A little discovery...

If you have been following the build of my first dollhouse, you may know that I made up a little story about the history of the Canal Hou...



If you have been following the build of my first dollhouse, you may know that I made up a little story about the history of the Canal House and its owners.  A story consisting of general historical facts, some personal preferences and a bit of imagination.

The story starts with the fictional character of Martha van Grootheest de Kleijne, who buys the Canal House in 1742.  Parts of the story reflect my personal interests, as does the decoration of the house.  My preference for tea drinking is represented in the story, and my love for silver can be found throughout the house in beautiful miniature silver objects.  Later in the story a marriage to an English lady explains an English influence in the decoration.

Some of my much loved silver (and blue and white) objects in the dining room of my first dolls house.  




Martha's last name 'van Grootheest  de Kleijne' is partly a reference to my grandmother after whom I was named. My grandmother's last name was 'van Grootheest'.  The first part of the name 'Groot' means big.  'De Kleijne' means the little one, but it is a name I made up myself because I liked the juxtaposition of the two names and the connection to miniatures.

Recently I was searching for something online and I came across my grandmothers last name in the archives of her city of birth, Schoonhoven.  That sparked my interest and I kept reading and clicking and reading some more in the Schoonhoven archives.  It did not take me very long to trace a huge part of my grandmother's side of the family back to that city, going back as far as the 16th century.

The city of  Schoonhoven is renowned for its silver and is therefore known as 'silver city'.  For centuries it has been a centre for gold-and silversmiths and it is the location of the International Silver School.  Without much effort I found several of my ancestors to have been silver smiths.  Maybe this is the reason why I so love silver objects, it must be ingrained in my DNA.

Silver pill box made by my 3x great grandfather's brother Willem de Pleijt in 1854.

Going back further into my family's history in Schoonhoven, I am one of the descendants of Thomas Littel, an Englishman who married Lijsbeth Pieters in Schoonhoven in 1595. Thomas and Lijsbeth are my 11x great grandparents.

Littel.  The name comes from the Middle English meaning little.  Another descendant of the Littel family found in his research the family motto for the (a) Little family:  'Sua Gratia Parvis', which means 'Little things have a beauty of their own'.  Isn't this all a wonderful coincidence?  These little things fitting in so well with the story I made up.

Sua Gratia Parvis: Little things have a beauty of their own.

Of course, by the time you get to the generation of your 11x great grandparents you already have 8,192 great grandparents (yes!), so who knows what other interesting and fun family facts are waiting to be discovered and which other elements I may have unconsciously used in my dollhouse stories!



Another fun little detail I only thought of just as I was about to post this blog:  apart from my love for silver which is visible in my dollhouse, it also shows my love for blue and white porcelain and Delftware.  Three guesses where the 17th century progenitor of my family name came from?...Exactly.

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35 comments

  1. How nice :) I also love silver objects and blue and white <3 And I study latin, by the way.

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    1. Who knows, maybe you have some relation with silver and blue and white porcelain in your family too ;-)

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  2. Dear Josje,
    A wonderful discovery. It seems you are genetically disposed to things little, silver and Delft! Quite a nice inheritance . Fancy having that research material available to you from your home computer .
    overload at

    Your display of silver and blue and white porcelain is lovely.
    So interesting, thank you.
    Regards Janine

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    1. Thank you Janine. Isn't it a fun coincidence? The region which this part of my family is from happens to have all their files online, making it incredibly easy to search back and find them. It was pure chance that I picked up on the Littel branch.

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  3. A lovely sentiment for your first house!

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    1. By the way I love your silver an blue and white wares!

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  4. Hi Josje
    It was lovely reading about your ancestors, and the connection between your love of blue and white pottery and silverware. They do say that History has a way of repeating itself. You have a lovely collection of blue and white and silverware.
    Jayne

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    1. Hi Jayne, Yes, I think my ancestors would approve of my collection. ;-)

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  5. Hi Josje,
    What a wonderfull story......it's all in our DNA then, meaning we're the "victim" of our ancestors ;-P
    And like we say in Dutch: 'Toeval bestaat niet'.....once again it proofs to be right.
    Great story love to hear/read what else you will be digging up about the family.

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    1. Hi Jeffry, oh absolutely it is all in the DNA. And as for coincidence, well it was pure coincidence that I followed this line of my family and ended up with the Littles. Or maybe the saying is right and there is no such thing as coincidence.

