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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

Two years ago, when I first started this blog, I posted a photograph that shows my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg (Adriaan Zuijdweg) and Aunt Jen’s husband (and Alice’s father) Lou Leeuwenhoek working in the printshop at the Hollandsche Amerikaan newspaper in 1899.

The historian Larry Massie told me that the paper was founded in 1890 as a tri-weekly, 8 page newspaper. It was published in Kalamazoo in Dutch and had a circulation of 1,500. The editor in 1899 was P.A. Dalm. I’m not sure if he’s in the photograph or not.

I improved the photograph a bit, so here is a better version:

Holland American printshop 1899

How I would love to see inside of this building. Look at the wooden floor, the cubbyholes, the walls.  Oops, what is that in the upper left corner? It looks like a figure hanging on the wall. Is he hanging on a swing?

I’m going to try not to interpret it through “presentism.” Presentism is defined this way: “uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.”

What do you think this figure is?

Is that a calendar hanging underneath?

On another note, I have many projects that have been heating up lately. Because I don’t have the time to devote to The Family Kalamazoo posts right now, I will “on break” for the next few weeks.  But I will be back!

Try to be good and play nice while I’m gone. Haha, must be something I heard when I was a kid or said to my children.

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I’ve traveled to California, Sedona, and Michigan in the past few weeks.  Needless to say, I am behind in my work even more than usual. I want to continue Theresa Pake’s story and to explore the Jennie DeKorn Culver photos more, but these projects take a good deal of time.

Instead, I decided to take a look at an old postcard postmarked 1911. The postcard is to Alice Leewenhoek, Richard DeKorn’s granddaughter through his daughter Jennie. Alice was an only child who lived with her mother Jennie and her father who Grandpa always called “Uncle Lou”–Lambertus Leewenhoek.

In the photo below, Alice is sitting with a friend, neighbor, or relative against the exterior wall of Richard DeKorn’s house. She holds a doll in her lap and is petting Tom or Carlo (if I had to guess, I would say it’s Tom).

 

Alice Leeuwenhoek with doll

On this postcard, Nellie Bradt is thanking Alice for her “postal.” Nellie’s address is marked as 1130 S. Burdick Street.  The photograph is Bronson Park, which is the beautiful “town square” of Kalamazoo.

Bronson park front postcard

 

After seeing that the mailing address is listed as Balch St. and doesn’t include Alice’s street number (not uncommon for that time period in Kalamazoo), I went to my family tree on Ancestry and discovered that I had never found the Leewenhoek family on the 1910 census.  So I tried something different and looked for the 1910 census on Family Search. Bingo.  Instead of Lambertus Leewenhoek, I found Lamburtos Leenwenhock, at 110 Balch Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Uncle Lou was living with his wife Jennie and his daughter Alice who was 13 years old in that year–and therefore around 14 at the time of the postcard in 1911. New info: According to Uncle Don, they lived in the wooden house just behind the Richard DeKorn brick house.

Can you read anything more on the postmark besides the city, state, and year?  Is it December 9? Or does it say something else?

Bronson park back postcard

 

Grandpa and Alice were first cousins, their mothers were sisters.

I haven’t been able to find Nellie Bradt in the 1910 census, but I did find her in an 1899 city directory. I then found her parents in a 1905 directory. I think I can find them more years, too. But I don’t understand how to read these entries. The 1899 entries are entirely different from the 1905, but neither one really gives me the address.

Here is the 1899 that lists Nellie with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Bradt. I understand they lived in the City of Kalamazoo. And I know “a” means acreage, but not how to interpret what any of this means or how it connects with an address.

Nellie Bradt 1899 city directory

 

Here is the 1905 directory entry. Nellie isn’t mentioned, but her parents are. What in the world does it mean?

Nellie Bradt's parents 1905 city directory

Is there a way to search for Nellie in the 1910 census using the 1130 S. Burdick Street address she gives? Can I search the census by address?

Note that many of my relatives lived in this Burdick/Balch neighborhood. When I look at the census records from late 19th and early 20th century, I see that almost everyone, if not everyone, who lived there was Dutch.

My grandfather’s gas station was at the corner of Burdick and Balch, across the street from the Richard DeKorn house. Grandpa lived in that house for part of his childhood, with his parents and grandfather, Richard. When he built his house down the block on Burdick, he was staying in the same general area his family had lived in for decades. He continued to work at his station and live in his house until he retired and moved to Portage.

I remember as a child meeting Mrs. Bradt Braat who lived next door to the gas station. The name is pronounced, by the way, like the sausages that go with beer. I wonder if she was related to the Nellie Bradt who wrote this postcard. Mom? Uncle Don? New info: no, she must not be as they were a Belgian family (see comments below).

Alice Leewenhoek was my grandfather’s cousin. Note that the postcard is stamped with the name and address of Grandpa’s father, A. Zuidweg. I wonder why?

One postcard. So many questions!

