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Posts Tagged ‘Kalamazoo history’

There is a tintype in a beautiful family album that I scanned with the other photographs. Since then, I’ve passed by that unidentified photo many times. Something always struck me as familiar; in fact, the woman looked like one of my great-great grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn’s sisters–perhaps Carrie or Mary. Carrie had no children. Mary had two girls and a boy and this woman is standing with two girls.

But it wasn’t right and I knew it. One of Mary’s girls was born much too late to be in a tintype.

So I let it go.

Until I saw it again the other day and it all snapped into place for me.

I focused on the girl with the face in clear image, and I knew who she was. That led me to consider the woman and the other girl.

Bingo. I thought to myself, “We have a match.”

The girl on our left (the woman’s right) is Janna DeKorn, aka Aunt Jen who I knew until I was twelve years old. Aunt Jen was born in 1873. Her younger sister, my great-grandmother Cora, was born Jacoba Wilhelmina DeKorn in 1875.

Alice, Lou, and Jennie (DeKorn) Leeuwenhoek

That means that the woman is Alice Paak DeKorn, their mother. No wonder she looks like her sisters. Gee whiz. Why did I not recognize her? There are a couple of reasons. For one thing, the photos I have of her when she’s older tend to be snapshots, and she had the loveliest smile. In this studio portrait, she is non-smiling, probably because she had to hold still for at least six minutes for a tintype. That would explain why Cora’s face is blurry. She must have moved while the image was being captured.

The other reason Alice looked different to me is that she has darker, curled hair here. She does not have curled hair in other images, and most of the photos show her with light hair, which I  now realize was gray.

If we look back at the image on Kin Types of the tintype of her as a teen or young woman, we can see that her hair was brown and that this woman is, indeed, Alice Paak.

I thought you would enjoy the details of the clothing in the tintype of Alice and her daughters. The photo would have been taken most likely after 1881 when the youngest DeKorn, Joseph, was born. Jennie looks 10-12 here and Cora 8-10. That would place the year as between 1883 and 1885.

I had a thought about the “picket fence” as it seems an add-on since it doesn’t match the possible banister behind them. It looks as if it was used for subjects to “lean on” to help steady them for the long wait for the image to develop.

Here is another photo that was given to me by Professor Lawrence of Jennie DeKorn as a child. Although the photographer’s name is cut off here, I recognize that this photo was taken by John Reidsema who was a professional photographer in Kalamazoo from at least 1888. If this was 1888, Jennie would be 15 years old, which could be right. Notice that the photo I posted above of Jennie with her husband and child was also taken at Reidsema’s studio.

And this one is also from Professor Lawrence of Jennie and Cora.

So I have three good images of Jennie as a child, but only one of Cora because of the blurred face in the tintype. the tintype is especially precious because it shows Alice Paak DeKorn when she was a young mother, whereas our other shots of her are when she was younger and, mainly, much older.

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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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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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My cousin Susie (actually my  mom’s cousin, but that’s being picky)  sent me some treasures the other day.

Here is one of my favorite people, my maternal Grandmother, in a color or tinted photo I’ve never seen before.

(Lucille) Edna Mulder
1929

Then there were some newspaper clippings. In the first one, Grandpa is in a photo I’ve shared on here before, but it’s attached to a little story in the “Looking Back” section of the Kalamazoo Gazette. The photo is of my grandfather, who shared the image and the story.

The next clipping is a mention of my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary in the same newspaper (not the same issue).

And, finally, this clipping is an announcement for the senior community where my grandparents lived during their last few years.

I often think of how much I miss these two.

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My family first arrived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, between 1860 and 1864, when the immigrant Boudewijn DeKorn(e) family moved from Zeeland, Michigan. Their residence was still Ottawa County in 1860, but the mother, Johanna Reminse DeKorn, was buried in Kalamazoo in 1864. This nails the time period unless, of course, Johanna was first buried near Zeeland and then her body later buried in Kalamazoo. I find that to be highly unlikely for many reasons.

In 1869, Alice Paak and her family (her father Teunis and her siblings) immigrated from the Netherlands to Kalamazoo.

In 1872, Richard DeKorn, the only son of Boudewijn and Johanna, married Alice Paak in Kalamazoo.

