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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

In the latest batch, I found a portrait of a man.

And I was thrilled to see an identification on the back.

So a man named Jacobus Zuidweg was living in Grand Rapids on or around 7 January 1901! And he was a cousin of Grandpa’s father, Adrian Zuidweg, Sr. Woohoo!

This made me go to my family tree on Ancestry and see who he would be related to. The only sibling of Adrian Sr’s father, Johannes Zuidweg, to immigrate to the United States was the youngest, Willem.

Then what did I see? I had connected with a man some time back who was related, but his family had changed their surname to Southway. Yes, that is what Zuidweg means in Dutch! And the ancestor that we had connected on was JAMES WILLIAM SOUTHWAY, born 16 August 1880 in Goes, Zeeland, Netherlands. He passed away on 12 December 1922 in Detroit.

Funniest thing: my connection had used this exact portrait for James’ “headshot” on Ancestry. I wonder if he knows his name? Going to message on Ancestry!

It looks like Jacobus/James had a brother named Adriaan/Adrian who did keep the surname Zuidweg. He passed away in 1949 in Kent County, Michigan.

I am guessing that James moved from Grand Rapids to Detroit some time between 1901 (when he was 21) and 1914 (when he was 34) because he married and had children in Detroit, plus as I mentioned above, he passed away in that city. James is my first cousin, 3x removed.

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Awhile back I posted a photograph of the Mulder family reunion in SW Michigan. I’m pretty sure the date is around 1940, based on the ages of the identified people in the photograph.

Between Mom, cousin Susie, Uncle Don, and cousin Merry we have many of the people, but definitely not all, identified.

The couple on our right, Mom thought could be Jack and Josie (John Lawson Gerow, Jr. and Josephine Ann Slinsky Gerow–Jack was the son of John Gerow and Cora Mulder, great-grandpa’s sister), but Susie says no. Some of the individuals are not clearly seen so we can’t do much with those. What seems clear is that certain family groups were present and others were not. For instance, Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Con and their children don’t seem to be in the photo. This helps because if we see children we can be pretty sure their parents are in the photo–and vice versa.

Here is the Mulder family photo that would have come before this family group. In the center is Pieter/Peter Mulder and his wife, Nellie Gorsse. Nellie died in 1932, 8 years before the reunion photo, but Peter was alive until 1953 and is in the photo, in the center, wearing a hat.

In the back row are Peter, Cora, and Henry. Peter was the husband of Alida Van Elk, who is identified in the reunion photo. Their children included Rod, born 1923, and the twins Bob and Bill. I believe all 3 boys are in the photo and I have labelled the twins.

Cora married John Gerow, and they had five children (I think): Ruth, Eleanor, George, John/Jack, Marian. Jack was born in 1918, so I think it’s unlikely that the man on the right is Jack (as Susie also says) because he looks older than 21. Possibly the Gerows are not in the photo.

Henry married Hettie Mae Simpson, and they had Eloise Fern, James, Mary Ellen, and Judith. Because Mae and Jim, Mary Ellen, and Judy were identified by Merry in the reunion photo, I wanted to believe that Henry and Eloise/Fern are also in the photo, but Merry cannot find them. Mary Ellen and Judy are the two teen girls kneeling on the right side of the photo. Jim is the boy in front of Uncle Chuck, seated on the left side of the photo.

In the front row, the girl with the glasses on our left is Nellie who was mentally challenged. She was still living at home in 1930, but I am not sure where she lived after the death of her mother in 1932. There is a woman in the reunion photo who appears to be wearing dark glasses who is seated directly behind the little blonde girl (Joann) that could be Nellie–or could be someone else.

Then there is Jennie who married Edward Kooistra or Koistra. They had a son, Karl. I know very little about this branch and don’t know if they are in the reunion photo or not.

On the other side of Nellie, is her oldest child, my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder. He and his wife Clara had five children, and I see four of the five in the photo, along with their families. It is her oldest, Dorothy, that I do not see.

Rose (Rosa) is on the other side of Great-Grandpa. She married John Kohles, and they had at least one child, Leonard, but she died in 1936.

 

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Today’s photo is completely unidentified except that it was in a pile of family photos. Most likely, it was taken in Kalamazoo, but without knowing anyone in the photo, I can’t even be sure of that. I hope someone can identify one or more of these young ladies in their fancy outfits a la Pollyanna.

The three girls in the center have the giant hair bows. The girl on our left wears a very frilly hat. And the girl on our right: is she wearing a big snood to hold her hair?

I saw a cute meme about hair bows the other days.

Welcome to Women’s History Month (as of March 1)! Kin Types is a good addition to Women’s History Month.

“Kin Types exhumes the women who have died long ago to give life to them, if only for a few moments. Through genealogical and historical research, Luanne Castle has re-discovered the women who came before her. Using an imaginative lens, she allows them to tell their stories through lyric poems, prose poems, and flash nonfiction.”

Kin Types makes a good gift for Women’s History Month!

 

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I’ve been spending time with Mom this week, so I thought I’d post a photo of her as a little girl. Here she is wearing a cute hat and with her little sister Alice and her best friend Marion Van Dam.

And, yes, Mom and Marion are still good friends.

Kalamazoo history

I am guessing that this photo was taken in Kalamazoo around 1942 because Aunt Alice was born in 1941. What kind of car is that behind them? Is that a tiny purse in Mom’s hand?

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I am posting more “new” photos today and relaxing about not doing research outside of the photos (for now).

