The Jaquet family is of ancient origin, said to have originated in the vicinity of Gex, Saxony, France. Pierre Jaquet is the earliest Jaquet known, born in the latter part of the 15th century, and a citizen of Geneva, Switzerland. (Gex appears to be about 10 km [6 mi] northwest of Geneva. The "x" is pronounced. Here is a local map showing Geneva and Gex.) Pierre had two sons (see below), Odett and François, both of whom were prominent citizens of Geneva, being members of the Council of Two Hundred. Jaquets were consistently members of the Council of Two Hundred for two hundred fifty years or more in Geneva. The Jaquet family members were 'citizens' and free merchants (hence allowed to travel freely) and influential in Geneva for generations.
Odet (Odett) married in 1538 and purchased a house in Geneva "together with a garden behind it, situate in Geneva in the Bourg-de-Four, adjoining the house and garden of the Commonalty of the Lords of Geneva."
François was a member of the Small Council or Council of State as well as the Council of Two Hundred. It is from François that American Jaquets (also Jaquett and Jaquette) are descended through his son Pierre, who removed to Nurnberg at an early age when his father, François, died. Pierre was then raised by François' first cousin, then living in Nüremberg, and Pierre made his home there. Pierre Jaquet preferred to place his free mark (shown to the right) upon his tomb rather than his paternal arms of the Jaquets of Geneva (shown to the left and at the top of the page). A free mark gave a merchant many privileges, and many of the graves of merchants in the various cemeteries of Nüremburg have these symbols appearing in the epitaph on the gravestone rather than on the original family arms. In some instances these free marks were used by succeeding generations as a family escutcheon. (These free marks exempted goods from certain duties.)
The first, and apparently only, Jaquet to immigrate to America was Jean Paul Jaquet, François' great-grandson. We write "America" because Jean Paul Jaquet first lived in what is now the eastern tip of Brazil, South America, from 1646 or a bit earlier until January 1654, before returning to Amsterdam (briefly), leaving Brazil about November 1654 and arriving in the colonies on the ship de grote Christoffel before April 1655. Jean Paul had married Maria de Carpentier, of a reasonably well connected Amsterdam family, in Brazil in 1646. Therein lies the connection to the Dutch West India Company in Brazil: Jean Paul Jaquet became (the last) governor of the company's holdings in Brazil sometime after 1644. Once in New Amsterdam, Gov. Petrus (Peter) Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam granted Jean Paul Jaquet land and subsequently made him a Vice Director, responsible for the holdings on the South River, now the (lower) Delaware River, and it seems to have been the same land (200 acres) granted to him by William Penn in 1682 after title to the area passed to William Penn. Thus Jean Paul Jaquet was instrumental in the capitulation of the Dutch West India Company in Brazil to the Portuguese (1654) and in the American colonies (lower Delaware River) to the British (1664).
There are many descendants of this family living in various parts of the country today. We all descend from Jean Paul Jaquet and Maria de Carpentier, whose family expanded in northern Delaware (around Newcastle) and in southern New Jersey (around Salem County) in subsequent generations.
Updated: October 25, 2009 (Created October 30, 2004)