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Surnames V to Z

VERMEULEN Jan Willemsz

Catharina VAN BENGALE some have referred to her as OPKLIM she was born in 1651 . She was a slave from Bengale, India. She got married 7 November 1694 to Jan Willemsz VERMEULEN. Sijn in den huwelijken stant bevestigt Jan Willemse Vermeulen jongman geboortigh van Utrecht met Catarina VAN DE CAAP vry swartinne jongedochter.

The Bengali slaves tended to be bought from the feringhi (Portuguese and mestizo raiders) off the Arakan coast. These slaves were then purchased at the port of Dinga.

India became such an imported part of the VOC trade that the VOC established direct sailing between Netherland and south India, without sailing to Batavia as the custom at first was. There were two sailing routes from the Cape to India, between August and January the ships would sail north following the coast of Africa, through the Mozambique strait and then round Madagascar to India. The other months they would sail east from Cape Town three hundred miles and then head north towards India. The journey to India took about 80 days. The return trip was usually done between the months of October and February.

Who was Catharina van Bengale?

Catharina van Bengale - was the slave Catrijn van Bengale who was 26 years old when sold on 23 December 1677 by Hester Weijers van Lier to her son in law Tobias Vlasvath, for Rds 80. Catrijn was sold with two daughters Martha 6 years and Magdalena 3 years old (Boeseken, Slaves and Free Blacks, p 134).

When was she set free?

She most probably was already free when she and Jan Willemsz Vermeujlen baptised on 27 May 1685, Sybrand. She is not referred as being a slave in this entry.

Hester van Lier, widow of Mostert, sold the following slaves:
16 April, 1681 Manuel and Elisabeth van Angola
4 Mei 1681, Arent saam met die eiendom, tuine, opstal en, baksteenoont van Hester van Lier
5 Mei 1681, Claes Kath van Bengale

The verbatim copies confirmed that she was this slave of Vlasvat, she even used this surname for herself:

VC 39, Vol. 1

bl. 68
Jan Willemsz Vermeule

bl. 100
Jan Willemsz Vermeulen
Catrijn van Bengale

bl. 115
Jan Willemsz Vermeulen en Catrina van Bengalen 5 k.

Caabse District
bl. 135
Jan Willemsz Vermeulen & Catrina Vlasvat 5 k.

t Caabse district
bl. 206
Jan Vermeulen en Catrina van Bengalen

In Resolusies - 14 Junij 1682. De wijle den gewesene fiscaal deser residentie Tobias Vlasvath met de jongst gerepatrieerde retourvlooth na "t vaderlant is vertrocken.

Hester Weijers did not leave the Cape with her son in law Vlasvath, since she married Jan Holsmith van Sitter

Catharina van Bengale had a daughter Martha that was born c1671 the father was Manuel van Angola

Catharina van Bengale had a daughter Magdalena born 1674

Catharina van Bengale had a daughter Margareta born c March 1680, and was baptised 19 April 1680, the father was Jacob van Bengale. This child, Vlasvat gave to Titus van Bengale to be raised.

Why would Vlasvat have given this daughter Margaritha van Catharina van Bengale to Titus van Bengale on 24 May 1680, to be raised by him? When Margaritha was baptised on 19 April 1680, it is stated that her father was Jacob van Bengale, and her mother as Catarina slave of Vlasvath, one of the witnesses were Titus van Bengale. Was Titus van Bengale "n freeblack and maybe a family friend of Jacob van Bengale.


Hester Weijers father was " Weyert Klimp" it seems that Catharina was also given her owners father"s surname "Klimp" became "Opklim".

The witnesses at the baptism of children of Martha Manuels were Jan Willemsz Vermeulen and Catharina Opklim.

Martha Manuels baptised the following children:-
18 March 1691 doop Martha Manuels vir Catharina getuies Jan Vermeulen en Maria Bartende (soos ek dit lees. Dit is dieselfde dag waarop Wilhelmina Vermeulen gedoop word)
4 April 1694 twee slavinne kinderen gedoopt van Jan Holsmidt waer van de moeder is genaemt Martha Mauels, tot getuijge stonden, Sara Claesze, ende Catarina WILLEMS (sic), sijn genaemt de eene Jacob, de andere Helena.
19 May 1695 een kind van Marta (sic), gent Christiaen getuigen Jan Willemse Vermeulen en Catharina van BENGALE (sic)
10 November 1697 gedoopt het kint van Marta Emanuels slavin van Johannes Holsmit (gewese man van wyle Hester Weijers van Lier voorheen getroud met Wouter Mostert) waarvan Christian als vader onder getijge van Louis van Bengale en Bertrice Cornelisse van Coetzien (sic!). Die kind se naam was Johannes.
16 May 1700 een kind van Marta Manuels onder getuige van Jacob Maurits en Catrina VERMEULEN (sic) genaemt Willem
15 February 1705 van Christiaan Mijn en Marta Manuels onder getuijgen van Sybrand Vermeulen en Maria Vermeueln gent. Maria Magdalena.

