Andries Smorenburg I (1795 – 1880)


   1. His childhood

Andries, the third child of Gerrit Smorenburg (1761 – 1832) and Margarita Eijbers(en) (1768 – 1838), became my husband’s great-great-great-grandfather.

He was born on 17 February 1795 at De Bilt, Department van de Rijn (previously Utrecht province) in the Batavian Republic (previously Republic of United Seven Netherlands, also known as Dutch Republic). His christening on 22 November 1795 at De Bilt was witnessed by Maria Versteeg.1-4 Just ten months earlier Napoleon Bonaparte and his French revolutionary army seized the Dutch Republic (Northern Netherlands) and instituted the new Batavian Republic. Although a revolutionary Dutch government was now in charge, it was still stringently controlled by the Napoleonic French government. The Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland from 1806 to 1810 followed. This Dutch Kingdom, however, was dissolved and subjected to an aggregated French governance when France entirely annexed the Northern Netherlands from 1810 to 1815.5-7

Andries, therefore, spent his whole childhood up to the age of 20 years under French influence and political control. He must have learned to speak some French while at school, since the French language became compulsory at primary school level.5 This argument is strengthened by the fact that Andries served in the Dutch Division of Napoleon’s French Army.3

   2. His wife

The 34 year-old Andries married 22 year-old Georgina Ida Anthonia Allewaert on 15 November 1829 at Stiphout, a village situated 3.5 km east of the larger town of Helmond in North Brabant province, United Kingdom of the Netherlands.1,3,8,9 Witnesses at their matrimonial ceremony were Matthijs Deelen (62 year-old carpenter from Stiphout), Hendrik Deelen (27 year-old farmer from Stiphout), Jan van Moorsel (28 year-old farmer from Vlierden) and Jan Visser (60 year-old fisherman from Stiphout).3

Georgina was born on 31 October 1807 at Helmond in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland and was christened on 1 November 1807. George Potman was a witness of her christening.3,10 Several variations of her first name, such as Georgelina, Chorsina, Schorsina, Schersina and Sientje, have been found in other documents and on websites.3 Up to the age of eight years, Georgina not only grew up within the Dutch community but also lived under French influence.

Georgina was the sixth child of Johannes/Jan Hendricus/Hendrik Allewaert (*25 December 1759, Helmond – ?) and Elizabeth Ramaer (*25 February 1773, Eersel – 24 August 1825, ‘s-Hertogenbosch).1,3,11 The family seemed to have moved frequently as their children were born in various towns within the same province (now North Brabant). By 1810, during the complete annexation of the Netherlands by France, this family appeared on the Residents List of Helmond (notably their Dutch names were recorded with French interpretation) as follows:

Jean Henri Allewaart [Jan Hendrik Allewaert] (Protestant faith, head of the family) and his wife, Elisabeth Ramaer, their children: Guillaume Jean Henri [Willem Jan Hendrik] (*9 October 1796, Osch (now Oss)), Andre Antoine Jacques [Andries Antonij Jacobus] (*12 August 1798, Vlierden), Anne Catherine Marguerite [Anna Christina Margaretha] (*8 October 1800, Vugt), Jean Henri Gerard [Jan Hendrik Gerrit] (*1 May 1803, Deurne), Elisabeth Gertrude Louise [Elizabeth Geertruijda Louisa] (*15 November 1805, Deurne), Georgine Ide Antoinette [Georgina Ida Antonia] (*28 October 1807, Helmond) and Hermine Henriette Sibille [Hermiena Hendrica Sibilla] (*16 February 1809, Helmond – 3 November 1891, Velp).11,12

   3. His career

At the age of 19 years in 1814, Andries Smorenburg was serving as a gunner in the Second Division of the Regiment Rijdende Artillerie of the French Army during the expansion of the French Empire under Emperor Napoleon I. Andries did military service for six years in total. In 1829, at the age of 34 years in the same year he got married, he indicated his profession as ‘hunter’. He later (probably after 1865) joined the railroad services and worked as a train engine-driver at Rheden and Arnhem in Gelderland province.1,3

