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This week I worked on Grandpa’s grandmother, Jennegien (Jennie) Bomhoff Zuidweg, born 5 March 1838 in Zwolle, Overjissel, Netherlands. Unlike most of my Dutch ancestors, Jennie was not born in Zeeland. Overjissel is in the eastern part of the country and centuries ago was part of Utrecht. It might always remain a mystery how she came to marry a man from Zeeland.

You can find out about Jennie in these posts. A lot of information can be found there.

What Did She Keep in All Those Pockets?

Kalamazoo Woman Supports WWI Troops

Jennie died when Grandpa was about 16 years old. I wish I could ask him more information about her now, but maybe he didn’t remember that much about her. Jennie and Johannes Zuidweg were almost a generation older than Grandpa’s other grandparents, Richard and Alice DeKorn. They also immigrated when they were pretty old, whereas Richard was a tiny boy and Alice a teen, so Johannes and Jennie’s habits would have been European and not American. My impression is that it’s likely that the Zuidwegs were not as central to the lives of the rest of the family in the way that the DeKorns were.

A curious story that my grandfather told me very insistently was that Jennie’s family was Jewish and that made his father Jewish. Because Grandpa was sure, I was sure. However, once Jennie’s documents were discovered it became clear that this could not be true.  I don’t know where the story originated or if there is some truth hidden somehow behind the documents. Without more information, my conclusion is that Jennie came from a Protestant family.

I had marriage, death, 1910 census, headstone, photo, and I manage her memorial page on Findagrave.

I also had her birth record, but hadn’t loaded it on Ancestry or really done anything with it. I asked people on Dutch Genealogy group on Facebook to read the birth record for me. I was able to confirm the birth date that I had of 5 March 1838, the place being Zwolle, and the names of her parents. I also received the names of the witnesses: 1) Lambert Velthuis, age 37 job peat carrier living in Zwolle 2) Johannes Weijl age 40 peat carrier living in Zwolle.

This week I made a computer folder and put all Jennie’s records in it. I also ordered her obituary from the Kalamazoo Public Library. Since Michigan is locked down right now, it might be awhile, but I hope eventually they can find it

As with Jennie’s husband, Johannes, I’m waiting immigration and naturalization info from Amberly.

I am particularly grateful that I have three photographs of Jennie, and that Grandpa actually knew her. Because of my grandfather’s stories, he has brought to life for me all the family members that he once knew when he was young.

 

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I will continue to move forward with updates about my fill in the gaps project. If anything, the pandemic has reinforced to me that I need to get the rudiments of my family history completed so that I can get digital copies to other family members.

So I moved on to Grandpa’s Zuidweg grandfather, Johannes Zuidweg, born 23 December 1842 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands.

You can find out about him in these posts. A lot of information can be found there.

I have these records: birth, marriage, criminal, death, obituary, 1910 census, headstone, photo, and I manage his memorial page on Findagrave.

Did Johannes serve in the Dutch military? I did ask Yvette to research this question, and this is her summary reply:

Johannes Zuijdweg, born 1842. He was found fit for duty and designated to serve.
Unfortunately, the enlistment registers did not identify the regiment he served in, so his
military records could not be located.

What a shame! I would love to know more about his military service, especially in light of the disturbing news that he served two months in jail for theft after the accidental death of son Lucas. I discuss this crime in the two blog posts above.

Here is Yvette’s more detailed response:

Johannes Zuijdweg in militia registration, 1861
Source: Goes, lists of men registered for the National Militia, levies 1851-1862, 1851 no. 8,
Johannes Zuijdweg; call no. 1438, archives of the city of Goes, 1851-1919, Goes Municipal
Archives, Goes; scans provided by Goes Municipal Archives.
Abstract:
No. 8, Johannes Zuijdweg, born Goes 23 December 1842.
Physical description: 1.601 m, long face, narrow forehead, grey eyes, ordinary nose and
mouth, round chin, brown hair and eyebrows, no noticeable marks.

