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Posts Tagged ‘Kalamazoo history’

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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Last week I wrote a Fill in the Gaps Project post for my 3x great-grandparents, Teunis and Jacoba (Bassa) Peek/Paak.

Since the publication of that post, I have been blessed with more information about Teunis’ life. Because there is so much, I am posting all the new info here, rather than just updating that post.

Amberly was as mystified as I was by who “Perina Pick” might be. She was listed on the 1870 census in Cooper Township (Michigan) in the wife position after Teunis. Then Amberly found a Findagrave memorial which must belong to her.  PERINA PECK This page indicates she died in 1890. There is not a photo of a headstone or any other information, so this information might have come from cemetery records. Since the last name reads as Peck it seems unlikely that Teunis would have had the headstone engraved. Furthermore, she isn’t listed with the family in the 1880 census.

So who was she? An unknown relative? A housekeeper who happened to have a similar surname or took on the family surname? Amberly wondered if it had been a marriage of convenience. I questioned if he had met her on the ship to America since a mere two years after arriving he was already married.

I was almost falling asleep over my iPad when I decided to check out “Paak” on Genealogy Bank. Guess what popped up?  Several notices dated 24-30 September 1881.

 


Tannis Paak vs Priera Paak, divorce; J F Alley for complainant, T R Sherwood for defendant. I don’t know what “Chancery–Fourth Class” means to this case, but it looks to me as if Teunis was the one to file for divorce. This makes him the first direct ancestor I have ever found who went through a divorce.

Therefore, I conclude that he did indeed marry this woman at some point after arriving in the  United States (there is no marriage record in the Netherlands, where the records are much much better than the U.S. ones for the time period). That said, Perina/Priera does appear to be from the Netherlands, according to the census.

While I was in the newspaper files, I discovered a 10 February 1882 notice for a sale of farm equipment by Teunis and his son George.

 

I believe this is close to when Teunis moved from Cooper to Kalamazoo–effectively retiring. I was struck by the fact that he didn’t just farm celery, apparently, but also had cows and sheep.

You have to wonder where this left his only son George (Joost) because I think Teunis and George were in business together. There are several newspaper notices of buying and selling (especially buying) of land throughout this period. I do not know if they were all used for celery farming or for other purposes. They were generally somewhat sizable and expensive parcels.  Also, the amazing genealogy volunteer Wayne Loney discovered a map of interest. Notice the “Paak & Son.”

This is an 1890 map of Kalamazoo Twp. At the top of the page the look at “Kalamazoo” and below the Z, in section 10 where the RR tracks become closer, you will find a 10 acre plot which says Paak & Son. The road at the west edge of the property is Pitcher St. and the area is currently (and it depends) either the now defunct Checker Motors or what was the Brown Co. It has been several different paper companies and I have no longer been able to keep up with its current name. But, at one time, it became very expensive property.

If you think that this map looks remarkably like the one where Jacob Verhulst’s farm was later located (the post about Annie Paak Verhulst), you would be right. It looks like property that might have belonged to Teunis and son George Paak ended up eventually with daughter Annie and her husband Jacob.

Another fact that Wayne uncovered has to do with where Teunis is buried. Here is a map of Riverside Cemetery.

Wayne remarked: “Tannis PAAK is buried in Riverside Cemetery and is the only occupant of the entire 8 grave plot, in Section U, Plot 87. There are 7
unused graves. U,087,01 is the City of Kalamazoo’s description.”

Wow, did he buy eight graves, expecting his children to be buried near him and then nobody was buried there? That is another mystery I can try to solve by discovering where all his children were buried. I can also try to contact the cemetery to see if I can get more information.

Back to the immigration of Teunis and his family. According to an index available on Ancestry which Amberly discovered, Teunis traveled with five children to “Port Uncertain” in 1868. Five children. Not six, which is what it would be if Willempje was with them. However, I can’t take it too seriously since Teunis is indexed as age 23! He was 46. There is no wife mentioned either, which I do think is accurate. I do know that 1868 is accurate because Yvette Hoitink was able to find that information in the Dutch emigration records.

Yet another area of future research is the probate records. Wayne knows where they are and will get them when he can. WOOT! Plus, I know they are worth reading because from the time of Teunis’ death in April until March of the following year (1894) probate dragged out. I know this because there are many notices in the newspaper. My great-greats Richard and Alice DeKorn are mentioned. It will be interesting to see what property was left at the time of his death and who inherited it.

