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Johannes Steyn

also known as Jan Steyn

Johannes Steyn Age ? Married to: Anna Elizabeth Diemer
Born ?1727? Died 1791.03.26 Born ~1734.11.28 Died ?
at ? at ? at ? at ?
Parents Father ? Children Boys 3 Date of marriage:
  Mother Anna Margarieta Meyer 7 Girls 5 1760.06.01


In 1748 Johannes Steijn arrived in the Cape of Good Hope (most likely) from Darmstadt in Germany. On 1760.06.01 he married Anna Elizabeth Diemer. Johannes' mother probably remarried as his and Anna's will of 1761 determine that in case of their death their children should go to his mother, Anna Margarieta Meyer in Darmstadt.

Given that Johannes Steijn arrived in the Cape as a soldier, and that during this period many former German soldiers arrived in the Cape, as well as the fact that Johannes' will refers to his mother living in Darmstad, it is most likely that Johannes was German. His surname was entered as Steijn into the Dutch documents in the Cape, but at that time spelling conventions werte not as fixed as they are today, and the scribes who entered names often entered names accoring to the Dutch ear.

Darmstadt is roughly 40km south of Frankfurt, in the state that was known as the Holy Roman Empire, at the time ruled by the House of Habsburg. It was established as a city in 1330, with a castle that served as a second home to the counts. The Holy Roman Empire was established when Charlemagne, or Charles the Great or Charles I (ca. 742 - 814), king of the Franks, was acknowledged by the Roman Catholic pope Leo.

History, as always, is complex. The Holy Roman Empire consisted of many vassal states, quite a number which were sympathetic to the protestant religion. The Landgrave of Hesse, Philip the Magnanimous was very supportive of protestantism, and after his death, in 1567 the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was established.

Ludwig VIII (English: Louis - 1691-1768) was the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1739 to 1768.

Darmstadt was a German-speaking Lutheran city.

War of the Austrian Succession

The War consisted of several campaigns, known as the Silesian Campaigns.

This empire consisted of many vassals, each with its own territory. The House of Habsburgs dominated the region in today's Austria. The House of Brandenburg rules the area around Berlin. This area eventually became known as Brandenburg-Prussia.

The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, died on 20 October 1740, leaving the throne to his daughter Maria Theresa to the throne as Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. Before his death, Charles had the law changed that allowed this position to be filled only by men by introducing the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713.

Surrounding power hungry leader, such as Frederick II of Prussia and Charles Albert of Bavaria did not like the idea, and when Charles died, challenged the position of the Habsburg's female Maria Teresa.

The War was initiated by Frederick II of Prussia. Allies in the War were formed on the basis of family relations between the different royal families of Europe. Due to these family links, the allies were as follows.

Prussia's allies: France, Spain, and some smaller states.

Austria (Habsburg) allies were: Hungarians, England, Saxony, Russia, and several smaller states.

The outcome of the War was that Maria Theresa remained in her position, giving up the region of Silesia (in Poland) to Prussia. This was formalised in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle signed on 24 April 1748 in Aachen.



It seems that only the son Gabriel Pieter (1762-1819) of Johannes Steijn and Anna Elizabeth Diemer left descendents in South Africa. And on his turn, only two of Gabriel Pieter's sons, Elbert Lucas (1792-1859) and Gabriel Hendrik (1800-1870) left descendents beyond generation 4.

Gabriel Pieter's 2nd oldest son, Hendrik (1790-1875) had one son Hendrik (1846-1919), but he did not marry. The descendents of Johannes Steyn can therefore be traced back to the split in the third generation between Elbert Lucas or Gabriel Hendrik about 200 years ago.

1st generation 2nd generation 3rd generation
? - 1791
  Gabriel Pieter
1762 - 1819
    Elbert Lucas
1792 - 1859
Gabriel Hendrik
1800 - 1870


We do not know anything about Johannes' life in Europe. On his arrival in the Cape he was a soldier. Here is a summary of his known career in the Cape of Good Hope:


  1. b1 Johanna baptised on 1761.06.21 - 1792.01.18 (31 y.o.)
    She married Hendrik Pieter Wyting Schull from Sambeck (from Sambeck, near Nijmegen) on 1782.04.14
  2. b2 Gabriel Pieter baptised on 1762.12.19 - 1819.01.21 (57 y.o.)
  3. b3 Elbert Lucas baptised on 1764.03.25
    He returned to the homeland and nothing further is known about him. De Villiers states that he went to China.
  4. b4 Anna Christina baptised on 1766.01.12
  5. b5 Petronella Jacoba baptised on 1767.03.01 - 1803.02.13 (36 y.o.)
    She married Johan Ulrich Kiebourg (1762 - 1815.05.30) from Basel
  6. b6 Alida Elisabeth baptised on 1769.04.16 - 1782.07.08 (13 y.o.)
  7. b7 Catharina Elisabeth baptised on 1771.08.18 - 1820.06.07 (49 y.o.)
    She was married twice:
    1. WHH Westerhoff
    2. Lucas Frederik Fischer (born 1772.12.20)
  8. b8 Johannes Abraham baptised on 1774.04.24 - 1775.12.05 (1 y.o.)

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©1999 Jacques Steyn