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

A Century of Who’s Who – The Early Years

In 1907 the first South African Who's Who was published by The South African Who's Who Publishing Company in Durban. This amazing publishing company belonged to Ken Donaldson who was also the editor as well as the proprietor. By 1909 the 3rd issue of Who's Who was proving to be an amazing publication yet also differed somewhat from other books of a similar nature whereby who's featured mainly aristocracy.

Freemasons in the Family?

Have you ever wondered why your Ancestors became Freemasons? Was it because of the idea of belonging to a secret society, or perhaps a night off from the nagging wife once a week? Men join and practice Freemasonry to make themselves better human beings, and the rituals, symbolism, and teachings of Freemasonry focus on morality and ethics.

Rose’s Round-up August 2004 No 127

TWO NEW ‘KAROO BOOKS’ FOR CHRISTMAS Struik Publishers will launch two special books on the Karoo in time for Christmas. The first, due out in October, is a magnificent 168-page, full colour coffee-table book, Karoo Moons - A Photographic Journey. It includes a series of inspirational photographs, by Yorkshsire-born photographer, Richard Dobson, who attended school in South Africa from 1975 to 1983. Richard’s passion for photography began in London in 1984. It shines through every page. His first taste of the Karoo came in 2002 when he “trundled across its plains and along the back roads” preparing a photo-essay for [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2004 No 126

WALK THIS WAY IN A GOOD CAUSE A mammoth 450 km walk, the first of its kind across the Karoo, is planned for October. The route follows the course of the Sak River, the Karoo’s longest watercourse, from its source in the Nuweveld Mountains, outside Beaufort West, to its end at ‘Blok se Kolk’ on Grootvloer, a giant pan at Onderstedorings in Bushmanland. It passes through an isolated part of the Karoo and places that few South Africans have seen. The aim is to raise funds for riverine rabbit research. This little creature, one of the world’s most highly endangered [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2004 No 125

QUENA TEMPLES SET THE MOOD Karoo enthusiasts joined archaeological historian Dr Cyril Hromnik to watch the last sunrise and sunset of winter from an ancient Quena stone temple in the Moordenaars Karoo. This took place on June 18 and 19. Dr Hromnik organises four of these fascinating field trips each year for those who wish to experience the equinoxes and solstices at astronomical temple-observatories. Normally between 200 and 250 people interested in history, cosmology, ecology, religion and culture join him on these trips. “These temples were built as places of worship by the ancient Quena or Otentottu (Hottentot) people, whose [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2004 No 124

ANNIVERSARY OF A LIGHTENING, RECORD BREAKING RUN The South African Land Speed Record was broken, not once, but twice at Beaufort West exactly 52 years ago. Vic Procter broke his own record (138,20 mph – 224,07 kph) on the tar road near the airport on May 23, 1952. He set a new record of 144,0 mph (233,48 kph) on a Vincent Black Lightening motorbike The following day, May 24, he smashed this record again setting a new time of 149,99 mph (243,19 kph) on the same bike. This was the fifth time that Procter had broken the South African [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2004 No 123

BREATH OF THE KAROO FOR CANNES Olive Schreiner’s Story of An African Farm, filmed in Laingsburg last year, will make its debut at the International Film Festival in Cannes from May 12 to 22. The film, produced by Bonnie Rodini, and starring Richard E Grant and Armin Mueller Stahl, will premier in South Africa in August and September. Bonnie Rodini read this story while at school and became quite passionate about it being filmed. She knew that one day she would film it. However, the road from idea to reality was a rocky one. Bonnie spent over a decade [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2004 No 122

MINISTER HONOURS ROSE AND ROUND-UP Rose Willis was one of 12 women recently honoured by Western Cape Minister of Tourism and Gambling, Joyce Witbooi, at a special ceremony in Cape Town. The award was for “the creation of Rose’s Round-up to showcase the Karoo as an off-the-beaten-track attraction in the mix of Western Cape venues.” The minister paid tribute to these women, who had not received public recognition for their commitment to tourism, at a ceremony held at Marco’s African Place in the Bo-Kaap. “The event is not about winners,” she said. “It is about unsung stars. When making [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2004 No 121

