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Posts Tagged ‘the Netherlands’

In scanning the beautiful antique album this fall, I came across this tintype that kind of haunts me. Maybe it’s because the tintypes are so rare in the family collection. Maybe it’s because of her eyes.

Just ignore the strange corners. I tried to clean it up a bit at the corners (just for this post), and it didn’t turn out as I expected!

So how do I go about narrowing in on who might be in the image?

Because all the photos so far in the antique album seem to be related to the 5 Paak siblings and their familys, I feel that it is likely that she is related to the Paaks somehow.

I have such a desire to find a photo of Janna Kakebeeke Remine, the mother of Dick, grandmother of Therese, Genevieve, and Harold, who immigrated to Kalamazoo and passed away in 1910. She was the mother-in-law of Mary, one of the Paak sisters. But Janna was born in 1827. I was thinking 1880s for this dress, and this woman is not 60. In fact, as usual, I have no idea how old she is, what year her dress was, or what year her hairstyle was. It can’t be Dick’s mother-in-law Jacoba Bassa Paak either. She died in 1865 in the Netherlands!

What I have to get used to is the fact that the photographs I own are never of those earlier individuals, so they are images of more “recent” generations. I posted this one on a Facebook group for dating photographs.  Very consistently, readers thought the tintype is around 1880. They based this on two main aspects: the fact that it is a tintype and not a photograph and the woman’s outfit. Tintypes were most frequent a bit earlier than the ’80s, but they can be found in the 1880s and even later.

I thought that the silhouette of her dress and the finishings looked like the 1880s. One thing I can file away in my brain for later is the dress appears to black, a mourning dress, so someone close to the woman had died within perhaps the previous year. Of course, that is very subjective–I mean, it seems as if they would have always been in mourning dress! I’m not very happy with books or websites about women’s clothing styles. They tend to focus on the clothing of the wealthy, the fashionista, and those in evening wear. My relatives were not fashionistas, they were not wealthy (although often not poor either), and sometimes they were governed by a religious conservatism. They didn’t get their photographs taken in evening wear, if they even had any.

For further consideration, I’ll use the date of 1880, knowing it could be 10 years difference either way.

The only way I can now find the woman in the tintype is by comparing her with photographs of known Paak women and women who have married into the family AND using the data on my family tree for birth and death dates.

Do you think this woman is about 25? or younger or older? Let’s say she’s 25, for the sake of trying to figure out who she is. If so, she was born around 1855. That would make her a contemporary of Alice Paak DeKorn (born 1852) and her siblings.

 

Aaltje (Alice) Paak DeKorn

Anna Catherina (Annie) was born 1855

 

Maaike (Mary) Paak Remine born 1859

 

Cornelia (Carrie) Paak Waruf born in 1862

So. There are four* Paak sisters, and I don’t see this woman as one of them, although she could be a contemporary–or a bit older.

* There actually were five Paak sisters, but Willempje, who was born in 1856, did not immigrate with the girls, their father, and their brother. Although I have not been able to find a death or marriage record, I suspect she died as a child. The brother, George, married Lucy Kliphouse, who is not the woman in the tintype.

Lucy Kliphouse Paake

Alice had two SILs–Jennie DeKorn Culver and Mary DeKorn DeSmit.

Jenny DeKorn Culver

 

Mary DeKorn DeSmit

Is she one of them? (I don’t think so).

Mary Paak Remine had two SILs that I know of.

 

Adrianna (Jennie) Remine Meijer was born in 1860

Jennie was the sister-in-law of Mary Paak Remine. Another sister-in-law of Mary was Johanna Remine Bosman, born in 1855.

None of these look right to me. And these last two are sisters, but don’t look like it.

Carrie Paak Waruf’s husband Henry (Hank) does not appear to have had any sisters. He immigrated as a child with his parents from the Netherlands to Kalamazoo, and I don’t see a record of any siblings in the census records I have been able to find.

That leaves Annie, the least known of any of the sisters. Annie was married to Jacob Salomon Verhulst (whose grandmother, by the way, was a Flipse–see Flipse posts, if you’re curious). The only photo I have that I know is Annie is the full-length photo I posted above. I never heard anybody talk about her, except when Grandpa identified the photograph.

