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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

Two posts ago, in What I Discovered in the Box of Unscanned Remine Photos, I posted a photo of two girls circa 1870s or 1880s. One reader wondered if one of the girls could be deceased. She saw the wooden stand behind the girl. While I didn’t think this particular girl was deceased, and photographers mainly used stands behind people to help them hold still for the 15-20 minutes required to take the photo, it is true that photos of the dead, called Memento Mori, were quite common.

In fact, I have a Pinterest board devoted to the subject.

Of all the antique photos that I have in my collection, I don’t think I have any memento mori. Apparently, the style did not catch on with my relatives. By the beginning of the 20th century, most of the Victorian form of photographing the dead had (sorry) died out.

However, there is one photo that sometimes I wonder about . . . .

This particular photo might, in fact, be too late. The photographer was in business from at least 1899-1915. I found researched information on the site Bushwacking Genealogy.

Dornbush, Henry G.: Lived 1878-1962. In business at least 1899-1915. Not a photographer in 1920 census.
1899-1915:  120 E. Main

But maybe he was in business a bit before 1899. Or maybe this photo is from 1899 or 1900 and was on the tail end of the fashion.

Why do I wonder about this photograph? Notice the rose the man is wearing. It is upside down. In the 19th century, flowers were a language between people. This photograph has the general feeling of a wedding portrait because of the flowers, but because his flower is upside down, it likely means he is in mourning.

Notice how her body leans into and behind him, but is stiff in appearance. Her gaze is directed off somewhere, while he looks into the camera.

I would like to identify this couple. It’s very possible they are on my family tree. Just in case she is deceased here, any ideas for how to compile a search on Ancestry of death dates? After all, I have a couple thousand people to sort through.

What do you think? Is this photograph memento mori or can all the clues be explained away?

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From being in touch with some Noffke cousins, I now have a lovely copy of one of the Noffke families.

 

My great-grandmother’s brother was Charles Noffke (who married Louisa Rutkowski). If you recall, this was the woman whose death was public and unexplained. I wrote about her death in How to Explain This Death.

They had a son, Herman (1871-1944). This is Herman with his wife Mary Morganer Finkbeiner (1881-1971). These are some of their children.

BACK ROW: Floyd is on the left. He was 1906-1959. On the right was George, born 1901 (died 1990). He was the oldest child.

MIDDLE ROW: Wilbur is the boy in the middle with glasses (1903-1986).

Alfred is the handsome young man on the right (1905-1963).

Roy is the boy on the left (1911-1991).

Carl, as I mentioned, is the little boy (1917-1970).

It has been wonderful to meet Waldeck and Noffke cousins, but they are all wondering the same thing I have been: where in Europe did these people come from? To be clear: both lines apparently came from the same place in Europe. On one death certificate, I do have a town name. But I can’t find this town any place, and I have asked in genealogy Facebook groups to no avail.

Any ideas on this location of origin?

But I guess I have made strides. After all, we used to think the family name was Neffka . . . .

 

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More tintypes! In Mysterious Antique Photographs I shared a beautiful tintype that I own.

Yesterday I opened the box of unscanned Remine photos. I haven’t had time to scan so many photos–or to organize either–but I thought I should just start doing a few a day because when WILL I ever have the time?

And I discovered these beautiful tiny tintypes. The one on the other post is large and painted. These are only 2.25 x 3.5 inches in size–and unpainted.

Because they are in the Remine box I can guess they might be Remines. Judging by the faces, I am ready to conclude they probably are Remines.

Because these girls and women were photographed full length (standing and seated), we can examine their entire outfits to try to guess a time period.

Therese was born in 1891. Could this photo be from around 1900?

I am having trouble identifying the correct information about Therese’s sisters. When I figure it out, this might help in identifying this tintype. For instance, if there were sisters born in 1880 and 1881 as might have been, this photo could, I suppose, be those sisters. If so, one of them is Genevieve Remine Tazelaar and the tintypes would be in the early 1890s.

