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Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery by Lorine McGinnis Schulze
Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. She and her husband head to Salt Lake City Utah to research Janie's elusive 4th great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to a dark secret. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present before disaster strikes? Available now on Amazon.com and and Amazon.ca
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Genealogy Mystery Book!
Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery
by Lorine McGinnis Schulze
Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. She and her husband head to Salt Lake City Utah to research Janie's elusive 4th great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to a dark secret. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present before disaster strikes? Available now on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca
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New Netherland, New York Genealogy
Life in 16th and 17th Century Amsterdam Holland: Servants
Servant Girls in Amsterdam© Cor Snabel
At very young age a family hired girls as servants. Early in the morning she had to get up to light the fire and make breakfast. After the family had eaten she had to ventilate the rooms, make the beds, clean the clothes and polish the tin and copper. She had to shine the ironwork on the shutters and especially scrub the floors and the doorstep. Due to the very low wages and a surplus of women in the cities almost every housewife from the middle class could afford a servant.
In general the servants were willingly, depending on the relation between mistress and servant, but normally she was almost part of the family. She ate with the family, but had to know her place. In comedies servants were often ridiculed as the ones who talked most at the dinner table. But they were subordinates and impudence was not tolerated, if things got out of hand, even verbal, it could well become a matter for the Sheriff. It is striking, that so many foreigners wrote about the fact, that the Dutch never did beat their servants.
Things changed as we reach the times, that merchants got richer, did not eat with their hats on anymore and started to use French words, like Confrere and Monsieur. Twenty or more servants were needed to run the household and the same number on his estate. The special one-to-one contact between the mistress and the servant was gone and so were labor relations. Loyalty and discretion were not obvious anymore and the bad reputation servant girls had throughout centuries seemed to be confirmed.
According to their reputation they were a threat to every household, unreliable but indispensable, single but marriageable, devious, lazy and disobedient.
Of course history has its reports about the servant, who was punished for stealing a silver spoon and about seduction and adultery, but one should not forget, that her intimate position within a family made this young girl extra vulnerable. Most of the time they were the victims, they had hardly any defense against accusations of their more superior employer. In case of pregnancy they rarely had the means and the social confidence to accuse the natural father and in most cases the shame and scandal landed on her head and not on his.
Sometimes servant girls did live together with their employers and got married like in the case of Descartes or stayed as concubine, like Hendrickje Stoffels with Rembrandt.
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