Clara Herfst

F, #6198, b. circa September 1689, d. before 18 February 1714
Father-Putative*Willem Teerling b. c 1633; putative relationship1,2
Mother*Lijsbeth Sanders1,2 b. b 2 Mar 1659, d. c 1743
Step-fatherJan Herfst b. c 1660; de facto step or adoptive relationship1
ChartsDescendants of Lijsbeth Sanders

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NGK Drakenstein Baptisms 1694-1732NGK Drakenstein Baptisms 1694-1732
NGK Stellenbosch Baptisms 1688-1732NGK Stellenbosch Baptisms 1688-1732
Last Edited25/10/2014
Birth*Clara Herfst was born circa September 1689 in de Caep de Goede Hoop.1,2
Marriage*She married Johannes Potgieter, son of Harmen Jansz Potgieter and Isabella Frederiksz, on 24 July 1712 Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, Stellenbosch, de Caep de Goede Hoop.3,4,5
Death*She died before 18 February 1714 de Caep de Goede Hoop.6,2


Johannes Potgieter b. 23 Sep 1674, d. 1733
Names in the record, in publications, etc.An unknown date , the name of Clara was written in the record as Clara Herbst.
3 May 1707, the name of Clara was written in the record as Clara Harst.7
Baptisms - WitnessClara Herfst and Hans Jurgen Potgieter witnessed the baptism of Jannetie Potje on 11 December 1712 Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, Stellenbosch, de Caep de Goede Hoop.8 See: Baptism of Jannetie Potje
NotesClara Herfst has widely been assumed to be the biological daughter of Jan Herfst but the events in the life of her mother Lijsbeth Sanders and in her own life make this highly unlikely. It is far more likely that her biological father was Willem Teerling and that Herfst was her step- or de facto adoptive father.

Starting with the most recent key event in the timeline is the birth of Clara's daughter Johanna Potgieter before 3 May 1707 - the date on which she is baptised. Even given the very early age of motherhood for some women at the time (for example 14 years), Clara must have been born at least as early as May 1693, but probably even earlier.

On 6 April 1689 Lijsbeth confessed that she was four months pregnant with Teerling's child. She said she had become sexually involved with Teerling after he left the employ of Louis van Bengale. Two and a half months earlier she refused in court to marry Louis because of his abusive treatment including hitting her and threatening to kill her.

Teerling's child was due in September 1689, and this date fits a logical birth date for Clara who then would have been 17 when her daughter Johanna was born - a not unusual age for the birth of first children in that period.

I am of the view that Lijsbeth Sanders and Jan Herfst only became romantically involved around 1699/1700 after she was released from a three year term in a chain gang. Her only biological child with Herfst would then be Gerbregt with Clara becoming his de facto adopted or step-daughter.9


  1. [S544] E-mails from Mansell Upham (e-mail address) to Delia Robertson, 1 Aug 2010 (Personal Library, Email Upham).
  2. [S326] J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, "Die Blanke Nageslag van Louis van Bengale en Lijsbeth van die Kaap", Kronos (Die Blanke nageslag . . .) 1 (1979): pg 9. Hereinafter cited as "Die Blanke nageslag."
  3. [S502] Website Family Search ( "[1712] 24e Jùlij/ Jan Harmense Potgieter Jongm: met Clara Harfst Jonge dr, van Cabo., last accessed 24 May 2012."
  4. [S326] J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, "Die Blanke nageslag."
  5. [S329] Eric Swardt, "Die Nageslag van Harmen Jansz Potgieter", February 2006. . Hereinafter cited as "Potgieter Register."
  6. [S502] Website Family Search ( "based on remarriage of spouse, viz:[1714] 18de ditto [Feb.] Jan Harmense Potgieter met Maria Catharina van Eden;, last accessed 24 May 2012."
  7. [S408] Drakenstein Heemkring, compilers, Drakenstein I Baptisms., CD-ROM (Paarl) Drakenstein Heemkring, 2006 , Baptism Register, 1707; 3de Appril; Johanna. d'Vader Jan Harmensz Potgieter, de Moeder Clara Harst.. Hereinafter cited as Drakenstein I Baptisms.
  8. [S325] Lorna Newcomb and Ockert Malan, compilers, Annale van Nederduits Gereformeerde Moedergemeente Stellenbosch No 1.., CD-ROM (Stellenbosch) Die Genootskap vir die Kerkversameling, 2004 0-9584832-1-3), Baptism Register, Jannetie, d'Vader Isaac Potje, moeder Catryna Potgieter getù Hans Jùrrien Potgieter met Klara Harnst den 11 xbr 1712. Hereinafter cited as Palmkronieke I Baptisms.
  9. [S658] Mansell Upham 'Made or Marred by Time - the Other Armozijn & two enslaved Arabian 'princesses' at the Cape of Good Hope (1656)', First Fifty Years, Uprooted Lives - Unfurling the Cape of Good Hope's Earliest Colonial Inhabitants (1652-1713), (, March 2012. "Pp.49-50."
  10. [S408] Baptism Register, Drakenstein I Baptisms.
  11. [S190] C.C. de Villiers & C. Pama, Geslagregisters van ou Kaapse Families II L-R (Cape Town / Amsterdam: A.A. Balkema, 1966), p. 717. Hereinafter cited as Geslagregisters van ou Kaapse Families II L-R.
  12. [S325] Baptism Register, Palmkronieke I Baptisms.

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