The De Meijer Family
(Partially translated by Google Translate)
On May 13, 2017, Dr. Paul H.E.M. de Meijer published the result of the research he has conducted for over 50 years in Zeelandish and Flemish archives into the origin and development of the de Meijer family in the county of Flanders under the title:
The oldest name bearer, Gerardus dictus maior, was meier (lord mayor) of the countess of Flanders on her domain under Doornzele (Evergem) and is mentioned in 1262 as a lender of the St. Baafs abbey of the loan up sabbins there. The history and genealogy of the De Meijer family are elaborated from Lieven de Meyere, the first proven ancestor of whom an official deed - a lease contract from 1509 - has been preserved. The family settled in what was then Staats-Vlaanderen in 1697 and subsequently spread across the Dutch Flanders in four branches and throughout the Netherlands in the 20th century.
Since an earlier publication by Dr. Paul H.E.M. de Meijer in Vlaamse Stam we already knew with certainty that the ancestors of Pieter de Meyere, who would later settle in the Autrichepolder and called himself de Meijer, came from East-Flanders. For the decades-long search of Paul de Meijer for the origin of this Pieter de Meyere and his ancestors, reference is made to the article by Dr. Paul H.E.M. de Meijer in Vlaamse Stam from March 2009 (only for registered family members).
Paul de Meijer has a strong personal conviction that Lieven de Meyere (± 1475 - 1533) descends from Gerardus, the first meier, born around 1225. Problem is to establish the exact lineage between them, one of the difficulties being that many sons in the family bore the name Levinus (Lieven) and it is not clear which one of several cousins called Levinus was the father of our first "proven" ancestor.
Until then, of Pieter's ancestry it was only known that his father's name was Jan and that he had two brothers, Laureys and Matthijs, who also settled in the Autrichepolder (now Westdorpe). The search by Paul de Meijer led to Lochristi where Lieven de Meyere was born around 1602. He was a farmer in the Eikstraat in Zeveneken, a village that is now part of Lochristi in the Belgian province of East-Flanders, located in the middle of the Waasland between Antwerp and Ghent. The name Zeveneken may have been derived from seven oak trees that stood next to the St. Eligius church in the middle of the village.
Lieven and his wife Pierijntien (Petronella) de Waele had 7 adult children, including Jan, born on January 23, 1633 in Zeveneken. He married Josijna de Wilde from Kalken (7 km south of Zeveneken) on 29 April 1664. The couple had 5 children, of which the three brothers Pieter, Laureys and Matthijs went to the Autrichepolder. This polder was built and dried in 1620, during the Twelve Years Truce (1609-1621) in the Eighty Years' War, after the Archdukes Albertus and Isabella of Austria had donated the salt marshes previously flooded to the canons of the chapter of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp (source: "The Zeeuws-Vlaamse Gender Pateer, a genealogy" by Dr. PHEM de Meijer, Leiden, 1991). Pieter was born on July 17, 1669 in Zeveneken and died in Westdorpe on January 1, 1704. He married Vinne Goole in Zelzaete on November 29, 1697. In the then State-Flanders, land of generality under the direct rule of the Protestant States-General, the Catholics from Westdorpe and the surrounding polders had to go to church in Zelzaete. This lasted until 1680. Vinne runned a tavern annex pub and shop "De Veerschuit" (The Ferryboat) on the Zwartenhoek near the ferry to Axel. A profession that, in addition to that of a farmer, would become important in the further history of the descendants of this couple. Of the three children, only Jan reached adulthood. He married Joanna Jacoba Verbrugge. From him all Dutch descendants of the family De Meijer described here descend through his son Pieter. This Pieter married three times. His first marriage to Anna Maria de Rijcke from the St. Albert polder, west of Sas van Gent, resulted in a son, Jacobus Francies de Meijer, the ancestor of the West-Dutch-Flemish branch of mainly, farmers. No children were born at his second marriage to Levina Waetsens. In the same year that Levina died, 1765, Pieter married Elisabeth Duijck from Bassevelde for the third time. The other branches of the De Meijer family descend from their sons Lieven and Ferdinand.
A short outline of the three main branches is given below, largely taken from Paul H.E.M. de Meijer, "Brief historical description of the Dutch-Flemish family De Meijer", Zaamslag / Arnhem 1984.
The De Meijer Family in the 18th and 19th centuries
Jacobus Francies, the only grown-up child of Pieter and Anna Maria de Rijcke, was born in 1757 in the St. Janspolder in Assenede and married Angelina Sturm on 3 April 1785 in IJzendijke. After his marriage he became "castellan" (manager) for Philippe François Lippens in Ghent over his 130-hectare farmstead in the New Hazegraspolder in Knokke, which was dammed in 1784, now known as the" Grote Stelle" farm located at Hazegrasstraat 120 just outside of Knokke, the road that leads to Cadzand.
The historic farmhouse "Grote Stelle" on Hazegrasstraat in Knokke was built shortly after the reclamation of the Hazegras marshes (1784-85) by order of dike warden François Philippe Lippens. The buildings are on both sides of the street. The 18th-century farmhouse and the stable are south of the street. Around 1800 a wing with a bakehouse, a summer kitchen and a washhouse was added behind the house. To the north of the street a new, monumental barn was erected in 1885 to replace an older barn destroyed by fire. To the north and east of the barn are a few stables from 1941. In 2003 the farm was protected as a monument. Photo: Tijl Vereenooghe.
