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Cape Town Memberships 1665-1832

The members of the original settlement at the Cape from 1652 onwards were supplied by the Dutch East India Company with a ziekentrooster (comforter of the sick). He held Sunday services where he was allowed to read certain passages from the scriptures and to instruct the children in their religion, but as a lay person he had no authority to administer the sacraments (offer Holy Communion, perform marriages and baptisms). Ziekentroosters up to 1665 were Willem Barentsz Wylant, Pieter van der Staal, Ernestus Back and Jan Jorisz Graa. Marriages were conducted either by the Commander (civil marriages were part of the normal system in the Netherlands) or by ministers passing on ships calling at the Cape and these latter also conducted any baptisms required.

Eventually the Dutch East India Company management decided to appoint a resident minster at the Cape (all such religious ministers were company salaried officials) and on 18th August 1665 Dominee Johannes van Arkel landed at Table Bay. Later a church was built and its present day successor is the Grote Kerk in Cape Town. At that time this particular denomination, which enjoyed the status of "public" or "privileged" church of the Dutch Republic, was known as the 'Nederduitsche Gereformeerde Kerk' but renamed the 'Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk' (Dutch Reformed Church - DRC) in the Netherlands in 1816. At the Cape (then under British rule), however, it retained its original name and in modern day South Africa it is known as the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK).

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Muster Roll 1713 - introduction

Introduction

This muster roll is that of the Free Settlers compiled on 31st December 1713, that is those not in the emply of the Dutch East India Company. In his History of South Africa 1652 to 1795 G.M.Theal writes:

In 1713 a terrible calamity fell upon the country. In March of this year the small-pox made its first appearance in South Africa. It was introduced by means of some clothing belonging to ships' people who had been ill on the passage from India, but who had recovered before they reached Table Bay. This clothing was sent to be washed at the Company's slave lodge, and the women who handled it were the first to be smitten. The Company had at the time about five hundred and seventy slaves of both sexes and all ages, nearly two hundred of whom were carried off within the next six months.

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South African Records Transcribed

A Selection of Historical Record Transcriptions

One of the obstacles genealogists face when researching South African history is the difficulty of consulting primary sources, not only because they may not be readily available, but often interpreting the script can be a daunting task.

Our aim is to produce readable and intelligible transcriptions of South African documents that have genealogical value for researchers, and to make them publicly available.

The transcription of these documents is an on-going process and depends largely on the availability of (copies of) original documents and transcribers.

If you feel you can help with this project or you have any feedback, comments or suggestions, please contact one of our website managers: Corney Keller or Richard Ball.

We hope these transcripts will be of use to researchers.

Muster Rolls introduction

The Muster Rolls (monsterrollen), preserved in the form of transcripts in the Cape Archives as VC 39-55 and 103, were apparently yearly lists of the inhabitants at the Cape, drawn up by Dutch East India Company (VOC) officials, and sent to the authorities in the Netherlands where they were preserved.

These are copies done by hand at the end of the 19th Century. to judge from the handwriting, presumably from the records preserved in the VOC archives at The Hague, Netherlands. So far I have been able to find no information on the transcriber or the circumstances.

In VC 39 part 3 of these transcripts there are lists for the years 1660 to 1666/7 for each year, 1670 to 1675 for each year, 1677, 1679, 1682, 1685, 1686, 1688, 1690, 1691, 1692, 1693, 1695, 1696, 1698 and 1700.

These records in the VOC archives are likewise copies, which were preserved in the archives of the Amsterdam Chamber of VOC. The originals must have been compiled at the Cape each year. Several copies were then made and forwarded to Batavia in Indonesia, headquarters of the VOC abroad, and the authority in charge of the Cape branch of the VOC. Other copies were presumably forwarded to the several Chambers of the VOC in the Netherlands. The originals, if they were kept at the Cape, did not survive.

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Cape Town Baptisms 1665-1695

The members of the original settlement at the Cape from 1652 onwards were supplied by the Dutch East India Company with a sieketrooster (a lay reader). He held Sunday services where he was allowed to read sermons (but not preach) and to instruct the children in their religion, but not to offer communion, or to marry or baptise. Sieketroosters up to 1665 were Willem Wylant, Pieter van der Staal, Ernestus Back and Jan Jorisz Greef.

Marriages were conducted either by the Commander (civil marriages were part of the normal system in the Netherlands) or by ministers passing on ships calling at the Cape and these latter also conducted any baptisms required.

Eventually the Dutch East India Company management decided to appoint a resident minster at the Cape (all such religious ministers were company salaried officials) and on 18th August 1665 Dominee Johannes van Arkel landed at Table Bay. Later a church was built and its present day successor is the Grote Kerk in Cape Town. The particular sect was then known as the Hervormde Kerk, modern South African equivalent the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk.

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Source: This transcription has been made from photographs of the Cape Archives Verbatim copies document VC 606 - Cape Town baptisms 1743-1756, which is a photocopy of the original register, now housed in the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerkargief, Noordwal-Wes, Stellenbosch, as G1-8/3. This photocopy was made for the Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and a copy was donated to the South African Archives, a copy going to the Cape Town Repository (VC series) and to the Pretoria Repository (where it is part of the FC series).

The baptisms cover pages 1 through 134 of this register.

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