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Marthinus Johannes Greyling

Marthinus Johannes Greyling,  'n Gebore Vrystater, district Thaba 'Nchu. Hy was 'n egte Nasionale burger van sy Vaderland. He was gekies as veldkornet in die oorlog van 1899 en het ook gedien as kommandant. Het ook deelgeneem met die Jameson inval, as vrywilliger an die Vrystaat, en was as krygsgevangene gestuur na Ceylon. Was 'n flinke voorsitter gewees van die Nasionale Tak Germiston. Die ou Sanna in die hand van Wyle M. J.Greyling in die bygaande portret was reeds in die gebruik in die groot Kaffer oorlog van ons Voortrekkers. Dwarsdeur sy lewe was hy 'n dappere held gewees en op geestelike gebied was hy bekend as 'n getrou kerkganger. Hy het jare lank geding as ouderling en op geestilke en maatskaplike gebied was hy altyd 'n goeie voorbeeld  vir sy land en volk gewees. Die portret  en lewensbeskywing van wyle M. J. Greyling is ingestuur deur sy jongeste seun Johannes Greyling van 36 Oostehuizen Straat, Germiston, 'n ardbeider op die Suid-Afrikaanse [...]

Williamson Godfrey

Williamson Godfrey Williamson Godfrey was born on 14 August 1875 in Mauritius and was the son of Subhan Godfrey of Durban. He was educated at Boys Model School in Durban and Bishops College in Calcutta. He also attended Edinburgh University and graduated in 1903 where he met his wife Catherine Swan of Edinburgh. He was the first qualified Indian doctor to practice in Johannesburg On his return to South Africa he worked in Johannesburg and was an early associate of Mahatma Gandhi, and with him rendered medical relief during the plague outbreak in Johannesburg in 1904. He was a keen sportsman and captained cricket, hockey and football teams during his college years in Calcutta. He donated a trophy for South African Non-European Soccer competitions. His wife Catherine was born on 06 December 1879 and took prominent part in social and welfare activities among the Indians of Johannesburg. The family lived at 21 Minto Street, Edinburgh, Scotland and 248 Jeppe Street, [...]

Dirk Ligter Clanwillam

Dirk Ligter a renowned stock theif  of a singularly engaging temperament and with characteristics all his own, who became a legendary figure in Afrikaans literature. He is believed to have been born in the vicinity of Clanwilliam (or somewhat farther north) some time in the 1885, and to have been of Mozambique native and Bushman extraction. It is presumed that he died of TB in Somerset Hospital not far from the Breakwater prison where he spent some time. Most of what is known about him, based on accounts of farmers in the districts of Clanwilliam and Ceres, is to be found in a fictionalised form in Boplaas (1938) by Boerneef (I. W. van der Merwe). The historical accuracy of the details narrated in these anecdotes cannot be assumed, but in broad outline they are undoubtedly founded on fact. Basically Dirk Ligter was a good-natured, hard-working farm-hand; but he was of a restless disposition and could not resist the lure of the wide open [...]

Christiaan Frederick Louis Liepoldt

Louis Leipoldt was born in Worcester,on the 28 December 1880 and died in Cape Town on 12 April 1947. Physician, poet and author, Louis was the fourth child of Christiaan Friedrich Leipoldt (Died: 11 November 1911), a Rhenish missionary and N.G. Kerk minister, and his wife Anna Meta Christiana Esselen (Died: 24 December 1903), the daughter of the Rev. Louis F. Esselen, a Rhenish missionary of Worcester, in whose home in Adderley Street Leipoldt was born and where he lived with his parents until he was four years old. His maternal grandfather gave Leipoldt his first lessons in reading and writing, guided his general education and exerted great influence on him during his formative years. His paternal grandfather, J. G. Lepoldt, was a Rhenish missionary at Ebenhaezer on the Olifants River and at Wuppertal. Leipoldt's father was also a missionary, first in Sumatra and from 1879 at Worcester. In 1883, however, he became an N.G. Kerk minister and settled in 1884 at Clanwilliam in the N.G. parsonage in Park Street.

Henry Benjamin Shawe

Mr. Henry Benjamin Shawe was born in Clanwilliam in 1864, receiving his education at the Clanwilliam Public School. He was the assistant Under Colonial Secretary for the Cape, and Lieut.-Colonel of the P.W.O.R., Cape Peninsula Rifles. He was the son of the gallant Captain Shaw, who was a firm old Colonist, and one of the 1820 Settles killed in action while fighting in the Gaika-Galeka war of 1877 – 1878, and was also a Member of the House of Assembly for Clanwilliam for many years.

