Wouters, a former Dutch Mennonite family. A Be(e)rent Wolters (Wouters) moved ca. 1670 from Munsterland, Westphalia, Germany, to Knijpe in the Dutch province of Friesland, where he was converted from Catholicism and joined the Groningen Old Flemish Mennonite congregation. His son Wouter Berends, b. at Knijpe in 1671 (perhaps 1677), d. at Sneek in 1760, moved to Sneek ca. 1693, where he opened a brush shop and soon became well-to-do. Then he bought two oil presses, a soap factory, and was the owner of boats shipping freight from Sneek as far as Rotterdam. He was a conservative Mennonite, not joining the rather liberal congregation at Sneek, but the Old Flemish church of neighboring IJlst. In 1746, at the age of ca. 70, he founded a Groningen Old Flemish congregation at Sneek, which he financed and to which he gave the use of one of his warehouses on the Kleinzand, adapted into a plain meetinghouse. Of this congregation, starting with 17 baptized members, his son Andries, who took the family name of Wouters (1714-81), was a deacon from 1746 until his death. Andries Wouters, a well-to-do merchant at Sneek, was secretary of the Groningen Old Flemish Conference and was one of the delegates of this conference who in 1766 negotiated with the Zonists to merge the two groups; this merger, however, failed to come about. Andries Wouters was also diligent in behalf of the Mennonites in West Prussia. His brother Wybe Wouters (Sneek 1704-69) also acted as secretary of the same conference, as did his grandson Wybe Wouters (1762-1826), a bookseller and publisher at Groningen, who was the last secretary of the conference before it was dissolved in 1815. In the 19th century most members of the Wouters family held high military offices, usually leaving the Mennonite Church. Julia Wouters (Sneek 1829-Oudeschoot 1892) bequeathed her stately country house "Veenlust" at Oudeschoot, Friesland, as a home for old ladies of the higher classes, called Julia Jan Woutersstichting.
Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Friesland. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff, 1839: 195, 224, 225.
Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Groningen, Overijssel en Oost-Friesland, 2 vols. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff en J. B. Wolters, 1842: I, 136, 148, 150.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1890): 94-100, 102-4, 108, 110; (1892): 91 f., 95, 96.
Haga, A. "Bijdrage tot de genealogie van het Doopsgezinde Sneeksche geslacht Wouters." De Nederlandsche Leeuw, 1941 (repr.).
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: I, Nos. 1112, 1714, 1721.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 990. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Wouters family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wouters_family.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Wouters family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wouters_family.