The life of Simon van Stam


Simon van Stam is IJda van Stam's brother. IJda is one of my foremothers. I noticed the facts of his life and I wanted to share them with you. Simon was born as a second child, the first son, in the family of Dirk van Stam and Grietje de Haas, on January 21st 1792. This happened in Breukelen, or Zegveld, in the middle of the Netherlands. He was named after grandfather on mother's side, Sijmen. 

After him six bothers and sisters are born, among them IJda. In 1814 Simon marries Geertruida van Baarle in Rotterdam. Rotterdam, that city I never saw in my family tree. My family merely lives between Amsterdam and Utrecht, in small towns. I never ran into Rotterdam before. He probably moved there because of work, maybe in the harbours.

His wife was born and raised in Rotterdam and was about the same age he was. In 1816 they have a stillborn babygirl and two years later history repeats itself when they have another stillborn girl. What grief they must have experienced. In 1821 a son is born, he is alive and gets a name, Dirk, after father's father. Four months later, little Dirk dies. In 1822 they welcome another son, Johannes Dirk. 

At the end of 1825 a stillborn boy is born, and that same day Geertruida dies, the birth of this boy has probably been too tough. Maybe she already had problems with the deliveries of the previous children. There were not so much appliances we have now of course. Caesarian sections didn't exist. When your pelvis, f.e. was too small, that could lead to huge problems. Nowadays people sometimes say about pregnant women: there has never been a baby that didn't come out, but that is not true of course. In the early days that díd happen and not seldom the mother and the baby didn't survive. In this case Simon stayed behind with little Johannes Dirk, who was three years old then.

One year later, on March 14th 1827 little Johannes Dirk died at the age of four. Simon is 35 years old and alone again. A wife and five children he has had to bury so far. Six months later, in September, he marries Sophia Willemina Kattenkamp, she is 33 years old. She originally married the former German Johan Hendrik Schilf(f) in 1820. In June 1823 they had a stillborn son and in August 1824 a daughter, Catharina Frederika. This girl dies one and a half years later, in April 1826. One year prior, in March 1825 Sophia had lost her husband. Both Simon and Sophia had suffered great losses and their marriage didn't bring much luck either. Sophia died in May 1829, 18 months after their wedding day. Simon is alone again, 37 years of age now. 

Apparently he still had contact with his first wife's family, because on December 23rd of 1829, seven months after Sophia's death, he marries Maria van Baarle, the younger sister of his first wife. In 1831, their daughter, Maria Geertruida Sophia van Stam is born, named after her mother Maria, her aunt, sister of her mother and Simon's deceased wife, Geertruida and Simon's second wife, Sophia. Seldom did I see such a loving gesture! Simon married very quickly after each other, but this gesture says there was so much love! There is only one thing: Simon didn't live to see the birth of his daughter. He died in February of that year, when his wife was half way of her pregnancy. Did he always speak very loving of his second wife, that the daughter was also named after her? Her being named after the first wife, is understandable, because that was Maria's sister.

It is a very sad story. Sometimes you see someone like this in your family tree and although he is not a direct ancestor, IJda, my ancestress, is, and this was something that happened in her life, Simon being her brother. They probably didn't see each other very often because Simon lived in Rotterdam. I hope they wrote to each other, so they knew what happened in their lives. They were not very rich and maybe they couldn't read or write and mail was quite expensive I think, so there is a good chance they didn't even write to each other. Maria van Baarle died in 1854 at the age of 60 years, she never remarried.

The daughter married on May 9th 1866, she was 34 years old than and she married Johannes Storm. They had a daughter, Johanna Maria Storm. This granddaughter had four daughters and a son with Willem Hendrik Houtman. The oldest was named Willemina Maria (1893) and the second Maria Geertruida Sophia (1895). In this way two women that did have children, but these children never lived past child age, were honored and taken along in the family tree. So they will not be forgotten.