Together with a

A Brief History of the Village of Heukelum

Last updated: 18 February 2003, changes and additions in red.

Heukelum is situated on the south bank of the river Linge, a little northeast of Gorinchem and southwest of Leerdam. During the period in question it belonged to the province of Zuid Holland. However, recently (1986) for administration purposes it became part of the municipality of Varik (now Lingewaal) in the province of Gelderland.

It is a village dating from the early-middle ages, but artifacts found there show that it was inhabited in Roman times. In the archives Heukelum is first mentioned about 996 as "Ukele". The year 1230 is mentioned as the time in which the town was walled. It was also during this century the castle, Merckenburgh, was constructed. In 1393 the village obtained municipal rights. The rulers of the castle and manor in former times were called the "Lords of Heukelom", descendants of the "Lords of Arkel".

Herbaren Florisz van Arkel van der Lede was a great grandson of Folpert van Arkel, Lord of Leerdam, who lived in 1140. Herbaren was a knight mentioned in records of 1227. In September 1243 he is recognized to receive the taxes from the Heukelum chapter. Herbaren was probably married to Aleid Jans van Heusden. He is known to have had four sons:

Otto I, Lord of Heukelom and Asperen, is mentioned 1254-1283. He is thought to be the first Lord of Heukelom. He married a van Asperen and had children:

Click here to see the Van Heukelom coat-of-arms, as displayed in the castle.


It is interesting to note in the following century that one's loyalties did not necessarily follow bloodlines. When Jan van Arkel withdrew his support from the Count of Holland the Arkel War (1401-1412) ensued. It is recorded that Heukelum together with Asperen and Leijenburg took the side of Holland.

Twice Merckenburg castle was destroyed and twice rebuilt. The first time was in the fourteenth century. The second was when, in 1672, the French demolish so many castles in the country. During this time the manor fell into the hands of the Fabricius family. Around 1700 the castle was raised from its ashes - with the use of medieval materials - being rebuilt on its previous foundation. In more recent time it was owned by the Barons van Heeckeren van Brandsenburg. Click here to see how it stands today, and for more great pictures of the castle click here.

The town also was ravaged by many disasters. There was a continuous battle again water, so the ground was raised regularly. In 1772 fire destroyed 36 of approximately 100 houses. The small river Linge streams peacefully now through the little town, but formerly the dikes broke very often, so that the population sometimes lived decades in bitter poverty.

The old town hall of Heukelum is first mentioned in 1561. The building, as it stands now, has undergone many renovations over the years. At the end of the 18th century the building was sold to Simon van de Stel, Lord of Heukelum, probably due to lack of funds in the town coffers to properly maintain it. After more than 200 years absence it was returned to the town in 1965. In the interim, it was for a time, used as a prison. There are presently two cells that date from the beginning of the 19th century. At the rear of the building one can still see the square holes which were once used to erect scaffolding for the hangman's gallows.

The present town (you may have to download a little file to see the pictures, but they are worth it) reminds one of past times by its high situation and compact way of building. The ancient city walls are situated under the overgrown green walls around the town. In Heukelum there are many 17th and 18th century farmhouses and other buildings. The Reformed Church is very much worth seeing, as well as the 17th century former town hall at Voorstraat no. 2 has a heraldic stone and in the eastern front eight ornamental braces. Some farmhouses from that period are to be found at Groenwal nos. 34-35. The Dutch Reformed Church has a 15th century choir (chancel) and at the north side a cross chapel from the first half the 14th century. The wooden bell-tower stems from 1829. In the church, which was renovated in 1965, are to be found the beautiful organ, built in 1779 by Gideon Thomas Bätz, and pulpit from the 17th century.


Genealogy Van Zee & Van Heukelum family:

Click here for abbreviations and a bit about how the Dutch identified themselves.

C-I-a LENERT BASTIAANSZ DE ZEEUW prob bc 1565, d aft 5 Nov 1629, resided at Heukelum, ZH.

Lenert would have been a young boy when Charles V relinquished his thrown to Philip. As he grew to manhood it was in the atmosphere of the Reformation and the struggle with Spain over independence. He was a bouwman (large-scale farmer, as opposed to a farm laborer) in Heukelum where he is first identified there in 1591. Just the year before Spanish troops had been pushed back to south of the Waal River. River traffic was opened in 1591 and agriculture did well and continued to do so until about 1647.

