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.|
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.