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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Here is a transcription of the second obit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grandpa stood up for what he thought was right.

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Joy Neal Kidney has written a lovely review of my family history poetry and flash prose chapbook Kin types. Thank you so much, Joy. While you’re over there, check out Joy’s great blog if you haven’t already done so!

 

Kin Types by Luanne Castle

 

Kin Types can be purchased by using the photo as a link to get to Amazon.

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This post was published on 18 September 2019, but I subsequently received information so that I can update this post. I will bold my additions. My amazing blogger buddy, José at Enhanced News Archive went all the way to the Kalamazoo Public Library to find the answer to the question I posed in my original post: is there an announcement in the newspaper about the wedding of Alice and Clarence. I wanted to see where they were married and thought the info might have been published. I searched in Genealogy Bank for the article in the Kalamazoo Gazette, but I could find nothing. If you read the original post, skip to the next bolded passage.

On 12 September 1923, Grandpa’s cousin Alice Leeuwenhoek married Clarence Dewey Moerdyk in Kalamazoo. They are the last couple listed on the following (cropped) image.

Clarence was 25 and Alice 26. He held a job as a foreman, and she had no employment. I found that interesting since the family thinks of her as an accomplished seamstress. In fact, I discovered a jottings ad from 14 May 1922 about Alice’s trade. She advertises her hemstitching and picoting, which is an embroidery loop edging used as ornamentation.

Right under Alice’s ad is one for the family’s Ramona Park dancing.

Their fathers are listed: Peter Moerdyk and Lambertus (Uncle Lou) Leeuwenhoek.

Their mothers were Cora Stevens and Jennie (Aunt Jen) DeKorn.

The couple was married by Benjamin Laman, Minister of the Gospel. Mr. Laman had become the 4th pastor of Bethany Reformed Church on 7 June 1923, just three months before Alice’s wedding. I tried to find a society page mention to discover if they were married in someone’s home, but neglected to find anything. In the search, I found articles about both their parents’ weddings though!

José found the article the old-fashioned way! By searching the microfiche of the newspaper at the Kalamazoo Public Library! So much for the accuracy of the cataloging skills at Genealogy Bank. It’s a reminder that there is NOTHING like primary sources in genealogy or family research. I will post the article itself and at the end of this post I will post the full front page of the newspaper from that date: 12 September 1923.

Look at this great info. First of all, now I know where Alice and Clarence were married: in Reverend Laman’s (sic in the article) home. I have to wonder if this was a parsonage owned by the church. Then we can see that they honeymooned in Chicago and were going to live temporarily with her parents, Lou and Jennie Leeuwenhoek, at 110 Balch Street. So they didn’t have a lot of extra cash would be my guess. Another great piece of information is that Alice’s dress was tan. I can see that the dress below definitely could be tan, but I’m not sure that it is crepe de chine. Is it?

I wrote about the church here: Bethany Reformed Church, circa 1918

and about Alice’s marriage here: Aunt Jen and Uncle Lou’s SIL Clarence Moerdyk

When I wrote these posts I did not know that I had in my possession the wedding portrait of Alice and Clarence. In my opinion, it’s a stunning photograph, mainly because of Alice’s sense of style and model’s grace.

I really love Alice’s hat!!!

The portrait is in a cardboard folder.

I hate to take it out of the folder, but I would bet that the cardboard is not acid-free. I think I will keep the parts separate, in 2 different acid-free sleeves, and then tape them together.

I’m sure Alice would love that we admired her dress and hat all these years later.

Here is the full front page of the Kalamazoo Gazette from 12 September 1923:

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Last week I let you know that I had a new packet of lovely documents to go through. I also have a lot of emails with leads on family history. And I am at the point where if I keep feeding the blog, I will get more and more disorganized. So I am going to take a little break from posting on TFK.

I plan to post as often as I can at:

Entering the Pale

You can find me over there or just leave me a message here or email me.

But I really want to get my maternal family history in some order before I begin to post again.

Leaving you with a photo of yours truly at age 2 or 3 (Mom????). I’m feeding the deer at Deer Forest in Coloma, Michigan. I really loved that place. We took our son there, too.

