|Nicknames:||"Douwe", "Douwen", "Douw", "Gerbens", "Gerbrants", "Gerbrantz", "Gerbrandse", "Gerrebrandtze", "Gerbrant", "Gerbrandze", "Gerbrantsze", "Gerb:", "Stein", "Stijn", "Steijn", "Douwe Gerbens"|
|Place of Burial:||South Africa|
|Birthplace:||Leeuwarden, Friesland, Nederland|
|Death:||Died in Stellenbosch, Cape, South Africa|
|Occupation:||Baasmesselaar, Mason/City engineer, Douwe was a mason in the Cape and the Dutch for stone is steen or steijn|
|Managed by:||Lodewyk Christiaan Steyn, b1c3d12e4f1g4h4i7j5k1|
About Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn, SV/PROG 1
Douwe is the legal ancestor of many of the Steyns in South Africa. His adopted son Jacobus is the biological ancestor.
Name in Friesland, country of origin: Douwe GERBENS
Name in South Africa, country to which he emigrated: Douwe Gerbrant STEIJN
Name used in well-known South African genealogical publications:
- In South African Genealogies volume 12, page 205 is “Douwe Gerbrandt STEYN”
- and in Die Families van Ou Swellendam Deel 1 STEYN it is “Douw Gerbrandt STEYN”.
- In Geslacht-Register der Oude Kaapsche Familiën Part 3 page 341 it is “Douw Gerbrand STEIJN”.
- In the famous series of articles by John Muir in “Die Huisgenoot” in the 1930’s it is Douwe Gerbrants STEYN. These articles by Muir are a gold mine of information, especially about the life of the Steyn progenitor and the first two generations of Steyns in South Africa. They have also been added to the profile.
Variations of his name: Douwe, Douwen, Douw, Gerbens, Gerbrants, Gerbrantz, Gerbrandse, Gerrebrandtze, Gerbrant, Gerbrandze, Gerbrantsze, Gerb:, Stein, Stijn, Steijn. The sources of these variants are listed in the documentation about Douwe GERBENS.
Origin of the name: In Friesland in the 1600’s it was common to use patronymics, the first name of the father became the ‘surname’. Therefore we know that the first name of the father of Douwe GERBENS was Gerben. The ‘s’ has a double meaning. First, it is a genitive, meaning belonging to, of. Second, it points to the Frisian word ‘seun’ which means ‘son’. The children of Douwe GERBENS would then have his first name as patronymic. Example: Age Douwes.
Birth date: We do not know for sure. It might be about 1630.
Birth place: Probably Weidum, a small town about eight kilometres south of Leeuwarden in Friesland.
Date of Death: Before April 1700. See the article attached to this profile.
Place of Death: South Africa.
Parents: It is not yet certain who his parents were.
Date of Marriage 1: Rixt Egberts 18 March 1657. Rixt died in August 1679 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Place of Marriage 1: Leeuwarden, Friesland
Children of Marriage 1: Age Douwes baptized 11 October 1661, he died February 1727 in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Gerben Douwes baptized 25 October 1663, he died September 1672 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Both sons were baptized in Leeuwarden.
Date of emigration to South Africa: About 1671
Date of Marriage 2: Maria Lozee 19 August 1684
Place of Marriage 2: Cape Town
Children of Marriage 2: Adopted son Jacobus baptized 29 August 1683 (son of Maria Lozee and unknown father); Daughter Antie baptized 24 August 1692.
Occupations: Bricklayer, stone mason, supervisor, ‘Heemraad’, surveyor
Publications: See the four major publications about him listed above, as well as the article attached to this profile. Note: the information in the Geslacht-Register der Oude Kaapsche Familiën is incomplete.
