Barend Van Mynen

I’m looking at an obituary for Barend Van Mynen (the Dutch spelling was Van Mijnen). I have hung onto this for years and have no idea where it came from. It’s more of a biographical sketch than an obituary and I’m fortunate to have it. I noted some discrepancies between the obituary and other resources, but the obituary gives an interesting look at his life.

Barend was my great-great-great grandfather on my father’s side. According to birth records, he was born in Woubrugge in the southern part of Holland on November 22, 1804 to Arie Van Mijnen and Hendrica Visch. He married Jannetje Van Egtelt on March 3, 1826 and they had five children. On June 15, 1839, Jannetje died in Holland and not long after, he married his second wife, Aagje Kroon. They had five children: Arie, Trijntje, Johanna (my great-great grandmother), Hendrika, and Martina.

The family came to our country on June 26, 1856 and settled in Roseland. Barend was a carpenter and butcher. In the fall, he went from farm to farm killing hogs for winter meat, and when those months passed and when the warmer season came, he made wooden shoes.

On March 10, 1866, Aggje passed away and Barend was left a widow again. However, in 1871, he married again at the age of 67, to Geesje Tuensma, and they were married until his death twenty-two years later.

He was an elder of the First Reformed Church in Roseland for more than thirty years. In the absence of the minister, he could read the sermon and conduct services in an able manner.

Source:  Glen DeYoung/Find a Grave

Barend died at the age of 89 on December 4, 1893.

Wednesday weddings

What a beautiful photo, this is one of my favorites and it is on the red wall with all of my other family photos. These are my grandparents on my father’s side, Simon and Lena (Kros) Ooms on their wedding day. They were married on June 20, 1923 in Roseland. The little flower girl is Simon’s niece, Alyce Sluis, and the best man is his brother, Casper William Ooms. Lena’s bridesmaid is her sister, Anna Kros.

Lately, alot of people are coloring the black and white or sepia photos of their family but I would never change them. It’s part of what makes old family photos so special.

Tombstone Tuesday — Magdelene (Miller) Shoudel

Here’s another tombstone from St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. Magdelene, Magdaline, Magdalena, Mary Magdaline, Maria Magdalena (whatever because the name is different depending on what record you look at) Miller was married to John Matthias Shoudel. The spelling on the tombstone is Magdalene, I’m just going to leave it at that for now.

Photo courtesy of L. Mafera

There are quite a bit of date discrepancies which I have to work on to verify what is correct. In her obituary (thank you to Scott Bowmar!), it states she was born in Bavaria, Germany about 1815 and came with her parents in 1855 to Smithfield Township, in DeKalb County, Indiana. According to the genealogy that a family member gave to me decades ago — and shamefully for the life of me I cannot remember who gave it to me — she was born on May 24, 1816, the first child of John Miller (spelled Müller in Germany), and that in 1855, John Matthias sent for his family, so it sounds as if she was married before coming to the United States. However, the Birkenhordt Project website states her birth date was May 21, 1815.

The Birkenhordt Project website states it is “a non-commercial project committed to documenting all genealogical relationships in the Southern Palatinate and the French district of Bas-Rhin.” Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’m sure going to have to read up on that area of Germany and work on verifying all of that information.

Magdalene died on February 15, 1888.

Brick wall demolished! Conner line

One of the family lines I haven’t posted about is my Conner family line, the reason being until now I was unable to break through the “brick” wall that stopped me from getting further. However, I have been using some new research techniques. For this situation, I used my Ancestry membership to reach out to someone, and it is a fantastic way to verify information. The Ancestry website has family trees from its own members available and, while I choose at the present time not to have mine available there, I emailed with a very nice lady who had a public tree for my Conner side.

The story about this family from years back was that my great-grandmother on my mother’s side, Bertha Louise Conner, and all of her siblings were left with random families after her mother died and her father was unable to keep the family together. Bertha (born November 28, 1893), the oldest of four children, was only 10 years old when her mother, Anna (Schadel) Conner, died in childbirth. Her brothers were Harry, age 8; Arthur, age 7; and Edward, age 4. Here is a photo of her in her school class in 1903, the same year her mother died, she is in the second row, second from the right —

Photo source: Larris from WeRelate

My friend on Ancestry had quite a bit more information than I did as her uncle was Harry Conner, Bertha’s brother. She was able to confirm the story and answer my questions, mainly, who Charles and Anna’s parents were. There was no death certificate for Charles that I had found through a vital records search in the county he died in the year he died, and Anna died before parents’ names were put on death certificates. I had some census information, but to go from point A to point B was just impossible. Her tree information is incredible but in genealogy research, you always need to verify the information but this has opened up a world that leads from Pennsylvania to Virginia, to France and to Ireland, with some Revolutionary War soldiers thrown in!

