Gertrude Dekker Ooms

I was going through some old photos recently from my father and was excited to find a couple of older photos of some of my great grandparents and great-great grandparents.

This is my paternal great-grandmother, Gertrude Dekker, whose Dutch name was Grietje. She was born on August 25, 1866 and married to Adam Ooms.

According to Find a Grave, the Dekker family emigrated in June 1865. I have not been able to find the record of this yet. According to 1870 census records, they lived in Hyde Park Township, Illinois, which existed as a separate municipality from 1861 until 1889 when it was annexed to the city of Chicago. At that time, Hyde Park’s borders were Pershing Road (fka 39th Street) on the north, State Street on the west, Lake Michigan and the Indiana state line on the east, including the eastern part of Roseland, and 138th Street and Calumet River on the south. In the record, the last name is incorrectly spelled as Decker. The children listed as: Simon, 16; Catharine, 13; Edie, 11; Abram, 9; Ellen, 7; Gertrude, 3; and Mary, 8 months.

In the 1880 census, the family is listed as living in Calumet, and the children are: Airy (Arie), 21; Abraham, 19; Ellen, 17; G. (for Gertrude), 13; M. (for Mary), 10; and Ellen, 7. They also had a boarder.

There is no 1890 census since most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. By the time the 1900 census rolled around, Gertrude is listed as Bertie (instead of Gertie) and married to Adam Ooms, and living at 249 W. 111th Place. They had been married on April 26, 1886 so would have been married fourteen years then. The children listed are: Johanna, 13; Harry, 11; Alice, 9; Aggie, 5; Johny, 3; and Simon, 3 months. They also had a servant named Kate.

In the next census in 1910, Gertrude and Adam had been married 24 years and had had twelve children by that point, with 9 living children and 3 deceased. The children listed as living at home are Harry, 21; Alice, 18; Aggie, 15; Johannes, 12; Simon, 10; Casper, 7; Andrew, 4; and Johanna, 0.

In 1920, Gertrude is still living with her husband and family at this house at 147 W. 111th Place in Roseland –

My father believes this house was built before 1900, and didn’t have a bathroom until it was added on later along with a kitchen sink and pantry. I looked up the house details on redfin.com and it was indeed built before 1900, in 1895 in fact. It doesn’t look as good as this photo but it at least is not boarded up.

Some of the children had begun to get married and have their own families by this point. The children still living at home are Agnes, 24; John, 21; Simon, 19; Casper, 17; Cathryn, 15; Andrew, 13; and Johanna, 10.

Gertrude’s daughter-in-law, my grandmother Lena (Kros) Ooms (married to Simon), was a prolific photo taker when she was in her twenties. Here is a photo of Gertrude hanging laundry:

In 1930, Gertrude and her husband were still living in the same house, with one child at home, Johanna, age 20.

In 1940, Gertrude is a widow, having lost her husband nine years before in 1931. She is age 73 at this point, and her daughter, Johanna Ledeboer, age 30, is living with her. Johanna was married to a man named Jacob Ledeboer, who unfortunately died of pneumonia in 1934 at the young age of 24.

On March 3, 1953, Gertrude died at the age of 86. Johanna continued to live in the house until the late 1960s. Gertrude is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Grietje (Margaret) Jonker Bas (Bass)

Grietje (Jonker) Bas (now Bass) was the sister of Jan Jonker, one of the founding fathers of Roseland. She is my maternal great-great-great grandmother and one of the reasons why the Bass line continued in America and, of course Roseland. Her parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannitje Van Lienen and she was born in 1810 in Schoorl, a village in North Holland. Grietje married Albert Bas on June 6, 1835 in Zipje, North Holland when she was 24 years old. Here’s their marriage certificate—

The next document is an undated population register from the Netherlands. It is apparent from the record that Albert died on January 7, 1857 when he was only 47 years old. Sadly, Grietje became a widow with many young children. Nine children are listed in this record, some alive and some deceased.