Reliable information can be found in the First Fifty Years project website http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/g7/p7766.htm#i7766
The following two websites also have some helpful information:
Interesting information about candlesticks that Douwe Gerbens brought with him from the Netherlands: From: email@example.com Date: 9 Jun 2003 12:40:55 -0600
Douw Gerbrand Steyn was the original settler of my family in South Africa. He married Maria Lozee, a slave. He apparently had a son (Age) in Leeuwarden Holland in 1661 and landed (presumably minus son) in Capetown in 1666. I have traced the Steyn family tree in South Africa to about 1840, but have not yet connected with my great grandmother Catherina Steyn who married my great grandfather Nicolas Taylor. My grandmother was Douwlena Gerbrand Taylor. She passed on some silver candlesticks to my mother which came with the original Douw Gerbrandt in 1666. I now have them in my home in the USA. Regards, Grant Lawson.
Some interesting information about the origin of the surname STEYN: From: Carolyn Paisley <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Origin of Steane/Staines name Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 22:22:40 -0800 (PST)
Hi John and anyone else interested.
You might like to know that the eminent Leics historian WG Hoskins traces the Steane name back to a Thomas and Robert Steyn who were descended from one Steyn of Cosby. It is a Scandinavian name. These early Steyns are associated with Cosby in the 1200s. The name also occurs at this time at Arnesby, then in the 16th century as Steyne, Stayne and Steane (1534 Billesdon, 1539 Shenton, 1542 Birstall, 1555 Tilton. He says the name has come down today as Staines and Staynes, but Steane clearly has the same origin. This info comes from Hoskin's book Leicestershire Yeoman Families and their Pedigrees. Carolyn
-------------------- Douwe Gerbens / Gerbrand Stijn / Steyn / Steijn / Stein
Introduction In Leeuwarden, Friesland, The Netherlands Age Douwe Gerbens Mason Guild Book Farms in Friesland Hollandshce and Friesche Steyns At the Cape Symon Gerbrandts First record in Cape Mason Marriage Friends Property Will Maria Lozee (Douwe Gerbens' second wife) Jacobus Steijn Chronology Born around 1638?. Died 1700. Age: about 62 (?)
It is uncertain when Douwe Gerbens / Gerbrand (Steyn) arrived in Cape -- probably in 1669. By 1672.06.08 he was definitely in the Cape, having signed as witness a document on that date. He died about 30 years later in March or April 1700 in the Cape. His name was most probably Douwe Gerbens, but as he is known in literature as Douwe Gerbrandts Steyn, I will use this name to avoid confusion. Most people bearing the surname Steyn in South Africa today are descendents of Douwe Gerbens Steyn.
NOTE Spelling conventions were not as established as they are today, and in the records many variations of names can be found.
The standard interpretation for the origin of the lineage of the South African Douwe Gerbrands Steyn comes from De Villiers and Pama. This interpretation states that Douwe is the father of the Steyns, that he arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1668 (but there is no record of this date) from Leeuwarden, and that he married Maria Lozee on 1685.08.19. But see how the archive record states their marriage:
Douwe gerbrandts van Leeuwaarden en Maria loozee van de caap Note the name Steijn does not appear in this record.
The name Steijn also seems to be written in a different style in this undated signature:
Douwe's signature in 1685 - one handwriting for Douwe, another for Gerbrandts Steyn
Note how Douwe is in one style, and Gerbrand Steijn in another. There are thus two different people who signed here. The fancy style of Douwe suggests that the scribe wrote this name, while someone with lesser "letter skills" wrote the other two names.
Compare this with a later signature, which will be explained below.
Douwe's signature of 1699 - a third writing style?
The handwriting style of this signature is different to the two styles above - note particularly the "S", the descender in the first signature. Either this was signed by a third person, or the second signer of the first developed a new style.
Based on the evidence provided by the signatures, and other evidence below, the most likely conclusion is that the person known today as Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn was most probably first known as Douwe Gerbens.
There was an existing Steijn surname in Northern Holland, so the surname was not unknown. Douwe was a mason in the Cape and the Dutch for stone is steen or steijn. It seems that Douwe took on the surname Steijn some time in his adult life.
