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!!


The holidays are different and sad this year because of Covid-19. Although many people are flagrantly abusing recommendations to stay away from each other, which has caused the virus to be out of control, many are staying home, and we will be doing that, missing our families. The good news is vaccinations are starting to roll out so it may be the beginning of the end of it, but I’m sure it will be chaotic and confusing for awhile. In the meantime, I’m posting some photos of holiday things for your enjoyment.

Here is our Christmas tree, electric cords and all. I’m not patient with tinsel so it’s a little messy but pretty.

Here are the back ends of our dogs, Coco and Eddie, because they refuse to pose for me. Yes it’s going on our holiday cards again.

A menorah for my son-in-law. My daughter sent me a beautiful photo of their lit menorah on the first night of Hanukkah but I didn’t include here because a photo directly behind it might identify people who aren’t in the family, and it’s an intrusion. Anyway, they also have a beautiful Christmas tree.

And the last photo is of a fruitcake.

For many years when I was younger, our family received a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake from my paternal grandfather, Simon Ooms. I hated the taste of that fruitcake but as I grew older, actually began to enjoy it (as often happens). So I had to try it out again to see if it is just as good. It is! This fruitcake is marvelous, and Collin Street Bakery is famous for it, has been making fruitcakes since 1896 in Texas. I highly recommend it!

Happy holidays, peace and blessings for 2021!

Thanks for reading!

DNA and common ancestors

I haven’t been doing much research lately and I tend to gravitate toward genetic research these days if I do. DNA reports are interesting and my father’s report is very interesting since though he is majority Dutch (well classified as French/German), he shares a common ancestor with some Irish guy named Niall of the Nine Hostages.

I really thought the Irish came more from my mother, but interestingly, according to 23andme, it comes more from my father. So my father’s haplogroup starts with haplogroup A, where all of everyone’s paternal lines can be traced to one man, the common ancestor of haplogroup A. Other male-line descendants lineages died out except the one guy, and his lineage gives rise to all other haplogroups today.

Then his paternal line stems from a branch called R-M269, a very prolific paternal lineage across Eurasia. These farmers pushed east into Central Asia and into the Caucasus Mountains. Some reaches the steppes above the Black and Caspian Seas. Eventually, a new steppe culture called the Yamnaya was born and they spilled into Siberia and into Central Asia, to the west they pushed into the Balkans and central Europe. Their descendants spread from central Europe to the Atlantic coast. The spread of my father’s haplogroup in northern Ireland and Scotland was probably aided by men like Niall of the Nine Hostages.

One website says Niall may be the big daddy of Ireland. His actual name in Irish was Niall Naoi Noigiallach and the myth is that he was descended by an unknown number of generations from Conn Ceadcathlach aka Conn of the Hundred Battles, who may have lived in the middle of the second century and was the first high kind of Ireland. Research has revealed that as many as three million men living today may carry his y-DNA signature. y-DNA is only traceable through men, women do not have y-DNA. Niall got his name by taking nine key hostages, including Saint Patrick, in raids on his opponent chieftains in Ireland, Britain and France to cement his power. He is said to have twelve sons.

You never know what you’ll find when you check out your DNA!

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!

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!!

Family Recipe Friday: Corn and Tomato Chowder

I love this soup – I’ve made it so many times I don’t even need the recipe. This recipe was given to me by my father,  who used to make it, and came from his father. Thanks for laminating it Dad/Mom! I’m sure glad because it would have fallen apart by now, look how worn it is.

Here’s the recipe:

Corn & Tomato Chowder

Saute – 1/2 tsp. grated onion
             1 cup kernel corn
             1-1/2 Tbls. shortening

Add – 1 Tblsp. flour and cook for three minutes
          1 pint tomatoes
1 cup water
          1-1/2 tsp. sugar
          1/2 tsp. salt
          dash of pepper and paprika

Cover and cook on low heat for thirty minutes. Just before serving, stir in 1/8 tsp. of baking soda and 1/2 cup of milk. Do not boil after this has been added. Serve immediately. Serves four.


Thanks for reading!



Monarch Laundry

Monarch Laundry was one of the largest laundries on the south side of Chicago. In Roseland, it was very popular and many people on the Roseland Facebook thread have commented they worked there. In fact, my father said he worked in the laundry area for a few months, my mother worked in the office for a few years, and her mother worked in the office for many years.

I don’t know the exact year, but it was founded by Bernard Vellenga, Sr., who is the son of my paternal great-great grandmother, Johanna Ooms Rieve, from her third marriage to Age Vellenga. He is a half-brother to my great-grandfather, Adam Ooms. A great-uncle or grand-uncle is the brother of one’s grandparents, so that technically would make him my (half) great-great-uncle or great grand-uncle then?