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Richard DeKorn’s house is still standing, at the corner of Burdick and Balch Streets in Kalamazoo. Someone lives there, but the house needs some TLC, in my opinion. I wonder if the owner knows who built the house–or is interested. I love the distinctive light brick stripes on the dark brown brick. The house was most likely built in the 1880s. I would love to know the exact year.

Although the basic house hasn’t changed, the property has. In the old photographs, the house looks set back from the street. The house number is now different.

It looks like a barn to the left, doesn’t it? Notice that the above photo is the same view as the first photo. Is that a fire hydrant in the same spot? Did they have fire hydrants in those days? Or is it something else?

Here is a photo of the area where the barn was. I wonder if the garage has the same footprint as the barn. And you can see the house that is next door. How old do you think the gray house is?

In the following photograph, Richard DeKorn stands by the house he built.

Richard DeKorn's home at the corner of Burdick and Balch, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Richard DeKorn’s home at the corner of Burdick and Balch, Kalamazoo, Michigan

 

Here is another angle of the house today:

 

In the above photo, the right side (two windows in 2nd story, 1st floor, and basement) faces Burdick Street. The left side (two windows 2nd story and three windows on the 1st floor and basement) faces Balch Street. In the old photo, where is Richard standing? Is he at the opposite corner from the Burdick-Balch corner–at the back of the house?

Here’s a view from the opposite side of Balch. I think it shows that Richard has his back to Balch Street in the old photo.

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Try to keep this in mind as you read: I am having a lot of trouble dating this photograph. Maybe with the dates of the people in the photo, you can help me date it.

Great-Grandpa Charles Mulder was born Karel Pieter Philippus Mulder on 6 March 1885 in Goes, Zeeland, the Netherlands.  He was the son of Pieter Philippus (son of Karel, Karel, Carel, Johannes, in that order).

He emigrated in 1887 from Kloetinge, Zeeland, Netherlands and arrived in New York City on 29 August 1887 . Note that he was 2 years old.

Great-Grandpa was the oldest child of Pieter and Nellie (Neeltje) Gorsse.

Pieter and Nellie Mulder and family

Pieter (1865-1953) and Nellie (1868-1932) are in the middle of the front row.  If you have ever heard about the wonderful furniture that used to be made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you would be hearing about some of the furniture made by Pieter, a cabinet-maker.

Great-Grandpa, with the curly dark hair, is next to his mother. I will try to identify the others, but I cannot be absolutely certain.

Back row: Peter, Cora, Henry

Peter was the father of Rod Mulder, who I knew when I was younger. He married Alida, and they had at least four boys: Rod, Willis, Richard, and Robert.

Cora married John Gerow and was the mother of Eleanor, a lady I knew when I was a kid.

Henry engraved stone monuments and developed emphysema. His married Mae and raised his family in Hastings, Michigan. According to the 1930 census, they had 4 children: Eloise, James, Mary, and Judith.

In the front row, the girl with the glasses on our left is Nellie. I believe she might have had some sort of disability. Nellie was still living at home with her parents in the 1930 census, when she was 27 or 28 years old.

Then there is Jennie who married Edward Kooistra or Koistra. They had a son, Karl.

Rose (Rosa) is on the other side of Great-Grandpa. She contracted TB. But then so did Great-Grandpa; I remember visiting him in the sanitarium or hospital. Rose was living at home with her parents in the 1920 census; she was 14.

Sadly, I discovered that there were also two children who passed away. Jan was born after Charles–in 1886–and passed away the following year, four months after the family arrived in the United States!  Imagine: a young couple, ages 22 and 19, immigrate to the United States with a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old (two babies). Then in a few months, the younger baby is gone.

Then there was another Rose who was born in 1892, after Cora. She passed away in 1904, two years before her namesake was born.

What year do you think this photo was taken? It’s a little confusing to me. Great-Grandpa got married in 1910, when Rose would have been four years old. She’s clearly older than that here. I wonder if both Charles and Jennie were already married when this photo was taken. My grandmother was born in 1912, so if the photo was taken when Rose was about ten (1916), then Great-Grandpa would ALREADY HAVE FOUR CHILDREN.

Here’s an alternative view: that I was told wrong about which child is which. What if this photograph has the Rose in it that was born in 1892–and if it was that Rose who had TB and in fact died of it? Then the names were assigned wrong. But is there a way that the people here fit the dates if that is the case?

How about the clothes? Any ideas on the date of the photograph from the clothing?

In order the children were:

Charles (1885)

Jan (1886-1887)

Jennie (1887)

Cora (1890)

Rose (1892-1904)

Henry (1897)

Peter (1900)

Nellie (1902)

Rose (1906)

My grandparents told me that Great-Grandpa’s family (this is my grandmother’s father) lived in Goes very near the Zuidwegs (my grandfather’s father’s family). They were printers, engravers, and machinists. However, genealogical research shows that, in the old country, Pieter was a fisherman, a laborer, and a shoe maker. I would guess that when the family came to Grand Rapids, that Pieter learned the furniture trade. After all, he was only 22 when he got to this country.

