Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my ancestor? Generation 6 – Dorothea Smulders

This is the seventh post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time. In the last post, I proved that my second great-grandfather Gerardus van den Heuvel was the son of Dorothea Smulders and Gerardus van den Heuvel.

Dorothea Smulders, daughter of Laurens Smulders

The birth, marriage, and death records of Gerardus van den Heuvel (generation 5) named his parents as Gerardus van den Heuvel and Dorothea Smulders.1 Dorothea’s death record showed she died in her son Gerardus’ house.The record will be analyzed for evidence about Dorothea’s parents.

Death record

Dorothea Smulders died in Breda on 25 December 1887. Her death record calls her Dorothea Smulders, age 78, without occupation, born and living in Tilburg, widow of Gerardus van den Heuvel, daughter of Laurens Smulders and Johanna Maria de Bont, spouses, deceased. A note in the margin indicates she died from “mar. sen.” [marasmus senilis; progressive atrophy from old age].It is unusual to find the cause of death in Dutch records, so this was an unexpected find.

Death record of Dorothea Smulders

Marriage record

Dorothea Smulders married Gerardus van den Heuvel in Tilburg on 2 July 1835. Their marriage record calls her Dorothea Smulders, age 25, baptized in Tilburg on 21 November 1809, living in Tilburg, day laborer, adult daughter of Laurens Smulders, deceased, and Johanna Maria de Bont, day laborer, living in Tilburg.4

The names of the groom, bride, and her parents match the information in the 1887 death record. The 1809 birth date is consistent with the age of 78 at the time of her death in 1887.

Marriage supplements

The marriage supplements include an extract of the baptismal register of the Roman Catholic parish in the hamlet of Goirke in Tilburg, showing that Dorothea was baptized as the legitimate daughter of Laurentius Smeulders and Joanna Maria de Bont on 21 November 1809.5 “Smeulders” is a spelling variation of “Smulders.” Such spelling variations were common in the early 1800s and before. The presence of this extract in the marriage supplements of Dorothea Smulders indicates that this is the same person despite the small discrepancy in the name.

The supplements also include an extract of the death record of Laurens Smulders, showing that he died in Tilburg on 20 August 1832. Since Dorothea had not reached the age of 30 yet, she needed her parents’ consent to marry. She needed a certified copy of her father’s death record to explain his lack of consent. Her mother was probably present at the marriage, or her consent would have been included in the supplements. The final paragraph of the marriage record indicates that the parties were all illiterate so did not sign their names.

Certified extract of the baptismal record of Dorothea “Smeulders.”

Certified extract of the death record of Laurens Smulders

Baptismal record

The information about Dorothea’s baptism from the marriage supplements was confirmed using the original baptismal register of the St. Dionysius parish in the hamlet of Goirke in Tilburg. Like all Roman Catholic parish records in this period, the record is in Latin. Dorothea is listed as baptized on 21 November 1809. The information matches the extract and shows she was the legitimate daughter of Laurentius Smeulders and Joanna Maria de Bont. The sponsor was Adriana Maria de Bont.6

Baptismal record of Dorothea Smeulders

church

Goirke Roman Catholic Church. Credits: P. van Galen, collection Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed (CC-BY-SA)

Population registers

Tilburg population registers give different birth dates for Dorothea Smulders, but all agree on Tilburg as her place of birth:

  • The 1849-1859 register says she was born in 1811. She was listed with her husband and children, including son Gerardus van den Heuvel.7
  • The 1860-1870 register says she was born on 21 October 1810. She was listed with her husband and children, including son Gerardus van den Heuvel.8
  • The 1870-1880 register says she was born on 21 October 1811. She was listed with her husband and children, including son Gerardus van den Heuvel.9
  • The 1880-1890 register says she was born on 21 October 1809. She was listed as a widow living with her son Gerardus van den Heuvel.10

The family composition shows this is all the same woman. The discrepancies in her birth year may be the result of copy errors, or of informants who knew her birth day, but not her exact age. Such discrepancies are not uncommon in population registers, which weren’t usually verified with the original birth records.

The  21 October birth date is a month off from the baptismal date of 21 November 1809. It could be that she was baptized at one month old, or that her birth date was misremembered or misrecorded. The November date for the baptism must be correct since the baptismal register was kept chronologically and the entry for Dorothea is in between entries for October and December.

1849-1859 population register

1849-1859 population register

1860-1870 population register

1870-1880 population register

1870-1880 population register

1880-1890 population register

Census records

Dorothea first appears in census records in 1810. This was during the French occupation of the Netherlands, so the record is in French.  The census mentions Laurent Smulders and Anne Marie de Bont “sa femme” [his wife]. Their children include Dorothé Smulders “sa fille” [his daughter], born Tilburg in 1809.11

Their names are French versions of the Dutch Laurens, (Jo)Anna Maria, and Dorothea. Her name, names of her parents, and birth date are consistent with the 21 November 1809 baptismal record.

1810 census of Tilburg

The 1830 census also enumerates Dorothea in her parental household. The census record does not mention family relationships, but “Dorethea Smulders” age 20 is listed in the same house as Laurens Smulders (age 46) and Anna Maria de Bont (age 44).12 Her name, parents, and age of 20 are consistent with the 21 November 1809 baptismal record.

