Keep your eyes open for new items which come to you when you least expect them.
I went looking for teachers salaries in Michigan because in the blog “The Family Kalamazoo” there was an item about Edna Mulder’s Teacher Contract 1931-32. The writer asks if there is anyone out there who might have more information. Well, in my Google Search for “Teacher Salaries in Michigan circa 1931-1932” I came across a most interesting book.
Historical Magazine of Calvin College and Seminary Archives – Volume V, Number 2, 1987
This book came up in the search for teacher’s salaries but I did not find any good information on that subject but what I did find was lots and lots of names of people and some very interesting stories.
For example read this passage from page 19:
… The store at which my family did most of its shopping was Vander Ploeg’s on the corner of Grandville Avenue and Stolpe Street. The Vander Ploeg family lived in a house behind the store, which made it convenient if someone needed something after store closing hours. A knock on the Vander Ploeg’s door was enough to get some member of the family to open the back door of the store and get the needed item…The Vander Ploeg family was a large family with several boys and two girls, as I recall. One of the boys, John, became a Rev. John Vander Ploeg, who later became “The Banner” editor. The youngest son, Claude, who was about six years older than I, became an attorney and was a judge in Grand Rapids…
The book has many pictures of the people and the shops of the area.
There is a chapter on Ymen P. De Jong 1920-1950 by H.J. Brinks in which different people tell their recollection of Ymen’s life. The writing is excellent in it’s’ description of the area.
Example from the beginning of this chapter:
Dating from 1847, when it was only a muddy path, Grandville Avenue has linked the village of Grandville with the city of Grand Rapids. The Grand River, which created both of these urban centers, also connected them to the Lake Michigan port of Grand Haven. From there riverboats of all sorts loaded freight and passengers…
That particular article has many such descriptions of places and people which; at least to me, takes me right to that place and time.
I found the book very interesting reading and I was able to pick out a few names and connect them to family trees on Ancestry.com. I think that this book would be a good addition to a family tree history.
Even if you do not have ancestors who lived in the area (Grand Rapids, Grandville, Michigan) the book is a good representation of what life was like in the era.
Another interesting chapter is the one about
When the Farmer Prospers
It is a translation of the book written in 1986 by Jan A. Niemeijer.
The book discusses social conditions in the Netherlands at about the turn of the century. It has some great art work by Cornelis Jetses a Dutch illustrator.
Example of writing:
…One farmhand’s daughter recalls that she was “loaned” to a farmer at the age of twelve. Such children were expected to milk cows at 5 a.m., light the hearth fires, heat the water and bring it to the bedroom of the farmer and his wife…
…When I was eleven and busily churning butter one day, an elderly woman from the village stopped in. She said “I would like to have your Griet.” My mother answered, “That is possible.”… That’s the way things were. At home they were glad that the child who left made more room for the others…We all had to work just to stay alive. So before three O’clock in the morning, Dad woke us…
You might be able to read some of the text I captured on the following screen prints.
Take a look at it, you might find something you like.