From 1792 to 1803, Jacobus Francies returned to the Autrichepolder where he rented a large farm. Finally he settled on a farm in the Hoofdplaatpolder (the current address Oostlangeweg 14), he died there on September 16, 1807. His descendants married members of the Calon, Sturm and Haverbeke family, among others, and governed (and still manage) capital farms in and around IJzendijke. Other descendants became doctors and dentists. His granddaughter Maria Theresia Janssens married her second cousin Franciscus Bernardus de Meijer, the later merchant and shipbroker from Terneuzen, who is described below.
The branch of Lieven, Franciscus Bernardus and August de Meijer, shipping entrepreneurs in Terneuzen and Sas van Gent
The middle of the three sons of Pieter de Meijer and Elisabeth Duijck was Jan de Meijer, born on January 9, 1774 in Assenede. At his marriage to Johanna Maria de Letter, daughter of a wealthy farmer in the Autrichepolder, he was a spirits merchant and hotel owner in Sas van Gent. In October 1830, during the Belgian Revolt, when the city council sought to join the rebellious southern part of the kingdom, he was elected temporary mayor of Sas van Gent to replace the incumbent Protestant mayor.
Johannes Bernardus de Meijer, aged 54 by J. Hemelsoet, lithographer, Gand
|Joanna Maria de Letter, 79 years old|
The legacy of Jan de Meijer, who was called "the rich Jan Meijer" for good reason, was, when he died in 1861, after deduction from expenses, legacies and debts, the considerable amount of fl. 232,264.90 (more than 2 million euros in 2011). This was half of the common property and was inherited by the descendants of his brothers and sisters. His wife donated her half a year later to the unrelated unmarried Miss Lucia Cornelis from Sas van Gent. The large double house of Johannes Bernardus de Meijer, the building that was known as "The Traveling Man and the Three Passengers" was donated to the Roman Catholic church of Sas van Gent. It is now a national monument and is used by the Sas van Gent Housing Association and the Circle of Employers.
The eldest son of Pieter de Meijer and Elisabeth Duijck, Lieven Bernardus de Meijer (born 1770, † Sas van Gent 1831) became an innkeeper in "de Roode Leeuw" on the Grote Markt (main Market) in Sas van Gent and a farmer there. On 25 April 1797 he married Maria Johanna de Pauw, owner of a carriage and transport company and farmer. Of their children, Franciscus Bernardus is the only one with male descendants to the present time through his son Augustinus Bernardus.
The home of the "Rich Jan Meijer" in Sas van Gent. Since the donation of the house to the Church by the widow De Meijer-de Letter it is called 't Oude Klooster (The Old Cloister). The current address is Westkade 103-104. See here for the detailed description.
Franciscus Bernardus de Meijer
|His wife Maria Theresia Janssens
In the family the above portrait of Franciscus Bernardus is known as "Beethoven", because the painting was hung above the piano in the house of his grandson François Bernard on the Westkolkstraat in Terneuzen and was taken by the maid for the portrait of the composer. His wife Maria Theresia was a daughter of Joanna Theresia de Meijer and Christiaan Janssens and therefore a second cousin.
|Their son August de Meijer, shipping entrepreneur.|
The history of August de Meijer, shipping entrepreneur and founder of Aug. de Meyer & Zonen's Shipping, Expedition and Agency Company, established in 1879, is described in a separate section of this website. The activity of the innkeepers in the family ultimately underlies the shipping company. Many skippers arrived in the inns near the ferry and later on the quay in Sas van Gent. They supplied themselves with the innkeeper and had their mail delivered there. The members of the De Meijer family started performing all kinds of other services for the captains, such as customs clearance and cargo. The branch of Ludwig de Meijer is still a customs agent in Sas van Gent. August de Meijer first started an inn / hotel in Terneuzen before focusing on port activities. The family's involvement in the port of Terneuzen would continue until about 1980. At the end of the eighties of the last century, not the company, once founded by Aug. de Meyer, did disappear from the port of Terneuzen, only his name did.
The children of August de Meijer would all become active in shipping as well as some of his grandchildren as described elsewhere. Others became doctors, economists, priests ... and settled partly outside the Dutch Flanders.
Dr. José de Meijer (Sjef), son of François Bernard Gustaaf and Francisca Maria Wauters, obtained his PhD at the University in Tilburg, and after a career at the Van Leer concern and the Chamber of Commerce in Rotterdam, was appointed state secretary of Social Affairs and Public Health in the Marijnen (1963-1965), Cals (1965-1966) and Zijlstra (1966-1967) cabinets. He was a member of the KVP (Catholic People's Party). He would later adopt the family name August de Meijer.
|Dr. J.F.G.M. de Meijer,State Secretary (1915 - 2000)|
The branch of Ferdinand de Meijer
The youngest son of and Elisabeth Duijck, Ferdinand, had boarding rooms at the Westkade in Sas van Gent and was trader and driver. He married Petronella Drijoel in 1804 and their son Pieter Ferdinand was a Rijksmloeproeier, a clerk at the State Taxes, and in the early years guardian of young Augustinus Bernardus de Meijer. The name Ferdinand, Pieter Ferdinand and Ferdinand Pieter appear frequently in this branch. Many members of this branch went into government service. Jan de Meijer, born in 1917 in Middelburg, emigrated to Canada, where his son Ferdinand Pieter (1945) still lives.