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!

Freedom Fighter?

I’m still working on the lineage of Cornelius Kros and Lena Slagboom and found an interesting connection to a man named Andreas Hofer, an Austrian freedom fighter who fought against Napoleon.

Source: Wikipedia

By the way, I don’t always trust Wikipedia, but am just including the link for some interesting background information on him.

“Supposedly”, the Dutch family by the name of Hofer in the Netherlands claimed to be related to this man, and my connection is to that Hofer family. Whether or not this is actually true remains to be seen, as I would have to work on that to completely confirm it, but I have too much work right now to do on family lines. But it is very intriguing, and is set out in this blog, which I found purely by accident when I was doing a Google search for Martinus Theodorus Slijper and Adriana Kros.

Adriana Kros was a daughter of Cornelius and Lena (Slagboom) Kros, she is the sister of my great grandfather, John Kros. Anyways, she was born on April 9, 1868 in Sliedrecht in the Netherlands and when she was 24 years old, married Martinus on September 28, 1892 in Bloemendaal, Netherlands.

They proceeded to have a few children, among them a son named Kornelis Kros, born on May 8, 1897 in Haarlem. Kornelis eventually married a young woman by the name of Alberdina (Dien) Hofer on August 17, 1922 in Haarlem. All of these dates and connections were confirmed through WieWasWie, which is a registry of all births, marriages and deaths in the Netherlands.

Alberdina is where the connection comes in to the Dutch Hofer family, and I haven’t had time yet to go back and figure that out. But it sure would be interesting if we had a freedom fighter who fought against Napoleon, especially considering all that is going on right now in our country! 

Thanks for reading!!

Private Roger Allen Kros

My father recently told me about a family member who died in Vietnam, so on this Memorial Day, we are celebrating him:  Private Roger Allen Kros.

Roger is the son of Cornelius and Hilda (Boersema) Kros. Cornelius and my paternal great-grandfather, John, are brothers.

Source:  Thomas Clark

On the website Honor States, it says that Roger was a private in the U.S. Army and killed in action during Operation MacArthur/Binh Tay at Dak To on November 19, 1967, while serving as a Light Vehicle Driver with the HHC of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Division. He enlisted in the Army on September 20, 1966 and started his tour on March 3, 1967. He was only 19 years old.

Roger was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and is honored on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC.

No matter how anyone feels about the Vietnam War, we thank Roger for serving and giving his life on behalf of our country on this Memorial Day.

Lena (Slagboom) Kros

I was cleaning out my desk at home and found this photo of my paternal great-great grandmother, Lena (Slagboom) Kros. I completely forgot that I had had this photo and my father doesn’t remember it. It has my young handwriting on it so I know it’s been sitting in that desk drawer for decades and definitely remember it. We have no idea where I got it from – Lena is on the right, but we have no idea who the other woman in the photo is, I’m guessing a daughter.

The only information I have on Lena is that she was born on April 23, 1835 in Sliedreght, Netherlands, to Jan and Arjaantje (Hartog) Slagboom. She had five siblings named Jan, Maria, Fijgje, Flori, and Maria. She married Cornelis Kros on May 10, 1862 in the same village. They had a total of ten children, some who died young (that’s why you’ll see repeating names):  Adriana, Arie, John (my great grandfather), Adriana, Cornelis Kros, Jr., Lena, Jacob, Cornelia, Arie, Cornelia. My father believes that the logo on the back of the building behind them is the White Owl cigar company so it appears to be taken in the USA. Thanks Dad!

I cannot find death information for Lena anywhere at all, but I know she passed away before 1910 because her husband died that year and is listed as a widower. When he died, his street was listed as 10925 State Street, which is in Roseland.

Still looks to be in good shape. The building is now listed as a condo, with two floors, and was built in 1895.

I would sure love to solve the mystery of when and where Lena died. She looks to be quite old in the photo, so I’m assuming she passed away in Roseland, however, there is no listing in Mt. Greenwood where Cornelis is buried, and no listing for a name even close to hers in the Cook County vital statistics records. I haven’t found any listing for her death even out of state.

Thanks for reading!


