by August de Man
Genealogy Van Wesel and Van den Honert in Dordrecht: Matthijs
Balen, Beschrijvinge der stad Dordrecht, 1677. Van den Honert
in Ned. Patriciaat 31, 1945.
According to Matthijs Balen the family's origin was German Wesel,
but the famiily established itself in Brabant; Thomas
Cleyszoon van Wesel came from Brabant to Dordrecht,
Balen says, and married Christina van Slingelandt there. His
grandson Thomas Rochusz. and some of his brothers
and sisters called themselves after a piece of land he had acquired
"Van den Hon(a)ert". Maybe this "Honaert"
was the place outside Dordrecht where his great-grandson Herman,
burgomaster of Dordrecht, had a farm and some land (see below).
The coat of arms of the still existing branch of the family
is a combination of Van
and Van Tol; this last family claimed to be descended from the
Earls of Holland, whence the lion of Holland. It might be true.
When in 1786 my ancestor Joan van den Honert was born, he was
the only Van den Honert to continue this name, so now everyone
in the family is descended from him. There are members in Canada,
the U.S. and South Africa. The last Van Wesels lived in the
end of the 19th century. (But the Gualthérie
van Weezel family seems to pretend they come from this
family, please contact me!) Of course many women had married
men from families still surviving: e.g. through Cornelia
van Wesel and her children from three husbands Van
Noortwyck, Lupardus and Schenck many people in the U.S. have
Van Wesel ancestors.
In the 17th century many rich and important families tried to
trace their origins back to ancient noble families. So the Van
Wesel family found an old "Van Wesele"
family near Antwerp, and declared themselves descended from
that family. What they didn't realize was, that Wesele, of which
these "ancestors" were the lords, was not German Wesel,
but the old name for 's-Gravenwezel near Antwerp.
After the northern Netherlands freed themselves from the Habsburg
king of Spain, one had to go abroad to get some noble title.
Rochus van den Honert got the title of knight from the Queen
of Sweden for his diplomatic successes (even my ancestor theology
professor Taco Hajo crowned his coat of arms with the Swedish
crown, although he was from a different branch). His great-grandson
Johan or Jan van den Honert was a member of the Raad van Brabant
en Overmaze, governing the parts of Brabant which were now part
of our country; Austrian Habsburg king Charles VI, governing
the southern parts (now Belgium) made "his friend"
a baronet, recognizing his pretentions to belong to the southern
Van Wesele family, and Johan acquired the barony of Piétrais
les Harlut, Rèves et Ruart near Nivelles/Nijvel, now
Belgium. Unfortunately all his children died.
Nothing has really been proven of these pretentions, and I don't
believe them to be true. There is only one thing pointing to
Antwerp: the father of Thomas Cleyszoon who
came to Dordrecht would have been Machteld van Berchem, daughter
of Costijn van Berchem (called Machteld van Verge by Balen,
but that name doesn't exist). Well, this Costijn has really
lived, we know names of his children, but nothing is known about
a daughter called Machteld. It is not impossible, though, this
name is correct, and Thomas and Cleys may certainly
have lived somewhere in Brabant. All members of the family in
Dordrecht married people from distinguished families, so Cleys
may have married a Van Berchem. But maybe it was made up to
make the Wesele connexion more probable. timber in Dordrecht,
and behind "De Windhond", one of the sawmills founded
by the Van Wesel family.
But all the same, in the Dordrecht archives I have found out
many exciting facts about the family. We knew already they had
many functions in the town government, but I have found out
more. Rochus Thomaszoon van Wesel is mentioned
as a timber trader, he married the daughter of a timber trader
(Frans Floriszoon van Tol, accepted in the Saint Nicholas guild
in 1506), his grandson and my ancestor Dirk Pieterszoon van
den Honert had the same profession, and so had his son Frans
Rochuszoon van Wesel (also van den Honert and van Tol).
His descendants played an important part in the timber trade
and industry. The family owned a number of sawmills, one of
them signicantly called the "Van Wesele molen".
It is also from this branch Cornelia van Wesel
came, who went to New York. Many marriages took place with members
of other timber families like De Witt, van Haarlem, Rees and
De Vries. These families were among the most important in Dordrecht,
economy and politics being in the same hands.
The independant Republic of the Netherlands started in Dordrecht
(end 16th century). The whole leadership became protestant in
1572. This town had been booming and was anxious to defend its
economic position. All the coins of Holland (the most important
province of the Netherlands) were struck here and they had the
monopoly for selling timber, which was transported from France
and especially from Germany, over the river Rhine, with enormous
rafts. As the next town on the Rhine with this monopoly was
Wesel, there is a good chance the family came from there after
Later on Dordrecht we find back the family in The Hage and other
places. They were of course well educated and we find relationships
with well known cultural figures and scholars. Knight
Rochus van den Honert wrote Latin poetry, he and Mr.
Herman van den Honert were curators of Leyden University. Dominicus
van Wesel married Anna Roemers Visscher, member of
the "Muider Kring". Thomas van den Honert, who built
another beautiful "Honaert" near Voorburg, had a good
relationship with diplomat, scholar and poet Constantijn Huygens,
who built his "Hofwijck" opposite the canal.
My ancestors Taco Hajo and Jo(h)an van den Honert were fulltime
scholars. They were both theology professors and had much authority
in the official Reformed Church. Professor Joan's grandson,
the above mentioned Joan van den Honert born 1786, was a law
In the near future more about all these and other family members!
Herman van den Honert married Anna de Witt, daughter of Johan
de Witt, raadpensionaris of Holland. Herman van den Honert (1645-1730)
was secretary and later burgomaster of Dordrecht. Lately I found
back his "buitenhuis" near Dordrecht, where he could
retire from his busy life in town:
(taken from http://home.wanadoo.nl/audeman/vandenHonert.htm
on 24 November, 2002)