Monday, June 19, 2006

Grave photo for Theodore William VALK

Sheryl Rose of Find A Grave very kindly took a photo of my granduncle's grave. Uncle Ted came out west from Grand Rapids, Michigan to California for 25 years after WWII, then settled in Boise, Idaho. He and his family, and my mother are the only known VALKs to live out west...all the rest live back in Western Michigan, for the most part.
I attended a meeting this afternoon at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) to obtain information on the Campbell House Employee Research Project. The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society members were invited to participate in researching the lives of the various employees of the Campbell House, a mansion in Victorian-era Spokane, Washington. Each participating member chooses several employees' lives to research. The purpose is to "round out" the individuals who played quiet, but important, parts in the history of early Spokane. Many of these servants were immigrants, and they sometimes worked for more than one early famous Spokane family. The museum hopes to garner enough information to have presenters act out the roles of these employees in order to make the tour of the Campbell House more authentic. I chose Herman Thoeni, a gardener, and Mrs. Amelia Beers, a cook. I specifically chose them because they have apparent Dutch surnames, and I am familiar with Dutch research, having many Dutch family lines of my own. I'm looking forward to finding out more about "my" servants!

Obituary of Fredericka WILKINSON

I received an obituary of Fredericka WILKINSON which I requested via e-mail June 15th from the Everett Public Library. I have posted it on my obit page on my website; it's the entry at the top. The obit provided me with a complete birthdate and location, as well as confirmation that Fredericka and Frederick only had one known child. Unfortunately, it did not list her maiden names, or the names of her surviving siblings.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More photos from the Netherlands

Cousin Leslie Coulson sent more photos of the WIERSMA home places, and Cousin Joni Graeff also sent quite a few of the VALK home places in Friesland from her recent trip, as well. There's too many to post here, but I hope to eventually get Joni's pix linked to my VALK webpage.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Photos from the WIERSMA family home towns

A distant cousin, Leslie Coulson, recently visited the home towns of our WIERMSA ancestors in the municipality of Wonseradeel, Friesland, the Netherlands. She sent me a photo of the old church where our ancestors worshipped, were baptized, married, and buried, and included a nice shot of some WIERSMA relatives' graves.
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Lineage Societies

Today I attended a class on Lineage Societies - one of the computer classes offered for free to members of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. The class was presented by Janice Bueckers and Barbara Hill, and they did a terrific job. We went to Cyndi's List and found links to all sorts of lineage societies. I didn't realize that there were so many, and that they have a variety of categories. Naturally, one thinks of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), but there are many other types, too. Besides military societies (like the DAR), they are categorized by Early America, First Families & Pioneers, Locality Specific, and societies for those descended from a certain ancestor. Both ladies are members of the DAR, and they gladly explained the process for joining to me, when I pointed out that I have several ancestors believed to have fought in the American Revolution.

Frederick WILKINSON and the WWI Draft Registration

Yesterday evening, Nancy Robinson, who so kindly took photos of my Frederick WILKINSON's grave, e-mailed me with a link to his WWI Draft Registration Card at I'm very familiar with the WWI Draft Registration database there, but for some reason, had never thought to look up my WILKINSONs. Frederick's card gave me a more complete birth date - 26 Sep 1881 (previously, I had only the month and year), a rural route address near Kelso, Cowlitz County, Washington, his employer's name and address, confirmation that he was married to Frederica (she was listed as next of kin), and a physical description (short height, medium build, blue eyes, black hair, and no disabilities).

I really hit paydirt as I expanded my search on the other Wilkinson siblings. First, I tried the eldest brother, Manley. He was not listed (probably too old for the draft registration), but his eldest son, Manley Richard, Jr., in Muskegon County, Michigan, was. So was brother John. Brother William brought me the biggest surprises: living in Seattle, Washington, his next of kin was listed as Florence GRANT WILKINSON, living at a separate address from him in Seattle. Now I had never heard that he had been married. His obituary lists only his sister, Kate, with whom he was living at the time of his death, in Ottawa County, Michigan. Since William's draft registration card was dated 12 Sep 1918, I checked out the 1910 and 1920 Federal Censuses for William, hoping to find Florence listed. She was not. In 1910, William was single, living in William Jenning's boarding house, and working at the local shingle mill, in Skamokawa Precinct in Wahkiakum County, Washington. In 1920, I did find William with his family, but Florence was not his wife: Evelyn P. was. He also had two step-children and two of his own children living with him in Eagle Harbor Precinct, Kitsap County, Washington. So I have some work to do: finding a marriage and divorce record for a possible marriage to Florence Grant; another marriage record for Evelyn P.; a divorce and/or death record for Evelyn P. (since William appears to be single at the time of his death in 1924); census records for William, Evelyn, his step-children, and children through 1930; SSDI listings for the step-children and children.

I didn't finish there; I went on to search for the WILKINSON women's husbands. My ancestor, Mary's husband, George LEWIS (my great-great-grandfather), was too old for the draft registration. I found sister Catherine/Kate's first husband, Carl THOR, with information that filled a lot of gaps: his full name and a birthdate, and the fact that he had been naturalized (he was born in Sweden). I couldn't find her second husband, Abner AINGER, although I tried multiple variations of his name in the search engine. I don't have a birth date for him, and its possible he was too old to be registered. I found Floyd LUCHINI, Ella's husband, in 1918 in Alma, Gratiot County, Michigan. He listed Selena LUCHINI in Italy as his next of kin. This is probably his mother. Floyd and Ella had a daughter, also named Selena, in 1921.

