Seylemaker family

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Seylemaker (Seil(e)maker) a Mennonite family, formerly found at Hoorn, Dutch province of North Holland, where Volkert Maertensz Seylemaker, a sailmaker, lived in the 16th century. Brandt called him "a man of knowledge and loyalty among the Mennonites, now called Frisians" and says that it was Seylemaker who told that when he was visiting Menno Simons, who lay on his deathbed, Menno said, "Be not a servant of men, as I have been." Volkert Maertensz was probably well-to-do, for his youngest son Dirk studied medicine at Leiden and in Italy, obtaining his medical degree in 1594 at the famous University of Padua. This Dirk Volkertsz Seylemaker (born 1572 at Hoorn, died there 1630) after finishing his medical studies was a physician in his home town; after a fashion of that period he used a Latin name, Theodoras Velius, and Velius became the family name of his descendants. He was married first to Martha des Muliers, a Mennonite refugee from Flanders (died before 1599), and then to Aef Ewouts. Velius was a man of erudition and also wrote some poetry. He is specially known for a historical chronicle, Chronijck van de Stadt Hoorn (first ed. Hoorn, 1604, reprints 1617, 1648, 1740), which gives some information about the Mennonites. His son Pierre Velius, a physician like his father, left the Mennonite Church, as did most of his descendants. Mennonite descendants called Velius were found at Leiden and Amsterdam in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Willem Maertens Seylemaker (1626-81), a grandson of the above Volkert Maertensz, was married to Aechtje Sleutel. He and most descendants took the family name of Sleutel instead of Seylemaker. He was a preacher of the Frisian Mennonite congregation at Hoorn from 1649 and elder from 1657. Two of his sons, Jan Willems Sleutel (1654-92) and Gerrit Willem Seylemaker, were preachers of the same congregation, Jan Willems from 1678 after his father died, and Gerrit Willems from 1688.


Brandt, G. Historie der Reformatie. 2d ed. Amsterdam, 1677: 186 f.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1867): 72, 77 f., 81, 84; (1875): 30; (1889): 76; (1899): 104.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 175.

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. I, 1518 f.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Seylemaker family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 10 Aug 2020.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Seylemaker family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 August 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 508-509. All rights reserved.

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