Bandstra’s Grocery

Haven’t posted much because recovering from Covid pneumonia, everything is kind of at a stand still right now, so I thought I’d throw in a couple of photos of another grocer in Roseland. We have quite a few grocers in the family on my father’s side!

Bandstra’s Grocery was run by Harry Bandstra, my father confirmed that he was related to my Uncle Ed Bandstra. Uncle Ed was married to my father’s sister, Laverne Ooms, and Harry was his uncle.

Bandstra’s Grocery was at Wentworth Avenue and 106th Street, according to Robert Swierenga in his book “Dutch Chicago: A History of the Hollanders in the Windy City”, and competed with the grocery store of P.E. DeBoer & Son. Here is a fuzzy photo of a delivery car, from a Facebook thread.

Here is a photo in the store, Harry is on the far right —

Harry died in 1951, at the age of 56.

The weird, roundabout way I found out about this and I had always wondered about the connection, is I had a Facebook conversation with someone with the maiden name of Bandstra, and I asked her about her family and it turned out that Harry was her grandfather. And the even weirder thing is she has the married name of a Bandstra cousin of mine. I don’t know if there is a connection there, but probably is seeing as we’re all Dutch and there seem to be a lot of interconnections!

Thanks for reading!

Simon and Lena (Kros) Ooms

My oldest daughter has been asking for me to post photos of the family, so today I am posting some of my paternal grandparents, Simon and Lena (Kros) Ooms.

This photo was taken in May 1919 when they were on a trip with friends in Miller, Indiana, four years before they were married. Not a very clear photo, but the photo is not a close up.

This is a photo of my grandmother also from 1919, she looks so happy here. If anyone looks like her, it’s definitely me, and the resemblance is really uncanny. I have her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, her smile. One time when I was younger, someone told me I looked like Maggie Gyllenhaal.

I won’t post a photo of myself here, but I think she looks like my grandmother so I can see why someone would say that if I look like my grandmother. It’s so interesting what we inherit from our ancestors!

Here is a photo of their marriage certificate from June 20, 1923. And I know I’ve posted their wedding photo before, but I absolutely love that photo so I’m posting it again:

They had three children during their marriage: Laverne Johanna, James Wesley (“Wes”), and my dad, Simon John (“Si” or “Skip”).

Here’s a nice one, a little fuzzy, and was taken probably about 1951 (thanks Dad!), they look pretty stylish there. Grandma you look awesome, but smile Gramps!

Here’s my last photo of them, there’s no date on this photo but it was probably when they still lived in Roseland.

I barely remember their house in Roseland because I was so young — I can remember only part of the living room and kitchen, a red chair, a wooden puzzle I used to play with, and the smell of coffee. It always smelled so good!

I remember more when they moved to to their trailer in Dolton. I was 12 when Grandma died in 1977 (at the age of 73), I remember her mostly being bedridden for many years and bent up terribly and in pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Grandpa died in 1989 at the age of 89, but years before when we would visit him in Dolton, every visit he would serve us Pepperidge Farm’s classic coconut cake. It’s funny what you remember as a kid about your grandparents.

Thanks for reading!

Ooms Grocer Connection Part Two

Happy New Year!! Peace to all and that we may have a better 2021!!

I was on the Roseland Facebook thread last week, researching connections to cousins with the surname Hoekstra. I have to work more on that, but our Ooms connection to the other Ooms grocer in Roseland popped up again. In June, I wrote a blog post about two Ooms Roseland grocers and their connection: Adam Ooms, grocer, who is my great-grandfather, and Richard Ooms, another grocer.

To refresh, back some years family said the two were not related. My blog post was about how my paper trail showed different and they are related through a common ancestor couple, Jan (Cornelis) Ooms and Neeltje Baas, who are my fourth great grandparents on my father’s side. To make it easier to visualize, here is the schematic I posted then showing their cousin connection:

The reason I’m bringing this up again is to show the power of DNA and how “genetic genealogy” is really the future of genealogy.

A paper trail is excellent but to answer any doubt or question that ever comes up about it, I wanted to find DNA matches to back up my paper trail. To help me, I had my paper family tree and a paper family tree from my “cousin” friend who has been helping me on that side.

