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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

My grandparents lived on Burdick Street in Kalamazoo. In fact, most of the family history on that side seems centered in the Burdick-Balch neighborhood. But as a kid I remember seeing a street sign on the right side when we drove south from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It said “Remine.” I always thought that was such a funny coincidence because I knew we had Remine relatives. I imagined that it was an extremely common Dutch name.

But when I was searching Genealogy Bank for Kalamazoo Gazette articles about the Remine and Tazelaar families, I encountered this little gem from August 22, 1918:

Look at the first item under REALTY TRANSFERS. “Richard Remine and wife to City of Kalamazoo, strip of land known as Remine avenue, Kalamazoo, $1.

Richard Remine is the father of Genevieve (and father-in-law of Frank Tazelaar), of Harold, and of Therese (Theresa, Tracy).

Was this common, to deed a piece of land to the city for the purpose of a road? And would it really have only been $1? Would there have been other parts of the negotiation? A discount on taxes, for instance? Or was it in order to have a way to develop a piece land and sell off lots?

Here is the intersection of Burdick and Remine according to Google Maps.

 

 

Richard lounging, years after the street was named

Found This Week–What a Treat!

I was looking for a book I can’t find. Instead, I ran across this photo–and it was labelled on the back! “Jane Remine Tazelaar.” So this is Genevieve with a smile on her face. She looks so much prettier smiling so sweetly! It’s easy to see why Frank would want to marry her. This is more proof that the family called her Jane, not Genevieve and not Jennie.

Jane (Genevieve) Remine Tazelaar

Jane Remine Tazelaar

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My 3rd great grandmother, Johanna Remine deKorne had a brother named Gerrit Remine. He, like his sister and other siblings was born in Kapelle, Netherlands. Gerrit’s birthdate was 21 February 1825.

Gerrit and Johanna were both born Remijinse, but changed the spelling in Michigan. Gerrit was married to Janna Kakebeeke (Kakebeke). They had three children (that I know of). Johanna who gained the surname Bosman (I’ve written about Bosmans in the past), Jennie (or Adriana) who married Carlos Meijer (Meyer), and Richard Remine. Richard was Frank Tazelaar’s father-in-law, the father of Genevieve.

I never noticed that the deaths of both Gerrit and Janna were in 1910, and even if I had, they were 3 months apart. So Gerrit and Janna were the grandparents of Genevieve, Frank’s grandparents-in-law.

Imagine my surprise to find a newspaper article explaining what happened to Gerrit in 1910 and giving a hint about Janna. The Kalamazoo Gazette article was dated 7 January 1910.

Coal gas poisoning appears to be different than carbon monoxide poisoning. I will quote from the beginning of the following article only to give you a flavor of the 1896 explanation:

JOURNAL ARTICLE

A Discussion On The Pathology Of Coal Gas Poisoning

John Haldane, John R. Davison, Alexander Scott, Stewart Lockie, J. Lorrain Smith and T. W. Parry
The British Medical Journal
Vol. 2, No. 1866 (Oct. 3, 1896), pp. 903-910
Published by: BMJ
Page Count: 8

The coal gas could have come from cooking, lighting, heating, or even a broken pipe.

No death certificate yet for Janna, but when I do find that it should confirm that she died belatedly from the coal gas tragedy.

UPDATE: Well, never assume that once these people changed the spelling of their names that they stayed put. Although Gerrit’s death article used the spelling “Remine,” Janna’s did not. In fact, even her first name changed

In this article, Janna becomes Jennie, which to my understanding makes less sense in Dutch than it does in English. And Remine is now Reminse. And look at her daughter, Jennie (Adriana) is “Mrs. C. Myers.” So Meijer that became Meyer is also Myers. Whew. And Richard Remine is now Richard Reminse. Good grief. You don’t even want to know how many ways I’ve seen Gerrit spelled!

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As usual, the more I’ve learned, the more questions I have! Realizing that all the newspaper articles have not been properly entered into the Genealogy Bank database, I know I am probably missing more articles about Frank. Although it’s easy to always assume this with data entry of genealogical information, I can tell from the Gazette’s own files that this is true. There is an article where they repeat choice nuggets from the Gazette from 10-20 years previously and Frank shows up there, but the original article does not show up.

What seems to be great omissions are obituaries for both Frank and Genevieve (Remine) Tazelaar. Since Frank was so involved in the community, as the sheer number of articles attests, why wouldn’t there be an obituary for his wife in 1930 and for himself in 1950?

