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de Savoye Genealogy of South Africa

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  • André de Savoye (c.1555 - d.)
    Mahieu was married first to Marie Ghosselin, by whom he had two daughters, then, having been left a widower, he married Lusette Barbieur, by whom he had two sons: Andre (from whom descends the present ...
  • Marie Ghosselin (deceased)
    Mahieu was married first to Marie Ghosselin, by whom he had two daughters, then, having been left a widower, he married Lusette Barbieur, by whom he had two sons: Andre (from whom descends the present ...
  • Mahieu de Savoye (c.1530 - aft.1575)
    Mathieu was 'èchevin' in Chievres from 1547 to 1557 near Ath. He worked in 'Échevin', a Municipal office in Medieval France, in Chievres from 1547 to 1557 near Ath. Mahieu was married first to Mari...
  • Christine Madeleine du Pont, SM (1636 - 1686)
    Although Christine du Pont did not arrive in South Africa, she married a SV/PROG and mothered his children, so she is not a PROG, only SM. Her daughters, as the most senior SA Savoye female members, be...
  • André du Pont (b. - c.1686)
    The colonist referred to is the former merchant Jacques de Savoye who, with his second wife Marie-Madeleine le Clercq , his mother-in-law Antoinette Carnoy , his children Marguerite-Therese and Barbe-T...

This project is designed to collect Research Information, Discussions, Queries etc on the de Savoye family of South Africa.

Image right: Sint-Jacobskerk/ St. James' Church in Gent.

Core profiles:

Julien de Savoye (6th child of Jacques de Savoye & Jeanne van der Zee/ de la Mare) x Jeanne Dureau (child of Jacques Dureau & Marie Guersouille)

Jacques de Savoye x Christine Madeleine du Pont xx Marie Madeleine le Clercq

French Huguenot immigrants to SA in 1688 on the ship 'Oosterlandt':

de Savoye Children with South African Descendants:

de Savoye Family Progenitor Details

a. Jacques de Savoye b. before 29 January 1636, d. October 1717

1st marriage 4/7/1657 Christine du Pont b. c 1640, d. b 1686

b1. Jeanne de Savoye b. b 1667 - Did she die at about 19, or did she just stay in Flanders with her husband?

b2.Catherine de Savoye (b 21 September 1663 - ) - requires validation

b3. [Agatha Therese de Savoye] baptised 7/1/1667 requires validation (presently merged into Marguerite)

b4.Jacques de Savoye b. Jun 1669 - Did he die young or was he old enough to stay in Flanders when the family emigrated?

b.5.Julienne-Louise de Savoye b. 16 May 1671, d. May 1671

b.6.Marguerite-Thérèse de Savoye b. b 4 Sep 1672, d. Mar 1742

b7. Barbe-Thérèse de Savoye b. b 20 May 1674

b8. Chrétien de Savoye b. 27 Jun 1676, d. b 30 Sep 1676

b9. Susanne de Savoye b. 27 Jan 1678 - It is supposed that she died young, as she doesn't emigrate with her father. Perhaps she stayed with her older siblings

2nd marriage 1686 Marie-Madeleine le Clercq b. c 1670, d. 1721

b10. Jacques de Savoye b.b 12 Apr 1687 - Appears to have died without heirs

b11.Jacquette de Savoye b.b 12 Apr 1687 - possibly twin of Jacques. Possibly died young as not on emigration boat in 1688- requires validation

b12.Aletta de Savoye b. b 17 Jul 1689

b13.Philippe Rudolf de Savoye b. b 29 Aug 1694 - Appears to have died without heirs

See attached document

... which shows the children as outlined by GISA, FFYP and GENi (at the time of compiling the list). The main source of information is M. Boucher. French Speakers at the Cape in the first hundred years of Dutch East India Company rule.

References found

The Huguenots in South Africa

Manfred Nayhan 1939 (extracts typed out by CJB)

  • p. 40

The Oosterland sailed from Middelburg on January 29, 1688, and reached Table Bay on April 26, 1688. She had a rapid and successful voyage of 70 days.

On the 'Oosterland were Jacques de Savoye of Ath (Aeth), his wife and three children; ...

