Goverts (Govertsen, Gowert, Govert) is a Mennonite family appearing particularly in Hamburg-Altona and Danzig, usually merchants, ships' chandlers and shipowners, usually of whaling boats. The progenitor of the Altona Goverts family was Peter Goverts of Antwerp (1475-1553). A descendant, Willem Goverts (1531-1608), became an Anabaptist and fled to Fresenburg, Oldesloe, near Hamburg to escape persecution. His son Hans (1578-1639) settled in Altona with other Mennonites and became the ancestor of the Hamburg-Altona Goverts line. He was a successful businessman and a deacon of the Mennonite congregation. His brother Peter was married to a sister of Gerrit Roosen. Peter's son Ernst (1678-1728) was a deacon in the Flemish Mennonite congregation, and caused some disturbance in the congregation by advocating baptism by immersion. He built the Dompelaar church on the Grosse Freiheit (Blaufärber or Goverts Church) in 1708 and supported its famous minister Jacob Denner. His brothers Hermann and Gerard Goverts Hermanns, both deacons, were successful businessmen. After their death their business continued under the name "Firma Gerard Goverts Erben." Hermann's two sons left the Mennonite church. Paul joined the French Reformed Church and Hermann's family (11 children) the Lutheran Church. B. N. Krohn was the pastor of this Lutheran congregation and the instructor of Hermann's children. (Krohn mentions this experience in the preface of his book.) The name Goverts still appears as a non-Mennonite name in the Hamburg area, but seems to be extinct among Mennonites.
In the Danzig Mennonite church records the name Goverts appears for the first time in 1674. The name had evidently become extinct before the removal of the Mennonites from this area in connection with World War II. It was apparendy not transplanted to Russia and America.
In Holland also the name Govertsz (Govers, Goverts) is found among the Mennonites, but as far as could be ascertained they are not related to the German branch. In Haarlem there were in the 17th century a number of members of the Goverts family, some of whom were deacons and trustees of the Mennonite orphanage there. Joost Goverts of Amsterdam is said to have collected accounts on Anabaptist martyrs in Brabant in behalf of the martyrbooks about 1610. In 1658 Goverts, of Leeuwarden, Friesland, established an old people's home in this city.
Dollinger, Robert. Geschichte der Mennoniten in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg und Lübeck. Neumünster, 1930: 86 ff., 146 ff., 170 ff.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1899): 103.
Hamburger Geschlechterbuch: IV.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 151.
Krohn, B. N. Geschichte der fanatischen und enthusiastischen Wiedertäufer. Leipzig, 1758: 4.
Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis van de Doopsgezinden in Nederland: Gemeentelijk Leven 1650-1735. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon, 1950: 59.
Neues Altona II (Jena, 1929): 228-231.
Oesau, Wanda. Hamburgs Grönlandsfahrt. Hamburg-Glückstadt, 1955.
Reimer, Gustav E. Die Familiennamen der westpreussischen Mennoniten. Weierhof: Mennonitische Geschichtsverein, 1940: 108.
Roosen, Berend Carl. Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde zu Hamburg und Altona. Hamburg, 1886-1887. Reprinted Hamburg : [s.n.], 1990.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Goverts (Govertsen, Gowert, Govert) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 11 Jul 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goverts_(Govertsen,_Gowert,_Govert)_family&oldid=81341.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). Goverts (Govertsen, Gowert, Govert) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 July 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goverts_(Govertsen,_Gowert,_Govert)_family&oldid=81341.
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