Charles Dickens sues Cape Newspaper

Charles Dickens, in 1861, put a restraining order on the Eastern Province Herald colonial newspaper from reprinting portions of a literary work composed by applicant and protected by the English Copyright Act. Case Information [...]

  • finding the right genealogist

Finding the right Genealogist

Finding the right genealogist, genealogy researcher or family history researcher is paramount to the success of your research. As the new age of technology advances, researchers, family historians and genealogists are appearing overnight offering a [...]

  • James dueden

James Edwin Duerden

James Edwin Duerden was a Zoologist; world authority on corals, ostriches and wool. He was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 7th April 1865 and died in Nottingham on 4th September 1937. He was the eldest [...]

  • Michael-Davitt

Michael Davitt Irish Nationalist

Michael Davitt an Irish nationalist politician and soldier was born on 25 March 1846 in Straide, County Mayo in Ireland. He was the son of a peasant farmer, but the family moved to Lancashire, where Michael [...]

  • Maternity Records Cape Town

Maternity Hospital Records

Maternity Hopsital Records provide vital key's to tracing your family history especially when you have no idea where someone's birth was registered. The Cape Town birth registration system seems complicated but its not really [...]

Theophil Wendt

Theophil Otto Frederick Charles Wendt was born on the 22nd August 1874 in a London suburb; died 5 February 1951 in Johannesburg. Conductor, composer. The son of German emigrants to England, Theo Wendt's father was [...]

  • William Savage

William Douglas Savage

William Douglas Savage was born at Gores Bridge, in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland, in the year 1833, and accompanied his parents to India. Educated in Ceylon, his great ambition was to go in for [...]

  • naturalizations

Naturalizations and immigration records

Naturalizations and immigration records are an extremely valuable part of any application for Ancestry Passports or VISA’s. I provide a service for anyone looking to Immigrate to get Citizenship in a foreign Country from [...]

Women of the Slave Lodge

The women in the slave lodge were in a vastly different situation from the settlers' women slaves. Lodge women, for instance, were not under the direct domestic supervision of any settler or European official. There [...]

St. Johns Church

St. Johns Anglican Church The Anglican parish church of St. John's, Cape Town, began with the arrival of Bishop Gray on that memorable Sunday, 20th February 1848. With the Bishop were the [...]

  • Ancestry Gift Voucher

Ancestry Gift Vouchers

Ancestry Gift Vouchers are the perfect gift idea for family and friends for Christmas or Birthday presents. An Ancestry Gift Voucher is something that will last for generations to come and preserve family history's. [...]

The Villains Wore Hats

Danzer, a renegade Xhosa, who settled with a party of his followers on the banks of the Great River, in the territory of Jager Afrikaner. There was talk of their uniting their bands, [...]

  • John Graham

How Grahamstown got its name

John Graham was born on the 24th July 1778 in Dundee Scotland. He was a British officer and the second son of Robert Graham, the last laird of the Fintry demesne and twelfth representative [...]

Government Gazettes

Thanks to Lisette Forsyth for permission to use the above artwork The first South African newspaper, The Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, appeared on 16 August 1800, during the first British occupation. [...]

  • prince Alfred town South Africa

Curious habit of the Post Coach Routes

The search for the grave of British soldier, Private Calver, turned up some interesting historic facts.  According to Mr T O Slabbert, owner of Goeiemoed, a farm across the road from Prince Albert Road Station, this farm was once on the post coach route.  It was part of the huge old farms Vlakkraal and Tuinkraal that were proclaimed in 1838.  On the little hill just south west of the present-day farm house, there once was a popular little hotel which served train passengers wishing to travel to Prince Albert and on to Oudtshoorn. Slabbert said that the farm Uitkyk, [...]

Love walked in and took her for a spin

Melton Wold guest farm between Loxton and Victoria West has a rich romantic history. Woven into the story is a Lady Chatterley-like tale which played itself out in 1910. This history of this farm dates back over 250-million years as a Bradysaurus fossil, preserved in situ, proves. In time a strong fountain attracted game, the San and Widow Nortje. She was given the title-deed to this farm by the Magistrate of Beaufort West in 1838. Little is known of this widow and how she ended up all alone on this forsaken farm which she named Boschduiwefontein.  Nevertheless, she managed [...]

Beaufort West man of God buried on Robben Island

  Visitors to remote little graveyard on Robben Island  are often amazed to see the grave of Reverend  Louis Hugo. Many wonder why this minister was buried there and why his body was not taken back to the mainland. Louis Hugo,  who was born in Stellenbosch on November, 22, 1846, could trace his roots back to Daniel Hugo, a Huguenot who played a significant role in South Africa’s ecclesiastical and social arenas  Daniel was a tiny man. He stood only 133 cm (4ft 6in) tall, but he was an excellent craftsman and gifted winemaker. After leaving school Louis studied [...]

