Lea van Bali (ca. 1668-1738)

A life in documents

Lea was born or sold in slavery in Asia, but lived almost 50 years in Amsterdam. She arrived with Jan Parvé and Ida Castelijn from Batavia (Jakarta) in Amsterdam. Most probably in 1690 when Parvé was admiral of the VOC return fleet. In 1691 Lea lived with Ida Castelijn at the Keizersgracht, probably as a servant.

On 21 december 1691 ‘Lea van Balij gewesene slavinne’ (‘former slave’) is baptized in the Westerkerk.

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Doopinschrijving Lea van Balij
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Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam

It is not clear how long Lea stayed in the house of the Parvé/Castelijn family, but 17 year later she was living in the Leidse Dwarsstraat. In 1708 she marries Nicolaas Baltus from Ambon (Maluku Islands). Lea is then about 40 years old. A month before their daughter Hester is baptized in the the ‘Nieuwe Kerk’ at Damsquare. Interesting enough the witness Esther Jans van Bantam is also from Indonesia.

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31 July 1708, baptism of Esther

On 17 august 1712 daughter Elisabeth is baptized in the same church, again witnessed by (H)Ester Jans.

Nicolaas Baltus died a little more then six years later, in 1719. On the 12th of January Nicolaas was buried at the Karthuizer cemetery. According to the registry the family was living in the Goudsbloemdwarstraat in the Jordaan at that moment.

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Karthuizer cemetery, 1728

Almost a year after the dead of her first husband Lea van Bali marries Jan Davidse van den Heuvel from Amsterdam.

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Lea’s second marriage
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1728 is a sad year for Lea. In February, her second husband Jan dies and in July her daughter Hester. The family then lives in Goudsbloemstraat, between Brouwersgracht and the Eerste Bloemdwarsstraat. Jan leaves three children, probably from his first marriage.

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Brouwersgracht and the Eerste Bloemdwarsstraat

Ten years later, 31 march 1738, almost 50 year after her forced migration to Amsterdam, Lea passes away. She is buried at the Noorderkerkhof.

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Registration of the burial of Lea van Balij, 31 march 1738.
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Noorderkerk and cemetery

This post was first published as thread on Twitter (ook in het Nederlands)

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