Pieter van Meerhoff, SV/PROG

Is your surname van Meerhoff?

Research the van Meerhoff family

Pieter van Meerhoff, SV/PROG's Geni Profile

Records for Pieter van Meerhoff

800 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Pieter van Meerhoff (Havgard), SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Peter HAVGAARD", "Peder HAVGAARD", "Avgard", "Peter Havgard", "Peter Haggard", "Peter Ede"
Birthplace: Copenhagen, København, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark
Death: before February 27, 1668
Antogil Bay, Madagascar (Killed on a slaving expedition)
Immediate Family:

Son of Aage Ede Havgaard and Marie Maryke Havgaard
Husband of Krotoa-Eva van Meerhof / Coringhaicona and Krotoa 'Eva' van Meerhof SM/PROG
Father of Petronella Van Meerhof b2 SM; Eva van Meerhof; Jacobus van Meerhof; Maria van Meerhof; Pieter van Meerhof and 3 others

Occupation: Soldier; Surgeon; Explorer; Slave trader, Danish Surgeon, Medical doctor
Managed by: At Coetzee
Last Updated:

About Pieter van Meerhoff, SV/PROG

Jan Neelmeyer 5/19/2014 om 12:04 nm.

Managers of Aug Ede Havgard,

I am contacting you about this profile: Aage Ede Havgaard

I am of Danish origin and when I first saw the name Pieter van Meerhof coming from Copenhagen, Denmark, I translated it into Peter Havgaard. Not Havgard. I would like to know how sure you are about your translation of van Meerhof into Havgard? The Havgaard family is still alive and living in Denmark and some other places.

Yours Sincerely,

Jan Neelmeyer

Aug Ede Havgaard

Y. DROST, a1b2c2, 5/19/2014 om 1:27 nm.

Dear Jan,

The surname's spelling was supplied by a R. De Villiers Pienaar in his family register for the Pelzer (various spellings) of South Africa. He gave the spelling as Havgard. Does the spelling of the surname Havgard compared to Havgaard mean that there are two different families or could it simply be a variation in spelling? I would be interested to know.

Also, it is wonderful to hear there are still Havgaard family alive today. It would be great to be able to join the family trees.


Y. Drost

Jan Neelmeyer, gister om 11:55 vm.

Dear Y. Drost

The word "gaard" means "farm" or "estate". There is no word "gard" in Danish that I can find. The translation into Dutch of Havgaard into van Meerhof fits neatly, meaning "from Estate by the Sea". The name "Pieter" is translated from "Peter" but more likely old Danish "Peder" and there is a record of a Peder Havgaard around this time. I shall investigate further, but I do believe that Havgard is wrong. So far there is no developed Havgaard family tree that I can find so far but they are very active in Facebook and Linked in. I hav not made contact yet but may do so after I have more information on the Havgaard family.

Just for your interest, my surname Neelmeyer comes from "Neel Manager" of Neelhof, an estate on the banks of the river Weser, near Rinteln in Germany. I have been there. Our family name is about 600 years old.


Jan Neelmeyer

20 MAY 2014

Y. DROST, a1b2c2, Today at 4:23 nm.

Dear Jan,

With your explanation it does appear that the correct spelling should be Havgaard and not Havgard. I will add your messages to the profile and correct the name on Geni and in my source.

It would be great to expand on Peder Havgaard's family tree and find living relatives.

Thank you for the information.


Y. Drost

21 MAY 2014

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter Havgard


Aankomst Kaap de Goede Hoop dd 22-03-1659 met het schip Princes Roijael als

soldaat a ƒ 9 per maand.

Bron: C 2.pp, 166-168

Vertek van Vlie dd 22-10-1659. Aankomst Kaap de Goede Hoop dd 08-03-1659.

Schip weer vertrokken dd 20-03-1659 naar Batavia. Bron: vocsite.nl

Vermelding in de archieven:

10-11-1660 C. 2, pp. 155-160 Pieter meerhoff van Coppenhaegen ao., passo. hier

gecoomen met 't schip de Princes Roijael voor soldaet die sedert

provisionelijck is gebruijckt als onderbarbier.