I don’t know if Annie and Jacob had any children. I have found no record of any children. They married in 1890.

Jacob did have two sisters, that I can find. One was Cornelia who died as a child in Holland. The other was Pieternella, was born 1843 in Kortgene and died 18 days later.

So there you have it. Those are the Paak women and their sisters-in-law. My next guess would be a cousin of the Paaks–or like Annigje Haag, the fiancee or wife of a cousin.  So I will keep searching in that “outer layer” of family members.

That said, if you see any flaws in what I’ve determined so far, please let me know, and I will expand my search even more.

Now that it’s a new year, I want to keep my genealogy goals focused.

  1. Continue scanning of all photographs
  2. Organize the physical photos, documents, and heirlooms.
  3. Create a list of provenance for all heirlooms
  4. Bring my Ancestry tree up to date with all info I have
  5. Find and work on software for a tree that is just for my tree
  6. Continue trying to identify photographs
  7. Research gaps and brick walls

Pretty ambitious, I know. Some of my blog posts will just be updates on how I am doing on items 1-5, rather than the results of actual research. Be patient. You know how helpful you all are to me, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know. Thank you!!!

 

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This is the best image I have ever seen of my great-great grandfather Richard DeKorn, Kalamazoo mason and building contractor.

Notice that this portrait is signed. It seems to say L. C. Robinson ’27.

So who was L. C. Robinson? From a directory of early Michigan photographers:

Robinson, Leo Carey
Dowagiac student …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1900
Grand Rapids student ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1910
Grand Rapids manufacturer of studio furniture for photographers ………………………………………………………… 1910-1911
Grand Rapids photographer for Carey B. Robinson ……………………………………………………………………………………..1912
Grand Rapids PHOTOGRAPHER at 115 ½ Monroe av ……………………………………………………………………… 1913-1921
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 414 Main st west ………………………………………………………………………….. 1923-1925
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 426 Main st west ………………………………………………………………………….. 1926-1927
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 426 Michigan av west …………………………………………………………………… 1929-1931
Kalamazoo PHOTOGRAPHER at 346 Burdick st south …………………………………………………………………….. 1939-1942
Leo was the elder son of photographer Carey B. Robinson and Lettie Alena (Lewis) Robinson, was born on February
25, 1893, at Delton, Michigan, and became a tall man with light brown eyes and brown hair. Her father came from
Indiana and Alta was born at Plainwell, Michigan, in June of 1893, sixth of the nine children of Charles C. and Frances
Ardella (Nichols) West. She grew up on an Allegan County farm, and she married Leo in 1914. Their children were
born in Michigan: Chester in 1915, Doris in 1916, Rueben (later Richard) in July of 1919, Jack about 1924, Avis in
May of 1926, and Eileen in February of 1928. The furniture manufactured by C. B. Robinson & Sons was sold across
the nation and in several other countries. Though Leo, along with his brother Ralph and his father, was a principal of
this company through 1911, Leo and his mother operated the photograph studio while his father supervised the
furniture factory. Leo became the nominal proprietor of the Grand Rapids studio about 1913, though his mother and
father still were involved with its operation and finances. He called it Robinson’s Art Loft in 1917. Late in 1923 he
purchased the Spaeth Studio, located in its own building on West Main Street, and within a couple of years had
developed one of the largest portrait trades in Kalamazoo. Leo died at Kalamazoo in 1942.

This photograph has a strange sheen to it and a pattern that overlays it all–visible in certain formats on my computer screen. This must be a certain type of photography, but I don’t know what it is.

I do know that I am grateful for this photograph dated three years before Richard’s death.

Dated. But taken? Richard was born in 1851 in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. In 1927, he would have been 76 years old.

Did he dye his hair? Could those moderate “living lines” be from 76 years of living? I find this photo a little confusing if it’s meant to be from 1927.

What do YOU think?

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Last week I mentioned that both Lambertus and Gerrit Leeuwenhoek were at the orphanage together after their parents died.

