Sister Sheila has been doing some research on our early ancestors: Some genealogical sleuthing. We all know one should be careful what ye seek – ye may find!

We now have a new colourful ancestor – the Cape’s first ‘Bergie‘ or homeless person. He was probably one of the many unfortunates that the ‘civilised western world’ ‘captured’ and/or ‘owned,’ enslaved or sold, or otherwise dominated. In addition to our ancestors Louis van Bengal, Maria van de Caep and Lijsbet van Abyssiania, there’s now Amsoeboe van Timor: born around 1640 in Pekanbaru in Indonesia.

– indonesia –

Amsoeboe van Timor’s movements from Indonesia to Mauritius (1676) to the Cape of Good Hope (1679) – Amsoeboe, his wife Inabe van Timor, and daughters Iba and Baauw are sent by the ‘Dutch East India Company’ (VOC) from Batavia [Jakarta on the Indonesian island of Java] on the hooker Goudvink to Mauritius – a VOC outpost (buitenpost) governed from the Cape of Good Hope which latter colony is itself governed from Batavia. Their unnamed son, however, remains at Batavia. They are described as a ‘politically exiled, but un‐enslaved,’ family from Timor .

The commander on Mauritius at the time is a ‘reformed privateer’ (! – do pirates ‘reform?’) Hubert Hugo. There, the family is accused in 1677 of conspiring with Company slaves and exiled convicts to overthrow the colony, massacre its officials, and escape. Note how they are ‘un-enslaved,’ yet accused of wanting to escape! Amsoeboe and his family are all separately interrogated in a pre‐trial investigation by Commander Isaac Johannes Lamotius and his council. Also implicated in this conspiracy is a Company soldier Hans Beer, ‘concubine to Iba.’ Two conspirators hang themselves. Behr ‘dies mysteriously during interrogation.’ (I’d call that tortured to death, most likely).

Washing his hands of the pickle by claiming no authority to legally try Amsoeboe and his family, Lamotious (so, like Lamontius Pilate?) sends them to the Cape of Good Hope in 1679. There, the family settle amongst the colony’s free‐population, and – most likely being in abject penury – apparently start a brothel.

Their household ‐ one of the small colony’s two operational brothels – is censured by Commander Simon van der Stel and his council in 1681, authorizing the fiscal to arrest any offenders he finds there. The 1682 census enumerates seven unnamed members for this family ‐ including presumably three daughters of Amsoeboe’s daughter Iba. Amsoeboe is now recorded as Paay [‘Father’] Timorees or Moor ‐ and his wife as Ansela van Timor. After the death of his wife Inabe in 1682, the Orphan Chamber makes an inventory of the impoverished family’s meagre worldly goods.

Iba – now known as Anthonique ‐ joins the Stellenbosch household of freeburgher Jacob Aertsz: Brouwer and his twice‐widowed wife Agnetha RixBrouwer assaults his wife regularly and on one occasion also another free‐burgher’s wife. He later viciously assaults Iba (1686) with a broomstick soon after also whipping his slave Tido van Goa. Tido dies from his injuries.

In 1693 Iba jointly baptizes her three daughters, each adopting their own biological father’s name. 

Amsoeboe next appears in the records in 1692 as a miller with both daughters in the Cape District alongside free‐burgher Gerrit Theunisz (from Utrecht) ‐ concubine to Iba ‐ which couple is again recorded in 1695.

Death: Amsoeboe van Timor passed away on February 4, 1708. “The body of an old black, known as Paay Moor [Amsoeboe van Timor, exiled from Batavia and Mauritius], found dead in the gardens in a small hut. He was accustomed to beg his food in the town. The Fiscal & surgeon & secretary of justice went to examine it. It is believed that he died of natural disease & great poverty. The body being partly decomposed, (it) was buried on the spot.”

– caption: ‘Paay Moor” [Amsoeboe van Timor], in front of his small hut

Research on the Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) results of the family are fascinating. Mitochondrial DNA is passed only from your mother, unlike your nuclear DNA which you inherit from both parents. Read more at wikitree, but just one finding of the research is that Ansela and Iba could not have been biological sisters (confusion, I thought they were mother and daughter?), as their descendants do not share the same mtDNA haplogroup. One of Ansela’s descendant’s results yielded identical matches to:

  • 1 African American individual
  • 1 individual from the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 4 Zanzibaris
  • 2 ‘South African Coloureds’
  • 1 ‘South African Indian’
  • 1 ‘South African White’
  • 67 South African Bantu-speakers.

Besides being one of my ancestors, Amsoeboe was also the Cape’s founding father of the Erasmus, Blom & De Jager families – innit lovely to see how apartheid was all built on myth and bullshit!? Isn’t it tragic to see how poor people are targeted?


More information on Amsoeboe on this fascinating site by Delia Robertson: The First Fifty Years Project: ) [Mansell UphaM] ; Also wikitree ;

4 thoughts on “Ancestry

  1. I had lunch with an old client, member of a very old Cape family, on Friday .
    He told a wonderful story about his grandfather:
    He spent 200 Sterling to establish his family tree. Upon receipt thereof, he spent 5000 Sterling trying to suppress the results!
    Hellofa lot of money back then!
    Regards – John Lee

    Liked by 1 person

    • That IS classic!! I think a lot of us are in this boat. We claim royalty and keep dead quiet about the dodgy codgers!


  2. Hiya! We are related royalty haha, I am currently doing my family tree and stumbled upon this fellow, not being the usual dutch name I googled his name and came upon this article- thanks for the info.Our family are related to the Iba Anthonique van Timor and Gerrit Theuniz line – Erasmus branch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Certainly is interesting. Amazing how much info one can find nowadays! And – as always, as now – the poor sure got treated shamefully, didn’t they!?


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