Several railway companies operated in the Netherlands. Andries most likely worked for the Nederlandsche Rijnspoorweg-Maatschappij (NRS), a private railway company that established a railway line from Amsterdam to Utrecht in 1843, with further extension to Arnhem in 1845, and to Germany in 1856. A line-junction in at Arnhem towards Zutphen via Velp and Rheden was completed in 1865 – it was on this line that Andries Smorenburg laboured. The main line was later also extended from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. NRS operated on these railway lines until 1890.13-15

As an adult, Andries Smorenburg lived during the reign of King William I, King William II and King William III. The rule of William I over the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of the Northern Netherlands and the Southern Netherlands, lasted from 1815 to 1840. The French annexation left the Dutch economy in shatters but through William I’s liberal economic modernisation, the country prospered again. Economic progress and peaceful living, however, lasted until the Belgian Revolt in the Southern Netherlands started in 1830, which eventually led to the establishment of two separate, independent countries, the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in 1839.5,16 Nowadays, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is often referred to as just ‘Netherlands’.

William II succeeded his father in 1840 and ruled for nine years until his death in 1849. He observed the growing demand for constitutional reform and broader electoral representation from all 11 provinces, and with wisdom guided his people towards a better future. During his reign, the Netherlands became a parliamentary democracy with a new constitution drafted in 1848 where the king became part of the government rather than its master.5,17 William II was succeeded by his son, William III whose reign lasted from 1849 to 1890. In contrast to his father, William III opposed the new constitution and wanted to abdicate several times during his reign. This, and his unpredictable, explosive behaviour, made him rather unpopular among members of his cabinet, but he was quite popular with the common people. Industrialisation moved slowly in the Netherlands compared to other European countries and William III often provided financial aid to industrial enterprises to enhance progress. Notable industrial growth arrived only in the 1860s.5,18 The NRS, future employer of Andries Smorenburg, was one of William III’s beneficiaries.13 During his reign, the Netherlands gradually transformed into a modern middle-class industrial society.5

   4. His death

Georgina Smorenburg died at De Bilt, Utrecht, Kingdom of the Netherlands on 21 April 1876 at the age of 68 years. Four years later, Andries passed away on 1 February 1880 at De Bilt at the age of 84 years.1,3,19Andries saw the coming and going of the Batavian Republic, followed by the Republic of Holland, its French annexation, then the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands until Belgium said its good-byes, and finally the materialisation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as we know it today.

  5. His children

5.1 Elizabeth Anna Hermina

She was born on 27 October 1830 at Vlierden, North Brabant, United Kingdom of the Netherlands (now Kingdom of the Netherlands). At the age of 27 years, she married Gysbert Kluydt (ca 1833 – <1873) on 29 May 1858 at De Bilt, Utrecht, Kingdom of the Netherlands. She later married again at the age of 42 years on 6 June 1873 at De Bilt to Gijsbert Rosendaal (*ca 1826, Westbroek), son of Jan Rosendaal and Neeltje Remmergen. Elizabeth died on 20 February 1885 at Soest, Utrecht province, at the age of 54 years.1,3,20-22

5.2 Johannes Wilhemus

Johannes was born on 13 May 1833 at De Bilt, Utrecht, United Kingdom of the Netherlands. He became a wagon master1,3 – a person that oversaw the transportation of a group of wagons carrying cargo or mail from one place to another.23 He married Johanna Margaretha Geertruida Molenaar (née Hersbergen) on 26 October 1866 at Berkel and Rodentijs, South Holland, Kingdom of the Netherlands. Johanna ( ca 1832, Rotterdam – 2 June 1899, Utrecht) was the widow of Willem Molenaar. Johannes Smorenburg died at the age of 63 years on 23 February 1897 at Leiden, South Holland.1,3

