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 The Venter Clan Arrives In South Africa

 The progenitor of South African Venters and the person we know as Hendrik Venter, probably arrived in the Cape on Thursday, 12 October 1679. We know for sure that Hendrik was in the Cape by 1682 already (and a free citizen). We have at least two records proving this. (ARA VOC 4018 Cassaboek of 1682 and tax returns J183 of 1692) We know that VOC staff (soldiers) had to work for three years to become "free" and therefore Hendrik would have had to join the VOC late 1678, early 1679. Therefore, if the entries and dates in the archives are correct, then Hendrik could only have arrived in the Cape on the "Vrije Zee". If you have an open mind, you will find that Hendrik has been recorded : Vrije Zee: General Ledger and journal, 1679 (1679 Part I/I.2.b.4) Scheepssoldijboeken (5219) and journal maintained on the ship Vrije Zee 1677 – 1678 Part I/I.1.o Scheepsjournalen (5057).

 It seems, however, that it is a misnomer to think that all VOC soldiers were "bonded" and had to work for three years to become "free". Many soldiers joined the VOC as a career, or a job, and were not bound. And they were allowed to marry. For example, Jan Kruger Straalsond, a soldier employed by the VOC, married Elisabeth Venter. OK, so this happened on 22 January 1777, almost 100 years after Hendrik Venter arrived in the Cape, and rules might have changed. The point we want to make is that everything is not necessarily as straight forward as it seems. Another example is Jan Holsmit (The VOC contracted Hendrik to work for him in 1689). Jan was both a free citizen (1682, a "free" shoe maker) as well as a soldier (promoted to corporal in 1687) and it seems Hendrik followed suit, being a soldier as well as a free citizen at the same time.

 However, since the Venter ancestry is a mystery (Hendrik and the archives made sure of this), nothing is as simple as it seems. Hendrik did not even sign contracts consistently:

  On some contracts he signed "HF" and on others he signed "X".
  He was a soldier (adelborst) and earned 10 Gulden per month. (Scheepsjournalen) Not exactly the kind of salary to be able to save and to be able to own two farms at once (Nazaret and Vleesbank).
  Hendrik owned property as early as 1682 (ARA VOC 4018 Cassaboek of 1682/3), 1684 (ARA VOC 4028, census, free citizens, 1691, p76, left side) and tax returns J183 of 1692.
  At the same time, the VOC hired out Hendrik Venter to work on other free citizens' farms:

- 3 Months, for Willem Looth (ARA VOC 4019 Cassaboek of 1683, page 756, left side - In’t Casteel de Goede Hoope …
Willem Looth Hendrick Venter van Damel sold.t over 3/m a f 12.10. pr mt [is] 37.10 – [37 gulden en 10 stuivers]
) What is interesting about this entry is that Radloff (Roeloff) Pasman hired at the same time, a soldier, Wijmer Pasman (also recorded as Wemmer, Wimmer), who would later become Hendrik's stepfather in law (stepfather of Anna Sabina Villion, Hendrik's second wife). One can therefore assume that the two knew each other.
- 3 Months, for Willem Looth (ARA VOC 4021 Cassaboek of 1684, pages 831 and 840, left side - In’t Casteel de goede Hoope ult. xbr. 1684 Cassa debet - Willem Loot Hendrick Ventir adelborst over 3/m a f 12:10: pr mt. [is] 37,,10,,- [37 gulden en 10 stuivers]) On this date, Hendrik and Wijmer were again hired out together (Wijmer to Radloff Pasman). Also, during this time, when Willem Looth hired Hendrik, his future wife to be Anna Sabina Villion's father, Francois, hired a soldier and therefore the assumption can be that Hendrik knew him too and knew the Villion family.
- ¾ Months, for Willem Looth (ARA VOC 4022 Cassaboek 1685, page 560)
- 2¼ Months, for Claas Hendricksz (ARA VOC 4022 Cassaboek 1685, page 565)
- 3 Months, for Claas Hendricksz (ARA VOC 4022 Cassaboek 1685, page 575)
- 6 Months, for Jan Holsmit, 1689 (ARA VOC 4022 Cassaboek 1686 - 1690)

 During 1685, Hendrik Venter would have come across his first wife's father (Jan Mostert) as well as his second wife's father (Francois Villion). See 1685 NA 1.04.02 1421 page 922 or transcription.

 At the very least, both Willem Looth and Jan1 Holsmit2 have had other commercial arrangements with the VOC and it appears that Hendrik could have known them.

 For now, this website will only contain the South African Venter history from 1679 - 1800, e.g. the initial 120 years or so....


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Last updated on Friday, 30 March 2018.
Site creation date: 1 August 2010.