Majorin Elizabeth Bijval
28th Nov 1776 - 2nd Nov 1843
28th Nov 1776
Born in Suriname.
Married (?) John Buschman.
Birth of son Theodore John Buschman in Suriname
Birth of daughter Maria Elizabeth Buschman in Suriname
Birth of daughter Amelia Buschman in Suriname.
Birth of daughter Caroline Buschman
2nd Jan 1808
Birth of daughter Laurentje Buschman in Suriname.
Birth of son John Buschman in Suriname
Death of 'husband' John Buschman.
Birth of son Frederick Rudolph Buschman.
Death of mother Elizabeth Bijval in Paramaribo, Suriname
Death of daughter Caroline Buschman in St Pancras, London
Arrival in England
2nd Nov 1843
Died in Kensington.
Birth and Baptism
From Surinam baptismal records:
an illegitimate mestizo (half-white/half-mulatto) child named Elizabeth Bijval,
born 28 Nov 1776 and baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church on 14 Dec
by her mother, the mulatto Elizabeth, former property of WJ Beeldsnyder Matroos.
Elizabeth also baptized her twins CJ and PE Matroos on the same day.
From Dutch Archives (translated)
1780, December 14, baptized by me .. in the church of Paramaribo three loggerhead mustise children with names
the first Elizabeth Bijval born November 28, 1776
the second Castor Jacob Matroosen and third Plux Ernst Matroosen born the October 27, 1779 being twins
All three born to the mulatto Elizabeth belonging now to W J Beeldsnijders Matroos
The fact that the children are given surnames indicates that they are free and not slaves. - children of an important man in Paramaribo society.
The two boys, Jacob and Ernst are also named Castor and Pollux as befits male twins. They are given the Matroos name, recognising that Beeldsnijders Matroos is their father. They are children of an important man in Paramaribo society.
Additionally they have been given the names of their two grand uncles on their great grand mothers side: Jacob Baron de Petersen and Ernst Baron de Petersen.
Jacob Baron de Petersen (1703-1780) worked for the WIC (West Indian Company) in 1725 -1741. He had a high position in Curacao where he illegally traded in enslaved Africans.
Ernst Baron de Petersen (1705-1762) was a naval officer who had command over Dutch fleet in the Caribbean.
(See also: Wolphert Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos)
From Soektsa Boskopu (Google translation)
In Amsterdam, Utrecht and Curacao members of the Beeldsnijder family were employed by the Dutch East India Company and the West India Company . Betje van Beeldsnijder's twins, Ernst Matroos and Jacob Matroos, belonged to the Beeldsnijder Matroos clan and their paternal grandmother, Catharina de Petersen, had ties to the court of the Dutch king. Their grandmother's brothers were influential colonial government officials who amassed great riches from the TransAtlantic slave trade and slavery.
Catharina's son Wolphert Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos arrived in Suriname in 1770 and was Suriname's first newspaper publisher. He was a friend of the Friderici (?) and also held sway as governor in Suriname for over a year. He was the 'owner' of Betje van Beeldsnijder.
It is possible that Elizabeth Bijval is also the daughter of Beeldsnyder Matroos. ('Bijval' translates as 'acclaim', 'approval', 'applause' or 'cheers'.) Perhaps Matroos felt no need to give a girl child his name.
On the other hand, it is possible that the slave Elizabeth became Matroos's property, already mother of a child, also named Elizabeth. Was the name 'Majorin' added later or just not recorded at the baptism?
The 1811 Census
J. Buschman (white) was living with M.E. Bijval and children with initials M A C L and J. (all listed as 'free coloured')
Images of the 1811 census form:
After reviewing her notes, Donna Mendez provided the following:
"The free coloured ME Bijval with the white J Buschman, enumerated 14 Dec, 1811, and signed by him.
The children's names are not noted, only initials M A C L and J! They are all Buschmans.
Theodore is listed as a Bijval." [Note: he is also the only child named Bijval in John's 1814 will - though he later adopts his stepfather's name and is in our tree as Theodore John Buschman.]
