Muskegon County, Michigan Family Histories Wanted

DearMYRTLE highlighted an article in today’s Muskegon Chronicle which encourages those of us with Muskegon County, Michigan roots to share our family stories for the publication of a county history being created by the Muskegon County Genealogical Society.

With ten ancestral–and dozens more collateral–surnames of my family tree taking residence in Muskegon County from at least 1879 to the present, I could submit a ton of information! However, only one family history of no more than 400 words and one photo are allowed free entry into the book. There’s no information on the costs involved if you would like to submit more than one family history. Let’s see, I could do the following groupings and submit five family histories (if they allow this): HOLST/GUSTAVSON/CONCIDINE; ROBBINS/KIMBALL; LEWIS/VREELAND; HOEKSTRA; and WILKINSON/SAYERS. Wonder how much that’ll cost me?

I’m off to e-mail the genealogy society…!

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Muskegon County, Michigan Family Histories Wanted

DearMYRTLE highlighted an article in today’s Muskegon Chronicle which encourages those of us with Muskegon County, Michigan roots to share our family stories for the publication of a county history being created by the Muskegon County Genealogical Society.

With ten ancestral–and dozens more collateral–surnames of my family tree taking residence in Muskegon County from at least 1879 to the present, I could submit a ton of information! However, only one family history of no more than 400 words and one photo are allowed free entry into the book. There’s no information on the costs involved if you would like to submit more than one family history. Let’s see, I could do the following groupings and submit five family histories (if they allow this): HOLST/GUSTAVSON/CONCIDINE; ROBBINS/KIMBALL; LEWIS/VREELAND; HOEKSTRA; and WILKINSON/SAYERS. Wonder how much that’ll cost me?

I’m off to e-mail the genealogy society…!

One Day, Two Family History Centers, and Seven Families

Locate residents, organizations, and businesses in America’s population centers within city directories.

Thursday morning I had to drive clear across town to drop my son off to meet with his math teacher. He will be an eighth-grader next year, and is taking an online math course this summer so that he can skip ahead two grades to take a sophomore math class next fall at my daughter’s high school. His math teacher is teaching a summer school class at the high school on the South Hill of Spokane, about six miles from our home, and had some time to be available for Q&A and assistance with his graphing calculator. Matt had a little more than an hour to work on his lesson, so I thought I would take the time to visit the Southside Family History Center to see what kinds of materials they had available in their facility. We are lucky to have four FHCs in our county, and each one is unique as to the types of microfilms and microfiche they have on permanent loan, depending upon what records their patrons are researching and have ordered from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

In the 45 minutes while I was there, I wrote up two pages of notes, chatted with the volunteer on duty, and took a look around the facility. They don’t appear to have microfilm scanner/printer software set up on a computer in tandem with a microfilm reader, like the FHC that I usually patronize on the Northside, although they did have several manual readers. They did have a good number of computer stations, more than the Northside does, but many of them were older models. They had a nice selection of books, including passenger lists and immigration indexes. I used their card catalog, organized by country, state or province, and county to see what microforms were available for my areas of research, and was very excited to see they have a large selection of Ontario county records for specific areas I’m researching, as well as some of my ancestral Michigan and New York counties. My son has two more sessions with his math teacher next week, and I plan to return for an actual look at the microfilm, along with my laptop and file folders, for in-depth referencing.

Later that evening, I planned to go to the Northside FHC to work on some lookup requests that had come to me through Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, when I received a call from the FHC director, notifying me that the microfilm I had ordered only the previous Thursday, had arrived from Salt Lake City that afternoon! We were both very surprised, and I was so excited! Normally, it takes two or three weeks–sometimes more–before I get the microfilm I’ve ordered. And I was eager to take a look at this microfilm roll, which included the city directories for Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1875/76 through 1879/80. Thanks to Jasia’s series, I had gotten enthused all over again to do research in city directories, and decided I would like to have more of these microfilmed records on permanent loan at my local FHC for ease of referral for whenever I discovered a new branch of one of my many Kent County surnames!

My earliest ancestors in the City of Grand Rapids were the TON and VanKLINKEN families, parents of one of my great-great-grandmothers, Jennie (TON) HOEKSTRA. Immigrants from the province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, they had moved to Grand Rapids by 1873 after first spending about 16 years in Cincinnati. Peter, the father, died the following year, and in 1875, Maria, the mother, married a widower with two children, Dirk BYL. Besides Jennie, Maria had two or three other daughters that survived infancy. In the 1873/74 and 1874/75 city directories for Grand Rapids, I had found the TON family, first on Taylor Street and then on Brainerd Street. Looking at the 1875/76 city directory, I did not find either a TON or a BYL family, even though I looked for alternate spellings. Both the 1876/77 and 1877/78 directories, however, listed a “Derk Byle,” laborer, who resided at 96 Brainerd, and the latter listed John VanKLINKEN, Maria’s brother, a laborer residing at 351 Taylor.

