• 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 [...]

  • 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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2018 No 299

THE BOER WAR COMES TO TOWN Ever wondered what life was like when the Boer War hit the small Karoo villages? A recently launched book, The Forgotten Front, reveals this in an interesting way. It details how the war touched the lives of the ordinary man in the street in and around Colesberg. Townsfolk were suddenly caught up in the extraordinary circumstances of war. People who had lived tranquil lives were suddenly thrown into turmoil and surrounded by soldiers. The story, written by Professor Mike de Jongh and Belinda Gordon, is gathered from historic documents, newspapers, diaries and letters. General [...]

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 October 2018 No 298

PICK A PLACE AND JUST GO THERE Freelance photojournalists, Chris Marais and Juliette du Toit, travel widely across the thirstland and are often asked which is their favourite town. Like loving parents, they find something special in almost every one, however, they decided to find out what appealed to others. On their Karoospace and Facebook pages they listed 38 towns and asked which one their followers preferred. Some nominated five or six places, but for the purposes of the poll only the top one was counted. Top favourites - in order of preference - were: Prince Albert, Willowmore, Graaff-Reinet and [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2018 No 297

REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN FRONTIER A new book, covering details of the Anglo-Boer War in the Karoo and Colesberg area, in particular, is now available. Entitled The Forgotten Front, Untold Stories of the Anglo-Boer War in the Karoo, it is written by Michael de Jongh, Professor Emreritus in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at UNISA, and widely known for his books on the “karretjie people” as well as Belinda Gordon, who formerly worked at Colesberg’s Kemper Museum. The book is based on research which Belinda started in 1990. It highlights the significance of the confrontations along the southern or [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2018 No 296

HONOURING THE 60 WHO NEVER CAME HOME Professor Anthony Stimson and Jenny Humphries, in Australia, are co-authoring a book on the South African War Memorial in Adelaide. Said to be the finest equestrian statue in Australia, it was erected by public subscription in honour of the 60 men who served in South Australian contingents during the Anglo-Boer War but did not return. The memorial was unveiled on June 6, 1904. “Its story has been told, but not the stories of the 60 men named on it. We are filling in that gap and the book will tell each man’s story. [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2018 No 295

ATTENTION ALL INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS It is once again time for the annual Independent Publishers Awards Competition. This highly contested event is the only competition of its kind in South Africa and it culminates in a gala awards banquet at the end of the Richmond Book Town Festival in the Karoo at the end of October, each year. The competition, which has various categories, honours all self-published authors and brings their works to the attention of a wider audience. Any self-published author wishing to enter should contact Darrel David, Book Town organiser and coordinator of the panel of judges. FAREWELL, DEAR [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2018 No 294

A GUIDE TO BEAUTIFUL BRIDGES The beautiful bridges of the Eastern Cape intrigue many tourists and photographers. Their creation is closely linked to the life of British civil engineer, Joseph Newey, who was responsible for the erection of nine stone arch bridges and about 70 iron lattice, girder and timber bridges in the last quarter of the 19th century. The full story behind the construction of these magnificent bridges is told in Bridging the Eastern Cape – The Life and Work of Joseph Newey, a beautifully illustrated, 134-page coffee table-type book, was written by King Williams Town-born Dennis Walters, [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2018 No 293

FOR ENERGETIC OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS … Energetic Karoo outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the Meiringspoort Trail Run and Mountain Bike Challenge which takes place in De Rust, on May 26 this year. The runs first covers 9,5km and 19,5km and the mountain bike courses, 27,5 km and 60,5 km. Both events start at 07:00. Mountain bike enthusiasts will also enjoy the Lazy Hippo Stage Race in the Karoo Gariep Nature Reserve on New Holme Guest Farm in Hanover. The routes pass through some beautiful scenery and include interesting challenges. This family friendly event will be held from July 6 to 8. [...]

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 [...]