I don’t know much of Bertha’s life after her mother died, but according to census records, in 1910 she was 16 and working in a boarding house as a servant for a Mrs. Huber. Just a year or two later, she married William Bass, and eventually they had six children: Lucille Grace, Evelyn, Ruth, William, Robert and Richard.

Here’s another photo of Bertha, this one is from 1957 and she and her husband, my great-grandfather, William, are seated. Their son Bill (William Peter Bass-my grandfather) is standing behind them, and his wife, Madeline (Schoudel) Bass (my grandmother) is all the way on the left. In between is his sister Evelyn on his right, and his other sister on his left is Ruth with her husband Bob.

Thanks for the photo Mom!

Bertha died from an acute coronary occlusion on March 2, 1964 at the age of 70.

Tuesday Tales — A Tale of Two Tons

Tons were a common name and big family in Roseland and other Dutch areas. Jan (John) Ton came from the Netherlands and was an abolitionist and a big part in establishing a link in the Roseland area to the Underground Railroad (more about that in a future post). He came from a large family and over the years there have been large Ton family reunions. According to numerous sources, seven of his siblings also came to the United States. I always knew a Ton married into my mother’s side of the family, and it was one of John Ton’s brothers, Jacob Ton — but last week I was shocked to find another brother married into my father’s side of the family, Cornelis (Cornelius) Ton. I’ve had alot of practice from a former boss in creating schematics so I thought I would put that skill to good use to show what I mean:

My great-great grandmother on my father’s side (Aaltje Schoon) had a sister who married Cornelius Ton and their family eventually ended up in Lansing, Illinois. His brother, Jacob Ton, married Jannetje Baas (Jane Bass) after his first wife died. Jannetje was the sister of my great-great grandfather (Peter Bass) on my mother’s side.

So from what I can tell, my parents aren’t really related but there are indirect connections through marriages — yowza and whew!!! But when reading through genealogy posts from other people on one of my Facebook pages it is very common and many people there have very, very close connections in their families, first or second cousin close. Eh, we’re all really related to each other anyway.

More about the women — Jacoba Kros

In genealogical research there is generally more information on the lives of husbands than wives because wives were busy inside the home taking care of the children and house. This picture made me think about this woman’s life. This is Jacoba (Verkruissen) Kros, my great-grandmother on my father’s side, and this is only the second photo of her in existence that I know of. Based on the style of her dress, I’m going to guess it was taken sometime during the 1920s.

Thanks for the photo Dad!!

According to Jacoba’s birth record on “WieWasWie” (“Who Was Who” in Dutch), a website that “contains digitally accessible historical documents and personal data”, Jacoba was born Jacoba Verkruissen on May 11, 1876 to Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans in the Municipality of Barradeel, in the province of Friesland of the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia, Barradeel is a former municipality which existed until 1984, and is now largely a part of Franekeradeel, Netherlands. When I magnify the original document, it appears the father’s name is written in as Verkruisfen, and that he signed it Ver Kruisfen with a space. Prefixes were used commonly in Dutch surnames, which gives me another avenue for research on her father’s line under the name of Kruisfen. Nevertheless the translation of Verkruissen was carried down, as apparent in census records and Jacoba’s death certificate.

Jacoba’s birth record entry is at the bottom left

Jacoba eventually emigrated to the United States and landed in Roseland but there are date discrepancies for her emigration year. On June 12, 1900, Jacoba married John Kros and within a couple of years they had two daughters, Antje (Anna) and Lena, Anna being one year older.

In 1910, census records list the family as residing on Wentworth Avenue, with no further information as to house number or address. In 1920, census records list the family as still residing on Wentworth Avenue, Jacoba was listed as Coba, with her emigration year being listed as 1890. Anna and Lena were still living at home, and it appears John’s brother, Cornelius, was living with them during this time, and a young woman named Cora, 18, who my father said is his daughter.

By 1923, Lena had moved out after having married Simon Ooms, and Anna had moved out in 1926 after having married George Wiersma. Sadly, Anna, died from appendicitis not long after having married George Wiersma. I cannot even imagine the sadness.