Gareth Cliff has a Cliff Hanger of a Tree

Gareth Cliff, grandson of Rev William Kidwell Cliff a founder of the Pietermaritzburg Cathedral, has with great interest and enthusiasm has discovered a sophisticated blend of prolific South African families which is a fine example of the rich and diverse cultural and social backgrounds that make up many families in our country. Gustav Preller considered being the father of Afrikaans language and literature, Naval Admiral Sir. H. Heathcote, Commandant General Hendrik Schoeman President of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (1860-1862), Voortrekker Leader Piet Retief as well as Alfred Benjamin Kidwell the son of one of the original 1820 settlers are just some of the biological blood lines of Gareth.

Baron Von Buchenroder a man of violence

Baron Friedrich von Buchenroder was a German nobleman, and great great grandfather of Louis Leipoldt, whose family belonged to the nobility of Hesse-Darmstadt, and has been extinct for about forty years. He had served in the Dutch army, and came to the Cape in 1803 as ex-major, with the intention to establish new settlements for the development of the colony, a scheme which was supported by a group of Dutch businessmen under the leadership of Gysbert Carel van Hoogendorp.

A Century of Who’s Who – The Early Years

In 1907 the first South African Who's Who was published by The South African Who's Who Publishing Company in Durban. This amazing publishing company belonged to Ken Donaldson who was also the editor as well as the proprietor. By 1909 the 3rd issue of Who's Who was proving to be an amazing publication yet also differed somewhat from other books of a similar nature whereby who's featured mainly aristocracy.

Govindasamy Krishnan

Govindasamy Krishnan was born in Escourt, Natal in 1901 and educated at Pretoria and S.M.H. High School, Shiyali, Tanjore. He left school in response to Mahatma Ghandi's call of non-Co-operation movement and did propaganda work and engaged in business. He was also a teacher at the Tamil school in Pretoria. Amongst many other things he was also the Scout Master of the Pretoria Indian Boys Scouts and awarded the Tamil Vedic Young Men's Association gold medal for invaluable service.

Ruda Landman

Ruda Landman's birthplace in the dry and dusty town of Keimoes, in the Northern Cape, is a far cry from where her family's humble beginnings started in the lush and fertile valleys of Europe. From the Persecution of her family in France in the 1600's, her ancestry consists of a kaleidoscope of French refugees as well as Dutch and German Immigrants. When the French Huguenots arrived at the Cape in 1688 as a closely linked group, in contrast to the Germans, they all lived together in Drakenstein, although they never constituted a completely united bloc; a number of Dutch farms were interspersed among them. Until May 1702 they had their own French minister, Pierre Simond, and until February 1723 a French reader and schoolmaster, Paul Roux. The Huguenots clung to their language for fifteen to twenty years; in 1703 only slightly more than one fifth of the adult French colonists were sufficiently conversant with Dutch to understand a sermon in Dutch properly, [...]

Rev. Dr. Laurence Hynes Halloran – the fake minister

Have you ever considered that your Ancestors marriages and baptisms in Cape Town during the 2nd British Occupation were not valid?, all by one minister who faked his identity. One of the strangest characters at the Cape of Good Hope during the first decade of the nineteenth century, was the Rev. Dr. Laurence Hynes Halloran (1765-1831). Little is known of his early life. Born in Ireland at Ratoath, he appears as a schoolmaster in Exeter at about the time when his first two volumes of poems were published, in 1790 and 1791. Next we find him in the Royal Navy as a chaplain, and present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 while serving in H.M.S. "Britannia". Two years later, on 7 December 1807, he arrived at the Cape of Good Hope to take up his position as chaplain to the garrison, and, a little later, he became chaplain to the navy as well. His extraordinary career at the Cape has been [...]

Joshua Norton a peculiar man

Among the 307 new settlers for the Cape of Good Hope, who came ashore in Algoa Bay from the British transport Belle Alliance early in 1820, was a small Jewish boy from London, and aged nearly two years old. Joshua Abraham Norton born February 4th 1819, son of John and Sarah Norton, who accompanied his family to this wild and far-off region, by a strange chance, forged a unique link between South Africa and the United States. Those 4,500 emigrants, from England, Scotland and Ireland, came to the Cape in consequence of the distress prevailing in the Old Country after the Napoleonic Wars. Downing Street, untroubled by their inexperience and lack of equipment, welcomed them as human buffers against the Xhosa's across the Border. Though many learnt farming through bitter experience, John Norton turned towards the newly-founded settlements, first of Grahamstown and later of Port Elizabeth, where he built up a business as a ship-chandler and merchant. But here too, life was [...]

