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Familie Boshoff/Family Boshoff

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Met erkenning aan Colin Pretorius

Onderstaande inligting kom vanuit die Boshoff familie in Suid Afrika. Derde uitgawe.

Die Boshoff stamvader, Willem Hendrik BOSHOFF (waarna soms ook verwys word as Henri Guillaume BOSSAU) land op 18.03.1741 aan die Kaap aan boord van die Ruyven, wat Texel in Nederland1 op 27.10.1740 verlaat het onderweg na Batavia (sien ook sy soldystaat, waarhy aangegee word as Willem Hendrik Boshoff van Bayonne). Tydens die vaart na die Kaap het 63 passasiers en bemanning omgekom en met die aankoms aan die Kaap was 28 siek. Die siekes is aan die Kaap agtergelaat. Op grond van die gebeure na die vertrek van die Ruyven, blyk dit dat Willem Hendrik een van dié was wat agtergelaat is. Na sy aankoms versoek Willem Hendrik 'n attestaat/getuigskrif van die Franssprekende gemeente Altona naby Hamburg. Die getuigskrif is op 25 April 1742 uitgereik in die naam van Henri Guillaume BOSSAU – moontlik 'n verFransde weergawe van sy naam. Willem Hendrik se herkoms kon egter tot nog toe nie met sekerheid vasgestel word nie. Op 15.10.1752 trou Willem Hendrik te Tulbagh met Martha Maria CORDIER ≈ 20.5.1736 Paarl, d/v Philippus CORDIER ≈ 26.10.1698 en Elizabeth (Isabeau) MALHERBE ≈ 1.12.1697 † Maart 1783. Uit hierdie huwelik spruit die volgende kinders: b1 Willem Hendrik ≈ 21.7.1754 b2 Johannes Philippus ≈ 25.5.1755 b3 Jacobus Nicolaas ≈ 4.12.1757 b4 Louis Joachim ≈ 18.4.1761 b5 Johannes Josephus ≈ 31.7.1763 b6 Jacobus Petrus ≈ 10.3.1764 b7 Martha Maria *2.11.1766 ≈ 3.7.1767 b8 Christiaan Coenraad ≈ 25.9.1768 b9 Petrus Hieronimus ≈ 6.10.1771 b10 Elizabeth Maria Margaretha ≈ 9.11.1777 Die stamvader sterf op 26.7.1786 in die Waveren-distrik.

The early Boshoff family at the Cape

Willem Hendrik Boshoff (Henri Guillaume Bossau) ancestor of the South African Boshoffs arrived at the Cape on 18.3.1741. He had served as a member of the Crew on the Dutch ship Ruyven. An entry on page 58 of the ship's register lists the name Willem Hendrik Boshoff van Bayonne. The "Ruyven" under the command of Bernardus Heymans had left Texel, Holland, on 27.10.1740 bound for Batavia. It had proved a difficult voyage, and on arrival at the Cape 63 had already died, and 28 were ill. It was necessary for the sick to disembark at the Cape as the Captain refused to take them on to Batavia. We can only presume that W.H. Boshoff was amongst them.

Once in the Cape, Willem Hendrik Boshoff was taken into the employ of the Dutch East India Company, where he served as blacksmith, locksmith and gunsmith. Shortly after his arrival he sent for a testimonial from the Church which he had attended in Europe. This document was received and does not refer to Bayonne, but merely states that he "came from France amongst us". The testimonial came from the consistory of the French Church of Hamburg which assembled at Altona on the 25th April 1742 and stated that he had left the congregation two years before, having lived with them for nearly four years.

The document was originally written in French and later translated into Dutch and English. The names Henri Guillaume Bossau on the testimonial were possibly the names by which the French referred to the man. Bearing in mind that the authorities at the Cape knew only of a Willem Hendrik Boshoff he must have given a satisfactory explanation of this discrepancy in names to both the State and Church authorities.

A likely explanation could be that he went to Bayonne to further his trade. Bayonne was, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a fairly well known centre for the manufacture of small arms. The definition of the word bayonet in the Oxford Concise Dictionary states "perhaps from Bayonne as made or first used there." In my research I have not come across any documentary proof of a change in the name from Bossau to Boshof(f).