I wanted to share with you information that Adriaan Leeuwenhoek discovered and shared with me about Gerrit’s stay. Gerrit was living in an orphanage located in Neerbosch in 1893. Here is the photo I posted last week of the campus.

Various newspaper records show that Gerrit was beaten by teacher Cornelis de Bruin.

Unlike the Dickens’ stories about the abuse of orphans in 19th century England, in this real life 19th century Dutch story, Gerrit went to the police station to report this crime!

gerrit article

unnamed

The articles indicate that the court prosecuted four cases of the mistreatment of children at Neerbosch. Superintendent Leendert Sies abused 9-year-old Willem van Deth, teacher Frans van Geelen assaulted 11-year-old Marie van Deth. Another child was abused, as well, but the Google translation gets murky there.

The 3rd victim listed is our Gerrit. Teacher Cornelis de Bruin was given a 14 day jail sentence for assaulting Gerrit. I hope he fulfilled his time!

With so many teachers abusing children, it appears that abuse was rampant at the orphanage, but that they were prosecuted shows, to me, a determination to try to improve the situation for the children.

Adriaan has informed me that within a half year of registration one child died, as well. I wonder what the statistics were for the entire run of the orphanage regarding child “mortality.” I am sure abuse was rampant in orphanages around the world at that time.

The case was important enough that even De Volksvriend, one of the various Dutch speaking newspaper in the U.S., reported about the lawsuit. Adrian says to refer to page 7 of the attached PDF. Note that this is not the Michigan paper that my relatives worked on, but a paper out of Iowa!

Leeuwenhoek, Gerrit [De Volksvriend (Orange City, Sioux County, Iowa) 1894-03-03 – Pagina 7]

Thanks for Adriaan for this wonderful information (which I would not have found since I don’t read Dutch).

I’ll conclude this 3 part story of Gerrit and Lambertus Leeuwenhoek with a photograph of one of Adriaan Leeuwenhoek’s handsome ancestors, his grandfather Adriaan Leeuwenhoek, born 1896. I love the straw boater hat.

 

***

I’ve tried to stick to the punctuation rule of not capitalizing “van” and “de,” but the sources list them both capitalized and not, which REALLY confuses me because I had thought that they were not capitalized in the Netherlands and then were capitalized in the United States. Apparently not true!

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Now for the meat and potatoes of the information I was given by Adriaan Leeuwenhoek (as a reminder, his great-grandfather Cornelis Leeuwenhoek was the cousin of Lambertus and Gerrit Leeuwenhoek who I have written about in earlier posts).  Thank you, Adriaan, for such wonderful information!

According to Adriaan, Lambertus & Gerrit, aged 13 and 9 respectively, became orphans on February 17th, 1886, the day their father Arie Leeuwenhoek passed away. It looks like they had at least 2-3 siblings that survived into adulthood. Two for sure–a brother and a sister–that were born between Lambertus and Gerrit, the youngest child. I hope that Adriaan can clarify that for me.

Gerrit Leeuwenhoek was born in Gouda (the city that gave its name to the cheese) on January 24, 1877. Lambertus (Uncle Lou) was born May 3, 1872, but I am not sure what city he was born in.  Their parents were Arie and, according to Adriaan, Marijtje (or Maria) Hoogendoorn Leeuwenhoek. Marijtje was born August 8, 1842 in Zammerdam and died March 7, 1878 in Gouda. Note that Gerrit was still a baby when his mother passed away.

Arie, the father of the two men, worked as a farmhand (boerenknecht). In 1875, Arie and his family moved to Gouda (which leads me to believe Uncle Lou was not born in Gouda). In 1878, Arie and his family moved to Zwammerdam, his wife’s hometown. In 1879, and later years, Arie ran a boardinghouse/public house (pub, banquet hall, etc.) in Zwammerdam. Arie passed away on February 17, 1886. On May 17th, 1886, his possessions were auctioned off. Lambertus Leeuwenhoek (Willem Leeuwenhoek’s  branch, most likely) acted as guardian. Aries’s son Frederik moved to Rotterdam. Today there’s still an Arie Leeuwenhoek alive (Branch: Arie-Frederik-Frederik-Arie born 1935). Adriaan provided me with information on the branches, but for simplicity’s sake I am not including them here.

