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.

  • Baron Von Buchenroder

Baron Von Buchenroder a man of violence

Baron Friedrich von Buchenroder was a German nobleman, and great great grandfather of Louis Leipoldt, whose family belonged to the nobility of Hesse-Darmstadt, and has been extinct for about forty years. He had served in the Dutch army, and came to the Cape in 1803 as ex-major, with the intention to establish new settlements for the development of the colony, a scheme which was supported by a group of Dutch businessmen under the leadership of Gysbert Carel van Hoogendorp.

St. Peters Cemetery Observatory Records

The saga of St Peter's began in December 1994, when its Mowbray Church of England parish placed a notice in the newspapers informing the public of the imminent sale of the 2, 2 hectare cemetery to a developer. Included in the announcement was the proposed removal of the 3,000 monuments, and the exhumation, cremation and mass burial

Calendar Changes in History

The change-over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and 1752 had no influence on the calculation of time in South Africa, but the researcher wishing to continue his work in Great Britain will have to take this into account.

Blue Books of South Africa 1821 – 1909

The Blue Books in the Cape Town Archives are one of the hidden gems that you can use in tracing your family history. They do not only contain statistical data but also names of people in many instances. These Blue Books contain data regarding the following areas: Civil Establishment; Taxes; duties and other heads of revenue; Fees(personal); Revenue, Expenditure and Balances; Comparative statement of revenue (1873, 1874), expenditure (1873,1874), estimated and actual revenue, estimated and actual expenditure; estimated and actual expenditure under schedules, ordinances, and Acts of Parliament; an Abstract statement under appropriation ordinance etc; General Account - Current; Local revenues (Church, Municipal, and Divisional Council); Public Debt; Military; Public Works and Buildings; Legislation; Political franchise; Council and Assembly; Security for Discharge of Duties; Pensions; Recapitulation; Foreign Consuls; Population; Miscellaneous Numerical Return; Ecclesiastical Return; Education; Money, Exchange, Weights and Measures; Shipping/Exports and Imports: Agriculture; Wages etc; Prices of Provisions and Clothing; Stock and Produce; Manufactories, Mines and Fisheries; Grants of Land; Jails and Prisoners; Charitable Institutions and Hospitals; the appendix contains Reports of Civil Commissioners.

  • pirates

Pirates on the High Sea

The Union Castle liners plough the sea between Cape and Southampton week after week, year after year, with never a thought of danger other than from storm or fog. On almost every tide the ships of Great Britain may float in security, and it is many a long year since passengers had cause to fear the cruelty or the rapacity of pirates. Yet there are still those living at the Cape today - though they are getting on in years and have passed Psalmist's allotted span - who can remember the terrible story of the “Morning Star” and her awful fate.

All Saints Namaqualand

The history of the Church in Namaqualand is intimately linked with the mining of copper. The miners came and the Church followed. Since the first miners, after Simon van der Stel, were Welshmen, Phillips and King, it is not surprising to find that the Anglican Church was the first to be established in Springbok. The Dutch Reformed Church followed in 1860 when the Namaqualand Congregation separated from the Clanwilliam congregation and built their first church at Bowersdorp in Kamieskroon.

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Disclaimer

I, Heather MacAlister , compiler and owner of the domains www.ancestors.co.za, www.familytree.co.za, www.genealogy.co.za, www.graveyards.co.za, www.clanwilliam-history.co.za and www.stamboom.co.za  and I  take no responsibility whatsoever for the accuracy of any of the information directly submitted to or [...]

Deceased Estates South Africa

When searching for information on your ancestors, one of the most useful documents is the Estate Papers of the deceased which in brief gives the final summary and status of their life at the time of death.Depending on when the person died will depend how many of the following files below are included. The more recent estate papers will reveal more. Older Estate papers did not include Wills and death notices and were filed as separate documents and - pre 1900.In these documents you should find:

Cape Town Congregational Church

The Cape Town Congregational Church started as a Church for the members of the 93rd Regiment of the Sutherland Highlanders. With the arrival of James Read in 1800 a Calvinistic Society was formed with members pledging to help each other in Christian Life. With the arrival then of Rev. George Thom in 1813 members of the Fellowship on 6 May 1813 gave each other the hand of Christian fellowship, which constituted themselves into a church and the Rev Thom, conducted the first Free Church service ever held on South African soil. Out of 90 communicants, 63 were members of the 93rd Regiment of the Sutherland Highlanders. The following year this regiment was transferred to India leaving the membership of the church with 27 members.