  • p 86-90

After leaving Ghent, where he had carried on business asa merchant, in 1687. Jacques de Savoye went for a time to the northern Netherlands, and then went out to the Cape. He had with him a testimonial from the Rev. François Simond, a minister of Flanders, to the effect that"his life seemed a worthy example of purity and holiness." He also had strong recommendations from the Rotterham Chamber. He sailed in the Osterland, arriving in Table Bay on April 26, 1688. Simon van der Stel received de Savoye with favour, and in 1689 appointed him a heemraad [district councillor] at Stellenbosch. he also stood sponsor at the baptism of de Savoye's third daughter, Aletta, on July 17, 1689; she afterwards married Pierre Meyer of Dauphiné; his eldest daughter, Marguerite, married, firstly, Christoffel Snyman (then called Seanayment), and thus became the ancestress of the Snymans, and, afterwards, Henning Vilion or Viljoen, from whom the Viljoens are descended; his second daughter, Barbère, married, firstly, Christiaan Eelers, and afterwards Elias Nina. In the same year the Commander, who had not yet quarrelled with Simond, stood godfather to one of the clergyman's children.

At the time of his arrival, de Savoye was still possessed of considerable means. He was granted land in 1688 at Vrede en Lust, on the slopes of the Simonsberg. Ten or eleven years later he went to live in Wagenmaker's Vallei.

On his arrival, de Savoye made acquaintance with the Rev. Pierre Simond, who may have been a relative of the Rev. François Simond of Flanders. They became good friends, and, as we have seen, de Savoye accompanied Pierre Simond on the deputation to the Commander. Subsequently they fell out, and their warm friendship turned into bitter enmity. The cause of the quarrel remains unknown, but it was enough to shake the little Drakenstein community to its foundations.

Simon van der Stel appears to have sided strongly with Jacques de Savoye. The quarrel broke out as early as 1691. Simond made allegations against de Savoye, and approached the Council of Policy on the matter. He dived into his past career in Ghent and suggested that he had left that city under a cloud. At length the Governor and Council wrote to the Chamber about the matter, which must have caused considerable stir to justify correspondence on the subject. "We only wish that the Rev. Pierre Simond and Jacques de Savoye would bear themselves towards each other more peaceably and amicably, and had settled their differences without, by means of their quarrelsomeness, resulting from sheer obstinacy, causing so much annoyance to the inhabitants, and such great trouble to us and the various husbandmen in the busiest season of work, to the general injury of the public." The letter recounted how the Governor had attempted mediation, no fewer than four clergymen being called in to assist. This suggests that the difference must have been over church matters. On the other hand, the quarrel may have been about private things, for the letter continued: "We would very much have liked to see that the French minister did not so much interfere with private affairs and those of the public in general, and that he had not troubled his congregation by making them give declarations, or called them together at one time for one, at another for another reason, as you will see from the annexed copy of the memorial signed by the French congregation and delivered by him to the Governor and Council."

The feud raged for a considerable time, and engaged the attention and enlisted the sympathies of the whole countryside, where the main subjects of gossip were congregational affairs, and the personalities of the leading personages in the church, parsons, elders and deacons. When, in addition, a man like the pastor made serious allegations against a leading member of the flock, who was also a heemraad, such as de Savoye was, many tongues and heads wagged in approval or disapproval of one side or the other.

Suddenly it all died down as speedily as it had blazed up, and no more was heard about it. In any event it had to come to an end, because the Rev. Pierre Simond returned to Europe. He had his shortcomings, but he had done good work for the community, and his name is still revered as that of its first pastor. It is true that he incurred the displeasure of Governor Simon van der Stel, but he had the satisfaction, if satisfaction it was, of outlasting the official career of that personage.

It was March, 1701, that the Rev. Pierre Simond made his application to the Governor and Council to be relieved of his duties, as he desired to return to Europe. It is said that the main reason for his resignation was that he wished to publish, for circulation among the French Protestant churches in Europe, a metrical version of the Psalms which he had prepared. In anticipation of his early departure, he sold all his property, cattle, slaves and other moveables, and preached his farewell sermon. The Chamber of Seventeen contented to his resignation, on condition that he should remain at the Cape until his successor should arrive. The Rev. Hendrik Bek arrived in April, 1702, and took Simond's place in May. Then Simond left South Africa for ever, with his wife and family. His pastorate and his services were subsequently commemorated by the foundation of the village of Simnondium.

Jacques de Savoye does not appear to have suffered in general esteem on account of his dispute with Simond. In material things, however, he did not prosper. In his old age he fell upon evel days. He made up his mind to return to Europe with his wife. His children had married, and remained at the Cape. They do not appear to have been able to give their parents any financial assistance. Their father was so impoverished that he was unable to pay the full passage money home. He settled down in Holland, and died there in October, 1717, at the ripe age of eighty-one. His wife died in May, 1721."