Our family had always thought that Uncle Lou was a descendent of the famous inventor of the microscope. Adriaan says, “The members of our Leeuwenhoek branch are not direct descendents of Antony van Leeuwenhoek.” However, it is the same family. “Antony’s only son passed away at a rather young age. ‘We’ share Antony’s (great) grandfather. The family hails from The Hague. The aforementioned (great) grandfather moved around 1575 to Delft. The first and second generation’s profession was basket weaver.

Here is Adriaan’s description of where the surname Leeuwenhoek originated:

It wasn’t a bridge! The Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (Nederduits = Dutch, Gereformeerd = Reformed and Kerk = Chuch) records show that in 1601 Thonis Philipsz. lived near “het Oosteinde (street) bijt Leeuwenpoortge (Lions Gate)”. So he lived in a house on the corner (hoek) of the street near the Lions Gate (Leeuwenpoort), hence Leeuwenhoek. . . .  In 2007 there were only 76 persons with the family name Leeuwenhoek registered in the Netherlands.

Thonis Philipsz. had seven children. Five children were still born (the curse). The two surviving children are Philip Thonisz. (Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s father) and Huijch Thonisz. (Hugo). According to one publication the first time the family name van Leeuwenhoek was officially used was in Huijch’s will dated 1621. Lambertus, Gerrit, Alice [of the postcard from my earlier post]and all living Leeuwenhoeken descended from Huijch.

Uncle Lou's Bijbels

Uncle Lou’s Bijbels

Well over two years ago I posted about Uncle Lou’s Bibles which are still in the family. You can read about them and see the photos here. Adriaan has some insight into one of the Bibles. It links Uncle Lou to an orphanage.

The inscription shows Neerbosch (a borough close to Nijmegen). From this inscription I deduct that Lambertus stayed at this orphanage (Weezen-Inrichting). I guess the bible was part of Lambertus’  Statement of Faith/Creed and First Brethern (Belijdenis des Geloofs en eerste Avondmaalsviering). Gerrit Pieter de Haas (son of Rijkje Cornelia de Haas, father unknown) passed away December 28th, 1886 in Neerbosch aged 13. Gerrit Pieter was sent to the orphanage around May 20th, 1886. As shown by the inscription (Reverent xxxxbulstijn). The inscription on the second page shows that Lambertus kept the bible to remember his friend Gerrit Pieter de Haas by. So I’m sure Lambertus stayed at the orphanage.

More here:

Nijmegen is by bike around 100 km (5 1/2 hr bike ride) to the east of Zwammerdam. Lambertus and Gerrit were separated from their family. Around 1893 the orphanage housed 1.100 children.

The Orphanage at Neerbosch

Gerrit was also at the orphanage with his brother. In the next post read what happened to Gerrit at the orphanage!

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This year has been very intense-with both overwhelmingly sad events, especially my father’s illness and eventual passing, and more positive events, including the publication of my first book (of poetry). So I have really let the genealogy slide, although I’ve continued to post occasional photos and story tidbits.

Eventually I hope to get back into working on all branches and with others I have been in contact with, namely the Paak/Pake, Van Liere, Van Gessel, Mulder, as well as information that people have sent me about the DeKorns (deKorne, deKorn, DeKorne). Additionally, I owe information to a couple of people, including Hubert Theuns. Jose from Enhanced News Archive is using his research abilities and newspaper knowhow to help me with a Noffke (surname also known as Neffka) project.  If you don’t see your family branch or name mentioned, feel free to send me an email or comment here reminding me. I would be so grateful, although maybe not any more prompt ;).

This post comes about because of a Dutch connection that is related to my last post about Alice Leeuwenhoek, my grandfather’s first cousin. Alice and I are blood related on Alice’s mother’s side, but Grandpa and the family were very close to Alice’s father, shopkeeper Lambertus (Uncle Lou) Leeuwenhoek. In fact, Grandpa’s father and Uncle Lou were close and even worked on the Dutch-America newspaper together: see this post.