So I started looking at Ancestry and found someone who is a DNA match to me at the fifth cousin level. That match is the only one on Ancestry that is from the Richard Ooms side, but is a person who was adopted out of the family as an infant. Well, I decided to let that be and to go look at 23andme to see if I could find any DNA matches there. And sure enough, I was able to find a cousin DNA match to me at the same level, who is listed on the other paper family tree and is a great-grandson of Richard Ooms. All of the information he lists on his 23andme account corroborates with the information on the Richard Ooms paper family tree, and he has quite a few relatives in common, so I can explore that line further.

DNA doesn’t lie, and solidly answers the question (again) that yes, the two sides are in fact connected and Adam Ooms, grocer, is related to Richard Ooms, grocer.

Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday Weddings — Bass

This is the marriage certificate for my maternal grandparents, William Peter Bass and Madeline (Schoudel) Bishop (“Pap and Gram”), married on October 18, 1941. I love these old marriage certificates, they’re so beautiful.

They were married at St. Willibrod Catholic Church in Roseland. Witnesses were Pap’s sister, Ruth, and her husband Bob Smith. I swiped this photo off of a FB thread, it was taken in 1909. The church was organized in 1900 and located at 114th and Edbrooke.

Thanks for reading!

Johannes (John) Ooms

Not much is known about Johannes (John) Ooms), my great-great grandfather, who died at the very young age of 26 in 1866. The biography of his son, Adam Ooms states he was a boy when his parents came to America. Here is the passenger list from June 15, 1849 from the ship the “Franziska”, he is 9 years old:

The biography also says John was a veterinarian, and left a wife, Johanna (Van Mijnen), and two young children, Adam and Aggie:

When a young man he studied veterinary surgery with a physician, and practiced at Roseland until his death in 1867.

I have found no other record of his veterinary years, or of himself. As far as his death, there is no record of what he died from and the only record of his burial is from Find a Grave that states he was buried of the churchyard of the First Reformed Church of Roseland. When streets were being put in in that area, all of the remains there were dug up and transferred to Mt. Greenwood Cemetery, this is detailed in a few resources. Many were moved and then in 1910, to use the area for commercial building purposes, an excavating company’s steamshovel starting digging up the area really ruthlessly. After protests, the excavating company removed all the bodies using a shovel by hand and the undertaker of Mt. Greenwood Cemetery supervised the removal to a plot of ground in Mt. Greenwood. I believe this plot is at the front of the cemetery. There may still be bodies buried under 107th Street, according to Find a Grave. Burial records from Mt. Greenwood would have cause of death information for burials, but not from transfers.

Thanks for reading!

This woman’s work: Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk

There aren’t a lot of records or history about women years ago, but I did find some interesting information on one of my women ancestors, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother, Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk. Jannetje, her husband Pieter and their only daughter, Neeltje, came from Holland with the original group of settlers that founded Roseland in 1849. Sadly, Pieter died during the voyage of cholera and was buried at sea.

In his book, “The History of Roseland and Vicinity”, Simon Dekker mentions Jannetje in his section about doctors:

When the pioneers of 1849 settled on the prairie what is now called Roseland, there was no doctor among them. The nearest town to them was Blue Island, a small place a few miles to the southwest, where there was a doctor. And his name, if I remember well, was Dr. Egan. It was not an easy matter to get him if he was needed in those pioneer days. The quickest way to get him was to go on foot as the only way of transportation was by oxen team, and that was a slow process. In confinement cases, they hardly ever got a doctor, only in case of emergency.

There was a widow among them, Mrs. Jantje Oudendyke (sp), who acted as midwife for a number of years, until a doctor settled here, and that was about twenty years after the first settlers came. All these years she acted as midwife. And she was successful in this work…this old lady was an all around lady. She had different homes where she would come certain days of the week to do the mending of the old clothes or of shoes and stockings. She had her home with her only daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Johannes Ambuul.

It is very rare to get a glimpse of a pioneer woman’s life, but with Mr. Dekker’s snapshot, we can see what this woman did, and the important contributions she made.

Too bad I don’t have a photo! But here is a painting of a pioneer midwife!

Midwife: Thy Path Her Chosen Way, by Crystal Haueter, courtesy Church History Museum

Thanks for reading!

