Rebekka van Bengal, SM/PROG

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Records for Rebekka van Bengal

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Rebekka van Bengal, SM/PROG

Birthplace: Bengal, India
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Partner of Carel Jansz van Bengal, SV/PROG
Mother of Jan van die Kaap and Apollonia Jansz Jansz van die Kaap, SM

Managed by: Wolfgang Gunther Schadeberg
Last Updated:

About Rebekka van Bengal, SM/PROG

Slave girl brought from Bengal to South Africa.

Divon Lan 20/2/2013: Rebekka is my direct maternal ancestor (8th ggm through an all-female line), and my maternal haplogroup is R30a, which is exclusive to South Asia. I am wondering if any other maternal descendants got their DNA tested and can confirm this. Please kindly do email me on

(Divon Lan, Feb 2013, - I have put down Carel Jansz as the father of Appolonia and Jan, as an educated guess, but one without definitive proof. Happy to hear feedback about this. Here's how I got to the conclusion, based on data presented in the excellent book "From Bengal to the Cape":

It all starts with one Stellenbosch farmer, Hendriksz van Rheenen, who when he died in 1726 and left his entire estate to his freed slave Carel Janz van Bengal.

It also says that Carel Jansz, now an estate owner, ordered in his will to free his slave Rebecca van Bengal and her children Apollonia Jansz and Jan upon his death. Perhaps he decided to free his slaves because he himself use to be one? Apparently not. In the same will he specifies that another slave of his, shall be inherited by Rebecca. However, Carel Jansz didn't wait - a child, Apollonia van der Kaap, is manumitted on 9 July 1734 by the free ex-slave Carel Jansz van Bengal (reference is Leibbrandt, Requesten).

The book also mentions a Flora, wife of Carel Jansz, who died in 1728, two years after he inherited the estate.

Summary of the circumstantial evidence we have that Carel is the father of Apollonia's children: (1) The names that Rebecca chose for her children - "Jansz" as the last name of her daughter and "Jan" as the first name of her son

(2) Carel manumitted Rebecca and her children, but one other slave was not manumitted and was inherited by Rebecca according to Carel's will

(3) Despite ordering in his will to manumit Apollonia upon his death, Carel went ahead and manumitted Apollonia in person in his life.

(4) Rebecca and Carel were living in a rural estate, so it is unlikely that Rebecca had contact with many people outside of the estate

(5) There is no mention of other men living on the estate other than Carel and the deceased van Rheenan

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