Sunday, January 21, 2018

#52Ancestors - Longevity

These wonderful people whom I never met are my great grandparents. Jan Jan (John) Boorsma was born 17 September 1877 in Kollum, Kollumerland,Friesland, Netherlands. Grietje (Margaret or Maggie) was born 30 July 1876, Netherlands. They are my mom's paternal grandparents.  These pictures were taken at their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1954

Margaret and her family departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands on the ship Rotterdam. They  arrived in New York probably 15 June 1888. She was about 10 or 11 years old.

Jan (John) arrived 16 Aug 1886 on the ship Schiedam from Amsterdam. He was about 7  years old on the ships manifest. It looks like it is just the three of them, John, his  father Jan and sister Willemke,    aka Minnie. My great grandfather's mother, Tryntje Kracht and some siblings did not come along.
Jan and Margaret were married 24 July 1904 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan

Front row, left to right Theresa Boorsma Robinson, Jan John III Boorsma, Margaret Bont Boorsma, Angeline Boorsma Wademan
Back row, left to right Dena Boorsma, Louis (my grandfather), John IV (aka Shorty), Earnest, Edward, Henry, Wilhelmina (aka Wilma & Babe) Boorsma Boersen

The picture above includes all the children minus one son, Mike (Menno), whose photo is on the table to the left in the picture. Mike was killed and an industrial accident at the Continental Motors plant in Muskegon, Michigan in 1943.
  Continental made huge engines for World War II vehicles. He and my grandpa both worked there. My grandpa was coming onto his shift, when he heard about the engine accident involving his brother. He told my mom that when he got to the hospital, Mike was still alive but the explosion had taken off his arms and legs. He would not live long. Grandpa described it this way. "what was left of him could be put into a basket". It was a terribly site to see. Mike had a wife Marie (VanderLaan) and two small boys, Roger and David, at the time of his death.
  Great grandma Margaret died on 1 July 1955 and Jan (John) lived for three more years without her. My mom told me he that my grandpa picked him up a few times so he could take him to church. Great grandpa John died 18 February 1958.
My mom was getting married in July of  1958 so she was sad that her grandpa would not be there for her wedding.
They had 51 years of marriage together...their love and longevity is a blessing to our family.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

52 Ancestors- Favorite Photo

This is one of my favorite photos. It is of my Grandmother Dorothy Louise Marlin Boorsma, my favorite Uncle, Wayne Boorsma and my youthful mother, Marilyn Lou Boorsma Utter.
In talking with my mom about it she thought it was their Easter Photo and based on my uncles possible age, I think it was taken circa 1946. My mom would have  been about 11 but her height in the picture made me wonder if I got the year wrong.
 I asked her about her size and she said " I was the tallest and boniest girl in elementary school". She stopped growing in junior high but all the other kids did and caught up to her.
The picture was probably taken in their backyard at their home They lived at 4268 Buchanan Ave SW. in Wyoming, Michigan.
 Grandma Boorsma lost her mother when she was 6,in 1919, to Tuberculosis and Influenza. Sometime after that the house they were living in burnt to the ground.
As a teenager, Grandma cleaned house for the wife of the owner of Kamp Oil company. It was located at 310 eastern ave, Wyoming, Michigan.
When my mom was in high school, my grandma went back to work at Herpolsheimers in the drapery department. Also working in the same department was man by the name of Art Gritter.
After a while Art and a friend Bill Westveer decided to start their own custom drapery business called Gritter and Westveer. They asked my grandmother to join them as an in home sales lady.  She would bring in drapery samples book, measure the windows, write up orders and take deposits from clients.
 She started circa 1952 and continued for over 20 years. She had an accident on the job circa 1965. She was measuring windows at a clients house, the chair she was standing on gave way and she fell backward onto the floor. Both of her wrists were broken. My Mom had to help care for her during the day. It was a concern and hardship for my mom as she was several months pregnant, had one (me) in school all day and my brother (Steve) was in half day kindergarten. We did not ride buses,so she had drive back and forth from Kentwood to Wyoming a couple times as day. Also they were a one car family as most were in the 1960's
  My Dad was able to get work at Gritter & Westveer as a drapery installer. Eventually that would lead him into starting his own  company, Jamestown Draperies.
My mom's first job was at the Ferguson Droste Ferguson hospital. She would take the bus after school and worked for the kitchen delivering meals to the patients. The hospital was well known for its colorectal floor but they also had a plastic surgery floor. My mom heard rumors of stars like Bing Crosby and others may have come to this out of the way hospital to get some surgery done.
Grand Rapids in Vintage Postcards: 1890-1940
By Thomas R. Dilley

