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Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

I found this photo in my mom’s childhood photo album. She’s holding a very large doll. So I asked her about it, and she told me that somebody from Grandpa’s side of the family gave her that doll. She remembers the doll very well, but some of the details surrounding the doll were a little hazy, as with most memories from long ago.

Mom’s guess was that maybe it was Aunt Tena’s doll. Aunt Tena was married to Grandpa’s Uncle Joe DeKorn, and they lived in Grand Rapids. Their sons, Grandpa’s cousins, were Philip and Richard. So I examined the background in the photo. The rock garden is probably the most distinctive feature.

Phil DeKorn’s album that Sue sent me has several photos of the outside of their house in Grand Rapids. But was there a rock garden? Every photo is from a little different angle and cuts off the sides at different places. Some of the photos led me to believe Mom’s photo was taken at the DeKorn home. Then I found this one with the rock garden, and I was sure. It’s Phil just before enlisting in 1943.

It might even have been Uncle Joe’s camera that took both photos. I’m guessing Mom’s photo was taken a few years earlier, perhaps 1939.

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In my story about Grandma’s sister Dorothy and her husband, Conrad Plott, dated February 17, we left off with this photo of my mother with Aunt Dorothy and Aunt Vena.

Today I am writing about Aunt Vena (to mom’s right–our left–in the photo) and her husband, Uncle Al.

Vena’s full name was Alvena Nell Mulder at birth. She was named after her grandmother, a Prussian immigrant, Alwine Noffke Waldeck. Although the names are spelled differently in German and American versions, they are pronounced similarly. I never heard Aunt Vena called anything but Vena, so I think she generally went by her nickname.

Vena was the third girl (Dorothy, then Grandma, then Vena) and third child of Charles and Clara Mulder of Caledonia, Michigan, and she was born 20 October 1913, probably in Caledonia at the house. Although I have no birth records for any of the siblings, it’s likely that Dorothy was born in Hastings, and then Grandma and the rest were born in Caledonia, after great-grandpa bought the farm.

You can see that Vena was a very pretty girl.

Much of my information about Vena and her husband Al comes from Uncle Don and their middle daughter, mom’s cousin Elaine.

Vena attended Caledonia High School just as her older sisters had done. She was a year and a half younger than Grandma, so the question is, was she “on track” for her age for graduation or did she graduate early as Grandma did? Did she graduate in 1930, 1931, or 1932? The school records I’ve found only go through 1925.

Vena followed her older sister, Edna (Grandma), to what was then called Western State Teachers’ College (now Western Michigan University). I don’t know how Aunt Vena met Uncle Al (although I remember hearing the story years ago and thought it involved horses), but he also attended Western.

Al was born Alton William Stimson in Middleville, Michigan on 20 January 1911. Middleville is a little village near Grand Rapids, and Uncle Don says Al grew up on a farm, and this is corroborated by the 1930 census.

Uncle Don gave me some information about Vena and Al. He said that they were close in age to his parents (Grandma and Grandpa) and that the two families were close. Al actually lived with Grandpa for a time while Al and the two sisters were attending WMU. Al washed the dishes once a month or when they ran out of dishes. Grandpa liked to tell that story.

This is Uncle Al’s 1934 Western yearbook photo. Next to his name is his degree earned: an AB.

I don’t know if Aunt Vena boarded with someone while she went to college, as my grandmother did (with the Schensul family).

Al and Vena married 1 June 1935 in Caledonia by Edward August Waldeck, pastor of the Portland Baptist Church, Vena’s first cousin. I wrote about his bike accident (as a teen) quite some time ago. Here is a 1912 newspaper article about the accident: CLICK HERE

Al graduated from WMU as an Industrial Engineer. He might have first worked as a teacher and then for Atlas Press, before he was hired by the Upjohn Company. He was a a time and motion analyst—time-study. He stayed with Upjohn until he retired at the end of his career.

At the beginning of their marriage, Vena and Al lived on Balch Street in that same area where my grandfather and then my mother grew up. The address was 317 Balch Street, according to the 1940 census.

