MYSTERY PHOTO SERIES: Image taken in Rotterdam in the 1800s by A. Boeseken

Among the many old photos of family members whom my mother and I have been able to identify are a handful of mysterious ones.

Although we can see the photographer of this one is A. Boeseken and that the photo itself was taken in Rotterdam, little more is revealed at first glance. I posted this and some other scans to my Flickr account and a distant cousin, Anje Belmon, looked into it.

Anje discovered that the photograph is likely from between 1867 and 1877 by researching it on a website about photos taken in the Netherlands. It’s especially interesting because, she says, the earliest dated photo from the Netherlands is from 1842.

“On the backsite … it says ‘A. Böeseken. Photografisch atelier. ROTTERDAM. Hoogstraat over de Vlasmarkt’. The underlined bit means ‘Highstreet over the Flaxmarket’ and is the adress of the photostudio,” Anje wrote in an email.

After looking through even more old photos, I am nearly certain this ancestor is one from Helena de Wit‘s line [she is my great-grandmother]. Although none of my ancestors are from Rotterdam, the closest that I know they lived was in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Buren. Both are about 80 kilometers, or about 50 miles, away.

I’ll keep looking for clues, but if you notice or think of anything interesting relating to this mystery photo, go ahead and leave it in the comments.


2 comments on “MYSTERY PHOTO SERIES: Image taken in Rotterdam in the 1800s by A. Boeseken

  1. Pingback: MYSTERY PHOTO SERIES: De Wit family photo circa 1910 holds a clue, more questions | Digital Kin

  2. About the mystery photo: the old lady could be very well the mother of Arentje Vermaas (1866 -1955) wive of Gerrit Siersema (1864 -1921). In that case she would be the grandmother of Klaas Siersema (1895 -1955). The mother of Arentje Vermaas was named Lena Pietronella Zwarts she was born in 1837 in Brielle near Rotterdam. Her dochter Arentje also born in Brielle lived her hole life in Rockanje very near to Rotterdam as well.
    By the way Rockanje is very close to Oostervoorne, the place where the picture of Klaas and Helena de Wit in the dunes was taken in 1922. They probably where there to visit his mother and grandmother!
    Arentje did move to Brielle in july 1897 and took the (3) children with her. Gerrit Siersema moved back to Haren close to Groningen the same year.

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