Maakte deel uit van alle expedities tussen 1660 en 1664.

Was leider van de vierde expeditie (21-03-1661-23-04-1661). Bron: vrj iii, p.


Meerhoffs Kasteel, 'n berg in die huidige distrik Vanrhynsdorp, is genoem na

Pieter van meerhoff, die joernaalskrywer op Pieter Cruythoff se landtog in


Death Notes



Pieter VAN MEERHOF (Nederlands vir Peter HAVGARD) het as 22-jarige soldaat en sjirurgyn op 22 MAR 1659 aan boord van die 'Princes Roijael' uit Kopenhagen in die Kaap aangekom, later ontdekkingsreisiger, vermoor op Madagaskar in 1667. Trou op 26 APR 1664 burgerlik met Krotoa (Eva, genoem deur Kommandeur Jan VAN RIEBEECK aan wie se huis sy opgevoed is).

Bron: Die Geslagsregister van die familie PELSER, PELSTER, PELSZER, PELTSER, PELTZER en PELZER in Suid-Afrika sedert 1708 deur R. DE V. PIENAAR, Stellenbosch, 2004. bl. 8.

(Y. DROST, 23 NOV 2009)



Pieter van Meerhoff was a Danish soldier and surgeon who arrived at the Cape in 1659. He participated in 6 Company sponsored expeditions and proved himself to be a brave a resourceful man.

Marriage 2 June 1664 Krotoa/Eva

A year after the marriage Pieter van Meerhoff was appointed superintendent of Robben Island. Krotoa suffered an accident whilst there, drunkenness apparently being the cause.

In 1667 Meerhoff was sent on a voyage to the East African coast. Krotoa and their 3 children waited on Robben Island. 8 Months after his departure news came that he had been killed by blacks at Antongil Bay in Madagascar.

Her [Krotoa/Eva] unique position attracted the attention of a bright young employee of the Company, Pieter Van Meerhoff, who became her lover soon after his arrival at the Cape in 1659. Pieter became actively involved in northern expeditions of exploration and prided himself on his sensitivity and capacity to get on well with various Khoena chiefs. Eva continued as an interpreter, intermediary with Oedasoa and the couple had two children together. Eva and Pieter married only after Van Riebeeck left the Cape. Their decision to conform to the norms of Dutch society disappointed Oedasoa who had offered them enough livestock to establish an independent lifestyle but brought both much higher levels of respect from the Dutch, including significant promotions for Pieter. When Pieter was killed in 1666, heading up a trading mission to Mauritius, Eva's life sharply deteriorated. She died in 1674, accused of having become a drunken pest and prostitute. from The Journal of African History also [http://eprints.ru.ac.za/709/1/Evas-men.pdf]


