Look at that beard! I looked it up. It’s not quite an Old Dutchman, funnily enough. This is a style of facial hair often called a Chin Curtain or The Lincoln. I’m going with Chin Curtain, since the one thing I do know about this photo is that it was taken in the Netherlands, not America.
Anyways, this photo was in with others of the Kool family in the possession of Halbo Kool (the living one, not any of the previous generations). He doesn’t know who it’s of, but we are able to tell it was taken in Groningen and you can see a slight resemblance to Cornelis Kool  in the eyes, nose and lips. His clothing is similar to that of ancestors in other photos I’ve estimated to be from the mid- to late-1800s. All this leads me to guess that the ancestor in the photo is likely one of Cornelis Kool’s brothers, of which he had three: Jan Kool , Heero Kool  or Harm Kool . There was a fourth brother, but he did not live to adulthood.
Clearly, I’ve been spending some time on YouTube recently. This is another historic video of what Groningen used to be like, only this one is from wartime — 1944 to be exact. You’ll notice the heavy military presence, guys spitting on Hitler’s image, and then the devastation from the bombing during WWII. Again, I will point out that this is not a video I or anyone in my family created, but it does provide a glimpse into what my ancestors saw and experienced, so I wanted to post it here. It was added to YouTube by Kee Wijnands last year.
I should preface this by saying this is not a video I or anyone in my family created. It is merely footage from Groningen, Netherlands, in the 1923 that the Dutch Institute of Sound and Vision more recently uploaded to YouTube. I found it interesting to watch, since my family lived there during that time. It gave me some perspective (for instance, many people got around by foot or on bicycles), so I thought it would be good to post here.
The Groningen Exhibition of Craft and Art Industry, roughly translated, was a big event, seeing about 300,000 visitors over its two-month run from June 15-August 15, 1903. Some accounts have the event running until September 1 of that year, but the official dates on the tickets and poster indicate that it was supposed to end on August 1st. It had a 60-page guide book and a commemorative coin. One would have to cross over a bridge, under a sign that read Tentoonstelling (Google translated: Shows) to enter the grounds. In one courtyard, a giant wine bottle stood two stories high, and in another, a fountain.
Halbo Kool, the living grandson of Halbo Kool (b.1873) and son of Halbo Christiaan Kool (I know, not confusing at all, right?), sent me these scans of Halbo Kool (b.1873)’s and Christina Kolle’s permanent passes to the event. In his notes, Halbo Kool says he’s not sure if they have had a stand for the H.C. Kool hat shop, but I’m fairly confident they would have, being located in Groningen and such good business people.
Wubbina Engellina Haken was born to Geerd Jans Haken and Jantje Hinderks Fols in Boen, the center of the municipality of Bunde, Ostfriesland, Germany — just near the border of the Netherlands — in between May of 1824 and May of 1825.
Wubbina was 26 when she married Engbertus Freerks Swalve on May 4, 1851, and he was 39. She was living in Boen and he was living in Bovenhuisen at the time, but they moved in together Böhmerwold, Germany, after they wed. She was with child before the end of the year, starting a fertile trend that would last 18 years.
Wubbina bore 11 children, including one set of twins, but one of the twin girls died the day of childbirth. Eight of the children lived to adulthood. They were: Geert Engbertus Swalve , Dajes Geziena Swalve , Freerk Bellinga Swalve , Johann Engbertus Swalve , Engbertus Freerks Swalve , Gepkea Wubbina Swalve , Heinrich Engbertus Swalve , and Aaltje Engbertus Swalve .
Wubbina’s husband, Freerks, who was a master baker, died on April 3, 1873. She passed away many years later on September 7, 1889, in Böhmerwold.
Editor’s note: Wubbina was born in the early 1800s. This was written incorrectly –although hopefully obviously so when compared with the photograph –in an earlier version of this post.
Now all that has changed.
Following my initial post on the topic, Cousin Anje was able to track down a news article from July 7, 1950, that had since been posted online:
“According to records secured by the descendants of the De La Penha family in Canada and in London, King William the Third of Britain was saved from drowning in a shipwreck in 1695 by Joseph De La Penha, an Amsterdam Jewish merchant. In gratitude King William gave De La Penha hereditary tenure forever of Labrador. This grant was legalized in 1697 in a document signed at Het Loo Palace in Holland and renewed in 1732 and 1768, the descondants of the Do La Penha family claim.” – Reuters Article: “Descendants of Portuguese Jewish Family Revive Claim for Possession of Labrador“
The article goes on to say how descendants started to band together before WWII to file their claim to the land and that proceedings were postponed because of the war. It says Isaac de la Penha, of Montreal, filed the first suit in 1927 and then it was later brought up jointly by descendants in Belgium and P.H. Molhado. It also alludes to one of the descendants finding the 1697 document inside a book he borrowed from a Dutch library in London (but more on that later).
