Person:Willem Stevens (1)

Facts and Events
Name Willem Stevens
Alt Name Willem Stevens Wassenaar
Gender Male
Birth? Abt 1446 Sassenheim,Zuid-Holland
Marriage to Emerentia Gerrits van Poelgeest
Occupation? boer
Death? 1506 Sint Jacobiparochie, Het Bildt, Friesland, Netherlands


Willem Stevens

All know information about Willem Stevens, is from the Document of 1566. It is unknown if he moved to het Bildt toghether with his 4 sons, and died there, or if he died in Sassenheim, wich seems more likely.

Van Willem Stevensz. weten wij aleen datgene, wat in de akte van 1566 wordt beschreven. Het is mogelijk, dat Willem Stevensz. in 1506 met zijn zonen naar Het Bildt is gegaan en dar overleed. Omdat in de famlilie-aantekeningen de vier broers genoemd worden als de personen, die zich op Het Bildt vestigden, lijkt het waarschijnlijker dat Willem in Sassenheim gestorven.

Relation with the van Wassenaer family

De verbintenis tussen de Friese Wassenaar familie, en de adelijke Hollandse 'van Wassenear", is onderwerp van discussie :
The connection between the Frisian 'Wassenaar' and the Nobel Hollandse 'van Wassenaer' is subject to discussion :

De verbinding met de adelijke Wassenaars wordt in onderstaand artikel als 'onwaarschijnlijk' beoordeeld.
According to the following article the connection with the nobel van Wassenaers is verry 'unlikely'.

Dit in tegenspraak met het boek "De Friese Wassenaars 1400 - heden" ( W.Tsj. Vleer, 1963 )
This in contradiction with the book "De Friese Wassenaars 1400 - heden" ( W.Tsj. Vleer, 1963 )

The town of Wassenaar is half a countryaway from the area in Northwestern Fryslân in where many carry a surname likely named after the South Holland place. From Fryslân, some namesakes emigrated to North America or moved elsewhere in the Netherlands. For years, many within the extended family believed that their ancestors were related to the Van Wassenaar clan which is part of Dutch nobility. A new study by historian Kees Kuiken and genealogist Aleid van Poelgeest tries to settle the lingering issue with the verdict: very unlikely.

They traced the family’s origin back to a Willem Stevenszoon of Sassenheim whose name was found in a 1479 document. Willem rented land from the local monastery between 1494 and 1533. His son Cornelis while continuing the contract also found with his brothers Steven, Bartout and Klaas new opportunities in 1527 on the reclaimed soil of the Middelzee, an area of Fryslân known as 'het Bildt'.

Cornelis did well for himself in Northwestern Fryslân. Around 1600, his grandson Jan Bonteman rose to prominence as substitute mayor (grietman) and likely gave cause to confusion much later because of his seal which somewhat resembles the one of the Van Wassenaars and that of the Van Woudes, the lords of Warmond, a location near Sassenheim and Wassenaar. A document dating from 1566 which surfaced in 1905 acknowledges that Bonteman used the Van Wassenaar heraldic crest but it is now recognized that the accompanying terminology had been misconstrued a century ago. Genealogical data shows that the Frisian Wassenaars for decades kept close contacts with people in Leiden and vicinity, where until around 1600 they found marriage partners and had real estate dealings. Kuiken and Van Poelgeest recently published their research in the “Nederlandsche Leeuw,”a Dutch heraldry and genealogy magazine. Kuiken is a descendant of Willem Stevenszoon.
So, there seem to be 2 opinions here;

  • 1- Willem Stevens is decendant of the nobel family of van Wassenear, as suggested in the Document of 1566, and by W.T.Vleer in his book "De Friese Wassenaars 1400 - heden".
  • 2- The relation between the two families is pure fiction, as suggested by drs.Kees Kuiken, 'Bonteman alias Wassenaar. Fictie en verbeelding van een 16de-eeuwse migrantenfamilie', in "De Nederlandsche Leeuw" jg. 118 (2001)


The Document of 1566

Van Willem Stevensz. weten wij aleen datgene, wat in de acte van 1566 wordt beschreven. Het is mogelijk, dat Willem Stevensz. in 1506 met zijn zonen naar Het Bildt is gegaan en dar overleed. Omdat in de famlilie-aantekeningen de vier broers genoemd worden als de personen, die zich op Het Bildt vestigden, lijkt het waarschijnlijker dat Willem in Sassenheim gestorven.