I don’t even have a death certificate for Frank and when I tried to order one, a website tried to steal take $60 from me!

Let’s see what I discovered through what I did find, though.

  • Frank was extremely involved in the Knights of Pythias and the Elks. He may have had a connection to the Masons.
  • He was not only involved in these organizations, but was frequently elected to the boards and organized dances and other activities. In 1916, Frank was made Master of Exchequer of the Pythias lodge. As chairman of the Pythias festivities for New Year’s Eve 1915/1916, Frank commissioned a streetcar to remain for the party stragglers so they would have a way to get home. For a party in 1916, Frank even made sure the ladies were presented with a “delicate” box of chocolates.
  • Frank was a sportsman who raced his mare Gas Light in the 1905-1906 period, which would have been just before his marriage. There was talk about the possibility of Gaslight being entered into the bigger races in Detroit and Chicago. Now I understand why the photograph of Frank with the horse and dog is marked “GASLIGHT.” That was the same horse!
  • Frank hunted for small game and birds.
  • Frank was a men’s clothing salesman of some repute.
  • Before his marriage, when Frank went on vacation, the Kalamazoo Gazette noted it.
  • When Frank changed places of employment, he was mentioned in the paper. In August 5, 1894, he worked for That Thomas clothing house. In 1896 (March 19)  he went to work at the brand new and elegant clothing house of Mr. Yesner as one of his three salesmen. In 1907, Frank went to work for Hershfield’s. See article below.
  • In March 1906, Frank bought a lot on Ranney Street from Mrs. Blanche Henderson and “is having a fine residence erected on it.” That house would be ready for his bride Genevieve less than 4 months later. Ranney is a small street off South Westnedge Ave.
  • On April 30, 1911, Frank was building an “elegant new home” at 122 North West Street (West Street later became Westnedge Avenue, according to Sharon Ferraro). The property is “for sale,” but of course when Frank had influenza in 1918, that is the house he and Genevieve lived at.
  • His “wife” is only mentioned once in the newspaper, related to the transfer of a piece of real estate to someone else for $1.

I also discovered another photograph of Frank. Are these riding goggles he is wearing?

Here are a sampling of newspaper articles with a couple of surprises.What does this theatre ad mean? Was Frank an actor? How could the entire cast be as presented at the Chicago Auditorium (read this link about this marvelous performance venue!), which was a 4,000 seat theatre?

I have to say that if Frank was an actor it would not surprise me at all. He had to have been a larger-than-life man, full of humor (2 or 3 times he’s quoted in a humor column), and loving a good time. He was quite young at the time this ad was placed. The date of 10 November 1901 is five years before his marriage. He was about 25.

A curious item was in the Society and Personal column two months after Frank’s marriage to Genevieve:

Was Frank the only non-Jew in this party to attend synagogue services? And who was Mose Dunstin and how did Frank know him? All I have learned so far (of value to me for my curiosity) about Mose was that he was Moses Dunstin, born in “Russian Poland,” and his father’s surname was Danskin. He died 4 April 1910 in Kalamazoo at the age of 52. Cause of death was Angina Pectoris (chest pain) and contributing factors were influenza and albuminaria. Notice that for Moses I was able to get a free death certificate. So unfair . . . . Anyway, when Moses invited Frank to attend services, Moses was only 48.

Because the date of the article was 21 September 1906 I wondered if the event involved the High Holidays, but it seems that Sukkot began on September 21 (probably evening of September 20), so maybe it had to do with that holiday instead.

In 1907, Frank went to yet another clothier:

Notice it says Frank was with “That Thompson Clothing House” for 9 years. If he went with Yesner in 1896, that would mean he had been had the previous one since 1887. Since he was born in 1876, that would be impossible. What makes sense to me is that he left That Thomas for Yesner, left Yesner, and went back to That Thomas. Or the paper has the nine years wrong, which is also very possible. Note: I don’t yet know what year the Tazelaars immigrated to the U.S.

On January 29, 1914, the 80th birthday of Frank’s mother, Adriana Bek Tazelaar, was noticed. I prefer to post the whole Society column for this one. The mention is on the right side, the sixth paragraph down. In this paragraph there are mention of Adriana’s descendants, which is useful for locating Frank within his own family tree.