Eva And Pieter Pursue The Great Namaqua Quest==by J Wells

Surprisingly little serious attention has been given by scholars to the nature of the relationship between Pieter and Eva. Recent writers, such as Coetzee and Abrahams presume that this relationship reenacted only macro-patterns of colonial exploitation of the powerful over the weak. They see the marriage as just one step along the road to Eva's eventual tragic demise and her miserable alienation from the Khoena. Pieter comes across as simply one more cog in the relentlessly grinding colonial machine. They fail to notice that Pieter emerges from the pages of the journal as a vividly flamboyant personality. A few historians have noted his distinctive air, but never analyzed or discussed it in the context of his relationship with Eva. Mossop referred to him as that imperfect Sir Galahad'; Malherbe described him as clearly a coming man' and his writing as vivid and informative' and Elphick identified him as one of the most intelligent and promising men in the colony'."* The relationship was a durable one, lasting nine years and producing three children. The couple remained unmarried for four years, then married in 1664 and remained together until Pieter's death in 1667. Eva's subsequent inability to cope with life surfaced following his death, suggesting that his loss had a devastating impact on her, perhaps triggering a full mental breakdown. Further circumstantial evidence, however, suggests that the pair also shared considerably in advancing the trading interests of the Dutch and Khoena : an enterprise for which they were, together, ideally suited. Given the broad outlines of their relationship, one can just as easily project theirs as a romantic liaison of choice. Hailing from Copenhagen, Pieter first enlisted in the Dutch East India Company as a soldier and was subsequently appointed under-surgeon, the rank he held upon his arrival in the Cape in 1659. The records reveal no more about his background but that he was literate and used his medical skills to save lives and relieve suffering. His superiors viewed him as good, sober and respectable,' suggesting perhaps a religious inclination.(The steady stream of promotions during the nine years he spent in the Cape confirm that the Company considered him good material. The chances are that Pieter and Eva struck up an intimate relationship soon after his arrival in 1659, since by 1663 they had two children. This implies that the relationship started just prior to or during the period of Doman's rebellion, at a time when Eva was at the peak of her intermediary role. If Pieter acted opportunistically, it was to share in Eva's power and prestige, not her weakness. An unconfirmed report from an employee of the Dutch East India Company who passed through the Cape in1660 mentioned that Eva had a child by a European man.(The author claims the father was a Frenchman who was heavily fined for making her pregnant, none of which is recorded elsewhere. Unfortunately, this memoir is rife with inaccuracies and repetitions from earlier accounts, casting doubt on its full reliability. If Van Riebeeck had indeed imposed a heavy fine on his rival - a thoroughly unprecedented measure - it is not surprising that he kept it out of the official record. However, a birth in 1660 fits into known chronologies. Once the rebellion ended, Pieter flung himself wholeheartedly into the pursuit of the Namaqua and greater riches, a quest initiated by Eva even before his arrival. He alone volunteered to travel on all six northern exploration expeditions over the next four years. Perhaps he needed to pay off his fine, or perhaps he simply hoped to gain a share of any profits. In any case, Pieter's enthusiasm for expeditions closely echoes Eva's eagerness to provide the Dutch with fresh information about outlying chiefdoms. Their dedication to expanding trade, perhaps for personal gain, became a common thread in their relationship. Since Pieter kept the official company journal for the second and third northern expeditions, it is possible to see how, in his own words, he understood himself. He frequently wrote in great detail about his acts of bravery and drew on experience gained during his first expedition to portray himself as an expert on local conditions. He rescued servants from an attacking lion, simply by shouting at it; leapt onto the back of a charging quagga, suffering a kick to the face when it bolted into a river; and stuck to elephant or rhinoceros paths to get the oxen through difficult passages; (' and knew how to get around treacherous mountains.( He revelled in the magnificence of a mountain named after him.) But perhaps most notable is the way Pieter represents himself as particularly skilled and sensitive in his dealings with Africans. For one thing, he did not let his men fall prey to the incessant rumours of hostility between one chiefdom and another, nor to the frequent threats to kill off the Dutch. In every case, his skepticism eventually proved to be correct, suggesting that he had acquired an insider's knowledge of Khoena political rivalries from Eva. He also comes across as especially congenial in his personal dealings with wary chiefs and warriors. In his initial encounters with both Souqua hunter- gatherers and eventually the Namaqua, he firsttook time to teach them how to smoke tobacco, then plied them with drink and other gifts.