Where do the Schoonjansen come from?
The oldest mention of the name Schoonjans is found in the 14th century in Mechelen (B). They are probably a side branch of a still older branch, called van den Steene, presumably coming from Leuven. Godefroid Van den Steene was born around 1294 and was deputy mayor of Mechelen. He carried a weapon with three turrets. In Ghent we find a number of namesakes in the 15th century, and from the 16th century in the whole of Brabant (B).
We come sporadically across our family name in the Netherlands. This is understandable considering that during the Burgundy period and under the reign of Charles the fifth, the province of Brabant was composed of the current Dutch province of Brabant and the current Belgium provinces of Antwerp and Brabant.
In de Middle ages, Scone Jhan was frequently associated with administrative functions. One of them owned a moated castle in Sint Cathelijne Waver, near Mechelen and although he did not belong to nobility, he was addressed with the title of Knight. His weapon is known because it is presented in the Schoonjans chapel within the St Rombouts cathedral in Mechelen. It is also described in archives. His daughters are related to several noble families. Through this link, there are common ancestors of the Schoonjans genus with Lady Diana, the Belgian and Dutch Royal families.
The Borgerstein castle of Jan Schoonjans at Sint-Kathelijne Waver