References for the above extract

  • H.C.V. Leibbrandt. Rambles through the Archives of theCape of Good Hope. First series (1887) - pp. 52, 69
  • C. Graham Botha. The French Refugees at the Cape (1919) - pp. 33, 50-51, 57, 85-6
  • G McCall Theal. History of South Africa. Vol.I (1486-1691) p. 25.

From Boucher:

The colonist referred to is the former merchant Jacques de Savoye who, with his second wife Marie-Madeleine le Clercq, his mother-in-law Antoinette Carnoy, his children Marguerite-Thereseand Barbe-Therese by his first marriage and a baby Jacques, reached the Cape in 1688 aboard the Oosterland. Savoye was sent out with a warm encomium from the Rotterdam chamber of the Dutch East India Company as a staunch Calvinist who had suffered for his beliefs. Jacques de Savoye was born at Ath in Hainaut in 1636, the son of a father of the same name and his wife Jeanne van der Zee.

Not therefore a Frenchman by birth, but a native of the Spanish Netherlands, he came of a family which perhaps had its roots in the Cambresis, where the name was known in the sixteenth century. Savoye evidently prospered in Ath, where he lived for many years. When he left the town he possessed houses, land and investments there, the management of which he placed in the hands of a fellow-merchant Jean Henrichant. It was probably at Ath that he married his first wife Christine du Pont, whose family came from that town. Savoye was accompanied to the Cape by the Nourtiers of the Calaisis as his servants. Was there also a family connection through Christine du Pont?

From Ath, Jacques de Savoye moved to Ghent and it seems likely that, in company with many others from the small towns and villages of the Spanish Netherlands, he took refuge in the city from Turenne’s advancing troops in 1667, when the War of Devolution secured for France a number of towns beyond the border, Ath, Courtrai, Tournai and Oude- narde among them. A daughter Jeanne would seem to have been born to the Savoyes before they settled in the Flemish city and her marriage to Andre du Pont further cemented the alliance between these families.

Savoye remained in Ghent until at least the end of 1685. From neither a social nor an economic point of view was this an easy period for a Calvinist merchant. The days of the Protestant ascendancy in the city were long past and the religious orders of the Catholic church were flourishing. The closure of the Scheldt estuary, French incursions into the southern Netherlands and the occupation of Ghent itself did nothing to stimulate business. Some expansion had taken place in the linen industry and certain luxury trades had been established, but the economic situation in the seventeenth century was precarious and Ghent as a commercial centre had declined greatly since medieval times.

Although the Calvinists of Ghent were compelled to make use of Catholic churches for baptisms, marriages and interments, the reformed church “recueillie sous Id croix” and watched over by the Dutch church authorities was by no means moribund. Its itinerant pastors preached regularly and administered communion whenever the opportunity presented itself. Savoye was known to one of them, Francois Simon, evidently of a Rouen family, who considered the Ghent merchant a devout worshipper and a man of courage who did not hesitate to allow his house to be used for Calvinist services. From other Ghent sources - the merchant Martin de Lecourt, the consul Christiaan Craye-nest and a friend Jacques des Obry (De Zobry, perhaps) - it is evident that Savoye’s zealous defence of his beliefs earned him the hostility of the Catholics and particularly of the Jesuits among them. According to Crayenest and Des Obry the virulence of the persecution he endured made him even fear for his life.

These testimonials to his religious fervour were produced at the time of his quarrel with Simond and went hand in hand with favourable comment on his business probity. However, it was rumoured at the Cape that Savoye had become insolvent in Ghent. This was a matter for church censure and the former merchant was called upon to vindicate himself, an invitation he ignored. Was there in fact any truth in the allegation? It is evident that Savoye worked with his son-in-law Andre du Pont in the linen trade and although Lecourt does not associate the Cape emigrant with Du Pont’s business affairs, he notes that Savoye’s departure from Ghent coincided with his son-in-law’s insolvency. Du Pont moved to Leyden with his wife, became a successful bookseller there and died in 1699.

The case of Jacobus Pape and others against Jacques de Savoye in 1709 would suggest that the Cape settler was not in partnership with Andre du Pont and was not responsible for payment of a bill presented by Pape’s father-in-law Zacharias Pede for linen delivered to Ghent in June and July 1686. For this view we have only Savoye’s word, however, and an earlier case puts a different interpretation on his business relationships witih his son-in-law. On April 12, 1701 an Amsterdam merchant Jasper Pallet sought to recover a debt incurred by Savoye and Du Pont, who were named together on the relevant bill of exchange and had accepted liability. Pallet used the assistant mate Barend Kragt of the Berckenrode as an intermediary in his dealings with Savoye and it is interesting in the history of Huguenot commerce at the Cape to find him years later buying hides from the refugee Durand Soullier to made a stout pair of trousers suitable for a seaman. On the available evidence it would appear that the rumours of financial difficulties surrounding Savoye’s name were not without foundation.

