The Beijen/Beyen Family Site
by Laurens Beijen
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The extinct Dordrecht family

In 1559 a certain Herman Bayen (1.1) was registered as a citizen of the German city Wesel. He came from the Low Countries (the province of Brabant) and belonged to the Dutch Reformed Refugees Congregation in Wesel. Herman was a merchant. His surname was also written as Bay, Beijen or Beyyen.
From 1572 larger and larger parts of the northern Netherlands declared themselves independent from Spain. Therefore Protestants could return safely to the Netherlands. Around 1580 one of Hermans sons, Arent Beijen (2.1), moved to Dordrecht.

Wine merchants

Probably Arent chose Dordrecht because of his business: he was a wine merchant and Dordrecht was an important centre of the wine business.
Arent's son Pieter Beijen (3.7), who was born in 1602, was a wine merchant as well. He imported wine from France and Germany and exported to England and other countries. Pieter owned a big house on the Wijnstraat (Wine street) in Dordrecht, that had the name "Beijenburg". In 1674 his heirs sold the house, but it kept its name until it was demolished in 1906.

Pieter's sons

Pieter Beijen died in 1659. At that moment his four sons, Arnoldus (4.9), Pieter (4.13), Johannes (4.14) and Jacobus (4.16), were 19, 14, 13 and 10 years old. Pieter died around 1665.
In those days the legal age for being an independent merchant was 25 years. Arnoldus, Johannes and Jacobus asked the States of Holland in 1660, 1667 and 1671, respectively, for "venia aetatis" (exemption of the legal age). In their petitions they mentioned the experience they had gained. Arnoldus, for instance, had made two business trips to London as his father's representative and Johannes and Jacobus had apprenticed themselves for many years to renowned merchants in Amsterdam. They all obtained their exemptions without problems.
In later years Arnoldus was a wine merchant in Rotterdam.
Johannes lived for a number of years in the German town of Bacharach, a centre of the wine business. Afterwards he returned to Dordrecht. He was a wine merchant and a distiller of brandy.
Jacobus inherited in 1675 a windmill in the town of Papendrecht (at the other side of the river) where cement was made from tuff that he imported from Germany. Because the merchants of Dordrecht had an exclusive right to import tuff, the business of Jacobus was very profitable.

The last generation

Many of the children of Arnoldus, Johannes and Jacobus died in infancy. Those who reached adulthood had no children, as far as we know. Some representatives of this last generation of the Dordrecht family:
  • Christina (5.6) (born 1677), was the only child of Arnoldus who reached adulthood. She married at an advanced age.
  • Peter (5.7) (born 1669), a son of Johannes from his first marriage, studied theology in Utrecht. He was called as a clergyman to a town near Leiden, but in February 1692, just before he could take up his office, he died in Dordrecht.
  • Johanna Maria (5.8) (born 1694), a daughter of Johannes from his second marriage, married the merchant Hendrick de Niet. After some years Hendrick left without his wife to the colony of Berbice in the present Guyana. He did not come back.
  • Willem (5.11) (born 1674), a son of Jacobus, carried on the cement trade of his father, but he was at the same time a commander in the Navy. In 1720 he married Mechteld van Meerland, the widow of Johan Beijen of the Johan Franco branch of the IJsselstein family. As was mentioned on the page about the Johan Franco branch, it was a pure coincidence that Willem had the same family name as Mechteld's first husband and that Willem just as Johan was a commander in the Navy. Willem died in 1740. He had no children from his marriage to Mechteld.
  • Pieter (5.13) (born 1679) and Jacobus Jr. (5.16) (born 1684), two younger sons of Jacobus, left for the East an West Indies respectively; they did not come back.

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