First Generation


(The KEMPEN family in South Africa now comprises 9 generations.)

This branch of the KEMPEN Family Tree commences in SOUTH AFRICA in 1790. I have not been able to ascertain a connection between my KEMPEN family or other KEMPEN families living in South Africa or the rest of the world.

A name change occurred when the progenitor of this South African family changed his name and surname from


The story behind this name change is yet unknown.

Documents, dating back to the 17th and 18th century, which I have researched, were initially researched by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, USA and these documents were written in Latin.

The surname appears as KEMPER in the records of the Catholic Church of the town of Norf, Rheinland, Germany dated 26 May 1765.

All other documents relating to WILLEM’s parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts have the surname written as KEMPER.


The baptismal record of WILHELMUS KEMPEN

The baptismal record of WILHELMUS KEMPEN

The baptismal record of WILHELMUS KEMPER.
You will see that some names end in i, us or um. This has to do with the Latin grammar of the time.
WILHELMUS (WILLEM) KEMPER boarded the Dutch East India Company ship HOORNWEGH under the command of Captain Simon Vaartjes.
The HOORNWEGH, a ship of 880 metric tons, sailed for the Cape of Good Hope from the Island of Texel, Netherlands on 18th January 1790. WILLEM disembarked at the Cape on 29th April 1790. He was employed as a soldier by the Dutch East India Company at the Cape until 27th December 1793. By 1798 he was teaching at J.H.Hattingh School at Graaff Reinet and his surname had changed to KEMPEN.

Ships papers and salary documents pertaining to employment with the Dutch East India Company

Ships papers and salary documents pertaining to employment with the Dutch East India Company

Ships papers and salary documents pertaining to employment with the Dutch East India Company.
I have been unable to gather information on WILLEM from 1794 until 1798.
On 19th March 1809 he married ANNA CATHARINA NEL in Graaff Reinet. They had 6 children. WILLEM died on 7th November 1838 at his farm Kafferskraal, Nieuweveld (Beaufort West district), South Africa at the age of 73 years, 5 months and 12 days.

According to the book by South African Authors, J.A.Heese and R.T.J.Lombard, Suid Afrikaanse Geslagsregister, Vol 1-V1, Willem was teaching at the JH Hattingh School,Graaff-Reinet by 1798. It appears that he went farming at a later date and owned the farm Kafferskraal which lies in the Nieuweveld Mountains on the road between Loxton and Beaufort West.

It is interesting to note that Willem did not marry until he was 43 years of age. His first child was born twelve months prior to his marriage to Anna. Anna was 18 years of age when her first child was born. Then there is a 10 year interval before the next child is born. His last child was born when he was 67 years of age. The OPGAAFROLLEN (Tax and Census Returns) of 1810 and 1811 of the Graaff Reinet area shows Willem but Anna ‘s first names are not given. It also shows that they do not have a child. It is possible that the birth date for their first child is 1818 and not 1808 !! In 1810 and 1811 Willem and Anna had 160 sheep and one wagon. Then in 1825 they are farming at Kafferskraal

I found Wilhelmus Kemper ( with an R ) christened the same day, in the same town and with the same father as mentioned on the Death Notice of Willem. It has to be him. There is only one Catholic ( not Roman Catholic ) church in the small parish of Norf in the 1700’s. I have a copy of the christening record of Wilhelmus and of his siblings as well as the Marriage record of his father Gerardus and Helena. I also have the marriage record of Gerardus’ father and mother. Christoph Kemper and Catharina Schwartz and also the christening records of their children. and Anna and their family in the Opgaafrollen (tax returns) for the district of Beaufort in 1825

On his Death Notice it is stated that his fathers name was Gerhardus but that his mothers name was not known. It must be noted that there is a general acceptance that mothers names were not so important in this period of time. Their place of residence was not known either.

Sources: Cape Archives, Belinda Bacon, LDS, Opgaafrollen, De Villiers Pama, Heese & Lombard, Deidre Du Plessis as researched at the Rijksagrief in Amsterdam.


Born 11 April 1790 at Boesmansrivier, Swellendam. She was the daughter of Stephanus Nel who was christened on 19th November 1758 and Anna Margaretha Janse van Rensburg christened 24th February 1765. They were married on 3rd March 1782. Stephanus was the son of Pieter Nel and Johanna Catharina Bekker. Johanna was the granddaughter of the notorius Pieter Bekker who was sent to prison for life on Robben Island in 1718 for cruelty to a slave, violence, assault and escaping from custody.

Anna died on 10th July 1847 in Beaufort West

Their children were:

Stephanus Johannes born 15th March 1808. One year prior to the marriage of Willem and Anna
Willem Hendrik Marthinus Abraham born 31st July 1818

Anna Margaretha Helena born 8th August 1821.
(This person is not mentioned on either Death Notice of Willem or Anna. I have found no other trace of her so far.)

Gerhardus Petrus born 20th December 1823

Petronella Johanna Maria born 17th June 1829

Cecelia Margaretha Isabella born 6th June 1832

Willem and Anna started their married life in Graaff Reinet. By the 1820’s they were farming in the Beaufort West district with cattle, sheep and goats.
From here the Kempen family spread out. The three sons of Willem and Anna, in Catholic fashion, fathered 32 children. These Kempen families established themselves in the towns and districts of Loxton, Victoria West, Carnarvon, Prieska and Britstown. Here they concentrated mainly on farming with cattle, sheep and goats. The cattle and goats eventually gave way to farming with Merino sheep for wool. Victoria West became an important district for many of the Kempen decendants. The legal practise of Kempen&Kempen Attorneys operated in Victoria West from 1921 to 2000. The Kempen family also owned many farms in the area over a period of 202 years.

