Tigler family

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Tigler (formerly also Tichelaar), with its lateral Tigler Wybrandi branch, a Mennonite family found in Friesland, Netherlands, as early as 1657. In this year (1) Carst Sickes, probably a native of Stiens near Leeuwarden, had a "tichelwerk" (tilework) at Leeuwarden, from which the family derived its name. Carst and his descendants for many generations were loyal and active members of the Waterlander congregation at Leeuwarden. His son (2) Claes Karsten Tichelaar (Tigler), d. ca. 1725, was from 1680 a preacher of the congregation and the prosperous owner of the tileworks and other businesses. A sermon of his, Predicatie on II Peter 1:13 ff., preached on 7 August 1718, was published at Leeuwarden (n.d.-1719). He was rather liberal-minded: and on 26 November 1719, after a quarrel he and his son (3) Djurre Clases, and his brother Tjerk Karsten (d. 1722), a deacon of the church, were banned on the ground that they worshiped with and participated in a communion service of the Remonstrants at Dokkum. Claes Tigler did not take his excommunication very seriously, considering it invalid because the meeting at which it was decided upon was illegal. Most members of the church sided with him. The city government, intervening, stated that Jansen's attitude was unchristian. A further meeting of the members nominated new trustees and the ban of the three Tiglers was withdrawn.

(3) Djurre Clases Tigler (Leeuwarden 1688-1760), the owner of the tileworks and of a limekiln, later a wholesale dealer, increased the fortune of the family. He is said to have been one of the wealthiest citizens of his hometown. He served the church for many years as a deacon.

His sons were (4) Gerben Djurres (1725-1806) and (5) Klaas Djurres (1724-1811). This Klaas Tigler (also called Nicolaas Tichelaar) studied theology at the University of Franeker and the Amsterdam Mennonite Seminary and served the Mennonite congregation of Huizen as preacher for a few months in 1750. He then moved to Leeuwarden, where he accepted a call for half-time service. Until 1752 he was a regular preacher of the Leeuwarden congregation; from then he preached only occasionally. Although after that time he devoted himself mainly to the study of science and literature and the managing of his property, he still remained active in serving the interests of his congregation as well as of the Mennonites in Friesland in general. In Leeuwarden he brought about a merger (1758) of a small congregation meeting at de Zwitserwaltje, usually called the Frisian church, with the large Waterlander congregation. He also was a trustee of the Conference of Friesland. He was married to Hiske Heringa, who died in 1784; they had no children. Klaas Tigler willed most of his wealth (he left over 500,000 Dutch guilders) for a foundation to give financial support to young men of the Tigler family who wished to study at a Dutch university. This foundation is called the Klaas Tigler Leen.

A lateral branch of the Tigler family is the Tigler Wybrandi family, which descends from Cornelis Wybrandi (b. at Berlikum 1775, d. at Leeuwarden 1839), a merchant and owner of an oil press. Some of the Tigler Wybrandis also served the church as deacons, e.g., Jan Tigler Wybrandi, d. 1912, who was a deacon of the Utrecht congregation in 1897-1903, 1906-8, and 1912. Another member of this family in a side branch was Klaas Overbeek Tigler (1784-1847) of Dokkum, who after studying at the Amsterdam seminary in 1804-10 served the Mennonite congregation of Franeker 1811-1846.


Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Friesland. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff, 1839: 185, 221.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1874): 60-74.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. II, No. 1955.

Date Published 1959

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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 723. All rights reserved.

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