This is a photo my grandmother Carmen Gullicksen (n. Dominguez) showed me last year when I went to Missouri to meet her for the first time. It makes me smile just looking at it. I’m guessing it’s from Halloween from the late 1950s. From left, Christina Gullicksen, Otto Gullicksen, and my dad, Steven Gullicksen.
This photo reminds me of half the family photos I’ve eve taken, where you hit the button before everyone is paying attention. It was sent to me by Halbo Kool and he had a go at deciphering the handwriting on the back, as well as identifying the faces he knew in the photo. Here’s what his note said:
“…Summer 1933 Her(man ?) Brouwer ( ?) ; Germ & Anni ; Hendrik & Irene ; HCK & Chr. (Hendrik 3rd from right, HCK and Chr the two on the left)”
To further translate, Christina Kolle is on the far left, and Halbo Kool (b.1873) is standing next to her. Halbo Kool (b.1873)’s brother Hendrik Kool is the third from the right with wife Irene, but we are not sure which woman she is. Germ Kool and wife Anni (Anna Hebelina Klugkist) are also in the photo, as are host Her(man?) Brouwer and another female.
As for the Brouwers, they may be relatives, but I am not sure. They may just be family friends. It’s funny, though, because my best friend and I are both interested in genealogy and she recently found some family members in her tree from the Netherlands with the last name Brouwer and so I’ve been on the lookout for connections between our families.
Recognize anyone? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to further narrow down who’s who in this photograph.
Cousin Anje has identified everyone in this photo:
1. Christina Kool (née Kolle) 1873-1957 married with Halbo Kool (b.1873)
2. Hendrik Kool 1869-1962 brother Halbo Kool, not married
3. Elsina Anna Kool 1867-1944 sister Halbo Kool, not married
4. Germ Kool 1875 – 1950 brother Halbo Kool, married with Anna Hebelina Klugkist
5. Anna Hebelina Kool (née Klugkist) 1880 -1944 married wirh Germ Kool. Her mother was a sister of Germ’s father.
6. Halbo Kool 1873 – 1943 married with Christina Kolle
7. Catharina Brouwer (née Meijer) 1870 – 1948. Married with Hergen Brouwer. Catharina’s mother was Annechiena Gezina Duintjer, a sister of Halbo Kool’s mother Gonda Margaretha Duintjer.
8. Hergen Brouwer 1871 – 1944
This kid looks like he just does not trust the camera.
This is an early 1900s photo of Cornelis “Cees” Kool, with his governess, that Halbo Kool sent me a while back and I recently remembered I meant to post it. Cornelis was born on July 6, 1900, in Groningen, Netherlands, and died a grandfather in Canada on March 27, 1979. From what I’ve heard over the years, he was a pretty cool guy. Very smart. I’ll write more on him later.
UPDATE: Cousin Anje was able to track down a Ducth newspaper clip that said Johan graduated from Gooisch Higher Citzens School in Bussum in 1943, indicating that this is a school photo. She posted more details in the comments.
ORIGINAL POST: This photo almost could be filed under Mystery Photo Series on this blog. It includes my grandfather Johan “Hans” Siersema (fourth in from the right), but I have no idea who the other people in the photo are. The writing on the back says only G.H.B.S. Google searches brought up a hockey club called Gemeentelijke Hogere Burger School for those initials, and hockey is fairly important in my family. My opa played in an adult league after immigrating to Canada and my uncle said he thought my opa broke a couple ribs playing. However, this club is in Groningen and to my knowledge, Hans didn’t spend any time there. If anyone else has ideas, I’d love to hear them.
This is the third, final, and most recent photograph of Gonda Margaretha Duuntjer that I have. It was sent to me by Halbo Kool. Gonda lived to be 81 years old [1840-1921], spending her whole life in Groningen, Netherlands. She married Cornelis Kool  and they had four children that I know of so far: Halbo Kool , Germ Kool , Elsina Anna Kool , and Hendrik Kool [about 1870].
Look at that beard! I looked it up. It’s not quite an Old Dutchman, funnily enough. This is a style of facial hair often called a Chin Curtain or The Lincoln. I’m going with Chin Curtain, since the one thing I do know about this photo is that it was taken in the Netherlands, not America.
Anyways, this photo was in with others of the Kool family in the possession of Halbo Kool (the living one, not any of the previous generations). He doesn’t know who it’s of, but we are able to tell it was taken in Groningen and you can see a slight resemblance to Cornelis Kool  in the eyes, nose and lips. His clothing is similar to that of ancestors in other photos I’ve estimated to be from the mid- to late-1800s. All this leads me to guess that the ancestor in the photo is likely one of Cornelis Kool’s brothers, of which he had three: Jan Kool , Heero Kool  or Harm Kool . There was a fourth brother, but he did not live to adulthood.