"Towards the bottom of the page are two lines that indicate slaves of ME Bijval .. referring to a group of 6 slaves. J. Buschman on the other hand owned 40 slaves.
Not likely he needed so many extra pairs of hands just to care for his home and family. Even with the house he owned on the posh Waterkant (image below), near the intersection with Cromme Elleboogstraat (according to the news of early December, 1811)."
Donna provided the following from Surinamese burial registers:
"Mr. J. Buschman, buried July 1, 1814, aged about 47 years, following an illness lasting 6 days. He was an uncle/friend of P. Paulsen and ME Bijval, who buried him at the Nieuwe Orange Tuin and paid for a stone marker. He had been a business partner of J.R. Ryhiner, who continued the business after his death. On April 16, 1815, ME Bijval bought a plot for herself next to him.
Another listing has a Mr. Buschman born June 24, 1767 and buried July 2, 1814. " [Probably the same J Buschman. And M E Bijval did not get to use her Suriname burial plot.]
In 1841, April 5, Majorin Buschman filed a petition to go abroad.
In 1841, May, a newspaper reports the sale of the plantation La singularité by FR Buschman. [Soektsa Boskopu].
In 1841, June 29: the newspaper reports the intended sale of a house in Paramaribo:
"on Friday the 2nd of July 1841, in the morning at half nine hours, in front of ...[the ] Gereftshof, ... the House, standing on the leasehold plot, located at the Joden Bredestraat, La. C.Nr 44 Nieuwe Wijk [by] E. Matroos, as co-heir of denBoedel Wijle Betje van Beeldsnijder." [Soektsa Boskopu].
There is a Dutch article in Wikipedia
that identifies Majorin Elizabeth as the owner of a
coffee plantation in Suriname called 'La Singularité'. Majorin turned the plantation over
to sugar cane production and sold it in 1841 - two years before her death in England.
When Majorin bought the plantation she used her 'maiden' name 'Bijval'.
The Google Translator (interpreted by me) gives us: " Then the [La Singularité] plantation came into possession of Majorin Elisabeth Bijval. She turned it into a sugar plantation [it had been a coffee plantation]. She also owned the cotton plantation 'Bremen' at the mouth of the Warrappakreek. She married John Buschman and the next owner is listed as M.E. Buschman. The Bremen Plantation was not so successful. It was abandoned in 1833 and was completely washed away by the ocean in 1834. In 1841 Marjorin Elizabeth sold the plantation to H.A. and H.E. Buhk and J.F. Betten.
In surinameplantages.com (Suriname Plantations.com) The owners of the La Singularité plantation are listed as:
1770: Jan Nepveu
1819: M.E. Byval [5 years after the death of John Buschman.]
1832: M.E. Buschman.
"La Singularité was a coffee plantation in the Commewijne district in Suriname. The plantation was located between Hecht and Sterk and Zorg en Hoop on the Commewijne River.
"The opening of Fort New Amsterdam in 1747 meant that the area behind it was protected. In this swamp area, lands of 500 fields were issued. One was bought by Jan Nepveu who gave the plantation the name La Singularité, .... Later he became governor of Suriname.
"Mr. Laurens Johannes Nepveu, his eldest son, inherited the plantation. Later he expanded her with 500 fields. He did not live in Suriname, but in Utrecht, and also owned Ma Retraite.
"A fire destroyed more than a quarter of the plantation in 1779. In 1810 a patrol discovered a large camp with many runaway slaves that was completely destroyed. ...
"Ownership of the plantation then passed to Majorin Elisabeth Bijval ..."
In Periodical Accounts Relating to the Missions of the Church ..., in April, 1829, a missionary, W.C. Genth visits La Singularité (in the Neighbourhood of Paramaribo) and says that it is being turned into a sugar plantation. "Canes are planted, and expensive arrangements already made".
He preaches to the slaves and on the same day visits the cotton-plantation 'Bremen' "at the mouth of the Warrapa creek .. at the sea-coast .. a fine view of the ocean". Genth notes that both estates are owned by the same lady and that there are 250 slaves.
