Cathedral of Roermond.
Methodology Spotlight

Baptismal entry of Maria Helena Matthei

Today, we are looking at the baptismal entry of Maria Helena Matthei (1765).

baptismal entry of Maria Helena Matthei, Roermond, 1765
RK parish St. Christophorus (Roermond, Limburg, Netherlands), baptisms 1732-1778, no page number, chronological order, Maria Helena Matthei (22 April 1765); “Pays-Bas: Province de Limburg, registres paroissiaux, 1542-1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( viewed 21 April 2020), digital film 007365182, image 291 of 389.


22nd [April 1765] is born and baptized Maria Helena, legitimate daughter of Sir Josephus Gerardus Matthei, Her Imperial and Royal Majesty’s Post Official, and Madam Anna Elisabetha Crans, spouses. Sir Leonardus Cox and Madam Maria Helena van Kuck widow of Schepes, godparents.

map of Roermond and surrounding area, about 1844
topographic map of the city of Roermond and surrounding area, about 1844 (photo credits: National Archives, The Hague)


Although the entry exists of only a few lines, we get a lot of interesting information about the Matthei family. The names of the parents are preceded by a form of address: dominus and domicella. In Dutch these words would translate to heer and mevrouw, and in English to Sir and Madam (not be confused with the title of Sir, used for nobility).

The use of a form of address indicates that the couple belonged to a higher social class. This becomes apparent when we read the description of the father’s profession: he was the postmaster of Roermond.

In the 16th and 17th centuries (the time of the Eighty Years’ War), the city of Roermond was repeatedly part of either the Dutch Republic or the Spanish Netherlands. After the War of the Spanish Succession (Peace Treaty of Utrecht, 1713), Roermond became part of the Austrian Netherlands. Between 1740 and 1780 these former Low Countries were ruled by empress Maria Theresa. For this reason Josephus Gerardus Matthei was postmaster of ‘Her Imperial and Royal Majesty’.

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