First of all, I'm sure you ment 1840/1830's (corected in quote above).
Yes, there are several witness reports that indicate that in the 30's and 40's of the 19th century, the manuscript existed already and/or that the Over de Lindens believed that they stemmed from an ancient noble Frisian family.
In addition to my posts from April 11 and 19, I'll give an improvised summary and add some new information here.
(With thanks to Menno Knul who mailed me 5 scanned pages of "Het geheimzinnige handschrift van de Familie Over de Linden" by E. Molenaar, 1949. They can now be found here: http://fryskednis.bl...ift-van-de.html)
Here is some facts (not all!) related to the question whether the OLB existed long before Cornelis Over de Linden tried to have it translated by Eelco Verwijs in 1867.
(Note: this was shortly after Cornelis' friend Ernst Stadermann's death, which could mean that the latter had tried to help him translate it before, without succes. But this is just a guess, as the events may not be related at all. For Menno Knul, this is reason to believe that Stadermann was one of the 'hoaxers'.)
1. Schoolteacher Cornelis Wijs stated in 1876 that in 1831 he had heard Jan Over de Linden (1785-1835), the father of Cornelis, boost about descending from "the oldest family in the world".
2. Two other schoolteachers made an official statement with a notary, that in 1848 they had heard Cornelis Over de Linden junior (1833-1868) boost about virtually the same (being from ancient noble Frisian descent), as well as his father (Cornelis senior) knowing this from "a book with strange letters".
3. Naval officer W.M. Visser had made a diary note on 23-12-1854 of having heard from Cornelis Over de Linden that the latter had told him about the book and that it was written "in a strange language and a strange script".
4. Beckering Vinkers wrote that Cornelis had picked up the manuscript in 1848 in Enkhuizen together with his son Cornelis (source not mentioned).
5. New information
Translated from Molenaar (1949), a quote from Jacob Munnik, who was married to a pre-marital daughter of Cornelis Over de Linden's first wife (which makes him Cornelis' step-son-in-law.)
"In 1845 (a year before my marriage), C. Over de Linden, bookbinder Stadermann and me went on a little tour together (to Enkhuizen). We visited an old skipper, where Over de Linden's mother was a housekeeper. C.O.L. spoke with his mother and the old man in private and when we had left Enkhuizen, he said: "It's a bloody shame; the old one has an old book that belongs to us and he does not want to hand it over. It proves that our family is old." He also spoke about forested areas, like royal domains with many Linden-trees etcetra. "But it is old-Frisian; that's the bloody problem!", Cornelis had said.
For a few years he has been complaining about it (from 1845-1847), but in the meantime he had started to learn the old-Frisian language."
I agree with author Molenaar that Munnik probably had confused the old skipper with Hendrik Reuvers, the husband of aunt Aafje, whom they will also have visited.
6. More new information
Again from Molenaar (1949), who writes about an article in the Friesche Courant of 30-4-1877, written by M.K. de Jong, schoolmaster in the village Kooten. He states that a trustworthy fellow villager had declared that "about 40 years ago" (ca. 1837) "his uncle Leendert Over de Linden had told him that there were some very old manuscripts kept by the Over de Linden family."
7. Relevant to know is also that Hein Kofman (1853-1933), who was said to have heard that Cornelis Over de Linden had stolen the OLB from the house of his parents, lived all his life in the house of his parents Rijkent Kofman and Cornelia Reuvers (1818-1878), which had also been the house of his grandparents Hendrik Reuvers and Aafje Over de Linden (1798-1849) as well as the house of Andries Over de Linden (1759-1820) and IJfje Schols. This means that since the death of Andries Over de Linden in 1820, the manuscript has stayed in the same house until Cornelis took it to Den Helder in 1848.
Cornelia Kofman-Reuvers would have stated that "without doubt the manuscript had been kept here [in her house] in a corner, covered with dust." She did not remember how long it had stayed there and when it had been moved to Den Helder.
8. Another aunt of Cornelis, Antje Van Doornik-Over de Linden (1795-1882), when asked in 1876, said not to have heard of the manuscript.
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For now, not having much time (packing my bags), I leave the conclusions to all this to the forum, but not without adding that I totally agree with Alewyn that...:
Finally, once more about the paper research report:
If the paper would indeed have been from the 19th century and if it would indeed have been artificially colored, this should have been easy to prove with the nowaday techniques.
Therefore, my layman conclusion:
The paper was not artificially colored and does not come from a European or American factory.
A. Does anyone know about paper making techniques in the Byzantium or Asia?
B. Did any of the oldest Over de Linden bookshops have ways of obtaining (or making) unique paper (to make one or more copies)?