Pseudo Wassenaars: According to Osinga's published copia copiae from the document of 1566 showed up, made by Cornelis Willems (van Heemskerk) bailiff of Sassenheim two Sassemers named Corelis Gerbrands, 86 years old and Dirk ( perhaps Diert(?) Andriesz, 68 years old. On request of Klaas Bartoutsz, Peter Cornelisz. Bonteman en Willem Stevensz. ( read de Oude, senior) at Friesland. They declare that they know well the diseased Steven Huigenz, lived at Sassen ( Sassenheim) and his friend and maag Huig Jacobsz. Lived at Lisse . Steven Huigenz. Has a son named Willem Stevensz. and this Willem Stevensz had four sons left named Bartout Willemsz ( father of Klaas Bartoutsz) , Steven Willems ( father of Willem Stevensz) ,Cornelis Willems ( father of Pieter Cornelis Bonteman) and a Klaas Willemsz ( father of Steven Klaasz). When the given ages are correct than must Steven and Huig still alive about 1500. This is proved by the documents found on name of Willem Stevens ( Sassenheim 1479-1532) and with the documents of Huig Jacobsz( Lisse 1482-1505) and Floris Huigensz ( Lisse 1514-1559). Floris Huigen is a son of Huig Jacobs according to the documents. In the document of 1566 , the document of acquaintance there is no asking for a legitimation, dispensation or acknowledgement of a well born position. This document was certain not meant for a proof of family-law for the bailiff of Court (of Holland or Friesland) and the archives gives no mention of this case. What is left is the theorem: Steven Huigensz, Huig Jacobsz and their descendents bearded without any contradiction the family crest of Wassenaar as they are likely a decendent of a young son of Wassenaar.. The Dutch text said "in zulker voege" what means as if

With other words: The descendent is not a precedent for the use of the family crest, but the undisturbed use of the family crest during three generations is the precedent. This precedent is after all a little bit thin . Before 1566 one Wassenaar family crest is known from a grandson of Willem Stevensz. on Het Bildt. From the Lisser decedents from Huig Jacobsz are 16th centuries house marks but no seals known.

When the bailiff of Sassenheim with the descending of his clients born from a young son of Wassenaar a juridical fiction state is there than any reason to investigate the identity of the mysterious ancestor? Because our article tells about the social and rhetorical context of the 1566 document. And just about the question how the request of making the deed at Sassenheim was taken and how this result was taken by the Bildtse connection .Therefore it's also important what the "young son of Wassenaar" means at both sides of the former Zuiderzee (IJsselmeer) . The facts are:

At 1557 a Hollandse immigrant from the second generation was buried under the crest with three wassenaars ( the half moons) After some years the bailiff of Sassenheim made a document of acquaintance in which he tried to confirm the crest which was used at Het Bildt. Obviously there was no need for a process to confirm the wellborn ship and the bailiff limited himself to write that the crest looks like as if the holder of the crest was a descendent of a young Wassenaar. But what was the imagination of the bailiff at a "young son of Wassenaar" ?

DNA tests

In 2012, heeft een DNA vergelijk tussen een Baron van Wassenaer en een nakomeling van Person:Steven Huygens (1) plaats gevonden, met geen overeenkomsten als resultaat. Duidelijk is dat Person:Steven Huygens (1) niet afstamt van de Adelijke van Wassenaer family, en het postume document uit 1566 dus vermoedelijk bewust een adelijke verwantschap aangeeft, dit heeft in latere jaren als een zeker status symbool gewerkt, met alle voordelen vandien.

In 2012, DNA comparison between the "Van Wassenaer" and the descendants of Person:Steven Huygens (1), did not result in a match. Which makes it clear the Wassenaar family from Het Bildt is not related to the Van Wassenaer family. It was a made up herritage wich worked verry well to establish a certain status, being a descendant of Person:Steven Huygens (1) has been a status symbol for a long time. De first mention of him being a son of Person:Hughe Van Wassenaer (1) is in mentioned document from 1566.


  • De Friese Wassenaars 1400 - heden. W.Tsj. Vleer, 1963, 50st
  • Bonteman alias Wassenaar. Fictie en verbeelding van een 16de-eeuwse migrantenfamilie. drs Kuiken in "De Nederlandsche Leeuw" jg. 118 (2001)2.
  • Nederlands Agronomisch-Historisch Instituut Groningen/Wageningen 2013 Historia Agriculturae 45 ISBN 978-90-367-6352-3