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!

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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!

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.

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.

TON, Van KLINKEN, PAPE, TUINSTRA and Van ESSEN research

Found my 3rd-great-grandparents, Pieter TON and Maria Van KLINKEN, on Ancestry.com’s passenger list (on the ship “E. C. Scranton,” which arrived in New York on 7 Dec 1857). Pieter’s name was right under Peter TIMMERMAN. The whole list was mis-transcribed. My Pieter is listed as “Peter Con Zimmerman” and so therefore, Maria, his wife is listed as “Maria Zimmerman.” Zimmerman, by the way is German for “carpenter,” and Timmerman is Dutch for “carpenter.”


(click on photo several times to view zoomed image)

Also with Pieter and Maria are Adriana “Zimmerman” (Ton) and Cornelia “Zimmerman” (Ton), which I believe are Pieter’s sister and perhaps a niece. [Correction: A closer look at the Zeeland Provincial Archives online database led to the discovery that Cornelia was the daughter of Maria Van KLINKEN, prior to her marriage to Pieter TON. It’s not clear whether Pieter was Cornelia’s father, although she is listed as “Cornelia TON” on the passenger list. I believe Cornelia died young, as she does not appear in the 1870 Federal Census with the rest of the family. In addition, Pieter and Maria named a later daughter Nellie (b. 1860). It was not uncommon for the Dutch to name a child after a deceased older sibling.]

There is also Pieter’s sister Suzanna “Susanna” Van KLINKEN, her husband Izak “Isaac” PAPE and their daughter, Netye PAPE. (“Netye” is probably supposed to be Neeltje, who would have been named after Pieter, Suzanna, and Adriana’s mother.) They are all with a group from the Netherlands headed for Ohio. My family records show Pieter and Maria lived in Cincinnati for 16 years, then moved north to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m not sure what it was about Cincinnati that attracted them…jobs, a Seceder’s Church…?

———————————
This evening at the Family History Center, I reviewed FHL microfilm # 1,377,933, Item 2: City of Grand Rapids [Michigan] Record of Burials, 1874 – 1877, and made some terrific finds!:

Van KLINKEN, Maria, age 51 [my records say 50], White, Female, Place of Birth: Holland, Disease: Dropsey; died 22 Apr 1878; buried in the Pottersfield, Valley City Cemetery, record #6168 – this is my 3rd-great-grandmother, mentioned above

TRIMSTRA (TUINSTRA?), Stjoestje, age 3 mos, 5 days, White, Female, Place of Birth: City; Disease: Cholera Infantum; died at 224 Elizabeth St., 24 Jul 1886; buried in Lot 75, Block K, Greenwood Cemetery, record #6046 – not sure if this is a TUINSTRA, but if so, she would be related

Van ESSEN, Meinn [sic – Meine], age 86, White, Male, Place of Birth: Netherland; Disease: old age; died at 2 Fifth Ave., 17 Jan 1887; Permit [4, 9, 7, C, G…?…can’t read it], Valley City Cemetery, record #6471 – this is my 2nd-great-grandfather’s father-in-law (of 3rd wife)

Van KINKEN [sic], Giertje, 52 yrs, 7 mos, 11 days, White, Female; Place of Birth: Netherland; Disease: malignant tumor; died at corner of Alpine & 10th St., 18 May 1887; buried in Lot 14, Block N, Greenwood Cemetery, record #6485 – this may be a relative of my Van KLINKENs

TON, Van KLINKEN, PAPE, TUINSTRA and Van ESSEN research

Found my 3rd-great-grandparents, Pieter TON and Maria Van KLINKEN, on Ancestry.com’s passenger list (on the ship “E. C. Scranton,” which arrived in New York on 7 Dec 1857). Pieter’s name was right under Peter TIMMERMAN. The whole list was mis-transcribed. My Pieter is listed as “Peter Con Zimmerman” and so therefore, Maria, his wife is listed as “Maria Zimmerman.” Zimmerman, by the way is German for “carpenter,” and Timmerman is Dutch for “carpenter.”


(click on photo several times to view zoomed image)

Also with Pieter and Maria are Adriana “Zimmerman” (Ton) and Cornelia “Zimmerman” (Ton), which I believe are Pieter’s sister and perhaps a niece. [Correction: A closer look at the Zeeland Provincial Archives online database led to the discovery that Cornelia was the daughter of Maria Van KLINKEN, prior to her marriage to Pieter TON. It’s not clear whether Pieter was Cornelia’s father, although she is listed as “Cornelia TON” on the passenger list. I believe Cornelia died young, as she does not appear in the 1870 Federal Census with the rest of the family. In addition, Pieter and Maria named a later daughter Nellie (b. 1860). It was not uncommon for the Dutch to name a child after a deceased older sibling.]

There is also Pieter’s sister Suzanna “Susanna” Van KLINKEN, her husband Izak “Isaac” PAPE and their daughter, Netye PAPE. (“Netye” is probably supposed to be Neeltje, who would have been named after Pieter, Suzanna, and Adriana’s mother.) They are all with a group from the Netherlands headed for Ohio. My family records show Pieter and Maria lived in Cincinnati for 16 years, then moved north to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m not sure what it was about Cincinnati that attracted them…jobs, a Seceder’s Church…?

———————————
This evening at the Family History Center, I reviewed FHL microfilm # 1,377,933, Item 2: City of Grand Rapids [Michigan] Record of Burials, 1874 – 1877, and made some terrific finds!:

Van KLINKEN, Maria, age 51 [my records say 50], White, Female, Place of Birth: Holland, Disease: Dropsey; died 22 Apr 1878; buried in the Pottersfield, Valley City Cemetery, record #6168 – this is my 3rd-great-grandmother, mentioned above

TRIMSTRA (TUINSTRA?), Stjoestje, age 3 mos, 5 days, White, Female, Place of Birth: City; Disease: Cholera Infantum; died at 224 Elizabeth St., 24 Jul 1886; buried in Lot 75, Block K, Greenwood Cemetery, record #6046 – not sure if this is a TUINSTRA, but if so, she would be related

Van ESSEN, Meinn [sic – Meine], age 86, White, Male, Place of Birth: Netherland; Disease: old age; died at 2 Fifth Ave., 17 Jan 1887; Permit [4, 9, 7, C, G…?…can’t read it], Valley City Cemetery, record #6471 – this is my 2nd-great-grandfather’s father-in-law (of 3rd wife)

Van KINKEN [sic], Giertje, 52 yrs, 7 mos, 11 days, White, Female; Place of Birth: Netherland; Disease: malignant tumor; died at corner of Alpine & 10th St., 18 May 1887; buried in Lot 14, Block N, Greenwood Cemetery, record #6485 – this may be a relative of my Van KLINKENs