The HOEKSTRA Girls

Featured in the February 23rd Edition of Terry Thornton’s “Harvest from the Blog Garden” at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi.

I learned about George Geder’s Genealogy~Photography~Restoration blog through Craig Manson of GeneaBlogie, I think. George has been doing Wordless Wednesday posts for a while, both of his ancestral photos and of his fantastic own pix (he’s a photographer by trade). Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I thought I’d emulate his actions here.

These two little cuties are my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian HOEKSTRA, and her younger sister, Hope Mildred HOEKSTRA, taken as the captions indicate, in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington in 1921, when Grandma was 35 months old, and Hope was 13 months. This would have been in December of that year, as Grandma was born on 16 January 1919.

Ruth and Hope were the oldest of three girls born to my great-grandparents, John Martin HOEKSTRA and Lillian Fern STRONG. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, John, Lillian and Ruth came out West for a few years because John’s parents, Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, and his brother and sister-in-law, Peter Louis Ton HOEKSTRA and Reatha Pearl DONOVAN, had also relocated there for better job opportunities. Lillian’s parents, Charles Frisbe STRONG and Mary Lucy WRIGHT, were living several hundred miles south near Hubbard, Marion County, Oregon, with her brother Frank Charles STRONG. While the family was out west, Hope was born in Tacoma. The Hoekstra family returned to Michigan and remained there for the rest of their days. Mary Louise HOEKSTRA, John and Lillian’s youngest daughter, was born in 1923 in Grand Rapids.

Ironically, after Hope grew up and married, she moved to Tacoma with her husband, had four children, and died and was buried there in 1968…the same city in which she was born.

The HOEKSTRA Girls

Featured in the February 23rd Edition of Terry Thornton’s “Harvest from the Blog Garden” at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi.

I learned about George Geder’s Genealogy~Photography~Restoration blog through Craig Manson of GeneaBlogie, I think. George has been doing Wordless Wednesday posts for a while, both of his ancestral photos and of his fantastic own pix (he’s a photographer by trade). Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I thought I’d emulate his actions here.

These two little cuties are my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian HOEKSTRA, and her younger sister, Hope Mildred HOEKSTRA, taken as the captions indicate, in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington in 1921, when Grandma was 35 months old, and Hope was 13 months. This would have been in December of that year, as Grandma was born on 16 January 1919.

Ruth and Hope were the oldest of three girls born to my great-grandparents, John Martin HOEKSTRA and Lillian Fern STRONG. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, John, Lillian and Ruth came out West for a few years because John’s parents, Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, and his brother and sister-in-law, Peter Louis Ton HOEKSTRA and Reatha Pearl DONOVAN, had also relocated there for better job opportunities. Lillian’s parents, Charles Frisbe STRONG and Mary Lucy WRIGHT, were living several hundred miles south near Hubbard, Marion County, Oregon, with her brother Frank Charles STRONG. While the family was out west, Hope was born in Tacoma. The Hoekstra family returned to Michigan and remained there for the rest of their days. Mary Louise HOEKSTRA, John and Lillian’s youngest daughter, was born in 1923 in Grand Rapids.

Ironically, after Hope grew up and married, she moved to Tacoma with her husband, had four children, and died and was buried there in 1968…the same city in which she was born.

Eight Generations of Mothers

Craig has a great post, “The Mothers of Me” on his blog, GeneaBlogie. It inspired me to write the following.


These are my children, Melissa Joy and Matthew Jon MIDKIFF. I’m so proud to be their mother!


I, Miriam Joy (ROBBINS) MIDKIFF, am the first generation of mothers in their family tree.


My mother, Faith Lillian (VALK) ROBBINS, is the second generation of mothers in my children’s family tree.


My grandmother, Ruth Lillian (HOEKSTRA) VALK DeVRIES (1919 – 2001), is the third generation.


My great-grandmother, Lillian Fern (STRONG) HOEKSTRA (1897 – 1967), is the fourth generation.


My great-great-grandmother, Mary Lucy (WRIGHT) STRONG (1859 – 1946), is the fifth generation.

I have no more photos, but I can continue back a few more generations:

Ann Elizabeth (ROCKWELL) WRIGHT (1829 – 1860) may have died when her apron caught on fire while cooking.

Lucy (PARTRIDGE) ROCKWELL (1803 – 1893) lived to the ripe old age of nearly 90 years old.

Mehitable (BISHOP) PARTRIDGE (c. 1773 – 1838) is the earliest known ancestor whose mtDNA I share.

Eight Generations of Mothers

Craig has a great post, “The Mothers of Me” on his blog, GeneaBlogie. It inspired me to write the following.


These are my children, Melissa Joy and Matthew Jon MIDKIFF. I’m so proud to be their mother!


I, Miriam Joy (ROBBINS) MIDKIFF, am the first generation of mothers in their family tree.


My mother, Faith Lillian (VALK) ROBBINS, is the second generation of mothers in my children’s family tree.


