Now for the meat and potatoes of the information I was given by Adriaan Leeuwenhoek (as a reminder, his great-grandfather Cornelis Leeuwenhoek was the cousin of Lambertus and Gerrit Leeuwenhoek who I have written about in earlier posts). Thank you, Adriaan, for such wonderful information!
According to Adriaan, Lambertus & Gerrit, aged 13 and 9 respectively, became orphans on February 17th, 1886, the day their father Arie Leeuwenhoek passed away. It looks like they had at least 2-3 siblings that survived into adulthood. Two for sure–a brother and a sister–that were born between Lambertus and Gerrit, the youngest child. I hope that Adriaan can clarify that for me.
Gerrit Leeuwenhoek was born in Gouda (the city that gave its name to the cheese) on January 24, 1877. Lambertus (Uncle Lou) was born May 3, 1872, but I am not sure what city he was born in. Their parents were Arie and, according to Adriaan, Marijtje (or Maria) Hoogendoorn Leeuwenhoek. Marijtje was born August 8, 1842 in Zammerdam and died March 7, 1878 in Gouda. Note that Gerrit was still a baby when his mother passed away.
Arie, the father of the two men, worked as a farmhand (boerenknecht). In 1875, Arie and his family moved to Gouda (which leads me to believe Uncle Lou was not born in Gouda). In 1878, Arie and his family moved to Zwammerdam, his wife’s hometown. In 1879, and later years, Arie ran a boardinghouse/public house (pub, banquet hall, etc.) in Zwammerdam. Arie passed away on February 17, 1886. On May 17th, 1886, his possessions were auctioned off. Lambertus Leeuwenhoek (Willem Leeuwenhoek’s branch, most likely) acted as guardian. Aries’s son Frederik moved to Rotterdam. Today there’s still an Arie Leeuwenhoek alive (Branch: Arie-Frederik-Frederik-Arie born 1935). Adriaan provided me with information on the branches, but for simplicity’s sake I am not including them here.
Our family had always thought that Uncle Lou was a descendent of the famous inventor of the microscope. Adriaan says, “The members of our Leeuwenhoek branch are not direct descendents of Antony van Leeuwenhoek.” However, it is the same family. “Antony’s only son passed away at a rather young age. ‘We’ share Antony’s (great) grandfather. The family hails from The Hague. The aforementioned (great) grandfather moved around 1575 to Delft. The first and second generation’s profession was basket weaver.
Here is Adriaan’s description of where the surname Leeuwenhoek originated:
It wasn’t a bridge! The Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (Nederduits = Dutch, Gereformeerd = Reformed and Kerk = Chuch) records show that in 1601 Thonis Philipsz. lived near “het Oosteinde (street) bijt Leeuwenpoortge (Lions Gate)”. So he lived in a house on the corner (hoek) of the street near the Lions Gate (Leeuwenpoort), hence Leeuwenhoek. . . . In 2007 there were only 76 persons with the family name Leeuwenhoek registered in the Netherlands.
Thonis Philipsz. had seven children. Five children were still born (the curse). The two surviving children are Philip Thonisz. (Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s father) and Huijch Thonisz. (Hugo). According to one publication the first time the family name van Leeuwenhoek was officially used was in Huijch’s will dated 1621. Lambertus, Gerrit, Alice [of the postcard from my earlier post]and all living Leeuwenhoeken descended from Huijch.
Uncle Lou’s Bijbels
Well over two years ago I posted about Uncle Lou’s Bibles which are still in the family. You can read about them and see the photos here. Adriaan has some insight into one of the Bibles. It links Uncle Lou to an orphanage.
The inscription shows Neerbosch (a borough close to Nijmegen). From this inscription I deduct that Lambertus stayed at this orphanage (Weezen-Inrichting). I guess the bible was part of Lambertus’ Statement of Faith/Creed and First Brethern (Belijdenis des Geloofs en eerste Avondmaalsviering). Gerrit Pieter de Haas (son of Rijkje Cornelia de Haas, father unknown) passed away December 28th, 1886 in Neerbosch aged 13. Gerrit Pieter was sent to the orphanage around May 20th, 1886. As shown by the inscription (Reverent xxxxbulstijn). The inscription on the second page shows that Lambertus kept the bible to remember his friend Gerrit Pieter de Haas by. So I’m sure Lambertus stayed at the orphanage.
Nijmegen is by bike around 100 km (5 1/2 hr bike ride) to the east of Zwammerdam. Lambertus and Gerrit were separated from their family. Around 1893 the orphanage housed 1.100 children.
Gerrit was also at the orphanage with his brother. In the next post read what happened to Gerrit at the orphanage!