The Beckerath family name has existed for around 400 years. Its origin is unclear. Although there is a small community called "Beckrath" near the towns of Mönchengladbach/ Rheydt, there is no reliable evidence that the ancestors of the family came from this place. But they do come from the "Jülichen", i.e. the Mönchengladbach/ Rheydt/ Jülich area. The first people to come to Krefeld called themselves von Beckerath. The addition "von", which exists in many variations in Dutch, Frisian or Low German names (e.g. van, van den, te, de etc.) can clarify the origin or descent.
The family members were all of the Mennonite faith at the time, and many are to this day. They were also called Anabaptists. This faith originated in Switzerland. Her teachings were influenced by Menno Simons (1496 – 1561). The Mennonites see themselves as a free church, reject infant baptism to this day and only baptize at the age of 14 years. The basis of faith is the Sermon on the Mount. At the time, the Anabaptists were considered radicals because they opposed the traditional church during the Reformation. For this reason, they were often persecuted, including on the left bank of the Lower Rhine. In 1694 a large number of people of the Mennonite faith fled from “Jülichen” to the city of Krefeld, among other places. These included the first known von Beckerath. At that time, Krefeld belonged to the House of Orange-Nassau. Like the Netherlands, Orange-Nassau was liberal back then and still allowed the Mennonites to practice their faith freely. This is how they integrated themselves into the city of Krefeld over the course of time.
The von Beckerath family and the textile industry
At this time, Krefeld's economic rise began. The success was based on the production of linen, and later also silk and velvet. Before the industrial revolution, many hired hand weavers worked at home on the loom. They took the finished goods to the "Verleger", a merchant who marketed them and also supplied them with new yarn supplies. Many of the Beckeraths also worked in different areas of this industry, most of them as dyers and as so-called publishers in the yarn and velvet and silk trade. With entrepreneurial skill, diligence and foresight, the family developed into one of the most important in Krefeld. The established families, which had a strong influence on the economic development of the city, included the von der Leyen, Heydweiller, de Greiff, vom Bruck, Scheibler, Peltzer, Seyffardt and ter Mer families, in addition to the von Beckerath families, to name just a few. Of course, the families were linked by marriage. In this way, the pleasant private life could be combined with the useful business. The locations of the various family members were mainly in and around the city of Krefeld. In the course of the 19th century, however, some family members (Richard von Beckerath to Australia, Nikolaus (Cola) von Beckerath to Brazil) emigrated or worked abroad. Krefeld's velvet and silk products were world-renowned and were well exported. With the elimination of the hand loom and the introduction of the mechanical loom, the output could be increased many times over. However, this also had an impact on sales prices. The competition increased greatly. The textile industry on the left side of the Lower Rhine reached its heyday in the first two thirds of the 19th century. In the 20th century, however, textiles were often offered more cheaply by other countries and the Krefeld textile industry had to specialize more and more. Today you can still get the highest quality tie fabrics and ties as well as technical fabrics of all kinds from Krefeld. However, the economic importance for the city of Krefeld has decreased significantly. The family members are only active to an extremely small extent in the textile industry. A clear assignment to certain professions is no longer possible. The range of occupations practiced by family members of the von Beckerath family is distributed today like in the rest of the population. (see also www.krefeld.de)