  Her second job was working for Bell Telephone. She was about 18 years old at this time and was a sorter for long distance calls, later to be moved to the foreign calls.
   In the 1970's, she took a job at a local nursing home. She liked working with the patients quite a bit and remembers many stories about several of them.
 Eventually she was working with my dad in the drapery business, doing customer in home sales, ordering fabric,rods and blinds,handling the billing,even making drapes for people.
  Shortly after I was married in 1982 there was a situation in the family that forced her to look for other employment. She ended up at D&W Grocery store in Jenison as a deli clerk. Later she was able to get a position in the pharmacy. She took some classes and become a Pharmacy Technician. I think this must have been her best job and it brought out the best in her. She was good at it and got along with people very well. She worked hard all her life and is now enjoying retirement. I'm glad.Thanks mom for taking care of our family.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks- Start

My grandmother was Dorothy May DeArmond Utter. Grandma lived at 163 Holly Street in Wyoming, Michigan.She was born in 21 May 1911 in Ionia, married Earl Howard Utter in 21 Jun 1929,but had a rough marriage and they were divorced 1 Dec 1947,in Kent county, Michigan. She mostly raised her children alone. Her three boys were Earl Jr. born 12 February 1930, Allen Foster (my dad) born 23 November 1932 and Gordon Fredrick born 1 October 1937.

Earl Jr. had child onset diabetes and died of it on 20 June 1964. Gordon died 22 February 2017.
 Grandma Utter worked at A&P Bakery in her early days and later on was a alterations seamstress for Herpolsheimer's store in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was very skilled with all things domestic... cooking, crochet, sewing, gardening. She attended a Wesleyan church.

When I would go to visit her,I was drawn to a special photo in a silver frame of her parents. She had it on her TV and I thought Grandma's mother was so beautiful!  Her mother's name was Clytie Agnes Harris and her father's name was Camlin Foster DeArmond.Clytie was a female barber in Greenville, Michigan and Camlin was a mechanic in the same area. I wonder if they met because he had come to her for a haircut? Camlin was 39 and marrying for a second time when he wed 17 year old Clytie on13 September 1905 in Greenville, Michigan.

My Grandma (Dorothy Utter) told me that her mother Clytie would tell her about coming up from Indiana to Michigan in a wagon.  I had only ridden in cars so  I thought that was a magical story!

I remember meeting her once as a child, at a family reunion. She was horrified that my mother had painted my nails red and warned that I might " go to hell". My mother was equally horrified at that statement. My dad remembers being forced by Grandma Clytie to be baptised several times in the Grand River in Ionia, Michigan. She had some strong religious opinions, that is for sure.

 As I got older I told my Grandma that I would love to have that photo someday. She died 22 Aug 1986. When we cleaned out her house, I came across that photo and asked  if I could have it and that is how it became mine. It is a painted photo and some of it is flaking off so I need to get it restored. I will try to get that done in the next 52 weeks as well.
These were the people that gave me a "start" in my interest in genealogy and photo preservation. #52ancestors

Friday, February 12, 2016

My mystery man...Miles Hodges

 Miles Hodges. My 4th Great Grandfather AND a big brick wall. Yes, not only for me but for many others who are researching him. His wife, my 4th Great Grandmother is also a mystery. Her name was Maranda or sometimes spelled Miranda or Merande. I would love to knock down a few bricks in this wall so I will tell you what I know, what I suspect about these two, and what I need to find out .
 My family tree:

Miles Hodges    +     Maranda?

Delilah Hodges (Daughter) + Allen Hopkins             Benjamin Hodges (Son) + Clarissa Harrington
 Allen Miles Hopkins  + Francis Ada Green                       Sophia Hodges  + George Alonzo Utter
                         Lucina Ada Hopkins                      +                   Fremont Floyd Utter 
                                                           Earl Howard Utter
                                                           My Father (keeping private)
                                                           Michelle Lynne Utter Timmer

Miles was born in 1794 in New York
1830 US Federal Census for Butler, Wayne, New York, He fits the date range.
1840 US Federal Census for Savannah, Wayne, New York Again he fits the date range
1850 US Federal Census for Dallas, Clinton, Michigan, Lists him as Mules Hadges,56, farmer,born in New York
1860 US Federal Census for Bloomer, Montcalm, Michigan, lists him as 66, farmer, born in New York
This is the last we see of Miles in Census


Other documents from Miles life include the following.

1. US Federal Non population schedule, Dallas Clinton, Michigan 10 Sep 1850, Agriculture (Line 7)

2. War of 1812, New York State Militia ( below)

3.US Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798 - 1892, Private, Muster date - June 1820, Enlistment Date - 08 Jun 1820

4. Bounty Land Grants
 Dated 10 October 1853 and signed by President Franklin Pierce

Miranda was born in 1797

1830 US Federal Census for Butler, Wayne, New York, Maranda fits into the date range.
1840 US Federal Census for Savannah Wayne, New York. Maranda again fits into that date range
1850 US Federal Census for Dallas, Clinton, Michigan. Lists her as 52,born in New York
1860 US Federal Census for Bloomer, Montcalm, Michigan, Lists her as 63, born in Vermont
1870 US Federal Census for Bloomer, Montcalm, Michigan Lists her as 71,living with son Benjamin, invalid, born in Vermont. That is the last we see of Maranda.