My grandmother, Ruth Lillian (HOEKSTRA) VALK DeVRIES (1919 – 2001), is the third generation.


My great-grandmother, Lillian Fern (STRONG) HOEKSTRA (1897 – 1967), is the fourth generation.


My great-great-grandmother, Mary Lucy (WRIGHT) STRONG (1859 – 1946), is the fifth generation.

I have no more photos, but I can continue back a few more generations:

Ann Elizabeth (ROCKWELL) WRIGHT (1829 – 1860) may have died when her apron caught on fire while cooking.

Lucy (PARTRIDGE) ROCKWELL (1803 – 1893) lived to the ripe old age of nearly 90 years old.

Mehitable (BISHOP) PARTRIDGE (c. 1773 – 1838) is the earliest known ancestor whose mtDNA I share.

Connecting with Cousins on Memorial Day

Three years ago, my husband, children and I traveled across the state of Washington to spend Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws in Vancouver, Washington, which lies just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. I always enjoy this cross-state visit, as the longest leg of it–driving along the Columbia River on the Oregon side–follows both the Lewis and Clark trail and the Oregon Trail. I enjoy imaging the explorers and pioneers traveling the same route, and seeing Mt. Hood towering in the distance.

While in Vancouver, we went with Norm’s parents and sister to Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver, to visit and photograph the MIDKIFF, TOLLIVER, DAVES (step-ancestor), LUKE, and CHAPLIN graves. The following year, 2005, we made the same trip, and I insisted that we were going to travel down to the Willamette Valley to visit and photograph the grave of one of Norm’s great-great-grandmothers, Rebecca Catherine (SNOOK) WESTABY, buried in Salem, as well as the graves of my great-great-grandparents, Charles Frisbe STRONG and his wife, Mary Lucy WRIGHT. Charles and Mary are two of only four of my ancestors buried west of the Mississippi River, and the other two are nowhere near my home! My paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS is buried at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, and a 4th-great-grandmother, Lura Ann (JACKSON) PECK CRAPSEY, is apparently buried in St. Paul, Minnesota. So to actually be able to be within a few hours of an ancestor’s grave is a big deal to me, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.

When we arrived at Belle Passi Cemetery in Woodburn, Marion Co., Oregon, where Charles and Mary are buried, we found that the graves had already been cleaned and decorated. They were surrounded by other graves, obviously of the family of their daughter, Ethel Melissa (STRONG) HASTIE, who is buried there along with her husband, the Rev. Ezbon Roy HASTIE. I remember visiting the widowed Aunt Ethel in 1979, when we first moved to Washington State, and remembered meeting her son.

We were rather rushed on that visit, and so I didn’t have time to try to find out how to contact the family. But on the way home, I had a couple of ideas that could work for you to help you connect with cousins on Memorial Day. Obviously, I could have looked up the Hastie family in the phone book in Woodburn, or on Dex Knows when I got home. But what if you are looking for descendants of an ancestor, yet you don’t know your cousins’ surnames?

First off, you need to know where your ancestor is buried. If their grave is in your hometown or nearby, you’re in luck. If you are like myself and live far from your ancestral cemeteries, it’s important to obtain death certificates and/or obituaries of your ancestors to determine their final resting places. I use Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness quite frequently to get obituaries of ancestors. They’re easier and less expensive to access than death certificates. Once I have the name of a cemetery in hand, I use Find A Grave, Interment.net, Dex Knows, or Cemetery Junction to find an address and telephone number (check out Cyndi’s List of Cemeteries as well).

My next step is to cold call the cemetery office during local business hours. I have had so much luck with this! You would be amazed at how helpful cemetery employees are! From phone interviews I have discovered the names of other ancestors and relatives buried in the same cemetery, the names of the funeral homes that provided services (I’ll post more about this in the future), the names and addresses of the lot owners (which may be obsolete, but may provide relatives’ names). I always try to obtain the lot number of the grave(s) I am interested in, and sometimes the employee will mail me a cemetery map. I ask the cemetery employee if it’s okay to send them an info packet that they could place on my ancestor’s grave (see following paragraph). In fact, I have been so successful in this type of research, that I’ve created a form that I use to help me remember all the questions I want to ask when I call.

The fourth step is to write a letter explaining that I am a descendant of the ancestor buried in that cemetery, and that I am doing genealogical research on the family. I leave contact information: a phone number, mailing address and e-mail address. This letter is folded and sealed in a zip-lock bag and then placed in an envelope which is addressed either to the cemetery office or to a volunteer in the area that I’ve contacted through the local genealogical society or Random Acts. The cemetery employee or the volunteer can then place the info packet (my letter in a zip-lock bag) on the grave, hopefully weighted with a small rock or wedged into a crevice of the headstone, so it won’t blow away. If this is done about a week before Memorial Day weekend, there’s a chance that I could connect with another descendant of that ancestor who has come to the cemetery to clean and decorate the grave! If the cemetery doesn’t allow an info packet left on the grave itself, ask if your letter could be placed in your ancestor’s file at the office.

