Monday, February 11, 2008

The Hanekom Family History

Like most people, I am also interested where I come from and being a lover of history I am naturally drawn to the questions and riddles of family history and family trees. My own family genealogical tree is still a small work in progress.

But I came across the below-published document during my research. It looks like the kind of thing that those stands in shopping malls in South Africa use to sell, those “family certificates.” I think it is totally fabriated for commercial purposes. Credit to Kyle Hanekom (per the original post) who published this first.

The Hanekom Family - European History

Throughout our research into the histories of names, we have found that names undergo tremendous changes over time. Scribes often recorded a name based on its sound, and since there are so many different regional dialects, many different spellings occurred, often between the generations. Among the many variations of the name Hanekom we found Hane, Hanecop, Hanecourt, Haneffe, Hanegraaff, Ganegreve, Hanel, Haneman, Hanen, Hanenberg, Hanens, Hanequin, Hanet, to name a few examples. Situated between East Friesland and the Weser river, the former free state and grand duchy of Oldenburg became part of Lower Saxony in 1946. Settled by the Saxons and the Frisians, the land was divided into several counties, of which Oldenburg became the most prominent. Documents show that Elimar I ruled Oldenburg from 1088-1108, and that the Archbishop of Bremen and the leaders of Oldenburg were often struggling for power. Although the Counts of Oldenburg were no allies of the Archbishop, they agreed that the fiercely independent Frisians should be assimilated. The Frisian farmers and fishermen, who had settled the North Sea coast, enjoyed "Frisian Liberty" under both the Roman and the German emperors, and they fought hard against political interference. In 1160, the Saxon Duke Henry the Lion and Count Christian of Oldenburg lost over 2000 knights in their attempt to conquer the Frisian Jeverland. In the 13th century the Archbishop of Bremen pillaged the Stedinger land, whose people opposed his enormous taxation.

In the meantime, the Counts of Oldenburg enlarged their domain in the west and the east by acquiring Ammerland and Delmenhorst. In 1448, Count Christian was elected King of Denmark and the county fell to his brother Gerhard. With the assistance of the Duke of Brunswick, the counts conquered the Frisian lands of Butjadingen and Stadland. The Reformation came with Anton II whose grandson Anthon-Guenther was the most popular ruler of the House of Oldenburg. He kept his land neutral in the Thirty Years War, and his domestic policies encouraged commerce and education. After his death the family line became extinct, and the county fell to Denmark in 1667.

Meanwhile the family Hanekom moved to Oldenburg, where the Hane family held many diverse interests. During the 16th century, Europe experienced a general population explosion which led to mass migrations of people throughout the continent. Members of the family participated in this mass movement, relocated and established themselves in new areas as they pursued their special interests in religious, military and political occupations. They branched into Saxony, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, Flanders, and France where they held titles and estates. The French branch was raised to the nobility in 1648 and became Counts in 1768. The German branch became Knights in 1674. Notables of the time included the Hane family of Lower Saxony. After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the bishops of Muenster abandoned their claims to the predominantly Catholic regions of Vechta and Cloppenburg, still known today as "Muensterland". The mostly Frisian north was incorporated and Emperor Joseph II proclaimed the land of Oldenburg a dukedom. The throne belonged to the future Czar of Russia, Paul, member of the House of Holstein-Gottorp, and he in turn gave the duchy to his cousin Friedrich-August. The Gottorps ruled from their possession in Oldenburg-Eutin. During the rule of Grand Duke Peter, Prussia bought land in the lade Busen (Bay) and built the naval port Wilhelmshaven.
After the Great War and the abdication of the monarchy, the Grand Duke Friedrich August abdicated, an act followed by a failed revolution. Oldenburg suffered little damage during the Second World War and it became a haven for many German refugees fleeing the East.

After 1650 many Germans left their homeland for the New World. Settlers bearing the name Hanekom where among those who traveled to the New World and established themselves along the eastern seaboard in the United States and Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the United States they settled mainly in Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Ohio, California, and Illinois. In Canada, German settlements centered around Ontario and the Prairies.

Notes: With regards to a coat-of-arms: A lot of it is myth. Few people who use a coat-of-arms and/or so-called family crest today have any right to do so. Armorial bearings do not belong to all persons of a given surname, but belong to and identify members of one particular family who has the legal right to the coat-of-arms. Coats-of-arms are a form of property and may rightfully be used only by the male-line descendants of the individual to whom they were first granted or allowed. Such grants were and are made by the appropriate heraldic authority. [Extract from an email from Anne Lehmkuhl to the West Gauteng branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa.]

The Hanekom Family - South African History

The first Hanekom that emigrated to South Africa is J├╝rgen Hanekom, also spelled Jors Hannekoom or Hannekom, of Rathlosen near Sulingen in Hannover (Germany), born 1688 and died 1752. He moved to the Cape of Good Hope in 1708 was a woodcutter.
[Source: Names of German Immigrants 1652 to 1806 -]

But for a far more indepth listing of the Hanekoms and related families visit the website Die Familie Hanekom, which was recently created by Johann Hanekom.


Joachim Schubert said...

The page referred to in connection with the first Hanekom in South Africa has moved to

BluegrassBaobab said...

Thank you Joachim. I have updated the post with your new information.