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What a lovely review of Kin Types by genealogy blogger Ann Marie Bryant! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness!

Tales of a Family

Recently, a fellow blogger and an ever-encouraging supporter, Luanne Castle wrote a lovely book of poems about her family.  From the start, Kin Types captured my imagination with the thought provoking title and the intriguing cover.   It began with sage advice from familial ancestors who have lived a life of hard work and a heartfelt existence that helped those in need.

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Ian at the blog Researching Myself has kindly reviewed Kin Types!

ReSearching MySelf

Kin TypesKin Types by Luanne Castle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t normally read poetry, but as a follower of Luanne Castle’s blogs where I have enjoyed her writing and her thoughts on genealogy immensely, I decided to take the plunge. Well! I was not disappointed.

The big thing that struck me about Luanne’s chapbook was the ingenious idea of writing about one’s ancestors in poetic form. As a non-family member, it can be difficult to read straight-up family memoir, but Luanne has found a way to make these unknown characters come alive for us, give us a glimpse into their lives and thus remind us of our common humanity. As the avid genealogist she is, it would have been easy to write a prosaic family history of who-did-what-when, but this is so tantalizingly different. Luanne has gotten inside the old photographs and behind the family stories and gives…

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Thank you so much for responding so enthusiastically to Kin Types. My new chapbook is an offshoot of The Family Kalamazoo, in a way.

The cover of the book is from an old tintype belonging to my family. I have posted it twice before on this blog. The woman featured on it seems to have come from the Remine branch of the family and, based on the tintype and the dress she wears, I thought it was possible that she could be my great-great-great grandmother Johanna Remine DeKorn. This was a guess I had fairly early on, but I had no proof.

But I knew she was someone close to us. For one thing, this is an expensive painted tintype and our family owns it. We wouldn’t have possession of such an image if it wasn’t someone from the family. For another, there is too great a similarity. For instance, my daughter thinks that the woman looks remarkably like my mother in the eyes and mouth. Other people say they can see her in my face.

I thought it unlikely I would learn much more about the photo, but never gave up hope because much amazing information has flowed to me, mainly through this blog.

When I visited my mother recently, she gave me a gorgeous antique photo album from my uncle for me to scan and disseminate. Imagine my surprise when I opened the album and found this tiny tintype inside.

I had so many questions: Were the photos taken at the same time or is the woman younger in the couple’s photo? Same hairdo, same earrings . . . . We don’t really know about the dress and its neck accessory because the lace collar on the painted tintype is, just that, painted on. But she’s definitely younger. Is the new find a wedding photo? Are they siblings?

So I focused on the man. I want to say boy. They both look so young. If the woman is Johanna Remine DeKorn, the man most likely would have to be Boudewyn (Boudewijn) DeKorn. Here is a photo my grandfather identified as Boudewyn, my 3xgreat grandfather.

Boudewijn de Korne

So, what do you think? Are they two different men? The hair is the same–very wavy dark brown hair–, but the hairline has changed. That’s possible. In the upper photo, the man has very defined cheekbones, and I don’t see this in the boy. The man has a very wide mouth. Would that change over time? I doubt it. It was unlikely then that the woman was Johanna, but who was she?

I did what I had to do. I scheduled an appointment with photogenealogist Maureen Taylor. When I only had the painted tintype, I didn’t feel I had enough to go through the process with Maureen. But now that I had a second tintype, I wanted to give it a try.

When Maureen and I began our conversation, I felt a letdown. Johanna Remine was too old to be in this photo. The tintype of the two people had to be between 1869 and 1875, according to Maureen. Johanna was born in 1817 and DIED in 1864. The woman could not be Johanna.

The woman had to be a generation younger than Johanna.

This was disappointing because I felt that I know the other branches or “lines” of the family, and that if she wasn’t Johanna, she couldn’t be a direct ancestor.

And yet, as I told Maureen, I had a strong feeling that she was closely related. And her looks are too reminiscent of the family features to discount her. Maureen agreed with this and pointed me in a different direction.

