• 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, [...]

  • finding the right genealogist

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 [...]

  • alabama

Alabama Confederate Raider

The Confederate raider the Alabama was built by Lairds of Birkenhead during the American Civil War. She was designed to prey on the mercantile shipping of the Northern states. The Northern government attempted to have [...]

  • national archives

National Archives Source Codes

National Archives Sources Codes below is a compiled list of links to pages which contain References to Source Codes from the National Archives of South Africa for documents listed on the National Archives of South [...]

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2016 No 272

KAROO PARLIAMENT CANCELLED The 3rd Karoo Parliament, which was to have been held in Laingsburg in September this year, has been indefinitely postponed. “Several factors, beyond the control of the organisers, have led to the Trustees approving this decision,” says Professor Doreen Atkinson. YEOMEN SOLDIERING ON Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, near Richmond, is now in its final stages of production. “Working on this incredible story of a unique hospital, never seen before, nor again, was a fascinating journey,” say authors Rose Willis, Dr Arnold van Dyk and Professor Kay de Villiers. “While working [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2016 No 271

ATTENTION WRITERS AND READERS The 7th Annual Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival takes place in Cradock from July 21 to 24 this year. “This is the perfect place to indulge in warm Karoo hospitality; feast on fabulous farm food, mingle with like-minded spirits and marvel at the wonders of the Karoo,” says organiser Lisa Antrobus Ker. “Visitors will be able to meet old friends, make new ones; enjoy fireside chats and open microphone sessions.” The programme is packed with top level speakers and interesting outings. “Visitors should not miss the literary walk, a drive to the Mountain Zebra National Park, a tour [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2016 No 270

IN SEARCH OF VULTURE PHOTOS Well-known ornithologist, Richard Dean, is writing a book on the bird collectors in southern Africa. Part of the story includes information on the military men who collected birds. The army section includes information on the two men who helped Colonel Sloggett collect material around the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein during the Anglo-Boer War. Richard is now searching for photographs of the vulture colony at Nelspoort – it was one of the largest in the Karoo. Richard says: “The colony became extinct in the early 1900s.” There was also a huge vulture colony at Gamkaspoort, [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2016 No 269

OH YUM – IT’S CRADOCK The Karoo Food Festival, a feast of food and fun, takes place in Cradock from April 29 to May 1. Festivities kick off with a carnival, which promises to be highly entertaining, at the Meeting Ground at Cradock High School. Tickets cost R20 per person and children under 5 will be allowed in for free. “Live music and great food will set the pace,” says organizer Lisa Antrobus. “Visitors will be able to “build” their own feasts and choose their own portions. Among the typical Karoo dishes on offer will be skaapstertjies, bazaar-sosaties, gourmet boeries, [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2016 No 268

ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE RABBIT The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drylands Conservation Programme has proved successful, reports senior field officer, Bonnie Schumann. This programme focuses not only on the conservation of the critically endangered riverine rabbit, but also on socio-economic upliftment opportunities for the rural community in this area and the provision of jobs during habitat restoration. “The restoration techniques improve habitats and the biodiversity of the ecosystem to ensure the survival of this unique, threatened species, and the other species sharing the riparian areas,” said Bonnie. “With quite some trepidation we planted out about 3 000 nursery-grown Karoo plants [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2016 No 267

DESERT TOURISM GROWS APACE Desert tourism is growing steadily. Previously a difficult product to sell, “dryland tourism” has now become a recognized niche market across the world for discerning arid zone travelers. “Perceptions have changed from down market and cheap to exciting and adventurous. Remoteness, bareness, silence and solitude have become drawcards,” says Doreen Atkinson, an authority on Karoo tourism. In an article in the Journal of Arid Environments, she states that the Karoo is reaping dividends from the trend towards “getting away” and really exploring the great outdoors. “The Karoo is no longer considered hostile, dangerous or boring. It [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2016 No 266

FOR ALL WHO LOVE PRINCE ALBERT There’s a treat in store for all who love Prince Albert. A new book, compiled by Cultural Foundation members, Lydia Barella, Mary Anne Botha, Judy Maguire and Derek Thomas, has just become available. Prince Albert - Sense of History, Sense of Place, celebrates the town’s unique cultural and environmental history covering everything from geology, palaeontology, archaeology and anthropology to architecture and agriculture. These are brought to life through stories of the people who settled in the area, among them the De Beers, of the original farm, De Queekvalleij, as well as residents of Bo-dorp, [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2016 No 265

