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 January 2011 No 204

KAROO FARMING EXPERIENCE SAVES A BABY Arthur Charles Jackson converted to Christianity in a Karoo sheep pasture. He had dreamed of becoming a farmer and when in his teens 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 “beside a Karoo bush” and gave himself to God A de Jager Jackson tells the story in Manna In The Desert: In 1894 our cousin, Charles, was overcome by the forlorn state of shepherds, lonely deaths, rude and summary burials and absence of aid [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2010 No 203

AND THE DREAM REMAINS An icon of the Karoo has passed on, but his dreams will never die. David Duncan Rawdon, the man, who loved life, enjoyed Spanish champagne and a good brandy will forever be remembered at his beloved Matjiesfontein. He re-created this village 40 years ago and turned it into the tourist spot that its original owner James D Logan would have envied. David, a legend in the hotel industry, an inspiration to many, a mentor, a guru, discovered Matjiesfontein in about 1960. By then he had a long list of top class hotels to his credit – [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2010 No 202

RETRACING THE STEPS OF AN EXPLORER A group of young adventurers recently arrived in Beaufort West seeking the place where Polish explorer Kazimierz Nowak spent a night in 1935. This was an odd request, and it so intrigued Caroline Bedeker at the Beaufort West Museum, that she went to considerable trouble trying to assist them. The group is placing plaques along Nowak’s route because he was the first man to travel alone on foot and by bicycle across Africa. His 40 000 km journey started in November 1931, and took five years to complete. Nowak cycled most of the way, but [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2010 No 201

KAROO ASH HEAP REVEALS LINKS TO THREE WARS Two well known researchers recently made an interesting find in the Karoo. Dr Johan Loock and Cobus Dreyer, from the University of the Free State, were conducting studies to evaluate the impact of a proposed extension electric power line on artefacts and the ecology in the area of farms such as Leeukloof, Bultfontein and Gansfontein, northwest of Beaufort West. Archaeologist Cobus Dreyer says many cultural and historic finds were made along the route. “We found were substantial surface scatters of Later Stone Age flakes and pottery, lower and upper grinding stones and [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2010 No 200

POP THE CORKS - THIS IS NUMBER 200 This is the 200th issue of Rose’s Round-up, so it’s time to once again pop the corks and let the bubbly flow. Round-up has come a long way since it started in January 1993. Initially only ten copies were printed to keep six town clerks abreast of the tourism plans of the then Regional Services Council. However, within only a few hours that changed because councillors also asked for copies. Within a year Rose’s Round-up was carrying news of the Karoo across the world. While residing in the Karoo I produced 116 [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2010 No 199

FORGOTTEN LINE BACK IN THE LIMELIGHT The long forgotten Klipplaat railway line is back in the news. Cape Town’s Ray Hattingh discovered more about this isolated line and the Klipplaat station in Boon Boonzaaier's book, Tracks across the Veld. “According to Boonzaaier the Klipplaat to Oudtshoorn section of this rail route was opened in stages from 1902. The entire line was opened for traffic on March 1, 1904. This line through the arid Klein Karoo and Camdeboo areas needed engines with large water tanks and the problem was solved by the introduction of the Vanderbilt-tendered Class 19D's during 1948 and [...]

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 [...]