5.3 Gerrit

Gerrit was born on 23 May 1835 at De Bilt. He married Johanna Aletta Rijnhart (1833 – 1899) on 20 May 1864 at De Bilt, when he was 28 years old. She was the daughter of the carpenter and organ-maker, Andries Rijnhart (1789 – 1839) and his wife, Anna Sophia Margaretha Krooman/Kroeman (1794 – 1855). Gerrit and Johanna had four children.1,3 While these children were still young, Gerrit deserted his family when he disappeared to join the French Foreign Legion. (Apparently he was in a state of drunkenness when he joint the Legion).24 He was gone for years but Gerrit eventually did return. By 1887, he was a shopkeeper. His long absence, however, had consequences and it is, therefore, not surprising that his marriage ended in divorce, executed on 1 December 1897 at Baarn, Utrecht.3 Gerrit died on 29 March 1909 at Baarn at the age of 73 years.1,3  His four children were:

  • Ida Anthonia Georgina (2 January 1866, Nijkerk, Gelderland – 4 September 1896, Soest, Utrecht)

Witnesses at her wedding with beer brewer Nathanael Traugott Kürt Kupferman (1860 – before 1896) from Prussia (now Germany) on 31 August 1887 at Amersfoort, Utrecht, were also all residents from Amersfoort. They were August Ellinghaus (53 year-old beer brewer), Hendrikus Johannes Theodorus van Arom (33 year-old innkeeper), Gerrit Blok (37 year-old blacksmith) and Paul Höhne (26 year-old beer brewer).25  Ida and Nathanael had one son, Kürt George (*2 May 1894, Baarn, Utrecht). At the time of her death, she was a 30 year-old widowed housewife. On 4 September 1896, her body was found floating in the river De Eem at Soest, although she resided in Utrecht city.1,3 It is not clear whether her death was the result of suicide, murder or an accident. Their two year-old orphaned son went to live with his aunt Anna Sophia Margaretha Ruitenbeeck, his mother’s younger sister.1,3,26

  • Anna Sophia Margaretha (8 May 1869, Nijkerk, Gelderland – 11 December 1950, Scheveningen, Den Haag, South Holland)

The 21 year-old Anna married Wilhelm Bernardus Ruitenbeek (10 December 1867, Prussia – 14 September 1893, Baarn) on 9 July 1890 at Baarn, Utrecht. At the age of 39 years, Anna married a second time to Cornelius Lub (1854, Amsterdam – 31 August 1928) on 13 February 1908 at Amsterdam, Utrecht.1,3 She had no children of her own, but became foster mother to her nephew, Kürt George Kupferman, after his parents’ death. Later in her life, Anna Lub resided in the Union of South Africa in Johannesburg, Transvaal for some time. She bought shares in various companies such as Witbank Consolidated Mines Ltd., W.W. Rand Brick & Tile Co. Ltd., Fine Art Fashions Ltd. and Tugela Investments Ltd. She died, however, at 38 Treiler Avenue, Scheveningen, Den Haag at the age of 81 years and seven months. Her foster-son was at that time residing at 4 Loon Street, ‘s-Gravenhage (the sophisticated name for Den Haag). He was sole heir of Anna’s estate according to her will drafted on 21 July 1949 at ‘s-Gravenhage.1,3,27

  • Andries (3 March 1872, De Bilt – 16 April 1939, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Andries Smorenburg was born at De Bilt, Utrecht on a stormy night in early March 1872.From an early age, he had to help supporting his family, since his father left them to fend for themselves. At the age of 15 years, Andries – by then a carpenter apprentice – migrated with his bankrupt employer to the southern tip of Africa in the hope of making their fortune on the gold mines of the Witwatersrand in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Boer Republiek [ZAR] (South African Republic). Soon thereafter, in 1887, after an argument with his employer, Andries joined the Transvaal Police Force, known as the Zuid-Afrikaansche Rijdende Politie (ZARP). He started out as an administrative clerk, but soon progressed to the rank of Constable. By 1895, he already held the rank of Detective-Sergeant when he participated in the investigation of the ill-fated Jameson Raid and its instigators. By 1896, he was promoted to Sergeant. At the turn of the century, just as the Second Anglo-Boer War (also known as the South African War) broke out in 1899, Andries was back in the Netherlands at Arnhem, Gelderland to receive medical treatment to his leg that was at risk to be amputated due to an injury that resulted in blood poisoning with associated gangrene. Fortunately the treatment was successful and he returned to the Pretoria, the capitol of the ZAR via Lourenço Marques (now Maputo in Mozambique). Upon his arrival, he joined the Boers of the ZAR as a Dutch volunteer, in their determined fight for freedom against Britain. He was offered the rank of Commander in the Second Dutch Foreigners Corps and was asked to use his policing background to train them into a commando. His 19 year-old cousin, Jan Willem Smorenburg (1881 – 1968) joined him and was appointed as his quartermaster.24,28

