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

The origin in Germany

The map below shows the Dutch city of Venlo and a part of its surroundings according to the situation around 1850. The red line is the border between the Netherlands and Germany.

In the past the five towns at the German side of the border that are marked with yellow (Breyell, Hinsbeck, Kaldenkirchen, Leuth and Lobberich) were separate municipalities. In 1970 they were combined to the municipality of Nettetal.

The surname Beyen is not uncommon in this region. In former days the name was written as Beijen as well, and in the eighteenth century the name was also written as Beij or Bey in the registers of baptisms and marriages.

Over the years, some people with this name moved to the Dutch side of the border. Among them were the ancestors of what is called on this website the Breyell family. This family is discussed below and on the following pages.

An explanation of the name Beijen/Beyen

Joop de Roy van Zuydewijn from Heerlen pointed out that close to the five mentioned places in the municipality of Nettetal there is a small castle called Haus Bey. On the map at the top of the page, the location of Haus Bey is indicated with a red circle. Detailed information about Haus Bey can be read on the website It states, among other things, that the name Bey (formerly Beij) means Nebengut (secondary estate). It refers to the fact that for centuries the castle belonged to Krickenbeck Castle, not far away. Below, on the left, is an excerpt from that website with a photo of Haus Bey.

The image above right comes from the website, which shows the distribution of the name Beyen in Germany. There are two concentrations of that name: in the north near Aurich and especially in the west near Düsseldorf. The district of Viersen, to which Nettetal belongs, is indicated with a small red circle.

It seems likely that the first bearers of the name Beyen in Breyell and the surrounding area were named after the Haus Bey. As mentioned, their name was often written as Beij or Bey in the eighteenth century. Perhaps they lived nearby or one of them was employed there.

Two groups with a common ancestor

Within the Breyell family two groups can be distinguished. On this website they are designated as the group Fridericus and the group Lambertus. There is an important difference: the group Fridericus has become extinct in the Beijen-line more than hundred years ago and the group Lambertus is still flourishing.
Until recently I considered the group Fridericus as a 'loose end', but in the mean time I have concluded that it is almost certain that both groups have a common ancestor and therefore make up one family. This is explained below.

Above is a section of the overview of the members of the Breyell family. In that overview only the Dutch members of the Beijen/Beyen family and (as far as they are known) their German ancestors who had that name are mentioned.

Fridericus and Lambertus Beij

On the left an old picture of the Saint Lambertus Church in Breyell. In 1868 the spire was struck by lightning. The picture on the right shows that only the rest of the tower has been preserved.
Fridericus (1.1) and Lambertus (1.2) Beij(en) were the oldest members of the two groups that we have found. It is almost certain that they were brothers and that their father was called Nicolaus. Unfortumately up to now a registration of this Nicolaus was not yet found.

The marriages of Fridericus and Lambertus can be found in the registers of the Saint Lambertus Church in Breyell.

On May 19, 1740 Fridericus Beij married Christina im Camp. Five children from this marriage were baptized in Breyell: Agnes (1740), Nicolaus (1743), Mechtildis (1745), Maria Agatha (1749) and another Agnes (1751). Later a son Jacobus was baptized in Lobberich.
After Christina's death Fridericus married in 1767 Girtgen ter Stoppen. Two daughters Maria Catharina from this marriage were baptized, the first one in 1768, the second one in 1769.

Above are the registrations of the marriages of Fridericus from 1740 and 1767. In the second one Lambertus was mentioned as a witness.

Some descendants of Fridericus lived in the Netherlands. They are discussed on an page of the Dutch section of this website: De groep Fridericus.

On January 26, 1751 Lambert(us) Beij married Aldegond Boezkes. The had two children: Nicolaus (1751) and Matthias (1753).
Aldegond died in 1754. On January 29, 1755 Lambertus married Gertrud Straten. From that marriage five children were baptized: Adelgundis (1756), Anna Margaretha (1759), Maria Sybilla (1762), Johannes Mathias (1765) and Sophia (1767).

Above are the registrations of the marriages of Lambertus from 1751 and 1755. In the first one Fridericus was mentioned as a witness.

Lambertus and his descendants are discussed on the next page: The group Lambertus.

Nicolaus as the most likely ancestor

There are good reasons to assume that Fridericus and Lambertus had the same father, and that his name was Nicolaus Beij. As far as we know Fridericus and Lambertus were in the years 1740-1770 the only heads of family in the small town of Breyell with the name Beij. It is striking that they both gave their eldest son the name Nicolaus. There are also other indications for a close family relationship: at the first marriage of Lambertus in 1751 Fridericus witnessed and at the second marriage of Fridericus in 1767 Lambertus did.
It would, of course, be the most convincing if a mention of Nicolaus himself could be found. As long as that does not happen, his name is included in the overview of the Breyell family at the Generation 0.

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