(He boldly strode into the Namaqua king's kraal and secured an invitation into his house to open up business negotiations.) When befriending the elusive Namaqua, he stitched up the ear of the chief's son and created a rage for red caps by giving the king his own nightcap.)" Pieter portrayed various Khoena leaders as happy to see him personally, paving the way to further contacts and negotiations.) This friendly approach paid great dividends. Not only had Pieter found the Namaqua, but he gained their promise to negotiate further about opening up trade. Hostilities between the Namaqua and the Cochoqua appeared to be the only obstacle. Accordingly, four days after his return from the exciting firstencounter with the Namaquas, the Dutch governing Council sent Pieter to bring Oedasoa into the fort. Oedasoa had previously claimed he did not need their help to deal with the Namaqua, whom he could easily defeat on his own.)$ So they clearly sent Pieter on a mission to persuade him to adopt a more flexible attitude. At this point it becomes evident that Pieter already had a strongly established personal relationship with Oedasoa, Eva's primary contact and kinsman. He successfully convinced Oedasoa to come in to negotiate. Once in the fort, Oedasoa initially refused to co-operate, but then changed his mind overnight. The next morning he agreed to send three ambassadors northward with Pieter to discuss a peace settlement. The scenario suggests close collaboration between Pieter and Eva. Though neither is recorded as influencing the chief, it would certainly have been in Pieter's interests to secure his co-operation. Eva's effective and sympathetic interpretation services would have been vital. Since the two were already lovers, with one child, their co-operation with one another is highly probable. Even before securing Oedasoa's co-operation, the Council had resolved to send Pieter off immediately as leader of another expedition to induce the Namaqua to come into the fort for trade.)% The Company also hastily arranged to send a generous supply of red caps and sixteen varieties of beads, tactfully chosen to please the Namaqua chiefs.)& At this point, Pieter is clearly pivotal, with all decisions revolving around him and his capacity to deliver. He did not let the Company down. Pieter's expedition returned within a month's time, reporting complete success in its objectives. Although the Namaqua had moved off further into the interior seeking pastures, they had delegated ambassadors to remain behind with their friends, the Charig- uriqua, for the express purpose of meeting Pieter and working out a peace settlement with the Cochoqua. Pieter triumphantly reported that not only had he brokered peace between the Namaqua and Cochoqua, but had also brought into the agreement the Souqua hunter-gatherer raiders, who had been pestering both. The success of this mission nearly drove the Dutch into a frenzy of speculation about their imminent access to great wealth from the interior. The Namaqua had agreed to send people to the fort at the end of the rainy season (October) with all sorts of trade goods obtained in the interim from their trading partners further north.)' Two of Oedasoa's ambassadors who had been on the journey convinced Van Riebeeck of the nearness of the Monomotapa cities, rich in gold and ruled by a powerful leader called Chobona.)( Donald Moodie, an early translator of Van Riebeeck's journal, however, suspected a Pieter-and-Eva plot, suggesting that they had coached the elders to say what the Dutch wanted to hear.)) Responding to Van Riebeeck's reports, the Chamber of Seventeen exulted from Amsterdam, you have found the thread of the clue'.) Hopes soared of a new southern African El Dorado which might offset all the costs incurred in setting up the station at the Cape. This journey, Pieter's third expedition to the north, marks the high point of his career as an explorer. In a way, his trans-cultural skills brought too much success too soon for a Company employee of such junior rank. When in October the Namaqua failed to appear at the fort with trade goods, the Council resolved to send out another expedition to find them. With the hopes of striking it rich still running high, the Council appointed as leader, Sgt. P. Evrard, a man with sterling Company credentials, a commander of the military, who had served long in India and was a member of the local Council. He could better represent the maxims and honour of the Company than one of inferior rank'. Pieter went as second-in-command, relieved of the duty of keeping the journal. Neither this nor the subsequent two expeditions in which Pieter par- ticipated produced the results anticipated: one problem was that the Namaqua resided on the far side of a barren stretch of desert that the Dutch could not cross. But the finesse and sensitivity of Pieter's leadership style were also clearly missing. The Dutch fell victim to rumours circulated by Cochoqua and Souqua about Dutch aggressive intentions. Opportunities to dispel or discount the ever-present rumours of inter-group hostility and to negotiate peace painstakingly proved evasive. At least one reported incident reveals tensions, if not mutiny, within the Dutch ranks over leadership style. During the fifth expedition, when the Dutch came across a Souqua kraal consisting only of women and children, Commander Cruythoff ordered their execution and the destruction of their huts. His subordinates, no doubt including Pieter, would not agree to the proposal on any account, stating that they were not willing to take revenge on these poor creatures'."

