Johannes (John) Ooms

Not much is known about Johannes (John) Ooms), my great-great grandfather, who died at the very young age of 26 in 1866. The biography of his son, Adam Ooms states he was a boy when his parents came to America. Here is the passenger list from June 15, 1849 from the ship the “Franziska”, he is 9 years old:

The biography also says John was a veterinarian, and left a wife, Johanna (Van Mijnen), and two young children, Adam and Aggie:

When a young man he studied veterinary surgery with a physician, and practiced at Roseland until his death in 1867.

I have found no other record of his veterinary years, or of himself. As far as his death, there is no record of what he died from and the only record of his burial is from Find a Grave that states he was buried of the churchyard of the First Reformed Church of Roseland. When streets were being put in in that area, all of the remains there were dug up and transferred to Mt. Greenwood Cemetery, this is detailed in a few resources. Many were moved and then in 1910, to use the area for commercial building purposes, an excavating company’s steamshovel starting digging up the area really ruthlessly. After protests, the excavating company removed all the bodies using a shovel by hand and the undertaker of Mt. Greenwood Cemetery supervised the removal to a plot of ground in Mt. Greenwood. I believe this plot is at the front of the cemetery. There may still be bodies buried under 107th Street, according to Find a Grave. Burial records from Mt. Greenwood would have cause of death information for burials, but not from transfers.

Thanks for reading!

This woman’s work: Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk

There aren’t a lot of records or history about women years ago, but I did find some interesting information on one of my women ancestors, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother, Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk. Jannetje, her husband Pieter and their only daughter, Neeltje, came from Holland with the original group of settlers that founded Roseland in 1849. Sadly, Pieter died during the voyage of cholera and was buried at sea.

In his book, “The History of Roseland and Vicinity”, Simon Dekker mentions Jannetje in his section about doctors:

When the pioneers of 1849 settled on the prairie what is now called Roseland, there was no doctor among them. The nearest town to them was Blue Island, a small place a few miles to the southwest, where there was a doctor. And his name, if I remember well, was Dr. Egan. It was not an easy matter to get him if he was needed in those pioneer days. The quickest way to get him was to go on foot as the only way of transportation was by oxen team, and that was a slow process. In confinement cases, they hardly ever got a doctor, only in case of emergency.

There was a widow among them, Mrs. Jantje Oudendyke (sp), who acted as midwife for a number of years, until a doctor settled here, and that was about twenty years after the first settlers came. All these years she acted as midwife. And she was successful in this work…this old lady was an all around lady. She had different homes where she would come certain days of the week to do the mending of the old clothes or of shoes and stockings. She had her home with her only daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Johannes Ambuul.

It is very rare to get a glimpse of a pioneer woman’s life, but with Mr. Dekker’s snapshot, we can see what this woman did, and the important contributions she made.

Too bad I don’t have a photo! But here is a painting of a pioneer midwife!

Midwife: Thy Path Her Chosen Way, by Crystal Haueter, courtesy Church History Museum

Thanks for reading!

Conner DNA

I was doing some digging in my Ancestry DNA matches and made a surprising discovery – that I have a number of fourth cousins from the Conner side! This helped to confirm that my maternal great-great-great grandfather, Charles W. Conner (who married Mary C. Dorwart), was born to Samuel and Lydia Conner (maiden name still unknown). Samuel and Lydia had several children: Samuel F., who married Margaret Mary Graeff (through which the cousin connections come from); Charles W.; Amos; John; Sarah; Lydia; and Joseph. Amos appears to have died in 1853 at the age of 25. Sarah married a Hukey/Hookey. Lydia married a Kautz.

This is a first for me to have been able to link any Conner DNA connections. If a DNA match includes a family tree, sometimes I can figure out the connections, sometimes I cannot.

My cousins have only gotten as far as Samuel and Lydia. I have found some additional unrelated trees on Ancestry that goes beyond them a couple of generations but I don’t believe the people in those trees are connected to my Samuel and Lydia. How do I know this? I have been in contact with a descendent who also did an Ancestry DNA test who had that same information and we are not matches – at least not at a farther point than Samuel and Lydia I mean. But at least I know who Charles’s parents are. More research to do!

Doing research on the Conner family has been interesting. Charles W. and Mary are buried in Lancaster Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where a lot of Dorwarts and some Conners are buried. I don’t have a photo of Charles’s tombstone but here is Mary’s tombstone:

Charles’s brother, Samuel F. and his wife, Margaret, are buried in the Hebron Moravian Cemetery in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. I watched a YouTube video of someone narrating his exploration of the cemetery, apparently it is a very old cemetery. The burials are in “choirs” based on status, married females in one group, married males in another, male children of a certain age in one group, female children of a certain age in another group, and widows and widowers are in separate areas. And there are numbers on the graves, not names, although there are separate names stones for Samuel and Margaret.

Hopefully I will be able to find more information on the Conner line as I dig deeper, lol, no pun intended.

Thanks for reading!

