Sunday, September 7, 2014

52 Ancestors #12: Louisa Kense

Louisa Kense is my 4th great grandmother on my mother’s paternal line.   She was the mother of Jacobus Dierx who was the father of Abraham who was the father of Peter, father to Arthur Derks.

Slaap kindje slaap 
Daar buiten loop teen schaap 
Een schaap met witte voetjes 
Dat loopt zo zacht en zo zoetje 
Slaap kindje slaap 
Daar buiten loop een schaap. 

This is a traditional Dutch lullaby that was likely sung by Louisa’s parents to her when she was a baby and young toddler growing up in Aardenburg, Zeeland in the Netherlands.  Her parents were Aarnout Kense and Cathrijna Brain.  Louisa was born July 23, 1755 with a midwife aiding in the delivery.  The midwife gave Louisa to her grandmother to be swaddled and then she symbolically laid her in the hands of her father.  the birth of a new baby was an occasional to be celebrated.  The outside door to the home was decorated with a special emblem which notified the neighbors that they had been blessed with a daughter.  The family celebrated with a special cake, kindermaalstuk, honoring her birth.  Aarnout wore a paternity cap from the time she was born until her baptism on July 27, 1755. Louisa was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church.

Aarnout  helped Cathrijna with chores and the baby so that she could rest and get much needed sleep.  Louisa and her siblings; Katharina, Jacobus and Kornelis received much love and affection from their parents.  Dutch parents were openly affectionate with their children.  Their homes were a haven for the family – where it centered itself on the child, and family life centered itself on the home.   

Unfortunately, this love and affection would be short lived.  Louisa's parents passed away by the time she was seven years old.  Her mother died in 1761 and her father passed away in 1762.   In the middle of the 18th century the water logged province of Zeeland was plagued with illness and death due to the poor water conditions.  Zeeland was low lying and technically under sea level.   It was damp and there was much stagnant water.   It was hard to find clean drinking water and many succumbed to malaria.   It is likely that one if not both of her parents died due to this illness.  Small pox was also a leading cause of death during this time period but was more common among children.

Louisa and her siblings would have been orphaned.  Her oldest brother, Jacobus, was only 10 years old.  It is likely that the children would have been assigned a weeskamer, or orphan chamber after the death of their mother.  A weekskamer is the governmental body that was responsible for ensuring a guardian was appointed and assisted with the administration of the estate.  The guardian's responsibility was was to create an inventory of what was left behind to determine what inheritance the children were entitled to.  It is likely that their grandparents would have been deemed guardians.