Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 12

View historical documents and photos from America’s Boom and Bust era (1920 – 1935) here.

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!

I introduce you to Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, my great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. Both first-generation Americans born of Dutch immigrants, it is possible they met while working in the laundry business, perhaps the American Steam Laundry Company of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, in the mid 1880s. Martin was a teamster; his job would probably have entailed driving wagonloads of dirty clothing and linens from the customers to the steam laundry, and then delivering the cleaned items back to their homes. Jennie was a laundress, and doubtless had one of the hardest and most thankless tasks in the business! Isabella Mary Beeton’s Book of Household Management (paragraph 2372) describes the duties required of laundry maids in private homes in the 19th century…they must have been similar to those in a laundry company of that era. Hot, wet, and dirty work involving dangerous machinery and chemicals would have been the working environment for a laundress in those days.

Jennie and Martin were both probably very used to hard work. As children of immigrant laborers, they had grown up expected to do their share. Jennie, especially, had had a hard life. Her parents had immigrated from Nieuwerkerk, the Province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, with an infant daughter to Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio in 1857. Although they apparently had nine children in all, only three–Jennie and sisters Nellie and Mary–survived to adulthood. By 1873, the family had moved to Grand Rapids, and her father died the following year. Jennie’s widowed mother remarried to a widower in 1875, but died herself three years later. The step-father in turn remarried another widow, and Jennie and her sisters were expected to contribute to the household. The older girls worked as domestics and Jennie, at 11 years old, was working as well. Probably not welcome in a household where both adults were step-parents, she ended up living with her mother’s brother and sister-in-law, never obtaining more than a third-grade education.

Martin and Jennie were married in his parents’ hometown of Holland, Ottawa Co., Michigan on 27 November 1886. It’s possible that Jennie was expecting their first child at that time, as she was born less than eight months later. I have blogged about finding their marriage record in a previous post.

By 1930, the days of working for a laundry company were long over. Martin and Jennie had raised four children, Grace, Maude Mae, my great-grandfather John Martin (I blogged about his 1930 enumeration here), and Peter Louis Ton HOEKSTRA. These children were married with families of their own, producing eleven grandchildren. Martin had worked for years as a carpenter and contractor, both privately and for the railroad. Sometime between 1920 and 1927, they had bought a home at 1225 Cooper Avenue in Ward 3 of southeast Grand Rapids, a predominately Dutch immigrant neighborhood. In 1930, Martin was working as a decorator in building construction. Their home was worth $3,000, although they did not own a radio. Neighbors on both sides of them did own radios, so that indicates there was electricity in the neighborhood.

On 15 April 1930, Martin and Jennie were enumerated at their home at 1225 Cooper Avenue in Ward 3, Block 1478 of Grand Rapids (ED 26, Sheet 21A):

Household 7; Family 7; Hoekstra, Martin; Head of household; owner of home worth $3000; No radio; Family does not live on a farm; Male; White; age 61; Married; age at first marriage: 19; Did not attend school since 1 September 1929; Able to read and write; Born in Michigan; Parents born in the Netherlands; Able to speak English; occupation: Decorator for Building Construction company; Works on own account; Employed; Not a veteran

Jennie; Wife; Female; White; age 62; Married; age at first marriage: 19; did not attend school since 1 September 1929; Able to read and write; Born in Ohio; Parents born in the Netherlands; Able to speak English; occupation: none

Jennie was very close to her granddaughter, my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian HOEKSTRA, who shared stories of her grandmother with my mother and me over the years. According to Grandma, Jennie was sweet and gentle. She had learned how to cook and make bread at a very young age. She called her husband “Pa,” and did whatever he said. My grandmother, an independent-minded woman, used to get riled up over this, because according to her, Martin was “a tartar”!

I look forward to when the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is publicly released, as Martin and Jennie should appear on it in either Grand Rapids or Allegan, Allegan Co., Michigan. The latter location is where their son Louis lived and they moved in with him and his wife in their old age. Jennie died at the age of 76 in Allegan. Martin was visiting or living with their daughter Maude when he died in Detroit the following year, also at age 76. Both are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan, along with son Louis. Their graves can be seen at the Find A Grave website here. They are the only photographs I have of this couple’s life.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11)

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Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 12

View historical documents and photos from America’s Boom and Bust era (1920 – 1935) here.

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!

I introduce you to Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, my great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. Both first-generation Americans born of Dutch immigrants, it is possible they met while working in the laundry business, perhaps the American Steam Laundry Company of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, in the mid 1880s. Martin was a teamster; his job would probably have entailed driving wagonloads of dirty clothing and linens from the customers to the steam laundry, and then delivering the cleaned items back to their homes. Jennie was a laundress, and doubtless had one of the hardest and most thankless tasks in the business! Isabella Mary Beeton’s Book of Household Management (paragraph 2372) describes the duties required of laundry maids in private homes in the 19th century…they must have been similar to those in a laundry company of that era. Hot, wet, and dirty work involving dangerous machinery and chemicals would have been the working environment for a laundress in those days.

