Beethoven Family Tree


On January 5, 1712, Malines' master baker Michael van Beethoven had a son, baptized as Ludwig. (According to the extinct Latin record, the correct spelling of his name is 'Ludovicus', but the authors used different expressions according to the pronunciations; Louis, Ludwig, Lodewijk etc.)

The son of Henry Adelard van Beethoven, a master tailor of Antwerp, who is a distant relative of the Beethoven family from Malines, was born on December 23, 1712 and was baptized as Ludwig.

In 1733 the young Ludwig van Beethoven, a trained musician, joined the choir of the electoral church in Bonn.

So which Ludwig settled in Bonn? Henry Adelard's son or Michael's?

The early biographers of the famous composer made no attempt to follow the family tree that goes further than that of his grandfather Ludwig.

Leon de Burbure was the first scientist to find a solution to this problem. Based on Burbure's unpublished work, described by Fetis in 1860, that Grandpa Ludwig's father was Henry Adelard.

Thayer (1866) followed Burbure's footsteps in more and more detail, and the outline of the grandfather's biography and all of Burbure's findings were published in the 'Biographie nationale' published by the 'Academsha royale de Belgique' in 1868.

Fetis (from Burbure's work) informs the public that Michael of Malines' days in Bonn with his son Cornelius are over, Michael and Cornelius are likely related to the church singer Ludwig, but Burbure, Fetis, Thayer, or any scientist, Michael's. He put forward the claim that he was not aware of the fact that he had a son named Ludwig.

When quoting a study of the genealogy of “Henry Adelard” in 1885, Gregoir ends his article as follows: “Considering the findings, the composer's family tree is not compatible with the one attributed to him. Genealogists should get back to their research.”

Gregoir's warning was ignored for more than forty years. All writers on the subject of the Beethoven genealogy have sided with Henry Adelard under Burbure's leadership.

In 1927, with clues from Gregoir's anonymous journalist, Pols published a detailed study of families with the surname “van Beethoven” in Antwerp. According to this study, it is explained that the famous composer is not likely to have come from Henry Adelard or any other lineage living in Antwerp.

Pols based this thesis on the twelve children of Henry Adelard. The names of two of these twelve children are as follows;

Ludwig baptized on December 23, 1712

Ludwig Joseph baptized on December 9, 1728

Ludwig Joseph's life story was known in sufficient detail—his three marriages and his death in 1808 were recorded in Antwerp records. This made it clear that he was not Ludwig, the choir singer residing in Bonn.

There was no record of the other Ludwig other than the baptismal record. However, two negative data proved that he was not Ludwig, who later settled in Bonn. The probability of her being alive when her younger brother was born was very low, as it is known that the deceased child was named after the newborn, according to Flemish traditions in the north of Belgium. Other data was an official document dated 1735; on it are the names of Henry Adelard's living children – and Ludwig was not on this list:

-Johann Emmanuel (1717)
-Johann Joseph (1718)
-Johann Francis Robert (1720)
-Johann Joseph (1725)

Considering these facts, it became clear that the composer's family tree did not come from the “van Beethoven” family of Antwerp.

This surname was not uncommon, so that records go back to 1460.

With the 16th century, it began to be used frequently in the Louvain - Malines - Antwerp region.

Thayer was pointing out that in the mid-18th century Cornelius van Beethoven was in Bonn with his father, Michael, and was from Malines. According to Malines' official and destroyed records, van Aerde has proven that Michael was the father not only of Cornelius but also of grandfather Ludwig.

'Great grandfather' Michael, the second son of Cornelius van Beethoven and Catherine van Leempoel, was born on February 15, 1684 in Malines. The date of the official registration document, which includes the expression baker's apprentice, is October 29, 1700. He passed the exam on October 5, 1707 and received the title of "master baker".

On October 18, 1707, he married Mary Louise Stuyckers, who was baptized on April 24, 1685, to whom four children were born;

-Cornelius (25.09.1708)
-Ludwig (23.06.1710, died 22.09.1710)
-Ludwig (05.01.1712)
-Lambert Michael (25.07.1715, died 1741)

Over the years, Michael began to earn more and more income. He bought two houses in 1715 and 1727, and inherited two separate houses from his father, Cornelius. Three houses from the father of his wife belonged to the couple (1737).

Michael the baker did not continue his profession, and in 1720 he was thrown into the luxury goods and painting trade.