I'm still not believing I didn't look up this family before in the WWI Draft Registration database, but I am very grateful to Nancy for kickstarting this investigation for me.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Grave Photos for Raymond Edwin VALK and Frederick WILKINSON

This morning I had a nice surprise when I opened up my e-mail. Two different Find A Grave photo volunteers had fulfilled photo requests. One was for Raymond Edwin VALK, younger half-brother of my maternal grandfather, William VALK. Uncle Ray's grave is in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Cathy Shows took the time to find the grave and photograph it, along with Uncle Ray's wife's marker (she is still living, but her marker is next to his, and gives a birth date, which I did not have).

Frederick WILKINSON was the younger brother of one of my paternal great-great-grandmothers, Mary J. WILKINSON. He and his wife, Frederica, came out west about a hundred years ago, first to Oregon, and then later here in Washington State, settling on Whidbey Island, in or near Freeland. They are buried in Bayview Cemetery, and Nancy Robinson kindly took 10 photos of Frederick's grave and the cemetery itself (Frederica's grave apparently never got a marker). I was able to find the online cemetery records again, and noticed information on the webpage regarding the name of the funeral home. A quick trip over to Dex Online, and I was able to find the current address and phone number of the funeral home. I hope to call or write within the next few days to see if I can obtain more information. I also e-mailed the Everett Public Library with a request for obituaries. I'm not sure if that is the correct library system (it's in a different county), but both the local genealogical society and the public library system seem to be joint county (Island County and Snohomish County).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

HOEKSTRA - JONKER - TON - ZIGTERMAN - DICKINSON marriages, Ottawa Co., Michigan

I went to my local Family History Center this evening. The film I had ordered (FHL microfilm #0984231: Ottawa County, Michigan Marriage Records, Vol. 5 - 7, 1867 - 1902) was in. I had a number of marriages to search. The first was for my great-great-great-grandparents, Jan Martens HOEKSTRA and Grietje JONKER. Both widowed, they emigrated separately to the U.S. from Kloosterburen, Groningen, the Netherlands to Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan. Jan came in 1867 with a daughter, Geertje "Gertrude", from his first marriage. I haven't been able to find Grietje JONKER's immigration information, but it had to be between 1862, when her youngest son, Filippes DEKKER, died in Kloosterburen, and 1867, when she married Jan.

I found Jan and Grietje's marriage in Volume 5, page 3. It was record #45, and extremely difficult to read. They were married in Holland (Michigan) on 28 Oct 1867, a mere short four months after Jan emigrated. The officiant was J. B. DeBEE(K?), officiant of the "T. Ref. Ch." Now looking at the Ottawa County GenWeb site, I cannot find a Reformed Church that starts with a "T." It might be a "J" or maybe a "1". Couldn't find a pastor's name with DeBEE or DeBEEK, either. More investigation needed. Also, I had a difficult time reading the witnesses names: J. HUIGESTAGES (?) and E. HATLE/HIGTE/SLIGTE (?), both of Holland.

The second important marriage record was for Jan and Griete's son and daughter-in-law, Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON (my great-great-grandparents). I had long suspected that the "Martin HOEKSTRA - Jana FOW" marriage I had seen listed in the bride's index at the Ottawa County GenWeb site was for my ancestors, with TON misspelled. I found their record (#233) in Vol. 6, pg. 59. Yes, TON was misspelled as FOW on the record itself...which probably was copied from the original marriage certificate or the clergyman's records incorrectly. Martin and Jana/Jennie were married 27 Nov 1886 in Holland (Michigan). I know this is their record, because Jennie's birthplace is correctly listed as Ohio, and Martin's parents, Jan and Grietje, were the witnesses. It also matches the information Martin and Jennie's son, John (my great-grandfather), wrote in his Family Record Book, that his parents were married November 1886.

A fun new discovery was a marriage record for Catherine DEKKER, Grietje JONKER's daughter by her first marriage to Jans Freerk DEKKER, and a half-sister to Martin. She married Bene HAIT of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan on 12 Jan 1874 in Holland (Michigan), according to their marriage record (#83) found in Vol. 5, pg. 98. It lists Catherine's birthplace as Kloosterburen, which is terrific! Groningen does not yet have all its birth/baptisms listed online at the Dutch National Archives website, so I did not have a specific birthplace for Catherine before now, although I did find other family records (marriages and deaths) located in Kloosterburen. I suspect now that the E. HATLE/HIGTE/SLIGTE witness to Jan and Grietje's marriage may actually be HAIT. UPDATE: I've since discovered that this difficult-to-read surname was actually STUIT, and not HAIT. The witness was very likely Hattie STUIT, mother of Beene STUIT, who married Grietje's daughter Catherine.

Other marriage records found of lesser importance include those for Zigert ZICHTERMAN - Anna BRONSEMA (Zi was a brother to my step-ancestor, Trientje ZIGHTERMAN BOS BARSEMA); and Wallace William DICKINSON - Elizabeth GARRISON (Wallace was a brother to my ancestor, Lucy May DICKINSON). I could not locate a marriage record for Fonytje "Finnie" HOEKSTRA (Jan and Grietje's daughter) to Riekel VanTIL, although a descendant of theirs lists 27 Oct 1892 in Holland (Michigan) as their marriage date and location. I found Sherman DICKINSON (a brother to Wallace and Lucy) in the index, but ran out of time to locate the record. And I still need to investigate all DEKKER listings to see if I can locate Fredrich DEKKER's marriage (brother to Catherine/son of Grietje from her first marriage).