History of the Van Meteren family

This text is in English because lot of my relatives, who might be interested in this story live in the USA. I started my research on the family history in 1978. I had not much to go on. My grandmother, who was a niche of my grandfather, wrote her name as Van Meteren instead of Van Meeteren as I do. She told me that we were descendants of a trader or a merchant from Antwerp. This statement was confirmed by my father, Albert van Meeteren, who said that his father, Frank van Meeteren told him this story too and who got it from his father, Albert van Meeteren. This made me deceit to start the search for my ancestors.

The story starts in the dark middle- ages. To be more precisely at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century ad. In the beginning of the 15th century the domain Meteren was the property of Johanna van Cuyk. The family van Cuyk had owned Cuyk since the 11th century and it is believed that this family originated from a part of the Netherlands called the Betuwe ( between the big rivers Nederrijn/Lek in the north and the Waal in the south) in the province of Gelderland . This Johanna van Cuyk died childless. All her properties (Meteren, Cuyk, Grave and Est) were inherited by her sister Elisabeth van Cuyk. Elisabeth was married with Jan van Tiel, also called Jan van Eyll or Jan van Meteren.

From this time on we regularly see the name Van Cuijk-van Meteren appear. The first time with Ermhard van Cuijk van Meteren, born 1407, married to Gijsbert van Haaften, The second is Cornelia van Cuijk van Meteren, born 1478 and married to Otto van Beesd, Next there is a Jasper van Cuijk van Meteren,,born 1496 and Walburg van Cuijk van Meteren, born 1506. She was married to Otto van Haaften. Beesd and Haaften are both villages close to Meteren in the Betuwe.

The name Van Cuijk-van Meteren also explains the composition of the coat of arms of the family as I reported you already.

In documents you will see the following names of locations Tielerwaerd or Tielerwaard. This is a part of the Betuwe. You might also come along the name of Tiesterband or Teisterband. This is old Dutch and means 'an important house with palisades' ( this is some kind of fortification around it). There are two locations in this part of Gelderland with this name as far as I know. The fist is in het village of Kerkdriel, south of the river Waal. The second about halfway between Meteren and Tiel.

The first part of the family tree shows Jasper van Cuyk van Meteren, born in 1496 and married with Barbara van Naeldwijk in 1496. In this part of the family tree we find also a Johan Jan van Cuyk, born in 1570 and married with Diske van Meteren and his son Hendrix van Cuyk van Meteren, born in 1603. This is the last van Cuijk van Meteren which I can find. It presumably means, that this part of the family ends there. There are sources which say, that Jan Joosten van Meteren is a son of Bathasar van Meteren This Bathasar is a brother of Hendrix van Cuijk van Meteren. I have found no evidence for this. If it is correct the title (and name) would be inherited by Jan Joosten or one of his children. Again, I have not found any proof for this.

The second part shows Gijsbert van Meteren, born in 1515 and married to Jutta van Herwijnen. They had at least one son, Joost Gijsbert van Meteren, born 1540. It is not known who his wife was, but he had a son, Gijsbert Joost van Meteren, born 1560. This Gijsbert Joosten van Meteren named his son Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren, born 1606. It is possible that he had a son too; Lambert van Meteren, born 1627.

The third part starts with Cornelius van Meteren, born in 1490. Presumably he was called after is aunt Cornelia van Cuijk van Meteren. For some reason or the other Cornelius was the only van Meteren in this period, which left the Betuwe. Cornelius van Meteren married a mrs. Cornelius van Meteren in Breda in 1498. From what I found, it is said, that both were born in Brecht Rhl Preussen (this is in Germany). I find that hard to believe. First there is no indication whatsoever that van Meteren's lived in Germany in that period. All the van Meteren's lived in the Dutch river estuary, the west of Holland or in Antwerp. Second Breda and Antwerp lay rather close together. If we look at the map of that area we see, that there is a village about halfway between Antwerp and Breda, which is called Brecht. So I believe Cornelius van Meteren and his wife were born there.

Jacobus van Meteren (he was the last knight in our family), born in1519 in Breda is the son of Cornelius van Meteren. Jacobus van Meteren married Orrilia Ortellius in Antwerp in 1540. They had five children, Emanuel van Meteren(09.06.1535-1612), Mary van Meteren (born 1542), Cornelius (or Curt) van Meteren (born 1540), Melchoir van Meteren (born 1544) and Aert van Meteren( born 1545). All children were born in Antwerp. Orrilia belongs to the famous Orthellius family (map-makers). Emanuel was married twice, until 1563 with a mrs. Von Loobeck (daughter of William Ortellius) and in 1564 with Esther van der Corput. Emanuel van Meteren is not an unimportant figure in dutch history. He lived in London in 1550 and from 1582 he was 'consul of the traders of the low countries' in London. We know that he also accompanied the Prince of Orange during the siege of Zaltbommel by the Spaniards. There is also a letter preserved from his uncle (the brother of his mother) Abraham Ortellius. Abraham Ortillius was at least close to the court were also the prince of Orange lived. Emanuel van Meteren wrote a book with the title "Belgische ofte Nederlandsche historie vanonzen tijden' in 1599. It is a book on his contemporary history, about the first part of the eighty years war between the Netherlands and Spain. This history is continued by the famous dutch writer P.C Hooft, 'De korte historiŽn der Nederlanden'.

