Wöltje Seekamp was the great-grandfather of Bruno Zee. He was born in 1604, likely in Bierden, and died there sometime between 1647-1655. For our Zee family, he is a direct ancestor for all of us.


Wöltje was born c. 1604. (likely in Bierden, but could also be Bollen), a son of Harm Seekamp (1580). He married Gesche Dahlweg (dau. of Marquard Dahlweg & NN) in July 1630. Gesche had earlier been married to Johann Meyer, and had a son from that marriage (born c. 1620). Wöltje and Gesche lived at Hof Nr. 9 in Bierden. It’s not clear how that Hof came into the posession of Wöltje. They had two children:

1. Wöltje Seekamp (1638-1694)

Wöltje was born c. 1638, and was the first child. As such, he became the owner of the farm in Bierden when his father died, sometime between 1647-1655. He married Anna Meyer in 1672, and the couple remained living there. They had four children. He died on Nov 2, 1694. Daughter Anna Sophie took over the farm at Hof Nr. 9 with her husband Johann Frercichs.

2. Brüne Seekamp (1641-1717)

Brüne was born c. 1641. Brüne Seekamp moved to Bollen when he married Beke Struckhusen.

Marriage of Wöltje and Gesche

Amazingly, the marriage record of Wöltje Seekamp and Gesche Dahlweg is preserved in the church archives of Achim. Their wedding was on July 11th, 1630 – a Sunday in the Julian calendar, but a Thursday in the Gregorian. It appears some protestant parts of Germany did not switch over to Gregorian until 1700, so it was indeed on a Sunday.

The document detailing the marriage gives some interesting background. A rough translation follows.

Marriage record of Wöltje Seekamp and Gesche Dahlweg, 11 Jul 1630 (Church archives Achim, HS9 S.72, via Ulrich Budler, “Die Bauleute im alten Dorf Bierden)

Anno 1630, the 11th of July. Woltke Seekamp and Gesche Daelweges were married in their house in Bierden, and wish to note the consequences as follows:

  1. Long life and long health to both, and when one dies, the other is the heir of the house and homestead.
  2. Brüning (Seekamp), the brother of the groom, is given 3 steege for his part
  3. Albert (Seekamp), brother of the groom, is given 3 steege and a piece of land of 2 Himpten in the meadow, and Woltke will take care of it for three years. He will receive the straw. But Albert will get the corn. Albert will have the land for ten years.

Written in my quarters, Curdt (?)staudandt, Brüning and Albert the brothers Seekamp, Woltke Seekamp, Johann Daelwegen, Curdt Kohne. When one brother dies, the other will inherit. Special Note: Gesche Daellweg has a son from her former husband Johann Meyer. Woltke agrees to look after him with clothing, food, drink and care until he can look after himself.”

This is so far the earliest direct document of the Zee family. For me, writing in 2024, Wöltje Seekamp and Gesche Dahlweg are my 8th-great-grandparents, and this wedding was 394 years ago. Quite remarkable!

Bierden Hof No. 9

Hof No. 9 depicted in 1850 map of Bierden [Source: Ulrich Budler, Die Bauleute in Bierden]

The home of Wöltje Seekamp and Gesche Dahlweg, namely “Hof No. 9” in Bierden, is a farm homestead in a small village outside Bremen. The history of this house starts with the marriage document of Wöltje and Gesche – this is the earliest known record. Thanks to incredibly detailed historical research by local historians (Ulrich Budler, Heinz Früchtenicht, and Reinhard Dietrich), a lot of information is available about the ownership and events for the Seekamp homes in Bierden and Bollen. For this house in Bierden, further records for the Seekamp family follow.

  • Schatzbeschreibung 1638-40 Woleke Sehekamps. Bauhof (Farm house) with 2 rooms, 4 horses, 5 cows, 1 bullock, and 2 pigs.
  • Landbeschreibung 1647. Woltcke Sehkamp. Gutsherr Otto Clüver (Lord of the estate). 1 room house, 2 horses, 2 cows.
  • 17th May 1655, Church record, Achim. Came to visit me in the Pfarrstube Dietrich Elmers and Gesche sehl. Woltke Seekamps, widow from Bierden … to discuss ownership of land. [abbreviated translation]. Shows that Woltje died before 1655.

In the Kirchspielbeschreibung of 1670, Wöltje Seekamp junior is listed as the owner of the Hof. It mentions the details of the taxes paid to the Gutherr or Lord of the Estate, Frantz Julius von der Lieth in Baden. At this point Wöltje was struggling – he had 2 horses, no cows, and could only manage to cut 3 Fuder of hay. Wöltje is mentioned again in 1675, 1682 (“Wöltke Seekamp – 40 years”), 1691 (aged 56 (?), with son Wöltje aged 9), and 1694. He died on Nov 2, 1694 at the age of 56. He left behind, according to the church records, a wife and 4 children.