I’ve written before about Uncle Lou’s Bible collection here. Eventually, I would like to write about his retail enterprises. Uncle Lou and his brother Gerrit were orphans who immigrated to the United States. His brother died during the Spanish-American War, which I wrote about in Good Manners and Genuine Dutch Intrepidity in Fierce Battles.

I was contacted by Adriaan Leeuwenhoek, who lives in the Netherlands. Adriaan’s great-grandfather Cornelis Leeuwenhoek was the cousin of Lambertus and Gerrit.

Lambertus (Uncle Lou) was born in 1872 and Gerrit in 1877. Cornelis was born in 1866, so he was about the same amount older than Lou than Lou was than Gerrit, if that makes sense.

Adriaan shared this fabulous photograph from the Leeuwenhoek “family archives.”

Cornelis Leeuwenhoek circa 1917

MORE FROM ADRIAAN IN THE NEXT POST, including the origins of the surname Leeuwenhoek!

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Peter Mulder has discovered more information about his grandfather, Jan Mulder, through the Red Cross war archive. Jan is the Mulder who died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in WWII. Read about it in The Story of a Mulder in Indonesia.

Jan was my great-great grandfather Peter (Pieter) Mulder’s half-brother and you might remember the heart-breaking letter Peter wrote to Jan after the death of his wife Nellie. You can read it in The Treasure that Arrived in an Email.

According to Peter’s information, Jan was interned in March 1942 in the Ambarawa camp, Central Java number 7. His camp number was 13591. He was detained there until his death on 23 November 1945. You will note that this is a few months after the Japanese surrender, and Jan had wanted to return to Holland. However, his fragile health did not allow him to travel. Although Jan was only 66, heart disease and starvation edema ultimately proved fatal.

The day before Jan passed away, he was baptized as a Catholic as the fulfillment of his last wish. He died quietly in the hospital with Sister Josephine and Reverend John G. Breman at his side. Reverend Breman was also a patient at the hospital.

Jan was buried in the camp, which was considered a privilege at that time.

Jan Mulder with his beloved cello

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When Peter Mulder contacted me, he had a treasure that involved Jan Mulder and also my great-great grandfather, Pieter Mulder. After the death of his wife Neeltje, Pieter wrote to his brother Jan in the Netherlands. And here is the beautiful and heart-breaking letter.

Since the letter is written in Dutch, here is a translation that Peter provided for us:

October 23 1932

 

Beloved brother,

It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I must tell you my wife  has died  October 12th.

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. Oh, what I am missing Neeltje, she was everything to me. As children, we came together and we have been almost 48 years together, so we shared so much in life.

Now I am just about to the end all alone. Fortunately that Neeltje has passed away with the assurance that she went to the father House above. Often, she prayed for salvation  of this earthly life, yet she could not leave us because she knew I would be left behind with our daughter.

God gives my strength to the heavy loss.

I can not go longer Jan, write soon back to your brother. I’m moved now and living with my oldest son on the farm that gives me a little resistance.

 

My address is now

P Mulder

Caledonia

I will admit that this letter made me cry. I felt so bad because it sounds like Neeltje had suffered for a long time, which was why she prayed for salvation. Also, that Pieter felt worried about his youngest daughter. And I was so happy to see that Pieter felt close to Jan, his younger half-brother, even though they had been separated as children and had not seen each other in decades (because Pieter was in the U.S. and Jan was not). I was also happy to hear that he was content living in my great-grandfather Charles Mulder’s home.

Thinking about Neeltje’s health caused me to look for her death certificate, but I do not have it. If I can’t find it online, I might have to order it.

Pieter and Neeltje’s daughter must come in a later post as I have much to research about her. Pieter himself died in 1953 after moving between his children’s homes for 21 more years.

 

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Sometimes when I am researching family lines from the Netherlands, I wonder: what happened to the descendants of my ancestor’s siblings during the World Wars? I have particularly wondered that about WWII, maybe because my parents were alive during that war and because I know more about it than WWI.

I never expected to discover any information.