Here are some ideas I have.

About older children

The four children I know of are:
Miles Riley Hodges 1831 - 1881, Married Eliza Walker
Sophia Hodges 1834 - 1866 Married Allen Hopkins  (my ancestors)
Benjamin D. Hodges 1835 - 1896 Married Clarissa M Harrington ( my ancestors)
Eunice Hodges 1837 - ?  Married Stephen S. Hall

I have a suspicion that they may have had more than these four children, who are listed by name on the 1850 Census. In the 1830 Butler census,they have 5 children listed. None of the above (1831 - 37) children would have been born yet.

1830 Butler Wayne, New York Census              Birth years        
Head of household is Miles Hodges
1 boy under 5                                  (1826 - 1829) This boy is missing in the 1840 census  
2 boys  5-9                                      (1821 - 1825)           
1 Man 30 -39                                  ( 1791 - 1800)         Miles 1794
1 boy 10 - 14                                  (1816 - 1820)
1 girl 10 -14                                   (1816 - 1820)
1 Woman 30 - 39                           (1791 - 1800)          Maranda 1798

1840 Savannah Wayne New York
Head of house hold: Miles Hodges- 75 years old -Born 1765 ( Who is this Miles?)
2 boys under 5                             ( 1836 - 1839)   This is close for Benjamin, hmm?
2 boys 15 - 19                              ( 1821 -  1825)  
1 man 40-49                                 (1791 - 1800)    Miles  1794
1 man 70 - 79                               (1760 - 1769)    Old Miles-1765,  Could he be my Miles father?
1 girl under 5                               ( 1836 - 1839)   Eunice?
1 girl 5-9                                      (1831 - 1839)    Sophia?
1 woman 40 - 49                          (1791 - 1800)    Maranda
*Miles Riley should be here but is not. Why?  

About Marriage date
The oldest child on the 1830 Census is ten to fourteen years old so I suspect Miles and Miranda were married after 1814 military service years but before 1820 for sure. Miles' age would have been 20-24 and Maranda would have been 17 - 21.

About Mile's sibling
 Many people suspect that Miles had a brother named David. David,s wife was Roby Archer. I am  inclined to believe that as well.
Miles has a son, Benjamin D. Hodges. Could the middle initial D be David after his uncle David?

About Mile's traveling
 David may have died along the Oregon Trail. Some think Miles may have gone out west with David, I really don't think so because, I can account for his whereabouts from 1820 - 1860
Miles was busy making a family possibly as early as 1815 and  all the way through the late 1830's, All those children were born in New York so he was also in New York for many years.
He  spent some time in the Marines in 1820 on or near Lake Erie.
 He received Michigan bounty lands for his service in the war of 1812. He was in Michigan already in 1850, maybe earlier and was always a farmer. He seems to be very tied to his land. I just don't see him leaving his home and family.

About Maranda 
It has been written  "Maranda is said to have been Indian". I had my Dad's DNA tested and no Indian ethnicity was noted.

About Miles Jr.
Miles and Maranda's other son, Miles Riley, was numerated as Miles for the first time in the 1870 Census and Non Population Schedule. He is living in North Shade, Michigan.This makes me wonder two things.
1. Is that evidence that Miles Sr. had died between 1860 and 1870,making it acceptable to use his given name of Miles instead of Riley?
2. Is "Riley" a family name of Miles or Maranda?


Here is what I would like to find out.

  • For Miles, his death, burial information, wedding date, parents and siblings, older children
  • For Miranda, all of the above information,same as Miles plus maiden name and exact place of birth.
  • I need to do some more research in Wayne county New York and try to discover who these other children are. There may be clues to Miles and Maranda to unearth from these children.

Friday, October 16, 2015

And it begins...

Hello Everyone, As frightening as this feels right now, I have decided to face my fears and start a genealogy blog. Why?

  • I want to preserve for others what I have learned by writing it down.
  • I would like to meet people who I may be related to.
  • I would love to improve my writing skills and enter some genealogy writing contests. 
  • Blogging is being encourage by many genealogists like Lisa Louise Cooke and Dear Myrtle.
So, here goes.I don't yet know how often or how much I will write. When the "spirit moves me" is probable my best guess at this point.
 I hope you will check this blog out from time to time and maybe post your "hellos" so I know who is there. Thanks for reading. ~ Michelle

 Dedicated to my family 

P.S.The name "Genealogygram" is a combination of two thoughts: 
  1.  I am a Grandma (Grama) interested in passing down family stories to my kids and grand kids.
  2.  The word gram is short for Gramma which is Greek for line, letter or something written or recorded. 
I think it is the perfect name for this blog, don't you ?!