Click here for a list of conventions and notations used in these pages.
I've always been interested in history in general and specifically in my own family's. You can often see historical and geographical influences in the way people act and the way they handle situation turning up in their lives. This book is the end result of a number of years of studying the Kuipers family tree and their history.
Very little in this book is original research. I am greatly indebted to the many people that did do the research and that compiled the results. What I did do was to connect the dots and to collect all the information in one central location. Getting the information together was quite a long and arduous task that involved a large number of hours on the internet. The fact that I could get this information from the comfort of my own home office is an indication of the tremendous value the internet can bring to us if we learn how to discern the valuable bits of information from the less useful ratings of people less familiar with the topic at hand. My interest in this topic only started after both my parents had died. My mother especially liked to talk about the family and always tried to get me to understand the various intricate relationships between people that I did not know. I am very sad to say that I usually listened to her stories with at best half an ear only. Now that I would love to tap into that source it is no longer available.
My own surname is Kuypers and starting from there and working back to discover more members of the family proved extremely difficult. There are very few genealogy sources available in South Africa and the ones that are available are scattered across the country in a number of different government departments that do not seem to communicate very well. Most of the information is also still contained in paper binders and you need a person to be physically there at the right time with the right permissions to be able to access these. Those limited resources turned up very little on our branch of the Kuypers family. There was one family that arrived in the early days of the Cape colony but they have apparently died out without leaving current descendent. Our side of the family appeared to have fallen out of the sky with no ancestral roots.
The situation in Holland is very different. Genealogical information is centralized in archives that are well maintained and documented. It is very easy to trace your lineage back into the middle ages and there are large forums that are actively used to disperse family tree research. Kuypers is however a very common name in Holland and without a lot of South African information it was impossible to relate any one of the many independent Dutch lineages with our own family in South Africa.
Not being able to move ahead based on the Kuypers surname, I started looking into Dutch information using the Kuypers surname combined with a few first names that appear to be common in our family. Based on the theory that parents used to name their children after the own parents or grandparents I assumed that if the same name keeps on cropping up in a family it must have been recurring over multiple generations. My father's names Wynand Albertus do turn up a few times in our modern day family but a quick search showed that these names appear most often in that combination in the Pretorius family. My own names Zagarias Arnoldus Stefanus once again turn up quite frequently in the Boshoff family lines. The fact that my mother was a Boshoff and my paternal grandmother a Pretorius obviously pointed to areas of interest for future research but it did not help moving the Kuypers research along.
Another unusual name in the list of family first names is Halbo. Even though this name is used only twice in my current family line it seems unusual enough to warrant further research. The name Halbo Kuypers however turned up exactly zero information in the Netherlands. The idea then occurred to try different spelling options and then we hit the jackpot. The name Halbo Kuipers occurs quite a few times in the Frisian archives in Holland, and every time it is as part of the same family tree. Continuing the research once again in South Africa but this time using the names Halbo Kuipers turned up a little gem that finally unlocked the puzzle.
There lives one Eric Swardt that wrote a little book on a certain Halbo Kuipers that emigrated from Holland to South Africa in the 1860's and that eventually settled in Nylstroom in the Waterberg district where he died in 1875, apparently of suicide. He included a little bit of information about Halbo's parents in Holland as well as his place of birth (Boxum in Friesland). The real gem was however Halbo's descendent information. It turns out Halbo had a son (also called Halbo) that was a prominent person in the government and that was married to a certain Pretorius woman. The dates associated with this Halbo and his wife corresponded loosely to what I knew about my paternal grandparents. Furthermore, this Halbo's children corresponded exactly with my father and his siblings except that their names were spelled as Kuipers instead of Kuypers. My father and his oldest brother (also Halbo) both married Boshoff sisters and they both wrote their names as Kuypers. I've lost contact with the rest of my paternal aunts and uncles and it was no longer possible to verify how they spelled their surnames but a simple search in the telephone directory showed Kuipers people in Nelspruit where I know my one uncle settled down and where he had a number of children and grandchildren.
This raised the question of how and why the two brothers would have changed their names apparently when they married the Boshoff sisters. This let me down the Boshoff path where I discovered a wealth of previously publish information on the internet as well as the complete family tree. I am grateful to the numerous contributors to this great body of work even though I haven't met or talked to a single one of them. In the Boshoff genealogy that is included with this publications it shows that the two Boshoff sisters did indeed marry Kuypers brothers. Reading between the lines in Eric's book and vaguely remembering snippets from my mother's conversations it seems that the Boshoff family was quite a prominent one in the Waterberg district, exactly where the original Halbo Kuipers was stationed and where he apparently had a number of shady and unscrupulous dealings with the local people. If that was the case and remembering my maternal grandfather as the fierce and determined man that he was, I can only imagine what his response would have been to the two Kuipers brothers going after his beloved daughters and that maybe he had a hand in the name-change. All of this is plausible speculation however since everyone who could have shed light on this question had in the mean time passed away.