Until I was contacted by Peter Mulder from the Netherlands! He has the same name as my mother’s Uncle Pete who I knew as a smiling man and a farmer. He also has the same name as my great-great-grandfather who immigrated to the U.S. I wrote about that Pieter Mulder finding himself an orphan after the death of his father and about his move across the ocean.

This Peter Mulder has graciously supplied me with a story of what happened to my great-great-grandfather’s half-brother, Jan Mulder.

After the death of my Pieter’s mother, Karel Mulder (my 3rd great-grandfather) married Klazina Otte, and had two sons with her: Cornelis and Jan. Actually, there were many children, but sadly the rest died as infants. Karel passed away on 22 April 1881 and his children by my 3rd great-grandmother Johanna were dispersed into jobs and the orphanage.

Klazina was left to care for her two sons. Eventually, in 1904, she moved with her sons to Apeldoorn. She would have been about 63, and she died on 8 November 1922 in Apeldoorn.

Cornelis, who was born 1 September 1872, was a tailor. He married Hendrika Jonker (born 07 May 1876), and they moved their family to Utrecht on 30 July 1928.

Jan, who happens to be the grandfather of Peter Mulder, was born on 20 December 1876.  By profession, he was a hairdresser.

Jan married Petertje van Baak. Interestingly, the witnesses at the wedding were Cornelis Mulder, his brother, and Izaak Mulder, his half-brother (Pieter’s older brother). I believe this shows that the children of Karel Mulder had remained close although the family was torn apart (as far as living arrangements) by his death.

 

Jan and Petertje wedding photo

6 October 1904

Jan and Petertje had three children:

Klazina Petronella Mulder, born 06 February 1905 and died 28 April 1994

Teunis Jan Mulder, born 20 May 1907

Izaak Mulder, born 23 January 1913 and died 14 December 1980

Izaak is Peter’s father.

Teunis, Nellie, Izaak

On November 1, 1929, Jan immigrated to Soerabaja/Soerabaia, now called Surabaya, which is the capital of Jawa Timur (East Java). Indonesia was part of the Dutch East Indies. Jan left his wife and three children behind. In 1936, the couple divorced, but he kept in contact with his children.

Jan enjoyed his life in Soerabaja. He had his own hairdresser business and played music in an orchestra. He played bass, violin, and flute.

In winter/spring of 1942, the Japanese invaded and took over Java. At that time, it was necessary for all Dutch people to register with the Japanese. After that, Jan was held  in the Ambarawa internment camp for several years. The living conditions were poor and deteriorated as time went on. Peter believes that almost 13,000 people died there during that period–including Jan Mulder, Peter’s grandfather, and the half-brother of my great-great-grandfather. He was 65 years old. I can’t imagine the difficulties he must have endured in his last years.

 

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Maureen Taylor, photo detective, helped me with a couple of photos a few years ago. The other day I bought her book, Family Photo Detective.

The book gives a good overview of many topics associated with identifying old family photographs. I haven’t read it all yet, but I did read certain sections because of various questions I already have in my mind.

In my post Mysterious Antique Photographs I posted a painted metal photograph which is unidentified. I believe it is from the Remine family. Although it can seem that the Remines are very distantly related, in fact, Richard DeKorn’s mother was a Remine:

 

 

Johanna Remijinse

1817–1864

BIRTH 15 JUL 1817 Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands

DEATH 1864 Kalamazoo City, Kalamazoo, Michigan

* my 3rd great-grandmother *

The consensus seems to be that the photo below (of an unidentified Remine female) is a tintype.

 

However, according to Taylor, a painted photo like this would be a daguerreotype which is painted on its metal surface with colored powders which are brushed or gently blown.

One of the characteristics of a daguerreotype over a tintype is that the image needs to be viewed from an angle. Another important characteristic is a mirror-like surface. I had to pull out the original to examine it for these traits.

It’s impossible to tell if the image needs to be viewed from an angle because the image is so thoroughly painted. But the background is not mirror-like, but rather a matte dark gray with a slight texture.

