Family crest

You are in for some confusion here. We have no straight answers. "Van" is simple: often used in Dutch names to indicate "stems from" or "descends from" or "coming from the village or town of...". Schelven is more difficult. The singular means "hay stack", "rick of hay" or "sheaf of hay or corn". The latter (sheaf)  rings a similar sound as "schelven". Miller is a well represented profession in the family. That could have a connection to the sheaf of corn. "Schelven"  differs only one letter from Schelpen; shells or molluscs. 

Now for the crest. The first crest connected to a Van Schelven is on a tombstone of Sara Jans van Schelven, who died in 1685 and is buried in the Dutch Reformed church in Numansdorp. The colors of the crest are not tracable in stone. According to Kees Sigmond, together with his father P.C. Sigmond researcher after the roots of the Van Schelven family, this crest is the only proven one (carved in stone). The others should be regarded as more esthetical appearances.

We see shells on our crest! And these shells are: Great Scallops!

first known crest

Or is it our crest?

By accident I found the crests of surrounding municipalities (all in the Hoekse Waard):




On the left you see the crest of the municipality of Puttershoek. See the resemblance of the location of the French lillies to the "Van Schelven"-shells. On the right see the crest of the municipality of Mijnsheerenland. See the use of the shells (Great Scallop) and the colors used (red and yellow).


I think it is safe to make a guess that the colored edition of the first crest tied to a Van Schelven looks like this in color:

My conclusion so far: our predecessors were inspired by their environment when they wanted a family crest.

first known crest in (guessed) colors

Now, for something completely different:




Looking at the crest of the municipality of Heinenoord, another village in the Hoekse Waard, we find a sheaf of corn!

Hmmm, there is the sheaf again. Could the corn be related to the reed maces which are on the more recent crests? Confused? Welcome!


Please note that it is very unlikely that the crest has a deeper meaning than esthetics. If you are a Van Schelven, your blood is as red as can be and not blue.

Personal experience


When I first set my eyes on our family tree, there was a proud crest on top, consisting of three reed-maces emerging from the sea. Thanks to the description accompanying the crest, the colors can be added. Silver for the waves and the reed-maces and a blue background.

More about reed mace (cats tail) - in Dutch - on this page.

 Crest printed in Blue BookIn color as described in Blue Book


This picture was used by an artist, appointed by Theodorus Johannes Cornelis van Schelven to produce a quarrel for his twin brother Arthur Ludwig van Schelven somewhere during the early 1970's. A scan of this quarrel is shown on the right. The quarrel is in the family.

artist impression on quarrel (1970's)