In the XVIth Century, two brothers founded two family trees. They were Jacob Selm and Heyn Sylm. About their parents no records exist. Jacob's
family died out in the XIXth century as the last bearer of the name
had no descendants. So all living Sillems belong to Heyn's
family line. However, since the members of Jacob's line not only had
the same family name but also used the same coat of arms
and intermarriages occurred
occasionally we consider them as our, albeit somewhat distant cousins.
Members who are interested in family history are invited to climb the
Sillem family trees. They should not feel deterred by the plethora of
bearers of the name Sillem. It will soon become obvious that thanks to
a simple plan an overview can be achieved easily.
- In Table HH (HH stands for Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the official title of the city) all
forbears are listed that continued the family line directly up into the
XIXth century. The many other bearers of the name from this period of
time are mentioned in the book "Die Genealogie der Familie Sillem in Deutschland" (for details, see Publications).
One of the most distiguished personalities in our family was the merchant and banker Hieronymus Sillem. As a 19 year old he was already director of the Hamburg merchant company Matthiessen & Sillem.
When French troups occupied the city and Napoleon
incorporated Hamburg into the French Empire Hieronymous together
with his wife and daughters moved to St. Petersburg in 1812. There he
acted as a representative of the Amsterdam banking company Hope & Co.
After the defeat of the Napoleonic Army at Waterloo in 1814, the
Netherlands regained their independance. The major shareholder of Hope & Co
who lived in England offered Hieronymus to become director of the
company and and at the same time to purchase one third of the capital.
Hieronymus agreed and together with parts of the family moved into a
manorial townhouse on Heerengracht in Amsterdam.
- His oldest son Carl Sillem stayed true to his native city of Hamburg. With his wife Emma he continued the German family line. His descendants are listed in Tables DE 1, DE 2, DE 3.
- His son Ernst took over at Hope & Co and became a Dutch citizen. The many members of the Dutch line of our family are his descendants. They can be found in Tables NL 1, NL 2, NL 3, NL 4, NL 5, NL 6.
Then there was his son Wilhelm (I.) Sillem
He became famous for a street development he financed and the first
German glass-covered shopping passage in Hamburg. On the other hand,
his place in the family history is that of an incurable
speculator. Later on, he moved to Geneva with his large family. He may
have lost a fortune but he had enough money left to became known as the
"father of the poor". Even a street was named after him, the Rue Sillem
It is the aim of our Web activities to acquaint as many Sillems as
possible with their family history and to strenghthen in them a sense of
belonging to the family. To achieve this, we present a form
that those who agree with our aims are requested to fill with a few
life data (see details on the Welcome
page). Some have already sent us the sheet with their personal data; you can tell them by their underlined
names in the family tree lists. Just click on the names to open the respective data sheet.
In addition to the family tree lists mentioned above, Johann Gottlieb Sillem III
from Holland who adopted the name of Vincent
(see Table NL 2
) has compiled a plethora of genealogical information about the Dutch
branch of our family (Chart 1
, Chart 2
). His son Hassan
is also a devotee to the family history. He succeeded in setting up the Argentine
family tree (s. Chart
). It is to their credit that data on the Dutch and Argentine Sillems could be included in this Web site.