Death Certificate of Willem Kempen

Death Certificate of Willem Kempen


Map including location of Victoria West

Map including location of Victoria West

By the 5th Generation this Kempen family had moved out further a field and their professions had changed to Attorneys, Teachers, Lecturers, Lawyers, Scientists, Corporate Executives, Entrepreneurs and just ordinary everyday folk and eccentric characters.
Today they are spread across Southern Africa, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and are represented in a wide spectrum of endeavours.

Here is the list of surnames that have joined into this KEMPEN family.

Ackerman, Arendt, Arnold, Attridge,

Backhouse, Badenhorst, Barnard, Barnett, Bernstein, Bester, Bezuidenhout,
Bolton, Boltman, Boshoff, Booyens, Bornman, Botha, Bredenhann, Breytenbach, Brink, Brown, Brummer, Buchholz, Burchell, Burger, Burgess, Buys,

Calitz, Castelaine, Carr, Churchill, Claassens, Cloete, Clifford, Coetzee, Combrink, Cooper, Craig, Croeser, Crosse,

DeBeer, DeKock, Denyssen, DeVilliers, DeWitt, Dippenaar, Dümmer, DuPlessis, DuPlooy, DuToit,

Eckhard, Engels, Engelsman, Esterhuize, Esterhuizen, Erasmus,
Farber, Fergusson, Foot, Fouché, Fourie,

Grobler, Grobbler, Grobbelaar,

Hansen, Hamman, Harsant, Haupt, Haynes-Smart, Hendrikse, Herbst, Holdenes, Holmes, Horn, Horton, Hough, Howe, Hugo, Husselman, Hyman,


Jacobs, Johnston, Jones, Jordaan, Jordt, Joubert, Junius,

Kellerman, Kirsten, Kleynhans, Kock, Koegelenberg, Kogelenberg, Korff, Kruger,

Langner, Laubscher, Lawrence, LeRoes, LeRous, LeRoux, Lindique, Little, Lochner, Lok, Long, Loots, Lotter, Lottering, Loubser, Louw, Lubbe,

Malan, Malherbe, Markhan, Masters, Marais, Mathey, McCloud, Meyer, Mohr, Morrison, Mouton,

Neethling, Nel, Nolte,

Oberholster, Olivier, Oosthuizen, Oosterhuizen, Oppel, Opperman,

Peddington, Pienaar, Pieterse, Polson, Potgieter, Prinsloo, Psotta, Pullen,

Rall, Ramsey, Rautenbach, Redelinghuys, Rennie, Reynecke, Richards, Riesle, Rosenow, Ross, Russouw, Russel,

Samuelsen, Scheltema, Scholtz, Schutte, Schweizer, Segal, Smallman, Smit, Smith, Snyman, Soutter, Stevens, Steward, Steyn, Stoffberg, Storm, Strange, Strydom, Swanepoel, Swart, Swarts,

Theron, Tippleston, Tonkin, Traverso, Traut, Twycross,

Van Dyk, Van Der Heevel, Van Der Merwe, Van Der Spuy, Van Der Westhuizen, Van Deventer, Van Ghend, Van Heerden, Van Jaarsveld, Van Niekerk, Van Rensburg, Van Rooyen, Van Schalkwyk, Van Tromp, Van Vuuren, Van Wyk, Van Zyl, Vrey, Viljoen, Visser, Viviers, Vos, Voster,

Wagner, Wahl, Waite, Wandrag, Wasserfall, Whrele, Wilders, Willemse, Wilmot, Woest.

My thanks go to the following institutions and persons for their research contributions:

  • Family Search (LDS) on the Internet,
  • Church of Latter Day Saints Family Resource Centre, Whyalla, South Australia,
  • Cape Town Archives,
  • Belinda Bacon,
  • Willem Leon Kempen,
  • William (Bill) Kempen,
  • Henry Stephen Kempen,
  • Bernie Johannes Kempen,
  • Jacques Guillaume Kempen,
  • Jeanette Ann van Zyl,
  • Phillippa Kempen and June Ferguson,
  • Sydie Du Toit,
  • Janet Melville,
  • Vincent and Jill Dümmer,
  • Stephen and Jenny Kipps,
  • Pamela Hansford,
  • Jos Du Toit,
  • Bets Korff (SAG 1-6 look-ups),
  • Nic Claasen (Claasen Book look-ups)
  • Chris Meyer (Claasen Book look-ups)
  • Danie Wolfaardt (Claasen Book email ) and,
  • Monica Farr, for her research at the Cape Town Archives and the NG Kerk archives.
  • Deidre Du Plessis (Netherlands) for her invaluable research at the Rijksargief in Amsterdam.


If you would like to contribute to this family tree please feel free to contact me at I would also ask for photographs of family members for inclusion within this website to keep the records updated. Any stories your parents or grandparents might have told you about the life and times or family members would also be greatly appreciated.

This genealogical data is constantly upgraded as new information is researched. Last edited in November 2014

All dressed up

All dressed up



Afrikaans sprekende familielede, vriende, kennisse en mede navorsers is baie welkom om in Afrikaans met my te korrespondeer. Skryf gerus aan my by Ek vra ook na fotos van familielede wat ek by the webtuiste kan insluit en ook staaltjies van die tydperke of familiede wat julle ouers of grootouers aan julle oorvertel het.

Hierdie geniealogiese data woord gereeld opgedateer met nuwe navorsing. Nuutste gegewens November 2014

To 2nd Generation