The names of several of the children of Jacques de Savoye and Christine du Pont appear in the registers of Sint-Jacobs, the parish church for the densely populated district surrounding Ghent’s Vrijdag- markt, where in 1340 Edward III of England had been proclaimed king of France.

A son Jacques was baptized in June 1669 and a daughter Julienne-Louise on May 16, 1671. Julienne died shortly after her christening at the age of two weeks. Both the children of this marriage who settled at the Cape were born in Ghent. Marguerite-Theresewas christened on September 4, 1672 and Barbe-Therese on May 20, 1674. Two years later, on June 27, 1676, a son Chretien was baptized, but he did not survive infancy and was buried on September 30 of the same year. Finally, the baptism of a daughter Susanne took place on January 27, 1678. The name Savoye also appears in the marriage records of the cathedral of Sint-Baaf in Ghent. In August 1682 Marie-Anne de Savoye was married there to Jacques du Pre.

After leaving Ghent Jacques de Savoye settled at Sas van Gent across the Dutch border, where he spent most of 1686 and part of 1687. He gave as his reason for moving there the intensity of the religious persecution against him. The Sas lay at the end of the canal which marked Ghent’s early attempt to gain an outlet to the Scheldt. Du Ponts were already established there, for a Louis du Pont moved from Sas van Gent to Leyden in October 1683.

Savoye’s first wife had died by 1686 and it is possible that he met his second wife at the Sas. Marie-Madeleine le Clercq of Tournai was the daughter of Philippe le Clercq and Antoinette Carnoy. Her mother, then a widow, became a member of the Walloon church in Amsterdam on May 5, 1686. She does not appear to have been in easy circumstances as she was provided with help in kind from the relief funds of the church on December 11, 1686, receiving a camisole, the gift of Philippe de la Fontaine. It is interesting to note that the merchant Jean Bourla, with whom Antoinette Carnoy had business dealings in 1698 while resident at the Cape, was secretary of the Amsterdam church consistory. He too was from the southern Netherlands. Alexandre le Clercq, a merchant, who was certainly a member of this family and perhaps Marie-Madeleine’s brother, also took refuge in Amsterdam. He married Elisabeth Gilles there in 1710 and in the same year settled in Halle-an-der-Saale in Saxony. There, between 1711 and 1716, Philippe-Alexandre , Marie-Elisabeth and Anne le Clercq were born, the son, and daughter Anne, dying in early childhood.

From Sas van Gent Jacques de Savoye went to Middelburg, where his wife gave birth to a son Jacques and, it would seem, to a daughter Jacquette, baptized on April 12, 1687. It was from the Zeeland capital, after a public sale of household goods, that Jacques and his family left for the Cape of Good Hope. Two points remain to be discussed in this sketch of Jacques de Savoye’s European background. The first is that the Simonds cannot have been unacquainted with the Savoyes before they reached the Cape and probably knew something of Jacques’s earlier life in Flanders and Hai-naut. Not only had Anne de Berault spent some time in Middelburg, but Pierre Simond was also on friendly terms with Pierre de Joncourt, the former pastor of Clermont in the Beauvaisis who had been called to Middelburg in October 1677. Joncourt regarded Savoye as a man of fiery temper, quick to take offence.147 The Simonds may also have been acquainted with the Le Clercqs and in that connection it is interesting to note that a Madeleine le Clercq was received as a member of the Leyden church with attestation from Zierikzee at Easter 1688.