Both Andries and Jan were later captured during the Battle of Boshof on 5 April 1900. At first, the 64 captured foreign volunteers (French Legionnaires, Germans, Dutchmen, Americans and one Russian Prince) of the Boer Army were kept in prison at Boshof, a small farming village situated in the western region of the Orange Free State Boer Republic. Eventually the prisoners were sent off with other prisoners-of-war to the remote British island of St Helena in the Atlantic Ocean. Andries and Jan Smorenburg were allocated to Deadwood Plain Camp. In late 1901, Andries attempted a daring albeit unsuccessful escape from the island.24,28-30 Read more on the ‘BOER IN THE BOX’ who almost outwitted his British capturers.

After the Peace Treaty was signed in June 1902 – and on the condition that they had to pledge their allegiance to the British Crown – the prisoners started to return to Cape Town in South Africa between 26 June 1902 and 21 October 1902.24,30 Andries Smorenburg settled in the British Transvaal Colony (previously the ZAR) in Johannesburg to work as a carpenter. From the age of 32 years (in 1904), he was employed as a civil servant at the City Council of Johannesburg, Transvaal, Union of South Africa until his retirement in 1928. He was initially appointed as License Inspector of Public Vehicles but was promoted several times through the years to eventually retire in the position of Head of Licensing. Andries also served as Sworn Translator in the English and Dutch languages, as well as a Justice of the Peace.24,31

He married Martha Sprong (ca 1875, Rotterdam, South Holland – 5 May 1942, Winkelspruit, Natal, South Africa) on 5 June 1906 at Johannesburg. She was the daughter of Salamon Kornelis Sprong and Neeltje Vaalburg. The couple resided at 11 Sixth Avenue, Bezuidenhout Valley, Johannesburg. Andries died on 16 April 1939 at the age of 67 years. They had two daughters, who never married. They were Johanna Aletta “Zus” (ca 1911 – 2012, Johannesburg) and Nelly Cornelia “Bobs/Baby” (? – 6 July 1955, Johannesburg). Both sisters were involved in theatre, especially at His Majesty’s Theatre in Commissioner Street , Johannesburg. They worked mainly on the backstage and met many famous performers.24, 32-35

  • Pieter August (8 October 1874, De Bilt – ?)

No additional information could be found on Gerrit and Johanna Smorenburg’s fourth child.He presumably died young.

5.4 Antonij (22 Augustus 1837, De Bilt – 9 February 1897, Baarn),

He was born on 22 August 1837 at De Bilt. He married Aleida Frelink (1838, Elburg – ?) on 31 January 1872 at Amersfoort, Utrecht when he was 34 years old. She was the daughter of Jan Hendrik Freilink and Jantje de Jong. Antonij died at the age of 59 on 9 February 1897 at Baarn, Utrecht.1,3

5.5 Margaretha

Margaretha was born on 22 December 1839 at De Bilt. Sadly, she died five years later on 4 February 1845 at De Bilt.1,3

5.6 Andries

Their youngest surviving son, Andries jr became my husband’s great-great-grandfather. He was born on 26 March 1842 at De Bilt. He married Maria Jansen van Galen and they had eight children.1,3  The signatures of his parents, Andries and Georgina Smorenburg appear on his  marriage document as shown below.36 READ MORE on Andries Smorenburg jr. (II).5.7 A son

Andries and Georgina’s seventh child was stillborn on 17 August 1845,1,3 just six months after his sister, Margaretha’s untimely death.


