Clues in your family house name

The names of houses are a fascinating way of tracing your ancestors as they may have been the people that actually named the house. Many people name their houses after the towns or places they originated from or places that are strongly associated with the family. These place names could be vital clues when looking for that missing link. House names also contain names of people, eg Alison & Donald become “Aldon” - they could be named after children, spouses or something special in their lives.

  • bubonic plague

Epidemics in South Africa

The term epidemic is used to indicate an unusual prevalence of a disease. The disease which most harried early navigators, occurring in epidemic form on long voyages, was scurvy. It was known that the condition was caused by absence of fresh food in the sailor's diet. Only in the present century, however, was it discovered that the factor absent from such stored or preserved foods was a vitamin. Vitamin C, the anti-scorbutic factor, is the most vulnerable of all the vitamins, readily destroyed by heating, drying and other methods of food preservation.

How to write a biography

A biography is the story of a person's life. Some biographies are just a few sentences long, others are a book. Short biographies give the basic facts of a person's life. Longer biographies include the facts with more details. Most biographies are about famous, or infamous, people. Some are about historical people, and others are about people still living. Everyone can have a biography.

Kenhardt Cemetery

Kenhardt is situated 710 km south of Upington and 74 km west of Putsonderwater, the nearest station on the De Aar - Upington railway. A bus service operates between Putsonderwater and Kenhardt. A special magistrate [...]

  • maitland cemetery

Maitland Cemetery Records

Are you looking for Cemetery records in South Africa? Are you looking for plot cards for Maitland Cemetery or personalised visits and graves photographed?

Pagel’s Circus

Friedrich Wilhlem August Pagel was born in Plathe, Pomerania, Germany on 5 February 1878 Friedrich, the 'strong man' and circus proprietor, was the 2nd of eight children born to Antonia Fraudnich and August Pagel, a huge strong man. Friedrich inherited his father's great size and strength which he enhanced by working at a smithy in his home town. He qualified as a blacksmith when he was seventeen, but became a ship's stoker and travelled widely and adventurously, finally deserting his ship at Sydney, Australia,

  • kleinmond-cemetery

Kleinmond Cemetery

Kleinmond Cemetery is situated in the town of Kleinmond which is a coastal town and holiday resort with a small fishing harbour in Sandown Bay, between Gordon's Bay and Hermanus, in the Caledon district. The [...]

Basters of Little Namaqualand

The Basters of Little Namaqualand lived in the five Coloured reserves - Concordia, Komaggas, Leliefontein (Lily Fountain), Steinkopf and the Richtersveld - in the magisterial district of Namaqualand, Cape Province, provide nowadays a field in [...]

Moving home with your Family Tree

The decision to move will inevitable come at some stage of our life where we need to downscale and get rid of stuff. Whether it’s your own decision or be it a parent going into frail care or even you, when you are forced to make decisions on those precious family items and heirlooms we all hang on to its going to be a difficult one.

Was your ancestor a petty criminal?

Some years ago whilst searching through the Government Gazettes I came across an interesting list of Criminal Offences from 1855 and a List of Prisoners Committed to the Cape Town Goal. By PE de Robaix Esq. Justice of the peace. These were true extracts by N. Stewart Gaoler. Browse below and see if one of your ancestors appear,

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 [...]

  • Christiaan Frederick Louis Liepoldt

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

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.

Rose’s Round-up December 2007 No 167

NEW BOOK CAPTURES SPIRIT OF THE KAROO Jonathan Deale’s just-published book, Timeless Karoo, captures the magic of the Great Karoo. Magnificent photographs make it much more than a travel guide. This 180-page full colour book is a fascinating compendium of fact, folklore and natural history. Maps guide visitors to secret valleys, hidden plains and intriguing tiny towns. Timeless Karoo takes readers on a journey through the Karoo of yesteryear, the present-day region and hints at its future. Those who love the area will appreciate this book and it will be invaluable to those bent on exploring. It will help them [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2007 No 166

WHEN IS LAMB KAROO LAMB? Should Karoo lamb be branded? Should it have a stamp of origin, a guarantee of quality? Johan Kirsten of the University of Port Elizabeth thinks so. In a study presented earlier this year he proposed farmers and stakeholders should investigate the need to promote Karoo lamb as a product of excellence. “The Karoo itself has become synonymous with quality, tradition and wholesomeness,” he says. “The mutton of the region has been part of South Africa’s cultural heritage and Cape cuisine for over a hundred years. In recent times this product’s reputation for quality has allowed [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2007 No 165

UCT SUMMER SCHOOL - TREAT FOR KAROO CONNOISSEURS Are you a Karoo connoisseur or would you simply like to know more about this vast, arid zone? Whichever it is, the UCT Summer School, from January 28 to February l, 2008, is the place for you. A series of special lectures on various aspects of the Karoo and some of its treasures will be delivered by natural history educator, specialist field guide and palaeontologist, Dr John Almond. “Karoo for Connoisseurs has been specifically designed to appeal to Karoo-lovers and enlighten those who have dismissed the Great Karoo as an abominable desolation [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2007 No 164

