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Posts Tagged ‘family history’

Almost two years ago, I posted photos of my grandfather as a very young man with an unidentified female. I hypothesized that she was his girlfriend before my grandmother.

Here they are together–looks like a couple to me.

I was going through some papers and found memory books my grandparents had prepared (one of his memories and one of hers) for the grandchildren. Inside Grandpa’s memory book, the question is asked: WHO IS THE GIRL YOU REMEMBER THE MOST?

This was his answer: (2) Vander Weele and Garthe: Don’t remember first names

So I did a little research on these names. I figured out who I believe at least one of the girls is, based on the census reports and other documents.

Garthe turned out to be Margaret Christine Garthe, born 11 days after my grandfather in 1908. She wasn’t from Kalamazoo, but from northern Michigan. She had come to Kalamazoo to attend Western. I found her in the 1928 Western State Teacher’s College yearbook.

Tell me if this isn’t the girl my grandfather is seen with above. Back row, 3rd from left.

 

From Ancestry it looks as if Margaret married Hans James Knutson. She passed away in 1997 in Muskegon, Michigan. Grandpa lived until 2000, happily married to the end to Grandma.

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I was doing a little research for a post I want to write about my grandfather when I discovered this link to a historical photography project in Kalamazoo.

Students are taking old photos from the Kalamazoo Public Library collection and photographing the same scene from the same angle. Very interesting. It’s still a work in progress, and I can’t wait to see more.

Check it out here: KALAMAZOO THEN & NOW

Although I am so disappointed that Western Michigan University’s old campus was allowed to be destroyed for the most part, I do think Kalamazoo has a strong voice for history–in part because of the university and an active library and in part because so many people love Kalamazoo.

How about your community? How does it take care of its history?

downtown Kalamazoo, photo by Joseph DeKorn

 

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Since this is the week of Memorial Day, I thought I would share something about a veteran from my husband’s side of the family. His paternal grandfather, Isidore Scheshko, was born 24 December 1889 in Tiraspol, Moldova, but ended up serving the United States army in WWI (and survived the war).

Six days before his 24th birthday, Isidore arrived in New York City, planning to become an American citizen.

Four years later, on 23 November 1917, he joined the U.S. Army and two months later was sent overseas for 13 months. His discharge information states that he was not wounded.

What the paperwork doesn’t say is that he was gassed during WWI–something that happened to a great many soldiers during that war. After that, he had a bad stutter. The only person he could speak to without stuttering was his wife, my husband’s grandmother, Celia. Since the long-term effects of mustard gas don’t appear to include neurological problems, I am speculating that maybe PTSD caused the stuttering.

My husband says that Isidore was also in the Czar’s army before he immigrated to the U.S. I think he’s a hero for joining up again so soon after coming to this country. After all, he was trying to support himself and learn English and he had a girlfriend (yes, Celia).

Not sure what army uniform this is: any ideas? Note that X on his right sleeve and the bars on the bottom of his left sleeve. Why do his legs appear to be “wrapped” with fabric?

We have a couple of postcards he sent to Celia while he was away. Here is one from 8 September 1918.

Then two months later:

Notice that he spells Celia’s name Sealie. And his own first name without the E at the end. The fine print legible underneath Isidore’s handwriting is the printed card itself, not postmark information. I don’t know where he was when this was sent, but it was in the middle of the period where he was “overseas.” It might seem surprising that after only four years in the United States, Isidore could write so well in English, but we do believe he wrote these cards himself. From the first card to the second, he apparently learned that it’s “I before E except after C.”

There is no way to tell from these upbeat notes to “Sealie” that Isidore had been gassed or had, in fact, seen any “action.”

Get a load of that fur hat in the photo on the left! It looks like the coat collar might also be fur. Do you think that is a uniform of the Russian army?

Isidore’s trade as a young man in America was a house painter, and when I think of the fumes he dealt with after he had gone through the gas in the war, it makes me wonder how he lived until 1953. But he didn’t stay a painter; within a few years, he and Celia owned a candy store in Sutton Place in Manhattan where his daughter (my husband’s aunt) went to school for a time with Anderson Cooper’s mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. That didn’t make him rich, but he didn’t suffer by coming to the United States, other than what he went through in the war.

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Here’s a lovely mention in a great post about genealogy and researching family history. It’s from February, but somehow I missed seeing it.

 

Cheri Lucas Rowlands blog

 

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Peter Mulder has discovered more information about his grandfather, Jan Mulder, through the Red Cross war archive. Jan is the Mulder who died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in WWII. Read about it in The Story of a Mulder in Indonesia.

