| She and her children were granted a passage to the Cape, departing on the|
ship Malacca from Vlie on 3rd October 1661 and arriving at the Cape on 4th
February 1662. (information from Letters and Documents Received
1649-1662, by HCV Leibbrandt, page 183 and Van Riebeeck's Diary.
References supplied by Lorna Newcomb)
So far as I have been able to establish, there are no surviving church records
of baptism or marriage from the 1600s for Ommen and Hardenberg which are
small towns a few miles apart in the province of Overijssel. So we have only
the Cape Archives documents to rely on, but no children brought over from the
Netherlands are named in these records, nor how many children there were.
In the Commander’s diary, 18 December 1662 are mentioned ‘the wife and 5
small children’ of Jan Coenraadsz Visser. In the muster roll of 1664, the
earliest to list numbers of children, we find Jan Coenraet Visser, of Ommen,
and Geertje Gerrits of Hardenburg listed with 3 children. Since the daughter,
Maria Jansz Visser was already married by the time of that muster roll (we
do not know its exact date, but she appears with her husband at that muster),
the three children mentioned would presumably have been Gerrit Jansz,
Geesje and Coenraad. If there were originally five children it would seem
that by 1664 two of them had died, but the number of children given may
simply have been a mistake. At all events we know of only three children born
other than at the Cape who must, therefore, have accompanied Geertje Gerrits
from Vlie to the Cape.
Interestingly enough, in the muster rolls from 1662 to 1665 she is named as
Geertjen Gerrits, but from the baptism of Zacharia, Aug 1665, she is known, in
the church registers and the muster rolls as Grietje Gerrits. I would have thought
that Geertjen and Grietje were two different names, but the muster roll of 1665
lists the couple with four children, which must mean it has overlapped the birth of
Zacharia at whose baptism entry she appears as Grietje. Presumably, then we
are talking about the same person all through from 1662 until 1692 when she died.
On the 7th March 1692 Grietje was murdered. She came home in the evening from
visiting one of her daughters to find that the slave, Claas van Malabar, was behind
with his duties. She scolded him, was not satisfied with his answer and took up a
stick to beat him when he let fly with the axe he was using to chop firewood, gave
her several blows and decapitated her.
In the accounts of the murdere she is said to have been 82 years old. In the
Commander's Diary this age appears twice, once in words and once in figures and
there can be no mistake about. It must, however, surely have been a mistake on
someone's part as this would mean that her last three children were all born during
her sixties. Someone, I feel, must have misheard or exaggerated the age of the victim.