So what’s the purpose of this? To hopefully connect with other relatives of a common ancestor and exchange information…photos, documents, stories, etc. It’s likely that the two of you have missing information that the other may be seeking. Perhaps you’ll break down a brick wall! Memorial Day weekend is only two weeks away, so I hope you’ll take advantage of this tip. Good luck to you!

Connecting with Cousins on Memorial Day

Three years ago, my husband, children and I traveled across the state of Washington to spend Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws in Vancouver, Washington, which lies just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. I always enjoy this cross-state visit, as the longest leg of it–driving along the Columbia River on the Oregon side–follows both the Lewis and Clark trail and the Oregon Trail. I enjoy imaging the explorers and pioneers traveling the same route, and seeing Mt. Hood towering in the distance.

While in Vancouver, we went with Norm’s parents and sister to Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver, to visit and photograph the MIDKIFF, TOLLIVER, DAVES (step-ancestor), LUKE, and CHAPLIN graves. The following year, 2005, we made the same trip, and I insisted that we were going to travel down to the Willamette Valley to visit and photograph the grave of one of Norm’s great-great-grandmothers, Rebecca Catherine (SNOOK) WESTABY, buried in Salem, as well as the graves of my great-great-grandparents, Charles Frisbe STRONG and his wife, Mary Lucy WRIGHT. Charles and Mary are two of only four of my ancestors buried west of the Mississippi River, and the other two are nowhere near my home! My paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS is buried at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, and a 4th-great-grandmother, Lura Ann (JACKSON) PECK CRAPSEY, is apparently buried in St. Paul, Minnesota. So to actually be able to be within a few hours of an ancestor’s grave is a big deal to me, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.

When we arrived at Belle Passi Cemetery in Woodburn, Marion Co., Oregon, where Charles and Mary are buried, we found that the graves had already been cleaned and decorated. They were surrounded by other graves, obviously of the family of their daughter, Ethel Melissa (STRONG) HASTIE, who is buried there along with her husband, the Rev. Ezbon Roy HASTIE. I remember visiting the widowed Aunt Ethel in 1979, when we first moved to Washington State, and remembered meeting her son.

We were rather rushed on that visit, and so I didn’t have time to try to find out how to contact the family. But on the way home, I had a couple of ideas that could work for you to help you connect with cousins on Memorial Day. Obviously, I could have looked up the Hastie family in the phone book in Woodburn, or on Dex Knows when I got home. But what if you are looking for descendants of an ancestor, yet you don’t know your cousins’ surnames?

First off, you need to know where your ancestor is buried. If their grave is in your hometown or nearby, you’re in luck. If you are like myself and live far from your ancestral cemeteries, it’s important to obtain death certificates and/or obituaries of your ancestors to determine their final resting places. I use Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness quite frequently to get obituaries of ancestors. They’re easier and less expensive to access than death certificates. Once I have the name of a cemetery in hand, I use Find A Grave, Interment.net, Dex Knows, or Cemetery Junction to find an address and telephone number (check out Cyndi’s List of Cemeteries as well).

My next step is to cold call the cemetery office during local business hours. I have had so much luck with this! You would be amazed at how helpful cemetery employees are! From phone interviews I have discovered the names of other ancestors and relatives buried in the same cemetery, the names of the funeral homes that provided services (I’ll post more about this in the future), the names and addresses of the lot owners (which may be obsolete, but may provide relatives’ names). I always try to obtain the lot number of the grave(s) I am interested in, and sometimes the employee will mail me a cemetery map. I ask the cemetery employee if it’s okay to send them an info packet that they could place on my ancestor’s grave (see following paragraph). In fact, I have been so successful in this type of research, that I’ve created a form that I use to help me remember all the questions I want to ask when I call.

The fourth step is to write a letter explaining that I am a descendant of the ancestor buried in that cemetery, and that I am doing genealogical research on the family. I leave contact information: a phone number, mailing address and e-mail address. This letter is folded and sealed in a zip-lock bag and then placed in an envelope which is addressed either to the cemetery office or to a volunteer in the area that I’ve contacted through the local genealogical society or Random Acts. The cemetery employee or the volunteer can then place the info packet (my letter in a zip-lock bag) on the grave, hopefully weighted with a small rock or wedged into a crevice of the headstone, so it won’t blow away. If this is done about a week before Memorial Day weekend, there’s a chance that I could connect with another descendant of that ancestor who has come to the cemetery to clean and decorate the grave! If the cemetery doesn’t allow an info packet left on the grave itself, ask if your letter could be placed in your ancestor’s file at the office.

So what’s the purpose of this? To hopefully connect with other relatives of a common ancestor and exchange information…photos, documents, stories, etc. It’s likely that the two of you have missing information that the other may be seeking. Perhaps you’ll break down a brick wall! Memorial Day weekend is only two weeks away, so I hope you’ll take advantage of this tip. Good luck to you!