Bass Houses of Roseland

My father did a lot of research awhile ago and sent me a ton of photos of places from Roseland that he was familiar with, including still existing family houses. Some of them are houses that my Bass relatives/ancestors lived in. It is sad that Roseland has changed so much but glad that there are still some surviving houses to look at.

This house is at 11832 S. Stewart and was owned by William and Bertha (Conner) Bass, my maternal great grandparents, who both passed away before I was born. I remember seeing this address on a lot of records, such as war registration cards of my grandfather, William Peter Bass, and his brothers. Bertha outlived her husband and lived here until her passing in 1964.

My grandparents, William Peter and Madeline (Schoudel) Bass lived in this cute little house at 10035 S. Calumet from 1959-1960.

My grandparents then lived in this apartment building at 10123 S. Vernon from 1960 until 1962.

This is the house I remember from Roseland, since they lived here from 1962 until 1972, and I was born in 1965. I remember quite a bit about this house, so many fun memories and family get togethers here, I especially remember the one during Thanksgiving dinner when my mother went into labor with my younger brother. I was only three years but it was very momentous, I literally remember seeing dropping to the floor when she said her water broke. Pap and Gram lived on the second floor, and the stairway always seemed so steep to a little munchin like me then. My older sister, cousins and I used to play school in the creepy basement. I was always very scared of the Lucy head vase that my grandmother had on the cabinet as I passed from the dining room to the kitchen, I always thought her eyes were going to open. Now I wish I owned that, I may even buy one for myself.

After they left Roseland, they moved to a trailer in Manteno, alot of special times were spent there too, especially staying there during summers.

Thanks so much Dad for the photos!

Thanks for reading!

Another Jonker/Bass post and another Ooms connection

The other day I was looking at a copy of a letter a Vellenga family member sent to me decades ago — the Vellengas are from my father’s side. And I kept thinking, why is the letter to a Vellenga from someone talking about the Bass side? That’s my mother’s side. I was mystified. Finally, I figured out this puzzle a couple of weeks ago when I was doing more research on the Jonkers. A Vellenga married into the Bass side by marrying a Jonker!

I only discovered this because I was looking on Find a Grave, and then put two and two together (of course always checking sources!!!). Jane Yonker, granddaughter of Jan Jonker/Yonker (and the niece of my maternal great-great-great grandmother Grietje (Jonker) Bass), married Harry Vellenga, son of Age and Johanna (Van Mijnen/Ooms/Rieve) Vellenga. Johanna is my paternal great-great grandmother. Here is a schematic to help make more sense:

Wasn’t that fun? Hahaha. Anyway, on to the letter. The letter was written by Simon Benchop in 1966 and includes a short narrative about the Bass family and when they came from Holland, as told to him by his mother. He is the son of Martje Bas and Henry Benchop and his mother is one of Grietje’s daughters. In the letter, Simon refers to the family as Bas before the name changed to Bass so I am doing the same. I’m going to quote and leave out the grammatical and typographical mistakes:

“Now this is what Mother told me about the Bas family, they left North Holland for America and landed at 115th Street at the J.G. depot, from there they put them on hand cars and took them to Riverdale to old Jon Yonkers. There was my mother Martje Bas, her mother, Grietje Jonker Bas, sister to old Jon Yonker, also my mother’s grandmother, the mother of old Jon Yonker…She was 84 years old. She passed away soon after she arrived in Roseland. Old Jon Yonker’s wife was named (Tillie) Tetje Velthuis. Their oldest son’s name was Garrit Yonker, later years he lost one leg. He had a grocery store on 115th Street just west of Michigan Avenue. His second son was Nick Yonker…And his sons would fish the Calumet River where the Washington Ice house used to stand. Another son was an engineer, he worked on steam shovels. He went to Wisconsin and got killed in an accident, his wife came back and lived with Garrit Yonker for awhile.”

