On a recent visit to the Westfries Archief, I found the first mention of Bruno Zee in the records of Medemblik. On May 29th, 1734, Bruno (noted as Bruine Seekamp; this is before he shortened his name to Zee) rented a house owned by the city of Medemblik, on the south side of the old harbour, for 1 guilder per month. The house was previously occupied by Annetje Elemants.
This tells us the specific date that Bruno moved to Medemblik from Bremen – which we guessed might have indeed been in 1734, but now we know for sure.
But where exactly was this house? The concept of streetnames and numbers as location identifiers would not come into popular use until later in the 18th century. Until this time, houses were usually referred to as being between two other known parties – with x person to the west, and y person to the east, or something like that.
Beginning around 1825, Holland created a huge land registry (Het Kadaster). It would be interesting to see if we can find a trace of a Zee/Seekamp descendant of Bruno in this area.
The above map is from 1825, which shows the Oude Haven area. The Erfgoed Beeldbank > has unindexed entries for Medemblik. Entry 169 & 176 match the map for the Gereformeerde Weeshuis, so we can look in the 1200’s for the area around Bruno’s house and see. Perhaps even if his name isn’t mentioned, some known neighbours might be. Further, we know that Bruno had some land beside the city’s Turfhuys, so that might well show up.
The houses of the south side of the harbour
For some reason, the idea of recreating the lay of the land in this part of Medemblik around 1800 is appealing, so I’m going to dig in and see what it looks like.
Oostersteeg – North side (1825)
The largest pieces of land on the south side of the Old Harbour are above. The kadaster lists indicate who owns what > (and what it is).
1201 Jan de Boer, Arbeider, house and garden, 2 roeden 70 ellen
1202 idem, house, 40 ellen
1203 Jacob Vegeters, Landman, Moetland, 13 r. 60 e.
1204 idem, house, 30 e
1205 Jacob Vos, nimalvader?, House, 23 e.
1206 idem, Meadow
1207 idem, Shed
1208 idem, Meadow
1209 Sijmen Jongert, kranteman, House & land, 01r45e
1210 Klaas Zon, sjouerman, House & land, 01r 53e
1211 Cornelis Meijer, metselaar, House, 76e
1212 Pieter Boker, Timmerman, Schuurtje, 31e
1213 idem, tuin
1214 idem, huishof
1215 Hendrik Bagman, koopman, garden
1216 Israellitische Gemeente, kerkhof,
1217 Hendrik Bagman, koopman, schuur
That completes this portion of the south-side of the Old Harbour. Some interesting things right away: a lot of meadow and farmland right here in the city centre, together with some smaller houses owned by ordinary people – including Klaas Zon, a sjouerman, or a dock-hand. This was Bruno’s profession in later years, and also that of his grandson Jan Zeekamp. Jan Zeekamp died in 1812, when his address was noted as Bangaard Wijk 1 No. 110.
The Israeli churchyard is mentioned on Wikipedia >, as located on the corner of the Oude Haven and the Bangert – the same place. It was purchased in 1765. This serves to confirm that we’re looking at the right places here in 1830.
In terms of Bruno’s house that we are looking for, it’s unlikely that a bunch of houses that existed would have been pulled down to make way for gardens and meadows, so we can rule out this particular area. Actually, based on older maps, this seems to have happened!
After three years living in rented accomodation, Bruno was able to buy his own house in Medemblik in 1737. It was also on the south side of the old harbour.
Coopt Bruijn Zee wonende alhier van de welgemakte Heer Mr. Cornelis Houtuijn in qualiteit als bobven bij publique veiling, een huijs staande aan de Zuijd Zijd van de Oude Haven binnen deze stadt belent Hendrik Raper ten westen.
The price was 42 guilders.
From this, we can see the first clue as to the location of the house: next door to Hendrik Raper, to the west.
On the same day, a man named Lucas Lucasz paid the taxes on his new house in the same area, for 18 guilders – his entry in the Gaarder book follows Bruno. There was only one person with this name in Medemblik, more correctly spelled as Lucas Lucassen. His wife was Lena Nieuwenhuijzen, and his full name was likely Lucas Lucassen Veen. As we can see from the baptism book below, Lucas was, like Bruno, a member of the Lutheran church. The Lutheran community was very small in Medemblik – mostly Germans who had emigrated here. In March of 1738, both Lucas and Bruno baptised their children Hijltje and Catharina (Trijntje) in the same week.
There is no question that Bruno and Lucas knew each other – same church, both with children of the same age, and living in the same area; from their joint visit to the tax office we can take a reasonable punt that they were friends. Lucas’s house was next door to Jacob Haan, to the east, and there is a note that it was occupied by the widow of Claas Stam (probably named Geertje Klaas >).
We know that in 1740 Bruno also was given a piece of land by the city, located beside the city’s Turfhuys. If we can find the Turfhuys on the 1825 map, it should be in the same location.
Zuid-Zijde Oude Haven 1730 onwards
In order to find the location of Bruno’s house, his neighbours, etc. – piecing together the puzzle.
Source: Memoriaal van de Stadt’s verhuurde huizen beginnende 1731
13-Jan-1731 Stijntje Cornelis huurt een huis bellent ten westen Henrik Raper
1-Jan-1732 Aan Matthijs v.d. Sluijten een huis gen. de Noorderpoort 20gl jaar.
12-Apr-1732 Aan Pieter Benedictus van Leeuwen de voorhuis van Nelisje Pieters staande beoosten de Rode Leeuw op de Oude Haven 16 gl.
3-May-1732 Aan Pieter Ankersz, een huis naast belent (het oude huis van) Anthonij de Smit ten oosten, en Henrik Raper ten westen, 15gl.
10-May-1732 Verkocht aan Casper Heitsje, een huis, belent Jacob Meindertsz ten oosten & een stads erf ten westen
21-Mar-1733 Aan Coenraat, het huijs daar Jan Broersz ingewoont heeft, naast Casper Heijtsica.
29-May-1734 Aan Bruno Seekamp van Bremen, een huis staande op de zuid zijde van de oude haven, bewoont bij Annetje Elemants, 1gl per month.
Notes Kadaster 1832
The big parcels of land - Oostersteeg North 1207/1208 -