• 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. [...]

The Amazing Greens

It’s hard to believe that just less than three years ago, I knew virtually nothing of my roots, except of course occasional family hearsay. I was a high-school graduate with little more on my [...]

  • Maitland

The History of Maitland

Base Calvary Camp at Maitland where the Calvary were sent on arrival to retrieve their horses after the voyage. The first recorded grant of a section of land in the Maitland area [...]

Our Family Heirlooms

Do you have any precious family heirlooms or artefacts that you would like to share with our readers? Every one of us has something in our home that is special, that we would like to [...]

Your Family Bible

Some families are lucky enough to have a Family Bible in which ancestors have recorded the dates of births, baptisms, marriages or deaths of family members. This information should always be checked against other [...]

Claremont Then and Now

Claremont Station circa 1900 Claremont is a residential suburb in the municipality of Cape Town, within the magisterial district of Wynberg. It lies 9.6 km south of Cape Town between Newlands and Kenilworth. [...]

  • Manna of Boegies

Sale of Free Black

Widow of the late agriculturist, Hendrik Swanepoel; mentions that her late husband in 1764 bought from the late free black, Johannes Jansz of Ceylon, a slave named Manna of Boegies, who, especially since the death [...]

Traditional Heritage Recipes

Traditional Heritage Recipes are part of our everyday life and especially when it comes to public holidays. The South African people are renowned for their varied culinary dishes. Since early times travellers have mentioned the [...]

Missing Ancestors

Have you got any missing ancestors in your family tree? Every week, in some town in South Africa, someone is reported missing; but for 99 out of every 100 disappearances there is a simple explanation. [...]

  • mary fitzgerald

Pickhandle Mary

Mary Fitzgerald nee Sinnott also known as "Pickhandle Mary" was born in Wexford, Ireland on the 4th August 1885 and died in Johannesburg on the 26th September 1960, labour leader, politician, suffragette, master printer, and [...]

  • irish ancestors couth africa

Philip Allen from County Cork

Philip Allen Philip Allen was born in County Cork, Ireland before 1830 and died in Pietermaritzburg on 1st July 1865, colonial treasurer of Natal, was the youngest son of William and Mary Allen. [...]

Samuel Patton Adams

Samuel Patton ADAMS an accountant was born on 4th June 1871 in Tully, Eglinton, Londonderry, Ireland to Robert ADAMS and Sarah MC CONNELL. He was educated at National School in Eglinton. He came to South [...]

  • william porter

William Porter Attorney General

William Porter was born at Artikelly, near Limavady, co. Londonderry, Northern  Ireland on  15 th  September 1805 and was  attorney-general of the Cape of Good Hope, was the second son of the Rev. William Porter [...]

Alfred Philip Bender

Alfred Philip Bender was born in Dublin on 16th April 1863. He was a Jewish clergyman and professor of Hebrew, was the eldest son of Dr Philipp Bender, chief minister of the Dublin Hebrew congregation, [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2018 No 292

DON’T MISS THE BEST WINE FESTIVAL IN THE KAROO The 5th annual Stoep Wine Tasting Weekend - “the best little wine festival in the Karoo” - will take place in Graaff-Reinet on May 25 and 26. Organisers say it will be bigger and better than ever before. Already 31 wine estates, as well as many craft beer, brandy and gin makers, have confirmed their attendance. A highlight of the weekend will be the launch of well-known chef, Gordon Wright's, latest book Karoo Food. The programme includes food demonstrations and master classes. A CELEBRATION OF GARDENS The 14th annual Bedford Garden [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2018 No 291

ATTENTION ALL FOODIES The ever-popular annual Karoo Food Festival takes place again in Cradock this year from April 27 to 30. This event is a must for food lovers, particularly those who enjoy the special flavours of the Karoo lamb and venison. Remember, however, that this is an extremely popular event, so booking is essential. The programme, as usual, includes something for everyone. There will be paid and free food, wine and craft beer tastings, as well as a variety of food demonstrations and master classes. Several activities, especially designed to amuse and entertain children, also form part of the [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2018 No 290