I don’t know what year Garrit had his store, but here is a photo from the corner of Michigan and 115th in 1910:

I’m thinking the son who died in the accident is the youngest son, Cornelius. There is another note attached to the letter that Simon made that says Jan and Tillie had 8 babies who died in infancy, and one boy drowned at the age of 17. There was an older son, Cornelius, and he died somewhere between 1860 and 1863, I’m surmising this from census records. The older Cornelius was 16 years old in the 1860 census, and then a younger Cornelius appeared in the 1870 census, age 7, so we have to assume because of Dutch naming standards that the older Cornelius died somewhere between 1860 and 1863. So then, it would make sense that the boy who drowned at 17 was Cornelius. The other two sons were John and the younger Cornelius. John died in 1943 at the age of 89, so it would be the younger Cornelius that died in the accident, but I haven’t found any death records for either of the Cornelius boys yet.

This is where some of the letter gets a little interesting:

“As for the Bas family, my mother Martje Bas had 6 brothers and sisters. Katherine was the oldest girl. She married Jake Ton, he was a no good old box hand.”

All of my records and the records through Ancestry show that Jane Bass married Jacob Ton, and I don’t find a Katherine anywhere, so I believe he is forgetting a little bit. And was that guy ever opinionated, lolllll.

“Grietje Yonker Bas, the sister of old Jon Yonker lived with us and died on 16 August 1885 when I was 3 years old. She was buried in the front part of Mt. Greenwood cemetery. There were 2 sons in the Bas family, Peter and Nick. Peter worked in the Michigan grain transferring, and got dust in his nostrile, which gave him trouble with an infection. He had to have it removed.”

Interesting stuff!!

Thanks for reading!!

Jan and Teetje Jonker

I’m focusing a little bit on the Bass side right now, and today’s post is about Jan Jonker, whose sister is Grietje (Jonker) Bass, my maternal great-great-great-great grandmother. Jan Jonker was one of the first settlers of Roseland, he came over on the boat with the group that included Johannes Ambuul, my maternal great-great-great-great grandfather. In fact, Johannes’ daughter, Trijntje, married Grietje’s son (and Jan’s nephew), Pieter Bass.

A quick note before I go on. I go back and forth about using Dutch and Americanized names in my blog posts, but for this post I am starting with the Dutch names and then changing to the Americanized names. When I refer to the family’s time in America, I will use their Americanized names unless census records show them different.

Jan was born Jan Jonker, but when he died his name was John Yonker. He was born in Schoorl, Netherlands on December 28, 1811. He and Grietje’s parents were Gerrit Jonker and Jannetje van Lienen, and they had another brother, Sijmon. Schoorl is in the municipality of Bergen in the province of North Holland.

Here is also a photo of present day Schoorl:

On November 28, 1841, Jan married Teetje (Tillie) Veldhuis, who also lived in Schoorl and whose parents are Cornelis and Kniertje (Van Der Velde) Veldhuis. Tillie was born on January 21, 1821, and ten years younger than Jan.

In 1849, they were ready for the voyage to America. Sadly, they had a baby right before they sailed but the baby died in LeHavre, France. There is confusing information in some of the sources about this. I like the book Down an Indian Trail in 1849-The Story of Roseland by Marie K. Rowlands, but have found a number of errors. For example, it says that Johannes’ wife died during the sailing, however, I have a copy of a church record that shows she did not die until she was in America some years later. The book also says that Jan and Teetje sailed with their two children, one born in 1811 (!?) and the other born in 1821 (!?) – well this is an impossibility as Jan himself was born in 1811 and Teetje was born in 1821.

The book is actually a compilation of articles written and published in 1949 for the 100th anniversary of Roseland. I attribute that some of these stories were passed down through many people and inaccuracies occurred along the way. However, I’ve seen that people still rely on some inaccurate information (i.e., Facebook thread and others). This is why it is always best to check your sources.

Through records on WieWasWie, I have confirmed their children:

Jannigje, born 1842 (died 1926)
Cornelis, born 1844 (death year unknown)
Gerrit, born and died at 11 days old in 1845
Kniertje, born and died at 8 months old in 1846
Kniertje, born and died at 3 months old in 1847
Unnamed baby born and died in LeHavre, France in 1849 (mentioned above)
Garrit, born 1850 (died 1913)
Kniertje, born 1852 (died 1900)
John, born 1853 (died 1943)
Cornelius, born 1855 (death year unknown)
Klaas Nicholas, born 1856 (died 1896)

I have seen Katherine listed as a child but have not confirmed her existence yet. Also, Kniertje is the Dutch name for Cornelia.

