When I opened an unexpected parcel on
Thursday morning, my heart skipped a beat...
The postal tube contained a couple of chalk drawings
and some papers about my
great-grandfather (the painter), among them a copy of my
great-greatgrandparents' marriage certificate.
But what I loved most was this pencil drawing.
I had seen it before as an image in a booklet about
my great-grandfather's work,
but I didn't know that the original
drawing still existed in our family.
The drawing shows my great-greatgrandmother,
(painted by her son) at the age of 73.
Her name was Anna Lammerdina Visser-Hofkamp,
the woman behind the marriage certificate.
I suddenly became very curious about her.
Who was she and what was her life like
all those years ago?
With her maiden name and the exact date
of her wedding, I was able to find a lot of information.
Her life had a very sad start.
Her mother gave birth to two sons, in 1827 and 1828, who
were born dead or died immediately after birth.
Anna Lammerdina was born in 1830, but her mother
died in the same year at the age of only 29.
I suppose she died in childbirth.
What a tragedy!
Losing two children and dying giving birth to number three!
So Anna Lammerdina grew up never knowing
her mother and her brothers.
She married Jan Visser in 1851, the father
of my great-grandfather, at the age of 21.
He was a "kunstlakker", a brush-painter
(that's where the creative genes come into the family!).
Her first child was born in 1852.
She gave birth to six children, three boys and three girls.
Her first son was named Klaas, after her
husband's father and her dead brother.
Her second child, a daughter, was named Lucretia,
after the mother she never knew.
Her third child was named Jan, like his father.
He is my great-grandfather.
She gave birth to another son and two more girls.
Her last daughter was named Anna Lammerdina,
As far as I can see they all lived.
Her husband died in 1906 at the age of 78
and Anna Lammerdina herself died in 1917
at the age of 87.
Perhaps she is looking down on me
from heaven...who knows?!