The Duffelt page 4




erard got properties in Wassenberg and became the ancestor of the Gelre dynasty, the other, Rudger, the ancestor of the counts of Cleve. The center of his county was Cleve and its vicinity. Kalkar, Monreberg and the monasteries in Wissen, Zyfflich, Bedburg and Xanten. He also got in feud properties in the Betuwe, the Liemers and Rhine tolls in Kellen and Huissen.
In 1182 he had to hand over the toll near Nijmegen to Gelre.
In 1386 county the Mark is added because the Cleve dynasty died out and son Adolf van der Mark (of heiress of Margaretha van Cleve) succeeds in Kleve.
In 1417 the county becomes a dukedom.
In 1511 the Dukedom Gulik and Bergh is added by a marriage.
In 1538 the Dukedom Gelre is also added (under Duke William the Rich) so that the territory stretched from the Eifel to the IJsselmeer and from the Teutoburger Forest to the Meuse. In Europe he was looked upon as a sovereign of high standing.
However in the struggle with Emperor Charles V for Gelre and Zutphen in 1543 he had to hand over Gelre again to Charles V.

In 1607 the dynasty of the dukes of Cleve dies out and the four daughters of Johan Willem the Rich get involved in a succession war and with the help of Prince Maurits of Oranje Nassau, who supported the protestant elector Johan Sigismond van Brandenburg-Prussia, Kleve and Mark were handed over in 1641 to the Elector of Brandenburg. With this the principality of Cleve lost its independence.

Gelre: as mentioned before Rutger Flamens was the ancestor. It started with the regional village Gelre on the Niers River and parts of today’s Dutch province Gelderland and the Dutch township Zutphen. Politically the region belonged to the German Empire and it expanded into the direction of the actual Dutch province Limburg, to Luik (Belgium) and the actual Dutch province Brabant. Under Otto II Nijmegen was added in 1248 by which the northern and southern parts of the county associated. The four parts were now: Zutphen, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Roermond, the so-called four quarters.
Limburg (Roermond) was lost in 1288 (Battle of Woeringen. John I of Brabant defeats Reinald I of Gelre.)
In 1339 Gelre became a dukedom. (Reinald II)
In 1538 Gelre was added to Kleve, but in 1543 William of Gulik had to hand over Gelre to Charles V. So Upper Gelre belonged to the Spanish-Netherlands (As Charles V was Emperor of Germany and King of Spain to which the Netherlands belonged at the time.) and later to the Austrian Netherlands.
At the Utrecht peace treaty in 1713, part of these territories came in the hands of the elector of Brandenburg. This elector named himself King of Prussia. 


n the 16th century quite a number of victims of the religious war in Flanders, Wallony, Antwerp and the protestant Netherlands, who had to flee to England earlier, settled down in the Lower Rhine region. Later in the 17th century, they formed very efficient forces during the 80-years war against the Spaniards (1568-1648) and quite a number of skirmishes took place in this region between the Spaniards and the “ Staatsen” (Dutch nationalists).
In 1575 a rebellious army tried to distract the attention from the siege of Leyden by the Spaniards and invaded the Netherlands from Cleve. The battle was fought and lost on the “ Mokerhei” (near Nijmegen.) Henry and Lodewijk van Nassau were killed. In the years 1588-90 the Spaniards conquered the whole region between Meuse and Rhine and the inhabitants endured hard times.
(In W.W. II in September 1944 the same Mokerhei was again the scene of heavy battles. The 82nd. American airborne division landed there and started there the attack on Nijmegen and the bridge over the Waal in order to conquer Arnhem. This offensive failed and the months afterwards the whole of the Duffelt was a terrible battlefield and many villages and townships were totally destroyed, amongst them Cleve. There is an impressive museum and a warcemetery in Groesbeek where one can undergo and reflect on the horrors of war.)


uring the Kleve succession war (1609-1614) the whole area was a theatre of war and the cities repeatedly exchanged occupying forces. After the treaty of Xanten in 1614, the national forces occupied as much Kleve territory as possible in favor of the elector of Brandenburg, but the Spaniards occupied Wezel and Xanten.


he Schenkenschans (a fortified island in the middle of the Rhine) exchanged occupants many times. In 1629 it was in National hands and in 1635 in Spanish hands and again in National hands by treason.


fter the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which put an end to the 80-years war between Spain and the Republic of the United Provinces (Netherlands) our actual State and independency came into being. Kleve remained behind with an empty purse under vice-regent (Stadtholder) of Brandenburg, Johan Maurits van Nassau (1647-1679).