Jacobus Steyn was Douwe's stepson in the Cape. It is not known who Jacobus' father was, but this stepson also used the surname Steyn. The majority of Steyns found today in South Africa are descendents of this Jacobus Steyn. The roots of this family are uncertain. The surname Steyn may be an assumed name. The father of the bearer of this surname is unknown, and the mother was a slave girl of unknown origin.
2 In Leeuwarden, Friesland, The Netherlands
Douwe's marriage record (which does not contain the name Steijn) states that he came form Leeuwarden, situated in Friesland (The Netherlands). According to the archivist of Leeuwarden, Ms R Visscher* no child with the name Steijn was baptised in the Nederlandsche Hervormde Kerk between the dates 1627 and 1667, or even earlier. She speculates that Douwe's "surname" was probably Gerbens. In the Friesch language Gerbrandt often becomes Gerbren or Gerben. Visscher found the following records in the Leeuwarden archives:
1638.01.24 Douwe Gerbrens married Eetske Ritskes, widow of Tiard Direx. Marriage took place in the Nederlandsche Hervormde Kerk in Leeuwarden. This Douwe was a soldier under Count (graaf) Willem Frederik of Nassau. The Douwe Gerbens Steyn of the Cape of Good Hope was not a soldier, but a mason - but of course, he could have been a military construction worker, or could have changed careers (which is highly unlikely due to the strict mason guild system in place of the time). 1661.10.11 Aege Douwe Gerbens baptised in Nederlandsche Hervormde Kerk in Leeuwarden. Aege is a variation of Age. Douwe Gerbrand Steyn's will of 1687 leaves his estate to his son Age Douwes Stein of Amsterdam (see below). Aege of Leeuwarden could have moved to Amsterdam. A certain Douwe Gerbens bought a house in Leeuwarden in the year 1663 (nine years before the first written record of a person with such a name at the Cape of Good hope), two years after the birth of Aege Douwe Gerbens. This man was married to Ricxt Egberts (compare with Eetske Ritskes above). Variation in the spelling of names was common, and also not as precise as today.
Assuming that baptism always occurred at a very young age, it is unlikely that Aege Douwe Gerbens (baptised 1661) is the child of Douwe Gerbrens and Eetske Ritske, as that would mean he was born 23 years after their wedding (1638), which is highly unlikely.
I suspect that given the similar names, perhaps the Douwe Gerbens of the Cape of Good Hope might have been a son of a Douwe Gerbens of the Leeuwarden area. The Douwe of the Cape married Maria loozee in 1685 and they had a daughter baptised in 1692. The marriage in Leeuwarden took place 47 years earlier in 1638, thus very unlikely that this is the same person.
This almost half a century between the marriages, and the fact that Age was born 23 years after the first wedding, leads me to the conclusion there were two Douwe Gerbens in Leeuwarden, the elder perhaps the father of the younger. If Douwe of the Cape is the son of Douwe of Leeuwarden, and born in 1638 or 1639, he would have been a young man of 22 or 23 when Aege Douwe Gerbens was baptised.
This table summarises the known dates in chronological order. Note the different spellings of Gerbens and Gerbrens.
Douwe Gerbens Douwe Gerbrens Mason Soldier
1638 Married Eetske Ritskes, widow of Tiard Direx. 1638.01.24
Douwe Gerbens perhaps born 1638? Married Ricxt Egberts - date?
1661 23 years later 1661.10.11 Aege Douwe Gerbens baptised 1663 2 years later Bought a house in Leeuwarden in the year 1663 1668 5 years later Arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1668? 1672 4 years later Signed as witness 1683 Jacobus baptised? 1685 13 years later Married Maria loozee in 1685 1685 Jacobus baptised? 1687 2 years later Will of 1687: leaves his estate to Age Douwes Stein of Amsterdam 1700 13 years later Died 1700. 1. Aege Douwe Gerbens
On 11 October 1661 Aege Douwe Gerbens was baptised in the Nederlandsche Hervormde Kerk in Leeuwarden. Aege is a variation of Age. Douwe Gerbrand Steyn arrived in the Cape of Good Hope from Leeuwarden some time between 1669 and 1672, so it is very likey that the baptism of Aege Douwe Gerbens refers to a child of Douwe Gerbens Steyn.