Archives of the office of the Colonial Secretary

Did you know that one of the most important documents in the Archives of the Colonial Secretary are the petitions of private persons, 1843-1876 (CSO 2 236-2 281), letters received from private persons, special marriage licences, 1857-1882, naturalization documents and the Byrne Immigration Papers,

Index of South African Constabulary in the 2nd Anglo Boer War

Over 10 000 South African Constabulary Records are now available using newly digitized and transcribed attestation records, we provide a detailed description of the composition of the South African Constabulary, a volunteer force of mostly English recruits during and after the Second South African War. These records contain personal particulars, such as age, country of origin, occupation and religion, for 10 399 service terms.

Smallpox at the Cape

Smallpox, introduced from the Orient, first made its appearance as an epidemic on Friday 13th 1713 when a crew member aboard a ship was infected with the disease. His clothes were taken out to be washed in the river near the castle which in turn contaminated the local drinking water. Another outbreak occurred later in 1755 and hit the Cape Settlement very hard. It ravaged all the Hottenot tribes, this together with the pressure of the fast expanding settlement, largely destroyed the tribal life of the Hottentots of the 18th Century. Many tribes were wiped out. Their numbers were reduced so much that their tribal organisation disintegrated and they were gradually taken into service as labourers, especially herdsmen by the local farmers.

  • Somerset Road Cemetery Lost Inscriptions

Maitland Cemetery Headstones Index

Over 10 000 names indexed to graves transcribed by Volunteers on Findagrave.com - please use the corresponding images references with a hash tag # in front of the number. Some graves are from Somerset Road Cemetery and date back to 1844.

Rose’s Round-up November 2012 No 226

OUTRAGE AT THE ARREST OF TOP MEDICAL MAN Outrage has been expressed across the world regarding the arrest in Dubai on August 18, of Beaufort West-born Professor Cyril Karabus, 77. Cyril, one of the world’s top paediatric oncologists, was returning from Toronto in Canada where he had gone to attend a family re-union and the wedding of one of his sons. “This was the first time in many years that all five siblings were together in one country with their parents,” said his son, Michael. Cyril’s wife, Jennifer, their daughter, Sarah (also a well-known paediatrician) and her two children, [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2012 No 225

NO HOLIDAYS FOR THESE LEARNERS The quality of schooling and state of education is given much publicity these days, but in 1851 a frontier school mistress stood no nonsense and took an arbitrary decision. Mrs. Eedes principal of the Retreat Boarding School for Young Ladies in Grahamstown, simply informed parents that half year school holidays had been cancelled. According to the Cape Frontier Times of June 1851, she took this step because she was not entirely satisfied with the performance of the girls in her care. They were not doing as well as they could in all subjects, so [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2012 No 224

A JOURNEY OF TASTE TREATS, SURVIVAL AND EMPOWERMENT Sydda Essop’s cookery book, Karoo Kitchen, is set to find a place on the bookshelves of all Karoo lovers. Much, much more than just a recipe book, it pays homage to the Karoo, the rich cultural diversity of the region and its people. A well-illustrated, worthwhile read it is a journey of discovery, survival and empowerment and it does not pull the punches when it comes to isolation, political turmoil, and poverty. The recipes are as varied and interesting as the people of the Karoo. The book includes a wide variety [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2012 No 223

IN SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS A two-day TEDx conference, scheduled to be held in Prince Albert on September 1 and 2, will search for creative ways of helping the community solve ecological problems. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a non-profit organisation, which was started in 1984, to investigate, explore and identify environmental problems and share ideas on solving these. The Prince Albert conference, entitled Meet Me There: Working Beneath, Between, Beyond and Towards a Thriving Planet, aims to assist the local community to find solutions to difficult conflicts, through group discussion, says organiser Hélène Smit. The programme features some top [...]

Rose’s Round up July 2012 No 222

SPOTLIGHT ON THE FUTURE Two top conferences will be held in the Karoo in October. The first, the Second Karoo Development Conference, takes place in Beaufort West from October 14 to 17. Discussions will focus on the future of the region, its people, and their environmental, ecological and economic role in South Africa. The programme will include talks on the effect of the SKA (Square Kilometer Array) and “fracking”, the gas exploitation of the Karoo’s shale beds. Tourism, mining management, agricultural development, the role of small towns in the general economic infrastructure, poverty alleviation and job creation, will also be [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2012 No 221

FOR MUCH MORE THAN A MEAL A new cookery book, to be launched in August, promises to be a valuable addition to any Karoo library. Written by Beaufort West’s Sydda Essop, it comprises a rich collection of recipes and stories from the many diverse cultures that make up the Karoo. Sydda interviewed over 70 cooks and healers, varying in age from 20 to 90, to compile this book which contains recipes ranging from the traditional to the more exotic and including a variety of herbal remedies. Basics such as bread, beer, curry and sweets, as well as some easy-to-prepare meals, [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2012 No 220

TITUS OATES REMEMBERED IN ABERDEEN The centenary of the death of Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates was recently commemorated in the little Karoo village of Aberdeen. On March 16, 1912, Oates, a member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, stepped out tent during a blizzard saying: “I’ll am going out. I will be some time.” He was suffering badly, and in severe pain. He never returned. Scott, and his companions, died waiting for his return. While Oates died on the ice, his death is linked to wounds received on the sun-scorched plains, outside Aberdeen in the [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2012 No 219

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN It is time to visit the Karoo once more for the ever-popular annual Prince Albert Olive Festival. This year’s event, scheduled for April 27 and 28, will centers around the Fransie Pienaar Museum, Market Square and spill out across the nearby school’s sports fields. Highlights will include stargazing, history and ghost walks, witblitz, wine and olive tasting, plus an olive pip spitting competition, a half marathon for the energetic and trips across the Swartberg Pass and into Gamkaskloof, The Hell, for explorers. Entertainment will be provided by Chris Chameleon, The Eden Minstrels and a Boeremusiek orkes [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2012 No 218

IN SEARCH OF AN OLD LETTER Historic researcher Kent Rasmussen recently came across an interesting item. He wrote: “I have a copy of a letter that Charles H. Crane wrote to Mark Twain in June 1901, inviting him to write an article, apparently for The New Examiner. Mark Twain left a note indicating that he planned to answer Crane's letter, but I can find no record that he actually did. Perhaps a letter from him to Crane has been preserved somewhere.” Kent feels that Twain’s correspondence with Crane might have been mentioned in one of the early issues of the [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2012 No 217

FACELIFT FOR THE SWARTBERG PASS Exciting projects are underway on the 124-year-old, Swartberg Pass, outside Prince Albert. Among these is the restoration of the dry-stone walls, a feature of this world famous, 27-km long pass, which was designed by Thomas Bain. Considered his masterpiece, it is now a World Heritage site. Convict labour used to build this pass and after work began in 1881 the project was fraught with problems. It claimed several lives. The Swartberg Pass, often compared to the breathtaking Djaraleng Pass in Asia, was officially opened on January 10, 1888 and since then it has been a [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2012 No 216

TOP AWARD FOR BOOK TOWN MAN Darryl Earl David, one of the founders of Book Town Richmond, won the top prize in the highly prestigious Natal Witness Short Story Competition at the end of last year. He received the winner’s trophy and a R10 000 cheque for his story, Bliksem and Biltong Le Grange, which was also published in the first issue of The New Richmond Reader, in December. Darryl, however, was not the only winner with Karoo connections. Richmond-born, Denise Gilden, who lives in Pietermaritzburg, walked off with a prize for her debut short story, The Dream. She has [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2011 No 215

CELEBRATING IN COLOUR AND STYLE Prince Albert has proved it knows how to party. So, next year, the village aims to celebrate its 250th anniversary in style. Fans are advised to start penciling dates into their diaries. The first step on the road to this milestone celebrations took place on Saturday, December 3, when the town’s new, arty dustbins were unveiled. “This collection of 94 special bins, decorated by local artists, many of whom were children, makes us confident that we now have will have the most attractive, colourful and informative dustbins in the world,” says tourism officer Zelia Mullins, [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2011 No 214