1830 census of Tilburg

Notarial record

Dorothea appears with her mother and siblings in a notarial record. On 6 April 1846, Johanna Maria de Bont, widow of Laurens Smulders, Cornelis Smulders, Dorothea Smulders, without occupation, wife of Gerardus van den Heuvel, Johanna Maria Smulders, and Hendrik Smulders sold a piece of farm land.13

The record does not name the family relationships, but the joint appearance provides indirect evidence that Dorothea Smulders, the wife of Gerardus van den Heuvel, is the same person as the daughter of Laurens Smulders and Johanna Maria de Bont.

1846 notarial record

Death duties file of Laurens Smulders

After Laurens Smulders died, a death duties file was created to show the estate he left behind and to indicate who his heirs were, to determine if any death duties had to be paid. The declaration was done by his widow Johanna Maria de Bont as guardian of her minor children Cornelis, Dorothea, Maria, Hendrik, Petronella and Nicolaas. Laurens died on 20 August 1832 and left no real estate.14 The file shows that Laurens Smulders, the husband of Johanna Maria de Bont, had a daughter Dorothea who was still living in 1832.

Death duties file of Laurens Smulders

Cadastral records

Population registers show that Dorothea lived in Tilburg all her life. Dorothea’s husband Gerardus van den Heuvel does not appear in the cadastral records of Tilburg, so they did not own any property.15

map

Tilburg in 1865. Credits: J. Kuyper, via Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

Conclusion

Dorothea Smulders is the most recent ancestor who was born before the introduction of the civil registration in 1809. Besides Dutch, research in this period requires knowledge of Latin (for the Roman Catholic church records) and French (for the official records during the French occupation).

Dorothea Smulders’ baptismal record, marriage record, and death record all agreed that her parents were Laurens Smulders and Johanna Maria de Bont. Small variations in their names can be attributed to the different languages used in the records. The census registers, notarial record, and death duties file placed her in her parents’ household, providing independent evidence that she was their daughter. Together, this proves that Dorothea Smulders was the daughter of Laurens Smulders and Joanna Maria de Bont.

That’s six generations down, twenty-two to go!


Sources

  1. Civil Registration (Tilburg), birth record 1853 no. 400, Gerardus van den Heuvel (27 December 1853); “Zoek een Persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 7 May 2016). Also, Civil Registration (Tilburg), marriage record 1881 no. 21, Van den Heuvel-Bovendeert (9 February 1881). Also, Civil registration (Breda), death record 1918 no. 211, Gerardus van den Heuvel (8 May 1918); “Genealogie,” index and images, Stadsarchief Breda (http://stadsarchief.breda.nl : accessed 26 December 2008).
  2. Civil registration (Breda), death record 1887 no. 587, Dorothea Smulders (27 December 1887); “Genealogie,” index and images, Stadsarchief Breda (http://stadsarchief.breda.nl : accessed 3 December 2017).
  3. Civil registration (Breda), death record 1887 no. 587, Dorothea Smulders (27 December 1887). For the meaning of “marasmus senilis,” see “Marasmus senilis,” Wictionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/marasmus_senilis : version 26 February 2017); citing the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary.
  4. Civil Registration (Tilburg), marriage record 1835 no. 65, Van den Heuvel-Smulders (2 July 1835); “Zoek een Persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 26 December 2008).
  5. Civil Registration (Tilburg), marriage supplements 1835 no. 65, Van den Heuvel-Smulders (2 July 1835); “Netherlands, Noord-Brabant Province, Civil Registration, 1811-1942,” browsable images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 3 December 2017).
  6. St. Dionysiusparochie Roman Catholic Parish (Goirke, Tilburg), baptismal register 1775-1810, fol. 160v, Dorothea Smeulders (21 november 1809); “Zoek een persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 7 May 2016).
  7. Tilburg, population register 1849-1859, vol 2, Oerle, p. 348, Gerardus van den Heuvel household; “Zoek een persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 28 March 2018).
  8. Tilburg, population register 1860-1870, vol. 2, Ward B, Korvel-Laar, p. 52, Gerardus van den Heuvel household.
  9. Tilburg, population register 1870-1880, vol. 4, Ward B, Korvel-Laar, p. 408, Gerardus van den Heuvel household.
  10. Tilburg, population register, 1880-1890 vol. 5, ward B, Korvel-Laar, p. 238, Dorothea Smulders household.
  11. Tilburg, 1810 census, vol. 2, p. 435, entries 5644-5648, household of Laurent Smulders; “Zoek een persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 7 May 2016).
  12. Tilburg, 1830 census, p. 348, entries 5644-5648, Moerstraat 840, household of Laurens Smulders; “Zoek een persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 7 May 2016).
  13. Johan Adriaan van Meurs, notary (Tilburg), minutes 1813-1847, 1846 no. 8, Smulders sale; “Zoek een Persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 3 December 2017).
  14. Death Duties Office (Tilburg), vol. 35, record 241, Laurens Smulders (11 December 1832); Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum (BHIC), Den Bosch; scan provided by BHIC.
  15. Cadastral Municipality Tilburg, Series 1, Name list, entries for Van den Heuvel; “Archiefviewer,” digital images, Kadaster (http://service10.kadaster.nl/iad/ : accessed 9 January 2018); available in reading room Nationaal Archief, The Hague.
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

Comments

  1. Shirley says:

    What a lot of work!! I applaud you for doing this. I hope that you find that there is a link to Eleanor of Aquitaine.

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