From Denie's Web site:
"La Singularité Plantation is located on the Lower Commewijne between the old plantations and Hecht Strong and Care and Hope. On the north side of the river, nearly opposite where Orleanakreek (formerly Whore Helena Creek) flows into the Commewijne river."
The Suriname Almanacs of 1828 and 1829 list the La Singularité and Bremen coffee plantations, with 1000 and 1500 fields respectively, both owned by M.E. Bijval. Both have E. Matroos as Administrator.
The Almanacs of 1834, 1835, 1836 and 1837 show M. E. Buschman as the owner of La Singularité, a sugar plantation. The Bremen plantation is listed without an owner.
In 1834, the Director of La Singularité is C. Stein; Administrator E. Matroos.
In 1835, 1836 and 1837, the Director of La Singularité is J.F. Durepée; Administrator E. Matroos and J.L. Karsseboom (Karsseboom is shown as administrtator at a number of plantations).
In 1835, a 'J. J. Buschman' was 'Blank-Officier' (White Officer) at a similar sized plantation called 'Ellen'. [Could this be T.J. Buschman]
A 'J Buschman' was Blank-Officier at a larger plantation called 'La Jalousie'.
In 1836 a 'J. Buschman' was Director of the Rozenburg sugar Plantation.
In the 1838, 1839 and 1840 Almanacs: the Owner of La Singularité is 'M. E. Buschman'; Director is 'S. Buschman'; and Administrators are 'E. Matroos and Buschman'
In 1839 a 'Buschman' was Director of the large Sardam sugar Plantation.
In 1840, an F.J. Buschman is Director at the 'Boxel' Plantation. [Could this be T.J. Buschman]
From Soektsa Boskopu (Google translation)
La Singularité ... Majorina Elizabeth Buschman was the owner, her brother Ernst Matroos was together with JJ Karsseboom the administrator on this plantation. Johan Francois Durepee was the director and this Johan Francois Durepee received help from Ernst Matroos in the manumission of the enslaved Jacoba, Karel and Carolina Drempt who were given the name Durepee in their manumission.
According to the Surinaamsche Almanac of 1835, the Buschman, Matroos, Karsseboom and Durepee families, on the plantation La Singularitee, had the assistance of the white officers JL van Heyst and JL Potgielet to suppress the 230 enslaved people and keep them working.
14 Jul 1799, Dutch Reformed baptism: a mustice Amelia and ?? (bojdem=presumably; doop = baptism) named Petronella ?? mother ?? free Mulatto Madelentje van Benjamin Jacobs ?witness? Majorana Elizabeth Bijval'
19 Nov 1800, (from Donna) M E Bijval (of the Dutch Reformed religion) witnessed the baptism of Jeanette Francina, child of Maria Antoinette Roux.
04 Feb 1801, (from Donna) Dutch Reformed baptism: Marjorin Elizabeth Bijval witnessed the mulatto child Marjana Elizabeth Wijngaarde, born to Blanka.
28 Feb, 1828 - 'Execution' among Wills:
Majorina Elizabeth Bijval aka widow Buschman, sick, residing in Paramaribo.
Refers to a previous Will dated 24 Jun 1825 which was filed with the notary public Isak Marinus Josue Valeton and 6 witnesses in Rotterdam.
Majorina appoints Ernst Matroos and Theodore Jan Buschman to be guardians of her minor children and administrator of her estate.
Witnessed by Halfhide and Arlaud. [1.05.11.14 inv 822 folio 14]
In April, 1841 Majorin left Suriname, with two of her children, Maria and John, and her grand-daughter (John's daughter) Carolina Rudolphina.
Majorin has sold her property in Surinam and is visiting her other children - and probably seeing her other grand-children - for the first time. (It looks like she is rich enough to buy the house next door to Charles and Laurentia).
On 29th July, 1841, in the immigration record, Majorin gives her nationality as German (her husband, John Buschman's nationality). She is almost certainly hiding her slave background and goes on doing so. If the husbands and wives of her offspring know her history, it is probably not something that they will want Society to know. It is likely that Majorin's ancestry remained hidden to this day. (Her grand-daughter, Emily, we know, thinks of her as German and perhaps on the maternal side as Spanish.)