From here, I had a name: Joseph de la Penha.
De la Penha (1658-1731) was a “Rotterdam Sephardi merchant, ship-owner, and financier of privateers,” according to “The Dutch Intersection: The Jews and the Netherlands in Modern History” edited by Yosef Kaplan.
Through Google book searches, I found several authors saying the land had been given to de la Penha. Each seemed to regurgitate the same short line about how William III had given the land to de la Penha and then speculate that it could have been gifted in exchange for helping discover Labrador.
One result, though, stood out. From the “Search Out the Land” book, which was primarily concerned with the equality of Jews:
“The practice of granting proprietary colonies by royal charter continued even after the passage of the restrictive Corporation and Test Acts. Pennsylvania was chartered to William Penn, an English Quaker, in 1682, and Labrador was chartered to Joseph de la Penha, an Iberian Jew who lived in Rotterdam, in 1697.
The charter given to de la Penha was perhaps the most unusual of the English colonial charters. According to the Dutch text of the document, on 1 November 1697 William III of England granted all of Labrador from the 54th to the 60th degree of latitude to de la Penha in perpetuity. The grant was likely a reward for de la Penha after the captain of one of his ships had defended the English coast by fighting a victorious battle with two French ships off Dunkirk in February 1696. De la Penha was known to have sent large numbers of Sephardic ‘poor Jews’ from Holland to London. A letter from the wardens of the London Sephardic Congregation to de la Penha in 1692 warned him to discontinue forwarding poor people to London as ‘His Majesty’s Council have just passed a new Order forbidding entry at the ports without a passport which cost £3, 10s. od., a sum which the congregation cannot possibly afford for all the would be immigrants who are detained thereby on entry.’ It was likely anticipated that de la Penha would settle Labrador with Sephardic ‘poor Jews.’ Notwithstanding this extraordinary gesture by the English crown, it is not known whether de la Penha took any action to attempt to establish a Labrador of the Jewish colony.” – “Search Out the Land: The Jews and the Growth of Equality in the British Colonial America, 1740-1867” by Sheldon J Godfrey
I may be completely off the mark — but I find it interesting that this excerpt is saying de la Penha was bringing poor Jews into London, where they were not wanted. That implies to me that part of the motive behind the colonial charter could have been to get rid of that problem, not just a “thank you.” However, I’m still holding on to that saved-the-king-from-drowning story since it seemed to come from the original documents gathered for the court case whereas this telling is based somewhat in speculation.
Then again, the colonial charter could have come about because the merchant de la Penha loaned William of Orange the heaps of money he needed to take over England.
Yes, really. It wouldn’t exactly have been out of character.
“This prominent personage, active in supporting the Habsburg Pretender to the Spanish throne during the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1714), had fled to Holland from Spain in the late seventeenth century. He would have known no Hebrew and relatively little Judaism, but he was a man of very wide horizons.” – “The Dutch Intersection” edited by Yosef Kaplan
According to a news article that ran in the Milwaukee Sentinel on Sept. 9, 1951 (the headline read “Presenting the Bill for a Throne” and the subhead said, “A Loan Allegedly Made to William of Orange May Soon Set Off a Legal Battle Involving the Ownership of Labrador”), “Labrador, Cortereal, and Estotiland” were repayment:
“Joseph de la Penha was a wealthy merchant and ship owner of Spain who fled the inquisition there in the 17th century and settled, with most of his money in tact, in Holland. He added to his holdings, and when William called on him for a loan he responded so generously that William got to England in style.
William then the paid off with Labrador, which had been claimed in William’s name by a Dutch explorer named de Hartog. Neither William nor de la Penha had any idea that Labrador was anything more than a rocky coast. It was purely a symbol.” – Milwaukee Sentinel Article: “Presenting the Bill for a Throne” by Booton Herndon
The article goes on to say how Isaac de la Penha (remember the guy who filed the original suit before the war?) had a great nephew named Maurice Groen, who was a bright student, and that Maurice was tasked with tracking down information and documentation to the family’s claim.