Later that year, on June 25, there is a somewhat humorous article about the fishing teams of the Knights of Pythias lodge. Frank is one of the team captains.  This article is notable for sharing Frank’s photo. He was about 39 here . . . .

This article is ALSO notable for mentioning my great-grandfather’s fish market! Referring to the fish caught in the contest, the article says, “All fish must be delivered at Zuideweg’s [SIC: should be Zuidweg’s] market in Eleanor Street by Monday noon . . . .” So you know the connection, Genevieve Remine Tazelaar was the first cousin of my great-great-grandfather Richard DeKorn whose son-in-law was my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg who owned the fish market. Now the most important part: Richard DeKorn built the Pythian building known as Pythian Castle and, earlier, as the Telegraph Building. The link explains about the building.

I’ve posted a photo of the fish market in the past.

Fish Market on Eleanor Street with Adrian Zuidweg and helper

Seven years later, there is a notice that Frank needs to have a frame house moved from a lot.

April 3, 1921
Kalamazoo Gazette

When Genevieve died in September 1930, the couple were living at 423 S. Westnedge Avenue, so it stands to reason that Frank wanted to sell a frame house on new property so he could build a new house. It would be at least the third house he built for himself and his wife. Her parents probably lived there with them, as well. It might sound funny to move a house, but when I was little I watched a house being moved down the street while I was holding my grandmother’s hand. I never forgot that first image of a house on wheels, although I did see a similar scene much later in life.

The last article of any note I could find was on 29 September 1922.

From being the toast of the town to an arrest! For shooting ducks after sunrise yet, which is very unsportsmanlike. Maybe it was his companions who steered him wrong ;). At least he didn’t catch undersized bass like Mr. Denner!

All kidding aside, while I loved getting to know Frank, I am really ticked off that Genevieve’s life is completely erased, as if she never existed. This could be because it is so difficult to research the lives of women and also because Frank was so outgoing. I hope that she had a pleasant life.

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Frank Tazelaar was married to one of the daughters of my great-great-grandmother’s sister. He’s the husband of my first cousin 3x removed. Yup, that is easy to remember, right? Remember the Paak/Peek sisters and brother? Mary Peek (the spelling she used) married Richard Remine. For decades I thought there were four Remine children: Jenny, Genevieve, Therese (Tracy), and Harold. I had information for all four. But after more work, I finally found a very important divorce record and now know that Jenny and Genevieve were the same person.

This is Jenny (when she was younger) or Genevieve (once she was married to Frank Tazelaar). My grandfather identified her as Jane, so she might have used that name when she was young also. Her grandmother’s name had been Jana. I will refer to her as Genevieve because that is the name she ended up using for decades.

Here is Frank:

But why am I writing about Frank Tazelaar now? Because Sharon Ferraro is researching the effects of the influenza pandemic in 1918 in Kalamazoo. And Frank’s name is on the list as someone who contracted the illness and survived. It does not appear that he was treated at a hospital. He was ill and off work for ten days and then was able to go back to “his store.” In the 1920 census he was listed as a salesman/buyer in a clothing shop (same entry in the 1930 census). On the influenza document, his wife is listed as Genevieve and they lived at 124 N. West. Although I have verified that this information is correct, I have never heard of that street in Kalamazoo.

Genevieve was born 24 June 1881 in Kalamazoo, the first child of her parents, Richard and Mary. She was first married to a man she might have met in Chicago. His name was Harry Cohn. They were married in Paw Paw, Michigan, on 29 January 1903, when she was 21 years old. Three years later, on 23 June, 1906, they were divorced. The grounds were listed as “desertion,” but who deserted whom? If that was really what happened. Apparently, though, they had not been together for quite some time because about two weeks later, on 9 July 1906, Genevieve and Frank married in Chicago.

Frank was born in Wissenkerke, Netherlands, on 18 January 1876, to Peter Tazelaar and Adriana Bek Tazelaar. When he was a boy, his family moved from Holland to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was a few years older than Genevieve. His native tongue was Dutch, whereas Genevieve was American-born. It’s hard to imagine what happened with Genevieve’s first marriage or how she happened to marry Frank–and what the Chicago connection was between Genevieve, Frank, and Harry. In fact, unless she went away to Chicago to school, I can’t imagine her leaving her parents’ home by the age of 21. Was she sent away for some reason? Since she never had any children, it’s less likely that she was pregnant, although always possible. 

