The Dutch Creyghton Family

It is not yet clear whether all the Creyghtons and Creyghton families in The Netherlands are related as one big family. In his "Proeve van een genealogie van de familie Creyghton", 1986, J.W. Lugard takes the stand that there are two families with the Creyghton name. One descending from Johannes Creyghton, born 1660 in Tilsit, Prussia and another from Jacobus Creyghton, born 1791 in Amsterdam. Though he too suspects that the second family is a branch of the first, he cannot prove this and neither have we or our forebears been able to do so up till now.

In this document both branches of the family are discussed fully and a possible relationship is analysed more closely. Our conclusion is that the Jacobus tree probably is a branch of the Johannes Family Tree. In that case our first ancestor is Johannes Creyghton who was born in Tilsit on the 25th of January 1660 and came to the Netherlands in May 1686. He registers under the name Johannes Crichtonius as a student of Theology at the University of Groningen. In 1987 he enrols as a theological student at the (protestant) University of Franeker (Friesland). Tilsit, his place of birth, now called Sovjetsk and situated in a small Russian enclosure between Lithonia and Poland, belonged in those days to East-Prussia.

Tilsit, in the old times belonging to Easr Prussia, now named Sovjetsk

In flourishing Tilsit and north of it, in the port of Memel, a large number of protestant Scottish people reside who have fled their country for religious or political reasons. They partake in trade and transport of goods from Eastern Europe such as wood, hides, fish and amber. Where there are trade and ships, Dutch people can also be found and Dutch Universities were renowned all over the world in those days. Johannes must have come because of that connection. In the 'Scots in Germany" by Th. A. Fisher in 1902 Alexander Krichton can be found, who was a member of the church board in Tilsit and presided over the 'Poor fund'. Alexander was possibly the father of Johannes. See further below.

"In Search of the Rocky Homeland"

Does the Dutch Creyghton history start in 1686 when Johannes enrols at the University of Franeker, the history of our Creighton/Crichton etc. ancestors goes back a lot further. In Jim Creighton's (Arizona, USA) fascinating book “In Search of the Rocky Homeland”, he researches the history of our name even back to BC. It is specially interesting to read how the history of our ancestors is placed in relationship to other Scottish clans and related to the history of Europe as a whole and specially Scotland and England. A summary of the book can be found on the Creighton World website.

As was the case with many names, also the name Creighton is spelled in many ways. Eric Craton gives us a full display in his story:”The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Creighton“: Creighton, Crichton, Creaton, Craighton, Craton, Crayton, Cretan, Creeton, Crichten, Crighton, Chreichton, Creichtone, Creychton, Creychtoun, Creychtoune and probably many others". Abroad also Krichton or Kreijghton. Probably because entries were made by priests and vicars who have written the names phonetically as spoken by people who in those days could not write or check their names. Creighton and Crichton are the most common spellings which still can be found today.

The splendid ruin of Crichton Castle is still standing tall

We consider them one huge family and will use the name Creighton as a collective name for this family of Scots origin. Surnames were made compulsory around 1670 in Scotland and were standardised. Creighton's have spread all around the world as mercenaries or sailors, or because they were banned or emigrated voluntarily to Ireland, the USA, Canada and Australia and New Zealand.

Jim's book is a history and not a genealogy, it describes the development of the Creighton family as a whole during the centuries. There are genealogical studies of the noble families Creighton and Crichton which go back to before 1400 - but none give any links to the Dutch family. As it is not sure that Alexander is Johannes's father and Scots origin is even harder to determine, we cannot place him in our history.

The Dutch Creyghton Family

Between 1550 and 1700 many members of the extended Creighton family arrived in Holland (The Netherlands) and married here as appears from the book by McLean "Registered marriages of Scottish Soldiers in the Netherlands, 1574-1665." In the archives, e.g. in Amsterdam, also some other marriages of Creightons can be found but no descendants with the same name. At the moment there are also some Crichtons and Creightons who live here who are not directly related to the family which descends from Johannes or Jacobus. They have more direct links to the UK..