 

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Philip DeKorn’s niece–his brother Richard’s daughter–didn’t want the family documents Phil left behind. She has enough papers, and she is not particularly interested in genealogy. Phil’s niece through his wife Marianne, Sue Haadsma-Svensson, is a genealogist who has worked extensively on her branches and compiled several books, as well. She understands the value of these papers. My mother told her about my interest in family history and about this blog, and she very kindly mailed me the documents that were discovered.

Opening the package was quite exciting as I didn’t know what I would find.

There are original death certificates for both Uncle Joe and Aunt Tena, Phil’s parents. There are also newspaper articles, photographs, and letters. Once I have a chance to scan (and digitize) everything and to put each document and photograph into an archival sleeve, I will post my discoveries!

Sue gave me this photo of sailor Phil home on temporary leave on 4 July 1944 sitting with his parents, Uncle Joe and Aunt Tena.

 

 

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The last living DeKorn (carrying the name) from the Boudewijn (1816-1873) and Johanna (Remijnse) (1817-1864) family has passed away at age 97.

Philip Eugene DeKorn was one of two children of Joseph DeKorn. Philip’s brother Richard died in 2004. Joseph, my grandfather’s uncle, took many of the photos I shared on this blog. Phil is the last of Kalamazoo contractor and brick mason Richard DeKorn’s grandchildren to pass.

I would like to share Phil’s obituary today because it shows he was one of the “Greatest Generation,” serving in WWII in the U.S. Navy. The obituary is available at this link.

DeKorn, Philip 8/4/1922 – 9/6/2019 Grand Rapids Philip Eugene DeKorn was born in the community of Fairview in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 4, 1922, the son of Joseph Peter and Christina (Blandford) DeKorn. He passed away September 6, 2019 at the age of 97. Philip attended and graduated from Fairview School, Union High School and Grand Rapids Junior College. On August 28, 1942, he enlisted in the US Navy during World War II. He took naval training at the US Naval Center, Great Lakes, IL and US Radar School at Virginia Beach, VA. He was then assigned to the USS Uhlmann (DD607) and served as a radar operator in CIC (Combat Information Center) until the end of World War II. CIC had direct radio and radar communication with other US Third Fleet ships. After World War II, he completed his college education and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration in 1950. He then worked as a sales representative for the Mennen Company and Revere Copper and Brass Inc. On January 5, 1968, Phil married Marianne Haadsma and they were together for almost 50 years. Marianne passed away October 2, 2017. Phil was also predeceased by his older brother, Richard B. DeKorn, who passed away on June 20, 2004. Phil is survived by his brother-in-law Roger Haadsma, his nieces and nephews and their families: Gayle (Jay) Polverelli, Jim (Luanne) Haadsma, Luanne (Larry) Dewey, Mari Dawley, Gail Sherry, Sue (Kjell) Haadsma-Svensson, Bob (Jen) Haadsma, Ken (Judy) Glupker, and Kathy (Ken) Basoff. The family would like to thank Theresa Johnson for all the special care she gave Phil throughout his final years. The family would also like to thank Gloria from Kindred Hospice for her caring work. The family will greet relatives and friends Monday, September 9, 2019 at the Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 1601 Post Dr. NE from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Funeral services will follow at 12:00. Inurnment will be at Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorials can be made to the General Fund at First Reformed Church, Holland Michigan or Kindred Hospice, Grand Rapids. To share a photo, memory and sign the online guestbook please visit www.stegengafuneralchapel.com

Published in Grand Rapids Press on Sept. 8, 2019

Like his father before him, Phil graduated from the University of Michigan. Although he never had children, Phil still had a close family through the members of his wife Marianne’s family and through his brother Richard’s family.

Rest in peace, Philip Eugene DeKorn. Thank you for your service, sir.

Phil DeKorn at the plaque for the Kalamazoo State Hospital water tower built by his grandfather Richard DeKorn

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As a side note, you can see that two of Phil’s nieces are named Luanne, spelling it correctly as I do . . . .

In case you wonder how I go about deciding when to post a recent passing on my blog, all I can tell you is I decide on a case by case basis. When my father died, I posted because so many knew he had been sick for months and it seemed strange not to say anything. But during the past few years I have also lost two dear aunts and a cousin, and I did not post about these because their deaths were more sudden and shocking. Our grief, individually and as a family, felt too raw to write about them so soon.

