Wolphert Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos John Buschman Theodore John Buschman Maria Elizabeth Buschman Amelia Buschman Caroline Buschman Laurentia Buschman John Buschman Castor Jacob Matroos Pollux Ernst Matroos Elizabeth Bijval Mini tree diagram

Majorin Elizabeth Bijval

28th Nov 1776 - 2nd Nov 1843

Life History

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

June 1814

Death of husband John Buschman.


Death of daughter Caroline Buschman in St Pancras, London


Arrival in England

2nd Nov 1843

Died in Kensington.


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.

image source

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 two boys are named Castor and Pollux as befits male twins. They are also given the Matroos name suggesting strongly that Beeldsnijders Matroos is their father. Additionally they have been given the names of their two grand uncles on their great grand mothers side: Jacob Baron de Petersen (1703-1780) and Ernst Baron de Petersen (1705-1762).
[Ernst was a naval officer who had command over Dutch fleet in the Caribbean and Jacob de Petersen worked for the WIC (West Indian Company) in 1725 -1741 and he had a high position in Curacao where he illegally traded in enslaved Africans. (Source: Patricia Kaersenhout)]

It could be that Elizabeth Bijval is also his daughter. '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 two references above, the Surinam record and the Dutch Archives record, are slightly at odds in respect of Elizabeth's state as regards ownership by Matroos. Since she is given a surname different from Matroos, it is almost certain that she has been freed - probably as mother to Matroos's children.

On 10th May, 1782, two years later, "Beeldsnyder Matroos buried the free woman named Elizabeth Graaff using money from her estate". Could this be ME Bijval's mother, using her free name? A white woman would never be referred to as 'free'.

census_1811_Buschman_Top_Left_sm.jpg In 1811 the British held a census that recorded:

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:

Whole Form
Top Left
Bottom Left
Bottom Right

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.]
"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)."

See John Buschman's page for other images of the census form.


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, 1804.
" [Probably the same J Buschman. And M E Bijval did not get to use her Suriname burial plot.]

La Singularité

There is a Dutch article in Wikipedia that says that Majorin Elizabeth was 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.
The article gives us Majorin's maiden name: 'Bijval'.


Surinamse_Courant_1841_sale.jpgThe 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 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]

Other Notes

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. [ inv 822 folio 14]

Surinamse_Courant_1841.jpgIn 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.)


Majorin's Death

MajorinElizabethBuschman.jpg 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.

From freeBMD

Death: Dec 1843, Buschman, Majorin Elizabeth, Kensington, 3 231

Surinamse_Courant_1837.jpgAnd who is F R Buschman?

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.
(See below)

Was F R Buschman the last son of John and Majorin - conceived before John's death in 1814?

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.