The Creyghton (or Creijghton) name

The Dutch Creighton Branch differs from their ancestors by exclusively using the name Creyghton with a "y". A purely Dutch variation for the name is Creijghton (with a "ij") and sometimes they occur both in one family. More variations occurred before 1800 like Creighton, Cryghton, Crayghton, Craighton, Creygthon, Creigthon en Creygton, Crygton, Crijgton, Creigton, Crichton enz. In the great or St. Bavo church in Haarlem where Johannes preached from 1718-1738, also his son Jacobus Nicolaus Creyghton was vicar from 1738-1756, their name has been registered on a plague as Kreijghton.

For that day and age the Creyghton family was a family of letters, so they could write their own name and always spelled it CREYGHTON without exception. It can also be seen in the signature of Johannes under his famous letter to the Guardians of Utrecht (1710) and also his son's signature is very clear (see picture) . The change from i to y was fashionable in Holland in those days. Like Kleine became Kleyne etc.

Hoe Jacob Creyghton zelf zijn naam schreef

For the typically Dutch ij which occurs, we blame the Dutch civil servant as also family members who have a ij in their passport have often spelled it with a y themselves. (it sometimes gives problems nowadays when booking tickets abroad as they check straight into the Civil Registration files for a visa). Now some people also write Creijghton themselves.

The Creyghton spelling may be considered a purely Dutch case. In Scotland and England we have found only a few occurrences of this spelling, specially both Bishops (father and son) Robert Creyghton of Wells and Bath and a composer Robert Creyghton. Maybe the same person as the first Bishop Robert Creyghton? And they seem to only occur in the 17th century.

The Family Coat of Arms

An important aspect that binds all Creighton and Crichton families is the coat of arms. The families all use variations of the same arms: a shield of silver on which a blue rampant lion with red tongue and talons. The typical Scottish crest is a standing green dragon, wings unfurled, spouting fire proper from its mouth.  The motto is: God Send Grace". These base units of the family arms have remained constant since the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066, or before. For more detailed information see: The Creighton Coat of Arms by James Creighton.

The Dutch Creyghton family has a Coat of Arms that bears strong resemblance to the Creighton one, including a shield with a rampant lion, displaying tongue and talons and two crowned lions as supporters, but with an out coming lion as crest and the motto: "God Me Guide". A striking difference is a sort of reversion of the colours: a gold lion with black talons on a blue shield. The reasons for the choice of these colours is unknown. But it also looks very much like the Nassau weapon, carried by the Royal Dutch Family and The Netherlands. This too shows a gold lion on a blue field, but with red tongue and talons! Another intriguing aspect is the fact that one of the descendants of the ancient Scottish family, sir Robertson Dunn Crichton, carries the familiar blue on silver arms, but with the motto: God Me Guyde", the same motto as that of the Dutch Creyghton family, but in old spelling. See the special Chapter about the Creyghton Coat of Arms.

Het Creighton/Crichton wapenHet Creyghton wapenHet wapen van John Robertson Dunn Crichton

The Creyghton Coat of Arms seems to stem from the time the first Family member entered the country. The first known use is on a lacquer seal on a letter dated 1710 by Johannes Creyghton to the "Vroedschap van Utrecht" (Guardians of Utrecht). This one shows no motto and the colours can not be discerned, but a later seal of Johannes's grandson Jacob Creyghton dated 1781, clearly shows the motto "God Me Guide". And the horizontal shading on the shield in heraldic terms means blue! For further information see the The Creyghton Coat of Arms.

The "old" Johannes Branch

In the books of the Nederland's Patriciaat", edition 1913, a brief family tree for the prominent Creyghton family is presented. It starts with Johannes Creyghton born on the 25th of January1660 in Tilsit (East Prussia). This summary has further been researched and extended by mr. J.W.Lugard from Heemstede, resulting in his report dated April 4, 1986. Many other members of the family have researched in the last century and written down genealogical and other information about the family. Now this all has been has been gathered by Maria Lemmens-Creyghton and Jos Grupping and made available on this website.

In 1686 Johannes enrols at the University in Groningen. He is 26 and might already have been married or not. In 1689 he gets his first post as a minister in Pieterburen (Groningen). In 1691 he was a field preacher for some time, in 1692 another living in Franeker. In the meantime he still acts as field preacher as well. In 1704 he is given the living of Leeuwarden and in 1711, the last one is in Haarlem (a prominent one in the Dutch Reformed (NH) church). In October 1700 Johannes marries Geertruida van der Waeijen, daughter of ds. Johannes van der Waeijen, professor at Franeker University and a man of great influence. Geertruida is 15 years younger and they have 7 children of whom two die in infancy.