But then they built a new house on a beautiful lot on Kilgore at the border of Kalamazoo and Portage. Their house and yard were characterized by an excellent sense of design and a lot of hard work. Elaine said that their lovely yard was designed by a friend of theirs so that there were flowers blooming year round when weather permitted. They both liked to garden. Al also kept a small vegetable garden alongside the house. As a kid, I was so impressed by the flowers and the birds that Vena and Al attracted to the yard. The inside of their house was also beautiful with a living room that looked out upon that backyard and a fish tank that mesmerized me. At least three generations of family had many wonderful family gatherings at their home.

Vena left school to start their family, and beginning in 1937, they had three girls in this order: Joan(ne), Elaine, and MaryAnn. The three girls attended State High up at Western’s old campus which was a state training school for teachers and was reputed to be one of the top schools in the state.

Al registered for the WWII draft, but he was not called to service. I do not know if it was because of needing to support his children or because he was color blind.

When the girls were “well along” in school, according to Uncle Don, Aunt Vena went back to college and graduated with Honors in 1962, the same year their youngest daughter graduated high school. This reminds me of my mother who did the same thing. I hadn’t realized when my mother graduated a year ahead of me from college that her aunt had been a groundbreaker in the family.

The Portage Public School System hired Aunt Vena as a kindergarten teacher, which she remained (1st and 2nd a bit, as well) until she retired. I’m sure she was a favorite with the kids and their parents because she had a gentle and elegant manner.

Aunt Vena and Uncle Al were members of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Kalamazoo for over sixty years. This is the same church that my grandparents belonged to and where my mother is still a member. I remember Uncle Al was an usher and my grandfather worked in what I thought of as the “money office.”

Aunt Vena and Uncle Al enjoyed their retirement years golfing, bowling, being members of Club 75, and the Cloverleaf Square Dancing Clubs.

Al kept busy with many craft hobbies. He made Christmas presents of shop gadgets and jewelry that he had made. He made jewelry out of plastic, drilling the flowers into the plastic. He made pins, necklaces, cufflinks, and so on. Some pieces he colored in with nail polish.

When I was a little girl, Uncle Al taught me to say what sounded like oskeewawa every time I saw a white horse. I thought it was a Native American word. When I tried to look it up, I couldn’t find anything until I discovered the University of Illinois school song:

Oskee-Wow-Wow
Old Princeton yells her Tiger,
Wisconsin, her Varsity
And they give the same old Rah, Rah, Rah,
At each University,
But the yell that always thrills me
And fills my heart with joy,
Is the good old Oskee-Wow-Wow,
That they yell at Illinois.

Uncle Don has fond memories of going on many camping trips with the family. He felt a bit like Uncle Al’s substitute son for these adventures. After all, Uncle Al lived in a house with four women/girls ;).

In the next photo, it is Grandpa and Grandma’s 40th wedding anniversary, and they are standing with Vena and Al on my parents’ front porch. The image is blurry, but I like that the two couples are photographed together.

 

In the Christmas photo above, I see Uncle Al and Aunt Vena from the era I knew them best. In fact, we used to go first to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Christmas Eve, and then to Vena and Al’s–at some point my parents’ house was added as one of the houses visited for the Progressive Dinner.

Uncle Al suffered from Parkinson’s and passed away on 11 January 1996 in Kalamazoo.

Aunt Vena moved into what was then the new, state of the art retirement community in Kalamazoo. She died on 9 June 2000, which is the same year that my grandparents died.

They are buried at Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park South in Kalamazoo.

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Here is an unidentified photo from a family album. The album is from the Remine/Paak branch. Because the subject is a toddler, it is almost impossible to identify the photo. But let’s see what we can figure out.

The most important clue comes from the photographer.

According to the well-researched list of photographers found HERE, I can calculate that this photo must have been taken between 1882 and 1899. See the screenshot below to see how I figured that. Abbey was at the East Main location during those years.

So the fact that the baby looks a little bit like Grandpa is irrelevant because it isn’t him as he was born in 1908. In fact, the child would be at least 11 or 12 years older than Grandpa.