Shoudel brick wall angst (yes this again)

While things were getting a little more back to normal, I was working on trying to find more information on Martha (Carr) Shoudel. She and Anna (Schadel) Conner are my toughest brick walls. I have a feeling Martha’s line will lead to the Galway, Ireland and Scotland/England connections but it is impossible to find any information on her parents and I can’t assume it is what other people have in their family trees on Ancestry. There is an 1870 census listing for a Martha Carr, age 21, living with her father and mother in Ohio, a Jesse and Margaret Carr, and some of my cousin family trees include this information. In fact, to be exact, 18 family trees on Ancestry include this information, information that I believe is incorrect for the following reasons: (1) by 1870, Martha was already a married woman living in Indiana with her husband (Balthazar) and their two year old. Although I cannot find an 1870 census for her and her husband’s family together, her oldest in the 1880 census is 12 years old; (2) she was married and lived in Indiana where her husband and his family had settled; (3) there is a family story that she had trouble being accepted into the German community there; (4) I’m not connected to any DNA matches for Jesse/Margaret Carr. It’s just really frustrating. And part of the problem is Ancestry records have this record connected to her so many people have made the assumption that is who her parents are, but I just don’t see how it can be correct. Of course I have made mistakes but this is really a no brainer. Of course I partially blame Ancestry because many times I have seen inaccurate records like this attached to a person. Sigh….

Here is the certificate from Martha’s marriage to Balthazar Shoudel in DeKalb County, Indiana on May 6, 1867:

Another record I found is a document with inscriptions from all of the graves at the St. Michael’s church cemetery where Martha is buried. There are a ton of Schoudels/Shoudels there. New names I wasn’t aware of who married into the Shoudel family, such as Reinig, Schortgen, Gfeller, Zircher, Ruppert, Hoffelder, Ellert, Hoff, Pfefferkorn, Schmidt, Richter, Schenck, Deitzen, Dapp, Gaetz, Wetosky, Schmidt, Royal — it seems almost the entire cemetery is filled with Shoudel family. I already knew some of the names connected to the Shoudel family: Schlosser, Dulle, Hohl, May, Fetter — but this really opens up the family connections. I thank people for that kind of work, it is tireless and voluntary and people like me appreciate it! I cannot wait to visit that cemetery! My father and I planned a visit to the area but then Covid showed up. It is 3 hours away and we were going to drive out, have lunch, see the area, etc., and there is also a Duesenberg museum my father likes out there. But it will have to wait until this pandemic is over.

Source: St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church website

Information on the cemetery states that the original portion was on a hill 1,000 behind the church to the west, this is where John Matthias Shoudel was buried in the middle in 1881 after his wife purchased one acre of ground from her son Michael for $50.00, and donated it to the church for a cemetery (mentioned in a previous post). Married people were buried in rows across the cemetery as they died, and not side by side. The west side of the cemetery was reserved for unmarried people and babies. In 1937, a Schoudel donated ground for an addition to the back of the cemetery and a circle drive through the cemetery, and in 1992, a Schortgen donated seven acres on the west side of the cemetery.

This is a list of land records for Dekalb County from 1880. J.M. Shoudel is John Matthias Shoudel and his sons are also listed in the same area, I posted a photo of the land plat before from Smithfield. B.R. Shoudel is Balthazar Shoudel; M.L. is Michael L. Shoudel; M.E. Shoudel is Mathias Shoudel. I am not sure yet about Catharine. All of the men were founders of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, which makes sense why so many Shoudel family members are buried in the church’s cemetery.

My father told me that he is going to do a DNA test. This is really exciting because not only will it show me where his DNA is from, but because of a new feature on 23andme, it will also show the DNA inheritance I get from him, and even if my mother doesn’t take a test, the remaining DNA inheritance I get from her. Super cool! I am very curious to see what shows up in his DNA. Genetic genealogy is the future!!

Thanks for reading!

Bass Houses of Roseland

My father did a lot of research awhile ago and sent me a ton of photos of places from Roseland that he was familiar with, including still existing family houses. Some of them are houses that my Bass relatives/ancestors lived in. It is sad that Roseland has changed so much but glad that there are still some surviving houses to look at.

This house is at 11832 S. Stewart and was owned by William and Bertha (Conner) Bass, my maternal great grandparents, who both passed away before I was born. I remember seeing this address on a lot of records, such as war registration cards of my grandfather, William Peter Bass, and his brothers. Bertha outlived her husband and lived here until her passing in 1964.

My grandparents, William Peter and Madeline (Schoudel) Bass lived in this cute little house at 10035 S. Calumet from 1959-1960.

My grandparents then lived in this apartment building at 10123 S. Vernon from 1960 until 1962.

This is the house I remember from Roseland, since they lived here from 1962 until 1972, and I was born in 1965. I remember quite a bit about this house, so many fun memories and family get togethers here, I especially remember the one during Thanksgiving dinner when my mother went into labor with my younger brother. I was only three years but it was very momentous, I literally remember seeing dropping to the floor when she said her water broke. Pap and Gram lived on the second floor, and the stairway always seemed so steep to a little munchin like me then. My older sister, cousins and I used to play school in the creepy basement. I was always very scared of the Lucy head vase that my grandmother had on the cabinet as I passed from the dining room to the kitchen, I always thought her eyes were going to open. Now I wish I owned that, I may even buy one for myself.