Jennie and Martin were both probably very used to hard work. As children of immigrant laborers, they had grown up expected to do their share. Jennie, especially, had had a hard life. Her parents had immigrated from Nieuwerkerk, the Province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, with an infant daughter to Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio in 1857. Although they apparently had nine children in all, only three–Jennie and sisters Nellie and Mary–survived to adulthood. By 1873, the family had moved to Grand Rapids, and her father died the following year. Jennie’s widowed mother remarried to a widower in 1875, but died herself three years later. The step-father in turn remarried another widow, and Jennie and her sisters were expected to contribute to the household. The older girls worked as domestics and Jennie, at 11 years old, was working as well. Probably not welcome in a household where both adults were step-parents, she ended up living with her mother’s brother and sister-in-law, never obtaining more than a third-grade education.

Martin and Jennie were married in his parents’ hometown of Holland, Ottawa Co., Michigan on 27 November 1886. It’s possible that Jennie was expecting their first child at that time, as she was born less than eight months later. I have blogged about finding their marriage record in a previous post.

By 1930, the days of working for a laundry company were long over. Martin and Jennie had raised four children, Grace, Maude Mae, my great-grandfather John Martin (I blogged about his 1930 enumeration here), and Peter Louis Ton HOEKSTRA. These children were married with families of their own, producing eleven grandchildren. Martin had worked for years as a carpenter and contractor, both privately and for the railroad. Sometime between 1920 and 1927, they had bought a home at 1225 Cooper Avenue in Ward 3 of southeast Grand Rapids, a predominately Dutch immigrant neighborhood. In 1930, Martin was working as a decorator in building construction. Their home was worth $3,000, although they did not own a radio. Neighbors on both sides of them did own radios, so that indicates there was electricity in the neighborhood.

On 15 April 1930, Martin and Jennie were enumerated at their home at 1225 Cooper Avenue in Ward 3, Block 1478 of Grand Rapids (ED 26, Sheet 21A):

Household 7; Family 7; Hoekstra, Martin; Head of household; owner of home worth $3000; No radio; Family does not live on a farm; Male; White; age 61; Married; age at first marriage: 19; Did not attend school since 1 September 1929; Able to read and write; Born in Michigan; Parents born in the Netherlands; Able to speak English; occupation: Decorator for Building Construction company; Works on own account; Employed; Not a veteran

Jennie; Wife; Female; White; age 62; Married; age at first marriage: 19; did not attend school since 1 September 1929; Able to read and write; Born in Ohio; Parents born in the Netherlands; Able to speak English; occupation: none

Jennie was very close to her granddaughter, my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian HOEKSTRA, who shared stories of her grandmother with my mother and me over the years. According to Grandma, Jennie was sweet and gentle. She had learned how to cook and make bread at a very young age. She called her husband “Pa,” and did whatever he said. My grandmother, an independent-minded woman, used to get riled up over this, because according to her, Martin was “a tartar”!

I look forward to when the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is publicly released, as Martin and Jennie should appear on it in either Grand Rapids or Allegan, Allegan Co., Michigan. The latter location is where their son Louis lived and they moved in with him and his wife in their old age. Jennie died at the age of 76 in Allegan. Martin was visiting or living with their daughter Maude when he died in Detroit the following year, also at age 76. Both are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan, along with son Louis. Their graves can be seen at the Find A Grave website here. They are the only photographs I have of this couple’s life.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11)

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!

Happy Birthday – March 2

Happy Birthday to:

  • Maude Mae (HOEKSTRA) Van HARTESVELDT, who was born on this date in 1890 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan. She would be 117 years old today, if she still lived. As it was, she lived to be 101 years old! Maude was the second daughter of my ancestors Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, and my great-grandfather John Martin HOEKSTRA‘s older sister. She married Frederick Carroll Van HARTESVELDT on 1 Jan 1913 in Kent County, and they had at least three children, including a child who died around age 5. While she lived in Detroit during the 1940’s, Maude lived for many years in Sedona, Coconino County, Arizona. She died in Arizona on 2 Nov 1991.

Happy Birthday – March 2

Happy Birthday to:

  • Maude Mae (HOEKSTRA) Van HARTESVELDT, who was born on this date in 1890 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan. She would be 117 years old today, if she still lived. As it was, she lived to be 101 years old! Maude was the second daughter of my ancestors Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, and my great-grandfather John Martin HOEKSTRA‘s older sister. She married Frederick Carroll Van HARTESVELDT on 1 Jan 1913 in Kent County, and they had at least three children, including a child who died around age 5. While she lived in Detroit during the 1940’s, Maude lived for many years in Sedona, Coconino County, Arizona. She died in Arizona on 2 Nov 1991.

Free Access to Subscription Sites during Thanksgiving Weekend

I have heard that there is free access to subscription genealogy websites during Thanksgiving weekend.

Ancestry offers free access to its Immigration Collection until November 30th. They’ve recently added 80.5 million names to the collection, mostly in passenger lists. If you find your ancestor on a passenger list, you may also be lucky enough to find an image of the ship posted. I blogged recently about finding my TON and Van KLINKEN ancestors at Ancestry. They came over on the E.C. Scranton, an image of which is not available. However, there is a drawing of a similar ship available here, along with the history of the Scranton.

Another site that is offering free access is the National Genealogy Society, which has opened up its “Members Only Section” to the public, using the user name member and the password ngspromo. Warning: the site was hit so many times, it was rendered virtually unusable. I sent out an e-mail to the webmaster, and received three very nice e-mails in response, encouraging me to keep trying. I was able to get in for a short period (15 minutes), but the results I got on the searches I made were rather disappointing.