I suppose the hair and collars could be 1900. But what about the fitted jackets with all the buttons? I can’t find anything like that in photos of 1900. Odd, too, that it would be a tintype if it was as late as 1900.

Here is the other tintype. I’m sorry it’s kind of crooked and uneven. It was difficult to scan it.

What about these outfits? They are not leg o’mutton sleeves, so does that rule out the 1890s?

I guess I am not very good at taking the nuances of change in fashion and extrapolating to what my relatives would have worn (generally a much more conservative version of the fashion).

The woman on our left looks a lot like Mary Paak Remine, Therese’s mother. She was born in 1859. But the woman doesn’t look terribly young in this photo. And then who would the other woman be? She looks NOTHING like the Paak sisters. She is not Mary’s mother because Jacoba Bassa had passed away long before this.

Were these photos taken in the Netherlands or the United States? The Remines were from Kapelle and the Paaks were from Lexmond. Notice the wallpaper/painted background. I’m pretty sure that these photos were taken in the same studio, perhaps near the same time period.

I’m afraid I have more questions now than I did before.

 

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Harold Remine, the brother of Therese Remine, married Lillian Heddle on 7 July 1925 in Port Huron, Michigan.

 

Pretty snazzy outfit and a pretty girl.

What I remember of her was when she was white-haired and living with Harold in a beautiful brownstone in Montreal with fine china and in a lovely lakeside home outside the city. Harold had done quite well for himself (and for her). That was 1967, when I went with my parents to Expo 67, the World’s Fair. (That was a fabulous experience BTW).

In a University of Michigan alumni book (Michigan Alumnus 54 1947) I learned:

Harold H. Remine, ’21, has been promoted from Superintendent of Electrical Distribution to Assistant Chief Engineer of the Quebec Hydro Electrical Commission.

Thank you to Uncle Don for pointing me in the direction to find this.

Harold was a big curling fan. That trip is when I first learned of the existence of the sport.

What do you think of Lillian’s dress? Check out the bottom of the photo . . . .

 

 

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One of the branches of my family from the Netherlands was the Reminse branch.

On 26 August 1810, my 4th great-grandfather, Dirk Reminse, a bread baker, married Adriana Kriger (Krijger) in Kapelle, Zeeland, the Netherlands. Dirk was born 22 November 1786 in Kruiningen, Zeeland, Netherlands. At some point before his marriage he must have relocated to Kapelle, but Adriana also came from a different town. She was born 11 June 1787 in Biggekerke, Zeeland, Netherlands.

Houses on the Kerkplein (church square), Kapelle, Netherlands

The couple had the following children:
Gillis Remijinse 1811–1868

Jan Remijinse 1813–1837

Hendrika Remijinse 1814–1893

Johanna Remijinse 1817–1864

Johannis Remijinse 1819–1846

Adriaan Remijinse 1821–1849

Pieter Remijinse 1822–1830

Frans Remijinse 1823–1860

Gerard Remynse 1825–1910

Marinus Remijinse 1826–1863

Note the difference in the spelling of the surname. It is seen both ways. In this country it became REMINE.

Their daughter Johanna was born 15 July 1817 in Kapelle. She married Boudewijn DeKorne 21 May 1847 in Kapelle. Boudewijn had been born in Kapelle on 11 June 1816.

The couple had one daughter who died as an infant, then a son Richard and daughter Maria were born. Richard, my great-great grandfather, would end up being a well-known brick mason and contractor in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but first the family had to immigrate to the United States.

Johanna’s parents had both died. Dirk died 9 September 1840 in Kapelle. On 14 April 1845, Adriana passed away.

Boudewijn and Johanna arrived in this country in 1856 and first settled in Zeeland, Michigan. The following year their 4th and last child, Jennie was born. Jennie eventually became Jennie Culver who divorced her husband and moved to Seattle with her two teen daughters. I have posted about the magnificent photo album that belonged to one of Jennie’s daughters that a blog reader mailed to me.