Richard DeKorn
picking strawberries
on Maple Street

In 1878-79, Richard was brick mason for the new and gorgeous building for the Ladies Library Association. In 1895 he would be lead brick mason on the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital Water Tower. According to his obituary he also was the contractor for the Pythian building and the Merchants Publishing Company building.

Richard built the brick house at the corner of Burdick and Balch Streets in Kalamazoo for his family in the early 1880s.

In the beautiful video I am posting here, Kalamazoo is “seen” during 1884, the year the village of Kalamazoo (the largest village in the entire country) became a city. My relatives are not mentioned in the video, but the Ladies Library Association and the “asylum” (where Richard would build the water tower 11 years later) are mentioned. To give you an idea where my family fits into the city at that time, using the terminology of the film, they had arrived in the United States from the Netherlands, but quickly could be classified as “middle class.” They were literate people as they could read and write. In some cases, they had trades, although I think they mainly learned their trades on the job as young men. Teunis became a successful farmer and land owner. Boudewijn’s son Richard became a successful building contractor and brick mason.

Kalamazoo was founded by mainly English settlers, beginning in 1829, but the Dutch began to immigrate to southwest and west Michigan in increasing numbers in the 40s and 50s and 60s. My ancestors were part of this group that ended up becoming a sizable chunk of the Kalamazoo population. If I have any quibbles with the video it is that other than mention of the first Reformed church in town, it is that there is no recognition of how the Dutch would help shape the City of Kalamazoo, but in all fairness it’s possible that the influence wasn’t yet felt in 1884.

(This film lasts about a half hour. If your interests are not with the city, I won’t be insulted if you decide to skip it; however, it gives a nice overview of the time period, as well). Either way, Happy Thanksgiving and please stay safe!

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Another set of ancestors of Richard DeKorn and my grandfather Adrian Zuidweg are my 4x great-grandparents, Joost Peek and his wife, Annigje van Besten.

I wrote a couple of blog posts about their son, Teunis, who was a pioneer of Kalamazoo, Michigan: 3x greats Teunis and Jacoba (Bassa) Peek, part I and 3x greats Teunis and Jacoba (Bassa) Peek, part II

As I explained previously, the name Paak used most often by my family in the United States was actually Peek in the Netherlands. It is possible they were going for a more phonetically correct spelling (by American English standards).

These are the life stories from Ancestry:

When Joost Peek was born on October 28, 1787, in Zijderveld, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands, his father, Cornelis, was 41 and his mother, Teuntje, was 34. He married Annigje den Besten on September 28, 1814, in Everdingen, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. They had six children in 13 years. He died on November 29, 1832, in Everdingen, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands, at the age of 45.

Annigje den Besten was born in 1785 in Everdingen, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands, the daughter of Maaike and Jan. She married Joost Peek on September 28, 1814, in her hometown. They had six children in 13 years. She died on April 3, 1865, having lived a long life of 80 years.

One of those six children, Maaike, died in infanthood.

I have been blessed with most of the pertinent records on these two. I do still need a baptism record for Annigje and military record for Joost, but I have Joost’s baptismal record, as well as their marriage record and death records for both.

This is the front cover of the book that contains their marriage record.

 

 

 

And this is the marriage record:

Instead of posting Joost’s death record, I will post the transcription and translation that was done through a Facebook group by Carla Ratcliff. Where it says “I” it is Carla. We learn from this record that Joost was a builder by trade.

Transcription in Dutch : #19
In het jaar achttien honderd twee en dertig, den dertigsten der maand November, des voor middags ten tien ure, zijn voor ons Jan Hendrick Kny (ij)tt Burgemeister Ambtenaar van den Burgerlijken Stand der Gemeente van Overdengen gecompareered: Antonie van Ooijen oud vijfen en derig Jaren, van beroep Bouwman wonende te Everdingen en Andries van Meeuwen oud vie ren dertig Jaren van beroep Bouwman, wonende te Everdingen die ons verklaard hebben, dat op den negen en twintigste der maand November des jaars achttien honderd twee en dertig, des morgens ten drie ure, binnen deze Gemeente is overladen: J (I) oost Peek oud vijfen veertig Jaren Bouwman wonende te Everdingen den ag ten twintigste October zeventien honderd vijf en tagtig  geboren te zij (y)derveld?, echtgenoot van Annnigje den Besten zonder beroep aldaar woonachtig zoon van Cornelis Peek en van Taientje van Zenderen beide overleden. En hebben wij declaranten een geburen met ins deze acte na gedane voorlezin onderteekend.