In Douwe Gerbrand Steyn's will of 1687 he leaves his estate to his son Age Douwes Stein of Amsterdam. The estate included property in the village Weidom near Leeuwarden.
It seems that the surname Steyn was adopted by both Douwe and Age. Remember that the convention of using surnames was not yet consistent in those days.
2. Mason Guild Book (metselaarsgildeboek)
The Douwe Steijn of the Cape was the baasmetselaar in charge of the rennovations of the fort built during the time of Jan van Riebeeck. In today's terminology, baasmetselaar was probably the main building constructor. In those days certain skills could only be performed if belonging to guilds, and training must have been received from a guild member.
If he arrived at the Cape in this position, he should have been qualified as mason in the Netherlands. However, the name Douwe Gerbrandts or Gerbens does not appear in the Mason Guild Book between 1640 and 1670. This book only contains the names of leerjongens (apprentices) who qualified as masters and the names of the examiners in Leeuwarden, so one cannot conclude much except that if Douwe Steijn was a qualified mason, he either was not examined in Leeuwarden, or perhaps the records are incomplete. Perhaps he qualified somewhere else before he settled in Leeuwarden. Note that the Douwe Gerbrens married to Eetske Ritskes was in the military, and obviously moved around with the troups. It is quite possible that this is how he was licenced as mason, if indeed he was properly qualified.
3. Farms in Friesland (stemhebbende boerhofsteden)
In Douwe Gerbrand Steyn's will of 1687 he leaves his property in Weidum near Leeuwarden to his son Age Douwez Stein (citizen of Amsterdam). There are existing records of farm owners in the Leeuwarden archives. The name Douwe Gerbrandts or Gerbens does not appear in the record of 1640, but then this record only contains voter names and not farm houses or lands which did not have the vote. It is thus possible that Douwe owned land but did not have voting privileges.
4. Hollandsche and Friesche Steyns
The northern part of the present Holland was the Hollandsche province, and the southern part the Friesche province. The surname Steyn seems to have originated in the northern part (Hollandsce province). According to Dutch heraldic history there is a Hollandsche surname Steijn in Haarlem.
No Steyns seem to have come from Friesland (where Leeuwarden is located), and as shown above, Douwe Gerbrands Steyn's surname was most probably Gerbens.
It is of course possible that Douwe Gerbrands Steyn was originally from the north and moved south to Leeuwarden. This seems unlikely as movement was not so easy during those times, but of course not impossible.
3 At the Cape of Good Hope
Records in the Cape do not state when a Douwe Gerbens or Douwe Gerbens Steyn arrived. The following variations on this name are found in the records.
1 Symon Gerbrandts
In the Company's register of 1669 the name Symon Gerbrandts from Sneek (in Friesland) appears as mason. This name also appears in the registers of 1667 (probably) and 1668, but not in 1671 and 1672. As the name Symon is never mentioned in association with Douwe, this might have been another person. It is of course possible though, that this Symon was family to Douwe.
2 First record in Cape
The first record of Douwe Gerbrants Steyn's name at the Cape is as witness in a document dated 1672.06.08. His name also appears in an undated list of church members. The name appears third after governer Goske, who arrived in the Cape 1672.10.02 by which time Douwe must then obviously have been in the Cape. Given this evidence it can be concluded that Douwe was thus definitely at the Cape by 1672, that is twenty years after Jan Van Riebeeck started the outpost.
