After his return from his VOC adventures, Bruno Zee married Anna Margaretha Meyers in Bremen in 1725. There, they had four children, before moving to Medemblik, Holland, where another five were born.
Born in Bremen
Hendrik Bruynzoon Zeekamp Hinrich was their first born, baptised in the St. Petri Dom in Bremen on 23rd Oct, 1726, and moved with his parents to Medemblik around 1733, when he was 7 years old. He kept the name ‘Zeekamp’, unlike his younger brother Bruijn Bruynzoon Zee. Hendrik married Engeltje Kist in Medemblik at the age of 27, and the couple had 9 children there.
Margreta (Grietje) Zee Bruno’s first-born daughter, Margreta, or Grietje in Dutch, was born in 1728 in Bremen (baptised as Margreta Seekamp), grew up in Medemblik, and was married in Amsterdam in March 1752 to Fredrik Radius at the age of 23. Read the full page on Grietje Zee.
Lüder Zeekamp Bruno and Anna’s third child was a son named Lüder – baptised in Bremen on Dec 3rd, 1730. Nothing further has been found, so far, about Lüder. He may have died in Bremen at a young age, or moved to Medemblik with his parents.
Johann Zeekamp Born in 1732, moved to Medemblik with his parents the following year, and died at the age of 3 on Jun 25, 1736.
The first Zee’s born in Holland
Bruyn Bruynzoon Zee was born in Medemblik in 1735. He was the first Zee to be born in Holland, and is the forefather to which all living Zee’s in 2021 can trace their ancestry back to.
Following Bruyn, three girls were born: Trijntje, Anna, and Mietje.
Three Dutch sisters to the orphanage
Amongst a small crowd, the pastor, Jan Broens, said a few quiet words as the body was slowly into the ground. A small gathering, nothing ornate, nothing grandiose. The conditions cooperated with the occasion – an overcast, chilly, rainy April with a piercing northwest wind – spring was coming, but not yet.
Watching their father being buried that Friday were his three precious daughters: the oldest, fifteen, the youngest, ten. Two years earlier, they had confronted the same sadness: their mother Anna’s funeral, shortly before Christmas. But that time, this same father had been there to comfort them, to dry eyes and provide comforting hugs. In him they had sought their solace.
Now, he too was gone. If one could have been afforded, the tombstone would have read, “BRUNO ZEE, 1697-1753”. But there was not even enough money to pay the customary taxes on death, much less leave any inheritance. For these three girls, an already difficult life was about to become even more so. They were now orphans.
Returning to the home they would no longer be able to live in, they had a few days to mourn, and to pack. But only a few days. The following Thursday, they made their way to the Medemblik Orphanage. The registrant made a note of their names as they were checked in. Trijntje was first, as the eldest. Next, Anna, aged 12. Finally, Mietje – aged 10.
This was April 12th, 1753 – and there would be no further notes in this book on the Zee sisters for a full seven years. In 1760, a single remark was placed beside Anna’s name: died in this house. The register survives today in the Westfries Archief:
When Bruno Zee died in 1753 in Medemblik, his three young daughters became orphans; their mother and his wife Anna had already passed away in 1750. His two sons, Bruin and Hendrik were now adults (aged 18 and 26), as was daughter Grietje, 23, who had just married and had her first child in Amsterdam – but Trijntje (15), Anna (12), and Mietje (10), being underage, were sent to the Orphanage (Het Gereformeerd Weeshuis).
Trijntje Zee spent 11 years there, leaving in 1764 at the age of 26 and marrying Evert van der Hulst a year later in the Heerhugowaard – the couple settled there, the same village as her older brother Bruin, and had three children: Klaasje, Jacobus, and Bruijn.
Anna Zee did not survive the orphanage. We don’t know what happened, and have to assume she became ill, but she died in April 1760 shortly before her 20th birthday.
Mietje Zee spent almost 10 years in the orphanage, leaving in 1763 aged 19. Five years later she moved to Noordscharwoude, where her brother Bruin was busy building boats. She married Jacob Oudt in 1769.
At the entrance to the Orphanage today is this facade – put there in 1785 to depict the orphans. Could this be Trijntje and Mietje Zee? Perhaps they were the inspiration – there were only a handful of children that lived here. In any case, it’s a snapshot of their time in the orphanage, showing how they dressed.
The last child of Bruno and Anna was born in 1747: a son, Jan – who died just before his first birthday.