Are we sure it’s a boy? I’m going to say it is a boy, based on the outfit. But if you disagree, let me know!

Could it be Harold Remine? He was born in 1897.

This is Harold:

I don’t see the resemblance. To me the baby pic and the young man pic look alike, but the baby/toddler unidentified pic looks more like Grandpa or even my mother. Does anybody else think the pic does look like Harold?

If it could be a girl, we have Therese Remine, born 1895, and Alice Leeuwenhoek, born 1897, but that baby is not Alice who had a very distinctive look as a baby and child. Here is Therese:

Therese Remine

Another possibility is that the child could belong to one of George Paake’s children. I don’t really think so, but their ages are all within the right time frame except the only boy was born in 1898 and would be too young. And the children would be photographed together, so it could only be the oldest, Cora, and I do not see a resemblance.

Front row: Theresa and Cora
Back row: Frances, George Jr., Jennie (Jane)

The only other child of the right age range from the Paak family (which is the broader branch associated with the photo album this image comes from) would be Joseph DeKorn, son of Richard and Alice, Grandpa’s Uncle.

If the child isn’t Joseph, then I’d have to look a little further afield. Keeping in mind that the Remines were related to Grandpa twice over–through both his maternal grandmother and maternal grandfather–I could look at some other families. However, I have two roadblocks to doing so. I cannot see that Ancestry, which is where my tree is located, has the ability to search by birth dates, for instance. Does My Heritage? i do have my tree loaded there as well. I’d like to be able to search through categories like that. Does anybody know a program that sorts like that?

The second roadblock is that farther out, my tree is still a little too sketchy or spotty to do a good job, especially when I would have to do it individual by individual.

What I can hope for is that one day I can make a good guess as to the identity of this baby. As you probably have experienced yourself, looking like Grandpa or mom is meaningless. My mother and her next door neighbor/good friend are often mistaken for sisters and they do look so much alike, much more than my mother does with her own sister. Mom and her friend just explain to people that they’re both “Dutch” hah. The reality is that we can compare unidentified photos with other photos to search for exact features, but when a child grows and becomes an adult some of those features can change remarkably. We can’t even begin to compare unidentified photos with family branches by examining features.

BUT WAIT.

Belatedly I see something that I didn’t notice before. In the same album there is a portrait of another child which has the exact same advertising from the photographer on the backside. The “setting” looks the same with the same chair. I suspect these are photos of siblings that were taken at the same time.

With the two photos, here side by side, it becomes important to narrow in on the genders and the ages because with the answer to those questions, I might be able to figure it out.

At this point, I really need help figuring out if these are boys or girls or one of each. My feeling is that the older child is a girl and the younger a boy, but that is a guess. And what age would you say each one is? I suspect that if they were considered babies they would be wearing white dresses, no matter what the gender, but the littler one certainly looks young enough for the white dress treatment, so that’s a little confusing. In a word, help!

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I have no idea at all if the Dutch in Michigan celebrated Pinkster 100 or more years ago. Pinkster (Pinksteren is Dutch for Pentecost) is a holiday connected with Pentecost and loosely related to May Day and spring festivals. It typically occurs in May or June. Here is a photo from the very limited Wikipedia article about Pinkster.


Notice how the children hold ribbons around a pole, much like what we tend to think of as a traditional Maypole.

The reason I started thinking about this is because I found this very damaged photo which I believe belonged to Alice Leeuwenhoek, born 1897 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her family, like all my grandfather’s family at that time, belonged to the Reformed church where all the Sunday School children were likely to be Dutch.

If you look carefully at this photo, you will see these children are all holding what looks to be a ribbon of some kind. At first I thought maybe a paper chain, but I don’t think it is. Also, notice the flowers. The children are dressed in their Sunday best and so is the woman standing behind them. This would not be a regular school day, then, but Sunday School or a holiday. I do see the American flag near the woman’s right shoulder which does seem to indicate a schoolroom. Would public school have celebrated a religious holiday if the student body was fairly homogeneous? Click on the photo to enlarge.