Bank Manager captured by Boers

The  Murraysburg branch of the Standard Bank was said to be the one most often robbed by commandos  during the Anglo-Boer War. It was first hit on January, 1901, and because the Boers got away with so much money, the bank had to close for a few days, said Boer War researcher Taffy Shearing. On March 2,  the bank manager, F C Lilford, was captured by the Boers while he was posting some official letters at the Biesiespoort post office. He was held for eight hours. Later that month he wrote a diary entry stating that the  little town [...]

Renaissance Man Honoured

 In 1778 Captain Robert Jacob Gordon stood on a Karoo koppie near the Swartberg mountains and painted the tranquil scene of Zacharias de Beer’s farm Qweekvallei in the valley below. In time this painting found its way to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Almost a century later a town, named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband, sprang up on Queekvallei and later still a copy of the painting found its way to the town’s Fransie Pienaar Museum. Then, in May, 1999, the town, honoured Gordon, by naming the koppie in his honour. A small granite slab was placed at the [...]

Queen’s Death Stuns The Great Karoo

During the Anglo-Boer War,  the news  of Queen Victoria’s death on January 22, 1901, was greeted with deep emotions in the Karoo.  British gun salutes echoed across the veld and rumours of battles spread. Journalist Edgar Wallace received the news  at Matjiesfontein and wrote  this poignant piece: “Queen Victoria had ever been a sacred subject among the rank and file of the army. They are very broad-minded the men who serve and love her; Papist or Buddhist or Jew are one with their Protestant selves.  They are governed in their thoughts towards her by a love which cannot be [...]

The Land where the citrus blooms

A journey through the Karoo in 1856 so affected a Dutch traveller that he lapsed into philosophical meditations.  Hendrik Antonie Lodewijk Hamelberg wrote: “I compare this road to the life of man. The potholes are the troubles he often feels cannot be overcome. Stoney places symbolise life’s disasters, while individual stones remind one that in the cup of the greatest earthly happiness there’s a drop of bitter wormwood.” Hamelberg travelled from Cape Town through Paarl, Bain’s Kloof, Mitchell’s Pass, Ceres, Karoopoort, and “the endless Karoo” via Beaufort West and Colesberg to Bloemfontein.  He stayed at lonely farms and observed many [...]

  • Frederick Guthrie Tait

Par For The Course?

Golf was first played at St Andrews in Scotland over 600 years ago, so it is little wonder that this venue is steeped in wonderful stories. According to Sporting Life’s Golf News some of the sand traps have very individualistic names relating to ginger beer, spectacles and the best spot to catch a lassie.  One large bunker and two nearby smaller ones at the 10th hole have a historic link to South Africa and the Anglo-Boer War.  The large one is the Kruger bunker, nearby is Mrs Kruger and Kruger’s mistress. The story goes that when war broke out [...]

Karoo Farming Experience Saves A Baby

Arthur Charles Jackson converted to Christianity in Karoo sheep pasture. In his teens he had high hopes of becoming a farmer and went to help out on a Kuilspoort, a farm belonging to his father’s cousin, Julius Jackson.  While out in the veld one day Charles had an epiphany and gave himself to God “behind a Karoo bush.” In Manna In The Desert, A de Jager Jackson,  writes: “In 1894 a young cousin, Charles, was so impressed with the shepherds’ forlorn state, the lonely deaths, the rude and summary burials and absence of aid in the hour of trouble [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2017 No 288

YEOMEN IS A WINNER! Yeomen of the Karoo by Rose Willis, Dr Arnold van Dyk and Prof Kay de Villiers, won two prizes at the third annual S A Independent Publishers Awards, at the Richmond Booktown Festival. It was the winner in the Medical Category, and it shared the best of the best award with Ashwin Desai’s latest novel and Heather Costaras’s biography. The announcement was made by festival organizer, Darryl David, at a gala dinner on Wednesday, October 2. Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, was edited by Dr Suzette Botha, the [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2017 No 287

BLOEMFONTEIN LAUNCH FOR PRESIDENT’S LETTERS The Van Riebeeck Society’s latest volume (No 48 in the Second Series) will be launched at the Anglo-Boer War Museum, Monument Road, Bloemfontein, on Saturday, November 25, at 11:00. Entitled Selections from the Letters of President M T Steyn, 1904–1910, this work was edited by Con de Wet and Elizabeth van Heyningen and translated by Chris van der Merwe. Both editors will deliver short talks at the War Museum and answer questions. ALL ROADS LEAD TO RICHMOND This year’s Richmond BookBedonnerd Festival (from October 25 to 28) is going to be special. It’s the 10th [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2017 No 286