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  6. Que bonito poder enlazar nuestras minis con los recuerdos familiares ...la plata y la porcelana azul ideales.
    Espero poder leer más descubrimientos de tus antepasados.
    Un abrazo
    Maite

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    1. Hello Maite, Oh I don't know if I'll be that lucky again in finding out something about my ancestors which ties in with my miniatures. But who knows! It would be fun to find out more.

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  7. Tanto la plata como las piezas de porcelana son preciosas.

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  8. mooie naam heeft je poppenhuis bewoonster. Toch heel bijzonder dat al die geschiedenis tegenwoordig met een 'paar' muisklikken gevonden kan worden.
    Jij hebt ook dezelfde liefde als ik voor blauw-wit servies en zilver, echt heel mooi allemaal.

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    1. Ja bijzonder is dat zeker. Een aantal jaren geleden was dat nog niet mogelijk geweest. Maar ik moet zeggen dat ik wel geluk had in die zin dat de regio waar mijn familie woonde erg veel documenten online heeft staan. Dan is het heel makkelijk zoeken! Tja, wat onze liefde voor zilver en porselein betreft...het is toch ook gewoon erg mooi. We zijn zeker niet de enigen ;-)

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  9. Hello, your site is absolutely lovely, your work is beautiful.
    Polly

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    1. Thank you Polly! I hoped you enjoyed browsing!

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  10. Wow, Josje, that is so Fascinating! Your whole family history is mirrored in your mini story! And to discover such an appropriate motto is just too much!!! It is Fate at work for sure! I love seeing the glimpses of your canal house and the beautiful silver pieces! Thank you for sharing! I love history and the connections of family make it all the richer!

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    1. Thank you Betsy. Yes I thought it was an incredible coincidence as there are so many other branches and ancestors to find. But to trace just this one line and find this name and motto... Lots of fun!

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  11. That is really quite amazing. I love the motto that little things have a beauty all their own.

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  12. Wow I can't believe it! Actual facts, some coincidence, and intuition all rolled up into one wonderful dollhouse and story of the house. Amazing, and your pieces are beautiful

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    1. Thanks Linda. Yes, you can imagine my surprise when I uncovered these facts which coincided with my fiction.

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  13. Son unas piezas,preciosas,finas y delicadas!!!
    Besos

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  14. Jee Josje, wat ontzettend toevallig en geweldig dat je dit hebt gevonden en met ons deelt! Het geeft alles meer betekenis en wat is er leuker dan ontdekken dat een voorliefde (zoals voor zilver en delfts blauw) op zo'n manier terugkomt in je familie, wauw! Mindblowing! En dat pillendoosje gemaakt door de broer van je 3x groot overgrootvader (zeg ik dat goed?) is waanzinnig mooi.. En het zijn echt prachtige miniaturen die je hebt verzameld, ik heb er altijd met veel plezier naar gekeken en nu weer. Veel plezier met het verder uitzoeken van de beroepen, voorliefdes en achtergronden van de rest van je duizenden voorouders ;).

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    1. Dank je Monique. Ja heel grappig toeval. Nou zijn er natuurlijk heel veel mensen die van zilver en delfts blauw houden...ik schrijf het voor het verhaal natuuuuuuuuurlijk toe aan mijn familiegeschiedenis ;-)
      Het pillendoosje vond ik bij toeval online, het is gemaakt door mijn oudvader's broer. De oudouder is de overgrootouder van je grootouder. Ik wist niet dat het zo heette hoor, dat heb ik allemaal opgezocht en dat was ook weer interessant. Er staat een duidelijke lijst hier: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voorouder_(verwantschap)
      Volgens de lijst is dus Thomas Littel mijn stamoudvader.
      Voorlopig heb ik weinig tijd, maar over een maand of zo ga ik weer verder met uitzoeken, werken aan mijn miniaturen en verzamelen!

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  15. Sorry I'm so late, Josje. I loved the story, you can't beat s background story to add to the appeal of a mini house. Especially when the names are closely linked with your own.
    Hugs
    Si

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    1. No apologies Simon! It is always lovely to hear from you. I had fun researching the story and who knows what else I may find when I have some more time to continue my research. It will have to wait a while as I am too busy at the moment!

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  16. How amazing to be able to trace back your family tree so far, and how wonderful to find some silversmiths there, perhaps eve miniature silversmiths?

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    1. Oh that would be even better wouldn't it? I think I will have to go to the silver guild to find out more about them. Hopefully next year I'll have some time to do that.

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  17. This is one of the things that makes this hobby so interesting, when you find out these "Little" incidentals that suddenly surface and add a roundness and a richness to what you are already deeply enjoying.

    elizabeth

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    1. Couldn't agree more Elizabeth. So well said!

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