Index to Birth Registers in the Cape Town Archives

Please note that although these registers are housed in the Cape Town Archives they are the property of the Home Affairs Western Cape. There is a 100 year embargo on access to these files by the public. To find out more on how these registers work, please consult the article on Birth Records in South Africa.

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Birth Records in South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs, in Pretoria, holds the most comprehensive compilation of personal resources for all South Africans. Access to the registers of births is closed for a period of a 100 years, to protect individuals, as stipulated by the office of origin. The general public may only view these records prior to 1908, and these are housed in the various archival repositories.

Can you marry your cousin?

Ascendants and descendants in the direct line - father and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter, and so forth - may not marry each other. Collaterals are prohibited from intermarrying if either of them is related to their common ancestor in the first degree of descent.

Historical Graves in South Africa

In the early days of the settlement at the Cape people of note were buried inside church buildings. Provision for a place of worship was at once made inside the Castle. Consequently the Rev. Joan (Johannes) van Arckel was laid to rest at that particular spot in the unfinished Castle in Jan. 1666. Only a fortnight earlier he himself had officiated at the laying of one of the four foundation stones of the new defence structure. A few months later the wife of Commander Zacharias Wagenaer was buried in the same ground; likewise Commander Pieter Hackius, who died on 30th November 1671.

Hidden Treasures in South Africa

Many romantic tales are current of treasures lost and found in Southern Africa during the past five centuries. Some are based on fact and others on less reliable information. It is certain that notorious 16th- and 17th-century pirates careened their ships on islands off the coasts of East Africa and Madagascar, and stories about pirate hoards hidden by these desperadoes still circulate. Many ships carrying valuable cargoes, including treasure, have been wrecked off the coast of Southern and East Africa. Records reveal that from the middle of the 16th to the middle of the 17th century the Portuguese alone lost about 130 ships on the route to India, most of them on the treacherous African coast. High losses were also sustained by other maritime nations.

The Scots in South Africa

Authors John M. MacKenzie and Nigel R. Dalziel epitomises their version of the Rainbow Nation with the vast array of Scots men and women who made South Africa their home. Their bright and cheerful clan tartans are a clear and defined representation of one of the original colours of our Rainbow Nation.

Die Boerevrou Magazine

In 1918, Die Boerevrou, the first Afrikaans magazine for women, appeared in Pretoria. This illustrated monthly magazine for women was the first published magazine in Afrikaans. Die Boerevrouw (its title until June 1920) was the first women's magazine in Afrikaans and appeared in Pretoria from March 1919 under the editorship of the owner, Mrs. Mabel Malherbe (nee Rex), whose assistant editor from an early date was Mrs. M. E. Rothmann (M.E.R.), who published her first short stories in it.

Ancestors in Kilts

It is interesting to find that the first Scotsman in South Africa William Robbertson (sic) of Dundee former surgeon was stationed at the Castle around 1660 shortly after the arrival of Jan Van Riebeeck and that the Scots presence was found in local taverns as well as which often doubled up as brothels, of which one was called the Schotsche Tempel.

Mothers, Midwifery, Births & Babies

The first White baby was born at the Cape to the wife of the sick-comforter Willem Barentz Wijlant on 6 June 1652. At the time an epidemic of a serious type of dysentery affected many of the available helpers, but of the three women who were not ill, the wife of Adriaen de Jager, the first senior surgeon at the Cape, probably would have assisted at the delivery

Rose’s Round-up July 2010 No 198

TOP CANADIAN AND HIS COWBOYS DESTINED FOR BOOK TOWN The words ‘cowboys” and “Canada” coupled to “The Great Karoo” recently caught Darryl David’s eye as he surfed the ‘net. They grabbed his attention because his e.mail address is “cowboys” and Peter Baker, the co-organiser of Richmond’s Book Town Festival is Canadian. Both are always interested in anything that mentions Karoo. The site promoted a novel, The Great Karoo, written by Fred Stenson, one of Canada’s top authors. Highly acclaimed by the international press it was praised by Canadian critics for ‘illuminating a lost chapter of the country’s history.” The book [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2010 No 197

FESTIVAL TO SALUTE OLIVE Olive Schreiner will be saluted in Cradock from July 2 to 4. The man behind this idea is Darryl David, co- founder of Richmond’s Book Town Festival and a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. Sandra Antrobus, owner of Die Tuishuise, in Cradock, helped him plan this Spirit of Schreiner Festival. “While working one day we said wouldn’t it be fun if Olive Schreiner could come down from Buffelskop and tell us what she’d like for this inaugural festival. The idea took hold and we chatted about how chuffed she would be to join [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2010 No 196

