The Beijen/Beyen Family Site
by Laurens Beijen
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The Hengelo family

The growth of the Hengelo family

Farmers and textile workers

Jan Bijen/Beijen, the central character of the previous pages, died in 1879. Although we don't know his birth year, he must have been over eighty years old when he died. During his long life he has seen many changes in Twente.

At first the society was nearly quite agrarian, with some small-scale house industry. Just like many other inhabitants of Twente in that time Jan was a farmer and a weaver at the same time. The weaving was done at the farm with a simple loom, in the winter months, when there were few other things to do. There were little contacts with the outside world.
In the course of the nineteenth century this changed drastically. The Dutch government supported the development of a modern textile industry in Twente. In 1830 the first steam spinning mills were installed and in later years steam powered looms were introduced as well. Large scale factories proved to be far more efficient than the house industry. Hengelo developed into a real industrial city with many textile and machine factories. Many small farmers became textile or metal workers. This was also true for most of the members of the Beijen family.

These changes can be recognized in the various official registers. Jan Bijen/Beijen was nearly always (for the first time in 1826, for the last time when he died in 1879) recorded as a farmer. Twice, in 1825 en 1832, he was mentioned in the registers as a weaver. Most probably agriculture and weaving were activities that went hand in hand.
His sons Willem (1825-1874), Gerrit Jan (1832-1880) and Bernardus (1836-1898) were usually recorded as farmers and sometimes as weavers. In Bernardus' death certificate he was recorded as a factory worker.
One generation later (in generation 5), no one was listed as a farmer. Typical is the recording of Bernardus and his family in the 1890-1900 register of the inhabitants. Bernardus and his wife were listed as farmers, but their daughters Geertruida, Johanna, Hendrika and Maria had specialized occupations in the textile industry. Their sons Johan and Gerrit Jan were weavers. The same was true for Jan Willem and Antoon, the two sons of Bernardus' brother Gerrit Jan. In later years the four sons of Gerrit Jan and Bernardus were all listed as factory workers.

The growth of the family

The overview of the Hengelo family shows that in 1900 the family had only nine members: two children of Gerrit Jan: Jan Willem (5.2) and Antoon (5.3), and seven of Bernardus: Geertruida (5.4), Johanna (5.5), Johan (5.6), Hendrika Willemina (5.7), Gerrit Jan (5.8), Maria (5.9) and Berendina Gezina (5.10). As usual on this site in-laws are not included. In 1900 all members of the family still lived in Hengelo.
Nowadays the Hengelo family includes about sixty people. Most of them still live in the Hengelo area, but many others have settled elsewhere.

The Beijen-Overbeek division and the Beijen-Spekreis division

From generation 5 two divisions can be distinguished within the Hengelo family. One division consists of descendants of Gerrit Jan Beijen (4.5), the other one consists of descendants of Bernardus Beijen (4.6). It could be confusing, however, to speak of the Gerrit Jan division and the Bernardus division, because the name Bernardus was also used in the first one and the name Gerrit Jan was also used in the second one. Therefore it is better to use the names of the wives of Gerrit Jan and Bernardus.
Gerrit Jan Beijen was married to Gesina Overbeek, Bernardus Beijen to Gezina Spekreis. Both women survived their husband by more than twenty years, and they must have been very important for their descendants. For this reason we refer to the Beijen-Overbeek division and the Beijen-Spekreis division.
On the overview of the members of the Hengelo family the boundary between the two divisions is indicated by a blue dotted line.
The Beijen-Overbeek division is discussed on the next page, the Beijen-Spekreis division on the second next page.

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