NEW BOOK A KAROO TASTE ADVENTURE Simply paging through the latest book on Karoo venison is a mouth-watering experience. The love its three authors have for the Karoo and its traditional style of cooking is evident on every page. However, Camdeboo Karoo Venison, written by Lynne Minnaar, Annetjie Reynolds and Albé Neethling, in co-operation with Camdeboo Meat Producers and the Drosdy Hotel in Graaff Reinet, is much more than just a recipe book. It is a treat from beginning to end. This 200-page, soft-bound, full colour, book is magnificently illustrated. It shares tried and trusted old family favourites, developed [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2004 No 120

SA FROGS LEAP INTO AN ATLAS The first comprehensive survey of South African frogs will soon be available. A frog atlas, covering all frog species in South African, Swaziland and Lesotho is expected to be on sale within three months. This extensive conservation assessment represents eight years of research by skilled professionals and laymen working together under the auspices of the Avian Unit at the University of Cape Town. Funding came from The Smithsonian Institute in the United States. For this vast study the country was divided into blocks of 25 to 30 kilometres. Researchers and helpers spent many [...]

Rose’s Round-Up December 2003 No 119

KAROO BECOMES A SCHOOLROOM FOR TEACHERS It’s back to school for biology and natural science teachers next year. And, to help Garden Route, Klein Karoo and Karoo teachers get to grips with the new curriculum a capacity building workshop is being planned to take place in Beaufort West in February 2004. The proposed kick-off date is February 14, St Valentine’s Day. Co-ordinators Annemarie Gebhardt of WCED and Marianne Tredoux from the University of Cape Town, have arranged a series of lectures by experts in their fields. Marianne, a bio-chemist, will deliver some. Others will be given by Dr John Almond, [...]

Rose’s Round-Up November 2003 No 118

OFF TO AN EARLY START One of the youngest towns in the Great Karoo celebrates its centenary next year. Merweville, established in 1904 on Vanderbijlskraal, home of the then local Justice of the Peace, is already planning celebrations. “We aim to ensure visitors leave with happy memories as well as souvenirs,” said Alida Victor, one of the organisers. Farmers in this sector of the Karoo, known as the Koup, approached the Beaufort West Church Council and Dominee Pieter van der Merwe in July 1887, for permission to establish their own parish. The faithful faced a 200-mile round trip in slow [...]

Rose’s Round-Up October 2003 No 117

NEW HORIZONS FOR ROUND-UP Rose’s Round-up has moved to Bloemfontein, but its coverage of the Karoo will continue. Readers welcomed this news and letters of encouragement poured in containing pleas to “keep writing the stories we all so love.” It was gratifying to discover that so many enjoy the glimpses of history, pre-history, conservation and ecology that they find in Rose’s Round-up. In its new format Round-up will no longer concentrate solely on promoting the tourism-based happenings of the Central Karoo as the District Municipality has not retained its exclusive right to the newsletter. Round-up’s base will be broadened to [...]

Rose’s Round-Up September 2003 No 116

BEAUFORT WEST SEEKS FUNDS FOR KAROO GARDEN Beaufort West Tourist Bureau wants to establish a Karoo Botanic garden right in the heart of the region. Newly-appointed BWTB marketing chairman, Koos van Dyk, says: “We constantly tell tourists that the Karoo has the richest desert flora in the world, that Beaufort West alone has more plant species than the whole of Great Britain, yet we cannot show them much of this indigenous flora. The nearest place to see it is at the Karoo Garden at Worcester.” This garden originated at Matjiesfontein, where “Daddy Jim,” son of charismatic James D Logan, Laird [...]

Rose’s Round-Up August 2003 No 115

HOLLYWOOD COMES TO PRINCE ALBERT Excitement reigns in Prince Albert as villagers look forward to seeing top stars, such as Patrick Swayze, in town. A film crew is due to move in from August 3 to 18 to shoot scenes for a remake of King Solomon’s Mines. The film, being made by Argus for Hallmark, will bring more than 160 actors to town. The all-South African crew looks forward to working with producer Russ Markowitz, director Steven Boyam and Patrick Swayze, who is playing the lead. The name of the leading lady is still under wraps. The crew will shoot [...]

