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Rizzo

Your family history in Grand Rapids

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Do you have story to tell about your family history related to Grand Rapids? Maybe you have a story about your greatgrand father who participated in the great furniture strike of the early 1900s? Or maybe you are the relative of a lumber baron? Share your history!

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Do you have story to tell about your family history related to Grand Rapids? Maybe you have a story about your greatgrand father who participated in the great furniture strike of the early 1900s? Or maybe you are the relative of a lumber baron? Share your history!

Which line of the family to start with?????.... On my mother's side of the family my ggg-grandfather was a hunchback furniture craftsman in a small German city named Attendorn. Back in the day the furniture factories here in Grand Rapids would send, for lack of a better word, "recruiters" over to Germany to bring back craftsman to work here in their factories. They would pay for that persons travel over to the states but they would not pay for the family to come over. So my ggg-grandfather Johannes left Germany and came to Grand Rapids (left a whole family over there that we didn't know about until the 1970's, the German relatives were still pissed off about that). He worked for several companies, his sons worked in the furniture business as well. Berkey & Gay, Grand Rapids Chair, Widdicomb (the original Widdicomb, which was the father of the gent that started another Widdicomb factory, the one that recently closed), they worked for them all. He was also one of the 45 German Catholics that broke away from St. Andrew's and started St. Mary's Church in 1857. My understanding was he carved some of the furniture in the church but I'm not sure which.

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Wow Nitro! I got nothin. :( We are the first "immigrants" to Grand Rapids in my family.

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My Family started here two generations ago in the late 1890s, early 1900s. My mother's side was of scandinavian heritage/dutch heritage. My Father's side is completely unkown origin wise, but they settled in the country side in modern day Conklin, and had a dairy farm there. My Mother's side was split between the country and the city communities, with my Grandfather's side being the country/dutch side, and my grandmother being of scandinavian/city heritage.

Not much is known about my Grandmother's side before my g-Grandmother, so I can give you that story: My g-Grandmother was a school teacher at Godwin Heights, I think she was a Junior High teacher, but she could have been high school, unfortunately in 1981 she was robbed and murdered in her home, so I never knew her. She lived on Fulton with her husband (My g-Grandfather) who was a prosthesis technician, who dealt mostly with back prostehesis. His original shop was downtown, and he was supposedly the only person who did the work he did. (Thats according to my grandmother :ph34r: ) He must have made a lot of money doing what he was doing because my grandmother made a hefty inheritance (of course she was also an only child). He passed away in the late 60s of complications from smoking.

My Grandfather's side has lived in what is known as modern day Marne. For generations. Mostly farmers, but my grandfather's side is also filled with the most Military history. My GGG-Grandfather served in the civil war in the 1860s, with my gg-Grandfather avoiding war entirely. Then my G-Grandfather served in WWI, followed by my Grandfather in WWII.

My G-Grandfather was a naval officer, who was in charge of building the ships for WWI, he was stationed in Connetticut. When he came back he settled on the family farm, and rode out the depression. It was because of his farm that many people in the community got their food, which always seemed to have lots of extra chickens. my G-Grandfather would gladly donate to those in need. He died in 1963 of a blood clot forming after a routine surgery.

My Grandfather was an Army Photographer, who was sent to take photos of concentrations camps in Germany. (Hes never really been 100% alright.) His tour only lasted 9 months, as he was bayoneted by a German soldier in the right shoulderblade, which was inches from hitting his heart. He says he spun around, the gun still in his back, took out his pistol and shot him in the eyes. (although this might just be grandpa exagerating a little :lol: ) this in turn limited pretty much every benefit he could have had coming home :(

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I bet your grandpa wasn't exagerating. I hear most of the vets talk about what they had to do to survive WW2. You wouldnt believe some of the things you would hear the granpas talk about at the American Legion and American Vet halls around town, especially the Vets from the Amvet post on 52nd and Division.

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