‘SCOTT’S SURGEON’ REVISITS DISCOVERY A new book about a Lutheran minister’s son, who was a major role-player during the heroic period of exploration when Nansen, Amundsen, Shackleton and Scott raced each other to the poles, becomes available this month. Written by Gus Jones, Scott’s Forgotten Surgeon will be launched on board the Discovery at Dundee Heritage Museum, in Scotland, on November 24. It has a link to the Karoo - Dr Reginald Koettlitz, is buried in Cradock beside his beloved French-born wife, Marie Louise (nee Butez). A poignant love story surrounds this couple who died within two hours of [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2011 No 213

END OF AN ERA The postal Round-up has come to an end. Sadly, this was inevitable because so many of its loyal readers were having trouble reading the reduced type. Also, those with access to e-mail had opted preferring a speedier service with copies that could be printed out in larger type. So, the post list dwindled and the drama of getting to the copy shop, stationers and post office seemed hardly worthwhile, particularly after I wrote off my car. So, I decided to stop producing the postal version. However, some staunch supporters flatly refused to accept this, saying they [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2011 No 212

FIRST SERIOUS LOOK KAROO’S ‘COLOURED’ MUSIC A new book, written by Marie Jorritsma, a senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, takes a closer look at so-called “coloured music”. This pioneering work, the first to make a serious attempt to place the music of the Coloured Community into the wider acoustical landscape of South Africa, studies the three church congregations in Graaff-Reinet. It covers the challenges of inscribing Coloured voices, examines hymns and how they affect history, the inter-relationships between “mission music” and its counterpart in the independent African church, as well as singing in the “the Queen’s English”, [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2011 No 211

ALL REBELS CAPTURED IN NEW BOOK Taffy and David Shearing have just completed another valuable work on the Anglo-Boer War. Entitled The Rebel Record, this 983-page, three volume series contains the names of 15,433 Cape colonists who joined the Transvaal and Orange Free State forces as rebels during the war. Ideal for military historians, genealogists and family historians it forms the database of Taffy’s 2004 University of Stellenbosch doctoral dissertation The Cape Rebel of the South African War. In the foreword Prof Albert Grundlingh of Stellenbosch University says, “Taffy and David have been exceptional in mining the rich history of [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2011 No 210

FORGOTTEN SURGEON REMEMBERED A new book on Dr Reginald Koettlitz, who travelled with Scott’s first expedition to Antarctica and is buried in Cradock, will soon be available. Entitled Scott’s Forgotten Surgeon and written by Aubrey A (Gus) Jones, this well-researched book, contains previously unseen photographs and archive material, such as correspondence with Nansen. Koettlitz, the son of a Reformed Lutheran Church minister and an English woman, completed his schooling at Dover College and studied medicine at Guy's Hospital in London. On qualifying he worked as a general practitioner in a country village for eight years. Then, in 1894, he [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2011 No 209

OUTWARD-BOUND FROM PRINCE ALBERT Prince Albert’s Dick Metcalf claims to have “Karoo-blood” in his veins. A keen historic researcher, photographer and explorer, with longstanding family ties to this fascinating arid area, he loves nothing more than travelling through the vast, ancient Karoo thirstland. To share his love of the area he recently devised 27 trips for fellow adventurers and published them in a small, well-illustrated, black-and- white, wire-bound booklet entitled Outward-bound from Prince Albert. It is available from the Fransie Pienaar Museum. Using the book as a guide, visitors can travel across the Swartberg Pass to the Cango Caves and [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2011 No 208

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT HAT? Wellknown Prince Albert artist, Christine Thomas, is presenting a new exhibition. Entitled Een Mens Het Baie Name (One Person Has Many Names) it opens on April l and celebrates the words, works and world of Piet Balelie, a colourful local personality. “The exhibition is a multi-dimensional portrait of Piet, his extraordinary clothing and colourful hats,” says Christine. “Each hat in itself is a story and sums up Piet’s philosophy of life. He is illiterate, yet has an enviable ability to use words, stories, rhymes, riddles and jokes to share his world with others. His [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2011 No 207

BECOME BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH OLIVE A new biography on Olive Schreiner is proving popular. Written by Heather Parker Lewis, it is not a political work, but concentrates rather on Olive’s day-to-day life, marriage, wardrobe and medicine chest. Olive lived simply in the “uptight” era of Victorian respectability. When no woman dared to be seen without stockings, she shunned these together with corsets and stays. Olive also skinny-dipped and sunbathed in the altogether. Sadly, in later life she was so poor that she packed the inside of her coat with newspaper to keep warm. Olive Schreiner - The Other Side of [...]