The second point concerns the link between Leyden and the Du Pont and Savoye families. At the time that Jacques de Savoye moved from Ghent to the Sas, both families had a long association with the Dutch university city and Jacques’s connection with Leyden was a particularly close one. He was to declare at a later date that his son-in-law settled in the city about the year 1690, but the names of Andre du Pont and Jeanne de Savoye appear as signatures at a baptismal ceremony there as early as August 5, 1685. They were not then necessarily permanent residents, however. A further link concerns Jacques’s brother Jean de Savoye who, like Jacques, was born in Ath and married a Du Pont. The baptism attended by Andre du Pont and his wife in 1685 was that of Jean, son of Jean de Savoye and Julienne du Pont, born that same day. Jean de Savoye had married Julienne at Leyden on September 12,1681. At that time he was a joiner and living on the Langegracht in the city. His wife, also from Ath, was a daughter of Benoist du Pont and Jeanne Due, who lived in the Paardesteeg. Their son Jean died in infancy, but at least two of their daughters reached marriageable age: Jeanne, born on August 19, 1682, and Marie, born on March 14, 1688. Their father died on January 5, 1692, when the family lived in Leyden’s Donkersteeg. It is worthy of note, in the context of Jacques de Savoye’s financial problems, that the Cape settler owed his brother money at the time of the latter’s death. Julienne du Pont clearly left Ath as a child to settle in Leyden with her parents, to whom several other children were born between 1657 and 1667. The surname Du Pont is, in fact, to be found in local records as early as 1600. That the Savoyes were at least visitors to Leyden before 1670 may be inferred from the fact that Jacques de Savoye, probably the Cape settler, was a witness at the baptism of Benoist’s son Jean on September 3, 1664 and Jean de Savoye at that of Benoist’s daughter Abigail on January 9, 1667. Interesting too, in the light of Jacques de Savoye's marriage into the Le Clercq family is the choice of Jeanne Carnoy as godmother to Benoist du Pont’s son Denis on March 9, 1661.

Why then did Jacques de Savoye not settle in Leyden after he left Ghent? It is true that the employment situation in the United Provinces was difficult at a time when thousands of French-speaking refugees were flooding across the frontiers, but there he would have found a wide circle of friends and relatives to help him establish himself. The prospect of life in a distant settlement controlled by a company jealous of its trading privileges can scarcely have fired the merchant class among Calvinist refugees with enthusiasm. Nor is there anything in Savoye’s earlier career to suggest that agricultural pursuits would attract him. On the other hand, although the prospect of ploughing, planting, building and raising livestock in an unknown land may have caused him some misgivings, especially as he was no longer a young man, he may have seen the end product of a fine farm as a rural paradise in which to spend his last days. That at least was the burden of the letter of recommendation concerning him sent out from Rotterdam. There is also, however, the evidence of financial difficulties and it was perhaps these which played a major part in his decision to begin a new life in a new sphere far from Europe

  • Boucher.M (1981). French speakers at the Cape: The European Background. Pretoria, UNISA. CHAPTER NINE Cape settlers V: from Flanders to Alsace on the turbulent frontier pp265-9

From Juna Malherbe

"Beste Loffie, M Boucher het van die inligting, oor die ouers van Jacques de Savoye, uit die SA Biografiese Woordeboekgebruik gemaak vir sy boek French Speakers at the Cape: the European background.

Ek het in 1993 van 'n genealoog in België se dienste gebruik gemaak wat deur die Katolieke Doopregister 1582 - 1796; die Katolieke Huweliksregister 1616 - 1796 van Ath, België asook deur die "Civil Records" van Ath 1582 - 1795 en 1652 - 1674 gewerk het.

Ek weet nie of die De Savoyes Rooms Katolieke of Protestante was nie. Jacques de Savoye was 'n Protestant toe hy en sy gesin hulle aan die Kaap kom vestig het. Hy was een van die afvaardiging van 5 Hugenote wat op28 November 1689 onder leiding van Pierre Simond vir goewerneur Simon van der Stel beosek het om 'n eie gemeente en kerkraad vir die Hugenote te versoek.

Vriendelike groete Juna Malherbe Franschhoek"

Mahieu de Savoye

Mahieu was married first to Marie Ghosselin, by whom he had two daughters, then, having been left a widower, he married Lusette Barbieur, by whom he had two sons: Andre (from whom descends the present de Savoye family, ennobled in Belgium in 1910) and Jacques, husband to Jeanne de Suslamer. It has been stated that the Cape settler Jacques de Savoye was the son of Jacques de Savoye and Jeanne de Suslamer. Certainly a relationship seems possible and it could be that a man born in 1636 might be the grandson of one who held civic office in the 1540s and 1550s, but it seems more likely that there is at least one intervening generation unaccounted for.

The earliest record of the Cape settler traced is of the marriage at St Julien d'Ath on 4 July 1657 of 'Jacobus Savoye' and 'Christina Du Pont' before the witnesses 'Juliano Savoye', 'Benedicto Du Pont' and 'Francisco La Haye'. Also recorded at St Julien d'Ath are the baptisms of the couple's two eldest daughters, Catherine on 29 September 1663 and Jeanne Julienne on 13 July 1665. Precisely when Jacques and his family left Ath is not known, although religion was probably the motivating factor. On 24 March 1662, prior to the baptism of his eldest child at Ath, 'Jacque de Savoy' from ' Hainault' was registered as a burgher at Leiden, with one of his guarantors named as 'Benoit du Pon'.

Source: Huguenot Society of London., 1983


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