Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors # 8: Abraham van Lare

This week from my blogging jar I selected Abraham van Lare; he is my 3rd great grandfather in my father's paternal line.  The topic that was selected was to pick a vital record and write about what you know.   I have decided I will focus on Abraham's wedding.

Abraham van Lare was born on June 29, 1825 in Zuizande, Zeeland, Netherlands to Abraham van Lare and Pietranella Franke.  He grew up in the Zuizande, Zeeland area working as a laborer.  At some point most likely in late 1852 or early 1853 he began courting Katharina Neufeglise a young servant maid from Cadzand, Zeeland, Netherlands.  Katharina was the daughter of Abraham Neufeglise and Sara Suwijn.

Abraham would have began courting Katharina by coming to call on her on a Sunday at her parents house. Zeelanders often lived at home until they got married which was much later than Americans.  It allowed them to help and continue providing for the family.  In the southern parts of holland, courtship would have consisted of Abraham coming to call on Katharina working very hard to gain the acceptance of both Katharina as well as her parents.  He probably would have left flowers for her on her doorstep to show his interest.  In some cases suitors also came to visit on Wednesdays as well as on Sundays but it would have been to take her out to religious celebrations and festivals.  Obviously, Katharina was interested in Abraham because they got married, this means that she would have been expected to smooth her hair and dress and arrange her bonnet as a way to make herself look pretty.   Tradition followed that if a young suiter called on one's daughter a second time parents knew he intended to propose marriage and they would be expected to inform him whether they are in favor of his intentions during his third visit.

The average age for dutch couples to marry was 25 for males and 22 for females, and if they were lucky they would be married for 20-25 years before one of them  died.  Abraham was 27 when he married Katharina, she was 23.   It was law that if a they were under the age of 30 they would need to get written permission from their parents to marry.

The couple officially declared their intention for marriage on June 4, 1853.  They were required to enter their names with the town hall and legally declare their intentions.   They would then have to post banns for the next couple of weeks before they could marry in order to allow any one who has the right to make an objection the ability to do so.  These were posted in both Cadzand, where the wedding was going to take place as well as Zuidzande, Abraham's home town.

Abraham and Katharina's Declaration of Intent to Marry

Abraham and Katharina's Banns Postings in Cadzand, Zeeland Netherlands

It was custom that the bride's family give their daughter a trousseau and her future father-in-law would have given her a "chatelaine."  A chatelaine was a chain or rope usually made of leather or silver -- this chain would have been equipped with various items that would prove useful for the bride to be.  It might have included such things as a scissors, a pin cushion and needle, a small knife and a mirror.  Katharina would NOT have received this traditional gift as her father-in-law had already passed away.  Abraham's parents were both deceased at the time of the wedding.  Abraham's father was identified as being deceased in all of the marriage documentation and his mother, Pieternella Franke had died on January 5, 1848.  Parental consent was required, and since both of Abraham's parents had died he needed to provide documentation proving their deaths as part of  the process in declaring their marriage legal.

Between the declaration date and the actual wedding date it was custom for the homes of both the bride and the groom to be decorated and "banns dinners" were organized for the couple.   Guests would be offered to eat "bruid suiker" (bridal sugar) a kind of sweetmeat and spiced wine called "bride's tears." 

It was also customary for the front door of the bride's house to be painted green the day of the wedding and flowers would be scattered all along the walk by the wedding guests as the bride and groom made their way to the Town Hall for the wedding.  All couples had to be married in a civil ceremony and then some would have a second church ceremony.  After the wedding, there would be great feast and celebration with music and dancing.  It was customary for a large silver bowl filled with brandy and raisins to be passed around to the guests.  The song "How Sweet it is Where Friendship Dwells" was sung on these occasions.

Abraham and Katharina had their civil wedding on June 16, 1853.  All of the necessary documentation was filed and complete making their marriage lawful.

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