Michael, who transferred most of his business to his wife, spent most of his time outside of Malines, as the economic and political conjuncture became favorable, and began to lose money on the business and trade connections he left behind.

Michael settled in Cleves, 10 miles northeast of Germany, on April 1739, 100.

In 1740, his wife mortgaged all the houses they owned free of charge to clear the debts that came 10 years behind.

Unable to get the results she wanted from the trade, Mary Louise sold her furniture for cash, and in March 1741 she went to Bonn, where she lived with her husband and son.

Baker Michael established a friendship with another baker Fischer, the owner of the house he lived in, in Bonn, and lived without any problems until he passed away in June 1749. About six months after Michael's death, his wife also passed away.

Official correspondence made during the bankruptcy process proves that grandfather Ludwig was Cornelius' brother.

In August 1744, a creditor sent a warning to Michael's relatives, who went bankrupt, warning that they were also liable for the debt according to the Habsburg law applied in the Netherlands.

One of these warnings was sent to Cornelius living in Bonn, and the other to “Mr. Louis van Beethoven, a musician in Bonn”.

Although the warnings did not concern either van Beethoven, who lived in the city of Bonn, which was outside the jurisdiction of the Flemish courts, they were proof that the composer's family tree began with Malines.

Baker Michael preferred other Dutch cities instead of Malines in the population records in order to protect himself and his family from financial difficulties and legal sanctions.

Although Michael has been identified as the composer's great-grandfather, there was still some obscurity about his ancestry. It was known that his father's name was Cornelius, but which of the two Cornelius Van Beethoven could not be determined.

The third child and second son of Marcus and Sara, Cornelius was baptized in Bertem on October 20, 1641, and married Catherine van Leempole on February 12, 1673. He lived as a carpenter and died in Malines on 29 March 1716.

The other Cornelius lived in the same date and region. He was born on February 23, 1630, in Perck, the son of Arnold and Catherine van Beethoven.

The available evidence provides conflicting information as to which one is Michael's father.

The land and title records had a detail that eliminated this contradiction; He was the father of Cornelius Michael, the son of Marcus, not Arnold! This record was a land sale document. On March 14, 1676, Michael's father, Cornelius, sold the land he inherited from Sara Haesaerts (Marcus' wife), and with this sale document, the uncertainty in the pedigree was removed.

It is known that three generations lived around the Malines region before Marcus, although it is quite difficult to go further in the family tree due to the uncertainty of the information.

Marcus is thought to be the son of Henry and Catherine van Boevenbecke, born in 1570, while Henry is thought to be the son of Aert (or Arnold) van Beethoven and Josine van Vlesselaer, born in 1535. Although the birth dates of Aert and Josine cannot be reached from the records, there is a record that Josine was burned in Brussels in 1595 on the accusation of 'witch'. Aert's father is Marcus van Beethoven (Johann's son) and his mother is Anna Smets, born in Campenhout.

Some studies write that the van Beethoven family was a very noble family living in the vicinity of Liege in the 13-14 centuries, they lost their existence due to the ongoing wars, and finally they became able to live on livestock.

The story of Grandfather Ludwig is known in great detail. Michael's third son was born on January 5, 1712, in St. He was baptized in St. Catherine's Church. On December 10, 1717, St. He entered the Rombaut Cathedral school choir. st. For the first 3 or 4 years of his time at Rambaout, the choirmaster was Charles Meyer. Meyer was a highly knowledgeable, frequent traveler, and cultured musician.

Young Ludwig was such a success in music that his father signed a contract with Malines' leading organist, Antoine Colfs, on October 12, 1725, and began having his son take keyboard and organ lessons for 100 guilders. Colf died in June 1729, but thanks to both his talent and his master teacher, young Ludwig became a skilled church music performer. Two years later, in October 1731, St. Ludwig, who applied to the St. Pierre church as a tenor, is appointed acting choirmaster for a period of three months, one week after his application. The reference person for this designation was Ludwig F. Colfs, who is thought to be the son of Antoine Colfs.

After leaving Louvain in February 1732, he went to Liege. At the end of July, St. He was tried as a bass singer at Lambert Cathedral and was officially appointed to this position on September 2, 1732. On March 2, 1733, the request of young Ludwig, who requested a letter of reference from the Cathedral, was turned down and he was asked to remain in his position. However, Ludwig still left Liege for Bonn.

