Longevity

This prompt for Week 2 actually got me going far and wide over the family tree.

My grandmother Berendina Blomberg-Lawerman first came to mind. She lived to almost 97,  passing just weeks before her birthday. I knew her well and was close to her. She had an interesting life. She was born in a small town in the North East of the Netherlands, Winschoten. Unlike other girls of her age, she did not end up at the local Huishoudschool (Domestic Science School) but instead was sponsored by a family friend who was an apotheker (pharmacist) to work for him and learn the trade so to speak. She was sent to Amsterdam to study the new science of chemical analysis and that is how she met my grandfather, who was a lecturer in this course.  They were married in the Dutch East Indies, in 1923, where my grandfather worked as pharmacist and raised four children.

Then WWII broke out and in March 1942 Japan invaded and occupied the Dutch East Indies. Civilians were rounded up to prisoner camps except those who had jobs vital to the country or were teachers.  My grandparents established a course in pharmacy for the Indonesian population that enabled many young people to get qualifications in pharmacy. Finally they too were taken into camps. After Japan surrendered, the Indonesian Republic was proclaimed and the struggle for independence from Dutch rule began and finally was achieved in December 1949. This meant that most Dutch left and returned to the Netherlands or moved elsewhere, like Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the US. My grandparents settled back in Amsterdam.

She was not the most long-lived though. MyHeritage statistics alerted me to another family member who lived to 101. She was Klasien Bakker-Dallinga and her husband was my grandmother's cousin. This family too lived in the Dutch East Indies because Wiebertus Bakker was a captain at sea for the Koninklijke Pakketvaart Maatschappij (KPM). What I really like though is that my uncle whose genealogy archive I've inherited had noted his memories of this cousin.

At the other end are the short lived ones; stillborn, the infants, the children, the young adults. Staying with the Bakker line, I now see that the great-grandfather of this Wiebertus Bakker (my 5xgreat grandfather), named Mijndert Wiebes Bakker, died one week after the birth of his only son. He was just 36 years old. What that must have been like for his poor widow, I can hardly imagine. This son, who never met his father, was the subject of my favourite photo post last week.

Thanks to the statistics I can now see a whole new lot of rabbit holes opening up.










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