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

Majorin Elizabeth Bijval

A 19 year old Surinamese woman,
from the oldest Surinamese photo (c.1845)

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.


Birth of son Frederick Rudolph Buschman.


Death of mother Betje in Paramaribo, Suriname


Death of daughter Caroline Buschman in St Pancras, London


Arrival in England

2nd Nov 1843

Died in Kensington.


It is not certain that Elizabeth was ever a slave. At her baptism, about, 2 years old, she is referred to as Elizabeth Bijval. In theory she is not a slave since she has a surname - notably without a 'van' to denote a previous master or plantation. Interestingly her name in the babtism record is 'Elizabeth', not the Dutch form of the name 'Betje'. A further curiosity in respect of her name is mostly she seems to be referred to as 'Majorin Elizabeth'. Majorin like her surname Bijval is uncommon. At a guess the name Majorin is derived from the English Marjery or Marjorie meaning 'pearl' - which might suggest some kind of English link in her mother's background. ('Bijval' translates as 'acclaim', 'approval', 'applause' or 'cheers'. See Betje's page)

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 Betje, former property of WJ Beeldsnyder Matroos. Betje's sons, the twins CJ and PE Matroos are baptized the same day. Read more

From Dutch Archives

1780 december 14 zijn door mij ondergeschreevene in de kerk van Paramaribo gedoopt drie onechte mustise kinderen met namen De eerste Elizabeth Bijval geboren 28 november 1776, De tweede Castor Jacob van Matroosen en de derde Polux Ernst van Matroosen, geboren den 27 oktober 1779 zijnde tweelingen. Alle drie gebooren uijt de mulattin Elisabeth thans behorende aan W: J: Beeldsnijders Matroos.
Getuigen Daniel van Claveren (was get:) J: C: de Cros V:D:M:

Translated (my interpretation)

1780, December 14, baptized by me in the church of Paramaribo three illegitimate 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 Betje belonging now to W J Beeldsnijders Matroos

Is Elizabeth Bijval the daughter of Beeldsnyder Matroos? I like to think so and give my reasons in Betje's page. Perhaps Matroos felt no need to give a girl child his name.

On the other hand, it is possible that the slave Betje became Matroos's property, already mother of a child, alreasdy named Elizabeth. Was the name 'Majorin' added later or just not recorded at the baptism?

The two boys, Jacob and Ernst are 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 a very important man in Paramaribo society. In 'Anda Suriname' (page no longer available), Nico Eigenhuis said that: "Wolphert Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos had children with the slave girl Adjuba [Betje] ...In 1781 mother and children were manumitted, after which .. their (twin) sons were given the names Castor Jacob Matroos and Pollux Matroos. Both brothers were sent by him to Amsterdam for their training." [It looks like the 'van' has been dropped.]

Beeldsnijder Matroos family

The twins have been given the names of their two grand uncles on their great-grand-mother's side: Jacob Baron de Petersen and Ernst Baron de Petersen. Read more

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.

Majorin appears in a some Baptism registers

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.

c. 1800, Marjorin Elizabeth Bijval becomes the Suriname 'wife' of Johannes (John) Buschman

Majorin already has a son, Theodore John, who has her surname, Bijval, but who quite possibly may be the son of John Buschman. In the next 10 or so years, up to the 1811 census, they have five more children. When John dies in 1914, Majorin is pregnant and Frederick Rudolph Buschman is born after his father's death.

The 1811 Census

census_1811_Buschman_Top_Left_sm.jpg Suriname was occupied by the British in 1799, after the Netherlands were incorporated by France, and was returned to the Dutch in 1816, after the defeat of Napoleon.
In December 1811, the British held a census (in order to get better control of the country and in order to levy taxes efficiently).

The census recorded that: J. Buschman (white) was living with M.E. Bijfall and her children: Theo Bijfall and M, A, C, L and J. Buschman (all listed as 'free coloured'). The chhildren with the Buschman surname are: Maria, Amelia, Caroline, Laurentje and John who is still a babe in arms.

Theodore is listed as a Bijfall {Bijval). [Note: he is also the only child named Bijval in John's Will - though he later adopts his stepfather's name and is in our tree as Theodore John Buschman.]

