Keyser family

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Keyser, was a Mennonite family name in the Netherlands. According to a Dutch family tradition the relatives of Leonhard Kaiser, a Lutheran martyr (van Braght, Martyrs Mirror erroneously lists him among the Anabaptists), burned at the stake in 1527 at Schärding, Austria, moved from Austria to the Netherlands, where they spelled their family name "Keyser." In Holland they joined the Anabaptists. The tradition of the Austrian ancestry of the Dutch Keyser family, however, is not very likely true. Keyser is a rather common Dutch family name, both Mennonite and non-Mennonite.

At Amsterdam the Keysers were manufacturers and businessmen. Mattheus Keyser, a member of the Waterlander congregation at Amsterdam, had some disagreement with Jan Theunisz in 1612, and in 1613 he and some others left the Waterlander group of the Bevredigden to join the Afgedeelden. Another Keyser of Amsterdam, Dirk Gerritsz Keyser was married to a daughter of Tobias Govertsz van de Wyngaert, preacher of the Flemish congregation of Amsterdam, one of the Amsterdam representatives to sign the Dordrecht Confession of 1632. Dirck Keyser, b. 1635, d. 30 November 1714, the oldest son of Dirk Gerritsz, emigrated from Amsterdam, where he was a silk merchant, to Pennsylvania in 1688 and was an active member of the Germantown Mennonite congregation. His son, Peter Keyser, who came with his father to America, left the Mennonite Church in 1719 to join the Dunkards.

As early as 1534 Obbe Philips administered baptism in the house of a broker, called de Keyser (e) at Delft, Dutch province of South Holland, and in 1539 Arent Jacobssen Keyser, of De Rijp, was drowned at Monnikendam in the Dutch province of North Holland. Since the 16th century the family name of Keyser (Keyzer) is very common on the Dutch island of Texel, all being Mennonites; Albert Dirksz Keyser was a preacher of the Waterlander congregation of Burg on the island of Texel 1713-1755, succeeding his father, Dirk Pietersz Keyser, while many members of this family served here as deacons. Albert Pieters Keyzer (Keyser) (d. 1731) was preacher of the Frisian congregation of Wieringen, province of North Holland 1690-1700; Dirk Cornelisz Keyser was preacher of the Frisian congregation of Langedijk and Koedijk in the province of North Holland 1723-ca. 1768, and his brother Willem Cornelisz Keyser was preacher in the same congregation 1727-d. 1760, and Dirk Keyser in the early 18th century was a preacher of the Frisian congregation of Wormerveer. S. L. Keyser of Amsterdam, a descendant of this family, was treasurer of the Dutch Mennonite Mission Association in 1955.


Bender, H. S. "The Founding of the Mennonite Church in America at Germantown, 1683-1708." Mennonite Quarterly Review 7 (October 1933): 227-233.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1884): 74, (1891): 43, 57.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 451.

Keyser, Chr. S. The Keyser Family. Philadelphia, 1889.

Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J. B. Wolters, 1954: 211.

Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de vereenigde Nederlanden (Amsterdam, 1731 ff).

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Christian Hege
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der and Christian Hege. "Keyser family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 12 Aug 2022.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der and Christian Hege. (1957). Keyser family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 August 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 171-172. All rights reserved.

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