Let me start this blog with a series of four posts introducing my great-grandparents. Today: Hendrik van Kampen and Geertje Wiesenekker.
Hendrik van Kampen was born on 7 November 1877 in Hilversum, seventh of nine children of Barend van Kampen and Lammertje Veerman. Barend was a tailor, and the family lived in a small house on the Oude Torenstraat in Hilversum. Lammertje died a year after the birth of her youngest child, when Hendrik was 5 years old. Barend's unmarrried sister Lijsje lived with the family after Lammertje's death, to look after the household and the children.
Geertje Wiesenekker was born on 17 September 1879 in Huizen. She was the second of nine children of Gijsbert Wiesenekker and Willempje Prins. Gijsbert was a fishmonger. In the early 1990s, the family moved to neighbouring town Busssum. In 1904, Geertje's ten-year-old brother Hendrik drowned during a boat trip, an event that left a lasting impression on Geertje.
I do not know where and when Hendrik and Geertje met, nor do I know anything about their courting time or engagement, but on 14 September 1904 - one month after the death of Geertje's brother - Hendrik and Geertje married in Hilversum.
The first years of their marriage were probably not easy. Hendrik's occupation was listed as labourer. I don't know (yet) if Hendrik had a stable job, and if so with which company. In 1905, Hendrik and Geertje moved in with Geertje's parents in Bussum, later Hendrik lived in his father's house in Hilversum while Geertje lived with her parents in Bussum.
From 1909, things picked up. Hendrik and Geertje had their own place, in Hilversum. Hendrik opened a bicycle repair shop, first together with a business partner, but later he was sole owner of the shop. In 1915, he bought the house - with workplace - that I blogged about before, in the Veerstraat in Hilversum.
In the meantime, their only child - my grandfather - was born in 1912. They named their child, not, as was the custom those days, after the child's paternal grandfather, but after Geertje's brother Hendrik, who drowned shortly before their marriage.
Hendrik and Geertje, and their son Hendrik, spent their lives without major ups and downs, and there are no notable events in their lives that I should mention here. The bicycle repair shop did well, but there were never any major expanses (Hendrik did at some point do minor car repairs, and he had a petrol pump placed before his workplace). They were reasonably well off, but never affluent. They were well-known members of the Dutch Reformed community in Hilversum. Hendrik played an important role in the Hilversum branch of the Dutch Reformed abstainer's movement NCGOV, an organization that warrants a separate blog post because of the important role it played in the lives of many of my ancestors.
There were a few notable events towards the end of Hendrik's life. In May 1940 the war against Germany and the following occupation. The Van Kampen family was always nationalistic, and the Nazi occupation will have affected them. In August 1940 their son Hendrik married, and a year later their first grandchild was born - a boy, named after Hendrik. In November 1941 Hendrik suddenly became ill - first a stomach ache, later also fits of oppression. He was unable to attend his grandson's baptism. After a short sick-bed, he died, aged 64, on 30 November 1941.
Until Hendrik's death, Hendrik Junior and his wife and son lived in with his parents. After Hendrik's death, Geertje lived in with her son - Geertje moved upstairs, Hendrik Jr. moved downstairs. The bicycle repair shop was soon closed, and the workplace rented out. Geertje lived with her son, daughter in law and grandchildren until November 1955. Her health was failing, and her family was unable to continue to give her the care she needed. She spent her last days in a nursing home on the Alexanderlaan in Hilversum. Geertje died on 20 February 1957, 78 years old.