As I sat down to process all the new information I’ve received from multiple sources (the Dutch Genealogy Group, a couple of 5th cousins who have been generous enough to share, etc.) about my Heerdink family, I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. ¬†So while I was reviewing certain relationships to make sure they were accurate, I kept asking myself “how do I know that?” ¬†This wasn’t about sources – I mean, it was, but it was more about how I know THAT child belongs with THAT parent, or how THAT husband belongs with THAT wife.
Many of them were pretty easy. ¬†I had a marriage certificate, or a birth or baptism record that was pretty explicit about who the parents and/or spouse were.
My mom was quite clearly my grandmother’s daughter. ¬†I knew that much (plus, I have a copy of her birth certificate). ¬†My grandmother was the daughter of my great grandmother, Lucile Stiker. ¬†I knew this because I have a copy of her birth certificate as well. ¬†Lucile’s parentage is shown by her baptism record and the state birth register – Eugene Stiker and Jeannette Heerdink. ¬†Then I got to the link between Jeannette and my alleged 3rd great grandfather, Anton (Anthony) Heerdink.
Uh oh … the only documentation I have for Jeannette’s parentage is a WPA marriage index for Vanderburgh County, Indiana (father Anthony, mother Mary Diefenbach) and a brief reference in an (unsourced) family history book written by someone on a collateral line. ¬†No census record exists that shows Jeannette with her parents because she was born in 1871 and by 1880 was in an orphanage (her mother died in 1878). ¬†She wouldn’t appear in any city directories during that time because she was a child.
[insert tiny heart attack here] ¬†Well, occurred to me that all this Heerdink research may be moot if I can’t even show how Anton is my 3rd great grandfather! ¬†Take it on blind faith? I don’t think so. ¬†For my peace of mind (and my sanity), I decided to convince myself with the records that were currently in my possession that I was researching the right family. ¬†(If I couldn’t do that, I would have to stop everything and get more documentation).
The first thing I did was take a look at the information I¬†did have for Jeannette. ¬†I had a copy of a cemetery card that listed all of her surviving relatives. ¬†Two of her siblings were listed: Louis Heerdink of Oak Heights, Kentucky and Mrs. Fannie Mackedon of Evansville [Indiana].1
Okay … now do I have anything showing the parentage of Louis or Fannie? ¬† A marriage return for Fannie shows that she married John Mackadon in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, on 6 November 1889.2
A search of Memphis city directories yielded only a mention that John Mackadon removed to Evansville in 1894. ¬†However, a search of Evansville citydirectories shows an entry for John Mackadon in 1896 … and Mrs. Frances.3 ¬†Well, if I didn’t know her given name wasn’t “Fannie” before, I did now.
The 1870 census for Evansville, Indiana, shows Anton Heerding and his family: wife Mary, son Alexander, daughter Frances, and son John.4
Is this the right family? ¬†I know that Anton/Anthony had a wife named Mary [Diefenbach]. ¬†Check. ¬†And there’s Frances at age 3. ¬†Check. ¬†But no Jeannette and no Louis. ¬†Well, I know that Jeannette and Louis were both born after 1870, so they wouldn’t be on this census record. ¬†Hmm.
I have not been able to find an entry for Anton/Anthony on the 1880 census. ¬†However, I did find a listing for Louis. ¬†He is in the St. Vincent’s Orphanage in Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana. ¬†And there are his brothers, John , Henry, and Clarence.5
First of all, until I found this entry, I never knew the names of the two youngest children. ¬†I heard rumors of them, but this is the first time I’ve been able to confirm their existence. ¬†But there they are, all together (except Alexander, who would have been 16 years old and “too old” for the orphanage – still looking for him in 1880). ¬†Jeannette and Fannie are also not listed because St. Vincent’s was an all-male orphanage. ¬†Jeannette is found at St. Ann’s in Terre Haute and Fannie is working as a servant with another family.
So now I have linked John and Louis as siblings, John and Frances as siblings, Frances and Louis as siblings, and Louis and Jeannette as siblings, which links them all to Anton/Anthony. ¬†I feel a lot more confident about saying that Anton Heerdink is my 3rd great grandfather.
Now I just have to prove HIS parentage … another story for another day.
1 Browning Funeral Home (Evansville, Indiana), “Browning Funeral Home Records,” ID 47614, Mrs. Jennie C. Stiker; Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, Indiana.
2Shelby County, Tennessee, Shelby County Marriages, Book N, page 350, John Mackadon and Fannie Heerdink, 6 November 1889; digital images, Shelby County Register of Deeds (http://register.shelby.tn.us/marriageSearchResults.php : downloaded 1 February 2014).
3Bennett & Co.’s Evansville City Directory (Evansville, Indiana: The Courier Company, 1894), p. 430, John Mackedon and Mrs. Frances; digital images, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Digital Archive (digital.evpl.org : downloaded 7 February 2014).
41870 U.S. Census, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, Ward 7, Evansville, p 17 (penned), dwelling 142, family 141, Anton Heerding; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : downloaded 20 August 2013); National Archives and Records Administration.
51880 Census, Knox County, Indiana, Vincennes, enumeration district (ED) 123, p. 19, St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum, John Heerding Louis Heerding, Henry Heerding, Clarence Heerding; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : downloaded 2 February 2014); National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC.
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