SYMPOSIUM COMMEMMORATES THE GREAT ‘FLU This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s most deadly pandemics – the Spanish or Great Flu. It infected 500-million people and occurred in even in the remotest places. It came to South Africa on ships docking at Durban and Cape Town, says historian, Howard Philips, who will be one of the speakers at a symposium to commemorate this greatest medical catastrophe of all time. The flu travelled inland on South Africa’s well-developed railway network and the country’s migrant labour force helped to rapidly spread it across the country. The economy came [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2018 No 289

SPECIAL WEEKEND FOR HISTORY BUFFS A special Anglo-Boer War weekend, hosted by the War Museum in Bloemfontein and the Lord Milner Hotel, will take place at Matjiesfontein from March 16 to 18. The programme includes top speakers such as Tokkie Pretorius, director of the Anglo-Boer War Museum, who will discuss Soldiers of the Queen, Dr Johan Loock, who will review the famous and controversial Boer Commandant, Gideon Scheepers, Allan Duff will cover the activities of the commandoes of General Wynand Malan and Commandant Willem Fouche during the last week of the war, Dr Dean Allen will conduct a walking tour [...]

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2017 No 277

ON THE MOVE AGAIN I am on the move again. This time to our family farm, Chez Nous - which means home - 60 km south of Bloemfontein. There my youngest sister and I have built a lovely, two-bedroomed wooden cottage and hopefully will be living in it towards the end of January, with sheep, cattle, and donkeys as our nearest neighbours. Preparing to go has not been easy as we have had to pack up the memories of all who lived in this huge old family home. Everyone who has ever been part of this house seems to have [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2016 No 276

SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH FOR THE YEOMEN Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, was successfully launched at the Richmond Book Festival in October. One of the authors, Dr Arnold van Dyk gave talks in town and at the actual hospital site where there was a great deal of interest in the ruins of the old Adamstein Hotel and the two graveyards. This occasion was turned into a celebration by Mark Borrie, of Hawksmoor wines Paarl, who sponsored a wine tasting in the front yard of the once elegant old Yeomanry Hotel. Festival organiser Peter Baker [...]

Rose’s Round up November 2016 No 275

PRINCE ALBERT TAKES THE GOLD Gold medals went to two Prince Albert farms in the 11th Annual South African Olive Association award presentations in September. Kredouw Olive Estate won a gold medal for its Frantoia oil, as well as silver medals for their Italian Blend and Favalosa oils, while Fred and Hein Badenhorst of Prince Albert Olives were awarded a gold for their Karoo Blend. This well-balanced, soft, medium-style extra virgin olive oil is blended from a seasonal selection of Frantoia, Leccino, Coratina, Barnea, Dor Carlo, Koroneiki or Favolosa cultivars. Fred and Hein also grow figs, grapes, pomegranates and citrus [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2016 No 274

ART BOOK HIGHLIGHTS RESTORED HOPE Professor Brenda Schmahmann’s new book, The Keiskamma Art Project - Restoring Hope and Livelihoods, will be launched in Johannesburg on November 30. Pre-launch copies of this excellently illustrated book can now be ordered from Print Matters. “The book, the first to be devoted to this project, is a definitive and authoritative resource covering the project’s extraordinary achievement,” says Print Matters creative and publishing director, Robin Stuart-Clark. He explained that the Keiskama Art Project was started by Carol Hofmeyr, in 2000 to provide opportunities for hundreds of people in the little Eastern Cape village of Hamburg. [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2016 No 273

BEAUTIFUL NEW BIRD BOOK A new and beautifully illustrated bird book, entitled Levaillant’s Legacy – a history of South African Ornithology, has just been released. Written by emeritus professor W Roy Siegfried, it pays tribute to the French author, François Levaillant, a noted ornithologist, explorer, naturalist and zoological collector, who visited South Africa in the 1780s. He described many new bird species, and several are named in his honour. He was among the first to use colour plates as illustrations. Opposed to the binomial nomenclature introduced by Linnaeus he preferred instead to use descriptive French names such as the bataleur [...]