I do know that the printer and engraver part was true at least for my grandfather’s father, Adriaan Zuijdweg. The Mulders and Zuidwegs were city people, not farmers, so it’s curious that my great-grandfather became a farmer.

Great-Grandpa died on 27 April 1967, when I was 11 years old. I used to imagine that the family line began with him at his farm in Caledonia, not realizing that he was brought up in Grand Rapids or that his father made furniture or what hardships his parents must have gone through.

 

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I haven’t written much about my grandfather’s paternal grandparents. I wrote about his aunt’s family, the Van Lieres, but we know very little about the parents of Grandpa’s father and his aunt.

His paternal grandmother was Jennegien (Jennie) Bomhoff. She was born 5 March, 1838 in Zwolle, Overjissel, the Netherlands. She passed away on 16 December 1924 in Kalamazoo.

She married Grandpa’s grandfather, Johannes (John)  Zuidweg, in Goes, the Netherlands on 4 November 1869, when she was 31 years old and working as a maid.

Grandpa told me that she wore many layers of skirts and they all had pockets in them.  Can you tell below that she was wearing layers of clothing? What do you think she carried in those pockets? He did tell me that he saw her pull an apple out from an under skirt.

The following photos were identified to me as Jennie.  How old do you think she is in each one?

Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg sepia

 

What style bonnet is she wearing? And how many decades did she wear that same bonnet?!

Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg dark dress

 

In the next photograph, she is the woman on the side, in the dark dress.

Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg on leftHere is some research Yvette Hoitink provided about this family:

In 1869, Jennegien married Johannes Zuijdweg in Goes, Zeeland, about 150 miles away. That is an uncommonly large distance for somebody to travel in the 19th century, especially for an unmarried woman from the working class. Further investigation showed that her brother Albert Bomhoff was married in Goes in 1867. It must be through this connection that Jennegien moved to Goes, where she worked as a maid prior to her marriage. A rich and easy to retrieve source of information for ancestors in the 19th century are the marriage supplements: the documents a bride and groom had to submit when they got married. Unfortunately, the Goes marriage supplements for the period 1811-1877 got lost in 1877. Since several marriages on the Zuidweg side took place in Goes, these records could not be obtained. Digital images of the marriage supplements of Lucas Bomhof and Jeuntien Dansser, the parents of Jennegien Bomhof, were retrieved from Familysearch.org. Lucas Bomhof was born as Nijentap, but his family took the name Bomhof around 1812. In the province of Overijssel, it was common to be named after the farm you lived on. It was only with the French occupation that people were obliged to take a hereditary surname. Nijentap may be the name of the farm that the family lived at.

 

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Reminder: Jennie DeKorn Culver, 1857-1947, moved to Seattle from Kalamazoo with her two adult daughters, Lela and Rhea, around 1915

Since I did not have any photographs of Lela and Rhea Culver as adults until I received the scrapbook, I have had to make guesses on the identity of people in the scrapbook photos. I did have a good photograph of Jennie’s face as a young woman, so that does help.

I’m hoping you can help me decide which photos do have Jennie, Lela, and/or Rhea in them. After the new photos, I’ll repost a couple I’ve posted before for comparison.

Because the photos were all in the scrapbook together–and some of them were loose–it would help to know what year fashion the clothing is in each photograph (since the years may be all mixed up). Clothes, hair, background, compare faces: whatever ideas you have, lemme have ‘em, please! I’ve numbered the new photos. Also, you can click on each photo to enlarge.

 

From Scrapbook (haven’t posted before)

Photo 1

 

Photo 2 (I feel fairly certain this is Jennie and her daughters)

 

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

 

From scrapbook (posted in earlier posts)

Photo 8

Lela and Rhea Culver Seattle, WA

Lela and Rhea Culver
Seattle, WA

Rhea and Lela Culver Kalamazoo, Michigan

Rhea and Lela Culver
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Jenny DeKorn Culver 1857-1947

Jenny DeKorn Culver
1857-1947

Related articles

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I wrote that the Jennie DeKorn Culver’s daughters Lela and Rhea were at the Children’s Home in Kalamazoo during the divorce proceedings of their parents.

According to articles in The Kalamazoo Gazette, they were there from at least December 1896 to May 1897.

Here is an article about a Christmas program Lela performed in:

I find it curious that the backup singers or performers (Lela was one of them) are called “Nineteenth Century Children.” There were still three full years of the 19th century left at this point.

I’d love to know what gifts the children received–and if they were from the community. Would children like Lela and Rhea with living parents have also received gifts from their parents? Or would that have been against the rules?

1896 Christmas Tree

1896 Christmas Tree

Since I had proof through the Kalamazoo Gazette articles that the girls were at the Children’s Home in 1896 and 1897, I contacted Lakeside Academy, the current name of what was the Children’s Home during the Culver girls’ time. I had heard through another blogger that they still had records from the late 1800s. Don Nitz, the CEO of Lakeside for Children, was so kind to search for me. Unfortunately, there are gaps in the records, and he could not find any documentation of Lela and Rhea’s stay with them.

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