Actually, the 1875/76 directory was of no help, at least at first glance. None of my surnames I looked up appeared that year. The jackpot came in the 1876/77 and later directories, although I ran out of time to look at anything past 1877/78. The 1876/77 directory included a Kent County rural directory, which had my CONCIDINE, HIGBY, McDIARMID, and TUINSTRA families listed!

I also found the household of Beene STUIT at 321 First Street, Grand Rapids, in 1876/77; he was the husband of Catherina DEKKER, my great-great-grandfather Martin HOEKSTRA’s half-sister.

I can hardly wait to go back and discover more!

One Day, Two Family History Centers, and Seven Families

Locate residents, organizations, and businesses in America’s population centers within city directories.

Thursday morning I had to drive clear across town to drop my son off to meet with his math teacher. He will be an eighth-grader next year, and is taking an online math course this summer so that he can skip ahead two grades to take a sophomore math class next fall at my daughter’s high school. His math teacher is teaching a summer school class at the high school on the South Hill of Spokane, about six miles from our home, and had some time to be available for Q&A and assistance with his graphing calculator. Matt had a little more than an hour to work on his lesson, so I thought I would take the time to visit the Southside Family History Center to see what kinds of materials they had available in their facility. We are lucky to have four FHCs in our county, and each one is unique as to the types of microfilms and microfiche they have on permanent loan, depending upon what records their patrons are researching and have ordered from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

In the 45 minutes while I was there, I wrote up two pages of notes, chatted with the volunteer on duty, and took a look around the facility. They don’t appear to have microfilm scanner/printer software set up on a computer in tandem with a microfilm reader, like the FHC that I usually patronize on the Northside, although they did have several manual readers. They did have a good number of computer stations, more than the Northside does, but many of them were older models. They had a nice selection of books, including passenger lists and immigration indexes. I used their card catalog, organized by country, state or province, and county to see what microforms were available for my areas of research, and was very excited to see they have a large selection of Ontario county records for specific areas I’m researching, as well as some of my ancestral Michigan and New York counties. My son has two more sessions with his math teacher next week, and I plan to return for an actual look at the microfilm, along with my laptop and file folders, for in-depth referencing.

Later that evening, I planned to go to the Northside FHC to work on some lookup requests that had come to me through Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, when I received a call from the FHC director, notifying me that the microfilm I had ordered only the previous Thursday, had arrived from Salt Lake City that afternoon! We were both very surprised, and I was so excited! Normally, it takes two or three weeks–sometimes more–before I get the microfilm I’ve ordered. And I was eager to take a look at this microfilm roll, which included the city directories for Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1875/76 through 1879/80. Thanks to Jasia’s series, I had gotten enthused all over again to do research in city directories, and decided I would like to have more of these microfilmed records on permanent loan at my local FHC for ease of referral for whenever I discovered a new branch of one of my many Kent County surnames!

My earliest ancestors in the City of Grand Rapids were the TON and VanKLINKEN families, parents of one of my great-great-grandmothers, Jennie (TON) HOEKSTRA. Immigrants from the province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, they had moved to Grand Rapids by 1873 after first spending about 16 years in Cincinnati. Peter, the father, died the following year, and in 1875, Maria, the mother, married a widower with two children, Dirk BYL. Besides Jennie, Maria had two or three other daughters that survived infancy. In the 1873/74 and 1874/75 city directories for Grand Rapids, I had found the TON family, first on Taylor Street and then on Brainerd Street. Looking at the 1875/76 city directory, I did not find either a TON or a BYL family, even though I looked for alternate spellings. Both the 1876/77 and 1877/78 directories, however, listed a “Derk Byle,” laborer, who resided at 96 Brainerd, and the latter listed John VanKLINKEN, Maria’s brother, a laborer residing at 351 Taylor.

Actually, the 1875/76 directory was of no help, at least at first glance. None of my surnames I looked up appeared that year. The jackpot came in the 1876/77 and later directories, although I ran out of time to look at anything past 1877/78. The 1876/77 directory included a Kent County rural directory, which had my CONCIDINE, HIGBY, McDIARMID, and TUINSTRA families listed!

I also found the household of Beene STUIT at 321 First Street, Grand Rapids, in 1876/77; he was the husband of Catherina DEKKER, my great-great-grandfather Martin HOEKSTRA’s half-sister.