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has more connections with South Africa than most people are aware of. He was born posthumously after his father was killed in the 2nd World War and his mother moved to South Africa in January 1947 when he was 2 and a half, and lived there until he was 12 years old. Initially he went to Little People's Play School in Wynberg and then was educated at Western Province Preparatory School. He grew up in Constantia where his grandmother Florence Agnes Rathfelder descends from one of the wealthiest families in the Cape. He remembers attending St. Saviours Church in Claremont where Canon Wade was the resident priest. He said the Minister had two skinny daughters of which one of them was Virginia who won the Wimbeldon Tennis Singles. On visits home he loves to eat out at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and makes a special place in his heart for Cape Town. Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet "Order [...]

Hugh Grant’s Cape Ancestry

Hugh Grant Suave and dapper film star Hugh Grant family ancestral roots did not begin in the lavish suburbs of Notting Hill, London but right here in our very own vibrant mother City of Cape Town. Stumbling across an article I found about a year ago mentioned Hugh Grants' grandfather Major Ronald Grant being born in the Cape and passing away at his home in Newlands, Cape Town tempted me with my bloodhound instincts to dig a little deeper to see what I could find. But let's go back to the beginning...... Hugh Grant's grandmother Mina Waller Stewart was the daughter of Dr. James Stewart well loved and respected Missionary who was institutional in the creation of the Lovedale College in the Eastern Cape. His background has includes some wonderful and well respected people in his family as well inheriting his renowned social standing through his grandparents and through the generations of wealthy backgrounds. Hugh attended Wetherby School, Latymer Upper [...]

RH Morris Master Builder

By 1896 Richard H. Morris had become known as a builder of distinguished quality and workmanship and the fame of R.H. Morris had spread. Herbert Baker had met Richard on several occasions and took immediately to this man who built with such fine quality and precision. It was then that R.H. Morris secured the prestige contract for the restoration of "Groote Schuur", after the building had been extensively destroyed by fire.

Counterfeit Countess

Princess Catharina Maria Radziwill was born Ekaterina Adamevna, Countess Rzewuska, in St Petersburg, Russia on 30th March 1858. A journalist and only daughter of Count Adam Rzewuski, an exiled Polish noble-man living in Russia. Christened Ekaterina, she later changed her name to Catherine Maria. Whilst living in Russia and a favourite of Tsar Nicholas she married Prince Wilhelm in 1873 at the age of 15. They settled in the Radziwill family palace in Berlin and moved in the highest social circles, but because of her indiscretions - under a pseudonym she had written a series of articles in La Nouvelle Revue, in which she caricatured the royal family and other nobles. Her political meddling however resulted in her being banished from the imperial German court. In 1886 the Radziwills settled in Russia, where they lived at her country estate on the Volga, and in St. Petersburg during the winter season, alternated with journeys to the most fashionable European holiday resorts. Although she [...]

Sir Leicester Beaufort

On a recent trip to Plumstead Cemetery to photograph all those lost and forgotten people in, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the people buried there and where they came from. Some people’s names bother me and I have this urge to find out more. One particular person was Sir Leicester Beaufort who died on 13 August 1926 – now who would have thought that someone who had a title would have been left and forgotten with the thousands of other neglected and derelict headstones that say “we will never forget you” - how family members use this term on an epitaph always amazing me and 90% of the time they are forgotten and neglected. I asked some of the other volunteers who was with us on the day "who was the guy that invented the Beaufort scale? “And they all piped up “ah that was William” so it could not have been him but nice try. But [...]

Who’s Who of South Africa

In 2013, after being retrenched and closing down the website I started called Ancestry24, I was stunned when I was offered the entire collection of the Who’s Who publications as “thank you and good bye present” These books would have been literally dumped into storage and then probably gone for shredding. I am extremely grateful for this amazing set of books that sit proudly in my library. If you would like any personalities looked up, I do have small fee for supplying you with a copy. In 1907 the first South African Who's Who was published by The South African Who's Who Publishing Company in Durban. This amazing publishing company belonged to Ken Donaldson who was also the editor as well as the proprietor. By 1909 the 3rd issue of Who's Who was proving to be an amazing publication yet also differed somewhat from other books of a similar nature whereby who's featured mainly aristocracy. As regards omissions for that year, there [...]