The Remine family, where I felt the painted tintype came from, began in the U.S. with a marriage between Richard Remine and Mary Paak. Mary Paak is my great-great-grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn’s sister. I am related to the Remines two ways. One is by blood, Johanna Remine being my 3x great grandmother, married to Boudewyn DeKorn (and the mother of Richard DeKorn). The other is by marriage where Richard married Mary. Mary and Carrie Paak, two of the four Paak sisters, had a similar look. Alice and Annie had a different look altogether.

ALICE PAAK DEKORN

Maureen wanted to see a photo of Alice. I sent her the image above–a very clear headshot of Alice from the 1890s (so 20 years older than the woman in the tintype) and Annie (the sister who looked like Alice but is a body shot and not as clear). Maureen examined the photos and proclaimed Alice a match. She asked for the dates on the sisters: birth, immigration, marriage. She was sure the tintype of the beautiful girl on the cover of Kin Types was Alice who happens to be featured in a poem in my book: “An Account of a Poor Oil Stove Bought off Dutch Pete.”

I asked Maureen about the man in the photo and said it did not look like Alice’s husband, Richard DeKorn.

And then I learned something that is counterintuitive, but smart.

Ignore him for now.

She thought it could be her brother or even a beau she had in the Netherlands that she never married. In the tintype of both of them, they are very very young, maybe teenagers. And Alice immigrated to the United States when she was 17 years old. Maureen told me to ignore the man for the purposes of identifying the woman. I will try to identify him later, if it is even possible.

The more I thought about Maureen’s assessment, the more I realized how blind I’d been not to notice the resemblance between the women in the tintype and my 2xgreat grandmother Alice. Alice also happens to be the mother of Cora, the woman my grandparents told me that I look like.

Just for fun, I ran the two images through twinsornot.net. This is the result, although they photos are of a very young woman and a woman twenty years older.

Then I pulled out the other photo that Grandpa had identified Alice. In this alternative photo, Alice is younger than in the 1890s photo, but not nearly as young as the tintype. I had never been sure that this photo even was Alice, although Grandpa had been (and she was his grandmother). So I ran both Grandpa-identified Alice photos against each other on the site. 100% match! Grandpa was right.

Next I ran the tinted tintype against this alternative photo of Alice.

100%!

 

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! THE MYSTERY IS SOLVED. THE WOMAN ON THE COVER OF KIN TYPES IS MOST LIKELY ALICE PAAK DEKORN.

I learned a lot of lessons through this process, but one that really stands out in my mind is that people look different in different photographs–and when you are comparing people of different ages, it really gets dicey. I think about photos of me . . .

If you click the Amazon link , the book can be ordered for $14.99. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.

If you like what you read, please leave a little review at one or more of the following sites:

 

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Although I started this blog five years ago next month, and that sounds like a long time, I’ve been working (on and off–mainly off while raising my kids and teaching) on family history, family photos, and genealogy since I was just out of college and beginning a master’s in history (which I did not complete and ultimately switched to English and creative writing).

I was blessed with many antique and vintage photographs and a grandfather with a great memory and a talent for storytelling.

But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I got the idea of putting my research and knowledge of our family history together with my creative writing. Then I began to write lyric poems, prose poems, and a few pieces in a genre that was new to me–flash nonfiction, which is a form of very short prose–based on individuals from my family’s past.

Ultimately, I pulled these pieces together into a chapbook (44 pages) which has been published by Finishing Line Press and is now available, not only on their website, but also on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Kin Types looks at what the lives of my ancestors were like. The locales are mainly Kalamazoo (and other towns in southwestern Michigan), Elmhurst (Illinois), and the Netherlands. Using the fruits of my research, which included studying newspaper articles, documents, and the details of antique photos, I tried to “inhabit” the lives of some of the people who have come before me.

If you click through the link to the Amazon page, the book can be ordered for $14.99. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.

Here is a sample poem from the collection:

Genealogy

 

Tigers die and leave their skins;

people die and leave their names.  ~Japanese Proverb

 

The more relatives I unearthed,

the more Franks rose to the surface

like deer bones after a storm.