His daughter Anna Sophie Seekamp took over the farm as first born child, with her husband Johann Frerichs from Arbergen. The homestead is last mentioned in a document from 1881. No trace remains today.

Troubled times for Brünje Seekamp

Woltje Seekamp died sometime between 1647-1655. His son Woltje junior, born 1638, was not yet of age, and so management of the farm fell to his surviving brother Brünje Seekamp. From various documents it’s clear that these were very difficult times for the family, and they were quickly in poverty.

In 1655, Woltje’s widow Gesche Dahlweg went to visit the local priest, with Dietrich Elmers. He had loaned the couple 31 Reichsthaler, and now that Woltje had passed away, this debt was a challenge for her. By 1662, Brünje was unable to make the required payments from the farm. Arrears were due to Count Hans Christoph von Königsmarck, and the residents of Bierden requested a re-distribution of his arrears. In 1665, Maria Schlepegrell, widow of the landlord Otto Clüver.

Other Seekamps in Bierden

Bierden Hof No. 6: In 1702, the owner Detmer Köhne died. His wife (Anna) married again in 1703, to Johann Seekamp from Uphusen, “Holzgräfensohn”. In 1710, Johann Seekamp, aged 42, mentioned in a document. In January 1714, his “Stiefschwiegersohn” Johann Hinrich Seekamp from Bollen takes over the farm. On 21 Dec 1714, an agreement is signed betwen Anna Seekamp, wife of Johann Seekamp, and the new owner Johann Hinrich Seekamp. In the agreement, Johann Hinrich’s father Bösche Seekamp (our ancestor, and Bruno Zee’s father) is mentioned as present. There is some family trouble mentioned in the document. Anna Seekamp says she has no problem with the contract for the handover of ownership to Johann Hinrich Seekamp fom Bollen, and says she will get on fine with him. However, her husband is a different story. Despite recent court orders, he has been violent to her and “dragged her from the bed by her hair”. She cannot trust him, and so requests that her part of the property is specifically documented. [source: Budler, Bauleute Bierden]

Johann Seekamp (the violent one), is the son of Albert Seekamp and Gesche Struckhusen. He married Anna Siemers (maiden name, then Anna Köhne following her first marriage to Detmer Köhne) in Achim on June 30, 1702. They had no children, but it was Anna’s daughter Ilse Köhne that married Johann Hinrich Seekamp, and he is Bruno Zee‘s brother.

In 1747, Johann Hinrich Seekamp died. The farm was then taken over by his wife and son, also Johann Hinrich. He married in 1749 to a farmers daughter from Bockhorst, Maria Wilckens. In 1790 he died, and his son Johann Seekamp took over the farm – marrying Catharina Mindermann on 26 Nov 1790. The Seekamp family continued to live here until at least 1956, when Hermine Niestädt-Seekamp (b. 1883) and Claus Stürmann were the owners, though the original house burned down on August 14, 1883. Records from Ulrich Budler show that the house passed on to Hans Stürmann and then Klaus Stürmann today. The last direct Seekamp to live here was Hermine’s father Hinrich Seekamp, who died on October 23rd, 1918, who would likely be the great-grandfather of the present owner. The address now is Bierdner Dorfstrasse 5.


S3 Wöltje Seekamp 
b        1604 Bierden ? [Harm Seekamp & NN]
+  Bef.  1655 Bierden  
x Gesche Dahlweg 11-Jul-1630 Bierden
*        1595 Bierden [Marquard Dahlweg]
+ 24-May-1675 Bierden Aged 80 >


  1. Wöltje Seekamp  1638 x Anna Meyer 
  2. Brüne Seekamp   1641 x Beke Struckhusen

Wöltje Seekamp 
b        1638
+ 02-Nov-1694 Bierden >
x Anna Meyer
*        1639 Tüchten
+ 12-Sep-1715 Bierden

  1. Wöltje 
  2. Anna Sophie        x Johann Frerichs
  3. ?
  4. ? 



Wöltje Seekamp

Source information from Heinz F., OFB Familienbuch "Früchtenicht Biermann" [>]

