Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemish origin named Lodewijk van Beethoven (1712–1773). Beethoven was named after his grandfather,as Lodewijk is the Dutch cognate of Ludwig. Beethoven's grandfather was employed as a bass singer at the court of the Elector of Cologne, rising tobecome Kapellmeister (music director). He had one son, Johann van Beethoven (1740–1792), who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment,also giving lessons on piano and violin to supplement his income. Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767; she was the daughter of JohannHeinrich Keverich, who had been the head chef at the court of the Archbishopric of Trier.
Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn; he wasbaptized in a Roman Catholic service on 17 December 1770, and was probably born the previous day, 16 December. Children of that era were usuallybaptized the day after birth, and it is known that Beethoven's family and his teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on 16 December.While this evidence supports the case for 16 December 1770 as Beethoven's date of birth, it cannot be stated with certainty, as there is nodocumentary evidence of it (only his baptismal record survives). Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only the second-born, Ludwig, andtwo younger brothers survived infancy. Caspar Anton Carl was born on 8 April 1774, and Nikolaus Johann, the youngest, was born on 2 October 1776.
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