Having the South African side of the family under the belt and with the Boshoff side taken care of as well I returned to Holland to continue the search for Halbo Kuipers from Boxum and his ancestors. I contacted the church warden in Boxum where Halbo's father was a pastor to try and get more information about the family. This didn't turn up anything because contrary to my expectations the Kuipers family did not have deep roots in Boxum and as a matter of fact there was only a single entry in the Leeuwarden archives to collaborate the information in Eric Swardt's book. Although the archives agree very closely they also only ended with the note that Halbo left Boxum for s'Gravenhage and they then lost track of him. The names and dates of his parents and siblings however match closely enough so that the Halbo from Boxum can be uniquely identified with the Halbo in the Waterberg district.
I then stumbled upon another one of those momentous works that seemed to make my quest easier every time I ran out of fresh ideas and options. In Holland there is a lady Mrs. E.D.M. Plooy-Cuipers who did a stellar job collecting information on a Kuipers family from Buitenpost for the annual publication "Nederlands Patriciaat". I could once again link her information with that from the Leeuwarden archive through the name Halbo. With that information in hand it became quite apparent that the family roots were actually in Buitenpost rather than Boxum which was just a side-track on the perpetual motion that pastors are subjected to. In Buitenpost the Kuipers family goes back to 1685 when one Dirck Thomasz settled there and started a woodworking business that led to the name Kuipers becoming associated with the family. To this day his descendents are still living in Buitenpost with some of them involved in the lumber business.
In her book Mrs. Plooy-Cuipers mentioned that Dirck Thomasz was born in Oostermeer and that his father was Thomas Dircks. Since this took us back to the time before surnames became in common use in Friesland the research from here on became a lot more complicated since we were now dealing with the patronymic system still commonly in use in Friesland in the seventeenth century. By that system the child was only given a first name with the father's first name used as an additional name with an -s or -z attached to the end to indicate "child of". Using that and the fact that he came from Oostermeer finally led me to our original progenitor in Oostermeer named Outger Dircks who married Houck Harts in around 1590. The name Outger Dircks means "the eldest son of Dirck" and as such has not yet given up its own ancestral secrets.
While this was going on and totally independent of what I was doing for the Kuipers family my father-in-law started original research on the history and genealogy of his own Streutker family. He subsequently published a book called De Ströckerhoeve 1400-1826 from which I borrowed his family tree with great thanks. Since I have now expanded my own information to also include some of the maternal lines I was very glad to get the information for the Olde family as well and it describes the maternal line of my father-in-law's mother. A note on the Pretorius family line: this follows my paternal grandmother's family and although that information is available and quite extensive it is currently under legal challenge and it is therefore not able to be published at this time.
This finally brings it full circle back to me and my immediate family. I have always felt the need to know your own background and how you stand on the shoulders of those that came before you. We have two sons Philippus Albertus named after his grandfather and great-grandfather on my side of the family and same with Arend Jacobus named after his grandfather and great-grandfather on my wife's side of the family. Since we moved to Canada in 1994 while they were still very young I wish to present this book to them and I hope they get as much pleasure out of reading this that I got out of writing and compiling it.
Throughout this book and especially in the family trees part: the following set of standard symbols has been used to eliminate repetitive words and so save space:
* Born = Baptized X Married ^ Divorced + Died
Family Tree Index
There two types of family trees in general use and this book contains both. These indexing are different and it is helpful to list these differences:
In this type of family tree listing the first ancestor in a given family line is listed first with all his children as well as their children and then again theirs. In that way all of the descendent are listed until the end of the line. Graphically it looks like a tree with one person at the top branching out the further down you go. In this book the Kuipers, Boshoff and Streutker family trees are of this type.
We used the following indexing convention for these trees: the first person in the tree is numbered "1" and his children "11", "12", "13" and so on. There children in turn will get an index that contains the fathers index added a number corresponding on the relative position between the siblings. Therefore "132" will be the second child of the third child of the first member in the family tree. If there are more than ten children for a male member then number ten will be "A", eleven "B" and so on. If "131" had thirteen children for instance then child number thirteen will "131D". If the child is female then she still gets a numeric index but her children use "a", "b" and so on to indicate that they have a different last name. If "132" was a female for instance, then her children will be "132a", "132b" and so on. If a female member had ten or more children then only nine gets listed and a note is added in her personal detail that she had ten or more children.
In this listing (also called the "kwartierstaat" in Holland) you start from a specific latter day person and list all his or her ancestors with their parents and grandparents before them. That way you end up with a variety of family lines in one tree, all contributing to the single root person. Graphically this looks like an inverted pyramid with all the ancestors becoming more and more concentrated in the same person. This method is used for the Olde family tree with Alice Olde making up the root person in the tree.
In this type of listing the root person is numbered "1", his or her father "2" and his or her mother"3". Her father's father again is "4" and her mother's father "6". The father always has a number twice as large as the child and the mother one more than the father. It is also common to group these entries by generations with the root person generation I; the parents will be generation II, grandparents' generation III and so on.