TOP AWARDS FOR CONSERVATION Towards the end of last year conservationists, Sue and Richard Dean, received two top awards. One was a Cape Nature Stewardship award for excellence in the field of conservation and the other a special award for their outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape. Both were for work done at Wolwekraal Nature Reserve, a small 113 ha protected area on a farm, near Prince Albert. Richard and Sue identified this spot as a conservation area in 2005. In 2013 Wolwekraal farm owners and the Department of Environment Affairs officials signed a Memorandum of Agreement [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2015 No 264

CELEBRATING MEDICINE IN THE KAROO A Medical Humanities Literary Festival, scheduled for the 10th anniversary of the Richmond Booktown Book Fair in October 2016, will celebrate medicine in the Karoo. The event follows on the opening of South Africa's first Museum of Optometry and Ophthalmology at this year’s event. The new museum was established to salute the work of Albert Gaston Eugen Fick, the developer of the contact lens. Way back in the late 1880s several people began speculating on the possibility of applying a lens or shell directly on to the eye to correct visual disorders. A variety [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2015 No 263

ANNUAL TREAT FOR BOOK LOVERS The ever-popular Richmond Literary Festival, Boek Bedonnered, is scheduled for October 22 to 24. The programme, designed to appeal to the hearts of all book lovers, is jam-packed with exciting launches, good reads, talks and poetry sessions. One of the highlights is a discussion with South Africa’s greatest living Afrikaans poet, Breyten Breytenbach, about his new book, a compilation of all his public speeches over the past 50 years. This will be undertaken by Dominique Botha and Riaan Malan. Another highlight will be the official opening of the Museum of Optometry and Ophthalmology by [...]

Rose’ Round-up October 2015 No 262

A FESTIVAL OF READING (AND WRITING) Print has not died. The Association of American Publishers say that e-books are having a tough time and that their sales dropped by about 10% in the first five months of this year. This was encouraging to the organisers of Prince Albert’s annual Leesfees. Their aim is to develop a culture of reading and a love of books. This year’s event, scheduled for November 4 to 7, includes talks by bestselling authors, but the festival is not only about books and publishing, the programme includes discussions of writing techniques, a workshop, poetry, performances, story-telling [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2015 No 261

FIRST CONFERENCE OF ITS KIND IN SA The first Depth Leadership Trust Conference to be held in South Africa will take place in Prince Albert from September 3 to 5. The theme is Crucibles of Leadership and the programme includes top speakers, each a specialist on his or her field. Among them will be clinical psychologists, artists, authors, academics, corporate and government leaders. Conference organisers explain that the term “depth” refers to a leadership approach that uses the theories and practices of depth psychology, a formal sub-discipline of clinical psychology. These theories, which have been used for more than [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2015 No 260

THE MAN WHO WENT TO TIMBUKTU REMEMBERS Chris Marais’s memoirs, The Journey Man, was successfully launched at the Cradock Writers Festival. This book, a great read, tells the exciting tale of a photo-journalist’s experiences across Africa and in more than 50 foreign spots, including Mongolia, Borneo, Timbuktu, Madagascar and the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s the inside storey of a roving reporter’s life on newspapers such as The Pretoria News, The Rand Daily Mail and The Sunday Tribune, and on magazines such as Scope, Style, Country Life (more recently) as well as a slew of international airline publications before [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2015 No 259a

TIME TO CELEBRATE WRITERS Tel No 082 932 8864 The 6th annual Schreiner/Karoo Writers Festival – Skrywersfees / Umnyhadala Wababhali – will be held in Cradock from July 23 to 26. “As ever this festival features a delightful mix of stories, tours, walks, talks, videos, books – old and new – glimpses of history, theatre productions, poetry readings and fireside chats, as well as many opportunities to enjoy the clean, fresh Karoo air and star-studded night skies,” says organizer, Lisa Antrobus Ker. “Book and Karoo lovers can rest, relax, unwind, browse and enjoy the region’s widely known, warm, friendly hospitality, traditional [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2015 No 259

AND THE WINNERS ARE ... The inaugural South Africa Independent Publishers Awards dinner, recently held in Richmond, during the J M Coetze\Athol Fugard Festival, was an exciting gala event. Virtually every category was keenly contested. The Miriam Tlali Prize for autobiography was unanimously awarded to the late Edwin Jackson for Flight of the Moth, which was published with encouragement of Booktown Richmond. This prize was named in honour of the first black woman to publish a novel in English. Judges were astounded that a simple farmer, faced with a terminal disease, could pen a book of such immense beauty. The [...]