maandag 7 januari 2008

What's in a name?

Wilhelmus Diederik Benjamins (1815-1858) , the adopted son of Willem Vincent Helvetius van Riemsdijk (1752-1818) and his mistress from Sulawesi Dekkan van Mandhar had the family name Benjamins instead of Van Riemsdijk. We presume that early nineteenth century Dutch men of high rank did not want their male adopted children of mixed blood to carry the official family name. For that reason they gave their bastard children fancy names, like Benjamin(’s) or the family name spelled backwards to forwards. For example (van) Riemsdijk became Kijdsmeir.

A remarkable fact that we noticed in the genealogy is that the female adopted child Maria Catharina van Riemsdijk (1815 -1888) was allowed to carry the familyname Van Riemsdijk. We presume that, because she was a girl, the name Van Riemsdijk would very soon change into her husbands name. In fact it did when she married, in 1833, 18 years old, with F.H.C. van Motman, see third picture below (more information on page 452 Genealogy).

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Maria Catharina van Riemsdijk was the daughter of Willem Vincent Helvetius van Riemsdijk with his Sulawesian mistress Mietje van Mandhar. She was born only 23 days after her halfbrother Wilhelmus Diederick, the second son of mistress Dekkan van Mandhar and Willem Vincent Helvetius van Riemsdijk.

On the painting below you see the 32 years older halfbrother of Maria Catharina and Wilhelmus Diederick. This halfbrother was the son of Willem Vincent Helvetius van Riemsdijk and his Dutch wife Catharina Margaretha Craan. The two pictures give you an impression of the difference in colour and race between the children of Willem Vincent Helvetius van Riemsdijk with his Dutch wife (Catharina Craan) and the ones he had with his Indonesian mistresses.
 

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Daniel Cornelis Helvetius van Riemsdijk was the son of Willem Vincent Helvetius and his Dutch wife Catharina Craan.

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