Two of my more difficult family lines have been the Kros and Verkruissen lines, my paternal great-grandparent lines, so I was working on those a little bit last week. I was really focusing on where some of the Kros family ended up and if two Kros brothers married two Verkruissen sisters (hence the title).

I already knew that my paternal great-grandparents, John and Jacoba (Verkruissen) Kros were married in 1900 in Roseland and settled there (see my April 21 post). I also already knew that both of them came from the Netherlands. I was doing some research on the website WieWasWie, which is owned by the Center for Family History in The Hague in the Netherlands that has made all Netherland birth, marriage and death records accessible to the public (fantastic website!). This is where I found that Jacoba has a sister named Janke, and also where I found that Janke was married to a Kornelius Kros. At first I thought it was a mistake, but you’ll see as I go on that it wasn’t.

It’ll help if I begin with the parents of each:  John’s parents are Kornelius Kros and Lena Slagboom; Jacoba’s parents are Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans. I have known this for a long time and there are multiple resources confirming this.

So this is what I found — the marriage record of Janke Verkruissen and Kornelius Kros which took place on March 29, 1893 in Haarlem, North Holland. Janke’s parents are listed as Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans, and Kornelius’s parents are listed as, you guessed it, Kornelius Kros and Lena Slagboom.

Here is the record transcript of it:

Here’s a closeup of the signatures from the marriage certificate:

So now we know that John had a brother Kornelius (later Cornelius) who was married to Jacoba’s sister, Janke. My father doesn’t remember hearing this in the family but this really is going a long way back.

Here is a clip from their immigration record — Cornelius, Janke, and John (originally Jan in Dutch) sailed together from Liverpool, England on June 8, 1893 on the Parisian, and arrived in Quebec, Canada, with their port destination being Kensington, Illinois. I’ve almost given up on finding Jacoba’s immigration record, she came separately a different year and I’ve tried all different name variations and searches. The only way I found this immigration record was by using a Soundex search for the name Janke Verkruissen and it happened to be listed under the misspelled name of Verkruistsen, and thinking she came from the Netherlands, decided to look at the record anyway even though it was from Liverpool. Also, what a person reports on census records for their immigration year can be very different than what it actually was. In the 1910 census, they all reported that they immigrated in 1889, which was actually four years off from their actual immigration year. This was quite a find!!

In a future post I’ll discuss more of this line and how part of it splits off to Indiana.

Wednesday Weddings — John and Jacoba Kros

No, I don’t have a photo from the marriage of John and Jacoba (Verkruissen) Kros but I do have a clipping from the Chicago Tribune of them having applied for their marriage license in Cook County. Recently, my father told me about a free weekend the Trib was having and I ran to the computer to see what I could find. I enlarged the clip because it’s a little hard to see —

This was from the June 13, 1900 edition and they were married the day before in Roseland. John was 33 years old, and Jacoba was 24 years old. Per the 1900 census, they were living with John’s brother and his wife, Cornelius and Janke (Jennie) at 10459 Michigan Avenue.

Although I don’t have a wedding photo, here is another photo of them when they were older. Don’t they have nice faces? Thanks for the photo Dad!!

Wednesday weddings

What a beautiful photo, this is one of my favorites and it is on the red wall with all of my other family photos. These are my grandparents on my father’s side, Simon and Lena (Kros) Ooms on their wedding day. They were married on June 20, 1923 in Roseland. The little flower girl is Simon’s niece, Alyce Sluis, and the best man is his brother, Casper William Ooms. Lena’s bridesmaid is her sister, Anna Kros.

Lately, alot of people are coloring the black and white or sepia photos of their family but I would never change them. It’s part of what makes old family photos so special.

More about the women — Jacoba Kros

In genealogical research there is generally more information on the lives of husbands than wives because wives were busy inside the home taking care of the children and house. This picture made me think about this woman’s life. This is Jacoba (Verkruissen) Kros, my great-grandmother on my father’s side, and this is only the second photo of her in existence that I know of. Based on the style of her dress, I’m going to guess it was taken sometime during the 1920s.

Thanks for the photo Dad!!