Genevieve did not have children with either Harry or with Frank. When Genevieve passed away on 17 September 1930 of appendicitis (leading to gangrene and peritonitis), the couple was living at 423 S. Westnedge with her parents, Mary and Richard. That must have been awkward because on 21 March 1932 he married Bernice Dayton, the manager of “Lerner Shop.” Could this be the same Lerner store (part of the nationwide chain) that I grew up with? It’s likely because the Lerner Shops were first opened in 1918. (As a cool aside, the uncle of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was one of the two founders).

Here is another photo of Frank Tazelaar, at the Whistle Stop in Kalamazoo, on 15 February 2014, four years before he contracted the flu.

Frank Tazelaar
near Whistle Stop
Kalamazoo

As with most of my other blog posts, this story is ripe for more research. In particular, I’d like to search City Directories for addresses and businesses, as well as the local newspaper for articles about the couple and, possibly, “his” store.

OK, I peeked. There are many Kalamazoo Gazette articles about Frank. In fact, there are over 50 articles! Let’s see what we can find . . . next time.

But it won’t be ready until after my son’s wedding, so I will post Frank’s shenanigans on May 1!

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My grandmother, (Lucille) Edna Mulder Zuidweg, was born 105 years ago today. This is a page from her 1929 high school graduation scrapbook. There is a photo of Grandma–maybe her senior pic–and one of Grandma (the Class Historian), Blanche Stauffer (Valedictorian), and Grandma’s sister Dorothy Mulder Plott (Salutatorian). In the 3rd photo, five girls are in dresses decorated with ribbon or twine.

You can read more about the graduation of these young ladies in Who Put the Ring Stain on the Scrapbook? and in Scrapbook Treats.

What do you think about the dresses on those girls? I don’t know why this photo is on the same page with the others or the meaning of it. Any ideas?

I can’t let an April 17 go by without thinking a lot about Grandma. She was a wonderful grandmother and inspirational to me in many ways.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I am awaiting an obituary for Nellie Mulder, the daughter of Peter and Nellie. In an earlier post, I shared the letter that Peter had sent to his brother Jan after his wife had passed away. He wrote, “It’s a heavy day for me Jan, there I have a daughter who always must be under my eye. She is not trusted to just go out unless a person familiar is with her.” As it was first explained to me in the 1970s, Nellie was “slow.”

UPDATE:

the obituary came in, and I also heard about Nellie from my uncle who knows a lot about the family history.

SEE UPDATED INFO BELOW THE HEADSTONE PHOTO!!!

I had not been able to find anything on Nellie for years, although I had seen her image in the family photo when I was still in college.

 

She is in the front row, on our left, wearing glasses. Peter and Nellie are in the center of the front row and my great-grandfather Charles Mulder is to his mother’s left (our right).

Thanks to Find-a-Grave I found Nellie’s headstone and the year of her death.

DAUGHTER

NELLIE MULDER

1902-1968

She is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Who ordered the headstone? Her parents were both dead by 1968, so it must have been ordered by a sibling, and yet the stone says “daughter.”

But what was her life like after her mother died in 1932? The family story is that she wound up in an institution. But where? And who went to visit her? Was she happy?

THE UPDATED INFORMATION

Here is the obituary that arrived yesterday:

Couple this information with what is remembered by my uncle. He says that Nellie had Down syndrome and “was the happiest person in the family. She always remembered everyone’s name and gave the best hugs!” She stayed for periods of time with relatives in Grand Rapids and also with my great-grandfather in Caledonia.

Nellie also stayed in a “home” in Grand Rapids. Family always made sure to include Nellie in all the family gatherings until “age took its toll on both her and [her] older siblings.”

My uncle believes that Nellie’s grave was probably handled by the children of my great-grandfather’s youngest brother, “Uncle Pete.” To make clear: both great-grandpa and Pete were brothers of Nellie.  Pete was a gravestone engraver, in fact, and died at age 64 of silicosis. Add this lung disease death to the tuberculosis deaths in the family, and it seems the Mulders were plagued with lung troubles.

Pete was a gravestone engraver, in fact, and died at age 64 of silicosis, four years before Nellie’s death. Add this lung disease death to the tuberculosis deaths in the family, and it seems the Mulders were plagued with lung troubles.

I don’t have a death certificate for Nellie (or her brother Pete, for that matter). But the obituary makes clear Nellie died in a nursing home. Whether this was the “home” she was living in or a nursing home because she needed medical care, I don’t know.