Four records have been located which reveal his name:

These last two records would indicate that Lenert was known as "de Zeeuw". This simply indicates that he (or perhaps his father, or grandfather) had previously been an inhabitant of the province of Zeeland. In fact it does appear that there was a family by this name in Axel in Zeeland in the early 17th century:

A de Zeeuw family resided at s-Gravendeel, Zuid Holland (south and a little east of Rotterdam) for many generations. It appears that this line goes back to a Jan Bastiaans Leen[dertsz] de Zeeuw of Sandyck, Zeeland who married in 1632 at Ridderkerk, Zuid Holland to Leintjen Aerts. In 1624 Jan Bastiaans de Zeeue has been found to have been from Axel, Zeeland, and that Bastaain Leen[dert]se was from "Nordzijde". (Lex Salager,, email November 1998) More research is needed to follow up on this lead.

The name "van Zee", which appears to have been an adaptation of "de Zeeuw" was used by Leendert’s son, Claes, as well as by the whole of the Heukelum branch of the family. Literally "van Zee" would translate "of [the] sea", or perhaps somewhat less literally "from [the province of] Zee[land]". It has been said to this researcher that the name "Van Zee" is unusual even in the Netherlands. (This told to yours truly on a trip to the Netherlands about 1971 by a man of the name van Zee then living not far from Amsterdam.) If it could be shown that only the descendants of Leendert’s son Claes were pretty much the only ones to have taken that form of the name this would explain why it was so unusual.

However, it is known this is not the case, it appears that a wholly unrelated family by the name of Mazee, with reportedly French origins, lived in the 1700s in Voorst, Gelderland (near Zutphen). About 1720, for unexplained reasons, two brothers of this family suddenly started to go by the name "Van Zee". (Kees Mazee,, e-mail Nov 1998)

As far as known, Lenert had only one son:


C-I-b CLAES JACOBSZ [VAN HEUKELUM], bc 1584, d bef 5 Jul 1667, s/o Jacob Lenertsz; m bef 14 Mar 1625 to MA(E)YKEN JANS, bc 1584/8, d aft 5 Jul 1667.

The polder archives of Heukelum reveal that as early as about 1625 Claes Jacobsz and his brother Dirck Jacobsz were skippers. They delivered finished goods from Gorinchem along the river Linge. In that time their father, Jacob Lenertsz, received payment from the municipality of Heukelum for opening and closing the Grote Steiger (Great Landing place). (Groot, de, B.J., "Het Geslachtsregister van De Familie Van Zee", Gens Nostra, 1976, pp. 33-35)

On 5 Jul 1667 Maeyken Jans, widow of Claes Jacobs, together with Leenert Claesz for himself and for Anthony Thonisz husband of Baerien Claes, and for Arien Claesz and Isbrant Claes, Peeter Hendericksz, widower of Maeyken Claes and Peeter Theunissen Santvoort husband of Maria Claes transferred land to Hendrick Cornelis van Schoonderwoert for 415 guilders. (ibid., Groot)

Mayke's eldest son was born about 1606 so if she was 22 years of age at the time of his birth she would have been born about 1584.

Maeyken Jansdr had previously been married to Herber NN. They had a son:

On 14 Mar 1625 Willem, then about 19 years of age, goes before a notary at Gorinchem and makes a statement favorable to his mother, Maeyken Jansdr, wife of Claes Jacobsz, skipper. (ibid., Groot)
Willem and Geertje's daughter Jacomijntje was baptized 17 Jul 1644 at Heukelum. The baptism record identifies Claes Jacobsz as the child's grandfather; and Mayken and Theuntje Jacobs as her aunts. (ibid., Groot)
On 14 Apr 1641 their daughter Baetje was baptized the witnesses were Claes Jacobsz, Baetje Claes and Theunke Jacobs. (ibid., Groot)

Claes Jacobsz had children, presumably with Maeyken Jans:

