Adam Ooms, Sr.

Yes, we’re still in the middle of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and it’s very hard to keep my mind off of it. Lately, I’ve been cross-stitching a lot because it keeps me calm (and helps me to ignore the news stories which seem to get worse and worse). At this point, we are in for a long haul, estimates are Illinois will peak sometime in April, but other states are different as the governors of about 10 states have not ordered shelter in place so who knows when this thing will end? 

I’ve been doing a little less family research but it’s still really important during this time. It always fascinates me how information is gleaned through other people in various ways, even non-family members. This is a photo of the land where Adam Ooms had his house in Roseland. This is not Adam Ooms, the grocer, but his grandfather, and I will call him Adam Ooms, Sr. just to differentiate between the two.

Adam and his wife, Neeltje (Nellie) Hogendijk Ooms arrived in our country on June 15, 1849 from the Netherlands on board the Franziska or Franzelia, with their son Johannes (John) and daughter Neeltje (Nellie). According to a later published biography of his grandson, the family first lived on Prairie Avenue near 35th Street, where Adam had a dairy. About 1850 they moved to Calumet Township and he bought forty acres of land in what was West Roseland. The 1880 census lists him as being a farmer.

This map shows where Adam Ooms and his family lived on Wallace Street (see left lower coroner). This came from Paul Petraitis, who runs a Roseland thread on Facebook (thanks for telling me about it Dad!) Paul said the house of Adam Ooms was torn down about 1969. My Dad said that he and his father used to walk there.

Simon Dekker, who in 1938 wrote History of Roseland and Vicinity, included some of this information in his book:

“Now we will go to school section road now Wallace Street. We will take the east side first…Now we will take the west side of Wallace Street and go north again. The first one we find is Adam Ooms (grandfather of Adam Ooms who has a store on the corner of Wentworth Ave. and 111th St.) He lived near 110th St. Next was his son Johannes Ooms near 109th Street.”

I believe when my father and I visited the Chicago Historical Society decades ago we found this. The book is about 300 pages and very interesting.

I didn’t know until a few years back that Simon Dekker is also related to the Ooms family — he is the brother of my great-grandmother, Gertrude Dekker Ooms, the wife of grocer Adam Ooms.

Adam Ooms, Sr. was born on December 1, 1807 in Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel in the southern part of the Netherlands, and died on July 2, 1900 at the age of 92. He is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Interrupting our regularly scheduled programming…

I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to talk about the coronavirus. Today I read on a genealogy thread about how it would be a good idea for people to write about what’s going on – so future generations of ours will understand what was happening during this time. So in the interest of future generations (and the claim that what someone puts on the internet never disappears), I’m going to periodically write posts about what we’re going through during this time. Sorry, no photos this time!!

A coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) began ripping through Wuban, China last November or December. Coronaviruses are not always dangerous, but this one seems to be particularly fast and aggressive in transmission, and is a cousin of SARS. However, because China is not transparent about what the facts truly are, we never really knew how many people were affected or died from the virus. About two months ago, tens of millions of people were put on lockdown in China, and it seems like it’s working. Because of our global system of travel, it has been getting closer and is now ripping throughout the world and throughout our country. The first hot spots were in Washington, and then New York, California, then it just began appearing in every state because of community transmission. Currently in Illinois, we have well over 500 cases, and cases all over are increasing exponentially.

I have been watching events unfolding in China since it began and have slowly been stocking up items of food and non-perishables. I am a news junkie and began to worry from what I was reading that it was going to become a worldwide pandemic and would be unstoppable before they began talking about it — so planned to stock for a month’s worth of items, although at this point I believe we have about two month’s worth of items.

Last week my daughter was home for spring break from the University of Kansas when the college announced it would be extending spring break for a week so its professors could transition to all online learning, which will begin this Monday. That is a feat in itself, since a lot of classes have lab or other physical type components and a lot of professors are not used to teaching online classes. So Erika will be using her desk space in her room for academic learning. Then a couple of days ago, KU announced it will be closing and online learning will be for the rest of the semester, and we needed to move her things out of her dorm. Then it became impossible to do that because it would not allow people from Illinois to come because of the amount of cases in Illinois. Now I am trying to get an answer from the college as to whether they will ship Erika’s remaining emergency asthma medicines and nebulizer that is stuck in her dorm room. Everything is moving at warp speed, it’s really unbelievable.

This week both my company and my husband’s company gave the order for all employees to work remotely from home. I work for a credit union trade association, my husband works in the IT area for a company that provides accounting software. I am using the desk/computer space in the family room that is normally my husband’s area, with the ironing board for my shelf space for regulatory books I brought from work. Since Erika and I would have to fight for either her space or using her laptop somewhere in the house, my husband brought his desk computer equipment home from his office and is set up at the kitchen table. So the three of us have our own space in separate areas away from each other (this is very important!).

This week the governor of our state announced he was closing bars and restaurants from dine-in serving, only carry out or drive through is allowed. Many people have lost their jobs because people are starting to shelter at home. My son-in-law’s mother was furloughed, she works at a Marriott; my husband’s nephew lost his job. I just read a news article that three million people are going to file for unemployment, the biggest in our country’s history. Then yesterday, our governor announced a stay at home order (lockdown) for everyone in Illinois except essential businesses will remain open to the public — grocery stores, banks/credit unions, gas stations, etc.

During weekdays, we are at our desks and doing our work. At night, we do whatever we want like before: TV, cross-stitch, computer games. The biggest difference will be we’re used to going out to eat on the weekends but if that’s the only sacrifice we make, I’m happy. We’re the fortunate few who still have our jobs.

I guess now I should be grateful that Erika has online friends — it’s the perfect medium now for keeping in touch!  That’s the great thing about today’s technology is we can reach each other many different ways: phone, texting, Facetime. We will all get through this together. Be safe.