He had gone to Bonn before his brother Cornelius Ludwig and set up a business in the candle trade.

In March 1733, Clemens August, based in Bonn, was appointed Archbishop of Cologne and Bishop of Liege.

Clemens hired Ludwig as a court musician for an annual fee of 400 florins.

Considering that Clemens August was stationed in Liege in the winter of 1732-33 and his acquaintance with Ludwig, it may be thought that he was personally influential as well as the high price paid for the adventure that brought him to Bonn.

Ludwig married 1733-year-old Maria-Josepha Pols in September 19 and they had three children;

1. Maria Bernardina Ludovica (Baptized April 24, 1736)

2. Marcus Joseph (Baptized April 25, 1736)

3. Johann, born in late 1739.

The absence of Johann's baptismal records in the Cathedral or Bonn archives reinforces the argument that the baptism took place in the palace chapel. It can be said that this privileged gesture is not improbable considering the friendship between them.

Ludwig got into the wine selling business when Johann was still a small child.

Ludwig's wife, on the other hand, was more interested in the goods her husband sold than his work, became an alcoholic until his death in September 1775, and once went to jail.

This alcohol addiction followed his younger son, Johann, all his life.

An article by von Behr-Pinnow states the opposite. To summarize, according to Pinnow, the mother's addiction to alcohol is unfounded. The father's initiation to alcohol is the bad friends he made after the death of the mother. Therefore, according to Pinnnow, it is wrong to say that Beethoven's connection with alcohol is hereditary.

Ludwig, who was responsible for the music performed in the chapel, concert hall, theater and ballrooms, was appointed as the chief musician/conductor on 16 July 1761 and continued this duty until his death in 1773.

Son Johann, who failed at Jesuit college, was taken to the choir school of the palace chapel at the age of 12 - in 1752.

After 4 years, Johann, who was appointed as a court musician without charge, was given an official duty on April 24, 1764, and an annual wage of 100 talers was allocated.

Johann, who was paid 1769 florins in November 25, 1772 florins in April 50, and 1775 talers in June 60, spent his life as a respected musician in the Chapel.

In addition to his own works, there are also palace records where he employed other musicians and singers working in the Chapel.

On November 12, 1767, Johann now has a bride, despite his son's opposition to marrying a cook's daughter and not attending their wedding.

The bride's father, Heinrich Keverich, is a Countess Chef, born in Ehrenbreitstein in 1701, and his mother is Maria Klara Westorff, daughter of Senator Johann Bernard Westorff.

Maria Magdalena Keverich (born 4 December 2), one of the 19 boys and 1746 girls of this family, was the youngest of the family. At the age of 17, she was married to Johann Leym, the steward of the Ehrenbreitstein palace. Following the death of their only child, his wife died in 1765 and Maria was widowed.

Married to Johann van Beethoven, 7 of the 4 children born to M. Magdalena died at an early age.

1. Ludwig Maria (Baptized April 2, 1769)

2. Anna Maria Franziska (Baptized February 23, 1779)

3. Franz George (Baptized January 17, 1781)

4. Maria Margarete Josepha (Baptized May 5, 1786)

The living second, third and fourth children are;

1. Ludwig (Baptized December 17, 1770)

2. Kaspar Anton Karl (Baptized April 8, 1774)

3. Nikolaus Johann (Baptized October 2, 1776)

The brothers of the famous composer were known in Bonn with their first names Kaspar and Nikolaus, and they used Karl and Johann in their maturity.

In the report given to Prince Maximilian in 1784, it was mentioned that Johann's voice was now exhausted, he had served for a long time and was poor. Johann, who lost his wife in July 1787, is now a quicker temper and an alcoholic. This led to his dismissal and removal from Bonn in November 1789.

200 thalers were deducted from his wages, which was given to his eldest son, Ludwig, both to take care of his two brothers and to clear his father's debts.

The following lines are written in the letter the Prince sent to a friend about his father, Johann, who died on December 18, 1792:

“After Beethoven's death, we suffered huge losses in revenue from alcohol taxes.”

Brother Karl trained as a musician in Bonn and followed his famous brother to Vienna.

He earned enough to survive and achieved moderate success as a teacher. Even if he did not provide all these, his brother's surname would have been more than enough for Karl in the dynamics of the period.