In the Company's register only three masons are mentioned in 1671, none of which is Douwe. A year later, in the register of 1672, nineteen masons are mentioned, and Douwe as the superintendent. The fort obviously required major maintenance.
In Holland, Douwe was maried to Ricxt Egberts, and they had a son Aege Douwe Gerbens, who was baptised on 11 October 1661.
In the Cape of Good Hope, Douwe got married for the second time, roughly 24 years later. It is not known what had happened to Ricxt Egberts.
Douwe's marriage record of 1685.08.19 states:
Douwe gerbrandts van Leeuwaarden en Maria loozee van de caap The marriage between Douwe and Maria Lozee in the Cape resulted in only one child who was baptised 7 years later (1692.08.24), a daughter called Anna. She married Marthinus Prins.
Maria had a son, Jacobus (or Jacob), but different sources give different baptismal dates. He was either baptised 29 August 1683, thus 2 years before their marriage, or 1685, which was the year of their marriage. He was either the son of Douwe's extramarital affair with this slave girl, or Jacobus' father is unknown. It is of course likely that if Jacobus was born in 1685, Douwe married the mother because of her being pregnant with his child.
Douwe had a son, Age Douwez Stein from a previous marriage, but this son remained in Amsterdam. Douwe's Dutch estate was bequeathed to this son. No mention of other children is found in this will. Given the scant evidence it cannot be concluded with absolute certainty that Jacobus was his biological son - some commentators are of the opinion that the son was that of a visiting sailor.
Records from the Cape archives indicate that Douwe had the following acquaintances in the Cape.
Harman Janzoon Potgieter (from Noorhoorn, Groningen in Holland) was a life long friend of Douwe Gerbrandts Steyn. On 19 December (??) Douwe Gerbrants Steyn and Maria Westhuizen were godparents of Marritie, daughter of Andries Beier. On 17 September (??) Douwe Gerbrants Steyn and Aeltie Claesen were godparents of Ammerentia, daughter of Harman Janzoon Potgieter. On 31 August (??) Douwe Gerbrants Steyn and Maria Lozee were godparents of Maria, daughter of Harman Janzoon Potgieter. On 1694.11.13 and 1695.11.27 Douwe Gerbrants Steyn and his wife were godparents of children of Dirk Coninghoven. On 1697.10.13 Douwe Gerbrants Steyn and his wife were godparents of Everdina, daughter of Jan Cruijwagen. 6 Property
In February 1683 a farm was assigned to Douwe Gerbrants Steyn in Stellenbosch. After about 4 years in 1687 he sold this farm to Van den Brink. Thirteen years later in 1710 this farm acquired the name Oude Molen. Its location was as follows:
Northern border: the farm Krommerivier (including Bergzicht) of Jan Janz van Eeden Southern border: the farm Libertas of Jan Corneliz (from Oud-Beyerland) Eastern border: farm of Harmen Janz (form Noordhoorn) Western border: Papagaaisberg Between 1692 and 1694 Steyn was the owner of Rustenburg, nowadays known as Stellenrust on the way between the present Stellenbosch and Strand.
On 1687.05.18 (thirteen years before his death in 1700) Douwe signed his will in the presence of secretary JG de Grevenbroek. Douwe's name is given as Douwe Gerbrandt Stein metzelaar (metzelaar is Dutch for mason). Note that the use of capital letters was inconsistent, and that Stein is Dutch for stone, so the phrase could have referred to Douwe Gerbens who was a stone mason, although the son is called Age Douwez Stein.