3433    Wöltje Seekamp  «aus 3430» , geschätzt 1604 Bierden, geschätzt 1604 Achim, Baumann, LU
   I)    unbekannt
 11.07.1630 Achim, N: Ehevertrag
      Gesche Dahlweg  «aus 826» , geschätzt 1595 Bierden, geschätzt 1595 Achim, 24.05.1675 Bierden, Alter: 80J, 1675 Achim, LU
      1)  Wöltje  , geschätzt 1638 Bierden, geschätzt 1638 Achim, 02.11.1694 Bierden, 1694 Achim, «3443»
      2)  Brüne  , geschätzt 1641 Bierden, 1717 Bollen, 08.03.1717 Bremen-Arbergen, «3445»

Johann Frercks  «aus 1198» , 1666 Bremen-Arbergen, 24.05.1666 Bremen-Arbergen, 08.03.1723 Bierden, Alter: 56J, 1723 Achim, LU, oo Achim 17.10.1695 Anna Sophie Seecamp, Tochter von Wöltje und Anne Seecamp, Bierden. >

Brünje Seekamp 

(Brother of Woltje b. 1604).

17-May-1655 Anno 1655 den 17ten May Seint zu mir kommen in die Pfarrstube Dietrich Elmers und Gesche sehl. Wolke Seekamps witbe von Bierden und gebethen Ich mochte Ihnen umb lebens und sterbens willen verzeichen wie folget, bekannte demnach gedachte Gesche Seekamps, dass Dietrich Elmers Ihr und ihren sehl.Manne Wolke uff Ihr bittliches Anhalten und versprecket geleihen 31 RThaler mt se jede zu 71 Br.groten gerechnet und ist Dietrich das Haus fur an statt der Rente zum Unterpfande versetzet 1 stucke uff der Embsger geest von 2 Himmten roggenesaet und 1 Scheffel gastensaet, das landt in der Marsch welches umbs und beset wirdt, lose ist vorbehalten ein halb Jahr vorher welches heil es beliebet. (In the year 1655, on the 17th of May,
Dietrich Elmers and Gesche, the widow of the deceased Wolke Seekamp from Bierden, came to me in the parsonage and requested that I forgive them for the sake of life and death as follows: it was thus acknowledged by the said Gesche Seekamp that Dietrich Elmers had lent her and her deceased husband Wolke, upon her earnest request and promise, 31 Reichsthaler with each valued at 71 Bremen groats, and for this, Dietrich has put the house as a collateral instead of receiving rent, sowed 1 "stucke" on the Embsger heath with 2 "Himmten" of rye and 1 bushel of barley, the land in the marsh which is surrounded and settled is kept unencumbered for half a year prior, as it pleases) [Ulrich Budler, Bauleite Bierden, p. 142]

       1658 Shooting of a girl in Bierden > re. payments due to 

28-Oct-1662 Gesuch der Einwohner der Dorfschaft Bierden an die Regierung vom 28. Oktober 1662 um Verteilung des Kontributionsnachstands Seekamps auf das ganze Gericht (mit Anlage: Mandat des Amtschreibers Wilkenius Wilckens in Achim an die Dorfschaft Bierden vom 24. Oktober wegen Bezahlung des Nachstands); nachfolgendes Regierungsmandat an Wilckens vom 28. Oktober wegen Berichterstattung; Bericht des Amtschreibers Wilckens vom 15. Mai 1663, mit Gesuch um Entscheidung, wer den an den Gouverneur Graf Hans Christoph von Königsmarck assignierten und von dessen Sekretär Wippermann geforderten Nachstand zahlen soll (Application from the residents of the village of Bierden to the government on October 28, 1662 for distribution of Seekamp's contribution arrears to the entire court (with annex: mandate from the clerk Wilkenius Wilckens in Achim to the village of Bierden from October 24th for payment of the arrears); subsequent government mandate to Wilckens on October 28 for reporting; Report from clerk Wilckens dated May 15, 1663, with a request for a decision as to who should pay the arrears assigned to the governor Count Hans Christoph von Königsmarck and demanded by his secretary Wippermann) [>]

24-Feb-1665 Klageschrift der Maria Schlepegrell, Witwe des Otto Clüver, an die Regierung vom 24. Februar 1665 gegen den Königsmarck'schen Gerichtsverwalter Major Henning Tacke und den gewesenen Amtschreiber Wilkenius Wilckens in Achim wegen von ihrem Meier Brünje Seekamp in Bierden geforderter und eingetriebener Kontributionsrestanten (Statement of claim by Maria Schlepegrell, widow of Otto Clüver, to the government dated February 24, 1665 against the Königsmarck court administrator Major Henning Tacke and the former clerk Wilkenius Wilckens in Achim because of the remaining contributions demanded and collected re. Brünje Seekamp in Bierden) [>]

Leave a Reply