RARE FIND AMAZES SCIENTISTS Researchers at the Nama Karoo Foundation recently found a new mammal species in their area. It was an African Weasel and, at almost the same size as a matchbox, it is the smallest carnivore on the Continent. But that is not its sole claim to fame, states the NKF newsletter Karoo News. Professor Graham Kerley of Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, who identified the specimen for the Foundation, said this animal had the longest copulation period – over one hour – and the shortest gestation period among mammal species. He added that the find [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2010 No 195

STRUCK BY DISASTER – PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN A bolt of lightning struck my computer and wiped out a great deal of information. Among this was the Round-up mailing list. This is a total disaster. I feel as if both hands have been cut off as I now have no computer, no e.mail addresses and no mailing list. I have borrowed a PC and am working from an old back-up list and I am appealing to all readers who get this issue to help if they can. If you know of anyone who should have received a copy of [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2010 No 194

ATTENTION BOOK LOVERS Planning for this year’s Richmond Book Fair is well underway. Key promoter, Peter Baker, confirms dates are set for October 22 to 24, and that response from writers has been phenomenal. He promises an impressive forum of speakers. “Almost all have confirmed for 2010 and the list for 2011 is steadily filling,” he says. “The World Cup will no doubt dominate the first half of the year, but after that we expect the focus to be on the commemoration of 150 years of Indian settlement in South Africa. So, with this in mind, and as another [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2010 No 193

STAKEHOLDERS AIM TO SCORE DURING WORLD CUP The Steering Committee of the Karoo Development Foundation got off to a good start planning the way ahead for the region for 2010 – set to be an action-packed year. During 2009 two conferences were held to discuss development of the Karoo and both were highly acclaimed. This inspired stakeholders to plan meetings for early in the New Year. The first is scheduled for January 22. The aim is to follow-up on the achievements of 2009 and structure plans for this year, arguably one of the most exciting in South Africa’s history. The [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2010 No 192

NEW YEAR ON THE OPEN ROAD New Year was not always celebrated in style. A W Kiernan, a missionary on a hinterland road on December 31, 1877, reported that the year ended on a sad note. A member of his travelling party, who had been ill for a week, died quite suddenly, and later another dropped dead on the way to fetch water. “We were not surprised because he seemed a person of very little vitality,” wrote the missionary. Digging graves in the hard-dry earth was a tedious task in the heat, but by 21h00 that night both men were [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2009 No 191

FOLLOW THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE HIGHLANDERS Discover Magersfontein. Relive the fateful day when the pride of Scotland, the Highland Brigade, marched into the arms of the Boers at this famous Anglo-Boer War battlefield. Steve Lunderstedt, an experienced Boer War expert and tour guide will lead a day’s march at this historic site on Saturday, December 12. The outing begins at 06h30. Participants meet at the Moth Centre in Kimberley for coffee and a quick tour of the museum, if they wish. Each will be given a map as the tour departs for Modder River at 07h00. It will stop to [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2009 No 190

ROADS TAKE YOU THERE, BUT THE PEOPLE REMAIN IN YOUR HEART! Some yearn to change course on the Road of Life – others just do it. One of these is Nicholas Yell. His adventures began when he moved to Aberdeen in the Karoo and began restoring a traditional, old ‘platdak’ (flat roofed) Karoo house. To relax he indulged two loves - photography and the absolute joy of roaring down a little-known gravel road on a dirt bike exploring the Great Karoo. In time this led to a planned “circumnavigation” – an adventure through this vast arid area. He captured it [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2009 No 189

FIRST GATEWAY OPENS The first Cape Town Routes Unlimited Gateway to the Western Province is to be opened at Beaufort West in October. “One of three gateways to the province – the others are at Storms River and Van Rhynsdorp – its aim is to offer full support to tourists giving them details of where to go, what to do, where to stay throughout the province, as well as a variety of other information to make their holiday unforgettable,” said Centre manager, Liesl Lund. “Our aim is also to offer Internet and booking services to tourists so that they can [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2009 No 188

NEW LIGHT ON AIR CRASH OF YESTERYEAR The news of an air crash on their doorstep saddened many Beaufort Westers in 1942. Details had faded till Rose’s Round-up, July 2009, brought them sharply into focus. The crash cost the life of Second Lieutenant Desmond Thornhill Gilfillan only a few days before his 21st birthday. After reading the story south African National Defence force researcher, Colonel Graham du Toit, sent Round-up a short write up covering Desmond’s military servicer record and the circumstantial report of his death. “Desmond, the son of C H Gilfillan of Teviot Station, near Middelburg in [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2009 No 187

