Seeking van Pletzen/van Pletsen descendants

In preparing for our trip to South Africa next month, Blane and I came across an old history of his family written in Afrikaans titled “Die Van Pletsen Saga” by Helen Lewald (nee van Pletsen). For several years he had been meaning to translate it, and finally did a few months ago to post on his blog.

This weekend I decided it would be kind of neat to find as many descendants of the original van Pletsen in South Africa (the “old immigrant”) Carl Johannes von Plessen. According to “Die Van Pletsen Saga”, he was born in East Prussia in 1795, fled the country for some reason and settled in the Brabant region of Belgium where he fought (literally) alongside Napolean. Then, for unknown reasons, he stowed away on a ship to South Africa. He was almost dead by the time the ship arrived, but luckily survived long enough to marry, have a large family, settle a farm in South Africa, and die an old man in 1888 in Rouxville, South Africa.

As far as I can tell, most descendants are still in South Africa, although I’m sure there are those who have emigrated to other parts of the world. The history of the authors line can be found both on my blog and my partner Blane’s blog. Blane has both the original Afrikaans as well as the English translation. I only posted the English translation as I don’t understand Afrikaans. (Blane has had comments posted in Afrikaans on his blog, and I’d rather not simply due to my current lack of understanding–however, I do hope to learn that language one day!)

Blane’s line of ancestry to the “old immigrant” is posted on a public family tree at


24 responses to “Seeking van Pletzen/van Pletsen descendants

  1. Johan Daniel Van Pletzen

    I am from Lydenburg South-Africa. My father is Stephanus Albertus Van Pletzen born in Aliwal-North and raised on the farm Rietfontein. I currently with my family working in Papua New Guinia for last 4 years.


    • Mias van Pletzen

      Hi Johan,
      Could you please sende me the names of your father, mother and farther’s parents? My father (Jan Jacobus) grew up in Jamestown. His sister (Johanna) is still alive and living in Aliwal North.
      Mias van Pletzen
      Tel: 076 054 4947


      • Johan Daniel Van Pletzen

        Hi Mias,
        My farther is Stephanus Albertus Van Pletzen and his farther was Pieter Wessels Van Pletzen- from Jamestown area. I will contact you on e-mail as well.


  2. Theo Roon Lewald // 19 June,1942 —

    Hi Blane, I’ve already left my footprints all over another blog in which you ran my mother’s “Van Pletsen Saga” story and am extremely interested in exhanging notes. I see other correspondents have identified me and my then wife Jo as her son/daughter-in-law. I worked as a foreign correspondent for the AP and various U.S. and UK trade publications from my emigration to Germany in 1971 until a few years ago, and am now eking out my pension with income from translations.
    I also write what I hope is creative stuff and am trying to land a publisher for the core material of a kind of Roots-plus-autobiography thing which might interest you, since it contains pretty vivid personal recollections and historical notes on some of my Ma’s people and of her too. If interested, do give me a shout and I’ll upload it to you forthwith. My old lady was full of wise saws, quips and quiddities and considered herself a family griot. As a fabulous story-teller, she had a great penchant for (melo-)dramatic, theatrical effects and Shakespeare was her chief household god. One of her many stock quotes was “there are stranger things in heaven and on earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy, Horatio!” For me, seeing her Van Pletsen Saga on the Web was one of those things. So: Blessings upon you and yours, and hold the bright side (blinkkant) uppermost! removed

    PS: Oom Kotie would have bust a gut laughing to see himself described as “stately” rather than “childishly absurd” or “silly”, as one would normally translate my Ma’s adjective “stuitlik”. In pious memory of this far-famed member of the Barkley East branch of the clan, from which my mother hailed, please atone and correct. Otherwise, your translation is great – even compared with my own!
    Are you from the Rouxville-Zastron OFS mob or from the Eastern Cape?


    • carolyn Sydney Australia

      Dear roon, can you tell me please for family history sake, if Albrecht von
      Roon had wife and children and if
      so what is your descendancy. Is the family tree on line. Many thanks


  3. chris j a van pletzen

    I am Christian Jacobus Andreas van Pletzen. My father was Smartryk van Pletzen the son of Carel van Pletzen from the farm Goedehoop in the Dordrecht district. My brother Carel is still farming the same land. I am in Ireland for the past 9 years.


    • Hello, Christian. Thanks for your comment. According to my calculations, you and Blane are fourth cousins. However, I have no definitive proof of the relationship–just speculation based on his family history and the “van Pletsen saga”. The fact that his father had an original copy of the “van Pletsen saga” is a pretty good indication that he is related to the original immigrant to South Africa, but that is my only proof.

      Anyway, I was wondering if you would be interested in or willing to taking a y-DNA test. Blane took one a few months ago, so we have his van Pletzen y-DNA print. Matching his print to another van Pletzen known to be a descendent of Carl Johannes von Plessen would be proof of a relationship. It would also help to connect with other more distant relatives.

      Let me know what you think, and thanks again for contacting us!


  4. This is for Roon…

    Please contact me so that I can tell you about the 50th reunion of the 1959 matric class of Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool.