Son of Adriaan [Zuijdweg] and Johanna Mulder
Occupation: “kruidewerker” [spice worker, probably: grocer], father deceased, mother maid
Informant: himself.
Johannes Zuijdweg in militia enlistment, 1861
Source: Goes, lists of men registered for the National Militia, levies 1854-1862, 1861 no. 36,
Johannes Zuijdweg; call no. 1484, archives of the city of Goes, 1851-1919, Goes Municipal
Archives, Goes; scans provided by Goes Municipal Archives.
Abstract:
No. 36, Johannes Zuijdweg, born Goes 23 December 1842.
Height: 1.601 m
Son of Adriaan [Zuijdweg] and Johanna Mulder.
Occupation: “kruidenwerker” [grocer], father deceased, mother maid
Informant: himself
Lot number 59
Designated to serve.
Regiment: [blank]
These registers show that Johannes Zuijdweg was found fit for duty and designated to serve.
Unfortunately, the register does not indicate which regiment he was in, so his military record could
not be located.

As far as Johannes’ immigration and naturalization information, I am awaiting the completion of the project Amberly is undertaking for me. He only lived in the United States for ten years before his death (1901-1911), so I think it’s unlikely that he was naturalized.

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I am going to avoid the elephant in the room in this post. You know, the Thing that has taken over our lives. But let’s go back to family history and just pretend for a few minutes that everything is normal.

So far I have searched for gaps in my immediate maternal ancestors going back through the great-grandparents.  From that point on, this is what I have been up to. I am bolding the questions I have in case anyone can answer.

  • All my Findagrave memorials through great-grandparents (direct line only) are completed for me and through grandparents for my husband. This means that I have sponsored them and now manage the memorials and can make appropriate edits and additions.
  • I have requested management of my maternal great-great-grandparents memorials from the current managers. There were 8. Almost immediately the manager of Peter and Nellie Mulder turned it over to me. That was so kind. I would have thanked him or her, but the person is not accepting messages at Findagrave. I am waiting to hear on the other six.
  • I requested management of my father’s paternal grandmother who was the first of my grandfather’s branch to die in the United States, and very quickly the manager transferred management to me. I recognized that it was a man I have corresponded with over the family on Ancestry. His wife is related to the branch, but is not a direct descendant of my great-grandmother. I was able to thank him. I already manage both paternal grandparents and my paternal grandmother’s parents. That means that I manage memorials for the all the paternals that are buried in this country.
  • I am making folders on my computer and putting docs on Ancestry for my ancestors on my father’s side, although not posting about them. Have my grandparents done so far. Need to keep moving backwards.
  • Amberly is working on immigration and naturalizations for all my ancestors who immigrated to this country.  I have some of the research findings now.
  • Yvette is working on the Dutch military records going back to my 3x greats. I have some of these research findings, as well.
  • I need 1920 census record for my paternal grandfather and 1900 census record for my paternal grandmother. I’ve searched for their other family members, but can’t find these entries. How certain are we that everyone is in the census?
  • Another question: I can’t find a social security number for my paternal grandmother. She worked until the 1950s (60s?) so why not?

Yvette Hoitink was able to find the military records for my great-grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg (Adriaan Zuijdweg), born 1871 in Goes.

This was particularly exciting for me because of the photograph. Here is a summary of what Yvette discovered:

He entered the 3rd regiment infantry on 11 May 1891. On 2 November 1891, he was promoted to corporal. On 30 July 1892 he was sent on grand leave. He did not fulfill his military duties but emigrated before his service was completed. He was registered as a deserter on 7 December 1893.

This is what Yvette explained about the “grand leave.”

Military service was five years. Typically, this consisted of eighteen months of active service followed by grand leave. At the end of their service, they were called back up for final training and then received their passport of fulfilled service. People who emigrated during grand leave were considered deserters and were registered in the police journal.

Here is the more detailed account of Adriaan’s military service.

ADRIAAN ZUIJDWEG
Posited: Adriaan did not marry in the Netherlands, so there are no marriage supplements. Since he emigrated, it is possible he went before completing his service.
Algemeen Politieblad 1894 Source: Algemeen Politieblad (1894), p. 555, entry 591, Adriaan Zuijdweg.
Translation
591. Adriaan Zuijdweg, soldier-corporal in the 3rd regiment infantry, born in Goes (Zeeland) 3 Jan. 1871, height 1.672 meters, long face, high forehead, blue eyes, small nose and mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, deserted 7 December.
7