Images of the 1811 census form:   Whole Form    Top Left    Bottom Left    Bottom Right

Bottom right, there is a group of 6 slaves belonging to M E Bijfall. Five are described as 'Africans' and the sixth as ' Born at sea'.
Above them are listed the 40 slaves owned by J. Buschman. I cannot make out the slaves occupations.

Waterkant, Paramaribo, 1830

1814, death of Johannes (John) Buschman - from Surinamese burial registers - courtesy of Donna Mendes

Mr. J. Buschman, buried July 1, 1814, aged about 47 years, following an illness lasting 6 days.
(Another listing has a Mr. Buschman born June 24, 1767 and buried July 2, 1814.)

He was an uncle/friend of P. Paulsen and M E 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. [Majorin did not get to use her Suriname burial plot.]

1817 - to Amsterdam

"In July 1817, she left with her youngest children and a sick brother for Europe, where her oldest children had already been raised for education. She wanted to take John Charles (Johan Charl) as a servant because her children were accustomed to him. ... At the beginning of September of the same year, he set foot on Amsterdam soil for the first time. His former mistress returned to Suriname in 1825, but Johannes Charles remained permanently in the Netherlands." [Amsterdam City Archives] Apparently Majorin had to apply twice to the Paramaribo 'Hoff' for permission to leave [Manumissierekest Bijval inzake Charles (1817)

From the above, we understand that sometime between 1811 and 1817 certain of Majorin's children went to the Netherlands for education.We know that they were her older children but we do not know which childreen stayed in Suriname or indeed whether any of the older children ever returned to Suriname. It does seem likely this trip could have been, at least in part, a mother visiting her children abroad and taking the younger children to join them.

There is a suggestion that the the trip might have been to take her sick brother to Europe for treatment. The translation from Dutch might be awry. We know that Majorin's brother. Castor Jacob died in 1817 and was buried in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. (It might be that Majorin was going to visit him because he was sick.)

It seems that Majorin stayed in Amsterdam for 8 years. In 1825, her youngest child would be 10 years old, the next youngest, 14, and Laurentia 17. Her eldest, Theodore John was 18. We do not know whether Majorin left the younger children in Amsterdam when she returned.

In 1819, M E Bijval is listed as the owner of the coffee plantation, La Singularité. The plantation is 'in Administration' in 1817. Majorin will have bought the estate while in Amsterdam. Her trip to Amsterdam might have been partly for this piece of business.

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.

Some time between 1819 and 1832, Majorin has taken John Buschman's surname .

28 Feb, 1828 - Makes a Will:

"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.
Majorin 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 - link lost]

1832, a mortgage

"on July 19, 1832 M E Buschman takes a first mortgage on Pl. La Singularité tbv. de Ge, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland," [Translated by Google - from Genealogie Flu]

1841, Leaving Suriname - To England

In 1841, April 5, Majorin Buschman filed a petition to go abroad.

Surinamse_Courant_1841.jpg April, 1841 Majorin left Suriname, with two of her children, Maria and John, and her grand-daughter (John's daughter) Carolina Rudolphina.

Majorin is selling up in Surinam and visiting her other children - and probably wanting to see grand-children - for the first time. (It looks like she is rich enough to buy the house next door to Charles and Laurentia).

In May 1841, , a newspaper reports the sale of the plantation La singularité by F R Buschman. [Soektsa Boskopu].

June 29 1841, : 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 den Boedel Wijle Betje van Beeldsnijder." [Soektsa Boskopu]. (I think 'Boedel Wijle' roughly translates as 'estate once belonging to ..')

29th July, 1841, on arrival in England, 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.


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

La Singularité

Majorin was the owner of two plantations, La Singularité and Bremen. Read more ...

In April, 1829, a missionary, W.C. Genth visits La Singularité

... 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 ...Canes are planted, and expensive arrangements already made".
Genth notes that both estates are owned by the same lady and that there are 250 slaves. [Periodical Accounts Relating to the Missions of the Church ...]