“In the archives of the Netherlands treasury he found a receipt for 10 coins, received from Daniel de la Penha. Attached was a copy of the grant to Labrador. Not long after that, Maurice turned up the original. The grants were specific the de la Penhas had indeed been given Labrador in perpetuity.”
Daniel de la Penha was the eldest of Joseph de la Penha’s sons and the land went to him after Joseph’s death. After Daniel died, William V updated the land deed for David de la Penha, according to the Milwaukee Sentinel article. And so, while I don’t think any of those three de la Penhas ever made it to Labrador, the family did receive funds from the property for a number of years.
The group that filed the suit, in a decision led by the elders, declined a deal of $50,000 and 2 percent of the profits before the war. When it was refiled following the war, in part by my great-grandmother Louise “Loes” Kool (n. Lopes-Cardozo) with many of the descendants killed in the Holocaust, it was denied.
UPDATE: Much progress was made after this post. Read about it here.
In looking into my family history, there’s a tale of a Dutch sea captain in the Lopes-Cardozo — possibly van Ameringen, etc. — line who saved a King of England from drowning. As a reward, the king, who owned Labrador, granted this ancestor land in the Labrador/Newfoundland area.
Once a Dutch sea captain, always a Dutch sea captain, though, because my ancestor never took him up on the offer.
When my great-grandmother Louise Lopes-Cardozo (who died just around when I was born) looked into it after moving to Canada following WWII, she traveled to the East Coast for a hearing, but the land had already been given away/reallocated and her claim was denied.
I’m working on tracking down some of the details, since all of this has reached me second-hand. I reached out to my great uncle and an elderly cousin, but they didn’t seem to know anything more. I also put the question out there on the British history sub-Reddit discussion board to see if anyone had any thoughts as to who the king could have been.
Redditors had four suggestions:
William III – This is my favorite suggestion because he was actually known for giving out land grants. According to one user, he “made land grants to Dutch supporters/officers which were subsequently revoked by parliament.”
James II – This one goes back pretty far, but also holds merit. According to one user, he “was an admiral during the Anglo-Dutch wars in the 1660s. …not sure how much actual service at sea he saw, but that was also the time Britain was establishing colonies in the Americas.”
William IV – He was in the navy during the Napoleonic wars.
George V – He was also in the navy during the Napoleonic wars.
Now, one respondent did point out that this could be taking the long way to finding the answer to my who, what, when, where questions, and that possibly I should be looking for individuals in my own ancestry, which is a good point.
I do recall a couple years ago seeing “sea captain” noted on the digital record of a wedding or a birth when I was first compiling my family history. And it was when I went down the Lopes-Cardozo rabbit hole. However, I don’t remember whose name I saw that next to, and I also feel like there’s probably more than one.
I’d love to hear other theories, recollections, or suggestions.
This is probably my favorite photo of Wubbina Engellina Johanna Petronella Swalve. Some others I have look like they are from while she’s pregnant or after giving birth, or after her husband died and she was confined to a wheelchair. In this one, she’s dressed all fancy with her big hat and umbrella.
Since it was my favorite, I edited back in the detail in the photo editing app Snapseed. Previously, it was too washed out from age to really see. It’s grainy, but at least you can see it now.
I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while now, and by “for a while” I mean a couple years. In the following photos, you will see an ancestor I believe to be on the Swalve side of the family. Initially, I thought she was Helena Catrina Koster, who married Freerk Bellinga Swalve and was mother to Wubbina Swalve and A.J. Koster (Swalve).
Not only is she photographed with Freerk and Wubbina, but the years that she lived line up with the photos. Koster was born in 1852 in Amsterdam and died on January 10, 1912 in Beverwijk. However, cousin Willem Vliestra sent me a photo from an old album that actually noted a portrait as Helena Koster-Swalve, which none of these photos do. (Otherwise, they wouldn’t be mysteries!)
Sometimes, I think the woman in the portrait could be the same as the woman you see in the following photos, but then I dismiss it because of her dark eyes. This effectively leaves the mystery of who is in these photos (and repeatedly with Freerk). A general consensus could sway me, but in general, I don’t trust my own judgment on this since I don’t want to re-write history all willy nilly like.
In the first photo, the woman’s head appears just behind a wagon driver with supplies for the Swalve bakery in Beverwijk:
The bakery is where Helena Catrina gave birth to her children.
Here is the unknown ancestor’s portrait:
Here she is again, with Wubbina, Wubbina’s husband, Dirk de Wit, and father, Freerk.
And, finally, here she is with Freerk and possible Wubbina: