Did you know — All Te Selles are descended from one man!
Yes, we are all descended from Hermen Wijggers (aka Hermen te Selle), who lived near Winterswijk, Netherlands from 1685-1736. But how can this Hermen te Selle possibly be the only TeSelle from whom all of us are descended?
All TeSelles are descended from one man!
Under the naming convention of the time, Hermen was originally given the surname “Wijggers” because of his birthplace on the farm called “Wijggershuise”. However, in 1712 when he married and moved to the farm called “de Selle”, the common naming convention dictated that his surname change to “te Selle”, to reflect his place of residence.
In 1810 the Netherlands was annexed by Napoleon and became a part of the French empire from 1810-1813. Legislation of that period, which has become known as the Napoleonic Code, required that every citizen must have an official name. Those who had no fixed surname were required to choose one, as ordered by a separate decree from Napoleon on August 18, 1811. From that time forward, all children would keep their father’s surname. Using the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Napoleon could better control conscription for the army and enforce more efficient taxation. For these reasons the local authorities, even after Napoleon’s reign, maintained the Napoleonic legislation in the formerly occupied territories.
During that time period sons began taking and keeping the surname of their father, rather than changing their surname to correspond to the place where they lived. Through this new naming process, the name “te Selle” became an official family surname name for the first time, and was henceforth included in the government records of civil registration. As a result, nowhere in either The Netherlands or in the United States have we thus far come across people having the “te Selle” (“TeSelle”) family name who cannot be traced back through the Te Selle family tree to Hermen Wijggers te Selle.
If your name is TeSelle, or you have a TeSelle ancestor, please visit the Genealogy section of this website to see if you can find where you and your ancestors fit into the TeSelle family tree.