Only one heir is mentioned, namely Age Douwez Stein. The will of 1687 reads as follows:
Verschijnd voor mij JG de grevenbroek secretaris deses Commandements Douw Gerbrant Stein metzelaar in dienst der e Comp, hier bescheide, dewelke in tegenwoordigheid der ondergeschreve getuigen verklaarde, getransport: gecedeerd, en in vollen eigendom overgelaten te hebben, gelijk hij transporteert, cedeerd en in vollen eigendom uijt vaderlijke leivde mist desen overlaat an soon Age Douwez Stein Burger tot Amsterdam, alle sijne so roerende als roerende goederen, egene uitgesonderd, die hem comparant in 't vaderland toebehoren en eigen zijn, en particulierlijk sijn huijsen en erven in 't dorp Weidom bij Leeuwarden in Vriesland gelegen, om daarmee te doen en te handelen als met sijn eigene geacquireerde goederen, en so hijh best te rade werden sal On 31 August 1699 another will was written. Here is the signature from that will dated. Note that the signature reads DG Steijn, unlike the earlier signature above.
Douwe's signature of 1699
4 Maria Lozee
The origin of Maria Lozee (or Lossee) is uncertain. The surname Lozee is unknown. The slave quarters in the Cape was known as the slawe lozee (slave quarters), so it is quite likely that Maria was a slave (see eg HF Heese Kronos 1979 Vol 1). Two presidents (Kruger and Steyn) of the old southern African republics are descendents of this slave girl. In Governor van der Stel's time about half the children born in the slave quarters were of mixed blood, which means that the European settlers frequented the quarters as often as other slaves within the quarters. Whether Douwe Gerbens visited Maria there is not known. It is also not known whether he married her as slave or as free person. It is further not known for certain that Douwe Gerbens was the father of her son Jacobus.
Douwe Gerbrandts Steyn and Maria Lozee married on 1685.08.19. After Douwe's death in 1700 she married Paul Heyns.
Douwe Gerbrandts Steyn and Maria Lozee had one child: Anna, baptised 1692.08.24, who married Marthinus Prins
5 Jacobus Steijn
Douwe Gerbrandt Steijn's stepson (or perhaps biological son), Jacobus (whose mother is Maria Lozee) took on the surname Steijn. Jacobus was baptised in 1683 (according to De Villiers) or 1685 (according to Heese). If he was indeed baptised in 1685, there is a possibility that Douwe was his father and that it was a forced marriage.
Jacobus Steijn married Marrietjie Pottegieter, or Maria Potgieter, or Maria Hermanz Potgieter on 1706.10.04. Douwe probably was her godfather.
Their children were the following. Also see the complete list of descendents of Jacobus Steijn (which follows De Villiers). I obtained this list below in copy format and its origin is unknown.
Maria baptised on 1707.08.14 by preacher le Boucq. Witnesses: Paulus Heijns and Maria losee Maria married Harmanus Kriel. Maria died 1724 Douwe baptised on 1709.01.20. Witnesses: Gerrit Roomont and Anna Steijn Hermanus baptised on 1711.07.12. Witnesses: Johannes Harmanz Potgieter and Beatrix Harmanz Potgieter. He was still alive in Swellendam in 1793. Sibella baptised 1714 Maria baptised on 1727.09.21 After death of older Maria
Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn, SV/PROG 1's Timeline
Leeuwarden, Friesland, Nederland
December 9, 1642
In NH Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church). Source: Church records
March 18, 1657
Leeuwarden, Friesland, Netherlands
Leeuwarden, Friesland, Netherlands
Cape Town, Cape, South Africa
Note by LC 'Chris' Steyn: I dated his birth at 'about 1682' simply to show in Geni that he was born before he was baptized. At the moment Geni automatically puts specific dates within a year before 'about' dates in the same year. Result: when you look at the timeline of a person, it looks as if they were baptized before they were born.
August 19, 1685
Transcription of their marriage record Cape Town Marriages 1685:
Den 19 dito (Augustus)
Found on the eGGSA website http://www.eggsa.org/sarecords/index.php/church-registers/cape-town...
Cape, South Africa
Stellenbosch, Cape, South Africa
Regarding the date of the death of 'Baas' Douwe: It is referred to in the correspondence dated June 1700 quoted below.
PRECIS OF THE ARCHIVES OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.
No. 14, p. 95.