A Sugar Plantation on the Surinam River
by Gerard Wernard Catharinus Voorduin (1830-1910),

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'. John Buschman, her 'husband' died 5 years before Majorin bought La Singularité

"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.

... The Bremen Plantation was not so successful. It was abandoned in 1833 and was completely washed away by the ocean in 1834". [Google Translation - interpreted by me]

An article at LinkFang using the report in Suriname Plantations.com says:

"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 ..."

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."

Surinamse_Courant_1841_sale.jpg 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 Surinaamsche Almanak

Year Acres Product Owners Administrators Slaves
1770 [Nieuwe Plantagiën van de Rivier Kommewyne]
1795 (la) 1000 C. L.J. Nepveu.
1796 1000 C. A: P.W. Spillenaar en Jan Baak
1798 1000 Coffy L.J. Nepveu. Adm. Spillenaar en Baak. Dir. Martini.
1817: koffie . en Adm. Alex. Cameron
1821 1000 Koffij M.E. Byval L.P. Geniets. E. Matroos en J.E. van Onna.
1825 1000 Koffij M.E. Byval J.W. Bergman. E. Matroos.
1826 1000 Koffij M.E. Byval C.J. Kustner. E. Matroos.
1830 1000 Koffij M.E. Byval J.J. Schutte. E. Matroos.
1832 1000 Suiker M.E. Byval C.H.J. Otto. E. Matroos en J.L. Karsseboom
1833 1000 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl C. Stein. J.L. Karsseboom en E. Matroos
1834 1000 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl C. Stein. J.L. Karsseboom en E. Matroos. 144
1835 1000 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl J.L. Karsseboom en E. Matroos. J.F. Durepée. J.F. van Heyst en J.L. Potgielet. 230
1836 1000 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl J.F. Durepée. J.L. Karsseboom en E. Matroos. 226
1837 100 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl S. Buschman. J.L. Karsseboom en E. Matroos. 134
1838 100 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl S. Buschman. J.L. Karsseboom en E. Matroos. 134
1839 100 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl S. Buschman. E. Matroos en Buschman. 134
1841 100 Suiker M.E. Buschmanl J. Buschman. E. Matroos en J. Buschman. 134
1842 100 Suiker Gebr. Buhk ⅘ en J.F. Betten ⅕. J.F. Betten. Gebr. Buhk en J.F. Betten. 200

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.

Frederic Rudolph Buschman

1815 - c. 1845

Frederic Rudolph Buschman was the last son of John and Majorin - conceived before John's death in 1814.

Surinamse_Courant_1837.jpg 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.

Surinamse_Courant_1843_death_announcement.jpgF 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)

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

(Derived from facebook, Nico Egenhuis, Amsterdam Archives, and Rotterdam Archives) and Family details

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.

In 1812, Possibly because Buschman was a member of the Evangelical Brotherhood, Charl was freed (aged about 15), and baptized in the Mission Church of Evangelical United Brothers in Paramaribo, with a babtismal name: Johan. March 1814: member of Moravian Church.

In 1814, John Buschman died and Johan Charl (and his wife Charlotte and a child, Gideon), became the property of Buschman's heiress Majorin Elizabeth.

In 1817, Majorin Buschman wished to visit the Netherlands, where her older children had already been raised. On a second attempt she obtained official manumission (freedom - I believe he had been freed earlier but not formal manumission) for Johan Charl and permission to take him with her as a servant to look after her younger children in Amsterdam. (He is registered in Amsterdam on April 26, 1817, as a 'baby sitter' - google translation). Charlotte and Gideon remained in Suriname. In December 1862, Charlotte and Gideon were manumitted by their last owner Nicolaas Box.

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.

31 March 1824, ohan Charl married Elisabeth van Eijbergen (born in Rotterdam on 27 January 1800, daughter of an office servant). Majorin returned to Suriname in 1825, leaving Johan Charl as a house servant for Theodorus Johannes Buschman, at Leuvehaven 197 in Rotterdam. In 1827, Johan Charl is recorded as a shopkeeper in Rotterdam.

Johan Charl and Elisabeth later settled in Amsterdam and 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.

See also Manumissierekest Bijval inzake Charles (1817)