de Meij family

Leeuwenhoek's first wife, Barbara de Meij, 1629 - 1666, was the daughter of Elias de Meij and Maria Verlin. 

Elias de Meij, who died in 1646, was a merchant in serge, a type of twill fabric, just as his son-in-law would be a merchant in linen. When Elias married in 1622 in Delft, he was listed as coming from Norwitch in England but living on the Oosteinde in Delft. His wife, Maria Virlin (Virulij, Vierling, Vierlincx, Marija Vijerlincks, etc.) was listed as living in Utrecht.

Being new to Delft, the de Meij family did not offer Leeuwenhoek the social connections that his second wife's family did. Elias knew English, but by the time his son-in-law needed it to communicate with the Royal Society, Elias was long dead.

The city records show Elias owning half a dozen properties, listed below. If he had not brought with him to Delft the capital to purchase those properties, then he must have done well enough from the selling to fabric to afford them.

According to the Delft DTB records, Elias and Maria had six or perhaps seven children born between 1624 and 1633.

  • Johannis (Jan) 11-11-1624
  • Maria de Meij 27-09-1626
  • Jannetgen 17-10-1628
  • Barbara 10-12-1629
  • Jacobus 25-03-1632
  • Jacobus 27-10-1633

Two of them were buried in January 1629, two weeks apart, one living bij 't Groenevelt and other on the Oosteinde. One of them may have been Jannetgen because there are no other records of her. The other does not seem to be in the baptism records, so that child must have died shortly after birth.

The first Jacobus would have died before the second was born. In 1634, they buried an unnamed child, who would have been the second Jacobus, about nine months old.

That would leave the eldest child Johannis, who went by Jan, and the two daughters; Maria was born in 1626, three years before Barbara.

Elias left property on the Oosteinde and nearby to his two surviving children, Barbara and Maria, which is how the house on the Oosteinde, where Barbara grew up, came into Leeuwenhoek's estate in 1655. Maria is noted in an undated property sales contract (waarbrief) ORA 13 inv. 282 fol. 408r1 volg, 3 waarbrief 4f195v) as the owner of Vooromme on the east side of the Oosteinde.

Elias's widow Maria Virlin is noted twice in undated property records as owner of a property on the north side of the Nieuwenlangendijck (ORA 13 inv. 282 fol. 417v2 volg. 2) and on the north side of the Dronckesteech (ORA 13 inv. 282 fol. 403v2 volg. 2).

Elias's sisters

As noted in the will his daughters Barbara and Maria made in 1653, Elias had four sisters. The first noted was Lidia.

Elias had a sister Debora de Meij, who married Jacob Willemsz de Vinder, a serge worker from Leiden, 1617-04-16 in Delft. The marriage notice gave her birthplace as Norwich, England. Debora gave birth to seven children between 1618 and 1630. She died 1647-07-04 and after a second marriage De Vinder died in 1655.

He had another sister Maria de Meij who lived on the Achtersack in the Eerste Nieuwesteeg and who was buried  July 29, 1655 (DTB 39 fol 262).

On 1633-02-06, his sister Elizabeth (Lijsbet) de Meij, living on the Vrouwjuttenland, married Cornelis Cornelisz Bisschop ( -1691), buttonmaker (knoopmaker), living on the Kerkstraat), (v. ), begr. Delft 19-2-1671 N.K. Their children Cornelis Cornelis (the younger) and Maria Cornelis made a will in 1708 bequeathing 500 guilders to Leeuwenhoek's daughter Maria Thonis. In 1714, the inventory of the last surviving sibling Johannes Cornelis Bisschop notes that Maria Thonis actually received the 500 guilders.

Jan de Meij

had daughters Elizabeth (1661-) and Susanna (1664-1719)

Susanna de Meij married Antony Taarlingh (died 1664?). Their daughter Sara Taarling married Pieter Maartens Leeuwenhoek, grandson of Leeuwenhoek's cousin Lambrecht Huijchs.

Other records

whose burial is this?

Deceased: Marij de Meij
Residence: Oosteinde in Groenevelt
February 4, 1653, Nieuwe Kerk
DTB inv. 39 fol. 236v

She may have been married to Henrij Dama; their child Sara was born in 1636.