Years ago I wrote blog posts about the fire at George’s house in 1902. His wife Lucy had passed away two years previously, leaving him with five young children. At the time of the fire, George did not have funds or insurance on his home. He also had been ill and had not been working because of his health. This is only nine years after the death of “prosperous celery farmer” Teunis. I can’t wait to read the probate record! By the way, my chapbook Kin Types also has a story called “The Weight of Smoke” based on the fire at George’s house.

Additionally, Wayne gave me Teunis’ death record, which I did not have. He died of cancer of the stomach.

Although Teunis immigrated before many of my other ancestors, there are so many documents relating to his life. I suspect that eventually much of his story will be clear. I just wish I had a photograph of my 3x great-grandfather.

 

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I am moving backward in time now to my 3x great-grandparents. Three sets of my 3x greats were immigrants to the United States. For this couple, sadly, only Teunis left the Netherlands for the United States with the couple’s children. Jacoba passed away in 1865 in the couple’s hometown of Lexmond, which is in the province of Utrecht and is not part of Zeeland. I guess you could say only 2 1/2 sets immigrated.

I do not believe I have photos of Teunis and Jacoba. They were born in the 1820s, and she died before the age of 50. To supplement for that, I will post here a painting of a family in Utrecht from 1849 signed by David van der Kellen III, 1827-1895, Utrecht.

The first child of Teunis and Jacoba, Joost (later, in America, George) was born in 1850, so this is pretty close in time.

So what do I have on this couple and what am I missing?

For Teunis (or Tannes or Tennes or Thomas) and Jacoba, I have their birth records (born in 1822 and 1824). I also have their marriage record for 1848.

Yvette Hoitink was able to discover for me that Teunis was not called to the military. From his military physical description, we can see what Teunis looked like. He was a blue-eyed blond with a round face.

 

One thing I want to note about the surname is that in the Netherlands the records show Teunis with the surname Peek. Once the family was in the United States they tended more toward Paak.

There are birth records for their children, so I know that Teunis was a farmer in the Netherlands. One large gap for me is that one of their daughters, Willempje, was born in 1856, but I cannot find a death record for her in the Netherlands. Since I do not have immigration and naturalization information yet, I didn’t know if she came to the United States or passed away as a child.

In 1865, both Jacoba and Teunis’ mother passed away. Teunis brought his family to the United States in 1868, where they lived in Cooper Township for over a decade. I could not find them in the 1870 census. But I have them in the 1880 census in Cooper, where Teunis was a farmer.

Then an amazing thing happened: Amberly found an 1870 census that just has to be them, although the names are a little screwed up.

In this census record the family surname is Pick, but Willempje is listed, albeit as a male (William). However, Alice is listed as Ellis and a male. There are a lot of errors, but it’s doubtful that anybody else in Cooper Township fit the general “shape” of this family the way Teunis’ would. Keep in mind that the census taker, a man named Smith, probably didn’t understand Dutch or the Dutch accent or types of names very well. The family had only been in the country two years at the time of the census.

So this census tells me that Willempje probably did immigrate with her father and siblings, and sometimes between the 1870 and 1880 census takings, she passed away.

My great-great grandmother Alice named my great grandmother Cora after her mother Jacoba. Cora was a nickname for Jacoba. But she also named her daughter for Willempje because Cora’s middle name was Wilhelmina.  In this way Alice memorialized her sister.

The 1870 census also initiates a new mystery: who is listed in the “wife position,” keeping house for the family?! Her name was ostensibly “Perina Pick.” This names doesn’t fit a sister for Teunis, and there is no record of him remarrying in the Netherlands.

Amberly tried to find a record of Teunis becoming a naturalized citizen, but found no trace of it. I suppose it’s very likely that he did not become a United States citizen.

I am blessed to have found an obituary and a headstone for Teunis. According to his obit, he was a “prosperous celery farmer,” in a region of celery farmers. If only Jacoba had lived to be part of that success.

 

I believe there is an error in the obituary in that Anna’s last name should be Verhulst, not Van Hulst.

Sometimes I wonder how much some of my immigrant ancestors told their children about their lives in the old country. The age of Teunis on his headstone is not correct. The stone lists his age down to the number of days, and yet he wasn’t 72 or 73, but only 70!

Teunis is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo. He passed away on 24 April 1893. I have been blessed to get management of his Findagrave memorial. He must have been very brave to bring his son and five daughters to a new country and start over at the age of 46.

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