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


From the Dutch Archives (Google translation)

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 Const Matroosen born the October 27, 1779 being twins.
All three born to the mulatto Elizabeth belonging now to W J Beeldsnijders Matroos

Martha Tjoe Nij tells us that:

"In 1781 the twins receive their manumission letters and are sent to the Netherlands to receive training."
[Given that they already had surnames at their baptism, in 1780, they were probably already free, but needed papers to leave the country ]

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. Closer examination shows that it is actually J C Matroos (Jacob Castor Matroos).

Check out the signature on the census: census_1811_H_Matroos_signature_sm.jpg

Jacob is listed as 'Free, Coloured' Living with Lucia van Matroos and a number of children.

It appears that Jacob and family owned 3 slaves:


Jacob_Matroos_Death.jpg Sometime after 1811, Jacob emigrated to Holland, and died there in 1817. He was buried in the Oude Kerk, in the Maria Chapel, grave nr. 41.

"The twins left in April 1789 from Suriname to the Netherlands for their training. In February, 1797 they returned to their homeland. They were working in various administrative positions within the government and the private sector. Jacob Matroos shortly afterMay, 31, 1817 when he made his will in Paramaribo - he found himself in that moment in morbid condition. He died a few months later in the Netherlands. He left in Suriname a wife and five children." [From a Facebook page - translated?]

The Death registration (left) tells us that at the time of his death he was living at Doelstraat 13 in Kanton / Section 2, in ??? (probably a suburb of Amsterdam).

Notification of death was by Jan Hendrick Brack (inn/lodging house keeper - possibly Jacob's landlord) and Jan Wijenberg ('speaker or claimant subscribing' for the deceased - Google translation).

It is probably no coincidence that in March, 1817 his half-sister Majorin Elizabeth applies to the Surinam authorities for permission to go to Amsterdam.

Jacob Matroos_Gravestone A 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."


1. Martha Tjoe Nij, a Surinamese genealogist, gave us the following information about Betje, mother of the twins:
"Betje van Beeldsnijder [Elizabeth Bijval] born 1742 - deceased 1830 - belonging to Wolfert Jacob Beeldsnijder Matroos is a mullatin. She is a daughter of the Free Adjuba van Betje van Beeldsnijder that died in 1808."
It may be that Betje had a slave name, and that it was the same slave name as her mother.

2. In a facebook page, it is reported that Jacob and is twin Ernst were born enslaved. The twins and their mother were released from slavery in February, 1871.

3: The above visit to the Oude Kerke was recorded in a blog and the blog is no longer accessible.