Jan was my great-great grandfather Peter (Pieter) Mulder’s half-brother and you might remember the heart-breaking letter Peter wrote to Jan after the death of his wife Nellie. You can read it in The Treasure that Arrived in an Email.

According to Peter’s information, Jan was interned in March 1942 in the Ambarawa camp, Central Java number 7. His camp number was 13591. He was detained there until his death on 23 November 1945. You will note that this is a few months after the Japanese surrender, and Jan had wanted to return to Holland. However, his fragile health did not allow him to travel. Although Jan was only 66, heart disease and starvation edema ultimately proved fatal.

The day before Jan passed away, he was baptized as a Catholic as the fulfillment of his last wish. He died quietly in the hospital with Sister Josephine and Reverend John G. Breman at his side. Reverend Breman was also a patient at the hospital.

Jan was buried in the camp, which was considered a privilege at that time.

Jan Mulder with his beloved cello

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My grandparents lived on Burdick Street in Kalamazoo. In fact, most of the family history on that side seems centered in the Burdick-Balch neighborhood. But as a kid I remember seeing a street sign on the right side when we drove south from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It said “Remine.” I always thought that was such a funny coincidence because I knew we had Remine relatives. I imagined that it was an extremely common Dutch name.

But when I was searching Genealogy Bank for Kalamazoo Gazette articles about the Remine and Tazelaar families, I encountered this little gem from August 22, 1918:

Look at the first item under REALTY TRANSFERS. “Richard Remine and wife to City of Kalamazoo, strip of land known as Remine avenue, Kalamazoo, $1.

Richard Remine is the father of Genevieve (and father-in-law of Frank Tazelaar), of Harold, and of Therese (Theresa, Tracy).

Was this common, to deed a piece of land to the city for the purpose of a road? And would it really have only been $1? Would there have been other parts of the negotiation? A discount on taxes, for instance? Or was it in order to have a way to develop a piece land and sell off lots?

Here is the intersection of Burdick and Remine according to Google Maps.

 

 

Richard lounging, years after the street was named

Found This Week–What a Treat!

I was looking for a book I can’t find. Instead, I ran across this photo–and it was labelled on the back! “Jane Remine Tazelaar.” So this is Genevieve with a smile on her face. She looks so much prettier smiling so sweetly! It’s easy to see why Frank would want to marry her. This is more proof that the family called her Jane, not Genevieve and not Jennie.

Jane (Genevieve) Remine Tazelaar

Jane Remine Tazelaar

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My 3rd great grandmother, Johanna Remine deKorne had a brother named Gerrit Remine. He, like his sister and other siblings was born in Kapelle, Netherlands. Gerrit’s birthdate was 21 February 1825.

Gerrit and Johanna were both born Remijinse, but changed the spelling in Michigan. Gerrit was married to Janna Kakebeeke (Kakebeke). They had three children (that I know of). Johanna who gained the surname Bosman (I’ve written about Bosmans in the past), Jennie (or Adriana) who married Carlos Meijer (Meyer), and Richard Remine. Richard was Frank Tazelaar’s father-in-law, the father of Genevieve.

I never noticed that the deaths of both Gerrit and Janna were in 1910, and even if I had, they were 3 months apart. So Gerrit and Janna were the grandparents of Genevieve, Frank’s grandparents-in-law.

Imagine my surprise to find a newspaper article explaining what happened to Gerrit in 1910 and giving a hint about Janna. The Kalamazoo Gazette article was dated 7 January 1910.

Coal gas poisoning appears to be different than carbon monoxide poisoning. I will quote from the beginning of the following article only to give you a flavor of the 1896 explanation:

JOURNAL ARTICLE

A Discussion On The Pathology Of Coal Gas Poisoning

John Haldane, John R. Davison, Alexander Scott, Stewart Lockie, J. Lorrain Smith and T. W. Parry
The British Medical Journal
Vol. 2, No. 1866 (Oct. 3, 1896), pp. 903-910
Published by: BMJ
Page Count: 8

The coal gas could have come from cooking, lighting, heating, or even a broken pipe.

No death certificate yet for Janna, but when I do find that it should confirm that she died belatedly from the coal gas tragedy.

UPDATE: Well, never assume that once these people changed the spelling of their names that they stayed put. Although Gerrit’s death article used the spelling “Remine,” Janna’s did not. In fact, even her first name changed

In this article, Janna becomes Jennie, which to my understanding makes less sense in Dutch than it does in English. And Remine is now Reminse. And look at her daughter, Jennie (Adriana) is “Mrs. C. Myers.” So Meijer that became Meyer is also Myers. Whew. And Richard Remine is now Richard Reminse. Good grief. You don’t even want to know how many ways I’ve seen Gerrit spelled!

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