Matthijs Greeff and his Children
by Francois Greeff
Matthijs Greeff, the progenitor of the Greeff family in South Africa, and his wife, Susanna Claasen (also Klaas, Claas, Klaasz, Claessen, etc; d o Claas Jacobsz van Meldorp and Aagje Rijx), had nine children1. Their youngest child, Adrianus, is not recognised by any of the Genealogical Authorities.
The genealogical authorities, Genealogies of Old South African Families2 , and SA Genealogies3 conflict as to the number of Matthijs and Susanna's children and their names. Personalia of Germans at the Cape, 1652 - 18064 (p 119) reports that they had 8 children, but does not name them. Genealogies of Old South African Families lists eight children:
SA Genealogies vol 2 (D-G) lists nine children:
Both authorities show considerable variation of the spelling of names from the way they appear in the baptismal records. Names appear to have been standardised and more closely allied to Afrikaans spelling, eg from Matthijs to Matthys; Margareta to Margaretha; and Joghem to Joachim.
A transcript of the original baptism records5 shows that Matthijs and his wife, Susanna Claasen, baptised their first five children before 1695. The children of Matthijs Greeff and Susanna Claasen are:
1. 1685, Anna :
"den 7 October Antie
Matys Greve en Susanna Claesen
Aegie Rycks en Theunis van Schalckwyck"
2. 1687, Matthys:
"Den 25 dito (Maij) is een kint gedoopt ende genaamt mathys
waar van Vader was Mathys Greven ende moeder Zusanna Claasz
de getuijgen waaren Jacob Aarts Brouwer en Maria Lindenhovius"
3. 1689, Klaas:
"eodem dito (26 Junius) een kindt ghedoopt waervan vader is Mathijs Greeve, de moeder Susanna Claesz de ghetuijge Gerrit van der Bijl ende Anna Sophia Bos, ende ghenaemt Claes"
4. 1691, Margareta:
"Den 20 Maij een kindt gedoopt waer van vader is Mathijs Greeve de moder Susanna Claesze als getuijge stont Cornelis Botma, ende Aeltie Vannes genaemt Margareta"
5. 1693, Susanna:
"Den selfden Dito (26 April) aen Stellenbosch een kint gedoopt waer van vader is Matthijs Greeff, ende de moeder Susanna Claesze de getuijgen waren Cornelis Linnes, ende Geret[ruij] Lubringh, ende is genaemt Susanna"
6. 1695, Joghem:
"Joghem zoon van Matijs Greef de moedder Susanna Klaas is gedoopt 14 April 1695 als getuijgen Henning Kruisman Fintie Cloeten." 6
7. 1696, Hendrik:
Baptism not found in Stellenbosch register of Baptisms. SAG (p 519) report that he was baptised at Paarl on 21 October 1696. This note is all that was found in the Drakenstein baptismal register7 :
"Le 21 ditau [October] Lannee 1696 - Il y aeut deux enfants quil sont ete baptize l un de jacobus vanas et L'autre de Mathis Grif [Greeff] je nay point eut de billiet de ce personne."
On the 21st ditto [of October] in the year 1696 there were two infants baptised; the one of Jacobus van As and the other of Mathis Grif. I did not receive a paper for the latter person....[original document damaged...]
Baptism not found in Stellenbosch register of Baptisms. If one assumes that all the Greeff children were baptised within the first three months of life, then it is not possible for Catharina to have been born after Jochem (April 1695) and before Hendrik (October 1696). It is more likely that she was born after Hendrik and before Adrianus, rather than before Jochem.
9. 1702, Adrianus:
"Zoon van Mattijs Greev, de moeder Susanna Klaasz, getuijgen Burger Pieterse van Dijk, en Anna Greeff, den 21 May 1702" 8.
His name was written in the baptism register as Adrianus, but no other record refers to him by the latinised form of the name, all other references use the Dutch forms, Adriaan or Adrian.
Adriaan Greeff appears in neither Genealogies of Old South African Families, nor in SA Genealogies. Adriaan Greeff does appear in several sources that link him to both parents and to other members of the family:
1. MOOC 8/2.40 9. 3 August 1710. Susanna Classen, deceased. Inventory of goods divided among her husband Matthijs Greef and her surviving children, Anna, Matthijs, Claes, Susanna, Margaretha, Catharina, Hendrik and Adriaen.
2. MOOC 8/2.63 9. 12 July 1712. This is an inventory of the goods divided on the death of Matthijs Greeff among his children Matthijs, Claes, Susanna, Margaretha, Hendrik, Catharina and Adriaen, and his grandchildren, the five children of his deceased daughter, Anna, by Burgert van Dijk.
