Another Geneabloggers weekly prompt, and a good way for me to move on to the next research topic.
Many years ago when I first went to the cemetery where some of the ancestors are buried, I was disappointed to find many of the gravestones worn or vandalized and unreadable. I went back in July 2009 and took new pictures:
This is the gravestone of Willem Morren, my great-great-grandfather. The stone is just barely legible.
Alongside it is the stone of his wife, Neeltje Dekker Morren. All that can be read is his name where is says "wife of." When I first saw these, her stone was lying in pieces on the ground - it has since been repaired.
I could not (then or now) read her dates of birth and death. Luckily, there was a book with that information:
The name is misspelled as "Marren" but it does give her place and date of birth (Ned Sept 10, 1830) and death (North Holland, Mich. July 10, 1881).
I found this information in a Genealogical Records Committee report of the local DAR Chapter. Back in 1932-1941 when the DAR ladies went out and recorded the gravestone data, Neeltje's stone was still legible.
Recently, Michigan death records for this time frame have become available on two fabulous websites. I searched for Neeltje's official death registration at www.familysearchlabs.org but was unable to find it by searching for her name. Because I knew from the book that she died in 1881, I could search for all deaths in Ottawa County in 1881 and narrow it down.
Her name is recorded as Neetje (or Neltje) Maren. She was married, 53 years old, died of Billious Fever, born in the Netherlands. She was a housekeeper [housewife] and her parents names are not given, just the fact that they died in the Netherlands.
Not perfect, but it does give me more to go on.
The second death record, that of Willem Morren was found at seekingmichigan.org
He died Feb 10, 1908 (same as the gravestone says). The stone says he was born "te Hulshort, Ned" - in Hulshorst, Netherlands. The death certificate gives his birhdate (July 28, 1823) and his father's name (Jan Morren)and reports he was the parent of 5 children, three still living. He was a farmer and died of apoplexy. His death was reported by Mrs. Douwma -- that would be his daughter Aaltje who was my great-grandmother.
So now -- on to this line of the family and a big surprise.