The obituary shows that Nellie was a member of Seventh Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. I got a kick out of that 7th! I have heard of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but not 7th! Here is a little history of the church that is still in existence:

Seventh Reformed Church has been in existence for well over a century. Our congregation was organized on May 1, 1890. It was the first church of reformed persuasion on the west side of Grand Rapids.

The first services were held at a temporary building located on Jennette Street between Twelfth and Leonard. In 1892 a new church building was completed, located on the corner of Jennette and Leonard.

Seventh, being a Dutch immigrant congregation, held all services in the Dutch language. In 1905 the first evening service was held in the English language, but not continued until 1919. Later in 1929 the morning service was also held in English, preceded by a Dutch service. In 1942 the Dutch service was moved to the afternoon and then in 1947 it was discontinued.

Our present church building was dedicated on June 18, 1952. In 1969 the East wing containing the pastor’s study, offices, Chapel and classrooms were completed. In 1989 as we began celebrations for our Centennial Year, another extension to the building was added in the form of a large foyer on the West side with more classrooms upstairs.

Eventually I expect to find the death certificates for Nellie and Peter and other members of the Mulder family. Part of the problem is that the Grand Rapids certificates do not seem to be readily available. They are quite expensive at $20 each, and I have to rely on staff to locate them.

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Working on family history and genealogy is a never-ending project. It also is subject to the whims of windfalls and time constraints. By that I mean that when I receive information about a branch of the family that I am not working on, I might have to move that branch to the forefront for a little while. And even when I have some wonderful “leads” to follow, if I don’t have the time, I have to postpone work on that branch.

Sometimes I get so many active branches going, I can’t even keep track of what I should work on next.

Lately, these are the branches I have been tracking down:

  • MULDER family: I have been trying to put all the most important information about the Mulder family in a timeline format. When Peter Mulder contacted me with more Mulder information (including the fascinating story of Jan Mulder), I thought I would stay with the Mulders for a long time.
  • PAAK family: but then I also heard from Ed Lawrence with more photos of the Theresa Paak Lawrence family, and I posted about Theresa’s foster parents, the Pickards. Although there is more to share on this line, something sidetracked me.
  • FLIPSE/KALLEWAARD family: I heard from Jan Denkers with his information about this branch–people who actually lived just a couple doors down from my grandfather and continued living in the same neighborhood my mother grew up in. I posted a photo of the Kallewaard house, but still have more information to sort and post.

And, of course, I always keep all the other branches in mind! To further my information about the Mulders, I ordered some very important death certificates and received them for Peter and Nellie Mulder, my great-great-grandparents.

I knew that my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder, had had tuberculosis (I visited him in a TB sanitarium when I was a kid) and that his brother Henry had died from it in 1947, at age 50. What I didn’t know was that their mother Nellie also died from “pulmonary TB” in 1932, when she was 63. Now I wonder if “only” those three were afflicted or if others in the family also had TB.

 

The names of her parents are a little garbled. Her father was Jan Gorsse and her mother Kornelia Hijman. Interestingly, after I received her death certificate, I found another one online, where it had probably been misfiled. Not sure why there are TWO? My guess is that the one above was prepared at my request, but why is it less complete than the one prepared for me about Peter?

 

The second one explains that Nellie had had TB for 15 years and also had diabetes for 5. Maybe that explains why in Peter’s letter to his brother Jan it seemed that Nellie had struggled with ill health.

Peter’s death certificate also gives his cause of death.

 

Carcinoma of the face.

I am no skin cancer expert, but I believe that basal cell and squamous cell are carcinomas, but that melanoma is not. I find it frustrating that I can’t seem to find a good source to research basic understandings of fatal illnesses and their treatments for past periods of history in the U.S. and Europe. What did this diagnosis mean in 1953? Did he have a basal or squamous cell cancer and not realize it until it was too late? These carcinoma type skin cancers are not uncommon in my family with our fair skin, but to think of my G-G-Grandfather dying from it defies the imagination. The only other major health problem he had was arthritis?

Both Nellie and Peter died in the month of October, 21 years apart. They were both buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Remember the daughter that Peter was worried about leaving behind when he died? Maybe she is the reason he lived for those 21 years past Nellie. Her whereabouts–and birth and death–were complete mysteries until I found a lead. Now I’ve ordered an obituary for her from 1968 and have to wait a few weeks to receive it. Stay tuned.

I’ll be back with more on these and other branches in the future . . . .

 

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