This man restored the splendor and respect in the former dukedom.
For the Republic he held the position of governor of the Dutch possessions in Brazil (1636-1644) and in 1645 the same position in Wezel. Now the elector Frederic William appointed him vice-regent of Cleve. He restored Cleve and laid out splendid parks and pleasure grounds. The artists (e.g. Jacob van Kampen, the architect of the Royal Palace on the Dam at Amsterdam) he obtained from the Republic
In 1668 he was appointed General-Fieldmarchal of the Republic of the United Netherlands and in this quality he waged war against Louis XIV (of France), who in 1672 (the, in the Netherlands so-called, notorious year of “disaster”, when 4 nations together attacked the Netherlands i.e. England, Germany, France and Spain) and in 1678 marched against the young Republic. The entire region of the Lower Rhine fell into the hands of the French and after this campaign the Spanish garrison never returned into this area. 


fter the territories of the Lower Rhine had lost their independence, the Cleve district was dragged along in the then French-German differences.: the French wanted the Rhine as a natural frontier between the empire and France and in the frequent wars about this question Cleve also became involved of course. 


uring the French revolution the region left of the Rhine was occupied in 1794 and the peacetreaty of Luneville in 1801 incorporated in France as “Departement de la Roer”. By this also new French polity was introduced in the Lower Rhine without considering the old frontiers. The ecclesiastical properties were assessed, monasteries and convents secularized, the privileged position of church and nobility was abrogated, a new fiscal system was introduced and weights and measures were standardized. The Code Napoleon introduced the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths instead of the parish registrations. 


nder the French Leuth and Kekerdom belonged to the “ Marie de Niel” (  municipality of Niel in Germany) and the documents of these two places can be found from 1798 on in the archives of Kranenburg and Brühl and not before 1817 in Beek-Ubbergen. Leuth had a church of its own, but belonged to the parish of Zeevlek (Zyfflich) where the data of baptisms between 1640 and 1662 can be found.
Unlike the “ Rijk of Nijmegen”, Leuth and Kekerdom did not resort under the bishopric of Roermond, but under the archbishopric of Cologne.
For the Catholics in the dukedom Kleve religious liberty held good and that is why the Catholics from the national area came to Leuth (a/o. from Ooij.) (But these Catholics had to get married first in front of the protestant minister of Ooij)


n the 13th century Groesbeek had a church dedicated to St.Cosmos and Damianus and the lords of Groesbeek were the patrons of the church. In 1505 there were altars in the church: dedicated to Our Lady and to the Holy Cross, each in charge of two masses a week. In the 16th century there is talk of a chapel of St. Antony of which the temporary parish priest was the minister. The old parish church, the steeple of which was restored in 1844, is still in use by the Protestants. The religious persecutions in Groesbeek were less severe, because in Mook and Wyler (since the treaty of Xanten in 1614 territory of Cleve under the elector of Brandenburg- Prussia) one could find comfort in religion.
The manor of Cleve was Gelre territory and so under authority of the Republic of the Seven Provinces. During the 12 years’ truce (1609-1621) in the 80-years’ war, a protestant minister came to live in Groesbeek. Roman Catholic worship was forbidden at the time. The Catholics betook themselves to Wijler on Cleve’s (Prussian) territory and partly to Mook, also Prussian territory and partly from 1648 to 1664 to a chapel on the Mussenberg (a hill of Wijler)
In 1672 they succeeded in opening a clandestine church where in 1834 a new church was built, which was enlarged by the busy parish priest Antonius Rovers with two side-aisles and fitted up more efficiently. Baptismal and marriage registers of Wijler date from 1723, the baptismal registers of Mook from 1722 and the baptism and marriage registers of Kranenburg from 1633.
After the defeat of Napoleon the allied forces settled new frontiers in Europe during the Congress of Vienna. Until 1798 Leuth and Kekerdom had belonged to the dukedom of Kleve, which belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1798 the Rhineland was incorporated in France de facto and in 1803 de juro. But the Congress of Vienna (1815-1817) decided otherwise and both places went over to the new Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Land of Kleve remained Prussian but for some small districts which were added to the newly formed Kingdom of the Netherlands. (The Liemers with Zevenaar and Duiven, part of the Duffelt with, as said before, Leuth and Kekerdom, Huissen with Malburgen, Hulhuizen and Gennep with Ottersum, Mook, Heijen, Afferden, Milsbeek, Ravenstein, Uden and Volkel.
But Schenschans, Klein Netterden and Emmerik became German)


n the Land of Kleve, which was Prussian territory now, the German language was introduced in the schools between 1828-1848, and by this the region and also the German part of the Duffelt gradually germanized.   

The language in the Duffelt.

anyone, a little familiar with the Duffelt, it is conspicuous that particularly in the German part German is not the original language in the region.
One can tell this by the names of the places like: Huisberden, Warbeijen, Keeken, Niel etc. Even by the numerous toponyms like: Düffelward (Dutch ‘waard’!), Oyvernest (uiver=stork), Kerkend, Kerkpad, Op de Wacht, Griethuus (huis = house). Dutch is visible in “ Op de Scants” and also in numerous family names: Briel, Gorissen.
Windhuis, Janus(s)en, Rogmans, Scholten, Roelofs, Puijn, Van de Grinten, Oteman (n), Puppinghuizen ( Publickshuusen).
In this area the Germanizing took place not until the second part of the 19th century.