This shows that Adriaan Zuijdweg was listed as a deserter in the police journal. He deserted on 7 December 1893. He would have been 22 years old, which suggests he had finished basic training and left while on grand leave.
Military record of Adriaan Zuijdweg Source: 3rd Regiment Infantry (Netherlands), muster roll of petty officers and men, 1890-1891, no. 80475, Adriaan Zuijdweg; digital film 008480935, FamilySearch (ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C39V-FQ7G-B : accessed 10 March 2020).
Abstract:
Number 80475. Adriaan Zuijdweg Father: Johannes [Zuijdweg], mother Jennegien Bomhoff Both Goes, 3 January 1871. Physical description upon arrival: 1.62 m, long face, high forehead, blue eyes, small nose and mouth, round chin, blond hair and eyebrows, no noticeable marks. On 11 May 1891 recruited as part of the levy of 1891 under number 40. On 30 July 1892 on grand leave [blank] returned [blank] on grand leave] Promoted to soldier-corporal 2 November 1891
On 7 December 1893 removed as deserter because not responding to being called to duty.
This confirms he did not return from grand leave and was marked as a deserter.

Very interesting that he left before completing his military duty. But such a long period of service for a young man eager to get on with his life. After all, this was not voluntary service, but the LUCK OF THE DRAW, much like our own draft (when we’ve had a draft).

So let’s look at Adriaan’s timeline. He did not return to duty on 7 December 1893. He seems to have shown up in the United States in 1893.

On 4 April 1894, his only brother Lucas was killed in an accident by falling on a ship’s anchor, so Adriaan was already in the United States. Thus, it seems to me that the reason he left the Dutch Army and the Netherlands was to begin a new life in the  United States. He was the first in his family. Eventually his parents and then sister and brother-in-law followed. They all settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Because Adriaan lived a reputable life in Kalamazoo and raised an upstanding son, my grandfather, I don’t view him as a military deserter. But maybe the Dutch viewpoint would be different.

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Now it’s time to turn my attention to one of my maternal great-grandfathers, Adrian Zuidweg.

I had Adrian’s birth (Netherlands), marriage (US), and death records (US). He is listed on the social security records, but I believe that is because he is listed as my grandfather’s father because Adrian died in 1929, several years before social security started. I have a photo of Adrian’s headstone and photos of him.

Last June I posted Adrian’s probated will at Great-Grandpa’s Will

Since I did not yet have Adrian and Cora’s wedding announcement from the Kalamazoo Gazette, I looked for that. I discovered that it was announced on four different days. The first two were standard announcements, and the other two were perhaps license listings. The two standard announcements were published with an egregious error. Cora’s surname was listed as Wilhelmina, her middle name. I’m sure that was disappointing to the young couple, and to Cora’s parents, Richard and Alice DeKorn. See third listing down.

The other error on the announcement is one that even I make when I am typing fast: the bridesmaid was Miss Jennie DeSmit, not DeSmith. Jennie was Cora’s first cousin and two years older than Cora.

Adrian’s files on my computer were a disaster, so I organized them. On Ancestry, I was missing his birth record, which I added. I also discovered an incorrect fact and document added on Ancestry. Yikes! It was a military registration for the OTHER Adrian Zuidweg, the one that lived in Grand Rapids. Yes, they were related, but not too closely.

I find no military records for Adrian, and that surprises me because I think he would have had to register for WWI. Wouldn’t he? So I looked it up. There were three registrations. The first one was for men only to age 30. The second one was ages 21 and up? Up to what? And the third one, in 1918, was up to age 45. Adrian turned 45 in 1916. He just missed the registration then, unless he qualified under the middle registration, which I doubt as he was still 46 in 1917.

What about his military records in the Netherlands, though? As you can see from the photo he was in the Dutch army as a young man. I am not sure how to find Dutch military records. I would really like to do so. There is a link on Family Search for where he might be located, but unfortunately I cannot figure out a way to search the website, only to browse.

I find no obituary for Adrian, and that also surprises me. I searched on Genealogy Bank in general and around the time of his death–19 December 1929. I submitted a request through the Kalamazoo Public Library to see if they could uncover an obit. Sure enough, the obituary was in an unindexed newspaper! Thank you to the library!


Like a lot of my immigrant ancestors, I have no immigration or naturalization records for Adrian. Since this is such a huge gap, and it seems to be a real weak point of mine, I enlisted Amberly Beck who is working on her genealogy certification to help me find this information.

Finally, I checked out his page on Findagrave. I sponsored his page some time ago, but now I put in a request for management of the page. Fingers crossed.

 

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As I mentioned two weeks ago, both my maternal great-grandmothers were born in the United States, but their husbands, my great-grandfathers, were immigrants. At that time I discussed my maternal grandmother’s mother, Clara Waldeck Mulder. Today I will talk about my maternal grandfather’s mother, Cora Zuidweg. I wrote some anecdotes about her life in 2012 at this link: Cora DeKorn Zuidweg

I’ve posted this photo before, but it is my favorite one of her, along with the portrait that Val colorized. That’s her only child, my grandfather, with her.