Few photos have amazed me by their mere existence, but this one did. To give you some perspective, that handsome devil on the right lived 200 years ago. Photography hadn’t even been invented when he was born.
If you follow this blog, then you know that Willem Vlietstra, the grandson of my great-great-great uncle’s sister-in-law, has been sending me some old photos from an album that was passed down to him. If you’re new to this blog, well, you’re caught up now, but you should also know that the album has labeled photos, which helps immensely in identifying the ancestors in pictures (not all generations had the foresight to label such things).
Wubbina Engellina Haken, my great-great-great-great grandmother, at left, was born to Jantje Hinderks Fols and Geerd Jans Haken in Boen, Ostfriesland, Germany, in about 1825. Engbertus Freerks Swalve, at right, was born to Daje Engeberts Brouer and Freerk Bellinga Swalve in Landschaftspolder, Ostfriesland, Germany, in February of 1812.
Most of the information I have of Engbertus (and for that matter most of the Swalve side of the family) comes from Roger and Marilyn Coeling Peters, who have their detailed Ancestors and Related Families project online.
What I find most interesting is that Engbertus was a master baker. The way certification is set up now, before becoming a master baker, one must first be certified as a journey baker, a baker, a decorator and a bread baker, according to the Retail Bakers of America. That can give you an idea of how much work one must put in before earning the title, but back in Engbertus’ time, things were a bit different. Roger Peters wrote in an email, “It was a common practice to travel to an new area to serve as an apprentice until they became a ‘master.'”
A big part of why I find this so interesting is that Engbertus’ brother Beene, and two of his sons — Freerk and Heinrich — also worked as bakers in Beverwijk, North Holland, Netherlands. Beene was a bread baker, and Heinrich had his own bakery, which he told Willem about when Willem was a boy. I am certain they all must have been very tight-knit, coming from the same family and all residing in the same city. In fact, disregarding traditional naming conventions, Freerks’ second daughter, Lucretia Anna, was named after Beene’s wife. And she was born in a bakery, as was her sister Wubbina Engellina Johanna Petronella Swalve.
But, ah, before I get too far off track, a little more on Engbertus and Wubbina. They had 11 children over an 18-year period, although not all of them lived into adulthood. Their son Engbertus Freerks Swalve also followed in the elder Engbertus’ footsteps and was a master baker in Bovenhusen, Ostfriesland, by 1892. The elder Engbertus lived until he was 61, passing away on April 30 in 1873 in Böhmerwold, Ostfriesland, Germany. Wubbina lived until she was 64, passing away on Sept. 7 in 1889.
All those dates and places are from the Coeling Peters’ Ancestors and Related Families project online, so don’t forget to check their site out. It even has footnotes and an organized index. Pretty much I’m in love with it.
Editor’s note: I cleaned up the photo a bit in Photoshop to eliminate some dust and discoloring along the top.
This is one of those classic photos that will come in handy when my sister and I try to convince my niece that, yes, people did use to sit in big wood and metal contraptions and make horses pull them around — that’s where we get the term “horsepower.”
In the photo (dated August, 1908), my great-great-grandfather Freerk Belling Swalve (born in Bohmerwald, Prussia, in 1855) is driving a horse-drawn carriage with at least one passenger aboard. He would have been 53 years old, and this photo likely would have been taken in the Netherlands.
As with most of the photos I post here, I did some retouching in Photoshop (that’s a disclaimer for the purists). This one was riddled with scratches, dirt, and tears, but it didn’t turn out too bad. I felt that this was a good time to post the photo, given that I confirmed the other day that the man was, indeed, Freerk.
I hope you enjoyed seeing how people got around about 100 years go!
This is an exciting moment — the first photo mystery that has been solved on this blog! And it’s all thanks to Willem Vlietstra, who sent me some late-1800s photos of the Swalves last week. Among the photos was the one above of Freerk Bellinga Swalve (taken around 1880), as well as one of Helena Catrina Koster in the thumbnail to the right.
If you remember in our second Mystery Photo Series post, I was thinking that the older gentleman in the group photo was Freerk and that the woman next to him might have been his wife Helena. However, since receiving the photos from Willem, I now have the answers to both those speculations. As it turns out, I was half right, and also half wrong.
The gentleman is most certainly Freerk, but the woman (unknown ancestor No. 2 in the photo below) is definitely not Helena. So possibly a sister instead, since she does have those light-colored eyes? Well, she is one of my new mysteries, as she is in many photos with Freerk, but remains unidentified. As with most answers I find in my genealogy research, more questions always arise. You can expect the next Mystery Photo Series post to be all about her.