Dinner Invitations

Who, amongst my ancestors,  would I like to invite to dinner, is the prompt for week 3. 

Reinier Scherius
Meta Peelen-Reith
Well, firstly it would be my great great grandfather Reinier Scherius, who was born in 1810 and died in 1869. He was born in Amsterdam, but spent his working life in the Dutch East Indies. He wrote about his travels through the island of Ceram (one of the Spice Islands) where he encountered the head hunting tribes of the Alfurians. Was he the first European they'd encountered, I'd like to ask him. 

Equal first would be my German grandmother, Meta Peelen-Reith, whom I never knew, because she died in the 2nd World War in a Japanese civilian prisoner of war camp on Java. I have lots of letters by her to her sons, and a war diary (see my other blog metawrites.blogspot.com) so plenty of "conversation". But, I'd like to know how she got to know my grandfather. She was also an artist and craftswoman and it would be nice to chat about that with her over dinner. She was also a very good cook, so some recipes would be nice too.

And another great great grandmother I'd like to invite over dinner is Caroline Charlotte Nagel, who married  Reinier Scherius in 1855. I'd like to ask her about her side of the family, my knowledge there is a little sketchy,
But most of all - how did she and Reinier Scherius meet. She was 18 at the time of her marriage and he was 45 and the Resident of Probolingo, Java. What drew them together? What did they talk about? But most probably I think she'd tell me to mind my own business. The two photos I have of her show a good looking woman, but with a serious and determined expression. She was not to be trifled with I think.

I'd also like to meet in person Anna Hendrika Knoops, who I've already got to know a little through the letters her husband Jan Peelen wrote back to his family from Cairo, Egypt, where their first child, Jan Hendrik Peelen, my great grandfather was born. I also have a photograph of her and can see some resemblance in her granddaughters. But sadly Anna lost her only two daughters before they reached adulthood, and I'd like to know, what happened?

Julia Wilhelmina Scherius
My grandfather Cornelis Blomberg I remember, but I was too small and he suffered Parkinson's for me to have any conversation with him. He was an apotheker (pharmacist) and I would like to know more about that profession. He was also sympathetic to the woman's rights movement, according to the archive notes made by my uncle Cornelis Blomberg. What would he make, I wonder, of the current "Me Too" movement.

Then there is my great grandmother Julia Wilhelmina Scherius (daughter of Caroline Nagel and Reinier Scherius), who died unexpectedly, after a short illness, aged 43. I have a few photos of her, and I can see the family resemblance in my mother.

And what would I serve them for dinner. Would they like it?  The really Dutch ancestors would very likely be happy with a "hutspot" (one pot meal of mashed potatoes, mixed with vegetables and served with stewed meat) or a roast chicken and vegetables. Nothing fancy. As for the family from the Dutch East Indies, well, I'd make them a rijsttafel (selection of curried meat, poultry, fish, vegetable dishes served with white rice).


  1. Such wonderful photos...and so many interesting ancestors :) I wish we could all meet our forbears over many meals, just to get to know them.

    1. Thanks for reading - that would be a lot of meals, the next best thing is any letters, diaries etc to get to know them and have "conversations".


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