HELENA MARINCOWITZ REMEMBERED A plaque is to be erected in Prince Albert’s Fransie Pienaar Museum in memory of Helena Marincowitz, who died a short while ago. A model of this plaque, which is being presented by Heritage South Africa to honour Helena’s great contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage in the Karoo, was unveiled at a dinner at the Swartberg Hotel recently. Former mayor, Dawid Rossouw paid tribute to Helena’s love of the Karoo and her efforts at keeping it in the public eye. “Helena loved the Karoo and above all Prince Albert. She made a highly significant contribution [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2007 No 163

DROUGHT UNDER THE MICROSCOPE This year’s Arid Zone Ecology Forum will focus on drought. “Drought as a Driver” is the theme and, during meetings at the Dutch Reformed Church Hall in Sutherland, from September 10 to 13, many physical, ecological and socio-economic effects of drought will be examined. The programme has been divided into six sections covering climate change, hydrology, and the effects of drought on vegetation, fauna, humans and the economy. The session on climate change will review planning and management, as well as moisture sources and precipitation. One paper entitled “Is the Karoo drying up?” will evaluate the [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2007 No 162

‘MANNA’ BECOMES A TV STAR When Alfred de Jager Jackson wrote Manna in the Desert there was no TV, so he couldn’t share visual images of the world he loved with his readers. But today this is possible and those who enjoyed the reprinted version of this book, published in 2006 by his great-grandson, Craig Elstob, will soon be able to see Alfred’s beloved world on the SABC2 programme 50/50. A TV crew recently visited Nelspoort and Jonathan Rands interviewed present-day farmers Louis Reynolds (Kamferskraal), Peter Lund (Bleakhouse), Andre Lund (Elandsfontein) and Tiny Middleton (Content), to help capture the [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2007 No 161

EXPERT TAKES ON NEW CHALLENGE The Environmental Wildlife Trust (EWT) has appointed Petro Botha, to co-ordinate a challenging project - the rehabilitation of riverine habitat areas along seasonal rivers of the Central and Upper Karoo. Degraded and eroded patches between habitats will be re-vegetated to slow erosion. Petro is passionate about conservation and excited about her new post at the EWT Regional Office in Loxton. She obtained her degree in Zoology in 1998. After completing an Honours Degree in Wildlife Management, she represented Africa in an International Programme at Walt Disney World in Orlando, in the United States. She [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2007 No 160

LAWRENCE GREEN’S KAROO TO BE REPRINTED … Lawrence G Green’s ever popular book, Karoo, first published in 1955, is to be reprinted. In this work Green captures the essence of this vast arid land – the Great Karoo, Little Karoo, far corners of the North Western Cape and Namaqualand. He writes of inventors, indigenous people, patriarchs and other fascinating characters, who have all lived in the solitude and silence of this fascinating area. They are all as essential a part of the Karoo as the mountains, plains, dry river beds, baboons, jackals, sheep, springbok, trekbokke and the San rock [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2007 No 159

BIOLOGICAL WONDER OF THE WORLD HONOURED The Succulent Karoo is one of the biological wonders of the world. “Its biodiversity and range of endemic plants is unrivalled among the arid zones of the world.” says Jonas Nghishidi, chairman of the Namibian Succulent Karoo Ecosystems Programme. “Of course, this makes it an ideal tourist attraction for those interested in ecology, so for quite some time now we have been working hard at creating an awareness of this area and stressing the importance of its conservation to all communities.” Now, to further these objectives the SKEP Namibian team is developing a range [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2007 No 158

ABERDEEN COMES TO LIFE IN ENGLISH A farmers’ wife in Aberdeen, who couldn’t even type, has just published a book on the history of the town. And, this 168-page book, illustrated by almost 200 fascinating black and white photographs, is the first cultural history ever to be produced about Aberdeen in English. Written by Wendy van Schalkwyk, a long-time resident of the area, and published by Westyby-Nunn Publishers in Cape Town, Aberdeen of the Cape – A Retreat of the Future, contains many long-forgotten stories, anecdotes and descriptive articles. These not only cover the history but include items on the [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2007 No 157

ESSENTIAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE FOUND A prehistoric human skull, found in the Karoo, has proved to be a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle relating to human evolution. The skull, found in the mid-1950s in an erosion gulley near Hofmeyr, 70km north-east of Cradock, in the Eastern Cape, has only recently been dated and the information it provided caused ripples of excitement in scientific circles. It provided a vital “missing link” in the fossil record showing modern people originally came from sub-Saharan Africa and migrated to colonise Europe and Asia 30 000 to 40 000 years ago. “This [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2007 No 156