Johanna Remijinse DeKorne was my last direct ancestor in the Remine line, although my grandfather stayed close to the family that continued that surname in Michigan.

I found a photograph of this branch of the family in the Netherlands. The photograph is not marked with a photography studio or any other identifying information. Someone, possibly my grandmother, wrote on the back “Remine family in Holland.” In order to figure out who is in the photograph I would need to know the approximate date of the photo. Since Johanna immigrated in 1857, this must be from a line of the family that ran parallel to her line. Would it be the family of one of her siblings?

I went back and examined the other Remine cousins in the United States. They stem from Johanna’s brother Gerard.  He seems to have immigrated to the United States between 1855 and 1857. Maybe he and his family even came over with his sister and hers? NOTE TO SELF: CHECK INTO THIS.

Why did the families remain close? Johanna’s son Richard’s wife Alice’s sister Mary married Richard Remine, son of Johanna’s brother Gerard! What does that make them? First cousin’s by marriage?

So the photo can’t be of Gerard’s family. That leaves eight other siblings to check into. And the children of all these siblings . . . . NOTE TO SELF: MORE WORK NEEDED HERE

CAN YOU GUESS A TIME PERIOD FOR THIS PHOTO?

 

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In my stack of anonymous family photos, I have two that are different from the others.

In the first one, the image is imprinted on metal and then painted with colored paint.

In the other, a couple appear to be drawn, rather than photographed.

 

It’s likely that the photographs came from Grandpa’s family: Paak, DeKorn, Zuidweg, Remine, Bomhoff, or his other branches. Or they could be friends or neighbors.

UPDATE: My daughter thinks the tintype woman looks like Grandma in the eyes and mouth. “Grandma” would be my mother, Grandpa’s daughter.

Any thoughts on type of photographs or on dating of these images?

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My 3rd great uncle, Charles Noffke, married Louisa Rutkofski. This event must have occurred back in the “old country.” Just where the old country was has not yet been determined. All I know is that the Noffkes (and the Waldecks) were some sort of “German.” They might have been from Pomerania, but maybe not. The Waldecks-Noffkes had regular family reunions for years, decades actually, and yet their origins are more murky than my other branches. It would make sense if these people came from an area that is now Poland because I do have Polish DNA, but also it might fit Louisa’s maiden name (which can be German or Polish, according to trusty Google).

Anyway, I am writing about the disturbing story of Louisa’s death. Charles, who was born in 1843, passed away on 26 May 1897 in Caledonia, Michigan, where the family had settled. Louisa, born 24 April 1845, never married again and passed away on 6 July 1920. So she lived alone, presumably, for many of those 23 years. The couple had two children, a son Herman, born 1871 and a daughter, Clara, born 1875. Herman was married in 1900 and Clara may have married soon after.

I had never heard of Louisa until I began to do family history research, particularly on Ancestry.com. That’s when the Noffkes began to populate my family tree. She threatened to remain an enigma because I had little information and, after all, she is not such a very close relative.

But when I plugged the name Noffke into the newspaper database on Genealogy Bank, I was startled to learn the circumstances of Louisa’s death.

 

Clothing torn from her body? Some articles of clothing missing? Trampled weeds along the lakeshore? Scratches and bruises on the body?

DEATH FROM INDIGESTION?

It sure sounds as if she was murdered.

Clearly this shows that an investigation was opened into her death.

THEN SILENCE. Nothing else appears in the newspaper except information about probate of her estate.

What do you think happened to her?

For a link to a beautiful image of the lake go here.

***

Adding Louisa’s death certificate, thanks to Su Leslie’s comment. Notice that the cause of death is even stranger: that she died by drowning in the lake while ill with acute indigestion. HUH? And notice that there is no DOB, although they seem to know her age in days. There are no parents listed, although her only son gave the information. I can’t tell who signed the certificate because of the spot on the paper.

One more thing. Her daughter Clara died eight years later, at age 53, in bed–dead from the gas from a coal stove.

 

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