[DeepL translations are done by a DeepL machine]

deepl translation : #19 ( I made corrections to deep l  translations!!)
In the year eighteen hundred and thirty-two, the thirtieth of November, at ten o’clock in the afternoon, Jan Hendrick Kny (ij)tt Burgemeister Civil Servant of the civil registration of the city of Overdengen( has been composed for us) gecompareered = APPEARED BEFORE ME: Antonie van Ooijen, (aged five and thirteen years) 35 years old, by profession ( Bouwman) BUILDER, living in Everdingen, and Andries van Meeuwen, aged thirty one years, by profession (Bouwman) BUILDER, living in Everdingen, who have declared to us that on the (ninth and twentieth) 29th day of November of the year eighteen hundred thirty-two, in the morning at three o’clock, (there were overloaded)ALSO IN THIS IN CITY: Joost Peek, aged forty-five years (Bouwman) BUILDER , residing in Everdingen, on the twentieth of October seventeen hundred and thirty-five, born in his (y)derveld?, husband of Annnigje den Besten, son of Cornelis Peek and of Tientje van Zenderen, both residing there without profession, both (showered) DEAD. And we have signed a letter to the declarants with in this act after the preceding sentence.

From this death record, we can see that even the witnesses to Joost’s death were all builders.

Annigje outlived Joost for over thirty years. She also died “elsewhere,” in Vianen. This death town caused me all kinds of frustration until I bothered to look up Everdingen where she was born, married, and lived. I discovered this in Wikipedia: “Everdingen is a former municipality in the Netherlands. Together with Zijderveld and Hagestein, it had been part of Vianen municipality since 1986.”  So all these little towns were very close. When Annigje was in her 60s she lived in Hagestein. Joost was from Zijderveld.

This city gate of Vianen is from the 15th century.

By User:China_Crisis – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2214906

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Like the great-greats in my last post, Jan and Geertruijd (Engelse) de Korne, Dirk Gillesz Remijnse and his wife, Adriana Krijger (Kriger), are ancestors of Richard DeKorn, the man who had a great influence on my grandfather. Richard was Grandpa’s grandfather, and he lived with his parents at the home of Richard. Richard’s given name was Dirk, so he was named after his grandfather, Dirk Gillesz Remijnse.

By the way, according to Family Search:

In Dutch the word for son is zoon; in Old Dutch, it is soen, zoen or soon, which can be abbreviated to sz, z, se, sen and x. Daughter in Dutch is dochter and in Old Dutch it is doghter which can be abbreviated to d, dr, s, se, sen, sens, and x.

Using this info, we can see that Dirk Gillesz means that his father’s name was Gillis or Gilles.

According to Dirk’s and Adriana’s life stories on Ancestry:

When Dirk Gillesz Remijnse was born on November 22, 1786, in Kruiningen, Zeeland, Netherlands, his father, Gillis, was 29 and his mother, Hendrika, was 23. He married Adriana Krijger on August 26, 1810, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. They had ten children in 15 years. He died on September 9, 1840, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 53.

When Adriana Krijger was born on June 11, 1787, in Biggekerke, Zeeland, Netherlands, her father, Jan, was 53, and her mother, Janna, was 31. She married Dirk Gillesz Remijnse on August 26, 1810, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. They had ten children in 15 years. She died on April 14, 1845, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, at the age of 57.

I would add that of these ten children, nine lived to adulthood, whereas Pieter died at age 8. It is possible that there were other babies who passed away, but I have not yet searched for them. For the most part, these children are 1-2 years apart, though, so it’s likely that the family was blessed with good odds (for those days) and that the majority of their children survived.

I found a death record for both husband and wife.

Dirk’s record:

Index of Dirk’s death record:

Adriana’s death record:

Index of Adriana’s death record:

I have not found a marriage record for this couple, nor a baptismal record for Dirk. But I did finally find a baptismal record for Adriana and ordered it from Zeeuws Archief. It arrived in time for this post!

At the birth of their daughter, Johanna, my 3x great-grandmother (who died in Kalamazoo in 1864), Dirk’s occupation was listed as bread baker. Probably a good thing, since he had all those mouths to feed! But think of him getting up really early and getting the ovens going. A pretty hard job, although a good smelling one.

