Monday, September 20, 2010

Amenuensis Monday – Lodewijk’s Children

Most documents you’ll find of your ancestors are ones that weren’t meant to give genealogical information. But sometimes, you get a little gold gem that was written with the express intent to convey genealogical information.

In 1944, Abraham Wesselo wrote a letter to his brother Lodewijk on behalf of his brother-in-law to ask for genealogical information. I don’t have that letter (and so I have no idea which brother-in-law was working on the genealogy), but I do have the reply that Lodewijk’s daughter wrote. Appearently, her father wasn’t much impressed with genealogy, so she answered, although it did contain the information she got from her father.

In this letter, there are basic facts like her mother’s birth dateand her parent’s marriage date. Also, the birth dates of the children. But there is also some information that you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve translated the relevant bit:

There were three children born:
Hendrik 21 April 1900 died 28 April
The second son is not in the marriage book because he died after one day and according to Father a child is considered stillborn then
Antje 1 November 1902

[….]

We used to have a psalm book in which Mother had written down the birth date of the second Hendrik and of the first one off course, but it burned. However I seem to recall that that child was born in April as well. All three of us where born way too early!!!


Antje was wrong about the date of the second son, he was born on 8 October 1901 and died that same day according to the official records. However, because he was stillborn, he is not given a name in the records. Yet he did have one. Also, we now know that all three children were born too early, which probably was also the cause of the death of the first two. The psalm book she talked about probably burned when their house was destroyed by the bombardment of Rotterdam in May 1940.

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