As I shared in my last post Intriguing Coincidence or An “Of Course” Moment?, Yvette Hoitink, a Dutch genealogist, quickly and easily found a wealth of information about the Zuidweg family–my grandfather’s Dutch ancestors. Dutch Genealogy is a site which describes Yvette’s amazing services.
I knew that the father of my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, born 1908 in Kalamazoo, was Adrian Zuidweg, born in The Netherlands. Adrian Sr. owned a fish market when Grandpa was young. In this photo he stands with an unidentified young employee.
My grandfather, Adrian Jr. told me he used to clean fish at the fish market when he was 8 or 9.
Eventually, the man who was my great-grandfather opened an ice cream parlor and candy store, and according to a story Grandpa told me, during the height of the Great Depression, he was able to buy a $1,000 marble countertop for his business.
All I knew of this man was of his life in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I knew that he died at approximately age 50 of what might have been Bright’s (kidney) disease. My grandmother told me that he didn’t eat all day long at work and would come home and eat a steak the size of a plate.
What I discovered from Yvette is an idea of who he was before he emigrated from Holland. He was born Adriaan Zuijdweg on 3 January 1871 in Goes, Zeeland, the Netherlands. He was a “letterzetter,” compositor or typesetter–possibly for a newspaper. This fits with a photo I published on an earlier post of Adrian Sr. and another relative working on a newspaper in Kalamazoo.
So it seems that Adrian took his typesetter skills to the United States, but decided to become an American “entrepreneur” by opening the fish market.
According to Yvette, it was in the United States that he lost the other “a” in his first name and the j in Zuijdweg–becoming Adrian Zuidweg. The son he eventually had in 1980 was also named Adrian Zuidweg (no middle name, which is according to Yvette the Dutch tradition) and it was young Adrian who eventually changed the ice cream parlor into a Sunoco gas station.
One of the photos I have yet to know more about is one of him in what Grandpa said was his Dutch army uniform.
Four years after emigrating from the Netherlands for “amelioration of existence,” Adriaan/Adrian married my great-grandmother Cora Wilhelmina DeKorn. The date was 18 May 1897 and the place was Kalamazoo (of course).