Rose’s Round-Up July 2003 No 114

KAROO DEBUT ON ‘THE WEB’ The Central Karoo launched two websites on June 8. Their creation, made possible by the Central Karoo District Municipality, has already gained a wider visibility for Beaufort West and the region. Both sites, hosted by Imaginet, have been submitted to Ananzi, Aardvark and S A Web, locally and to Alta Vista, Google and Lycos international search engines. Web addresses for these two new sites are www.centralkaroo.co.za and www.beaufortwestsa.co.za. They are uncomplicated, easy to use and quick loading. The pages offer visitors a wealth of historic detail on Beaufort West, as well as on other towns, [...]

Rose’s Round-Up June 2003 No 113

RIVERINE RABBIT CLOSER TO EXTINCTION The Central Karoo's unique riverine rabbit has become the most highly endangered species in Southern Africa. Its conservation status is now listed as critical in the Red Data Book. This means the species is extremely close to extinction. “We believe there are now only about 500 to 600 animals left in the wild,” says Dr Vicky Ahlmann, an expert on the species. Vicky studied Veterinary Medicine in Germany and came to the Karoo in December 1998. She settled in Loxton where she studies the riverine rabbit on a voluntary basis for the Zoological Society [...]

Rose’s Round-Up May 2003 No 112

HINTERLAND TOURISM GROWS Tourism in the hinterland has grown between 12 and 18 percent over the past year. "International tourists in particular are beginning to discover and appreciate the peace, charm and tranquility of inland venues such as are found in the Karoo," said Johan Gelderblom, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Gambling and Tourism, on a recent courtesy visit to Laingsburg, Leeu Gamka and Prince Albert. "Not only is the hinterland perceived as a safe place, it is also seen to be a silent and restful. People from the big cities of Europe cannot appreciate the true meaning of [...]

Rose’s Round-Up April 2003 No 111

GALA OPENING PLANNED FOR THE HELL Gamkaskloof or The Hell, a secluded valley in the heart of the Swartberg Mountains near Prince Albert, has been restored. Almost all of the tiny cottages, once home to those who could only reach the outside world along footpaths over the mountain, now proudly dot the valley as they did in their heyday. So, a gala opening is now planned to launch facilities and restorations, carried out after the completion of a comprehensive research project, to the tourism market. Cape Nature Conservation have invited two Western Cape Provincial Government ministers, directors from cultural history [...]

Rose’s Round-Up March 2003 No 110

JOURNALIST DISCOVERS KAROO’S SEXIER SIDE Former Cape Times editor John Scott recently discovered the Karoo has a sexy side. John, who retired from formal journalism and editing the paper 18 months ago, now writes a daily column for the Cape Times and Independent Newspapers. During lectures given by natural historian and paleontologist Dr John Almond, at a Summer School run by the Cape Iziko Museums, John Scott discovered that those grey-looking Karoo bossies are far from boring. "I learned the Karoo has a hairy nipple bush, as well as a mouse nipple bush,” says John. “Yet, just how early Karoo [...]

Rose’s Round-Up February 2003 No 109

E.BUSINESS COMES TO TOWN Western Cape Tourism's new e.Business system will be introduced to the Karoo this month. This system, designed to capture data, improve efficiency and streamline communications throughout the province, will also be linked to the standardised tourism bureau membership scheme to be phased in from April, this year. WCTB e.Business project manager Bronwyn D'Oliveira will explain the systems, their operation and implementation, to regional tourism organisation (RTO) and local tourism bureau (LTB) executives at a workshop in the Martin Odendaal Hall at the District Municipality on February 21, from 10h00 to 13h00. "Efficient electronic communications is the [...]

Rose’s Round-Up January 2003 No 108

KAROO ‘REJOICES’ ON STAGE IN U S A Theatre lovers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be given a rare glimpse of the Karoo this month when the Dramaturg City Theatre stages Athol Fugard's post apartheid play “Sorrows and Rejoicings.” To help set the scene, the theatre's literary manager, Carlyn Ann Aquiline, appealed to the Central Karoo Regional Tourism Office for pictures to help advertise the play and show locals what the Karoo setting of the play looked like. These and brochures were sent for display on opening night. The play will be produced by Timothy Douglas. "The actors, big names [...]