Wöltje Seekamp was the great-grandfather of Bruno Zee. He was born in 1604 in Bierden, and died there sometime between 1647-1655.
Wöltje is estimated to have been born c. 1604 in Bierden, son of Harm Seekamp.
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 seems that it was indeed on a Sunday.
The document detailing the marriage gives some interesting background. A rough translation follows.
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:
- Long life and long health to both, and when one dies, the other is the heir of the house and homestead.
- Brüning (Seekamp), the brother of the groom, is given 3 steege for his part
- 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 2022, Wöltje Seekamp and Gesche Dahlweg are my 8th-great-grandparents, and this wedding was 392 years ago. Quite remarkable!
Wöltje and Gesche had two children – Wöltje Seekamp (1638-1694), and Brüne Seekamp (1641-1717, our direct ancestor):
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 and 1655. He married Anna Meyer in 1672, and the couple remained living there. They had one known child, Wöltje, who it is believed died young.
Brüne was born c. 1641. Brüne Seekamp moved to Bollen when he married Beke Struckhusen.
Bierden Hof No. 9
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.
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 signd 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] + Before 1655 Bierden x Gesche Dahlweg 11-Jul-1630 Bierden * [Marquard Dahlweg] + Children: 1. Wöltje Seekamp 1638 x Anna Meyer 2. Brüne Seekamp 1641 x Beke Struckhusen
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 Kinder: 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»