The South African Family STRYDOM - The Beginnings



Joost Strijdom arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in May 1678 as an adelborst (marine cadet) on a Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship, the Tidore.  Prior to joining the VOC he had been at Liefkenshoek. Joost was released from the company service on 11th May, 1683, and worked at the Cape as a shoemaker (cobbler).  He married Maryna Ras, who was baptized in Cape Town on 23rd June 1669, the daughter of Hans Ras, immigrant from Angeln, and Catharina Ustinx (the historically known Trijn Ras).  They had five children, but we only have information on descendants of two of them, Matthys and Johannes, who are the progenitors of the two branches of the Strydom family (accessed here). Maryna died before 1714, since Joost remarried Susanna Groen, the widow of Jacobus Steen, on 11th February,1714.  Joost was still living in 1717, when his name appears on a list of civilians employed at the Cape by the VOC in 1717/18 (archive number 12605, recorded by Lesley Robertson). 


There is a Fort Liefkenshoek in Kallo (now part of the village of Beveren), in present-day Belgium, which together with the fort of Lillo, was established for the defense of Antwerpen against the Spaniards towards the end of the 16th century. 

It was named Liefkenshoek (Liefken’s Corner), since it was placed where a creek, the Liefkine, entered the river Schelde.  This area is also known as the Waasland, and it is probably the place Joost came from when he joined the VOC.  Liefkenshoek saw much action during the 80-Year War, and peace was only established at the middle of the17th century, about 30 years before Joost left for the Cape.  It is still a tourist attraction, but the buildings are relatively new - early 19th century.


Joost’s ancestry is however unknown, and by his association with the Dutch society at the Cape (by e.g. having the Steyn progenitor as witness at the baptism of his second son in1690) he is taken to be Dutch.  The surname Strijdom (and variants) is not found in registers of 17th and 18th  century Netherlands, Flanders, Germany, or France, although Dutch/Flemish names such as Strijd, Strijveen, Strijbosch are found.  Related names from Poland (such as Strydomiu, 17th century) and placenames (such as Stradom at Kracow, Poland; Stradomno, between Kisielice and Ilawa, Poland; Stradouň in Czech Republic; Stridone in Croatia)  suggests a possible Central European or Polish origin, as e.g. a refugee from the 17th century anti-Jewish pogroms in Poland. In addition one could start hunting for connections with the ancient town of Stridon (Stridone, Stridonius, Stridom, Zdrenj/Sdregna) in Illyrica (between Pannonia, Istria, Dalmatia), which is famous for being the birthplace of Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius (about 342-420) (Saint Jerome, Jérôme, Jeronim, Jerko, Girolamo or Hieronymus), a major scholar in the Roman Church and translator of the Vulgate. Stridon was totally destroyed in the course of the fall of the Roman Empire, and is thought to have been in what is now the Čičarija mountain region (Slovenia/Croatia/Italy).


However, following up a suggestion by Marthie Bredenkamp, a Belgian origin is also possible - in the “van Strijdonck” surname, which was exclusively located in the Waasland region near Antwerp in the 16th and 17th centuries.  A genealogy for a number of branches of the van Strydonck family and the arguments for it being the origin of “Strydom” is on the following page: Van Strydonck


Today the spelling “Strydom” is nearly always used, following the Afrikaans spelling convention, although some usage of Strijdom still occurs, and in records from the 19th and 18th centuries many still use the old Dutch spelling.  Joost signed as “Joos Strijdom”, in a very neat signature:



Susanna Groen is probably the Susanna Groen who married Jacob(us) van der Steen in Delft in 1691 (The record of their “ondertrouw” (bans) is dated 27th January, 1691 at the  Nieuwe Kerk, Delft. They baptized a girl, Adrijana, on 11th November, 1691 (Delft); witnesses were his parents Abraham van der Steen and Adrijana van der Steen (aka Adriena Andries van Hartevelt).


Joost’s mother-in-law, Trijn Ras, was an interesting figure at the Cape (see i.a. C. Pretorius, “Trijn Ras”, Historia 18(2), pg 93-96, 1973)..  She apparently was of Danish extraction,  arriving at the Cape out of Lubeck in the southern late summer of 1662 as a young widow (about 20 years old) on the ship 't Hoff van Zeelant.  That spring, on the 3rd September 1662, she married Hans Ras, who nearly died in a knife fight with a wedding guest on their wedding day, but survived to father 4 children (including Maryna), before he was killed by a lion in 1671. She remarried on the 16th April 1672, to Francoys Schanfellaar, from Ghent, but lost him the next year when he was killed by Hottentots.  Laurens Cornelisz from Gottenburgh became her next husband on the 28th October 1673, but after another 2 children were added to her household he disappeared in 1679 while hunting hippos, presumably trampled by elephants.  Her kneg (servant), Matthys Michiel, of Gluckstadt was the next husband, marrying her on 28th January 1680.  They had one daughter.

Among others the Baron van Rheede visited their farm, in 1685, and she made quite an impression on him, through her sporting a strong tan, with her hospitality in providing fresh bread and vegetables, and by her doing a dramatic horseback ride to the Cape on a quick errand.  Maryna Ras, as a teen-ager, also met van Rheede at this time (C. Pretorius, “Trijn Ras”, Historia 18(2), pg 93-96, 1973).


The five children of Joost and Maryna Strydom were Catharina (1687), Joris (1688), Matthys (1690),  Johannes (1692), and Simon (1695).  Only Matthys and Johannes left known descendants, and both became farmers. The eldest son, Joris (1688) died somewhere in Asia in 1713, serving as an adelborst in the VOC, like his father.

The first four generations of Strydoms are listed on the next page, and for those of the fourth generation who left descendants, clicking on their names will provide lists of further generations of descendents.




Page constructed by Dan Strydom, 2003

Page last updated:               July 5, 2003

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