Eva's World Falls Apart

The deterioration and eventual abandonment of the Namaqua quest in many ways embodies the shifting climate which also marginalized the unique chemistry of Pieter and Eva working together as a team. As it became clearer that the Monomotapa empire was not at hand and that the great river to the north could not provide access to wealthy trading partners, the enthusiasm for sensitive and friendly contacts with the indigenous people faded. The whole spirit of Dutch}Khoena contact shifted to cruder pragmatism, laced increasingly with racism and militarism. Eva's relationships with the key men in her life changed dramatically, one by one. By 1666, she had clearly fallen out with Oedasoa. The Company com- mander Zacharias Wagenaar, speculated that he began avoiding contact with Eva because she had married a European, but this seems implausible since Pieter had been well known to Oedasoa and apparently trusted by him for several years and the couple already had two children together. In fact, in 1664 Oedasoa had made an unusually generous offer to Eva of 100 cattle and 500 sheep. Since this was also the year that Pieter and Eva formally married, it is possible that the offer was intended as a wedding gift, something sometimes given to orphans without other forms of support. Two months after the wedding, Pieter and Eva travelled together to visit Oedasoa, at his invitation, perhaps in an effort to collect, but Oedasoa never paid up and stopped coming into the fort. The journal sheds little light on the reasons behind this. Perhaps Oedasoa expected Pieter and Eva to leave Dutch employment since his gift to them would have made them wealthy enough to live independently. It appears more likely that Oedasoa became disaffected with the Dutch in general and the church wedding signified the young couple's commitment to live in conformity with the dictates of Dutch society. In the journal Wagenaar probably obscured the more deep-rooted reasons for the falling out between Oedasoa and the Dutch. During early 1664, the chief had become a regular visitor to the fort, bringing in large contingents of Cochoqua to be regaled and entertained by the Dutch. He often arrived with fifty people just as the Dutch were sitting down to church or dinner, much to the chagrin of Wagenaar who resented his presence as an intrusion. Oedasoa undoubtedly detected Wagenaar's blatant racism. To the journal, Wagenaar confided that he saw Oedasoa and his followers as these incomparably greedy and beggarly men'-a sharp contrast to Van Riebeeck's perception of Oedasoa as stately and dignified'. Perhaps Oedasoa's biggest disappointment with the Dutch in this period came in the early months of 1664, when he actively sought their military assistance in a war against his Hessequa enemies. He offered to pay the Dutch generously in cattle if they agreed. The Dutch, however, declined on the grounds that they wanted to remain friendly with all Khoena chiefs and not show favouritism. Oedasoa soon stopped coming into the fort, although the Cochoqua trade in livestock continued. Wagenaar's clearly racist attitude towards Eva probably triggered the couple's decision to have a church wedding after so many years together. Initially, it appears that Wagenaar saw Eva as an ordinary concubine, whom he also treated as a company servant. His firstmention of her, a year and a half after his arrival in 1662 was scathing. At the time, Pieter was away on his last northern expedition. Wagenaar accused Eva of running away with the children without his permission, saying the thoughtless wench has played us the same trick before, throwing aside her clean, neat clothing and resuming old stinking skins of animals, like all the other filthy Hottentoo women'. When she was apprehended (at a house that fits the description of the location of Elizabeth van Opdorp-Reinertz's home) and returned, he briskly dismissed her explanation that she had gone to visit her niece who had just given birth.( In sharp contrast to Eva's freedom of movement in the Van Riebeeck era, Wagenaar did not grant her the right to maintain free relationships with her Khoena kin. He considered leaving the fort without consulting him or getting his permission as intolerable behaviour. The timing of Pieter and Eva's formal engagement a few months after this event no doubt re-enacts the changing dynamics of their worlds. Eva was treated like a slut in Pieter's absence, the Namaqua quest had fizzled out and Oedasoa was disaffected. Pieter and Eva, the pre-eminent contact people to new interior populations, had outlived their usefulness. Though the Company occasionally sent Pieter on short bartering expeditions and Eva still interpreted frequently for Wagenaar, basic trade contacts were now well-established. In this context, the formality of marriage made sense. It certainly gave Eva greater status in Wagenaar's eyes and removed any possibility of his treating her as an ordinary servant. It also signalled their capitulation to living as socially acceptable members of Dutch society and an end to their in- betweeness. Their bid for conformity worked well. Along with a proper Christian marriage, the couple received a wedding banquet, a promotion for Pieter and a special marriage gift for Eva, the same as for all company employees.) About one year later, Pieter was again promoted, this time to the position of Superintendent of Robben Island, moving there with a pregnant Eva and their two children. This appointment lasted two years before Pieter was given command of a prestigious expedition to Madagascar and Mauritius, key new spheres of influence for the Dutch. Clearly his superiors still appreciated his inter-cultural skills, as his instructions ad- monished him to treat the natives there well, not like the other Dutch."!! However, without the invaluable coaching from Eva and her kin, he misjudged his new native contacts, who killed him while trying to negotiate on the beach of Antongil Bay in Mauritius in 1666. [ Leibbrandt, PreUcis, 238 (27 Feb. 1668). Although on primarily an exploratory and peace-making misison, Pieter was also engaged in purchasing slaves, having acquired three young slaves' prior to his murder.]