According to Jacoba’s birth record on “WieWasWie” (“Who Was Who” in Dutch), a website that “contains digitally accessible historical documents and personal data”, Jacoba was born Jacoba Verkruissen on May 11, 1876 to Jan Verkruissen and Antje Koopmans in the Municipality of Barradeel, in the province of Friesland of the Netherlands. According to Wikipedia, Barradeel is a former municipality which existed until 1984, and is now largely a part of Franekeradeel, Netherlands. When I magnify the original document, it appears the father’s name is written in as Verkruisfen, and that he signed it Ver Kruisfen with a space. Prefixes were used commonly in Dutch surnames, which gives me another avenue for research on her father’s line under the name of Kruisfen. Nevertheless the translation of Verkruissen was carried down, as apparent in census records and Jacoba’s death certificate.

Jacoba’s birth record entry is at the bottom left

Jacoba eventually emigrated to the United States and landed in Roseland but there are date discrepancies for her emigration year. On June 12, 1900, Jacoba married John Kros and within a couple of years they had two daughters, Antje (Anna) and Lena, Anna being one year older.

In 1910, census records list the family as residing on Wentworth Avenue, with no further information as to house number or address. In 1920, census records list the family as still residing on Wentworth Avenue, Jacoba was listed as Coba, with her emigration year being listed as 1890. Anna and Lena were still living at home, and it appears John’s brother, Cornelius, was living with them during this time, and a young woman named Cora, 18, who my father said is his daughter.

By 1923, Lena had moved out after having married Simon Ooms, and Anna had moved out in 1926 after having married George Wiersma. Sadly, Anna, died from appendicitis not long after having married George Wiersma. I cannot even imagine the sadness.

In the 1930 census, John and Jacoba are listed as living at 10919 S. Wentworth Avenue — here’s a current pic of the house, which on the outside appears to be in fairly good condition. During this census, Jacoba’s emigration year is listed as 1900.

Thanks for the photo Dad!

In the 1940 census, Jacoba and John are listed as still living at the same house, she was 63 years old and John was 73 years old. According to John’s death certificate, he died that same year on July 5th. His death is listed as chronic myocarditis due to chronic nephritis and hypertension.

1950 census records will not be available until 2022, but I found more information about Jacoba’s later years on her death certificate and also from my father. Jacoba had been a resident in the Ogden Park Nursing Home in Chicago for a year and then Bowman Nursing Home in Midlothian the next year prior to her death, which was on June 10, 1960. Her residence was listed as 10919 S. Wentworth Avenue. She died extremely quickly of a non-traumatic cerebral vascular accident (stroke), twenty years after her husband died.

But this all brings me back to the first photo. What was Jacoba doing that day when this photo was taken? What was she thinking? What was her life in Roseland compared to life in the Netherlands? What was it like to emigrate from another country and how did she adapt to a new country? So many questions I wish I knew the answers to!

Wordless Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will be posting a photo but I can guarantee most won’t be wordless! Today’s photo is of my paternal grandmother with her only sibling and was taken in Michigan in 1925. My grandmother is on the left, her full name was Helena Jacoba Kros (everyone called her Lena), and her sister is Anna Kros. Sadly, Anna died the next July from appendicitis, not long after her marriage to George Wiersma.

Johannes Ambuul, one of the founders of Roseland

Welcome to my new family history blog! I will be posting about my four family lines, Ooms, Bass, Kros and Schoudel. My goal is to share with others what I have learned about my family and to make sure and save all of this information for future generations. I hope you join me on this journey and also share with me what you know. Let’s go!

Since this first post is the beginning of my blog, I will start with another beginning. Johannes Ambuul was one of the nine men who founded Roseland in 1849 and my great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side (Bass family). At that time, Roseland was known as High Prairie, located in the very far south side of what is now Chicago. Although we moved from the area when I was only two years old and don’t remember much, I have been told by family and have read that Roseland was an idyllic place for families. Unfortunately, the collapse of the steel mill and automotive industries and other issues led to decades of economic decline, blight, and high crime, and it is sadly not what it once was. As most of my ancestors are from Roseland, look for more posts about it in the future!

