It occurred to me this morning that I had spent almost no time on the story of Theodore, co-founder of our family here in the U.S. So permit me to correct that oversight.
Grandfather Jansen was born in Utrecht on May 18, 187o. His parents were Theodore Frederick Jansen, Sr., lovingly known as Opah, and Petronella Maria Ashof. From a letter addressed to Madame Jansen in my possession, we know that she either owned or worked in a shop called Magasin du Modes on the Domplein, the Cathedral Square. Opah was a brick mason.
Grandfather’s parents were married in Utrecht in 1869. Grandfather was their first son, but their second child. Their first child, a daughter, Wilhelmina Cornelia Adriana Jansen, lived only three months. On 3 January, 1873, they had a second son, Albertus Jacobus Jansen, who did survive into adulthood.
After that comes a sad list of births and deaths. In all there were six more children. Many lived less than a year. One lived to be four and another, seven. [If you are interested in more detail, let me know and I can direct you to it.]
Steven and I visited St Barbara’s Cemetary on our short stay in Amsterdam. It is a small, rural cemetary, about a 40 minute walk from the Damrack, the city center. A gas works had been built between the cemetary and the city, but this area has been converted into a park, popular with walkers and joggers. Much of land has been allowed to revert to marshes, and we saw a great variety of birds there, including a stork and herons.
We visited on a Saturday, and the cemetary office was closed. We were looking for Albertus Jansen, and Cornelia Smith-Jansen, Opah’s sister who had married Elbert Smith and was, per our holy card collection, also buried at St. Barbara’s.
We had no luck in finding ancestral graves. Many of the stones have crumbled and been replaced with blank concrete slabs. But the cemetary was beautiful, and it was surely an unusual way to spend a day in Amsterdam!
I will post photos of St. Barbara’s next.
Thanks again to my brother Tim for sending the photo of the two gay blades in Paris!