo, and it looks like they used to use “Avenue” more often than they do today–or perhaps it was used more informally.

What happened to Annie after Jacob’s death? This is where my interest was piqued!

I have not found her on the 1930 census. But I do have her death record for 6 October 1933. She died of an intertrochanteric fracture of the right femur and hypostatic pneumonia, which means she got sick and died from lying down too long with that broken leg.

Look where she died:

The Kalamazoo State Hospital. It says she lived there and died there. But why? Was it for a mental issue or was the hospital used at that time for other illnesses? THIRD UPDATE: Note that Jacob’s death certificate indicates that Annie lived at Amsterdam Avenue, not the State Hospital, in 1923.

I took the matter to the Facebook group “Vanished Kalamazoo,” a private group of 30,000 members. There are some great local historians on that site. This is what I discovered: What we know of as nursing homes really began around the time of WWII, so Annie died too early to have been in a nursing home. As an elderly woman, if she had mobility, mental (dementia), or illness issues, she would have needed to be taken care of somewhere. She had no children, and her husband was gone. According to these historians, the Kalamazoo State Hospital was used as a place for the elderly needing home and care. Remember, too, that her aging years were in the midst of the Great Depression. I am not sure if this had any bearing or not, but it is important to look at all the possible information.

One thing that troubles me is that she broke her leg at the State Hospital, so what was her care at the hospital like?

When I look at the Paak branch of the family, there are not a lot of descendants. which is a bit sad. Annie and Carrie had no children at all. Mary had three children, but zero grandchildren. Only Alice and George have descendants still living today.

 

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On my Ancestry DNA account I probably have more matches to this branch of the family than any other. The Mulders were also the extended family we shared holidays and visits with more than the rest. They were my mom’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. The oldest person I knew in that branch was my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder.

Peter (Pieter) and Nellie (Neeltje) were his parents, and they immigrated from Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands when Charles, their first born, was just a toddler. He had a baby brother Jan who did not survive to grow up in the United States. After moving here, they had more children.

Here are a couple posts about this couple:

Pieter the Orphan Peter was sent to the orphanage.

Mulders Everywhere This post has a lot of photos of Nellie and Peter

The Treasure that Arrived in an Email This letter was written by Peter after Nellie passed away

When I went to organize what I had on Peter and Nellie, it was pretty easy because I already had so much information. What I do not have is Peter’s obituary, and I will order it when offices open back up. They are currently closed because of the pandemic. I do have Nellie’s meager obituary. I apologize that it appears blurry. That is the best that can be done with this article from 1932. It gives the list of those that survive her, her address, about the funeral and viewing. It also mentions she was 64-years-old.

From Nellie’s death certificate, we know she died of “pulmonary TB.” Her granddaughter Mary, one of Henry’s (Charles’ brother) daughters, recalled that her grandmother was sickly.  She thinks she was even sick when she came to the US from the Netherlands.  It is possible that she had TB when she emigrated to the US, and if so, very likely that she exposed/infected her family members with TB.  (info from cousin Merry)

Amberly worked on the immigration and naturalization of Peter and Nellie, but I already knew the couple had arrived on the Zaandam on 29 August 1887. There is one more piece of information we need, but I cannot order it until the archives open back up.

I also needed military information on Peter, which I did get from Yvette:

So Peter did not serve in the military. He was able to marry at age 19 and immigrate to the United States at age 21. This would not have happened if he had had to serve.

I’ve been blessed with a lot of information on Peter and Nellie. I also wrote about them in my chapbook Kin Types, imagining them as a young courting couple.

 

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A version of this post was published 14 February 2018 under the title “Assumptions that Don’t Hold Up,” but in light of some new information I am copying the original and greatly revising it and adding new information. I will make private the original so that there is no confusion. I worry about adding layers of information and replicating possibly faulty information.

Funny that the old title has become ironic.

At the time that I first posted, I’d never seen this photo until about two years before when I received it from my uncle. This is my paternal grandmother and her siblings (all except for Helen–I thought at the time–who was not yet born).

The four children are:

Elisabetha Anna Maria Klein, born 1891 in Budesheim, Germany, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

Maria Anna Elisabetha Klein, born 1892 (often documented as 93) in Budesheim, Germany, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

Anna Elisabetha Maria Klein, born 1893 in Budesheim, Germany, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

Frank Anthony Klein, born 1896 in Chicago, Illnois, raised in Elmhurst, Illinois

I know that Elizabeth is the girl standing in back, the oldest and tallest. I know that Frank is in front. Anna is on our left (their right) and Maria (Grandma Marie) is on our right (their left). At the time of first posting, I wasn’t absolutely sure who was Anna and who was Marie, but I now feel confident with this identification.

My grandmother and her siblings had another sister who came along in 1910, and that was Helen. Her unlikely name was Helen Nevada Klein. I would love to figure out where that middle name came from.

I have many photos of Grandma, Anna, and Helen who were the three siblings who lived into older age. I also believe I have a photo of Frank as an adult and possibly of Elizabeth. A second cousin shared Elizabeth’s confirmation photo with me.

Now he has shared another photo, taken in 1918 in Chicago, of Elizabeth with his own mother Grace (the baby) and Aunt Anna. To give you an idea of how difficult it can be to determine ages from old photos, Elizabeth is holding the baby and is two years older than Anna in the darker outfit.

 

This is the first photo I’ve seen of Elizabeth around this age; she was 26. What a pretty young woman, especially animated in a big smile.

OK, above I said that I thought the top photo had all the siblings except Helen. But the other night I was goofing around on my iPad and saw a hint on my great-grandmother Margarethe Klein’s Ancestry page. The hint directed me to the index of the birth of a little boy in 1906, ten years after the birth of Frank, Jr. George Joseph Klein was born 21 August 1906 in Chicago. I quickly did a search for a death record. Sure enough, he passed away 24 March 1909, not even 3 years old yet. I know that my father never knew of George’s short, tragic life.

I feel frustrated because I wanted to order the records from Cook County, but because of the pandemic the office is closed down. I will have to wait to read the cause of death.

Now back to the top photo again. The birthdates of the kids are 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1896. I guess the photo was taken before George was born in 1906, so do you think that narrows the photo to 1902-1906? Yes? No?

Clearly, the family was still living in Chicago and had not yet moved to Elmhurst and bought the farmhouse. This is important because I have not been able to find a 1900 census report on the family. Do you think the records on George would divulge an address for the family or not?

The name George is also mystifying to me because the way the family named the oldest girls and Frank, it was family name, family name, family name. George’s middle name of Joseph is for Margarethe’s father Josephus Wendel. But I don’t see a George in the family. Maybe that was paving the way for Helen’s middle name Nevada?!

RIP George Joseph Klein. You are finally remembered again.

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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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