Indexes to letters and papers received from the Cape of Good Hope.
The archives of the Dutch United East India Company, abbreviated to VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), held at the General State Archives in The Hague in the Netherlands, extend over 1277 metres of documents. The impressive quantity of documents not only provides information about the commercial, financial and diplomatic activities of the Company, but is also very significant for the history of the Netherlands and for those countries and regions in Asia where the VOC was established. It covers the period 1602 to 1795, and for Java up to 1811.
This archive holds amongst others, the letters and papers received from the various establishments. Each year copies of the administration and other documents from the Governor-General and Council in Batavia and from the other establishments in Asia and the Cape of Good Hope arrived on the return ships.
The Letters and Papers received from the Cape of Good Hope covering the period 1652 to 1795 are of particular interest to researchers and genealogists researching South African history and genealogy. They contain a vast amount of valuable material.
A typical year would contain:
- Generale missiven (general letters) plus enclosures,
- Resoluties (proceedings),
- Dagregisters (diaries),
- Documents concerning the conduct of business,
- Documents from the Raad van Justitie (Court of Justice),
- Muster-rolls and other documents.
This series of Letters and Papers received by the Heren XVII and the Amsterdam Chamber from the Cape of Good Hope, 1651-1794 is composed of 374 volumes. Each volume has it own inventory number (inventarisnummer). Initially a year was represented by one inventory number but as time passed the volumes increased to two, then three and finally four per year. The inventory numbers covered are 3988 to 4360. Each volume usually contains some form of a table of contents in the first section of the volume (it was only in 1690 that it became the rule to make tables of contents of the overgekomen brieven en papieren). To find ones way through the hundreds of thousands of folios of this series, indexes of the tables of contents need to be made and published.
This section of the South African Records Transcribed website is an attempt to create such indexes. The indexes start off with the year 1652 and as each yearly index becomes available it will be published here.
- Each index is divided into three columns. The first column is the folio number or range of folio numbers where the content can be found. The second column is a summary or index of the content. The third column may hold an image number which will link to the first image of the content in the digital archive. Only content of particular interest is linked to an image at the discretion of the transcriber. Examples of ‘particular interest’ may be the rolls of free citizens (vrijburgers), court cases, attestations, content pertaining to the local populations like land grants or letters of freedom, documents regarding the slave trade, etc.
- For a complete index of the rolls of free citizens including links to the images, see Cornel Viljoen's 'Muster Rolls - the originals' elsewhere on this website. An index of the letters of freedom will be published on this website at a later date.
- Where no image link is provided, one can find the relative documents by following the link (of the inventory number) below the table of contents in the article, and subsequently navigating through the images to the appropriate folio number. The folio number is usually situated in the top right hand corner of the right hand page.
- It can occur that a folio, or a series of folios, mentioned in the table of contents is not present in the volume as it may have been removed or lost. This is particularly true of drawings and maps as they have usually been removed to the map and drawing collections of the VOC archive. If the transcriber becomes aware of any missing folios, a note will be made in the relevant article.
- In general, the first image in each inventory number is an image of the front cover of the bound volume. The inventory number written on the front cover, which usually starts with KA xxxx (Koloniaal Archief), does not correspond with the present-day inventory number which was introduced after the last reordering and renumbering of the archives.
Source: These indexes are being transcribed directly from images of VOC archives housed in the General State Archives in The Hague, and in particular from the inventory numbers 3988 to 4360. When citing an inventory number it is common practise to cite the source at least once in full and abbreviated in any subsequent citations.
Full: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), nummer toegang 1.04.02, inventarisnummer ...
Abbreviated: NL-HaNA, VOC, 1.04.02, inv.nr. ...
A view of the island of Mauritius just before sunrise on Monday, February the 13th, 1673.