Arrived 22 03 1659 from Kopenhagen Denmark Die Dogters van Eva Mitochondriale DNA

Pieter *? 1635 †27.02.1668 :­van Kopenhagen, in 1660 saam op ontdekkingsreis na Rio Infante en Vigita Magna, maak ses ontdekkingstogte na die Noorde mee en speel prominente rol as chirurgyn, joernaalhouer, sekunde en leier; gaan in 1667 op handelsending na Madagaskar, Mauritius en Ooskus van Afrika, word onverwags deur inboorlinge oorval en vermoor in Antongilbaai, Madagaskar
Pieter van Meerhof was from Copenhagen, Denmark. He arrived at the Cape on the ship Princess van Royael. He was an adventurer, traveller and surgeon. He also served as the superintendent on Robben Island. He went on the slaving ship Westwout. He was killed on this slaving expedition at Antogil Bay in Madagascar before 27 February 1668. This ship arrived back at the Cape on 30 September 1668. Meerhoffskasteel was named after him

view all 21

Pieter van Meerhoff, SV/PROG's Timeline

Copenhagen, København, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark
March 22, 1659
- 1664
Age 22
Cape Town, Cape, South Africa
Age 23
South Africa

There doesn't seem to be a source for the exact date of this birth. Pieter arrives in the colony in 1659, so presuming it was his child - the birth is likely to be not earlier than 1660.

An unconfirmed report from an employee of the Dutch East India Company who passed through the Cape in1660 mentioned that Eva had a child by a European man. The author claims the father was a Frenchman who was heavily fined for making her pregnant, none of which is recorded elsewhere. Unfortunately, this memoir is rife with inaccuracies and repetitions from earlier accounts, casting doubt on its full reliability. If Van Riebeeck had indeed imposed a heavy fine on his rival - a thoroughly unprecedented measure - it is not surprising that he kept it out of the official record. However, a birth in 1660 fits into known chronologies. [Wells http://eprints.ru.ac.za/709/1/Evas-men.pdf last accessed by Sharon Doubell 7 Apr 2013]

September 16, 1663
Age 26

Kratoa has a another child with Pieter van Meerhof. The child Pieternella was baptized on the mainland. The couple had two more children who did not survive.

Age 26
Caap de Goede Hoop, Suid Afrika

Kratoa has a third child with Pieter van Meerhof. The child Pieternella was baptized on the mainland. The couple had two more children who did not survive.

- 1667
Age 27