KAROO PROVIDES SOME OF THE MAGIC The Karoo has helped generate some of the magic in the recently released film, The Dark Tower. Based on eight novels in Stephen King’s fantasy, horror and science fiction series the tale ranges from the Mid-World, created in remote, arid, semi-desert Tankwa Karoo National Park, to modern-day New York. Mesmerising caves and weirdly shaped red rocks in the Cederberg Mountains introduce a dramatic parallel universe and allow audiences across the world to see some captivating and unique local locations. Manni Village, for instance, was built at Rawsonville, near Worcester. Production designer, Christopher Glass, said [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2017 No 285

FESTIVAL NOT TO BE MISSED A literary festival to honour South African author, Etienne van Heerden, will be held in Cradock from September 22 to 24. Arranged by well-known Karoo festival organizer Darryl David, it is the first event of its kind and promises to be a winner. “Van Heerden’s work is fiction at its best,” says Herman de Coninck, (NRC Handelsblad, Amsterdam), adding that: “You will have to read Van Heerden if you want to know anything about South Africa.” As the winner of two Hertzog prizes, and almost every Afrikaans literary award, Van Heerden, a son of the Karoo, is [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2017 No 284

IT’S ALL IN THE RECORDS Church records are the oldest records in South Africa. Churches keep records of baptisms and burials performed from the church or on church property. Church Minute books also have a great deal of interesting information, depending on how efficient the minister was Beaufort West’s Anglican Rev Guy Gething kept detailed notes, particularly on burials. Until 1778 the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk or NGK) was the only official church in South Africa. This church's records date from 1665. The next oldest church is the Lutheran Church with records dating back to 1778. Anglican Church [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2017 No 283

BOER WAR SERVICE MEN HONOURED DOWN UNDER Canberra, in Australia, now has a National Boer War Memorial after 115 years and it looks great reported John Sweetman. The official dedication took place on May 31, this year. This was followed by Boer War Day on June 4, 2017, when the Boer War Memorial Society of Western Australia paid tribute the 16,000 Australian men and women who served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. For this anniversary commemoration and reconciliation service, held in Kings Park, Perth, the Botanical Parks and Gardens Authority completely restored and upgraded the memorial and 77mm [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2017 No 282

NEW BOOK HIGHLIGHTS COLLECTORS AND COLLECTIONS An exciting new “bird book” has just been released. Entitled Warriors, Dilettantes and Businessmen - Bird collectors during the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries in southern Africa, it was written by Prince Albert’s Dr Richard Dean, a man who is widely known and highly respected in birding and history circles. The book covers the collectors and collections of bird specimens, from 1850 to 1950, across an area immensely rich in bird life. This was a period during which the interest in Africa was high and museum collections, in Britain in particular, were growing rapidly. Natural [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2017 No 281

BRIEF TOWNSHIP TOUR ENDS IN A BOOKLET A tour of Lingelihle Township during a Cradock Karoo Writers Festival led to a booklet. Some time ago, Brian Wilmot, curator of the Schreiner House Museum in Cradock joined a tour to this township and found it inspirational. “So much general information and first-person anecdotal material was shared, particularly about the part erased by Apartheid, that I felt it should be preserved in a booklet,” he said. He immediately went to work and now an informative 42-page, well-illustrated, full-colour guide, entitled In the Footsteps of James Calata and Matthew Goniwe - a Tour [...]

Rose’s round-up April 2017 No 280

CALITZDORP – THE INSIDE STORY Malan Roux’s Calitzdorp Cameos is a gem. As it takes a look at the growth and development of Calitzdorp, this book examines several old houses and, in the most charming way, brings their former inhabitants to life, while also introducing some present-day owners. This is no dry architectural history; the book is full of excitement and surprises. While learning interesting and often amusing facts about places like De Oude Pastorie, Die Dorpshuis, Homestead, Aletta’s House, as well as Klaas Fouche’s House, Siesta and the Van Tonders, the reader discovers that Calitzdorp had a nobility and [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2017 No 279

A CLOSER LOOK AT KAROO BATTLEFIELDS In 2016 the Karoo Development Foundation received funding from the National Heritage Commission to establish a Battlefields Route. Work is now starting. “We aim to include Griqua and Anglo-Boer War history,” says Professor Doreen Atkinson. The battles of Swartkoppies (1845) and Boomplaats (1848), the Boer incursion of the Cape Colony, The Third “De Wet Hunt”, battles and skirmish sites as well as towns, such as Colesberg, Burghersdorp and Aliwal North, that were occupied, will be included. Concentration camps at Springfontein, Bethulie, Norvalspont, and Orange River will be on the route as well as places [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2017 No 278

ATTENTION ALL BOER WAR BUFFS Exciting plans are on the cards to host an Anglo-Boer War weekend at Matjiesfontein. It will be held in The Lord Milner Hotel from April 7 to 9. A “boutique collection” of top speakers will present a series of talks on various aspects of the war. Among them will be the eminent historian, Dean Allen, author of Empire, War and Cricket and an authority on “old Matjiesfontein”. He will lead a walking tour around the village during which visitors will be allowed to explore some of the unique Victorian buildings, many of which have fascinating [...]