Look carefully at the girl third from our left. What is in front of her? Is that a doll on the ribbon? Or, is it what my daughter suspects, a ghost?

If you read more about Pinkster you will see that Africans in the United States took over the holiday and made it their own–and why. It has to do with being enslaved and that it was a holiday where they got “time off” work and could see family and friends.

Do you have other ideas about the photo or see something that I missed? I’d love to hear!

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Today is where I veer off my “grandma’s siblings” schedule. Instead, I’m sharing some photos of the wedding of one of my dad’s siblings. Uncle Frank married Aunt Dolly at 10AM on 12 April 1958 in Bellwood, Illinois, at St. Simeon Church (501 Bellwood Avenue). Bellwood is a Chicago suburb. At that time, Bellwood had a lot of residents of  Italian, Serbian, and Polish ethnicity. Today it is about 70% African-American. Aunt Dolly’s family had originally immigrated from Poland.

My paternal grandmother made Dolly’s wedding gown, as well as accessories to go with the dress. My grandmother was the head fitter of the 28 Shop (couture) at Marshall Field’s flagship store. She dressed many celebrities and other prominent Chicago people. In this photo, my grandmother Marie is helping Dolly dress on the special day.

Uncle Frank passed away in the fall of 2019, about a year and a half after Aunt Dolly’s passing. They left behind one son, my cousin Dave. Dave’s family is not sentimental and not interested in hanging onto the family heirlooms. So Dave sent them to me. These packages he sent included the wedding dress itself. This is a photo of the detail of the seed pearls at the neckline.

Grandma also made the veil. The crown is the part of the veil that I received.

The garter is just one of several wedding accessories that came to me. This one was store-bought.

Although it wasn’t part of my family’s tradition, in Aunt Dolly’s Polish family, the dollar dance was an important feature of a wedding. My grandmother made this symbolic representation of a money dance apron for the wedding. It’s not only beautiful, but meant to be a fertility boost with pink and blue ribbons and little baby dolls sprinkled all over it. If you click on the photo, you can enlarge it to see the little dolls.

Dave also sent me a huge wedding album, as well as the wedding shower album. I’ve scanned all the photos and will be sending them to Dave for his family. Here is the happy couple. The bride is wearing the apron!

I’ll leave you with one last photo. Groomsman (my father), bridesmaid (my mother), and the flower girl (me), only 2 3/4 years old. Our dresses were blue. My most enduring memory of that wedding is the interminable time we spent waiting through the ceremony for them to get hitched. There was a full mass, and I was supposed to be kneeling the whole time with the bridesmaids. Aunt Dolly’s mother wasn’t too happy that I was so antsy and didn’t want to kneel. The photo was taken before the wedding, but that expression on my face is as if I knew what I was in for.

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder (Zuidweg) had four siblings. The kids were born in this order: Dorothy (aka Dot), 1910-1996; Lucille (aka Edna), 1912-2000; Alvena (Vena), 1913-2000; Peter (Pete), 1915-1986; and Charles (Chuck), 1917-1989. They grew up on a farm in Caledonia, Michigan. My grandmother’s childhood story that most impressed me when I was young was that all the kids slept in the same big bed. The girls across the bed as usual, and the boys perpendicular at the girls’ feet. I used to try to imagine how five kids could get to sleep like that because somebody would always be annoying somebody else. The upstairs of the farmhouse had two bedrooms–one for  the parents and one for the kids. I imagine that in the winter it was cold up there, too, which meant that the group body heat helped keep everybody warm.

You know the Biblical expression “the salt of the earth,” meaning virtuous, good people? That was the Mulder family. Not perfect, but definitely good, dependable people.

This post is devoted to Aunt Dorothy, the oldest of the siblings, and her husband, Uncle Con. That’s how I knew them: Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con. But when Grandma talked about them it was always “Dot and Con.”

When Grandma and Dorothy were still in school, they walked a long way every school day. Occasionally their mother would take them or pick them up in an Amish buggy, but walking was much more common.

Grandma on left; Dorothy on the right

Although Dorothy and Grandma were in the same grade, Dorothy was 1 1/3 years older than my grandmother. Grandma had to be pushed ahead so that the girls could be in class together. That must have worked out because both girls were good students. You can read about their high school graduation and experience here:

Who Put the Ring Stain on the Scrapbook?

The following, I believe, if Aunt Dorothy’s high school graduation speech, or Salutatory (2nd highest grades in class).

After high school, Aunt Dorothy went to nursing school at Battle Creek Sanitarium. It gets a little confusing because her yearbook was from Emmanuel Missionary College, but EMC had moved to Berrien Springs from Battle Creek by 1901. Actually, the Training School for Nurses was in Battle Creek, called Battle Creek Sanitarium also, and part of EMC. Emmanuel Mission College, operated until 1938. It was part of Andrews University, a 7th Day Adventist institution.

For the cropped yearbook photo below, I left the photo of the other young woman because their names on the right are both on this clipping.

During the time that Dorothy was at school, she met her future husband, Conrad Rudolph Plott, born 21 March 1905, from North Carolina.

This photo of the Plott family was shared by my 2nd cousin, Mike Plott. Uncle Con is in the back row, on our right. The date is unknown. 

They married on 29 October 1934 in Steuben, Indiana. This is what my grandparents did, as well. The marriage laws were looser in Indiana than in Michigan, so they could go “down” there, buy a license, and be married–1, 2, 3.

I was able to order a copy of this application and license.

I do have Uncle Con’s WWII draft card–he was 35 years old. Mysteriously, his name is listed as Rudolph Conrad, instead of Conrad Rudolph. Since I do not have a copy of his birth record, I can’t verify which one is correct. But, as you can see, the marriage application lists him as Conrad Rudolph.

Conrad Plott

Together the couple had three children: Jeanne, John (Bill), and Pat. Jeanne followed her mother’s footsteps and became a nurse. She had a stellar career as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I know that my family is very proud of her service to our country. John was a college professor. Pat was employed by Western Michigan University as assistant to the chair of the sociology department for thirty years. She and I attended grad school in the English department at the same time.

Uncle Con worked as a mechanic for the Kellogg Company for most of his working days. He was very active in the Kellogg factory workers’ union, even serving as President for a number of years.

When I was a little girl, we went a few times to visit Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con, but mainly we saw them at large family gatherings. But one day, and this memory is very vivid to me, they stopped by our house. I don’t know if my mother knew they were coming or not. They brought me a present, and no doubt they brought some of the peanut brittle Uncle Con was famous for in our family. His brother Pryor made the North Carolina classic, and Uncle Con used to help him sell it at state fairs and other venues.

I still have the adorable little apron they gave me.

My Uncle Don told me that Con’s family were very welcoming hosts whenever our family visited them in North Carolina. They always had a room to stay in and huge family dinners–“even when we were just passing through.” I am guessing that the passing through was on the way to Florida from Michigan.

My mother still has photos of a train trip she took with Jeanne to North Carolina in 1952. My mother, being raised in Michigan by Michiganders, was struck by seeing the separate drinking fountains and restrooms for black people. She also noticed that the thunderstorms were so much wilder and more severe than in Michigan.

These two photos are two facing pages in a photo album my mother put together when she was a teen.

Uncle Don filled me in on some interesting info about Aunt Dorothy that I could not have gleaned from knowing her when I was a child. He said that when he stayed with “Dot and Con,” Aunt Dorothy talked about her nursing training. She had a lot of strange and humorous (to the listener) experiences. For example, she was assisting in a surgery, not knowing what the doctor was going to do, and he told her to grab the leg and hold it while he performed the surgery. All of a sudden, she was standing there holding a leg and the doctor said, “Just put it over there and help me clamp the veins and arteries.” That was her first experience with an amputation.
My uncle also said that Aunt Dorothy was the best scholar of the siblings and was the “leader of the pack!” She always helped family members and was present when my mother and Uncle Don and their sister were born. She was also there for the death of my great-grandmother, her own mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder. My grandmother trusted her with all medical matters.
Dorothy was very confident and had a take charge personality. She could be a very direct communicator, and the family loved and respected her greatly.

Uncle Con was not only active in the union and busy working at the Kellogg Company, but he was a farmer as well. On their farm, he grew corn, oats, and wheat. They had a big garden and even pasture for the cow.

Notice Jeanne photobombing in the lower right corner. Pretty cute!

 

Here is Uncle Con on his tractor in the 1950s.

 

Dot and Con had a cabin outside of Sault Ste. Marie on the river. One relative says it was the St. Lawrence and another says St. Mary’s. Maybe it was the St. Lawrence Seaway? They spent summers there, but closed it up during the winter.  Con did love to fish and spent a lot of time in his boat,  He also loved to get really close to the big boats. His daughter Jeanne says that very few people would get in the boat with him!

I don’t know what the occasion was for this photo, but here are Grandma’s siblings. The curtain behind them looks like something at a church, so I suspect this must be at a wedding.

Chuck, Vena, Edna (Grandma), Dorothy, Pete

Mike shared this photo of Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con with Mike’s parents at the wedding of the latter.

In this photo, which was taken in my parents’ front yard, Grandma’s siblings gather with their spouses. The occasion was my grandparents 40th wedding anniversary, in 1972. Standing from left: Con, Dorothy, Adrian (Grandpa), Edna (Grandma), Vena, Al. Kneeling from left: Ruthann, Chuck, Pete, Ruby. So the three sisters and their husbands are in back and the two brothers with their wives are in front.

After Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con retired, they moved to Florida, where they became an integral part of the community in Estero (Fort Myers area). If I hadn’t already known that, I could tell because I found numerous newspaper articles where Uncle Con, in particular, is mentioned.

Uncle Con passed away on 1 April 1989 in Estero.

At some point after that, Aunt Dorothy must have come back to Michigan. She passed away on 23 May 1996 in Kalamazoo and is buried at Mount Ever-Rest.

 

I have a photo of Aunt Dorothy’s headstone, but I do not have a photo of Uncle Con’s and do not know which cemetery in Lumberton, North Carolina, he is buried.

About a year before she passed, I saw Dorothy at my parents’ house at Eagle Lake. In this photo, my mother is with her aunts, Vena (on our left) and Dorothy (on our right).

 

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Since my Germans and my Prussians are my brick walls, I thought I’d share with you info about this virtual genealogy conference. Registration has already begun.

***

 

Registration for the International German Genealogy Conference is now open! With the theme of Researching Together Worldwide / weltweit gemeinsam forschen, this much-anticipated virtual conference will be held 17 July to 24 July 2021.

Registration can be completed at the following link: https://playbacknow.regfox.com/iggp2021. A special Early-Bird registration discount is possible until 31 March 2021.

Four different packages are available for the conference. While the IGGP LIVE! Package includes the eight live lectures by an all-star lineup of genealogy experts (Early Bird $119, Regular $169), and the IGGP OnDemand package features more than fifty pre recorded sessions for you to watch at your convenience (Early Bird $179, Regular $229), the IGGP Combo Package is recommended for the genealogist wanting to get the most out of their virtual conference experience (Early Bird $229, Regular $279).

This recommended IGGP Combo Package includes access to both the eight LIVE sessions – featuring popular speakers Ute Brandenburg, Wolfgang Grams, Timo Kracke, Roger Minert, Judy Russell, Katherine Schober, Diahan Southard, and Michael Strauss – as well as one-year access to the over fifty OnDemand sessions, which include an extensive variety of German genealogy topics hand-selected to best aid your research.

If you would like these sessions indefinitely, the top-tier IGGP USB Works Package includes all of the Combo Package plus a preloaded USB flash drive with all the conference sessions, meaning that you will have lifetime access to these expert-level lectures (Early Bird $249, Regular $295).

All packages include access to the online sponsor and exhibit hall, as well as to the “Connections” breakout sessions that will bring together small groups with similar German genealogy or cultural affinities.

