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Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. She and her husband head to Salt Lake City Utah to research Janie's elusive 4th great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to a dark secret. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present before disaster strikes? Available now on Amazon.com and and Amazon.ca
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Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery
by Lorine McGinnis Schulze

Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. She and her husband head to Salt Lake City Utah to research Janie's elusive 4th great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to a dark secret. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present before disaster strikes? Available now on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


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The following series was translated from the original Dutch by Willem Rabbelier and Cor Snabel of the Netherlands. It is published with their permission on The Olive Tree Genealogy pages.


The book/thesis of Jaap Jacobs contains a list of about 500 ship crossings between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and New Amsterdam over the period 1609-1675. In only 56 cases the presence, but not the names, of colonists on board is mentioned. We will never be one hundred percent certain how many, if any, colonists other ships carried. Please bear that in mind while browsing and/or consulting this data.

The most profitable branch of the WIC organization was the kaapvaart (privateering). As explained in our previous short description of the WIC organization, the company had received the monopoly of trade and shipping on the whole Atlantic area. When the Dutch authorities gave this monopoly, battle was inevitable, because the Caribbean waters were considered by the Spaniards as Mare Clausum (closed sea). The "Heren XIX" had chosen the strategy of undermining the Spanish and Portuguese power by means of an intensive kaapvaart. The idea of kaapvaart wasn't new; the first kaperbrief or commissiebrief ( letter of consignment) had peviously been issued by Lodewijk van Nassau (brother of Willem van Oranje) to Captain Diderick Sonoy in 1568. The first two privateering squadrons under WIC command sailed out in 1624 under shippers Pieter Schouten and Hendrick Jacobsz. Kat. They conquered several enemy ships and the loot was considerable. Due to disappointing results of the privateering fleet of Captain Boudewijn Hendriksz., a fleet under command of captain Piet Heyn sailed to the Caribbee 1626 to assist him. Other names of known captains commanding privateering esquadrons are: Jacob Willekens, Cornelis Jol (aka Captain Houtebeen meaning Captain wooden leg),Jan Dircksz. Lam (sic: Lam= Lamb), Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (before he entered the navy), Willem Credo, Cornelis Gerrits, Pieter Hamers and Salomon Reynders.

Every ship sailing from Brazil, the Caribbee or any other Spanish/Portuguese colony was attacked, conquered and the cargo was shipped to Amsterdam or Middelburg. The silver and gold shipments from Peru and Bolivia, which were taken by the Dutch, did significant harm to the Spanish economy and the Spaniards needed that silver to finance their war against the Netherlands. That's why the Dutch government supported the WIC in this. In 1640, privateering under command of the WIC was stopped: the costs became too high, the losses too frequent, the profits too low. But, the damage inflicted on the Spanish economy was enormous: it exceeded 110.000.0000 guilders! Privateering didnąt stop however: on the contrary, private captains and ship-owners, especially in Zeeland (the towns of Vlissingen and Middelburg) Rotterdam and Dordrecht continued privateering.

To illustrate the profits from the kaapvaart enterprises, here are some figures:

In the period 1623-1637 the Dutch conquered 609 enemy ships, worth 81 million guilders including cargo . After deduction of all costs, equipment of the ships, payments of the sailors etc., an amount of 36 million guilders remained. Most of these profits ended up in the pockets of the shareholders and not in the WIC fund.

A good example is the conquered silverfleet by Piet Heyn in 1628. The booty was worth 11,5 million guilders, minus costs of 7 million, quite a considerable amount of money. But according to the regulation the crew was entitled to 10% and 17 month extra payment and 10% for the Stadtholder as Admiral-General. The bewindhebbers had a poor 1%, but the shareholders received 50% dividend pay. After this generous hand-out only 1.5 million remained for the Company fund. It has to be said that privateering captains and shipowners had a high status in the Republic; after their carreer was over, many of them became merchants or high authorities.

It was not unusual now and then that ships fled during a (privateering) sea-battle. Dutch captains who were found guilty of this kind of treason were often stongly punished. When the WIC ships the Maeght van Enkhuizen and the Matanca secretly sailed away during the Four-Days-Battle in January 1640, the Captains were killed by a sword which was broken before their eyes! The captain of the Graef Ernest, who abandoned the fleet during a battle fought under the command of Cornelis Jol in the West Indies in 1638, was dismissed and sent to Groningen in the Republic where he was held under arrest.

The very last kaperbrief was issued by king Lodewijk Napoleon, July 14, 1810, when the Republic was under French occupation.

Willem's Note:
  • PIRACY Pirates robbing any ship on own authority and for own account.
  • PRIVATEERING A legitimate form of piracy, authorized by a higher authority (sovereign or a government). A privateer had to be in possession of a commission-letter handed by the sovereign or government, and was bound to very strict rules. As a rule commission-letters were only issued by the state during war-time, and, it was not allowed to conquer or plunder ships of neutral states.

    Through the ages, the line between piracy and privateering always has been very thin, and often overstepped (or sailed?) During times of war, governments of sailor nations highly profited from privateering: it inflicted severe losses to the enemy and -at the same time- made it possible for governments to save on building and maintenance costs needed for a regular navy. Buccaneers were an example of the thin line between piracy and privateering: the name refers to the group of pirates and privateers who operated in the Caribbean Waters. Privateers, but of another nature, were the Barbary privateers of the Mediterranean Sea: from the beginning of the 17th century they attacked and plundered ships of all Christian nations. The English word corsair refers to them Mind you, in the seventeenth century about 60 Dutch captains have been sailing on Barbary privateering ships, fighting, footwashing (captured Christians were thrown overboard) or enslaving their fellow-Christians!


Henk den Heijer Uitgeverij Walburg Pers Zutphen, 1993
ISBN 90 601 1912 6

R.B.Prudąhomme van Reine
Uitgeverij ADZ, Vlissingen, 1991
ISBN 90-72838-05-X

Choose from the Marine Museum Series
Introduction to Marine Museum Series
List of all ships sailing from Netherlands to the New World 1609 - 1674
List of all ships sailing from the New World to the Netherlands 1609 - 1674
#1: Dutch First Presence in the Atlantic Area
#2: The Isle of Texel
#3: The West Indies Company/West-Indische Compagnie (WIC)
#4: The Crossing: Routes and Duration
#5: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1624-1640
#6: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1641-1657
#7: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1658-1660
#8: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1661-1664
#9: Privateering Under W.I.C. Command
#10: Food on Board Ship
#11: Harbour Procedures in New Amsterdam


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