Their daughter, called Anneke van Heukelum, is baptized 4 Nov 1659 at Klundert. (ibid., Groot) She later married to Lambrecht Veermans as the widow of Laurens Cornelisz Leest. (Wagenvort, H., "Van Heukelum naar Klundert", Gens Nostra, 1981, p. 256) Adriaen Clasessen van Heukelum is burgemeester, weesmeester (orphan master) and armmeester (poor master) at Klundert. (ibid., Groot)
With her first husband Beatke Claesdr had: Neeltjgen bp 21 Jan 1655; Johannes (Jan) bp 13 Jul 1656; Claes bp 12 Apr 1658; and nn. daughter (Maaike) bp 30 Dec 1660. Jan and Maaike Arissen Cool are found mentioned on 24 Jun 1687 in the Notary Archives of Klundert (#4513) as the nephew and niece of Adriaan Claessen van Heukelum, former burgemeester of Klundert. (ibid., Wagenvort)
IJsbrart and Lijsberth had: Claes IJsbrantsz van Heukelum born circa 1664 at Klundert; died there Feb 1706; married there 17 Mar 1685 to Aaltje Jansdr Vreese, died after 1708. Claes was a market skipper on the Klundert-Dordrecht stretch of the river Linge. (ibid., Wagenvort)


C-II-a CLAES3 VAN ZEE (Lenert2, Bastiaen1) bc 1600, prob at Heukelum, d there abt 1662; mc 1627 to (1) ANNEKE POUWELS, who probably died about/before 1646.

Claes would have been a lad of about 10 years of age when the Twelve-year truce with Spain was signed.

He resided at Heukelum, South Holland where in 1630 he was schepen of Heukelum, and in 1643 was a member of the dike-reeve. (Archives of Notary at Gorinchem ). In the baptism record of his son, Leendert Claesz van Zee, dated 27 Oct 1647 he is identified as Burgemeester. (ibid., Groot)

He is first identified in records in 1625, when as Claes Lenertsz he is found on an assessment list of the morgengelden of Heukelum. In 1630 he is found as Claes Lenertsz de Seeu, schepen of Heukelum. In 1631 he is found as Claes Lenertsz de Zeeuw with a grind (low willow ground). (ibid., Groot)

On 12 Sep 1647 Claes Leendertsz bequeaths property to Bastiaen and Dirck Claesz, his heirs and children from his previous marriage, born of his wife Anneke Pauwelsdr. (Archives of Notary at Gorinchem)

From this marriage:

He is found on a church membership list at Heukelum dated 12 Apr 1672. There seems an unanswered question if he may have been married at the time to Maria, daughter of Daniel Jans de Worm & Elisabeth de Wolff, died as Marije Daniels before 21 Sep 1682. (ibid., Groot)

On 15 Jun 1677 an inheritance comes to him and his brothers, Bastiaen and Leendert Claesz. (ibid., Groot) .

Claes mc 1647 to (2) MA(E)YKE CLAESSE, daughter of C-I-b. Mayke d bef 9 Jan 1672.

On 9 Jan 1672 her estate is divided between her sons, Jan and Leendert Claesz. Their elder half-brother Baastiaen Claesz acts as guardian. (ibid., Groot)

From this marriage:

After his death his half-brothers Bastiaen and Dirck Claesz and his brother Leendert Claesen inherit his estate which is divided on 15 Jun 1677:

Dirck Claesen received half of a griend [low willow ground] at the Kerkweg [Church Road] the size of 3 hont plus roeden [= decametress], half of which was already in his possession.

Leendert Claesen received 11 1/2 hont within the Thiendweg [Thiend Road].

Bastiaen Claessen received ??

After Claes Leendert's death, and probably after 5 Jul 1667, Ma(e)yke married PETER HENDRICKSZ.

When Maeyken Claes together with her widowed mother and siblings sold land on 5 Jul 1667, she acted for herself, no husband is named to act for her, so she probably did not marry Peter Hendricksz until after that.

C-III-a BASTIAEN CLAESSE VAN ZEE, bc 1633-43; dc 1686, s/o C-II-a; m GEUVERTJE JANS VAN BEUREN from the Leyenburg Castel near Leuven, dc 1700; resided Huis Westpoort.

10 Nov 1652, as the eldest son of Claes Lendertsz, Sebastian Claessen, receives a loan on 4 morgen [1 morgen = 2 1/4 acres] of land the Zooislagen [polder Heukelum]. (Acts of loan of the gentlemen of Heukelum - ibid., Groot)

In 1662 William Leenderts van Poll and Bastiaen Claesen van Zee, hospicemasters. (Register of Sheriffs 1662, Heukelum)

Baastiaen Claesz van Zee acts as guardian on 9 Jan 1672 on behalf of his half-brothers, Jan and Leendert Claesz. When the estate of their mother was divided. (ibid., Groot)

From this marriage:

i. Bastiaen Claesse van Zee, b 22 Mar 1693, m in 1724 to -?-.

Note: In the 17th century in Heukelum the family van ZEE had a housemark:

Stem with branches