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Articles: Dutch Cemetery Kochi

Fort Kochi - Overview of Dutch-related tombs at the Dutch Cemetery

Over the past 130 years, several inventories have been carried out at the Dutch Cemetery, of which Cotton's List of inscriptions on tomb and monuments in Madras (1905/1945) is the most famous. However, Cotton did not identify all monuments as Dutch, which were recognized in later inventories. Some monuments, on the other hand, have disappeared or their text plate is no longer legible. The table below offers an overview of several inventories of the Dutch Cemetery. And presented here is an visual overview of grave monuments found in 2020 by the joint team of Dodenakkers.nl (René ten Dam) and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Leon Bok and Nanette de Jong). Also are mentioned the two monuments previously recorded by Cotton and the one by Singh, which all three not found by the 2020-team. 

Overview cemetery
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Fort Kochi - Adriaan Poolvliet (bef.1736-1799)

Adriaan Poolvliet was born before 1736 in Cananor and died on 10 September 1799 in Kochi. His parents were the surgeon François Poolvliet van Cochin[i] and Francina Danzer.

Adriaan lost his mother early on. In 1736 his father François had to deposit all the maternal inheritance in the orphanage for his young sons Adriaan and Johannes.[ii] As far as we know, his father has not remarried. Because Adriaan still had his grandmother in the house for a while, it is not inconceivable that this Ina Ringenkamp, also a young widow of François Poolvliet Sr., already lived in the house with her son. Because Francois Jr. spent a large part of his life in Cananor, this partly escapes the administration of Kochi.

Testament of Sara Harmensz (NA)
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Fort Kochi - Johan Adam Cellarius (1740-1796)

When the Oosthuizen, a ship of the Hoorn chamber, leaves the Texel roadstead on 19 May 1762, this also means a definitive farewell to Europe for the man who appears in the pay book as Corporal Jan Adam Zelarius. He was born in 1740 as the son of Johan Jacob Cellarius and Maria Miller from Olm (Ulm), in present-day Germany.[i] Correct spelling of name and place of birth, even if a false identity was given, was important because the salary records were kept in the pay book during the entire service period. That Cellarius was aware of this is apparent from the fact that he wrote a letter to the Hoorn room in which he confirmed the correct spelling of his name and place of birth. A wise decision, because Cellarius had his annual pay statement collected by authorized representatives. In this way, his entire earnings over all those years could be used from Dutch trading houses to invest more than 10,000 guilders in real estate in Ulm (Germany) and in trading contacts in Europe.

Tomb of Cellarius
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Fort Kochi - Jacob Krantz (1735-1787) and Maria de Rode (1771-1798)

Jacob Kraus van Edenburg, captain-lieutenant and commander of the artillery, was born on 13 February 1735 in Edenburg and died 26 January 1787 in Kochi. He was married to Klara Elisabeth Schaak. Maria Elisabeth de Rode was born 22 October 1771 and died on 10 January 1798 in Tranquebar. She was married to Johan Casper Kautz and adopted daughter of Jacob Krantz and Klara Elisabeth Schaak.

Overview of the Dutch Cemetery (photo René ten Dam, 2020)
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Fort Kochi - Daniel van der Sloot (1737-1807)

Daniel van der Sloot was the youngest of ten children of Abraham van der Sloot and Maria Weijns. An exact date of birth or baptism is unknown, but he must have been born in Kochi around 1737 and was buried there in July 1807.

Abraham Abrahamszn van der Sloot was baptized on 10 March 1690 in Amsterdam and came in 1711 as a soldier with the Wateringen to Batavia (modern day Jakarta, Indonesia). Once arrived, he was able to show that he had more to offer. In 1716 he was appointed as a schoolmaster in Kochi and was later also appointed as a sexton.[i] He married Maria Weijns around 1716, who was probably born in Batavia. The six sons and four daughters of this marriage all received a good education and were good at reading, arithmetic and writing. They all reached adulthood and most of them married partners who in almost all cases also came from VOC families. An extensive network was created from which they will all have benefited for a number of generations.[ii]

Overview of the Dutch Cemetery (photo René ten Dam, 2020)
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Fort Kochi - Dorothea Lambertina Zeijsig (1774-1800)

Dorothea's date of birth and death is only known from her tombstone at the Dutch cemetery in Kochi. She was born 6 November 1774 and died 10 November 1800. She was only 26 years and 4 days old at the time. From the fragmentary preserved baptism and marriage records of Kochi we know that she was baptized in November 1774 as the daughter of Jeremias Zeijsig[i] and Cornelia Elisabeth van der Weijden. The baptismal witnesses were Jan Lambertus van Spall and Maria Margaretha Prins. Dorothea had an older sister named Cornelia Ernestina. She was born and baptized in November or December 1770.[ii]

Tomb of Dorothea Lambertina Zeijsig
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Fort Kochi - Aletta Augustina Thiel (1760-1784)

The lives of VOC women are hardly described and difficult to reconstruct. Only based on the information about their fathers and husbands is it possible to give some insight into their lives. For example, in Kochi Aletta Augustina Thiel is buried. We only know her date of birth and death because of the inscription on her tomb: Born 21 April 1760 and died 30 November 1784. So, she was only 24 and a half years old, and she was the wife of Jan Lambertus van Spall, a junior merchant from Utrecht (the Netherlands) who worked his way up to be the last Dutch governor of Kochi. He served as governor between 1793 and 1795.

Tombe of Aletta Thiel
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Fort Kochi - Jacob Bernard Weinsheimer (1745-1790)

Jacob Bernhard Weinsheimer was born on 25 November 1745 in Solsenheim, Germany and he died on 1 March 1790 in Kochi. He left on 19 May 1763 as a soldier with the Vrouwe Petronella of the Enkhuizen chamber as Jacob Bernard Weijns Heijmer van Sassenheim for Colombo.[i] He made a career in Ceylon and in January 1781 he was transferred to Kochi. He was in the prime of his life and got to know Wilhelmina van Harn. At first sight an attractive match, because she was the daughter of Reinier van Harn, titular chief merchant, ‘secunde’ and principal administrator of Mallabaar.[ii] There was one blemish about this young lady, however, and that was that her parents never married. Her mother was the free woman Elizabeth van der Werff.

Fort Kochi - Jacob Bernard Weinsheimer (1745-1790)
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Fort Kochi - Dutch Cemetery

Articles: Dutch Cemetery Kochi

Close to Fort Kochi's former bastion Gelderland the Dutch Cemetery is located, a silent testimony to the Dutch presence in this coastal town. In 1663, the Dutch took what was then Fort Manuel, built by the Portuguese. The original fort was considerably reduced in size by the Dutch for cost reasons and they also made the necessary adjustments within the fort. St. Francis Church was used by the Dutch for Protestant worship, while other Portuguese churches were demolished. The Santa Cruz Cathedral was even converted into a warehouse.

Overview of the Dutch Cemetery
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