Pages tagged leeuwenhoek

Basket makers

Leeuwenhoek came from a family of basketmakers on his father's side. Although, according to Leeuwenhoek biographers Schierbeek and van Seters, the records are a little murky, Antony's grandfather Thonis Philpsz. (?-1643), was a basketmaker, as was Thonis's brother Cornelis Philpsz. (?-1616).

Brewers

Leeuwenhoek's mother, Margaretha Bel van den Berch, came from a family of brewers and cloth merchants. On May 16, 1716, van Leeuwenhoek wrote to Gerard van Loon: My grand- and great-grandfathers were brewers, and my grandmother was the daughter of a brewer.

Related families

Other female members of Leeuwenhoek's family married into these families: van Kessel van Schie van Amsterdam van Hasseld den Appel

The Leeuwenhoek name: How to pronounce it

In Dutch, leeuw is lion and hoek is corner. When Antony's grandfather Thonis became a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in February 1601, he put his name down as a basketmaker living on the Oosteinde at the Leeuwenpoortge, literally, the Little Lion's Gate, the "Little" referring to the gate, not the lion.

The Leeuwenhoek name: How to spell it

In the 1600's, spelling was not standardized. Many of the names in the documents discussed on this web have at least two spellings, sometimes in the same document. The Delft baptism, marriage, and burial records have half-a-dozen different combinations of Leeuwenhoek's name, three variants of his first name and three of the family name.

The Leeuwenhoek name: What about the "van"?

Modern biographers point out that Antony began using the van after he achieved international fame in the 1680's. Some imply that the lowly, self-taught shopkeeper felt the need to tart up his name, a bit of social climbing revealing of his character. Like the Vermeer connection, that makes a good story, but it's a little more complicated.