Their eldest, Jan Alexander was born in Franeker in 1702. Names of the eldest son were not without significance in those days, as they were usually the names of the grandfathers. Jan Alexander was Jan for Johannes van der Waeijen and probably Alexander for Alexander Creighton, Crichton or Krichton from Tilsit. Jan Alexander became a solicitor and attorney in Amsterdam. Second son Jacobus Nicolaus, was born in 1704, followed in father's footsteps as a preacher. Their names can be seen on a plaque in the church in Haarlem. Jacobus is the most common name in the family. This will be referred to later.

In the family tree are many prominent professional family members vicars, doctors and sollicitors, in commerce and the military, who live all over the Netherlands. For that time, the families were not large and with only few males. Between 1790 and 1840 there are several connections with the Becquer family, which name has died out and the same seems to be happening now to the Creyghton name of this old branch. See the parenteel (list of descendants) of Johannes Creyghton.

Jacobus Creyghton

In Leiden on the 8th of March 1823 the birth of Maria Anthonetta Creyghton is registered, firstborn child of Jacobus Creyghton and Maria Anna Bran(d)te. In the following years 6 more children were born. This is the start of another branch of the Dutch Creyghtons who, in contrast with the other line flourish, have many children and in our (fifth) generation (born from 1925-1950) has over 75 persons of whom about half carry the surname Creyghton. It is a typically Roman Catholic family, which has many people who work for the church as priest or nun as most RC families would before the second world war. But who is Jacobus Creyghton?

His wife is a daughter from an RC family from Den Bosch. but the antecedents of Jacobus are vague. According to his death certificate he was born in Amsterdam in 1791 but that is all we know. His birth nor christening have been registered there, neither have we been able to find the registration of the marriage. This must have been around 1820, but neither in Amsterdam, nor in den Bosch, Leiden or elsewhere a registration of this marriage could be found. By that time the general system of registration introduced in Napoleonic times (1811) was well settled, so it is odd. See The Jacobus-parenteel.

Where did Jacobus come from??

Two possibilities : Jacobus is a child of one of the descendants from the Johannes branch or he is from another family altogether. If the latter were true - this must have been an existing Dutch/Scots family Creighton/ Crichton etc. However, not only can the registration of his birth not be found; no one else has been registered who could be his mother or father. He could have come over from Scotland on his own like Johannes and have married Anna, only why then would their marriage not have been registered? That he was born in Amsterdam is all we know and Jacobus was usually James in Scotland or Jacob; he could have Dutchified it but his surname would have remained Creighton or Crichton. In that time there were no reasons for changing to the y-spelling.

Only remaining possibility - he must come from the Johannes branch. But there may have been a reason for hiding the fact of his birth and then it would have been hard to have the marriage registered. Who would possibly have been his father or mother? If we take a look at the Johannes-parenteel, then the only ones who fit the bill are the children of Jacob, grandson of Johannes and Bailiff of Dinteloord.

JJacob and his wife Maria Regista Rietveld had 10 children of whom 7 died in infancy. Remains: Hermanus, born in 1762; onthing further is known of him - no death - no marriage etc. Chances are that he also died young. Jan Alexander married in 1795 so way after the birth of Jacobus-why would it have been a problem for a man to have had a child registered before his marriage? Remains: the daughter Maria Regista. An eligible daughter of 19 in a prominent family like that of the Bailiff Jacob, who has an illegitimate child just could have been a problem. It could have been that the girl was sent to relatives in Amsterdam before the birth and that the child has been named after the grandfather but reared by a foster family and registration conveniently forgotten.

There are rumours that Jan Alexander, Maria's brother had Jacobus, his nephew in his family when he was a teenager and that he was his Guardian. Jan Alexander at that time lived in a large mansion in Den Bosch. Unfortunately nothing can be found of this in the Tax Registry (Kohieren). But it would explain why Jacobus ends up marrying a girl from Den Bosch.

Jan Alexander and his wife die shortly after one another in Den Bosch when Jacobus is 17. Their children are then taken in lovingly by Maria Regista, who had by then married Wolter Becquer. Her daughter Annette Maria Becquer marries Jacob Jan Alexander Creyghton-Jan Alexander's son. This family did not have a surplus of imagination as far as names is concerned! Anyway our Jacob had to fend for himself because it may have been unthinkable that a bastard join his own mother after all.