In the 1930 census, John and Jacoba are listed as living at 10919 S. Wentworth Avenue — here’s a current pic of the house, which on the outside appears to be in fairly good condition. During this census, Jacoba’s emigration year is listed as 1900.

Thanks for the photo Dad!

In the 1940 census, Jacoba and John are listed as still living at the same house, she was 63 years old and John was 73 years old. According to John’s death certificate, he died that same year on July 5th. His death is listed as chronic myocarditis due to chronic nephritis and hypertension.

1950 census records will not be available until 2022, but I found more information about Jacoba’s later years on her death certificate and also from my father. Jacoba had been a resident in the Ogden Park Nursing Home in Chicago for a year and then Bowman Nursing Home in Midlothian the next year prior to her death, which was on June 10, 1960. Her residence was listed as 10919 S. Wentworth Avenue. She died extremely quickly of a non-traumatic cerebral vascular accident (stroke), twenty years after her husband died.

But this all brings me back to the first photo. What was Jacoba doing that day when this photo was taken? What was she thinking? What was her life in Roseland compared to life in the Netherlands? What was it like to emigrate from another country and how did she adapt to a new country? So many questions I wish I knew the answers to!

Wordless Wednesday — Winarski

This is a two for one but not really a photo Wordless Wednesday. One of the toughest lines I have been researching is the Winarski line, my maternal grandmother’s mother’s line. Well thanks to Ancestry’s newspaper database, $5.95, and a search for the name “Frank Winarski”, I was super thrilled to find a couple of obituaries in “The Menasha Record”, a newspaper in Menasha, Wisconsin.

The first obituary is for Julia Winarski, Frank Winarski’s wife, who died on August 22, 1929 and lived in Menasha. The obituary does not even mention her first name, which irritated me but times were very different back then.

The second is of Frank, who died on October 19, 1935. It mentions he was a pioneer of the fifth ward in Menasha. Unless it is a mistake, Frank must have remarried since it says his wife survived him and Julia died 6 years before.

One of Frank and Julia’s daughters was Margaret Winarski, who married Edward Schoudel, and who is the mother of my maternal grandmother, Madeline (Schoudel) Bass. The information in these obituaries have certainly given me more avenues to research!

Notice the Schoudel name is mistakenly spelled differently in each obituary, Shoerdel and Shoudell. How many different ways has that name been spelled?

Tombstone Tuesday- Martha Shoudel

Today’s tombstone belongs to Martha Shoudel, my great-great grandmother on my mother’s side, who is buried at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Cemetery in Waterloo, Indiana. I am having difficulty finding verification sources for Martha under her maiden name to try to get further on her line. Her name has been listed as Garr, however my belief is it is in fact Carr. If I look closer at the tombstone, I cannot verify if the letter is a C or a G, it could go both ways, although I’m leaning toward it being a C. I still have to research further but do have some fairly solid resources that confirm the name is Carr. Martha was married to Balthazar Shoudel, the son of John Matthias Shoudel (an earlier Tombstone Tuesday participant).

The tombstone is in fairly good shape for being 128 years old (thank you to L Mafera through Find a Grave for the photos)!!

Adam Ooms

My great-grandfather on my father’s side, Adam Ooms, made quite a living with the grocery store he started in Roseland on April 1, 1886 at 124th W. 111th Street. At the age of 21 and with no prior experience, he went into business for himself and began one of the first independent grocery stores in the area (photo from the original Tribune Co-Operator dated March, 1930 and my father – thanks Dad!).

A new store was built near the old location in 1904 at the old Wentworth building at 146 W. 111th Street.

Sometime later, Adam added a little annex on the east for his son John, who was a radio dealer/repairman who stayed there until his death around 1960 or 1961. Adam retired after 43 years at the age of 65, selling the store to his sons, Harry and Simon. 

Adam was born to John and Johanna (Van Mynen/Van Mijnen) Ooms in Roseland on September 16, 1864, and married Gertrude Dekker on April 26, 1886. They had 12 children together, four of whom died young. He was elected Supervisor of the Town of Calumet in 1886 after previously serving a year and a half as Constable of the village of West Roseland. 

He died on October 4, 1931 from “toxic thyroid”, two years after his retirement.

What happened to the store?  Harry and Simon sold the business in 1964, and Monarch Laundry bought it, tore it down and made it into this —

It is currently a 3 story low income housing complex.