In 1800, he took the stage with his own composition 'three dance sets'. There is no other known work published under his own name. 'Piano Sonata for 4 Hands – Caspar Beethoven' by Thayer Artaria & Co. It is in the archives of his firm, and according to Thayer, other minor works thought to have been composed by Ludwig are also likely to belong to Karl.

Starting to work in the tax office in March 1800, Karl spent 15 years of his life in this service. The wealth of his family is on the record: a few years before his death, Karl owned 16.400 residences worth 12 florins.

For several years following 1802, he was his brother Ludwig's agent against the publishing houses and took part in negotiations on his behalf.

With a ruthless and smug style, Karl confirms Ries' statement that 'Ludwig has done a lot in turning his friends into enemies'. In 1806, the relationship between Karl and Ludwig, who sells works not actually composed by Ludwig, as if they were his.

It is thought that the marriage of Johanna Theresia Reiss and Karl on May 25, 1806 caused this coldness, the exact reason of which is unknown.

Ludwig constantly interfered with his brother Karl's relations, and the birth of Karl's child 'nephew Karl' within 3 months of their marriage disturbed his moral understanding.

In the spring of 1813, Karl's financial situation deteriorated so much that he made an official court order demanding that, in the event of his death, his son's care be given to his brother Ludwig. On November 14, 1815, two days before his death, he made an addendum to his will, authorizing his wife, along with his brother Ludwig, to care for their son. The will ends like this:

“For my child's future, keep both of them in harmony, Lord! This is the dying wish of a father and wife.”

His brother Johann, born on October 2, 1776, lived in Bonn as a pharmacist's apprentice at the palace. In the spring of 1795, when Bonn was under the French occupation, Johann, who received his 3rd Class Pharmacist [Pharmacien de 3rd Classe] certificate, served in a French Military Hospital for a total of six weeks in April and May.

He enrolled in the university in 1801 for the fully authorized pharmacy exams. Two years later, he applied to the Vienna Courthouse to take over a pharmacy, but was unsuccessful.

Johann's frugal life enabled him to have serious savings. He supported his brother Ludwig financially and in March 1808 he succeeded in buying a pharmacy (Zur Goldenen Krone) that went on sale in Linz with all the money he had.

The first years of the new pharmacist's business were difficult. According to Thayer, Johann, who was in a position to sell glass irons and unused jars, came out of this difficult period with Napoleon's arrival in Linz in the spring of 1809. Johann, who took the job of supplying medical supplies to the army with the experience of the French Military Hospital, started to lay the foundations of his comfortable future.

The property that Johann bought contained not only a pharmacy but also a house. He had rented a part of this house to the Viennese Doctor Obermeyer.

In the late spring of 1812, Dr. Obermeyer's sister, Therese, settled with her brother, and this neighborhood marked the beginning of a new love for Johann. Unfortunately, this affair could not escape his brother Ludwig's attention and knowledge, and Ludwig immediately came to Johann to make it official.

Therese and Johann - thanks to Ludwig - were married on 8 November 1812.

Although there is not much information about Johann's commercial situation, it is known that he opened a pharmacy in a nearby village, Urfahr, in addition to the shop he opened in Linz.

For many years Ludwig's attitude towards Johann was rather cold. Ludwig, in the letter he wrote to Gleichenstein in 1807, scolded Johann, who wanted to return the debt he gave him, with very harsh expressions.

For the next 10 years, the siblings were cold and uncommunicative.

The only exception is that, towards the end of this period, Ludwig got help from the police so that Johann's 'forced' wife Therese's adultery would not be heard much.

In the summer of 1822, however, the wind turned upside down and the ice between them melted with exactly twelve registered letters.

In one of these letters, Ludwig asks for his brother's help in negotiations with publishing houses, asking for a loan of 100 florins if he can send it.

Although the friendship between the two continued in the following years, Ludwig's concern was 'taking' rather than 'giving'.

In the summer of 1823,24, 26 and XNUMX, Johann invited his brother Ludwig to Gneixendorf, but Ludwig turned them down.

In the autumn of 1826, his nephew Karl's unsuccessful suicide attempt changed this, and Ludwig, who benefited from his nephew's departure from Vienna, took him with him to Johann's summer house.

They remained there from 28 September to the end of November.

Ludwig caught the disease that would cause his life in the future while returning to Vienna from the summer house. For the first few days, Johann stayed with him by his brother's sick bed.