According to Robert Swierenga in his book, Dutch Chicago, Monarch Laundry had more than fifty trucks in service at one time. Simon Dekker mentioned Monarch Laundry in 1939 on page 225 of his book, History of Roseland and Vicinity, written in 1939:

“It has been built some twenty or twenty-five years ago by a stock company, but gradually the stockholders sold their stock to Mr. Ben Vellenga. Then it was only a small concern, a one story building fronting on Wentworth Ave. After it had been operating for a few years it was ruined by a fire on a Sunday morning. It was then rebuilt and a story added to it, later extending it on the north side. Business expanding they enlarged again, adding an addition on the south side. So it now fronts on 111th St. also, where the main office is now located, that street being more prominent than Wentworth Ave. How many hands they employ I could now say. I guess quite a few. The Monarch Laundry has a large garage on 104th Street near Michigan Ave. which will hold more than 50 trucks, and room for washing and repairing them. The Monarch Laundry is one of the largest if not the largest laundry on the south side.”

So that makes it sound as if it was built about 1919 or before that time.

I remember my father telling me and I mentioned it in an earlier blog post, that when the Ooms store was sold, Monarch Laundry had bought it and tore it down to make a parking lot. He also mentioned that when he worked at the gas station (now I can’t remember which one), that station had a contract to provide gas to Monarch’s trucks and he spent many afternoons doing this and got to know a lot of Monarch’s drivers. There was also a store on the southeast corner of 111th and Wentworth, which is still standing, where people could drive up and drop off/pick up laundry and dry cleaning. He said he spent much of his time in the backroom there hanging out with Ben, Sr.’s grandsons, Dave and Dan Vellenga (his cousins). He also mentioned that Dick Van Beek’s father owned the Mattmiller laundry on the south side.

About two decades ago, I corresponded with one of Bernard, Sr.’s children, Florence (Vellenga) Spindler, and saved her letter. She was a very nice lady who was so helpful with the Vellenga side. She told me that Bernard, Sr’s sons, Bernard, Jr., Arthur and William (Bill), her brothers, worked there, along with Dick Van Beek. After Bernard, Sr. and Arthur died, Dick Van Beek and Bill carried on until they sold the laundry in 1967.

This photo is from Calvin College’s Origin’s magazine from 1987, not sure what year it was taken:

Three weeks ago, my father gave me a Roseland area directory from August 1971-72 and I found an add for Monarch Laundry:

Thanks for reading!

Ooms Grocer Connection

In a recent post, I mentioned a connection between my great grandfather, Adam Ooms, a grocer in Roseland, to Richard Ooms, another grocer in Roseland. I had mentioned that my new cousin on that Ooms side had said she was told the families were not related (the way I understand is someone from my side said if it’s “the red-headed ones, we’re not related”). Well, I beg to differ, I went through all of my records again and confirmed everything, and this post outlines that connection.

To begin, Jan Ooms and Neeltje Baas are the common ancestors that connect the two grocers. They are my fourth great grandparents on my father’s side. They had a number of children, among them Adam Ooms (my 3rd great grandfather), and another son named Willem.

This photo is a record of the marriage of Adam Ooms to his wife Nelligje Hogendijk from WieWasWie through Ancestry. I’ve mentioned WieWasWie before, it’s a website which contains registrations for births, marriages and deaths in the Netherlands, and it’s a goldmine. You’ll see Adam’s parents are listed as Jan and Neeltje.

This next photo is a record of the marriage of Willem Ooms and Fija Hogendoorn. Willem’s parents are listed as Jan and Neeltje.

So Adam and Willem are brothers, both born to Jan and Neeltje.

Willem and Fija (actually Sophia) had a lot of children, most who died, but three survived to adulthood: Jan (John), Gerrit, and Jannigje. John married Magteltje Huisman, as you can see from this record of their marriage:

John and Magteltje had three children:  Sophia, William, and Richard. Richard Ooms is the grocer.

Adam and Nellie had a son named Johannes (John). John married Johanna Van Mijnen, and one of their sons is Adam Ooms the grocer.

Here’s a little schematic to show the entire connection:

I do have birth dates that match as well, but I tried to make this blog post as interesting and concise as possible.

Long story short, the records I have verified show that there is a connection, and Adam and Richard appear to be third cousins. Why anyone said the families were not connected is a mystery to me because it’s very obvious!

Adam Ooms and Richard Ooms

Thanks for reading!