I went to the internet about this mystery and discovered a site that showcases some hand-painted tintypes. Unfortunately, after 45 years, The Ames Gallery in Berkeley is closing this year. I wonder what will happen to their photographs. Click the name of the gallery to see the painted tintypes.

I think we were right that this is a tintype that has been painted. In fact, the painting is so well done that her face is very realistic. Years ago, I used to work with gold leaf, embossing leather and vinyl products, and I suspect that the jewelry has been painted with gold-leaf.

It’s frustrating that I have not had the time to work on the photos and genealogy for many months (for the most part), but I like to keep moving along, getting one little thing after another accomplished so I don’t lose my touch haha.

Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful photograph in the whole collection.

 

 

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I’ve written about the Leeuwenhoeks, and in particular, my great grandmother’s brother-in-law, Lambertus Leeuwenhoek. He was called Uncle Lou by my grandfather, so he’s still called Uncle Lou by me today, although I never met him. I did know his wife, Aunt Jen, who survived him by decades.

Uncle Lou and Aunt Jen owned a general store. They had a store in Kalamazoo for a time and one in Vicksburg for a time, as well. In the 1910 and 1920 censuses, he and Aunt Jen are living at 110 Balch Street in Kalamazoo. His Kalamazoo store sold Gold Medal flour.

may-19-1910-leeuwenhoek-ad

 

In the 1930 census, they live at 111 East Prairie Street in Vicksburg. In the 1940 census I find them with Lou’s first name mangled into Laonbatius. They are living with their daughter Alice and her husband, Clarence Moerdyk, at 1014 Gerdan Street in Kalamazoo. Could that be GARDEN Street? Because that would be a real house in Kalamazoo. One still existing, most likely.

I looked for city directory entries, and I found these–all date jumbled:

Leeuwenhock Lambertus (Jennie) household 110 Balch, 1926 City Directory: See Page
Leeuwenhoek Alice M, dressrnkr, boards 110 Balch, Kalamazoo City 1915: See Page
Leeuwenhoek Lambertus (Jennie) resides at 1014 Garden, City Directory 1935: See Page
Leeuwenhoek Lambertus (Jennie), grocer 110 Balch, residence same, Kalamazoo City 1915: See Page
Leeuwenhoek Lambertus (Jennie), grocer 110 Balch, residence same, Kalamazoo City, 1905: See Page
Leeuwenhoek Lambertus, compositor, 306 Wall., Kalamazoo City 1895: See Page

Compositor means that Lou was working on the Dutch newspaper. See here. But he had a grocery store in his house?

And if he lived in Vicksburg in 1930, but lived in Kalamazoo in 1926 and 1935, he couldn’t have lived in and owned a store in Vicksburg for very long. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a source for Vicksburg advertising yet.

I found this photo of Uncle Lou standing out in the front of the store, but I’m not sure which city this is:

Any ideas on the years, judging by the cars? Any idea if that looks like Kalamazoo or Vicksburg in the distance?

Likewise, I’m not sure which city Uncle Lou is in as he walks down the sidewalk? Does that window say “Russell” on it? In the city directories, there are many Russells, including ones owning businesses. There is one on Burdick Street, for instance, in my family’s neck o’ the woods, that is a variety store.

Here he is on a bench:

I wouldn’t be surprised to find this bench outside Richard DeKorn’s (his father-in-law) house on the corner of Burdick and Balch, judging by the design of the light colored stripe through the brick.

Here the photo is again–yes, it’s the same house. It’s hard to see Lou’s face up close. Below he is with his father-in-law, Richard DeKorn.

Uncle Lou with Aunt Jen and their only child, Alice:

Here is a closeup of young Uncle Lou.

And now this is a curiosity. This photo is labelled Lou Leeuwenhoek by the same person who knew that the man walking down the street was Lou, that that was Lou standing out in front of his store, etc. But IS it Lou?

This is not his brother, for sure. While it’s not the same hairstyle as the photos above, the features seem to be the same–except for the eyes which, in the other photos, seem to be deep-set. Is the difference aging (the style of tie is the same) or lighting?  Or is the photo mislabeled?

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You can check out the Bibles Uncle Lou brought with him from the Netherlands here.

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