Cronje is a Dutch spelling of the French family name Cronier, which is classified as being of occupational origin. It can be said that most ancient and most interesting of surnames are those derived from the occupation of the original bearer. Occupational names have provided what has been described by scholars as "an inventory of the common trades of medieval Europe". Such names offer a glimpse into the daily lives of our ancestors. With regard to the surname Cronier, the application is derived from the French word "crones", denoting a hole under the bank of a river or stream. According to the French scholar Marie-Thérése Morlet, the surname Cronier referred to one who fished in this location. Variants of the surname Cronier include Crosnier and Crognier. Among the French, the custom of using fixed, hereditary surnames took hold as early as the eleventh century. Initially, it was mostly members of the nobility who followed this practice, which is unsurprising given that their wealth and power were ultimately base on in heritance.
This name was introduced to South Africa by the brothers Pierre and Estienne Cronier of NOrmandy, who arrived in the Cape in 1698 aboard the vessel "Driebergen". Etienne, who held the farms "Champagne" and "Olyvenhout" near Wellington, never married an ddied without issue in 1718. PIerre Cronier wed Suzanne Taillfert in 1709 and this union resulted in two sons and four daughters. The brothers Cronier were among the several hundred Huguenot refugees who settled in the Cape between 1688 and 1702. Notable bearers of the surname include General Pieter Arnoldus Cronjé (1836 - 1911), who led the siege of Mafeking during the Second Anglo Boer War.
BLAZON OF ARMS: Or a chevron asured between three stars of seven points sable.
Translation: A chevron denotes Protection
CREST: A hunting dog proper.
MOTTO: JE GARDE MA FOI
Translation: "I keep my faith"
Two Cronier brothers came to South Africa with the French Huguenots. They were Pierre and Estienne Cronier. Valuable information about these first ancestors in South Africa was found in the Huguenot Museum in Franschoek, South Africa. I am adding photos of photos and documents from the Huguenot Museum to illustrate the arrival of our ancestors in South Africa
Two images of the Huguenot Memorial Museum in Franschoek, Western Cape, South Africa.
The two brothers Cronier came from Thimerais in Normandy as passengers on the Driebergen ship and arrived in South Africa on 03.09 1698. The photo below shows
The signature of Estienne Cronier at the time of his arrival in South Africa.
Above left: Old photos of buildings in France at the time of the Huguenots and map of France showing where the Huguenots came from.
An old painting of the Franschoek Valley at the time of the arrival of our ancestors.
Maps of the area in the Wagenmakersvallei (Direct translation: Wagonmakers Valley) where the Cronier brothers settled in South Africa