* My tenth great grandfather, Balthazar Ulrich was a button maker. He married Jannetje Cjalders on the tenth of June 1665 near where my mom was born 300 years later. He was lived at the same time as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Leeuwenhoek and Frans Hals. (Shout out to the Dutch for being meticulous record keepers).
Baltus Ulrich knoopmaker
* My family heirlooms - Zeeuwse knoppen, buttons from the province if Zeeland. Dutch button jewelry of Zeeland from my mom and travels in Nederland. My 5x great grandmother, Krina van Alderwereld was born there in Vlissingen in 1741.
* The sea can be unforgiving. Women wore their coral and precious metal buttons like bank accounts on their person. You would hope your sweetheart returns. I’m here simply by chance.
* My great grandmother, Cornelia, Rotterdam, circa 1900 with her first three children. She will have eleven more. One would die in a Japanese war camp in Indonesia - a poor man doing the messy work of the colonial state. Her husband was a butcher. And a jerk,. I'm grateful to be a modern woman with a daughter, standing in her shadow, but with a lot more opportunity and choice and agency.
Below is the oldest, Toosje, seen in the checked dress on the right above in regional dress when she's older:
Ten generations later. I work in antique buttons.
Life circles and continues ever onward.