Here are a few more photos of a day Phil spent with his wife Marianne and his cousin’s children, my mom Janet, my father Rudy, Uncle Don, and Aunt Jean at the water tower.

Don, Jean, Phil, Marianne, Rudy, Janet

 


 

The following (sorry it’s angled) shows a layout of the hospital with the water tower in the center. I will have to ask Uncle Don or Mom to chime in here. Is that how the layout really was at one time? It looks like the classic “Panopticon” that Michel Foucault wrote about–a tall tower to watch the prisoners, er, patients. But as we know this is a water tower, not meant to be a guard tower.

 

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Last Wednesday’s post shared some WWI crowd photos from an album of photos from 1917, put together by Alice Leeuwenhoek, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

You can read it here: WWI in Kalamazoo, Part I This post will make the most sense if you look at the photos first.

Here is a sample photo from the post:

It’s my favorite because of the man with his arm around someone’s shoulders.

I knew the photos were from 1917 and taken in downtown Kalamazoo, but I could only guess that the citizens were seeing off the troops. Then I started searching for newspaper articles. They create a bit of a story about the event.

In the first article, dated 14 September 1917, we learn:

The “folks back home” in Kalamazoo will be given a two-hour opportunity sometime Sunday for a final farewell to the boys of Companies C and D. / / There is going to be a big military formality about the farewell.

The article states that Kalamazoo will have a two hour layover for the troops who are embarked on a long journey. They will make up the equivalent of a mile long train. These men will be from 4 companies–two of them Kalamazoo companies. The whole shindig, including a parade, has been planned by Col. Joseph Westnedge. The long artery down Kalamazoo and Portage was named Westnedge in his honor.

15 September 1917:


The next day we learn that everything is ready for the men to arrive. Now they are calling it the 32nd Michigan Infantry, made up of 2,000 men and officers. The event is scheduled for 16 September 1917, the next day, which is a Sunday.

Then this on page 1 of 16 September 1917 Kalamazoo Gazette:

There is a delay because they didn’t have enough cars to get the troops there by the schedule time:

There is deep disappointment among the relatives and friends of the Kalamazoo units because of the fact that the Thirty-second will not arrive in this city this morning. MEN GREATLY DISAPPOINTED.

Still, the event as planned is described in some detail, ending with the information that the big whistles at the municipal pumping station will be sounded an hour before the arrival of the train carrying the troops.

The next article is from Monday, September 17, the day the scheduled visit eventually occurred, but written ahead of time.

People from SW Michigan have been pouring into Kalamazoo from Friday night through Sunday night, just to get a glimpse of their (dough)boys before they take off for the unknown.

I CANNOT FIND AN ARTICLE WRITTEN AFTER THE EVENT ABOUT HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN. That is a little strange. Maybe they didn’t want to write how botched it was–or wasn’t.

Of course, that wasn’t it. Three days later the Kalamazoo Gazette reported that 96 more Kalamazoo men took their places at Fort Custer for training.

All for the insatiable appetite of a horrific international war. No wonder the townspeople turned out in such numbers to honor the young soldiers.

Last week blogger Louise Mabey caused me to question how many of these boys returned home. I used this website  and counted at least 27 Kalamazoo men who died in battle. Many others died from disease, including their leader Col. Westnedge. I found two boys of the same last name who are related to a friend. Another Kalamazoo street shares their last name, Milham. Also, that 27 does not include those from tiny towns right around Kalamazoo or from Battle Creek. So sad to think of those people in the streets in the photos grieving not long after this.

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In thinking about the possibility of Joseph DeKorn taking these photos, I wondered what a 36 year old man was doing during WWI. Would he have been required to serve? I have a temporary membership to Fold3, and it was there that I discovered his WWI draft registration on 12 September 1918. He was a civil engineer in Ohio. I am not sure if he was in Ohio the year before, the month that these photographs were taken or not. So it is possible that someone other than Uncle Joe took the photos. Here is his draft registration.

He was lucky that the war ended two months later.

After this was posted, Amy at BrotmanBlog found some more articles!

 

 

Kalamazoo_Gazette_1917-09-19_1 This is a wide article. I hope the link works.

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