A final possibility is that Jacob the Bailiff is the father. This would have been a scandal at 57 and seeing his function-only would he then have been named Jacob as well? None of it can be excluded but it seems most logical that the mother is Maria Regista.

There is another story which was passed on in different parts of the family for over a century. Read: The story of the lady in waiting. (Still needs to be translated). This however never has been backed up by any piece of evidence form Holland and has never been confirmed in Scotland. So it seems somewhat unlikely. The only element which has been confirmed is that two of Jacob's religious daughters (nuns) destroyed all evidence of his birth (and marriage?) after his death. Despite many efforts by our generation and several previous ones and modern means, we have not been able to find further proof than our forebears. Jacobus remains the missing link and finding it is our common quest and fascination.

Another possible link is a pewter dish, of which at least two copies have been in possession of members of the family. So it seems there has been a series of those dishes. The design clearly shows the Creyghton Coat of Arms, including the motto: "God Me Guide". The dish might be made by Jacobus or one of his sons, who all were coppersmiths. This raises the question: why would Jacobus (or his son) make a series of dishes with the family arms if they were not part of that family? For further reading see The Creyghton Coat of Arms.

The "later" Jacobus family branch

The Johannes branch was protestant with many vicars among them. Jacobus however married in the south of the Netherlands - Den Bosch - which was and still is predominantly RC. Jacobus may even have been reared RC but certainly his wife was RC and they would have reared their children accordingly. Coppersmith was Jacobus's trade - important business in those days. He and Maria Anna get 7 children, the 3 girls all join the church as nuns. The sons were either coppersmith or watchmaker of coal (fuel) merchant and move further away, to Rotterdam and Alkmaar. When Jacob dies in 1849, his widow is 57 and takes over his business together with two of their sons. See the ad below.

Overlijdensadvertentie van Jacobus Creyghton in de Leidsche Courant

The 4 sons have 32 children in all of whom 9 die in infancy. Also in the later generations there are more girls than boys just like in the Johannes branch. In the generation of this workgroup( born before or just after the second world war) we number 75 people with the surname Creyghton or Creijghton. They have spread all over the world: USA - the children of William Emile, France, England and also New Zealand, Australia. Professions are many but there among them are also several GP's and several prominent clergy. see the Jacobus-parenteel.

Commentaar overbodig

The Morel family

The Creyghton family has plural relations with several other families. Like in the Johannes branch the Becquer family and in the Jacobus branch the families Meuleman and Stadhouder. See the respective descendants list. Another example is the Morel family of which a brother and sister Morel marry two cousins Creyghton. So their chlidren are full cousins as Morels as well as second cousins as Creyghtons. The Morel family has been researched fully by Jos Grupping who is also the webmaster of our Creyghton workgroup and who's father in law was a Morel, married to a Creyghton.

This Morel family starts when a certain Joseph Morell comes to Holland around 1770. From his death certificate we know that Joseph was born around 1734 in Switzerland. Unfortunately we don't know where. On his way to Holland he stays in Germany for a while. There he marries Gertrudis Becker and there their first two children are born in Coesfeld. In Wijnbergen near Arnhem Joseph settles as a hatter and/or tailor. There their other 3 children are born. For further information see the parenteel (list of descendants) of Joseph Morell. Or have a look at the kwartierstaat (list of ancestors) of Joep Creyghton, who's mother was a Morel.


Genealogical information:

For detailed information we refer to the genealogy reports about the Creyghton and Morel families. See the list below:

Other persons in The Netherlands by the name of Creighton, Crichton etc.

As mentioned above, over time there have been more people in the Netherlands by the name of Creyghton, Creighton, Crichton, Krichton or other variants of the name. The book by McLean lists about twenty occurrences and some more are known from archive research. However, for none of those people we  have managed to establish a direct relationship with the two known Creyghton branches. If time allows, we will try to cover them on these pages.

Note: This page was translated by Ingrid Creyghton. Please excuse the mixture of English with Dutch terminology called Dunglish by me and my children. My children are native speakers of both languages so we tend to mix the two. D.d. 24-1-2004 -.

We hope you enjoyed reading through our material. For additions, comments or questions please contact Ingrid Creyghton (

webmaster: Jos Grupping

Laatste wijziging: 29.11.2007