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Posts Tagged ‘Jennie Zuidweg’

One of the wonderful benefits of blogging about family history and genealogy is learning from my fellow bloggers. Last week I read a post by Amberly, The Genealogy Girl, about a site called Genealogy Gophers. I’d never heard of it, but she made it sound easy (and free), so I hopped over to the site and entered (somewhat randomly) one of my family surnames in the search form.

“Zuidweg” brought up several entries because I hadn’t narrowed down to time or place. This isn’t surprising because my Dutch cousin Elly thinks that Zuidweg might be a fairly common name, especially in Zeeland.

Before I could search the entries  individually, one popped up, clamoring for attention. It was one of those rare finds that I probably could have never found without this source.

An Honor Roll

Containing a Pictorial

Record of the War Service

of the Men and Women of

Kalamazoo County

1917-1918-1919

The entry in this book mentions my great-great-grandmother Jennie Zuidweg. Born Jennegien Bomhoff on 5 March 1838 in Zwolle, Overjissel, Netherlands, Jennie married Johannes Zuidweg in 1869, at age 31. She was a maid at that time and both her parents had already passed away. They had 3 children, but Lucas passed away at age 21. In 1901, Jennie and Johannes immigrated to the United states. She was sixty-three years old. She was older than I am. I can’t imagine uprooting my life at that age and moving so far away that I would never be able to return to the country I’d lived in all those years.

Johannes died in 1911, when Jennie was 73. She lived on, a widow, until her death in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on 16 December 1924 at the age of 86. My grandfather was the only child of her remaining son, Adriaan. He was 16 when his grandmother died. She had many grandchildren through her daughter Johanna VanLiere.

Between the death of Johannes and her own death, WWI occurred. So what was Jennie doing with her time when she was 80 years old?

According to this honor roll she had some remarkable knitting skills.

Jennie Zuidweg knit 38 pairs of socks 1917-1918

The Social Service Club had five centers in Kalamazoo. During 1917-1918 women who volunteered for these centers contributed a total of:

128 sweaters

14 caps

148 pair of socks

148 pair of wristlets

34 helmets

37 mufflers

5 wash cloths

Kalamazoo Country contributed a total of 514 knitted articles, 377 sewn articles, as well as 600 shot bags and 1,000 gun wipes.

The only volunteer singled out here is Mrs. Jennie Zuidweg, 80 years of age, at the Burdick Street Center, (who) knit 38 pairs of socks.

I used to knit when I was a kid, and socks sound like a lot of boring work to me. That is true dedication.

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