TOP HONOUR FOR AN ICON A man, widely respected for his knowledge of the arid zone, history, and the Anglo Boer war, is to be honoured by the University of the Free State. Johan Loock, who also helped distinguished author James Mitchener with research for his acclaimed novel, The Covenant, will be awarded an honorary doctorate for his exceptional efforts in the fields of geology and earth sciences at a special function at the university on September 16. Always ready to share his knowledge with anyone keen to learn, Johan is a well-known figure of the veld in his faded [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2009 No 186

BRITSTOWN PRIMARY GOES GREEN Britstown’s really no different from any other small Karoo town. It has only a few thousand inhabitants, the socio-economic environment is challenging, business opportunities are limited, and unemployment is high. But the primary school has put it on the map. In 2008 Van Rensburg Primary decided to raise environmental awareness in the village and registered for the WESSA/WWF National Eco-Schools Programme. Now, it is the only school the Northern Cape Karoo area with an Eco-Schools Green Flag. This was awarded in recognition of exceptional efforts in environmental education. The school, founded in 1884, today has 838 [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2009 No 185

LIFE TIME OF SERVICE HONOURED Prince Albert’s Dr Richard Dean was recently honoured for a life time of service to ornithology. The prestigious Gill Memorial Medal, awarded only when a deserving candidate is identified, was presented to him by Rick Nuttall, president of BirdLife South Africa at the association’s annual general meeting in Phalaborwa. Rick praised Richard’s dedication, pioneering research and willingness to assist students, youngsters entering the field, researchers, conservation biologists and birders in general Richard entered the field of ornithology from the printing industry in the 1970s when he was commissioned to undertake a field study project in [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2009 No 184

EXCELLENT CONFERENCE HOLDS GREAT PROMISE The first Karoo Development Conference, recently held in Graaff-Reinet, was a great success. Over 300 delegates, most key role players, attended. They represented a wide variety of small, medium and well-established businesses, various sectors of the tourism industry, many government departments and local authorities, as well as private entrepreneurs and their focus was the Karoo in all its aspects across the three provinces – Eastern, Western and Northern Cape. All talks were kept crisp, short and to the point. The well-chaired sessions all ran to time and question sessions were keenly monitored. There was much [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2009 No 183

FESTIVAL TIME AGAIN! This year’s Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival is scheduled to take place on May 1 and 2. Organisers say the festival will have something for everyone – theatre, music, and other live entertainment, interesting and unusual things to buy, and fantastic food stalls. They are hoping to bring the South African National Circus School to town for two full shows. There will also be “brilliant street entertainment”, including mime artists, fire eaters and stilt walkers. The Muscle Cars will be a “must see” for motoring enthusiasts. The Jazz Art Dance Company has been booked and their [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2009 No 182

FASCINATING PEEK AT PEOPLE OF THE PAST Max du Preez’s new book, Of Tricksters, Tyrants And Turncoats, is an excellent read. Typical of his work it is well-researched and well-written. The book takes readers back over 500 years and brings to life many lesser known people of the past. This is how history should be presented, particularly in schools, where all too often it is considered a deadly dull and dry. This book is a sequel to Of Warriors, Lovers and Prophets, however, its characters are perhaps more robust, colourful. The book contains amusing tales of Khoi ‘gentlemen’ who tried [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2009 No 181

EXCELLENT SPEAKERS FOR FIRST DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE Excitement is mounting in Graaff Reinet as plans mature for the First Karoo Development Conference scheduled to take place on March 26 and 27. This conference, the first of its kind, promises to be an event that everyone with an interest in the Karoo should attend. It will be opened by Daantjie Japhta, Mayor of Camdeboo Local Municipality, during a short session chaired by Prof Tienie Crous, Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences, at the University of the Free State (UFS). Sue van der Merwe, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Zohra Dawood, [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2009 No 180

LOOKING BACK ON 15 YEARS January 2009, sees Rose’s Round-up moving into its sixteenth year of publication. It started in January 1993, when few people had any real faith in the tourism potential of the Karoo, nevertheless it survived, and this is the 180th issue. Initially it was designed as a cost-effective little newsletter to keep six town clerks abreast of what was happening in the newly-created Central Karoo Tourism Office and because, Rose Willis’s life partner, Wally Kriek, felt it might become a “knight in shining armour for the Karoo,” he sketched a knight using a pen for a [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2008 No 179

A RARE TREASURE RE-APPEARS – AFRICANA COMES HOME A special treat is now available for history and poetry lovers. It is Songs of the Veld an anthology of protest poetry written during the Anglo-Boer War by six well known South African intellectuals (some of whom were English-speaking). These poems by C Louis Leipold, Betty Molteno, Alice Greene, Anna Purcell, Albert Cartwright and Friedrich Carl Kolbe, denounce the imperialistic methods of barbarism and scorched-earth policies of the British military forces. They were smuggled out and published anonymously in England in 1902 to protect the writers from prosecution as Martial Law still prevailed [...]