y the way, before 1600, there was neither one Dutch civilized language nor one German


n Cleve Low-Frankish was spoken, a group of dialects spoken from the presentday linguistic frontier in Belgium up to the Oude IJssel in the North. In the neighborhood of Cologne a soundshifting had taken place and this matched better with the languages spoken in the Upper Rhine regions and in the South of Germany. (High Germany)


n the 16th century the national languages began to develop. In the German countries High-German (from the Southern high regions) became every-day language under the influence of the Lutheran translation of the bible in German. In the Netherlands Dutch originated (often called Lower-German). The powerful provinces played an important role. So Dutch is forged from the languages Flemish, Brabantine, Gelders, Dutch and Klevian.


n Cleve however German did have more influence after in 1609 the Clevian dynasty had died out and the territory came under control of the German speaking Brandenburg and Prussia. At first it was restricted to the civil authorities, but in the 18th century it began to play a more prominent part in the contacts between the local people and the government.
Nevertheless Dutch kept an important role in official matters; e.g. diets of the principality of Cleve in the then capital Düsseldorf were spoken and recorded in Dutch. In daily life, in schools and churches, Dutch remained the official and unchallenged language. Sermons and confirmation classes were in Dutch. And so were the inscriptions in guild badges and medals until 1850.
The arrival of the French in 1794 seemed to stimulate the Dutch language. Official documents were written in French and Dutch from then on, whereas German was lacking. But in 1815, as mentioned before, Cleve and part of the Duffelt came back in Prussian hands. 


n 1827 the government decreed that German should be taught in future and the same held good for churchservices. The post 1828 generation is educated bilingual; German at school and Dutch at home. After 1870 this generation, which had learned how to write and read Dutch, died out.

Since 1960, however, Dutch is again a recognized school subject in North-Rhine Westphalia.  In dialect Dutch lives on in the German part of the Duffelt, though written in German spelling, learned at school.
There are many Dutch-German private joints-ventures e.g. the regional record-office for family research “ Mosaic” in Cleve is a good example of crossborder activities. They publish a genealogical magazine in two languages: German and Dutch and the board is mixed. 


n our name Oteman, written as Otemann by part of the family, we can find back this linguistic history. There are several documents on which the civil servant in the German speaking part of the Duffelt writes the Christian and family names in a German way and the signer in the Dutch way. As far as we can make out from our research into the past (till 1680) we are historically of Dutch origin. Ancestor Conrad may have “returned” to the Dutch part of the Duffelt because of the advancing use of the german language in the churches. in Church and school, but also “military service obligations” might have been the reason.
At first our American relatives were of the opinion that they were of German origin. At his arrival in America in 1891 William had to give as birth-place: Niel, Germany, and in fact Niel is since 1815 situated in Germany.

Jan de Beyer 1703-1780 


riting about the Duffelt isn’t complete without mentioning the hundreds of splendid pendrawings and engravings of villages and townships, hamlets and castles, churches and landscapes of the Duffelt and the environments of Jan de Beyer made between 1730 and 1770.
A great help for our imagination.
His father, Johan Jacob de Beyer was born in Basel (Switzerland) and died in Emmerik in 1719. He married in Straatsburg (actual France) Maria Barbara Huish in 1691. She came also from Switzerland. (Aarau) He was a recruiting officer for the Dutch Army,and therefore he  travelled a lot in Europe.
From 1709 on we find the family in Emmerik, where Jan, his third son, visited the reformed grammarschool (Latin-school). The whole family consited of 5 sons and 3 daughters.
Jan started drawing in Emmerik in 1731. One of his masters was the famous topographer, Cornelius Pronk, from Amsterdam.
Not only did Jan draw in the Lower Rhine area but also in Brabant and Limburg. He mainly travelled about in summertime and in  winter he worked out his sketches. For the historical knowledge of the areas he visited his many well-preserved drawings are of inestimable worth.
Numerous publications and reproductions make them easily accessible for private purposes. 


In this prologue I made use or quoted the following publications: 

De Ooij, Bandijk Boeken Nijmegen 1993 Monique Bullens and Piet Offermans.
Jan de Beyer from Guido de Werd. Dutch-German Foundation History Area Peel-Meuse-Niers.
Mosaik, Magazine for Family Research and Area Study.
Kuiere in the Duffelt. (Walking in the Duffelt) Area Study 15. Nol Hell.
De Duffelt. One century in the picture. Area Study 18.
Dikes endangered...there where Rhine becomes Waal. Edition the Rozet. Beek Ubbergen.
Land of Kleef. Wim and Wiro van Heugten.
Dictionary of the national history. K.ter Laan.
The Duffelt. Area-association “ the Duffelt”.
Butter –and Cheese factories in the Duffelt. Area Study 16.
Duffel, Land wo wir wohnen. (Land where we live) German Area Association “ Die Düffel”.
Die Düffel, eine Naturlandschaft am Niederrhein. (a natural park on the Lower-Rhine) Manfred Gossen.
Area Association “ The Duffelt”, a Jubilee-edition.
Archives in Kranenburg, Kleef, Niel, Zyfflich, Brühl, 's-Hertogenbosch, Nijmegen, Arnhem,  's-Gravenhage and Winterswijk.