That woman

Jan Dircxsz van der Clijff to Guillermo van der Voort, 12 February 1667; call no. 465, RG 172: Familie Backer, Stadsarchief Amsterdam.

In all times, fathers worried about their sons who would come to no good. But rarely do we hear firsthand of those worries from past centuries. In this letter from 1667, Jan Dircxsz van der Clijff writes to a cousin who helped him to prevent the marriage of his son Jan with Anna Harmens Kistemaecker. Father has a declaration made by a notary and sends it to Breda to prevent a “schadelijck en schandelijck huwelijck” (a harmful and shameful marriage) to this woman.

It is true, he writes, that I should have been wiser, because Jan desired to marry more than once, although it would have been such a shame as with this one. We thought that he wouldn’t be so foolish anymore, because he is becoming older now, and I hoped that he would be wiser. But his latest foolishness is worse than the ones before. I don’t know anymore what we should do with him. I wished we could send him to the East Indies, but he is in the army in Breda now, and I don’t know how he could be dismissed there. And I worry that he will taper still more with “dat vrouwmens” (that woman). 1

The irony of history is that Jan Dircxsz van der Clijff got “that woman” as daughter-in-law after all. On 19 June 1693 Jan van der Klijf, widower of Annetje Hermans, married Johanna Reneth.2

With Jan it ended well after all. Jan Jansz van der Clijf is mentioned in 1672 as liquor seller on the Botermarkt in Leiden.3



  1. call no. 465, Record Group 172: Familie Backer, Stadsarchief Amsterdam.
  2. call no. 25, fo. AA233; Record Group 1004: Dutch Reformed marriage banns Leiden; Erfgoed Leiden e.o.
  3. Erfgoed Leiden e.o. (, Index op bier- en brandewijnverkopers 1655–1818.

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