This virtual conference is a must-attend for anyone researching their German ancestors. With expected participation from genealogists around the world, researchers will have a unique opportunity to connect across borders while simultaneously learning from the top experts in the field. To stay up-to-date on conference news, be sure to sign-up for the IGGP conference newsletter here https://bit.ly/IGGPnewsletter. For any additional questions, contact James Beidler at jamesmbeidler@gmail.com, Nancy Myers at n.myers@gmx.net, or Katherine Schober at language@sktranslations.com.

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I began writing a post about one of my grandmother’s siblings and quickly realized it will take more than a week at a time to write about each of the siblings. There is simply too much material to put together into a cohesive narrative. While I am working on the first one, I thought in light of last week’s DeKorn treasure I would write about the subject of:

WHAT TO DO WITH OUR TREASURES AND HEIRLOOMS?

Recently I’ve had several people mention that they have no place to leave their treasures at end of life (or before). They have no children or other relatives who have shown any interest, or they have no close relatives at all. In many cases, they have photographs. In most cases, they have done at least some family tree work, if not extensive work.

This rings a bell to me because I feel similarly. I have a beautiful collection of family photos and documents and have spent a lot of time organizing and researching. I have cousins with children who may or may not have any interest in the treasures or the organization into story. I do plan to eventually pull it all together into one digital format and distribute to everyone. Then they can decide what to do with it. God willing, I will be able to complete the project.

But this still leaves me with two problems. One is that it’s possible that not one of the people I give the digital copy will end up passing it on to future generations. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a storage place for all this that would go on to “live” in perpetuity?

Do you consider an Ancestry family tree to be just that, if one adds all the photos and documents for each family member? I know that Ancestry has been a bit unreliable with DNA, but I don’t foresee them shutting down the giant tree they are constructing. Anything is possible, I suppose. I also use My Heritage, but have not gone through the laborious process of putting photos and documents on my tree over there.

Or are there other ways to save the information for people outside the family?

The second problem is that I still have to find an eventual home for the original photos and documents and other treasures (to be stored with their stories). How does one go about finding a young relative who actually cares about these things and would like me to pass them on to her or him when I am done with them? I could hold a contest and assign treasures to the contest winner, but it’s a contest nobody would show up to!!! LOL

A little side note: I have shown an interest since I was college-aged, which is why I was given photos and glass negatives and lots of stories. Imagine if somebody had already done all the work I am doing three generations before me? WOWSA, that would be something.

As I work on the organization and research of my family, I am sending folders to my daughter to hang on to as a backup. She knows who to send them to in the event of my sudden death. My daughter and son were both adopted and neither is very interested in history in general and their family history interest is mostly connected to the people who have affected their lives–their grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and their Kalamazoo great-grandparents (Grandma and Grandpa Zuidweg).

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Photo: part of a children’s coffee and tea service originally owned by Therese Remine

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Phil and Marianne (Haadsma) DeKorn’s niece Sue Haadsma-Svensson has once again sent me a family treasure. This binder looks to have been put together by Phil DeKorn and shares photos and history of both his father’s family, the DeKorns, and his mother’s family, the Blandfords.


I can’t wait to scan all the items in the binder!

Also, I have been working on the histories of my grandmother’s siblings and will be posting about them soon.

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I’ve written before that my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg, Sr. owned a candy and soda shop at the corner of Burdick and Balch in Kalamazoo.

At one time I believed that Grandpa (son Adrian) had taken over the business when his father died, but in researching for this blog I discovered that Adrian Sr. had sold the business before he died. Grandpa bought it back after his father’s death. Then he converted it to a service station.

Here is an advertising ashtray for the station. Notice the A-Z Lubrication (Adrian Zuidweg–AZ–get it?) The 5 digit phone number might put this ashtray between 1950 and 1958, but if anyone has information to the contrary I would love to hear it. If you want to find out more about advertising ashtrays as part of history and as collectibles, here’s a succinct article: Ashtrays collectible memorabilia

 

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