I can hardly wait to go back and discover more!

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 10

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I posted lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I am continuing this series into the subsequent months. I’ll also list who’s missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

In Part 2 of this series, I presented census information on my paternal grandmother living in the home of her adoptive parents, Alfred Henry HOLST and Nellie May CONCIDINE. Nellie’s parents were both deceased by 1930, although she had a step-mother (Minnie Belle FIELD) and younger half-brother (Everett CONCIDINE), possibly living in California (they are currently missing-in-action in this census). In this post, I will discuss Alfred’s parents, Johann “John” D. HOLST and Ida C. (or Marie) GUSTAVSON, in relation to the 1930 Federal Census.

On April 9, 1930, John and Ida were enumerated (E.D. 28, Sheet 9B) at their home on Center Street in the village of Coopersville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. This is the village in which my father, his siblings, his mother and his uncle grew up, and where one of my aunts and some of my cousins live today. In 1930, all five of John and Ida’s surviving children (they apparently lost two in infancy) were living in the area, with the exception of John, Jr., who lived in Florida.

The household consisted of:

  • John D. Holst; head of household; owner of a home worth $2,000; home not on a farm; male, white, age 69, married; age at marriage: 20; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Germany; parents born in Germany; language spoken before coming to the United States: German; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; works as a janitor at a condensery for wages; employed; not a veteran.
  • Ida C. Holst; wife; female, white, age 68, married; age at marriage: 19; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Sweden; parents born in Sweden; language spoken before coming to the United States: Swedish; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; occupation: none.

According to a local historian, Chris Heimler, the home that John and Ida lived in was actually 468 Center Street, and it had quite a history in and of itself. The house had been a residence for several prominent families in that community. In looking over my notes to write this post, I realized there were some loose ends that needed tying up, and I hope to discover more about this residence and perhaps even obtain photos of it.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census states that John had been born in Hannover, and the 1900 census gives his birthdate as April 1860. Ida, born 28 October 1861 in Sweden, must have immigrated to Germany before her marriage there to John on 6 February 1880. Their son, Alfred, was born in Germany before the young family immigrated in 1883, departing Europe from Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France. They arrived in New York City on 5 July 1883 on the Lessing (go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a photo of the ship). Also aboard was 17-year-old Henriette HOLST, who was listed as being a citizen of Prussia, while John, Ida and Alfred are citizens of Hannover. Holst is a common German name, however, as its meaning is “woods.” I’m keeping an eye out for Henriette to see if she ever shows up in my Holsts’ lives again.

The Holst family first settled in Spring Lake Township, Ottawa County, Michigan, where they were enumerated on the 1884 Michigan State Census. In 1900, they were in Ravenna Township in nearby Muskegon County, and in 1910 and 1920, resided in Sullivan Township, also in Muskegon County. According to John’s obituary, they moved into Coopersville in 1923; it erroneously states they had always lived in Ottawa County since immigration. John enjoyed hunting even into his elder years, and he and Ida celebrated their 50th anniversary in a community-wide event in 1930. She died in 1939; and John died the following year.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 11, Part 12)

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 10

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I posted lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I am continuing this series into the subsequent months. I’ll also list who’s missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

In Part 2 of this series, I presented census information on my paternal grandmother living in the home of her adoptive parents, Alfred Henry HOLST and Nellie May CONCIDINE. Nellie’s parents were both deceased by 1930, although she had a step-mother (Minnie Belle FIELD) and younger half-brother (Everett CONCIDINE), possibly living in California (they are currently missing-in-action in this census). In this post, I will discuss Alfred’s parents, Johann “John” D. HOLST and Ida C. (or Marie) GUSTAVSON, in relation to the 1930 Federal Census.

On April 9, 1930, John and Ida were enumerated (E.D. 28, Sheet 9B) at their home on Center Street in the village of Coopersville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. This is the village in which my father, his siblings, his mother and his uncle grew up, and where one of my aunts and some of my cousins live today. In 1930, all five of John and Ida’s surviving children (they apparently lost two in infancy) were living in the area, with the exception of John, Jr., who lived in Florida.

The household consisted of:

  • John D. Holst; head of household; owner of a home worth $2,000; home not on a farm; male, white, age 69, married; age at marriage: 20; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Germany; parents born in Germany; language spoken before coming to the United States: German; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; works as a janitor at a condensery for wages; employed; not a veteran.
  • Ida C. Holst; wife; female, white, age 68, married; age at marriage: 19; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Sweden; parents born in Sweden; language spoken before coming to the United States: Swedish; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; occupation: none.