In the Ned. Geref. Church Archives, an early baptismal register for Cape Town has two interesting entries. The first one is dated 28th March 1745 and it is for a boy namely, Willem Lodewyk. The father is given as Willem Hendrik Boshof and the mother is listed as Cornelia Cokkie (it does state in the register that the child is illegitimate.) The second entry is for a girl named Sophia Margarita and dated 21st January 1748. The parents here are listed as Willem Hendrik Boshof (presumed father) and the mother is Cornelia Cockzaaya. There were a number of employees of the Dutch East India Company who had children by slaves at the Cape at that time, as appears from the early registers.

In 1749 Boshoff was discharged from the Dutch East India Company at his own not claim any land belonging to the Company as his own, and that he agreed to the Company taking him back into service at any time subject to the previous terms, should he be required, or if his conduct was not satisfactory. The Act of Discharge was signed by the Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel at the Castle in Cape Town on 7.8.1749. This original document was deposited document in the Cape State Archives for safe keeping. Willem Hendrik's name appears for the first time on the Free Burghers Roll drawn up in Swel1endam on the 16th, 17th and 18th March 1750.

Three important documents in his life refer to him as Willem Hendrik Boshof(f) "van Bayonne", firstly the register of the vessel "Ruyven," in which he sailed to the Cape, secondly the Act of Discharge of 7.8.1749 and lastly the marriage register of Tulbagh entry No.12 which reads:- "15.10.1752 Willem Hendrik Boshof, van Bayonne, burger aan Swellendam, Jongman, met Martha Maria Cortje van Cabo de Goede Hoop, jonge dogter." The name Boshoff is sometimes spelt with one F and sometimes with two. On the Certificate of Discharge of the original man it has two, and two are also used in the list of the crew "Ruyven". In the Register of the Tulbagh Church where his marriage is recorded the name is entered with one F.

Willem Hendrik's wife, Martha Maria Cortjie (Cordier) was of French extraction, her grandparents being Louis Cordier and Francoise Martinet who came from France in 1688. Willem and Martha had a family of ten children and nine of these children had Dutch names. Only one had a French name Louis after his mother's grandfather. If the father had been French, surely more of the children would have received French names?

From the photocopy of the baptismal certificate of the first son of Willem Hendrik and Martha Maria Boshoff, the witnesses listed prove interesting. The first witness Cortjie is a relation of the mother, Martha Maria, but the name of the second witness, Margaretha Wendelina Boshof, presents a problem. We find no other Boshoff families listed in the registers at the Cape at this time, and one can only presume that some person was asked at the baptism to stand proxy. This was a practice often carried out during those years. Possibly the mother or the sister of Willem Hendrik Boshoff was the Margaretha Wendelina whose name appears as the second witness. It is important to note that the surname given is Boshof and not Bossau, which is a further indication of Dutch origin. Also in notes by Mr Theo Boshoff of Holland, mention is made of a certain Hendrik Boshoff who married Johanna Eleonora Van Eck on 27.12.1669. One of their children was named Hendrik, and the other Wendelina, and possibly the South African forbear Willem Hendrik was descended from this family, although there is no documentary proof of this.

Very little information is available on the original family at the Cape with the exception of early documents of the Dutch East India Company, early Church registers (which include baptisms, marriages and burials) and a few permits which were granted. Two permits can be found in the Cape Government Archives dated 1785 and 1790. Both these permits were granted to Jacobus Nicolaas Boshoff, the son of the original man, allowing him grazing rights for his cattle on two separate farms. The first permit, granted on 7.4.1785 was for the farm "Rady". The second permit was granted on 20.3.1790 and was for the farm "Duinzicht" which was situated on the Gouritz River in the Mossel Bay area. This permit states that the widow of Willem Hendrik Boshof senior was still on the farm and it would appear therefore that Willem Hendrik Boshoff senior must have been dead by this time. A very early death notice in the Government Archives in Cape Town, gives us the death of a Willem Boshoff on 26.7.1786 in the Waveren district in the Cape, a large area at that time which included among other towns, both Tulbagh and Swellendam.

With aknowledgement to:

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