Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Kool Sisters

We last met Matthias Kool, my great-great-great grandfather, in Nijmegen.  It’s 1841 or 42.  He’s unemployed, living in the tailor’s quarter of the walled city, with his wife, Barendina Rookes, his 2 ½ year old daughter Paulina, and a young man of 16, Johannes, also unemployed.

I don’t know what happened to this little family unit, but I do know that Paulina next shows up in the Hague, living with several of Matthias’s sisters. 

First, there’s Maria Kool,  born in 1811 (two years before Matthias), in Leeuwarden.  She is listed as head of the household, and also as owner of a shop in the High Street.  Both facts make her noteworthy, as it was unusual both for a woman to be head of household and to own a business.  Maria dies on 10 July 1904 or 1914 – it’s difficult to read the fine handwriting, reproduced from microfilm by a copy machine.

Living with Maria are Elizabeth Kool, born 1807 and Wilhelmina Kool, born 1819, both born in Leeuwarden.  There’s also Cecelia Kool, born in 1830, in The Hague.

Paulina, born 1839 in Nijmegen, is listed as an additional sister, though we know she is a niece.  On 26 February, 1862, Paulina (now 23) decamps for Amsterdam, and a few years later (again, difficult to read), to Utrecht.  This is the first evidence I have that Paulina was ever in Utrecht, the city in which Grandfather Theodore Jansen was born.  I wonder if she knew, or perhaps worked for, Madame Jansen, who ran the Magasin du Modes?

In the same Kool household are six servants: J.G. Duivestein, Anna Smolders, Anna Margarethe Evers, Maria Franken, Constance Maria Barens, and Maria van der Berg.

There is no sign of Matthias,  but obviously the family was doing quite well without him.  In fact, I suspect this family is the source of Great Grandmother Kool Vanderdonck’s money, and that perhaps Maria Kool was the one who headed and operated the business manufacturing baby clothes.

More on this as I find it.

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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized