wife Cornelia Johannes Swalmius made a will

October 15, 1671

wife Cornelia Johannes Swalmius (1634-1694) made a will; guardians are Antony and two members of Veertigraad, Johan Duijst van Voorhout and Johan van Bleiswijck, grandfather of Abraham Cornelis van Bleiswijk. Roelandus Van Edenburgh notary

This will is discussed in Rozemond 1992:

Cornelia Swalmius testifies on October 15, about nine months after the wedding. She would probably have been pregnant or had given birth to her only child at the time. [No documents support this claim.]

The usual opening phrases provide us with a new fact: all previous wills and other acts of last will are revoked, with the exception of only her contract antenuptial for the bond of her marriage with her husband. So there are prenuptial agreements titled.

Cornelia appoints her children as her universal heir or heirs, if she leaves any, or if they have predeceased them, her further descendants in case of substitution.

If her child or children, whom she would leave behind at her death, would all die before they reached adulthood and without having made a will, but also if Cornelia would die without offspring, she would leave ten hundred guilders to Johannes and Elisabeth Swalmius, children of her deceased brother Adrianus and in the event of the predecease of one of them to the surviving spouse. These also had movable property awaiting them from the estate of Maria van Santen, the widow of doctor Johan van Blenckvliet, over which Cornelia managed the administration.

If the two children agree that in the event of Cornelia's death, before they reach adulthood or are married, the management of those affairs would pass to their aunt Catharina Swalmius, sister of their father and of Cornelia, they would instead one thousand two thousand guilders from Cornelia. The meaning of this is not clear. If Catharina were to have the usufruct of that money, then it seems useful, but Cornelia initially bequeaths it to her husband and only after his death to Catharina and then together with a third sister Elisabeth.

Moreover, in the event that the children died before they were of age or married, the legacy would have to fall back into the inheritance: ... and all this for private reasons, attributable to her, Testatrice. It's a shame that the motives are not explained further. Cornelia names her sisters Catharina and Elisabeth as her second heirs and, in the event of predecease, their children or further descendants by representation.

She appoints her husband, as well as Johan van Bleiswijck, former mayor of Delft and Mr. Johan Duijst van Voorhout, fortieth councilor of this city, as guardians of any minor child or children to be left behind, to the exclusion of all courts and orphan chambers in general and of Delft in particular. Antoni will be intended as managing guardian and the other two as supervising guardians. If one of the gentlemen died, they could always appoint a new guardian themselves.

She signs the deed as Cornelia Swalmia, thus showing that she knows Latin, which should not be surprising for a minister's daughter.

What does this will teach us and how does it differ from intestate inheritance law?

In any case, that prenuptial agreements have been made. That was not yet known. An investigation into this still needs to be conducted. We have also seen that aldermanic law applied in Delft. If no prenuptial agreement had been made, the rule was community of property between the spouses. If one of them died, the surviving spouse retained half of the community and inherited the other half from the relatives of the deceased - first in a descending line with representation ad infinitum (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren), only then in ascending line, the parents, with limited representation (the brothers and sisters and their children and grandchildren), then the grandparents with limited representation (the uncles and aunts and their children).

All this in accordance with the rule: Nothing comes from one who lives. If no prenuptial agreement had been made between Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and Cornelia Swalmius, we could have assumed community of property. Upon her death, half would remain with Antoni and the other half would form Cornelia's inheritance. This would first pass on to her children, then to her parents and then possibly to her grandparents, etc. and all with representation.

Cornelia initially appoints her descendants as sole heir. So that is according to the rules. But then she deviates from it, because now it would be her parents' turn and, if they had died, her brothers and sisters would have representation. But she only names her sisters Catharina and Elisabeth as heirs, ignoring other brothers and sisters. Because Johannes and Elisabeth, children of her deceased brother Adriaan, would now inherit nothing, they receive a legacy - albeit under certain conditions. A will is required for all of this. But Antoni and Cornelia did enter into a prenuptial agreement and this may have influenced the contents of her will. It is therefore important to look for those conditions.


ONA Delft inv. 2244, fol. 139 no. 73