On the trails I could follow,

I found seven named Frank,

three Franz, three Francis.

Frans, Francois, and Franciscus.

Frances and Francisca,

the women peeking out

from under their fathers’ names.

The name passed forward

like a cross polished by many hands.

The verb frank means to allow free passage

for man or post. But these Franks

and Franciskas paid with their labor

and their babes buried along the way.

If you read this blog, some of the characters of the book might be familiar to you. And because the project is quite unique I think people passionate about family history, genealogy, history, and local history will probably be particularly interested. Some of the pieces have been published in literary magazines. Combined together, they tell a story of the history of “forgotten” women.

So what are you waiting for? 😉 Go to one of the links and place your order!  And thank you very much.

 

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Maureen Taylor, photo detective, helped me with a couple of photos a few years ago. The other day I bought her book, Family Photo Detective.

The book gives a good overview of many topics associated with identifying old family photographs. I haven’t read it all yet, but I did read certain sections because of various questions I already have in my mind.

In my post Mysterious Antique Photographs I posted a painted metal photograph which is unidentified. I believe it is from the Remine family. Although it can seem that the Remines are very distantly related, in fact, Richard DeKorn’s mother was a Remine:

 

 

Johanna Remijinse

1817–1864

BIRTH 15 JUL 1817 Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands

DEATH 1864 Kalamazoo City, Kalamazoo, Michigan

* my 3rd great-grandmother *

The consensus seems to be that the photo below (of an unidentified Remine female) is a tintype.

 

However, according to Taylor, a painted photo like this would be a daguerreotype which is painted on its metal surface with colored powders which are brushed or gently blown.

One of the characteristics of a daguerreotype over a tintype is that the image needs to be viewed from an angle. Another important characteristic is a mirror-like surface. I had to pull out the original to examine it for these traits.

It’s impossible to tell if the image needs to be viewed from an angle because the image is so thoroughly painted. But the background is not mirror-like, but rather a matte dark gray with a slight texture.

I went to the internet about this mystery and discovered a site that showcases some hand-painted tintypes. Unfortunately, after 45 years, The Ames Gallery in Berkeley is closing this year. I wonder what will happen to their photographs. Click the name of the gallery to see the painted tintypes.

I think we were right that this is a tintype that has been painted. In fact, the painting is so well done that her face is very realistic. Years ago, I used to work with gold leaf, embossing leather and vinyl products, and I suspect that the jewelry has been painted with gold-leaf.

It’s frustrating that I have not had the time to work on the photos and genealogy for many months (for the most part), but I like to keep moving along, getting one little thing after another accomplished so I don’t lose my touch haha.

Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful photograph in the whole collection.

 

 

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More tintypes! In Mysterious Antique Photographs I shared a beautiful tintype that I own.

Yesterday I opened the box of unscanned Remine photos. I haven’t had time to scan so many photos–or to organize either–but I thought I should just start doing a few a day because when WILL I ever have the time?

And I discovered these beautiful tiny tintypes. The one on the other post is large and painted. These are only 2.25 x 3.5 inches in size–and unpainted.

Because they are in the Remine box I can guess they might be Remines. Judging by the faces, I am ready to conclude they probably are Remines.

Because these girls and women were photographed full length (standing and seated), we can examine their entire outfits to try to guess a time period.

Therese was born in 1891. Could this photo be from around 1900?

I am having trouble identifying the correct information about Therese’s sisters. When I figure it out, this might help in identifying this tintype. For instance, if there were sisters born in 1880 and 1881 as might have been, this photo could, I suppose, be those sisters. If so, one of them is Genevieve Remine Tazelaar and the tintypes would be in the early 1890s.

I suppose the hair and collars could be 1900. But what about the fitted jackets with all the buttons? I can’t find anything like that in photos of 1900. Odd, too, that it would be a tintype if it was as late as 1900.

