Jan Hendrik van de Waal- was he a spy?

August 24, 2015
Jan Hendrik van de Waal was born in 1829. Dutch records are generally similar to English but Napoleon instituted civil registration at an earlier date, about 1811. I had no idea Napoleon didn't just conquer people but also changed their administrative structures. All we learned in English history were battles!
The Dutch have a population record, which is like an English census but with more information, such as religion (and always includes the wife's maiden name). But, also, the Dutch did something we in England didn't do. Each time you left a town you had to sign out at the Town Hall and sign in wherever you went to. So we could follow Jan Hendrik round the Netherlands.
Jan Hendrik's father was a farmer in Zoelen, in Gelderland and his mother a house servant. When Jan Hendrik was 19 he went into the Militia where he served for five years. If he didn't already have a knowledge of horses, he learned this in the Militia and in 1853 he was employed as a groom by Hans Willem Baron van Aylva van Pallandt of Waardenburg and Neerijnen. It's interesting to think of my ancestor working in these wonderful castles.
My information on Hans Willem is mainly from Wikipedia - https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Willem_van_Aylva_van_Pallandt. I don't speak Dutch.
He was a rich Dutch nobleman in the King's party. In 1848 there were riots and uprisings across Europe as ordinary people strove for more democracy. The Dutch King, who had previously resisted attempts at making the Netherlands more constitutional, joked rather bitterly that he went to sleep a monarchist and arose a Republican. He made changes to the constitution. Hans Willem joined the Dual Chamber in 1840 and in 1848 was an MP but was also given "special duties", presumably keeping an eye on any group which might show rebellious tendencies. This is the man for whom Jan Hendrik worked.
Hans Willem had married a rich noblewoman from Kollum in Friesland and on a visit there, Jan Hendrik met a pretty Friesian girl named Klaaske Geldmaker.
It took my cousin in Queensland and myself a long time to find the marriage. We knew that the eldest son, Wouter, was born in Ginneken near Breda on 24 Jan 1858 but no marriage was registered there, or in Friesland, or various other places. Eventually a kind Dutchman, as more records came onto the internet, found it for us in Leiden on 13 Jan 1858. None of Klaaske's family is shown as witnesses. I hope someone accompanied Klaaske on her long trip from Leiden to Breda, 11 days before she gave birth. Jan Hendrik didn't. Although Klaaske's father registered the baby's birth, he said Jan Hendrik lived in Breda and was a gardener. But we know from the town hall registry that Jan Hendrik didn't come home for 7 months. Surely no ordinary groom could be so indispensable to his master. Did he help to collect information?
Why did Klaaske's family move to Breda? They didn't register at the Town Hall, so they were there illegally. Klaaske and her baby died in a cholera epidemic in 1866. Her parents, who had already lost one daughter in Breda, went back home to Friesland.
Jan Hendrik and Klaaske had four children, three of whom survived to adulthood. After Klaaske's death, Jan Hendrik married Dina van der Bend in 1867 and had three more children. He died in the TB sanatorium at Loosduinen and the death certificate was signed by nurses. Was he bored as a gardener?
Did he think back to his days riding round the Netherlands with Hans Willem?

Marie Ball
Member 1030

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