Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adrian DeVRIES Birth Certificate

The image below is a photocopy of the birth certificate of my maternal (step) grandfather, Adrian DeVRIES, and comes from a collection of documents from my maternal grandparents' estate, known hereafter as the DeVries-Hoekstra Collection:

Birth Certificate of Adrian DeVries, 1916

SOURCE: Michigan. Kent County. County Clerk's Office, Grand Rapids. Adrian DeVries birth certificate.

Certificate as to Birth

County of Kent }

I, LEWIS J. DONOVAN, Clerk of the Circuit Court for the said County of Kent, do hereby certify that upon careful examination of the original records on file in the office of the Clerk of said County and Court, I find the following record as to the birth of Adrian DeVries
Date of Birth June 10, 1916
Sex Male; Color White; Legitimate
Birthplace Grand Rapids, Mich.


Name of Father George E. B. DeVries Residence 1022 Caulfield Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Name of Mother Josephine Bush Residence 1022 Caulfield Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Birthplace of Father Netherlands Eu Occupation Machine Hand
Birthplace of Mother Michigan

All of which appears as of record dated June 30, 1916 and the same being the whole of such original record of said birth as
Recorded in Liber 20 of RECORD OF BIRTH on page 523

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and official seal, at the City of Grand Rapids, in said County, this 10th day of November A. D. 1941

Geo. Gruenbauer [signed] Deputy

My grandfather was actually named for his paternal grandmother, Adriaantje "Adriana" (WIERINGA) DeVRIES HOOGSTRA NIEMEYER. His parents followed the Dutch naming pattern of naming the first son after the paternal grandfather (Ben was named for Binnes DeVRIES) and the second son after the maternal grandfather (Millard--"Mel"--was named for Mille BOS). By the time Adrian came along, they probably despaired of ever having any daughters! Rather than following the pattern religiously and naming their third son Jarig--or George--Jr., they decided to name him after George's mother. Two years later, their only daughter, Catherine Josephine, was named for her maternal grandmother, Trienjte ZIGTERMAN BOS BARSEMA and her mother. Their last child, Calvin, was named for the then-current president, Calvin Coolidge. Coincidentally, Adrian "Ed" DeVries, my maternal grandfather, shared the same birth date (but not birth year!) as his son-in-law, my father.

On this document, my great-grandparents' anglicized names are given. From other earlier documents and indexes I've examined, I know that my great-grandfather was first named Jarig Egbert Binnes DeVRIES in the Netherlands, which was changed to George Edward Benjamin DeVRIES; while my great-grandmother, the daughter of Dutch immigrants, was originally named Johanna BOS. My great-grandparents owned a lot with two homes on it, a big one out front (1022 Caulfield Avenue), and a little one in the back (1024). The family generally lived in the larger house and rented out the smaller one, but on occasion, the situation was reversed, as in this particular case. You will notice, however, that my great-grandparents gave their address on my grandfather's birth record as 1022 Caulfield, even though at the time they were living in the little house. My uncle recently did some extensive research on the history of these houses in both Grand Rapids city directories and Kent County land records. I will be sharing those records and past and present photos of these two homes, as well as other ancestral Grand Rapids homes of the DeVries and Hoekstra families, in the future.

George is listed as a machine hand on this record. He worked for several Grand Rapids furniture factories for most of his life, including the John Widdicomb Company. Grand Rapids was once considered the furniture capital of the world, utilizing the rich natural resources in the area for this purpose, especially the great quantities of pine. Whenever I look for relatives or ancestors in federal censuses or city directories in Grand Rapids, many--like George DeVries--appear as furniture factory employees.

Birth certificates at that time and place were not created and made available to parents at the time of their children's births, as they are now. The births were recorded in large books, called libers, in the county clerk's office. This particular document is a certified copy of the record that appears in the birth liber; in other words, the deputy clerk carefully copied the information from the birth liber onto certificate paper, then sealed and signed the document attesting to its accurate reproduction. The date of the certificate, 10 November 1941, suggests that my grandfather obtained it perhaps to show proof of citizenship and age for his future enlistment with the Army (26 March 1942 was his enlistment date, according to his military record). Although the attack of Pearl Harbor was less than a month away at the time this document was certified, many young men had seen the writing on the wall as the war escalated in Europe and had begun to enlist.

Although Ed traveled extensively around the country and--during World War Two--the world, he lived his whole life in Grand Rapids, passing away there this last January.

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