Children of Bruno Zee and Anna Margaretha Meijers: B1 Hendrik b 23-Oct-1726 Bremen x Engeltje Kist B2 Margreta b 10-Nov-1728 Bremem x Fredrik Radius B3 Lüder b 03-Dec-1730 Bremen NFN B4 Johann b 19-Oct-1732 Bremen + 25-Jun-1736 Medemblik B5 Bruin b 30-Mar-1735 Medemblik x Jannetje Tromp 1768 B6 Trijntje b 23-Mar-1738 Medemblik [Bruno Zee & Anna Meijer] + 11-Jul-1792 Zuid Scharwoude [>] x Evert van der Hulst 12-May-1765 Heerhugowaard b 03-Oct-1736 [Jacob van der Hulst & Claasie Hendriks Lier] + 28-Feb-1805 Zuid Scharwoude [>] Children: 1. Klaasje b 16-Mar-1766, Heerhugowaard 2. Jacobus b 05-Aug-1770, Heerhugowaard 3. Bruin c. 1772, Heerhughowaard x Jantje Brasser 23-Mar-1738 Doop-peet Aaltje Jans at her birth 12-Apr-1753 Entered the Medemblik Orphanage. The three girls arrived on the same day. Most recent arrival before them was Sijmon Vlaar, Jan Vlaar, and Grietje Vlaar - three siblings as well, parents Thijs Vlaar and Maartje Jans, born 43, 44, 46. Thijs Vlaar died 27-Jan-1753. Sijmon Vlaar married Aaltje Schouten 10-Nov-1764. The next arrivals were 12 Mar 1754, then 18 Mar 1757. In sum: very few people in the orphanage, and the three Vlaars and the three Zeekamps would have been close. Grietje Vlaar went to Enkhuizen 1769 [>] 06-Feb-1757 Confirmed Dutch Reformed Church Medemblik. 'Op belijdenis - Trijntje Bruin, with Jannetje Hendriks, Aaltje Jacobs, and Neeltje Dirks' [>] Original image of church book here [>] 01-Jan-1759 Trijntje Bruijn witness at baptism of Trijntje Zeekamp [>] 10-Jan-1762 Trijntje Bruins witness at baptism of Jan Hendriks Zeekamp. [>] 13-Mar-1764 Left the Medemblik Orphanage "Uit ’t huis gekocht voor f. 30” 14-Aug-1765 Trijntje Bruins vertr. met attestatie naar Langedijk [>] 03-Aug-1765 Zuid Scharwoude ('de HH Waard'): ingekomen van Medemblik, Trijntje Bruinsdr Zee [LMR Geref Kerk ZS]. Lived in same place as Bruin Zee & Jannetje Tromp from Aug 1765 onwards. 17-Jun-1769 Ondertrouw Jan Vlaar en Trijntje Bruijn [>]. Not sure who this Trijntje Bruin is. This was Jan Thijszn Vlaar (from the orphanage). Their first child Thijs born 10-Jun-1770 [>], witness Grietje Vlaar. Trijntje was Trijntje Jansdr Bruijn. 01-Oct-1785 Notarial deed. Attestatie of Evert Hulst and Trijntje Bruin at the requst of couple named Zwaag [>] 30-Jun-1833 Bruin Hulst dies aged 61, profession: schipper. B7 Anna b 05-Jun-1740 Medemblik [Bruno Zee & Anna Meijer] + 02-Apr-1760 Medemblik [>] 05-Jun-1740 Doop-peet Marta van Koppenhage 12-Apr-1753 Entered the Medemblik Orphanage 20-Apr-1758 Confirmation Dutch Reformed Church Medemblik. 'Op belijdenis - Anna Bruin, Dieuwertje Spaander, Trijntje Klaes + 6 others' [>] 02-Apr-1760 Died in the Orphanage Medemblik aged 19. Listed both in Orphanage register and DTB Medemblik [>] B8 Mietje *b 20-Mar-1743 Medemblik [Bruno Zee & Anna Meijer] + after 1769 Noordscharwoude x Jacob Out c. 2-Oct-1769 Noorscharwoude/Alkmaar * Alkmaar + 20-Mar-1743 Doop: Doop-peet Trijntje Maars. Jan Frederik Broens pastor. 12-Apr-1753 Entered the Medemblik Orphanage 01-Aug-1762 Confirmation Reformed Church Medemblik. 'Mietje Bruijns op belijdenis with Trijntje Jans Zout and Trijntje Dirks' [>] 10-Aug-1762 Left the Medemblik Orphange, f.30 paid 11-Jul-1768 Met attestatie vert van Medemblik > Noordscharwoude [DTB Medemblik [>] Also here from original church record [>], listing 11 Sept 1768 as departure. 06-Nov-1768 Noordscharwoude: arrived from Medemblik (aged 25) After 1768 Died Noordscharwoude, date unknown. The entry in the Lidmatenregister in Noorschardwoude shows a mark 'deceased' added some time after her arrival there, but no indication of when. Gaarder? 17-Sep-1769 Marriage banns record Mietje Zees & Jacob Out, both in Noordscharwoude. Registered in Alkmaar, Grote Kerk (Gereformeerd). Groom last lived in Alkmaar. Marriage indicated as 2-Oct-1769 at Noorscharwoude. Discovered record 16-Apr-2022. Jacob/Jacob Jansz/Jan Oudt died 1812 aged 68, so born 1744 [>] - could be same Jacob; this one married Antje Kaas. B9 Jan b 26-Feb-1747 Medemblik + 14-Feb-1748