Johann's wife Therese died on 20 November 1828.

Having sold his pharmacy in 1827 and his house in Urfahr in 1842, Johann no longer has any ties to Linz.

Johann, who died on January 12, 1848, left all his property (42.123 florins) to his nephew Karl.

Nephew Karl was born on September 4, 1806. Karl's first teacher, who started his music education at the age of 6, was his father. Continuing his education with Friedrich Starke, Karl caught the attention of his uncle Ludwig in 1815. In the following years, he continued his music education first with Carl and then with Joseph Czerny.

The 'joint guardians' will of his father, who died on November 16, 1815, ignited the tension between his uncle and his mother.

In January 1816 the court appointed his uncle Ludwig as his legal guardian. For the next two years he attended a private school run by Cajetan Giannatasio del Rio and his wife, where his uncle picked him up so he could prepare for gymnastics school and live with him.

Having passed the exams in the summer, Karl entered the gymnastics department in 1818, but left after a short time.

Between 1819 and 1823 he settled in a private school run by Joseph Blöchlinger in Vienna. He made successful progress in Latin and Greek. He left Blöchlinger to visit his uncle Ludwig, who lived in Baden, and in the autumn of 1823 he entered the university to study Philology.

The first years were unhappy and unproductive. According to Schinds, since the school's education was at the sub-intermediate level, Karl was easily in a position to become an academician.

This easy training curriculum and not being around tight controls for the first time drove him to alcohol.

Missing his exam on Easter 1825, Karl was transferred from the university to the technical school and took courses on trade.

The change of school did not change Karl's bad habits and his uncle's nagging.

In July 1826, the tension between uncle and nephew reached its peak, and the accumulated debts and other circumstances paved the way for Karl's suicide.

During his 8 weeks in the hospital, with the approval of his uncle Ludwig, he entered military school with the help and advice of Stephen von Breuning and an official from the ministry of defense.

On January 2, 1827, he joined Archduke Ludwig's 8th Infantry battalion under Baron von Stutterheim stationed in Moravia/Iglau. To show his gratitude, Beethoven gifted him the C Sharp minor quartet (Op.131).

Military discipline was very good for Karl, whose private life was in ruins, and in November 1831 he entered the list of valuable soldiers. He soon rose to the rank of Lieutenant, and in May 1832 he left the army and married Caroline Naske.

He ran a farm in the Niklowitz district for over two years and later returned to Vienna.

Holding the property of his uncle Johann, Karl spent the last ten years of his life in prosperity and died on April 13, 1858.

Nephew Karl left behind five children.

His four daughters gave him an orderly grandchild, but the continuation of the family and the 'van Beethoven' lineage was ensured by his son, who was born on March 8, 1839.

Named after his great-uncle (Ludwig), this boy served as a 'private' in Prince Friedrich Wilhelm's 20th Infantry Battalion and served in the German Government for a short time.

Ludwig, who married Marie Nitsche in 1865, met King Ludwig in Munich in 1868-69, thanks to Richard Wagner, and gained at least 1175 florins unfairly by gaining his trust.

Over the next three years, he sold documents and antiques that did not really belong to the most famous composer in the family, Beethoven. He was eventually caught and sentenced to four years in prison on 30 July 1872.

There is not much information about his life after his release from prison. In a recording in England, it was seen that Ludwig applied for passports for different European countries.

Although there is no definite record, it is estimated that he spent the rest of his life as a foreman in the 'Pacific Railroad' company in the United States.

Pacific Railroad is the former name of the now existing Southern Pacific Railroad company. In the correspondence with the company, it was answered that there were no records of those years, so this could not be confirmed.

Ludwig's only son, Karl Julius Maria, was born on 8 May 1870.

He went to Belgium as an immigrant at an early age, and when he came of age in 1890, he became a 'baka' in his country.

He wrote articles for various newspapers in England, France, Belgium and Germany. He settled in England with his mother and half-brother at the outbreak of World War I.

The family then returned to Munich, where Karl did his military service for a short time.

He died on December 10, 1917, in a military hospital in Vienna, as a single man due to a weak heart and malnutrition.

Unlike the elder who was buried in this city 90 years ago with the sadness of all the prominent people of the city, the last van Beethoven was buried in his grave silently from the military hospital where he breathed his last.


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