Wednesday Wanderings: From Germany to Dekalb County, Indiana

According to a biographical sketch in the History of Dekalb County, Indiana published in 1914 by B.F. Bowen & Co., John Mathias Shoudel was known as a leader in the agricultural circles in DeKalb County, Indiana. He was born in Bavaria (Germany) in 1814 and was the son of Johannes (John) Franz Schaudel and Magdalena Schmitt. He married Magdalena Miller, who was from the same area and was the daughter of Johannes (John) Miller and Mary Trapp. He learned the trade of a weaver and also farmed. He came to the United States in 1854, eventually ending up in Chicago for a couple of years, working on the Chicago docks. His family came in 1855 and they moved to DeKalb County in 1857, where he joined four other men and together they bought forty acres of land located in Section 15 of Smithfield Township. They divided the land between them, eight acres each –

1918 Land Records from Smithfield Township

Eventually John was able to buy more land until at the time of his death he owned two hundred acres of land.

John was one of fourteen founding members of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Waterloo in 1880. According to the church’s website, he died while the church was still under construction, but his wife donated an acre of land for the cemetery. John is buried near the center of the cemetery.

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.

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

This is a letter from the Chicago Cubs organization to my grandfather, Bill Bass (William Peter Bass) in 1939 asking him to try out for the Cubs baseball team (he was 20 years old at the time). Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but it’s cool nonetheless and good for him for trying!

“Failure is a bend in the road, not the end of the road. Learn from failure and keep moving forward.” ― Roy T. Bennett