At first, we thought that at the time of her death, Majorin, widow was living with Charles Stewart and Laurentia Drewry at 4, Park Street, Notting Hill.
From Sophia Runciman's will we know that Charles Stewart's mother, also a widow, was living there in 1842, suggesting a rather crowded house.
Majorin's burial record shows that at the time of her death, Majorin was living at No. 2, Park Street, the house next door - suggesting that our assumption is probably correct.
Unfortunately the 1841 Census records for the area covering Park Street have been lost or destroyed.
Death: Dec 1843, Buschman, Majorin Elizabeth, Kensington, 3 231
Frederic Rudolph Buschman
1818 - c. 1845
Frederic Rudolph Buschman was the last son of John and Majorin - conceived before John's death in 1814.The cutting on the right shows that he left Surinam in May on the Eengizindheid
We have an immigration card for F R Buschman, a merchant, arriving in London, 26 July 1837. The writing is rather faded but appears to say that he left London 3 years before.
F R Buschman is mentioned in the report of the sale of 'La Singularité' above.
And also in the announcement of Majorin's death in the Surinamse Courant:
'mede voor T J Buschman' translates as 'partly for T J Buschman' or perhaps 'Also on behalf of ..'
An F R Bushman, born in 1815, married Simcha Marie Abendanon.
Sephardic Jew, born in Paramaribo (Surinam), in 1814.
Daughter of: Isaac Mozes Abendanon, [ born in Paramaribo (Surinam), on January 24, 1778,
Simcha married Frederic Rudolph Buschman, born in 1815 in Paramaribo,
with whom she had two children: John Henry Buschman (1843) and Majorya Buschman F. (1844).
The names of the children might suggest they were named for their grandparents.
Johan Charl was born around 1797 in Africa, by his own account, near Fort St George, the major slaving centre in Ghana. When he was about 7 (c.1804), he was transported as a slave to Suriname, and became the property of Mr Buschman in Paramaribo under the name Charl.
In November 1811 Charl was warehouse servant as slave to Johannes Buschman, merchant in Paramaribo.
Possibly because Buschman was a member of the Evangelical Brotherhood, Charl was freed around the age of 15, (in 1812), and baptized in the Mission Church of Evangelical United Brothers in Paramaribo, with a babtismal name: Johan.
March 1814: member of Moravian Church.
When Majorin Buschman visited the Netherlands, Johan Charl went with her as a servant to look after her young children in Amsterdam. (He is registered in Amsterdam on April 26, 1817, in Amsterdam, North Holland, as a 'baby sitter' - google translation). He did not return to Suriname but stayed as a house servant for Theodorus Johannes Buschman, at Leuvehaven 197 in Rotterdam.
In February 1824, a Deed of Awareness was drawn up, recording Johan Charl as house servant for Buschman. In the Deed (requireded for Johan Charl's marriage to Elisabeth van Eijbergen), Theodorus Johannes Buschman acted not only as witness, but also as the Registrar of the Peace.
c. 1827 Johan Charl is a shopkeeper in Rotterdam, South Holland, The Netherlands.
Johan Charl married Elisabeth van Eijbergen (born in Rotterdam on 27 January 1800, daughter of an office servant) on 31 March 1824. A son, Johannes, was born on 26 April 1824.
Johan Charl and Elisabeth settled in Amsterdam where they had ten children:
Johannes Jr. Charles 1824-1872
Mattheus Egbert Jacob Charles 1825-1827
Henry of Guinea Charles 1827-1899
Matthew Egbert Charles 1830-1849
Charlotta Charles 1832-1917 Margaret Elizabeth Charles 1835-1837
Maria Santje Charles 1838-1914
Gideon Charles 1840-1840
Theodorus Charles 1841-1843
Margaretha Elisabeth Charles 1845-1918
Johan Charl and Elisabeth died in Amsterdam in 1872 and 1882, respectively.