  1. Voorouders van Annie Verschuren-van Eck.
  2. Gezinsblad Gerrit Smorenburg.
  3. Gerrit Smorenburg (1835 – 1909). Beindorff, W.H. Genealogie Beindorff, Been et al.
  4. Stamboom Zieltjens.
  5. History of the Netherlands.
  6. Batavian Republic.
  7. Kingdom of Holland.
  8. Marriage Record of Andries Smorenburg. Brabant Historical Information Centre (Netherlands), Brabant, Civil registration marriages. Bron: boek, Part: 7453, Period: 1829, Stiphout, access code 50, inventory number 7453, November 15, 1829, Huwelijksregister Stiphout 1829, record number 4.
  9. Map of North Brabant (Netherlands).
  10. Baptism of Georgina Ida Antonia. Regional Historic Centre Eindhoven (Netherlands), Eindhoven, Church records baptisms. Doop-, trouw- en begraafboek Helmond, Helmond, access code 10225, inventory number 68.23, November  1, 1807.
  11. Allewaart Family. Regional Historic Centre Eindhoven (Netherlands), Helmond, Residents lists. Etat de population de la mairie de Helmond, Helmond, access code 100, inventory number 166, 1810, record number 69, 70.
  12. Death of Hermiena Hendrica Sibilla Allewaert. Gelders Archive (Netherlands), Arnhem, Civil registration deaths. Velp (Rheden), archive 207, inventory number 3160, December  2, 1891, record number 246.
  13. History of rail transport in the Netherlands.
  14. Nederlandsche Rijnspoorweg-Maatschappij.
  15. Rijnbende, H. Rijkstraatweg en spoorlijnen in Rheden. 1820 – 1887.
  16. William I of the Netherlands.
  17. William II of the Netherlands.
  18. William III of the Netherlands.
  19. Death Notice of Andries Smorenburg. The Utrecht Archives (Netherlands), Utrecht, Civil registration deaths. De Bilt, archive 481, inventory number 1050-04, February  2, 1880, record number 5.
  20. Birth of Elizabeth Anna Hermina Smorenburg. Regional Historic Centre Eindhoven (Netherlands), Eindhoven, Civil registration births. Geboorteregisters, 1812 Geboorte, Huwelijken en Overlijden, Vlierden, access code 13130, inventory number 595, October 27, 1830, folio 17.
  21. First marriage of Elizabeth Anna Hermina Smorenburg. The Utrecht Archives (Netherlands), Utrecht, Civil registration marriages. De Bilt, archive 481, inventory number 814-13, May 29, 1858, record number 9.
  22. Second marriage of Elizabeth Anna Hermina Smorenburg. The Utrecht Archives (Netherlands), Utrecht, Civil registration marriages. De Bilt, archive 481, inventory number 814-28, June  6, 1873, record number 12.
  23. Wagon master.
  24. Andries Smorenburg.
  25. Marriage of Ida Anthonia Georgina Smorenburg. The Utrecht Archives (Netherlands), Utrecht, Civil registration marriages. Amersfoort, archive 481, inventory number 804-01, August 31, 1887, record number 80.
  26. Ida Anthonia Georgina Smorenburg (1866 – 1896). SJ Mostert & WH Beindorf. Geneologie Beindorf en Mohlmann.
  27. Death certificate, will and estate of Anna Sophia Margaretha Lub. National Archives & Repository Service of South Africa, Pretoria. TAB MHG 1472/51, 1951.
  28. Andries Smorenburg.
  29. Battle of Boshof.
  30. Boer prisoners (1900 – 1902).
  31. Appointment as translator: Andries Smorenburg. National Archives & Repository Service of South Africa, Pretoria. TAB TPD 8/195/583, 1917.
  32. Death notice of Andries Smorenburg. National Archives & Repository Service of South Africa, Pretoria. TAB MHG 1424/39, 1939
  33. Death notice and estate of Martha Sprong. National Archives & Repository Service of South Africa, Pretoria. TAB MHG 2304/42, 1942
  34. Death notice and estate of Nelly Cornelia Smorenburg. National Archives & Repository Service of South Africa, Pretoria. TAB MHG 4697/55, 1955
  35. Interview with Pam Jamison, great-granddaughter of Andries Smorenburg II, on 25 December 2017 at Pretoria
  36. Marriage of Andries Smorenburg & Maria Jansen van Galen on March 21, 1872 in Rheden (Netherlands). Open Archives.