This photo is a Mulder family reunion. I’d like to see if we could identify everyone. I see Uncle Al, 3rd from left seated. And Aunt Vena, standing, with her arms crossed in front of her, looking over her left shoulder. I think my grandparents MIGHT be peeking over shoulders in the back.

Mom? Uncle Don? Can we figure out who all is in the pic?

This photo was taken at my great-grandparents’ farm–that of Charles and Clara Waldeck in Caldedonia.

In another farm pic, this is Uncle Chuck and Uncle Pete, the two sons of Charles and Clara.

Again at the farm. Is this Aunt Vena as a teen? Or is it Aunt Dorothy? I read a joke on Facebook the other day about someone taking care of chickens being a “chicken tender.”

I am hoping we can put some names to these photos. Also, these photos are from different years. I wonder how close we can come to figuring it out.

The first clue for the reunion photo, which is useful as one of many, is that Aunt Vena and Uncle Al got married in 1935. That is not enough by itself, of course. Then I wonder if the women’s hairstyles and clothing could be from the 40s. Any ideas?

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At the end of this post, I wrote an update.

Instead of griping about not having time to do genealogy research, I’ve decided to change my attitude. I am so blessed with so many old family photos, that my time is best spent right now trying to identify the photos!

Today’s photo is labelled, but it still presents a few problems. The date is 1951. I don’t know the location, but believe that the location is probably in southwest Michigan. The names are Cora, Fred, Godfrey, Anna.

Waldeck surname

Godrey has to be Gottfried Waldeck (Jr), born 18 December 1880 somewhere in “Germany”–most likely Prussia. He was married to Anna Christine Ruehs. She was born 2 December 1882 (same birthday as my mom!). My mother knew them as Uncle Godfrey and Aunt Anna. I’ve written about him before–how he drove his tractor down the block to work in his fields when he was blind. How I saw him do just that.

I asked Mom, and she confirmed that the two on our right are definitely Uncle Godfrey and Aunt Anna.

I like the photo without the orange a bit better.

But who are Cora and Fred? Godfrey had a brother, Fred. He’s the one who lived at the state hospital. He had brain damage from a terrible accident that happened when he was young and newly married with a young child. Fred was born in 1869 and died in 1953, so he would have been 81 in 1951. You can read more about him at Waldeck Family Research. This man does look the right age, but would he have been in good shape like this? Dressed up in a nice suit and tie?

Take a look at this photo of one of the old Kalamazoo State Hospital photos. It could be the building behind them.

Here is the family photo that includes Fred as a young man. Fred is back row, left side. Godfrey is front row, right side.

I am hoping that I can get verification that this is, indeed, Fred Waldeck who lived at the State Hospital. In comparing the younger Fred to the older Fred in the photos, I do think it is the same person.

If I could find out who Cora was that would be even more amazing!

UPDATE:

Thanks to Linda Stufflebean from http://www.emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/ I was able to put together the pieces of who is in the photo and who is probably holding the camera.

All along I have been imagining Fred as abandoned at the “asylum” all those years. After all, his son was still almost a baby when Fred was injured. His wife Caroline Meir had to work for a farmer and leave her son Edward with her mother in Grand Rapids. Eventually she became a nurse and lived with her mother and with Edward. Caroline probably worked very hard her whole life and raised Edward to become a pastor. She passed away in 1946.

This new “find,” the photo identified as Cora, Fred, Godrey, and Anna, 1951, shows that the family visited Fred. Cora is Fred’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Edward who must be taking the photograph. So on this day in 1951, Fred’s son and daughter-in-law, and his only surviving brother, Godfrey, and Godfrey’s wife Anna visited Fred who was dressed up in a suit and tie for the occasion. The only close family members not in the photograph, in fact, are my great-grandparents, Clara and Charles Mulder. Clara was Fred’s only surviving sister by 1951.

Little tidbit of info: Fred was to die less than two years later, in January 1953. Clara died mere months after her brother, on 6 September 1953.

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When I scan old family photos I always think it’s particularly cool when photos include other people in Kalamazoo (or elsewhere) because if I post them online, there is a chance the descendants of these people can find their relatives’ photos. This has happened before, and I hope it continues to happen.

The photo for today is of a Sunday School class of young “men” at Bethany Reformed Church in Kalamazoo. If you click on the next photo you can be taken to the church history on the church’s website.

The church began as a tiny chapel near the corner of Burdick and Maple in 1905. By 1907, the building above was built to house the rapidly growing congregation. By 1910 there were 69 member families, all of the Reformed denomination (and presumably Dutch or of Dutch ancestry).

As you can see by the back of my photo, it was taken around 1918 (so imagine the church growth by then).

The sticker was put on in the 80s, I imagine, by my grandparents.

Here is the front:

Let’s look at it a little closer:

The church was probably right by houses, but I don’t know whether the photo was taken outside the church (with a house behind the boys) or if it was taken in someone’s yard. They do look dressed for church here.

Do you think my grandfather was one of these boys? He would have been about ten in 1918.

Mom? Uncle Don? Anybody? There is only one boy here who I think looks at all like Grandpa.

About the church: although it was the Great Depression, the new building that still stands today was dedicated in 1932. It continued to be added on to for many years. In the 1960s, I attended Vacation Bible School for one summer. My grandmother was babysitting while my mother was working, so it was easy for me to go to Bible School across the street, although our church was out in Portage. Unfortunately, in 1972, vandals set fire to the sanctuary, which was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt within a year.

I took a screenshot of the church as it looks today on Google Maps. Same building where I went to class 55 years ago.

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