EXPLORE ANOTHER DRY LAND Ever wanted to find out more about Namibia? Well, here’s your chance. The Friends of the South African Museum in Cape Town are planning an eight-day natural history tour to south western Namibia from April 23 to 30. This tour, led by Dr John Almond of Natura Viva, will focus on diverse aspects of Namibian landscapes, geology, fossils and plant life. Plenty of time will be allowed for exploring the veld rather than simply sightseeing from along the roadside. “The trip starts and ends at the Namibian border and concentrates on the area between the [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2006 No 155

NEW KAROO BOOK IN THE PIPELINE Touws River-based photographer and author, Jonathan Deale is writing a book on the Karoo. Published by Struik it will be available next year. The Karoo so captivated Jonathan when he moved to the Touws River area a few years ago, that he acquired ground, started the Gecko Nature Reserve and began to photograph and study the region in depth. “For me the lure of the Karoo lies not only in its uniqueness and the special aspects of each little town and village, but in the very challenge of determining where it actually begins and [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2006 No 154

RIVERINE RABBIT SPOTTED FAR FROM ‘HOME’ A riverine rabbit research team recently found some of these critically endangered creatures far from their normal habitat. This caused great excitement as these rabbits (Bunolagus monticularis) now seem to have a wider distribution range than scientists interested in their conservation previously believed. Fifteen riverine rabbits were spotted in total during a week-long field survey undertaken by 21 researchers from CapeNature and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Riverine Rabbit Working Group (EWT-RRWG). The rabbits were recorded in the Ceres Karoo, as well as in the Klein Karoo’s 54 000 ha Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and on [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2006 No 153

MEN OF THE MENDI HONOURED The almost forgotten story of the sinking of the SS Mendi is now being told en-masse in Britain by a dramatic documentary. This film, entitled Let Us Die Like Brothers, was screened for the first time at the South African High Commission in London, at the start of October to launch Black History Month at British Schools. The film, which highlights the role played by Black South Africans during WWI, is due for release in South Africa, next February, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. When the Mendi was [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2006 No 152

BIG PLANS FOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY Hanover’s Dutch Reformed Church celebrates its 100th anniversary in October this year. The congregation has great plans to make this a memorable event and hopes to encourage travellers of the N1 to pause and toast this occasion with them. This little town, which prides itself on being exactly half way between Johannesburg and Cape Town, was established on land bought from Farmer Gous in 1854. It was called Hanover in honour of his forebears who came from Germany. The first church, a humble little structure, was built in 1857 and Thomas François Burger, who later [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2006 No 151

OLD AIRSTRIP BACK IN BUSINESS Matjiesfontein airstrip has been re-opened. Several private flights from around the country have already used this airstrip, which has been out of action since it was destroyed in the Laingsburg flood. Somehow its restoration never seemed to be a high priority on anyone’s agenda. Then Alan Veasey, a pilot who flew for 23 years, bought Rietfontein farm and decided to turn it into a Private Nature Reserve. A deserted airstrip on his doorstep made no sense, so he took a closer look and discovered that it could be resurrected. Alan’s enthusiasm rubbed off on David [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2006 No 150

DISCOVER THE KAROO’S NATURAL HISTORY Discover the secrets of the Great Karoo - book now and explore the unique natural history of this fascinating arid zone at Rietfontein Private Nature Reserve, near Matjiesfontein. The first trip, from August 10 to 13, is a three-day and three-night programme of veld walks and talks, led by Dr John Almond. These cover a wide spectrum of Cape and Karoo natural history with topics ranging from rocks and fossils through soils, climate and ecology to archaeology and the glorious Karoo night skies. Veld walks each day explore the diverse natural attractions of the Rietfontein [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2006 No 149

‘MANNA’ RE-ISSUED Manna in the Desert, Alfred de Jager Jackson’s special book on the Great Karoo, is being reprinted. The new, better illustrated, hard cover edition, which includes a dust jacket and additional background material, will be launched in Beaufort West in August. No changes have been made to the style and spelling of the original text. The man behind the project is Alfred’s great grandson, Craig Elstob. “Like him I love the Karoo,” said Craig. “I visited Bakensrug and Kamferskraal, the farm where he was born, and where he spent the first 20 years of his life and, thanks [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2006 No 148

RARE FOSSIL EXCAVATED IN THE KAROO The fossil found on Niël Rossouw’s farm België, near Prince Albert, last July, has turned out to be a rare one. Professor Bruce Rubidge of the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research in Johannesburg, who was invited to assess the fossil, has identified it as a Nochelosaurus. These were huge reptiles that lived on the floodplain of an ancient Mississippi-like river that once flowed across this part of the Karoo. Only three other specimens of this species have ever been found worldwide. One is in the Smithsonian Institute. It was sold to this museum [...]