This is all actually a really good example of the Dutch naming system. All of the children up until John were named after the grandparents, and then John was named after his father. Jannetgje is not the exact spelling as Jannetje, but it still means Jane. Klaas is Nicholas but I don’t know who he is named after, perhaps an uncle on Tillie’s side? Usually the order in the Dutch naming system is for boys, grandfathers first, then father, then uncle. Same way for girls, grandmothers first, then mother, then aunt.


The above is from the 1850 census, a year after the family landed in America. At this time, John is 38, Tillie is 29, Janka (Jannegje) is 8, Cornelis is 6, and there is a baby but I cannot read the name. This confirms that they sailed to America with the two oldest children.

The 1860 census shows that the family as living in Worth. John and Tillie now have a total of five children: Cornelis, 16; Garret, 9; Grete, 8; John, 7; and Nicolaus, 4. The last name is also now Yonker, but the name is mistakenly spelled at Younker.

In 1870 above, the census shows that the family is living in Calumet. John is working as a gardener, and is 58. Tillie is 49, Garret is 19 and working with the railroad; Cornelia is 18 (listed in the 1860 census as Grete); John is 17; Nicholas is 14; and there is now a Cornelius, age 7. Since there is now a younger Cornelius who is 7 years old, I can guess that the older Cornelius died somewhere between the last census taken in 1860 and 1863.

In 1880, the family is still living in Calumet. John is 68 and Tillie is 59 and the last name is again mistakenly listed as Younker. The only children still living at home are Nicholas, 24, and Cornelius, 17.

John died on March 25, 1891 at the age of 79, and Tillie died on April 2, 1891 at the age of 70. I don’t have photos of their tombstones but both are buried in Homewood Memorial Gardens in Homewood, Illinois.

Thanks for reading!

Roseland 1849

It is interesting reading about what the founders of Roseland went through after arriving in America. It certainly makes me appreciate so much more the conveniences we have now, I cannot imagine the constant physical hard work. To say I am semi-lazy is true. Of course I do my share of  physical work – I clean, do laundry, work full-time (remotely now), but it is not that physical, and nowhere near what the past was like. One of the major conveniences I appreciate is owning a car. Sometimes I may grumble about the cost, but I am very grateful to have a car, and expressways, and clean roads, etc.

Here is a map of a portion of the pre-Roseland Calumet area around 1845, from the book “Down An Indian Trail” by Marie K. Rowlands. Ms. Rowlands actually published this as a series of 50 articles in the Calumet Index in 1949 for the Roseland Centennial. It’s such a fascinating account of what the founders went through.

You’ll see in that little square box near the bottom center where the original land purchase was made by the original founders in 1849.

It is mentioned in this book and also by Simon Dekker in his book what settlers went through to travel anywhere. There was a way if there was dry weather and a different way in wet weather, and there were stops along the way to let the horses rest, or get a cup of coffee. Simon Dekker elaborates in his book a little bit about a trip into town (Chicago):

When the farmers went to town with their produce they mostly went in clubs to take the monotony out of the long drive. There were taverns on the way where they could rest and feed their animals, either oxen or horses, and get a cup of coffee and eat some lunch themselves, for I was told a trip to town took almost twenty-four hours back and forth. The place where they generally stopped was called the five-mile house. Then there was one called the seven-mile house. There were two ten-mile houses. The one was German, the other American. Then there was another one called the eleven-mile house. But I don’t think this place ever meant much as a farmers hotel. To me it looked more like a boarding house.

On the map above, you can see as they would travel east where the eleven-mile house is located from the original settlement, and one of the ten-mile houses. I was looking for a photo on the internet for any of these houses and found a photo of it in the Down an Indian Trail Book —

The book says that this was called the William Smith Tavern and was made of log construction and was a regular stop for farmers and other traffic for generations. It was built about 1838 and moved at least twice, once for surveying of State Street sometime in the 1840s and then later in 1891 for the widening of State Street because of the Calumet Electric Street Railway construction. It was still standing at 9250 State Street until sometime in the 1960’s when it was demolished for the building of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Thanks for reading!