After they left Roseland, they moved to a trailer in Manteno, alot of special times were spent there too, especially staying there during summers.

Thanks so much Dad for the photos!

Thanks for reading!

I was wrong

I just published a post on the Jonker/Vellenga/Ooms connection and am admitting that I am wrong. My information is wrong about the connection to the Ooms family.

I apparently used some incorrect information and did not confirm my sources thoroughly. While John Yonker and his wife Annie did have a daughter Jane, she was not the Jane Yonker married to Harry Vellenga Sr. Jane Yonker was the 6th of 9 surviving children of Nick Yonker, married to Nellie VanHeest. I believe Nick is Jan and Teetje Jonker’s son.

So now what to do with my original post? That’s an interesting conundrum. I’m going to remove the section that refers to that part and keep the rest.

I want to thank one of my readers, Tricia, who helped me with this. Tricia is a great granddaughter of Harry and Jane.

Thank you Tricia!

Thanks for reading!

Another Jonker/Bass post and another Ooms connection

The other day I was looking at a copy of a letter a Vellenga family member sent to me decades ago — the Vellengas are from my father’s side. And I kept thinking, why is the letter to a Vellenga from someone talking about the Bass side? That’s my mother’s side. I was mystified. Finally, I figured out this puzzle a couple of weeks ago when I was doing more research on the Jonkers. A Vellenga married into the Bass side by marrying a Jonker!

I only discovered this because I was looking on Find a Grave, and then put two and two together (of course always checking sources!!!). Jane Yonker, granddaughter of Jan Jonker/Yonker (and the niece of my maternal great-great-great grandmother Grietje (Jonker) Bass), married Harry Vellenga, son of Age and Johanna (Van Mijnen/Ooms/Rieve) Vellenga. Johanna is my paternal great-great grandmother. Here is a schematic to help make more sense:

Wasn’t that fun? Hahaha. Anyway, on to the letter. The letter was written by Simon Benchop in 1966 and includes a short narrative about the Bass family and when they came from Holland, as told to him by his mother. He is the son of Martje Bas and Henry Benchop and his mother is one of Grietje’s daughters. In the letter, Simon refers to the family as Bas before the name changed to Bass so I am doing the same. I’m going to quote and leave out the grammatical and typographical mistakes:

“Now this is what Mother told me about the Bas family, they left North Holland for America and landed at 115th Street at the J.G. depot, from there they put them on hand cars and took them to Riverdale to old Jon Yonkers. There was my mother Martje Bas, her mother, Grietje Jonker Bas, sister to old Jon Yonker, also my mother’s grandmother, the mother of old Jon Yonker…She was 84 years old. She passed away soon after she arrived in Roseland. Old Jon Yonker’s wife was named (Tillie) Tetje Velthuis. Their oldest son’s name was Garrit Yonker, later years he lost one leg. He had a grocery store on 115th Street just west of Michigan Avenue. His second son was Nick Yonker…And his sons would fish the Calumet River where the Washington Ice house used to stand. Another son was an engineer, he worked on steam shovels. He went to Wisconsin and got killed in an accident, his wife came back and lived with Garrit Yonker for awhile.”

I don’t know what year Garrit had his store, but here is a photo from the corner of Michigan and 115th in 1910:

I’m thinking the son who died in the accident is the youngest son, Cornelius. There is another note attached to the letter that Simon made that says Jan and Tillie had 8 babies who died in infancy, and one boy drowned at the age of 17. There was an older son, Cornelius, and he died somewhere between 1860 and 1863, I’m surmising this from census records. The older Cornelius was 16 years old in the 1860 census, and then a younger Cornelius appeared in the 1870 census, age 7, so we have to assume because of Dutch naming standards that the older Cornelius died somewhere between 1860 and 1863. So then, it would make sense that the boy who drowned at 17 was Cornelius. The other two sons were John and the younger Cornelius. John died in 1943 at the age of 89, so it would be the younger Cornelius that died in the accident, but I haven’t found any death records for either of the Cornelius boys yet.

This is where some of the letter gets a little interesting:

“As for the Bas family, my mother Martje Bas had 6 brothers and sisters. Katherine was the oldest girl. She married Jake Ton, he was a no good old box hand.”

All of my records and the records through Ancestry show that Jane Bass married Jacob Ton, and I don’t find a Katherine anywhere, so I believe he is forgetting a little bit. And was that guy ever opinionated, lolllll.

“Grietje Yonker Bas, the sister of old Jon Yonker lived with us and died on 16 August 1885 when I was 3 years old. She was buried in the front part of Mt. Greenwood cemetery. There were 2 sons in the Bas family, Peter and Nick. Peter worked in the Michigan grain transferring, and got dust in his nostrile, which gave him trouble with an infection. He had to have it removed.”

Interesting stuff!!

Thanks for reading!!