Wolphert Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos Majorin Elizabeth Bijval Pollux Ernst Matroos Elizabeth Bijval Mini tree diagram

Castor Jacob Matroos

also known as Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos

27th Oct 1779 - 1817

Life History

27th Oct 1779

Born in Suriname


Died in Amsterdam


census_1811_J_Matroos_sm.jpg In the Surinam Census in 1811

Jacob is 32 years old.

In the 'List of the Free Coloured and Black Population of Surinam - 1811' (An index to the 1811 census) the entry to the right is listed as H. Matroos and Family. I believe it is actually J C Matroos (Jacob Castor Matroos).
Check out the signature on the census:


It appears that Jacob and family owned 3 slaves:


Jacob Matroos_GravestoneA visitor to the Oude Kerke in Amsterdam wrote the following:

"So why was I interested in Jacob Matroos Beeldsnijder's (American: Bellsnyder) gravestone? I don't know. Maybe it's because he was born a slave and I didn't think there were former slaves buried in Dutch church grounds. I think that it's great that his remains lie in this great church as, well, proof of not only the Dutch involvement in the trans-atlantic slave trade but also proof that African peoples did live in Amsterdam during the Golden Age and perhaps slavery was in fact at the doorstep of Amsterdam and not just out there in the colonies even though this does not seem to be acknowledged.

I've googled him since and learnt so much. He (and his twin Ernst) were born slaves in Suriname to a mulatto woman whose Afro-Surinamese mother's name was Adjuba. Adjuba, Edjoba. Hmmm. Sounds like an Nzema name to me, which is highly possible because I know that a lot of Black Surinamese were taken from the coast of what is now modern day Ghana. Jacob's father was a Dutchman, Jacob Wolphert Beeldsnijder, who was at one time Governor of Suriname and who came from a respectable family. After being given his freedom from slavery, the younger Jacob spent some years as a youth in Netherlands, then returned to Suriname where he held several jobs. Taken ill as an adult, he returned to Amsterdam where he eventually died and was buried here in De Oude Kerk leaving behind a wife and several children in Suriname.

When his gravestone was pointed out to me, a great wave of satisfaction came over me. I had insisted to N'ku that I wasn't leaving the church without seeing his grave. No, he's not my ancestor, but right then and there, I could imagine what it must feel like to find an ancestor. The icing on the cake of course is his maternal grandmother's possibly Nzema name, Adjuba."

[Note: It is probable that Jacob was not 'born a slave' as he is given a surname at his christening. It is likely that his mother had already been freed.]