I must confess that the birth date for Dirk and the marriage date that I show come from online family trees on “genealogy online,” a Dutch site. I do not have documents verifying them. So let’s just use them as place holders for now. Of course, the birth years are fairly accurate because of the ages listed on the death records, but I still need those documents!

Adriana was born in Biggekerke. This is a “ground sailor,” which is a term for a windmill that can be operated from the ground. Brassers Molen is a flour mill that was built in 1712, so it had already been around for quite some time when Adriana was born in 1787.

Brassers Molen from Wikipedia

Dirk hailed from Kruinengen, and that town also has an old flour windmill, Oude Molen (literally, Old Mill). This one was built in 1801 when Dirk was 25 years old.

Oude Molen from Wikipedia

If you would like to understand the role of some windmills in controlling the water in below-sea-level Netherlands, read Eilene’s wonderful post: Milling Water to the Sea

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My 3x great-grandfather, Boudewijn DeKorn and his wife, Johanna Remine, were the first generation in the DeKorn branch to immigrate to the United States. Boudewijn’s parents, Jan and Geertruijd (Engelse) de Korne (de Corne) were the last generation of my direct ancestors to remain in the Netherlands. By the time that the younger couple had emigrated in 1856, Boudewijn’s parents were already deceased.

Jan had passed away nine years before, on 10 November 1847 in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, at age 54. Although I knew that my 2x great-grandfather Richard DeKorn was born in Kapelle, I think this is pretty much the same area as Goes, where so much of the family came from. In fact, the cities are only 7 kilometers apart (less than 4.5 miles!).

Jan was born on or around 16 November 1792 in Kattendijke, but this is a village in Goes. This shows that this portion of the family was in Goes before the move to Kapelle. Kloetinge is another village in the city of Goes that I have seen mentioned in my relatives’ records.

This is a copy of Jan’s baptismal record.

Geertruijd had already been gone for some time when her husband passed. She died at age 40 on 23 May 1829 in Kapelle, just a few weeks after the birth of her son Pieter. She was born in Kruinengen, about 17 kilometers from Goes, so not far from Kapelle either, on or around 22 April 1789.

The couple was married on 22 April 1814 in Kapelle. According to Yvette Hoitink: “The marriage record of Jan de Korne and Geertruijd Engelse was found in the ZeeuwenGezocht.nl index of civil registration records. They were married in Kapelle on 22 April 1814. Scans of the 1814 marriage records of Kapelle are missing from the “Netherlands, Civil Registration, 1792-1952″ set of images at Familysearch.org so the original text has not been consulted. The (reliable) index provides the names of his parents: Boudewijn de Korne and Jacoba Loenhout and gives his age (21) and place of birth (Kattendijke).” Therefore, I do not have a copy of their marriage record.

At the time of their marriage, I believe that Jan was already living in Kapelle and working as a farmer. Whether his father or he owned a farm, I do not know. But he is listed as a farmer, not a laborer or day laborer, so it is likely that there was a family farm. I don’t know what brought Geertruijd to Kapelle.

After fifteen years of marriage and two living children (my 3x great Boudewijn and his brother Pieter–there were at least two infants who died, as well), Jan was left a widower. On 19 October 1832, he married Elizabeth Zandijk. After she passed away on or around 16 April 1833 (six months after their marriage!!!!), Jan married another Elizabeth. This third wife was Elizabeth Bustraan, and their marriage began on 16 April 1841 in Kapelle. I do not have a date for her death.

I do have copies of the marriage records for Jan’s second and third marriages.

I have a death record for both Jan and Geertruijd. Here is Jan’s.

And here is Geertuijd’s:

 

I hope to eventually find the couple’s marriage record. Additionally, I am looking for Geertruijd’s baptismal record and any evidence of a military record for Jan.

 

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The last fill-in-the-gaps couple I wrote about was Teunis and Jacoba Paak, the parents of Alice Paak DeKorn. Today I am writing about the parents of Alice’s husband, Richard DeKorn. He was born to Boudewijn and Johanna (Remine) DeKorn in the Netherlands.

Richard’s father Boudewijn (Dutch for Benjamin) DeKorn was born on June 11, 1816, in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands, to Jan DeKorne, 23 years old, and Geertruijd Engelse, who was 27. Boudewijn married Johanna Remine on May 21, 1847, in their hometown. Johanna was born in Kapelle to Dirk Gillesz Remijnse, 30 years old, and Adriana Krijger, also 30.