Emanuel van Meteren at least has one son, Jacobus van Meteren, born 1556 in Antwerp. More is not known of him, except he has a son Joost van Meteren, born 1577 in Antwerp.

Joost van Meteren also had a son Jan Joosten van Meteren, born 1597 in Antwerp.

The next generation is Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren. The question is, who his father was? There we have to look in the direction of the Antwerp ancestors, due to the statements of my father, his brother and my grandmother. Two options are open: Emanuel van Meteren, born 1580 in Antwerp and Jan Joosten van Meteren, born in 1597 in Antwerp. I learned that Jan Joosten van Meteren, who was born in 1626 and Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren were no brothers. Since it is proven that Jan Joosten van Meteren (born 1626) is a son of Emanuel van Meteren, this means that Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren was a son of Jan Joosten van Meteren(born 1597),

Jan Gijsbertsen was probably named after, Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren (born 1585 and married to Soeta Tijnagel). Most people think, that for instants Jan Gijsberts is the son of Gijsberts. This is true in most cases. However, sometimes a double name is just the name of a relative. We see for example that Gerrit Willemse van Meteren (born 15.12.1695), son of Gijsbert Marten van Meteren was named after his grandfather from his mother's side, Gerrit Willemse van Rijnberk. The fact that Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren and his son Crijn Jansen van Meteren both were married to a Van Cleef, (who came from Antwerp) also points into the direction of the Antwerp ancestors. Another point is, that a van Meteren visited Zaltbommel during one of the sieges together with the prince of Orange. It is logical thing is that after the decline of Antwerp as a centre of trade and commerce during the second half of the eighty years war and the division of 'the low countries' between catholic dominated the south part (nowadays called the state of Belgium) and the protestant dominated nothern part (the present Netherlands) the protestant van Meteren moved north again. They moved to a town as close as possible to the old grounds of there ancestors that was firm in the hands of there protestants fellow countrymen: Zaltbommel.

The following generation is a Marten van Meteren. There is a slight problem. The years in the birth registers between 1636 and 1680 (and 1612 and 1618) and the marriage registers between 1627 and 1659 in the archives of Zalbommel are missing.

So who was this Marten van Meteren? During my search several options came up. Marten could be the son of Jan Joosten van Meteren (born 1626 in Tielerwaard) and married to Mayken (Crom) Hendriksen, or Melchior van Meteren (born 1590 and married to Arience Anneken van Beest), or Hendrix van Cuijk van Meteren (born 1603 in Bommelerwaard) or Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren (born 1618 in Zalbommel). Melchior van Meteren or Hendrickx van Meteren are definitely not the fathers of Marten because they belong to a part of the family who from 1520 on had lived in the Bommelerwaard and the Tielerwaard. This does not fit into the family story of the Antwerp ancestors. Jan Joosten van Meteren is also out of the question. He sailed from Amsterdam on a ship called 'Vos' on 31 August 1662 with his entire family, arriving at New Amsterdam on 12 September 1662. That leaves only Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren.

Marten van Meteren named his son Gijsbert Marten, so the name Gijsbert name must be important. But there is more. This son of Marten van Meteren, Gijsbert Marten van Meteren named his fifth son Crijn van Meteren (born 03.08.1704). Now Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren had a son Crijn van Meteren, born 10.03.1650 in Zaltbommel. This fits. It could mean that Gijsbert Marten van Meteren named his son after his uncle. Now Jan Gijsbertsen is the only van Meteren, who lived in Zaltbommel in that period. Now Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren was married (for the second time) to a Miss van Cleef. His son Crijn Jansen van Meteren was also married to a Van Cleef, Neelke van Cleef. She had a brother , Maarten van Cleef. There is also a Martin van Cleef, which is born in 1520 in Antwerp. This means that the name Maarten probably comes from the family van Cleef. My theory therefore is, that Marten van Meteren is a son of Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren. But in which year Marten was born? Most of the van Meteren's got their children between the age of 20 and 35 years. Since Marten's son, Gijsbert Marten van Meteren was born in 1666, Marten could be born between 1631 and 1646. Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren was born in 1618. If we presume that he also was no younger that 20 years when he got his first child, this narrows Martens year of birth down between 1638 and 1646. We know that, as Jan Joosten van Meteren, also Jan Gijsbertsen van Meteren immigrated to America in 1663. He took with him his son, Crijn van Meteren. If you go on an enterprise like this in those times and leave a son behind, he probably must have been an adult, able and allowed to make up his own decision, whether to come along with this father or not. Probably Marten was even already married at that time and living in the same village as the family of his wife. This fits in the patron. We see during the centuries, that a van Meteren after this marriage is going to live in the village were his wife is coming from. It means that Marten would be at leased 20 years old in 1663. It makes me come to the conclusion that Marten van Meteren was most likely born around 1643 in Zaltbommel. Since Gijsbert Marten van Meteren, Marten's son, was born in Geldermalsen, this means that Marten probably married a girl from Geldermalsen in Geldermalsen. The reason most likely is that after the peace treaty of Munster in 1624 the countryside around Zaltbommel became safe to live outside the fortified town, in Geldermalsen only 2-3 miles from the village of MeterenÖ.

van Meeteren Family Tree (PDF Document)

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