According to a local historian, Chris Heimler, the home that John and Ida lived in was actually 468 Center Street, and it had quite a history in and of itself. The house had been a residence for several prominent families in that community. In looking over my notes to write this post, I realized there were some loose ends that needed tying up, and I hope to discover more about this residence and perhaps even obtain photos of it.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census states that John had been born in Hannover, and the 1900 census gives his birthdate as April 1860. Ida, born 28 October 1861 in Sweden, must have immigrated to Germany before her marriage there to John on 6 February 1880. Their son, Alfred, was born in Germany before the young family immigrated in 1883, departing Europe from Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France. They arrived in New York City on 5 July 1883 on the Lessing (go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a photo of the ship). Also aboard was 17-year-old Henriette HOLST, who was listed as being a citizen of Prussia, while John, Ida and Alfred are citizens of Hannover. Holst is a common German name, however, as its meaning is “woods.” I’m keeping an eye out for Henriette to see if she ever shows up in my Holsts’ lives again.

The Holst family first settled in Spring Lake Township, Ottawa County, Michigan, where they were enumerated on the 1884 Michigan State Census. In 1900, they were in Ravenna Township in nearby Muskegon County, and in 1910 and 1920, resided in Sullivan Township, also in Muskegon County. According to John’s obituary, they moved into Coopersville in 1923; it erroneously states they had always lived in Ottawa County since immigration. John enjoyed hunting even into his elder years, and he and Ida celebrated their 50th anniversary in a community-wide event in 1930. She died in 1939; and John died the following year.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 11, Part 12)

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 3

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I am posting lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I’ll also list who’s missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

In my last post on this topic, I presented my paternal grandmother, born Jane Marie YORK, living as Jeanne Marie HOLST with her foster (and later, adoptive) parents, Alfred Henry HOLST and Nellie May CONCIDINE. I also showed her biological brother, Harry Orlando YORK, living as James Howard ERWIN with his adoptive parents, Howard W. ERWIN and Effie M. GAUNT.

In this post, I will show the biological parents (divorced in 1927) of these children. Their father, Howard Merkel YORK was living with his father and step-mother, James L. YORK and Mary A. BOGERT on Atwater Street in Lake Orion, Oakland County, Michigan. Howard was listed as an unemployed house roofer and a veteran of World War I. (This image from Ancestry.com is difficult to read; the one at HeritageQuest Online is much clearer, but I couldn’t change the format of the better image to be used in this post.)

(The census image has been removed)

The children’s mother, Mary Jane BARBER, has been very difficult to locate. I searched for her from 2002, when the 1930 U.S. Federal Census first became publicly available, until late last year (2006). I could not find her listed under either Mary Jane YORK or Mary Jane BARBER. Searches using her first name only, along with the approximate year of birth and state of birth were not helpful. I was searching in Michigan only, as I had been told by her sister-in-law that she had lived there all her life. I found a woman that possibly could have matched living in a state hospital, which made me wonder…

However, it was the realization that I could find all of Mary Jane’s siblings on the 1930 census, with the exception of her older brother James Albert BARBER, which made me decide that he had to be the key. Mary Jane was extremely close to her brother; he was a father-figure to her, as their father, Orlando BARBER, died five days after her first birthday. Jim had been one of the witnesses to Mary Jane’s marriage to Howard YORK. So I started searching for him in order to find her.

I couldn’t find Jim in all of Michigan, so I expanded my search to include all of the United States. By using the search parameters of his first and last name, state of birth, and year of birth (1903), plus or minus 5 years, I discovered a James BARBER living in the first ward of the city of Manitowoc, Manitowoc Co., Wisconsin at 719 Jay Street. He was listed as 30 years old, employed as an engineer for a cement plant, a military veteran, whose father was born in Canada and whose mother was born in Michigan. A 57-year-old Greek immigrant, Peter CARLOS, roomed at the same address. So far, everything matched quite closely.

(The census image has been removed)

I then searched for any woman named Mary Jane, born c. 1910, plus or minus 5 years in Manitowoc County. Lo and behold, a woman named Mary Jane KUPSH, wife of Arthur, turned up. She was born c. 1911 in Michigan, father born in Canada, mother born in Michigan. She and husband Arthur were living at 1814 Clark Street in the fifth ward of the city of Manitowoc.

(The census image has been removed)

So far, this is only circumstantial evidence. I need to obtain a marriage record of Arthur KUPSH and Mary Jane [–?–] to determine if she is “mine.” Uncle Jim’s widow had never heard of Jim or Mary Jane living in Wisconsin, nor of Mary Jane being married to an Arthur KUPSH. However, Jim’s widow did not marry him until 1950, so it is possible that she never knew that part of their lives.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12)