  5. Hello Richard,

    Concerning the 50th reunion of the 1959 matric class at AHS, thank you for contacting me. I myself have had no contact with former classmates since settling in Germany in 1971. As I head for my 67th birthday, I would certainly like to hear who else has has survived all these bygone years, so please tell me all about the big reunion and pass on a list of names from that class if you can. Names I can immediately recall include Isung Kirsten, a close schoolmate with whom I lost contact after he returned to Germany a year or two after matriculating; Thomas Burger, a promising history student whose ancestor of the same name was a famous president of the OFS Republic; Jan (?) Strijdom, a son (?) of Prime Minister Strijdom; Abie Schuring; Ewald Hess and his pal Danie van Vuuren, with whom I spent break periods discussing more culturally pretentious matters than the school sports we three abhorred at rugby-mad “Affies”; Egbert Freyer; and the extremely likeable Rocco du Toit. Who else remembers the gang of outlaw smokers Isung Kirsten and I joined behind the swimming pool, always fearful of Form Master J.J. Botha’s eagle eye? Who knows what became of our presumably long-dead masters — school principal “Phone” Potgieter, he of the long-winded sermons and pious prayers at school assemblies; sardonic Botha, that artist of the bum-blasting rottang; “Plastic-Boudjies” van Rooyen; lovable old Omie Eybers; our inspiring history teacher Vorster; and what WAS the name of that humorous old science teacher? Ja-nee, daar ruis uit Pretoria die roep tot verre trans….
    Roon Lewald


  6. Mariska van Pletzen

    Hi My father is the 6th generation of van Pletzens in South Africa. I would like to find out more about how we as van Pletzens is lined out family wise.
    Thank you


  7. Mieder Stephanus van Pletzen

    Hi to all the Van Pletzen’s,my name is Stephan (Mieder Stephanus)van Pletzen my grandfather
    also Mieder Stephanus van Pletzen was born in Rouxville on the farm Kleinfontein and later relocated to Bloemfontein,if any of u know them send me a mail to Greetings S


  8. Carl Johannes Van Pletsen

    Hi, I am Carl Johannes van Pletsen, living in Ellenbrook, Perth, Western Australia. We moved from Pretoria to Perth 7 years ago.

    My Father was Jurgen Crause van Pletsen, of Belfast in the old Transvaal. The family farmed in the Belfast district. I believe Miemie was the Mother and Carl Johannes the Father of this strand of the family. The kids in the family were Carlie, Heloise, Jurgen (my Father) Erika and Yvonne. The remaining kids are Erika (Living in Howick) and Yvonne (Living in Pretoria).

    I find it very interesting to read the various postings and realise that some follow-up is required to relate the different strains of the Van Pletsens. (A task that I am not very good at!)

    Please continue the Saga. Who knows, sometime we might actually meet.


  9. Marisa van pletzen

    Helo!im a girl 17 years old,living in Jamestown,we have a farm called Rietfontein.Im in school in very interested in the van pletzens !my surname is also van pletzen,my grate grandfather was Piet van pletzen ,who lived in interested!


  10. Almien van Pletzen

    My dad and his brother grew up in the Burgersdorp distrcit. His father was Andries Johannes Jakobus van Pletzen. My uncle was Nicholaas van Pletzen. My dad’s cousing farmed in the Aliwal North distric on the farm Dankbaar. His middle name was Sauer. My dad’s name is Pieter Ernst van Pletzen.


    • Hi Almien–

      Thanks for your comment today. It got me looking back at all the comments left and trying to start tying things together. Can you send dates–like your father’s birthdate and, if you have it, your grandfather’s? Especially with so many similar names, dates help to keep track and tie families together.

      Many thanks!


  11. Saskia van Pletzen

    Daughter of Diederik Johannes van Pletzen and Elsabe Taljaard.Born 1970-02-02. Currently residing in Kwa Zulu Natal.
    Diederik Johannes van Pletzen son of Diederik Johannes van Pletzen and Hendriena Maria Magdelena Engelbrecht (both deceased)
    Brother of Pierre and Gerhard van Pletzen.


    • Hi Saskia–

      Thanks for your comment, and particularly the dates. That makes keeping track of the many people with the same name so much easier! Just to clarify, who is the brother of Pierre and Gerhard van Pletzen? Are they your father’s or grandfather’s brothers?


  12. Hi
    My grandfather was Nicolaas Everhardus van Pletzen, born 2 May 1902. He grew up in Wepener.



  13. Jackie van pletzen

    Hi, my name is Jackeline van Pletzen. My dad is Jacobus Johannes van Pletzen. I live in Benoni.


  14. Andries van Pletzen

    Hi Blane

    Good luck in making sense out of all of this, seems as if we like to recycle the same names throug generations. I am Almien’s brother (blog above) my father was born in 1937, his father was born in 1890 or 91. I am currently living in the USA.


  15. hi I am Frederich Johannes van Pletzen 24 years old, brother and sister 26 and 28, Capetown South Africa, son of Paul Jakobus van Pletzen. I have family in Bloem aswell. Seems there are more of us than i thought.




  17. Im Nicolaas Everhardus van Pletzen my grandfather was Nicolaas Everhardus Souer van Pletzen im staying in bloemfontein


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