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BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827)


Compiled by Gary D. Evans

Last Updated: March 25, 2019 6:39 PM



First traceable member of Beethoven's family (father's side) - lived near Louvain, Belgium. In 1650 the family member moved to Antwerp [Windham ppg1-2]

Jan 4
Beethoven's grandfather, Lodewyk van Beethoven [1712-73] was born in Mechelen, Belgium (presently village of  Heis -op-den-Berg in the Brabanl area). He was the third son of Michael & Maria Beethoven [Nwsltr v9#2&3]. From age 5 through 18 (1725) he was a student at the choir school of the church of St. Rombaut. In 1725 he began studies of the organ and vocal bass. He was appointed choir director 1731 (church of St. Pierre at Louvin, and sang sang bass at the Cathedral of St. Lambert in Liegre in 1732. In 1733, he met and married a young widow - 19 year old Maria Josephene Pohl. That same year, at the request of the Archbishop of Cologne, he was sent to Cologne and then on to Bonn, first as bass soloist and singer in the choir, then as court Kapellmeister from 1761 until his death on Dec. 24, 1773. He was industrious and also derived income as a wine merchant, moneylender, etc.
Beethoven's father Johann van Beethoven [1740-92] was born. He proved to be the only surviving child of Beethoven's grandfather, Kapellmeister van Beethoven & Maria Josepha Pohl. Beethoven's grandmother Maria was later institutionalized for chronic alcoholism for the remainder of her life, evidently with no further family contact. Grandfather Johann sang in the chorus - a soprano at age eight, then a tenor. He also played the keyboard and violin in Elector Maximilian Franz's [1756-1801] orchestra. (Egalitarian rule under Franz - brother of Emperor Joseph. This was time of revolution and the rights of "Sovereign" rulers were questioned. American, French revolutions soon coming.)
Dec 19
Beethoven's mother, Maria Magdelena Leym, nee Keverich was born to Heinrich Keverich, chief overseer of the kitchen at palace of the elector of Treves at Ehrenbreitstein, near Coblenz. Her family included a number of wealthy merchants, court councilors, and senators.
Jan 30
Maria was first married - at the age of 16 - Leym, age 27, a valet of the Elector. They had one son who died in infancy.
Nov 28
Maria was widowed at age 18 after her two-year, 10-month marriage. She was subsequently never seen to smile. She became a singer in the service of Elector of court of Cologne, and met 25 year old Johann van Beethoven in Ehrenbreitstein; they came to Bonn together to meet his family and there, be married.
Nov 12
Johann and Maria married despite opposition of his father (Beethoven's paternal Grandfather - described as short, sturdy w/ extremely animated eyes), who believed that Maria was beneath their station (whereas she actually descended from a family with many wealthy and otherwise successful people). It has been postulated that the Grandfather may have not wished to have his comfortable, pristine home disturbed by a woman, having institutionalized his own alcoholic wife. Neighbors stated that they overheard him yell at his son, "I have never believed or expected that you would so degrade yourself."
Apr 1
1st child Ludwig Maria born
Apr 8
Ludwig Maria died at age 1 week. [Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte in Corsica.]