Cora was born Jacoba Wilhelmina DeKorn on 2 January 1875, something I did not realize until I had been researching for a couple of years.

When I looked for gaps in my documents for Cora, I noticed that while I had her baptismal record, I did not have a birth record. There actually was a birth record, which is pretty remarkable, but she was listed under the name Minnie. I suspect that she was given that nickname by her parents as a baby (from Wilhelmina), but that she outgrew it at a young age.

Wayne Loney was able to get me this copy of the birth record.

I do have Cora’s other records: census records, obituary, death record, marriage record. and headstone. Here is her obituary:

I have asked to manage her page at Findagrave, and I also submitted a request for edits. I just don’t hear back from these people, and I guess I’m going to have to start to be get loud about it if I don’t get any satisfaction about my family’s pages.

Cora might be the last of my “easy ones,” as it has been more difficult to research my other ancestors.

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Next up is Lucille Edna Mulder Zuidweg, my maternal grandmother. If you do a search for her under her maiden name (Mulder as Zuidweg is her married surname), you will find many blog posts about her, especially about her school years. I figured I had most everything available about Grandma, or Edna as she was known, but when I worked on Grandpa’s documents last week I discovered I did not have their marriage application or license. I was able to order it from St. Joseph County, Indiana, and it arrived in time for this post.

Here are their applications:

When it asks for Grandpa’s father’s name what does it say? I can’t make it out. UPDATE: with a little help from readers I now believe it says deceased. I do know grandpa‘s father‘s name was Adrian Zuidweg and Grandpa was a junior.


My mother says the reason her parents got married in Indiana is that it was much quicker and easier to get a license there than in Michigan. Also, Grandpa’s mother was dying, and Grandma needed to help take care of her. Them being married made that easier, and it certainly wasn’t a time for a wedding celebration.

This is the license:

I also found that I did not have Grandma’s birth certificate. I ordered it from Kent County, Michigan, and when it arrived, I realized that Wayne Loney, the Kalamazoo genealogist had been right about these old birth records. County just typed up the info they had, put a seal on it, and charged me. It doesn’t even have the location of her birth.

And guess what? I didn’t have Grandma’s obituary either! So here it is, thanks to the Kalamazoo Public Library:

 

I love how the obituary mentions how she used to say, “Let’s go!” Hah, so true. She also loved to sing along to Ethel Merman, but I doubt too many family members know that. She used to babysit me every day after kindergarten (and the year before that, too), so I’m sure her bashful personality felt more comfortable singing with a five-year-old than adults. She also used to sing folk songs to me, and every once in a while do a few dance steps to make me giggle.

I have treasures that belonged to Grandma and photos of her. I have the 1920, 30, and 40 census records. I have a photo of the headstone she shares with Grandpa at Mount Ever-Rest Cemetery. And I sponsored a page for her at Find-a-Grave, just as I did for Grandpa.

My grandparents–at least as the older and then elderly people I knew–had exceptionally cute personalities. I think everybody who knew them would agree with that!

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I chose Adrian Zuidweg, Jr., my maternal grandfather, as the starting point for this project of filling in the information/document gaps of my direct ancestors. His family inspired the blog because of the photograph collection that Grandpa had owned, which included glass negatives from the photography of his uncle, Joseph DeKorn.

I’ve always known that Grandpa was born on 31 October 1908 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  What I didn’t realize was that I had no record or documentation of that birth! So that was the first gap I set out to fill.

I wrote Wayne Loney, the genealogist in Kalamazoo who has helped me in the past. He found Grandpa’s birth recorded on the county record birth book: book 6, page 146, record 10294. Adrian Zuidweg, white male, was born in the City of Kalamazoo to father Adrian Zuidweg and mother Cora DeKorn. Adrian Sr’s place of birth was listed as Holland, and Cora’s was not listed. The residence was Kalamazoo. Adrian Sr.’s occupation was “Fish Dealer.” Yes, he owned a fish market.

Wayne shared a tip with me: not to order a birth certificate from county because they would just type up the same info that the record shows, affix their seal, and charge me for it. I took his advice, so I am just posting the following (he’s second to last):

As I continued down my list of the most basic documents for genealogy, I realized that I also did not have a record of the 21 May 1932 marriage of my grandparents. They were married in Indiana, not Michigan, and I had not been able to find the record before. This time, I found enough information online to order the marriage record and certificate from St. Joseph County. They have my request, and I am awaiting the documents.