In the middle of April 1849, at the age of 31, Johannes said goodbye to his relatives and home of Schoorl, a little town in North Holland in the Netherlands, to seek a new life in America. With him were other families also looking for a new life, 62 people in all. The group first left from Rotterdam by steamboat to Le Havre, France and then set sail on the “Massachusetts” of Boston. Johannes was not alone, also traveling with him were his wife, Aaltje (maiden name Van der Veen), age 28, and their two children, Willem (“William”), aged 3, and Saakje (“Jacob”), aged 1. Unfortunately, during the voyage tragedy struck which took may lives — the dreaded Asciatic cholera. In all, 19 died, including Willem and Saakje, and to try to contain the spread of the illness, all who died were buried at sea. It has been reported in other sources that one child and Aaltje died, however, that is incorrect. Aaltje indeed made it through the voyage but died three years later in 1852, two months after she had given birth to their baby, Wiebe. Sadly, the baby died not long after the mother. How do I know this? Through the South Suburban Historical Society I obtained copies of the actual membership records from the Thorn Creek Reformed Church, aka The First Reformed Church of Roseland, which was the church that this group formed once they were settled. In that document, Aaltje’s death is listed as July 19, 1852 (thank you to Glen DeYoung for the records and also for the photo!). After a forty-two day voyage, the group arrived in New York, and then traveled by steamboat along the Hudson River from New York City to Albany, NY, and then by canal boat to Buffalo, NY, through the Erie Canal. The final part was a steamboat to Chicago.

After they settled in High Prairie, as this time period was before the advent of modern medicine, death was very common, especially in young children. Johannes and Aaltje sadly lost a total of 5 children during their marriage. Besides Willem (born January 8, 1846) and Saakje, (born March 3, 1848), another baby named Willem who was born on August 20. 1850, died on October 19, 1852, only a couple of months after Aaltje and Wiebe died. Pieter died on December 28, 1857 (according to family history passed down from the Albert Bass family).

By the way, if you’re confused by all of these children named Willem, look for future posts on Dutch baby naming practices!

On October 21, 1852, three months after Aaltje died, Johannes married Neeltje (“Nellie”) Oudendijk, 22. Neeltje was also new to America, joining her father and mother, Pieter and Jannetje (Nieuwenhuizen) Oudendijk on the same ship as the others in 1849 — unfortunately her father died during the voyage.

Johannes and Neeltje had a total of four children during their marriage: Pieter (“Peter”), born July 30, 1853; Trijntje (“Katherine”), born September 24, 1854; Willem (“William”), born January 15, 1856; Jannetje (“Jane”), born June 14, 1857; and Pietertje, born June 4, 1859 (my best guess for her name is “Petra”, but I have found no translation yet for Pietertje). All of these dates were confirmed through baptismal records from Thorn Creek Reformed Church. Once I’m able to figure out how to post documents, I will include the records in the documents section (well, once I figure how to set up that section, I’m having some issues).

Now here’s the connection to me: Trijntje (Katherine) married Pieter Bass. One of their sons, William Bass, married Bertha Conner. Their son, William Peter Bass married Madeline Schoudel — their daughter, Patricia (Bass) Ooms, is my mother.

To get back to Johannes, The First Reformed Church of Roseland retained him as its first janitor and caretaker of its cemetery from 1849 until sometime during the 1860’s. Although he kept handwritten notes of the locations of burials (located at 107th and Michigan Avenue), the notes were lost, and thus, many grave locations and the names of those buried were lost. The property was eventually sold and bodies needed to be moved and the decision was to bury them at Mt. Greenwood Cemetery. However, Mt. Greenwood Cemetery wanted proof of ownership/identification or it could not accept the bodies. For any bodies where there was no identifying paperwork for, they were buried in a mass grave in Mt. Greenwood. When 107th Street was widened, more bodies required relocation and were moved to a different location in the churchyard. This undertaking is described in detail in “The Trail South Out of Chicago” by Ross K. Ettema.

On November 22, 1887, Johannes was once again left a widower when Neeltje died at the age of 57 from chronic nephritis. Johannes lived until the age of 75, dying on April 7, 1894. Both are buried at Mt. Greenwood Cemetery — once I get photos of the tombstones I will post them!

So that’s my first post, hope you enjoyed it and will keep coming back! Feel free to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the follow button.