The couple had four children in 11 years: first born Geertruit died as an infant, but then Richard was born in 1851 and Maria in 1855. The fourth, Adriana, called Jennie, was not born in the Netherlands.

The family of four traveled to America on a sailing vessel which left April 13, 1856 and arrived at Kalamazoo June 22, 1856. The voyage was bad and long, and Richard and Mary, their children, stated it took 90 days. They located in Zeeland, Michigan, for a few years.

Eventually, the family moved to Kalamazoo, although I am not sure when they made that move. They were in Ottawa County (Zeeland) in the 1860 census, but when Johanna passed away in 1864, they may have been living in Kalamazoo because she is buried there.

Now we come to a big gap. I do not have a death record for Johanna because 1864 was a little before Kalamazoo started recording deaths. I don’t know exactly when she died, and I am using her headstone to give me a date. Maddeningly, it doesn’t even give her name! Just “MOTHER” and “WIFE OF B. DEKORN.” Good grief.

You know what else would be nice to have on Johanna? An obituary. I don’t have one for Boudewijn either, and I suspect that there might not be one. After all, Boudewijn was a laborer when he lived in the Netherlands. He didn’t live long enough in Zeeland to have built up a business. Then in Kalamazoo I’m not sure what he did. Since his son Richard became a very successful contractor, though, it is possible that he got his start from his father. So if Boudewijn did have a business in Kalamazoo, there might be an obituary for him, although not necessarily for Johanna since she obviously died soon after their move to Kalamazoo.

Boudewijn died on 1 July 1875 in Kalamazoo. I know this because Wayne Loney found the death record although the name was severely mangled. And the condition of the record is very faded. I tried to enhance it as much as possible. His entry is the 8th from the bottom. On the right page his son Richard’s name is clearly visible. Also his age at death of 59 and his job as laborer. But I really cannot read the cause of death, unfortunately.

I am hoping to get immigration and naturalization information on the couple from Amberly at some point. That will be very helpful as it will also provide the immigration for Richard and possibly a clue about his naturalization.

According to Yvette Hoitink, there was a fire in Kapelle in 1877 that destroyed the military records for that town, so there is no practical way to find out if Boudewijn served in the military.

So I will always be missing his military, and I am missing obits for both husband and wife. And hoping for the I&N. I have something on Boudewijn that I do not have for Johanna. A photo!

Pretty cool to have a pic of your 3x great! Is that some sort of plaid I am seeing on his shirt or am I imagining that? I was thinking that this was a reprint made a few decades after the original was made. Or even a reprint of a reprint. Could the original have been a tintype?

I keep going back to look through the photo album of Remine/Paak photos, thinking that if there was a photo of Johanna it would be in there, but nobody seems to be the right age In the right time period. It’s possible that in this portrait Boudewijn had already lost Johanna, in fact, since she died when he was 48.

I’ve started using paintings as portraits on my Ancestry tree for direct ancestors that I do not have photos for. I am also using a photo of baby feet for children who died before age five, and a photo of the back of a girl’s head with braids for girls who died before age 18. I haven’t had to find one for boys yet. Any ideas what to use?

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I have a lot of catchup to do on my fill-in-the-gaps project, so I thought I would share with you a link that Jose sent me of the Kalamazoo State Hospital.

I’ve written about the hospital a couple of times in the past. First there were my posts about my grandmother’s uncle Fred Waldeck. He was severely brain-injured in an accident and, subsequently, lived out the rest of his life at the State Hospital.

Fred Waldeck Mystery Solved

Waldeck Family Research with Fred’s Death Certificate

My research and writing on Fred Waldeck’s wife Caroline featured in Broad Street Magazine

Then more recently, I wrote about my great-great grandmother’s sister Annie Paak Verhulst. I discovered that she passed away at the State Hospital, and the best guess is that she went there as so many had because she was elderly with health issues and it was the only place that could take care of her. There were no nursing homes in those days.

So what did this place, the Kalamazoo State Hospital, look like? Here is the link Jose sent.

PHOTOGRAPHIC RECONSTRUCTION OF KALAMAZOO STATE HOSPITAL

This is really an amazing project. Enjoy.

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