Here is the other tintype. I’m sorry it’s kind of crooked and uneven. It was difficult to scan it.

What about these outfits? They are not leg o’mutton sleeves, so does that rule out the 1890s?

I guess I am not very good at taking the nuances of change in fashion and extrapolating to what my relatives would have worn (generally a much more conservative version of the fashion).

The woman on our left looks a lot like Mary Paak Remine, Therese’s mother. She was born in 1859. But the woman doesn’t look terribly young in this photo. And then who would the other woman be? She looks NOTHING like the Paak sisters. She is not Mary’s mother because Jacoba Bassa had passed away long before this.

Were these photos taken in the Netherlands or the United States? The Remines were from Kapelle and the Paaks were from Lexmond. Notice the wallpaper/painted background. I’m pretty sure that these photos were taken in the same studio, perhaps near the same time period.

I’m afraid I have more questions now than I did before.

 

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One of the branches of my family from the Netherlands was the Reminse branch.

On 26 August 1810, my 4th great-grandfather, Dirk Reminse, a bread baker, married Adriana Kriger (Krijger) in Kapelle, Zeeland, the Netherlands. Dirk was born 22 November 1786 in Kruiningen, Zeeland, Netherlands. At some point before his marriage he must have relocated to Kapelle, but Adriana also came from a different town. She was born 11 June 1787 in Biggekerke, Zeeland, Netherlands.

Houses on the Kerkplein (church square), Kapelle, Netherlands

The couple had the following children:
Gillis Remijinse 1811–1868

Jan Remijinse 1813–1837

Hendrika Remijinse 1814–1893

Johanna Remijinse 1817–1864

Johannis Remijinse 1819–1846

Adriaan Remijinse 1821–1849

Pieter Remijinse 1822–1830

Frans Remijinse 1823–1860

Gerard Remynse 1825–1910

Marinus Remijinse 1826–1863

Note the difference in the spelling of the surname. It is seen both ways. In this country it became REMINE.

Their daughter Johanna was born 15 July 1817 in Kapelle. She married Boudewijn DeKorne 21 May 1847 in Kapelle. Boudewijn had been born in Kapelle on 11 June 1816.

The couple had one daughter who died as an infant, then a son Richard and daughter Maria were born. Richard, my great-great grandfather, would end up being a well-known brick mason and contractor in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but first the family had to immigrate to the United States.

Johanna’s parents had both died. Dirk died 9 September 1840 in Kapelle. On 14 April 1845, Adriana passed away.

Boudewijn and Johanna arrived in this country in 1856 and first settled in Zeeland, Michigan. The following year their 4th and last child, Jennie was born. Jennie eventually became Jennie Culver who divorced her husband and moved to Seattle with her two teen daughters. I have posted about the magnificent photo album that belonged to one of Jennie’s daughters that a blog reader mailed to me.

Johanna Remijinse DeKorne was my last direct ancestor in the Remine line, although my grandfather stayed close to the family that continued that surname in Michigan.

I found a photograph of this branch of the family in the Netherlands. The photograph is not marked with a photography studio or any other identifying information. Someone, possibly my grandmother, wrote on the back “Remine family in Holland.” In order to figure out who is in the photograph I would need to know the approximate date of the photo. Since Johanna immigrated in 1857, this must be from a line of the family that ran parallel to her line. Would it be the family of one of her siblings?

I went back and examined the other Remine cousins in the United States. They stem from Johanna’s brother Gerard.  He seems to have immigrated to the United States between 1855 and 1857. Maybe he and his family even came over with his sister and hers? NOTE TO SELF: CHECK INTO THIS.

Why did the families remain close? Johanna’s son Richard’s wife Alice’s sister Mary married Richard Remine, son of Johanna’s brother Gerard! What does that make them? First cousin’s by marriage?

So the photo can’t be of Gerard’s family. That leaves eight other siblings to check into. And the children of all these siblings . . . . NOTE TO SELF: MORE WORK NEEDED HERE

CAN YOU GUESS A TIME PERIOD FOR THIS PHOTO?

 

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