Maria Hester, I ran into the name when I was researching my ancestry. Maria Hester van Stam is the youngest sister of my ancestress IJda van Stam and of Simon van Stam, about who I also wrote a blog. A name that is not very regular. In my not catholic family there are not many women called Maria, but Hester... I never ran into that name before during my searching in archives. Nowadays you sometimes hear this name, but in the early days? Well... it drew my attention. And it even drew more attention when I ran into it again a few minutes later, but now with a different surname. What happened?
Maria Hester van Goor, her surname is also mentioned as Goor without 'van', was born in 1759 and baptised on January 7th of that year, in De Meern, near Utrecht in the Netherlands. She was the daughter of Anthonij van Goor and Maria Duijn. On April 17th of 1791 she marries, in the Meern, Cornelis van Stam, the uncle of IJda and Simon. Maria Hester is than 32 years old. As far as I can find now, they didn't have any children. But I do have four other, younger, Maria Hesters in my ancestry. How come?
I didn't find Maria Hester's parents nor if she had brothers or sisters. I only have her husband's family. When children were born, the first were named after the grandparents, following children after their parents or aunts and uncles, or a favorite other family member.
Maria Hester's brother- and sister-in-law, Frans Stam and Ariaantje Verkaik, have a son in 1796 who is named Wijnand. Maria Hester is witness when he is baptised. In 1799 this couple have their fifth child. It is a girl and they name her Maria Hester. So this girl is named after the sister-in-law of her parents. She must have been a very popular and loved family member. Maria Hester and Cornelis had been married for eight years at this point and didn't have children of their own. Maria Hester was 40 years old. Apparently nieces and nephews stayed at Maria Hester's and her husband's home regularly. The niece Maria Hester had an older sister named Maria. She dies in 1814 at the age of 16 years old and in her death certificate is mentioned that she died in the house of her uncle Cornelis van Stam. In Maria Hester's house! I think she might have been ill and Maria Hester nursed her during her illness.
The eldest brother of Cornelis, Maria Hester's husband, is named Dirk. Dirk is married to Grietje de Haas and they already have seven children, among them Simon and IJda, as their youngest child is born in 1806. It is a daughter, her name? Maria Hester.
Cornelis' father remarried after his first wife died and with this new wife he also had two daughters. One of them is Evertje. Evertje and her husband, Klaas de Haan, have their first child in 1810, a daughter, Wijnanda. Maria Hester is a witness when she is baptised.
Apparently Maria Hester was especially important in the family of Dirk and Grietje. They named their youngest daughter after their sister-in-law, but in the next generation this continues. Wijnand is the third child. He marries in 1818 Adriana Verdel and in 1820 they name their first daughter after Wijnand's aunt. Aunt Maria Hester had passed away the year before, she was 60 years old. This little Maria Hester only makes it to one year and eight months, she dies in July of 1822. After her death two other daughters are born, but they are not named after Maria Hester.
Wijnand's brother, also a Cornelis, married Helena Wilhelmina Koning in December 1820. They have 9 children in total. The first ones are named after the grandparents and a sister of Cornelis, who died young. The seventh child is born in 1838, a girl named Maria Hester. This Maria Hester only lives for one and a half years.
A special story of a special name. If Maria Hester would have been named Cornelia, I wouldn't have noticed. It is very special how the family Van Stam has honored this sister-in-law. She probably was a very special lady that has done a lot for the family. It probably hurt her a lot that she hadn't been able to have children of her own. She was a baptism witness twice and had two nieces and two second nieces named after her.