I had 3 of the 4 census records that would be available. I had a copy of 1910, 1920, and 1930, but did not have 1940. His name didn’t come up in a search for that one, but knowing how often his name was mangled, I decided to search by address instead. And there I found Grandpa with Grandma, mom, and my uncle. See lines 6-9 below.

There is a military record for Grandpa, although he was too young for WWI and too old for WWII. He registered for WW2, though.

At one time I made a Findagrave profile for him, and I have a photograph of the headstone he shares with Grandma.

I also have Grandpa’s death certificate because when I undertook the project of searching specifically for death records of my direct ancestors I located it.

Question for researchers: what is the best way to find out a burial date? I can assume in many cases that it is the date of the funeral, which I can get from most obituaries. Are there other ways to make sure?

With this new emphasis on filling in the gaps, I saw that I did not have Grandpa’s obituary. So I contacted the Kalamazoo Public Library and they found two obituaries in the Kalamazoo Gazette, published one day apart. I will post them here. Here is the first one:

With this information, I would say that Grandpa’s burial occurred on Saturday, April 15, 2000.

The next one mentions a brave and scary time in my grandfather’s life when he stood up against other people.

 

Here is a transcription of the second obit.

Adrian Zuidweg’s work ethic, friendliness, and reputation for honesty probably would have been enough by themselves to ensure his success as the owner of a gas station.

But Zuidweg added to that a desire to give his customers the absolute lowest price he could on gasline, which endeared him to the gas-buying public, but didn’t win him friends among other gas station owners.

“He always wanted to try to give his customers the lowest possible price he could provide them and still make money,” said his son, Donald Zuidweg. “He got a lot of static from the Retail Gasoline Dealers Association, but he did his own thing.”

Zuidweg’s Sunoco station on South Burdick at Balch Street was front-page news in 1965 when other service station operators and employees, upset that he was charging 31 cents a gallon to their 34 cents, formed a gas-pump blockade, lining up for a nickel or dime’s worth of gas each and insisting that Zuidweg check their oil and water and wash their windshields as part of the bargain.

Zuidweg said he made about $1 during the three-hour blockade.

The ploy backfired, however, when customers who read about his lower prices in the newspaper showed up the next day to fill their tanks.

Zuidweg, a lifelong Kalamazoo area resident who died Thursday at his Portage residence at the age of 91, was a hard-worker who always mnaged to find time for his family, said Donald Zuidweg, who began helping his father when he was 4 and continued working at the station until he was through with graduate studies.

“I think I learned as much about business and people (by) working with him as I did in school.” Donald Zuidweg said.

“He worked very hard six days a week, but never worked on Sunday,” the son said. “We always had family time on Sunday.”

Although Adrian Zuidweg tried to give his customers the best deal he could, he also made sure his family had all they needed.

“He always provided for his family and put three kids through college,” his son said.

Zuidweg, who was born Oct. 31, 1908, in Kalamazoo, left school in his teens because his parents became ill and he had to take care of them.

His first job was working in the fish market his family owned. When they sold it, he started a garden and would walk north on Burdick, peddling his produce to neighbors.

After that, he worked at a confectionary owned by his father, which he eventually razed and replaced with the service station he ran until his retirement in 1972.

Zuidweg retired before self-service gasoline stations came into vogue, but understood the reasons for the changes in the business, his son said.

“It bothered him at first to see women have to fill up their own cars, but he knew that . . . (times were) changing,” Donald Zuidweg said.

Adrian Zuidweg and his wife, Edna, loved to travel and ventured farther and farther from home as time went on.

“After all of us (children) were through college, he and my mother went around the world several times,” Donald Zuidweg said.

Adrian Zuidweg was a member of First United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo for more than 60 years and served as Sunday school treasurer for nearly half that time.

Surviving are Edna, his wife of 67 years, two daughters and a son, Janet and Rudy Hanson and Donald and Jean Zuidweg of Kalamazoo and Alice Carpentier of Portage, six grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park, with burial in Mount Ever Rest Cemetery.

I remember when the gas war happened because my father was there at the station and came home telling my mother about it. Although the obituary doesn’t mention it, my father said that the men threatened violence against Grandpa.

Grandpa stood up for what he thought was right.

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