However, when I was going through WieWasWie, I found records of more children. There are a lot of confusing dates and names, but this is a list I put together from actual Netherland birth registration records from through WieWasWie (I added known death dates as well) —

Jan Bas, Dec. 22, 1835 – Dec. 15, 1852
Gerrit Bas, 1838 – June 25, 1839
Pieter Bas, April 18, 1939 – May 23, 1919 (my great-great grandfather)
Jannetje Bas, 1840 – March 10, 1892
Gerrit Bas, 1841 – Nov. 16, 1852
Gerritje Bas, March 1843 – death date unknown
Maartje Bas, 1845 – Nov. 16, 1852
Aagje Bas, 1845 – 1927
Maartje Bas, 1847 – Feb. 8, 1915
Klaas Bas, Jan. 1849 – May 30, 1849
Unnamed stillborn, died Jan. 31, 1849 (assuming twin born with Klaas)
Klaas Bas, May 30, 1850 – Dec. 2, 1908
Jantje Bas, April 7, 1854 – death date unknown

Grietje gave birth to thirteen children!  Very sadly, as you can see, more than half of them died very young.

Some years later, Grietje emigrated to America with her remaining living six children and her mother Jannetje:  Pieter, Klaas, Jannetje, Aagje, Maartje, and Jantje. They sailed on the Duisburg of Prussia and arrived in New York on June 16, 1866 (Grietje is listed on the next page of the emigration record but here are the children and their ages):

This journey was described in the book Journey Homeward: Blokker, Ton, Zilligen, Mayer, by John Jay Blockker. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it and would love to get my hands on the entire book. Because Jannetje eventually married a Ton, it has some good information about her family in it.

Eventually everyone’s names became Americanized and Grietje was known as Margaret. The name of Bas also changed to Bass.

I had quite a bit of trouble locating information on Grietje after she and her family arrived in America. I cannot confirm exactly where she was in 1870, in fact, I cannot confirm where any of them were living that year as there are no census records on them. Unfortunately some 1870 census records are missing and most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. Also, many times names were transcribed incorrectly.

I did find her in 1880, living with one of her daughters and her family at 800 Worbach Avenue in Roseland. One thing I haven’t figured out yet is what the name of that street is now, many of Chicago’s streets were renamed but this one is a mystery. Anyway, Grietje is listed as Margret Bass, age 70, living with her daughter Maartje (Mary), Mary’s husband Henry Benschop, and their family. The spelling in the transcription is Renochop. Sure it looks like that in the census because of the handwriting but that is incorrect (again, incorrect transcription).

Grietje (Margaret) died on August 16, 1885 in Roseland at the age of 75 and is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Thanks for reading!

Anna Conner

I don’t have very much information on the very short life of my maternal great-great grandmother, Anna Conner. What I’ve mentioned on this blog is that she died very young, leaving four young children and a husband that was not able to keep the family together.

According to the only census with information available on her, the 1900 census, Anna’s birth date is listed as April 1872 and that she was born in Germany. Her parents were also born in Germany and she emigrated to America in 1890 when she was 18 years old. She and her husband, Charles, married in 1892 and at the time of the census, they were living at 3 Park Avenue in Chicago, in house number 2541. Charles’ occupation at that time was listed as blacksmith. They had four children: Bertha, 6; Harry, 4, Arther, 3; and Edward, 11 months.

On a couple of Ancestry personal family trees of members, Anna is listed as Clara Anna Schadel, born in Germany in April 1872, the daughter of Carl Gotthilf and Charlotte Wilhelmine Schade. However, according to German birth records on Ancestry, Clara Anna Pauline Schadel, born in April 1872 and the daughter of these same parents died in August that same year. I don’t believe our Anna’s parents were actually Carl and Charlotte and the information in those family trees are most likely incorrect. This will take more work to figure out and I have only busted half of my brick wall with this part of the family.

I emailed with someone who maintains one of those family trees who happens to be related to one of the sons, Harry. She believes that after his mother died, her Uncle Harry was left in Mansfield, Ohio with a foster family. I did not mention the error, however, it is always so important to check and verify sources.

Sadly, Anna was only 31 years old when she died on October 20, 1903. According to her death certificate, she died of an antepartum hemorrhage while pregnant with her fifth child, who also died. She was buried in “Oclanland” in Dolton, which I believes means Oakland. I’m including a photo of the death certificate here as it does not show any sensitive information.