Ene Martha MANUELS doop verskeie kinders en tree Jan Willemsz Vermeulen en Catharina Opklim op as getuies.
Op 16 April 1681 stel Hester Weijers, haar slawe, Manuel en Elizabeth, "geboortig van het landschap van Angola" vry. Martha Manuels is dus in alle waarskynlikheid die kind van Manuel van Angola en Catrijn van Bengale.

On 24 May 1680 Tobis Vlasvath gave a 2 month old child, Margaretha, which belonged to his slave Catrina to Titus van Bengale.

The child Margaritha was baptised on 19 April 1680 with Jacob van Bengale as the father and Catarina, slave of Vlasvath as the mother.

Baptism of Maurits Jacobsen on 12 April 1682 mother Catharina van Bengale, and the supposed father Jacob Maurits.

He got baptised on 12 April 1682 on the ship Africa by Bortholomeus Heinen as "Maurits Jacobsen". The mother was indicated as Catharina van Bengale and the father was supposedly the skipper Jacob Maurits, "Waervan zoude sijn schipper Jacob Maurits de vader, so men seyt." The baptism was recorded in the Cape baptismal book. The entry prior to this one was dated 28 June 1682, and the next entry as 6 September 1682. This indicates that Maurits Jacobsen was baptised not on a ship anchored at the Cape, but on the way to the Cape and once they reached the Cape it was recorded in the Cape baptismal book. The obvious question is, what was this slave Catharina van Bengale doing on the ship? It is most likely that Catharina van Bengale escorted someone as a servant to the East, and then on the way back to the Cape she must have had this baby on the ship. It is also worth noting that Bartholomeus Heinen performed the baptism but the hand writing in the baptism book is that of ds Johannes Overney.

Even though this child Maurits Jacobsen used the surname Vermeulen, Jan Willemsz Vermeulen was not his biological father.

CHILDREN of Jan Willemsz Vermeulen from Utrecht, and Catharina van Bengale:

b1 Sijbrand baptised 27 May 1685 witness Maria Mostert , X 21 Oct 1708 Susanna van Koningshoven (daughter of Dirk van Koningshoven and the company slave Jannetje Bort)

b2 Anna baptised 8 Dec 1686 witness Anna (most probably Anna Pieters, one time slave of Alexandrina Maxwell) X 29 Feb 1702 Jean Durand

b3 Maria 20 Feb 1689 winesses Jan van Brienen and Maria Loosee (one time slave of Alexandrina Maxwell. Maria Loosee was married to Douw Gerbrandt Steyn and later to Paul Heyns), X 31 Oct 1705 Johannes Rogier

b4 Wilhemina (Willemtje) 18 March 1691 witness Aeltje Ameyde (also known as Aeltje Claesz van Ameyde, she was married to Arij Prinsloo and later to Lourens Heyns), X Jan Jasper Raats

b5 Jannetje baptised at Cape Town 30 Januarie 1695 witness Catharina Niemans van Amsterdam (wife of Christoffel Groenewald)

Only after Catharina obtained her freedom did Vermeulen marry her in 1694. First living with a slave woman and only later marrying her, became a common phenomenon at the Cape.

On 5 November 1685 Vermeulen was prosecuted for illegal trading. Jan Willemsz Vermeulen purchased in 1689 some cabbages from the slave Valentyn van Madgascar who stole them from the garden of Olof Bergh. In 1692 it was reported that Vermeulen was not able to sustain his family, he thus received financial assistance from the church.

Heese, Groep Sonder Grense
AJ Boeseken, Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658 -1700
Karel Schoeman, Armosyn
H Sutherland "Slavery and the Slave Trade in South Sulawesi 1660 - 1800" in ed A Reid, Slavery and Bondage and Dependence in Southeast Asia.
GC de Wet, Vryliede en Vryswartes in die Kaapse Nedersetting
Information submitted by Gerda Pieterse, Helena Liebenberg, Lorna Newcombe, Johan Vermeulen, and Mansell Upham on GenForum

Thanks to research:
A.M. Van Rensburg

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