3. MOOC 8/2.65 9. 6 December 1712. On the death of Matthijs Greeff (the elder) his gold and silver is divided equally among his surviving children (wives represented by their husbands): Claes, H Scheffer, J F Delits, B van Dijk, Matthijs, Catharina, Hendrik, and Adriaen.
4. MOOC8/3.51 9. 26 August 1713. The intestate Claes Greef's belongings are divided on his death among his siblings and their spouses, excluding the deceased, Anna (x Burgert van Dyk) and Joachim. Adriaen is specifically included.
5. MOOC8/18.26 9. 17 May 1780. Thedeceased, Matthijs Greeff, owed to "Adriaan Greeff dí oude" an amount of 195Rd:16s. The deceased was the son of Hendrik Greeff and Susanna van Hoeven. Adriaan d'oude, 78 years old at the time, could thus have been the deceased's uncle; his father's brother.
6. Resolusies van die Politieke Raad, Deel VIII , p299, 21 July 173310. "aan Adriaan Greef 10 morgen 170 roeden bij sijn plaats gent. de Grendel van de Paardeberg".
Jacobus Greeff, who is reported by SA Genealogies to have married Maria Louwrens on 14.1.1725, appears to have been missorted by the editors of SA Genealogies. He is not the child of Matthijs Greeff and Susanna Claasen. He appears nowhere in the six documents listed above, while all the family of Matthijs and Susanna do appear in these documents. Jacobus Greeff was never any part of the family described by those documents. Hoge does not mention him in Personalia of Germans at the Cape, 1652 - 1806.
Marija Rostok, wife of Jacobus Greeff, appears in the members register of Stellenbosch Church11 in the early eighteenth century, with notes by the editors that confirm his marriage (and his existence): "238. Maria (Rostock) ~ 18-10-1705 dv Jan Lourens van Rostock en Anna Elizabeth Michiels; x 14-1-1725 Jacobus Greef; xx 4-11-1736 Andries Harting s/v Jan Harmenz Harting." This note explains why she is variously referred to as both Rostock and Louwrens. There is never any link between her and Matthijs and Susanna, who would have been her parents-in-law, had Jacobus been their son. All the other children in law of Matthijs and Susanna are directly linked to them in several official documents.
It would seem, thus, that what the three quoted genealogical authorities report contains both error and omission. There is little or no doubt that Matthijs Greeff and Susanna Claasen had nine children and that they were:
1. Matthijs married Susanna when she was twelve years old and her first child was born when she was thirteen. She had had nine children by the time she was 30. She died when she was 38 years old.
2. C. Pama. 1981. C C de Villiers, Genealogies of Old South African Families, A A Balkema, Cape Town. (With special thanks to Daniel Jacobs, from whose copy of the book I drew the information)
3. Suid-Afrikaanse Geslagregisters/South African Genealogies, Vol 2 (D-G) Heese, JA; Lombard, RTJ : GGSA, 1989 (With special thanks to Paxie Kelsey, from whose copy of the book I drew the information)
4. Hoge, Dr J. Personalia of Germans at the Cape, 1652 - 1806. Archives Year Book for South African History, Published by Authority of the Minister of the Interior, Government Printer, Cape Town [Ninth Year].
5. eGGSA, Transcriptions, Baptismal Register 1665-1695, Cape Town Nederduits Gereformeerde Congregation
6. Stellenbosch Doopregister, p 410, 14 April 1695. (Doopregister Stellenbosch 1688 - 1732. Palmkronieke. Annale van die NG Moedergemeente Stellenbosch)
7. Ekstrakte van die Drakensteinse Doopregister 1694-1713, Rekords wat deur Paul Roux in Frans gehou is by die Drakensteinse Kerk 1694. Email message.
8. Stellenbosch Dooregister, p 38, 21 May 1702. (Doopregister Stellenbosch 1688 - 1732. Palmkronieke. Annale van die NG Moedergemeente Stellenbosch)
10. G C de Wet (Oud). 1968. Resolusies van die Politieke Raad, Deel VIII. Kantoor van die Direkteur van Argiewe, Johannesburg. (Also at TANAP Resolutions of the Council of Policy of Cape of Good Hope, Reference code: C. 93, pp. 30-40)
11. Lidmaatregister, Footnote number 238 (Doopregister Stellenbosch 1688 - 1732. Palmkronieke. Annale van die NG Moedergemeente Stellenbosch).