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Lost and Found – in search of an old soldier


Private Calver died in 1901.  He was killed during the Anglo-Boer War and buried near Prince Albert Road station. In 1993 some researchers visited the area and because they couldn’t find his grave, reported it to be “lost”.  Help was elicited from the British War Graves Records Section of the then National Monuments Council (NMC) in Pretoria, and they reported that his grave was in the Prince Albert Road cemetery. However, no such place could be found. The grave, they said was supposed to be checked from time to time, but records revealed it had last been visited in [...]

Lost and Found – in search of an old soldier2019-02-15T15:56:19+00:00

Charles Dickens sues Cape Newspaper


Charles Dickens, in 1861, put a restraining order on the Eastern Province Herald colonial newspaper from reprinting portions of a literary work composed by applicant and protected by the English Copyright Act. Case Information This was a motion on behalf of Charles Dickens, of Gadshill House, Rochester, Kent, for a rule nisi calling upon the editor and proprietors of the Eastern Province Herald to shew cause why they should not be restrained from printing in that paper a certain work of fiction called Great Expectations, the copyright of which belonged to applicant. The publication of a portion of the [...]

Charles Dickens sues Cape Newspaper2019-01-29T14:49:33+00:00

Finding the right Genealogist


Finding the right genealogist, genealogy researcher or family history researcher is paramount to the success of your research. As the new age of technology advances, researchers, family historians and genealogists are appearing overnight offering a paid service and most of them have never ever been inside an archive before. Why use a Professional Genealogist or Researcher Finding the right Genealogist is the same reason we go to the doctor, because he is an expert – we can all google our symptoms and find out what’s wrong with us, but is that really wise? You want a Professional Genealogist or Researcher. [...]

Finding the right Genealogist2019-01-16T15:58:44+00:00

James Edwin Duerden


James Edwin Duerden was a Zoologist; world authority on corals, ostriches and wool. He was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 7th April 1865 and died in Nottingham on 4th September 1937. He was the eldest child of a cotton-weaver and he had to go to work in the mills at the age of 12. At 30 he married Margaret Jane Howarth, a teacher at the local day school where he obtained his early education. Working in the cotton-mills by day and attending the night school of the Mechanics' Institute at Burnley, he became their first exhibitioner to the Royal College [...]

James Edwin Duerden2018-12-10T11:18:50+00:00

Michael Davitt Irish Nationalist


Michael Davitt an Irish nationalist politician and soldier was born on 25 March 1846 in Straide, County Mayo in Ireland. He was the son of a peasant farmer, but the family moved to Lancashire, where Michael started work in a cotton mill at the age of ten. The following year he lost an arm in a factory accident and was sent to school. From his 15th year he worked as a newsboy. In 18-70 he was arrested for smuggling arms to Ireland and was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour. He was released after serving 7 years. Rejoining the nationalist ranks, [...]

Michael Davitt Irish Nationalist2018-12-10T10:46:33+00:00

Maternity Hospital Records


Maternity Hopsital Records provide vital key's to tracing your family history especially when you have no idea where someone's birth was registered. The Cape Town birth registration system seems complicated but its not really and just because someone is born in Cape Town does not mean their birth was registered in the Cape Town birth registers and it could fall under Wynberg, Simonstown or even Bellville. However, most people have an idea of what hospital they were born in and these hospital records may provide better information than a birth register, or they may compliment and verify the information [...]

Maternity Hospital Records2018-11-28T11:40:59+00:00

Early Inquests and Post Mortems at the Cape 1652 – 1825


Before the Inquest Act of 1875 no proper provision appears to have been made in the Cape Colony for the holding of inquests on the bodies of persons who had died suddenly or under suspicious circumstances. In that year, however, this defect was remedied by the passing of Act 22. The preamble to this Act says: "Whereas no adequate provision exists in the law of this Colony for the holding of inquests in cases where persons die suddenly or are found dead or are supposed or suspected to have come by their death by violence, or otherwise than in a [...]

Early Inquests and Post Mortems at the Cape 1652 – 18252018-11-23T08:51:04+00:00

Theophil Wendt


Theophil Otto Frederick Charles Wendt was born on the 22nd August 1874 in a London suburb; died 5 February 1951 in Johannesburg. Conductor, composer. The son of German emigrants to England, Theo Wendt's father was not completely happy about British education and sent his son to one of the Moravian Church Schools (probably Klein Welka) in Germany. There the discipline was strict, the academic standards high, and the boy could indulge his musical inclinations by beating the drum in the cadet band and by having pianoforte lessons. By the time he had turned fourteen he was determined on a career [...]

Theophil Wendt2018-11-22T16:30:14+00:00

William Douglas Savage


William Douglas Savage was born at Gores Bridge, in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland, in the year 1833, and accompanied his parents to India. Educated in Ceylon, his great ambition was to go in for a seafaring life, but his first experiences in that line were disastrous, being wrecked in the "Thunderbolt" off Port Elizabeth in 1846. Fortunate enough to escape with his life, he proceeded inland from Port Elizabeth, where the Kaffirs were giving trouble, and he joined the Commissariat department with the forces and remained there until 1850, when the war broke out and Sir Harry Smith arrived [...]

William Douglas Savage2018-11-22T16:14:27+00:00

Naturalizations and immigration records


Naturalizations and immigration records are an extremely valuable part of any application for Ancestry Passports or VISA’s. I provide a service for anyone looking to Immigrate to get Citizenship in a foreign Country from South Africa. If you are you looking for proof of ancestry to find out or not whether you are illegible for Immigration to the United Kingdom, Germany or Russia or any EU country. If you can provide me with the name of your ancestor at the time of their arrival in South Africa and the year of the event, I can provide you with a [...]

Naturalizations and immigration records2018-10-23T12:01:17+00:00

Women of the Slave Lodge


The women in the slave lodge were in a vastly different situation from the settlers' women slaves. Lodge women, for instance, were not under the direct domestic supervision of any settler or European official. There were almost as many slave women in the lodge as there were men. There were thus possibilities of finding a slave spouse among the Lodge inmates. Slave women in the Lodge, in contrast to their counterparts owned by settlers, could “be effectively married” to slave men from as early as 1671, although this did not entail a wedding solemnized by the Dutch Reformed Church across [...]

Women of the Slave Lodge2018-07-09T09:42:30+00:00

Adoption – Donald’s Story Part 1


It was quite a while after I met my husband that I found out he was adopted. It was a dark secret back in those days, something to be hidden from all but the closest of family - it was as if you would go straight to hell if you even mentioned the word. I suppose that finding out Donald was adopted and the fact that I came from a very large family (five sisters and one brother) were what first got me interested in genealogy and family history, not to forget the arrival of our first computer with [...]

Adoption – Donald’s Story Part 12018-10-16T12:50:19+00:00

St. Johns Church


St. Johns Anglican Church The Anglican parish church of St. John's, Cape Town, began with the arrival of Bishop Gray on that memorable Sunday, 20th February 1848. With the Bishop were the Rev. and Hon. Henry Douglas who immediately began work in what was called the Rogge Bay area. He was Curate at the Cathedral, but on August 4th, 1848, he was licensed as Priest-in-charge of the district of St. John's. He began by hiring a store at the corner of Bree Street and Prestwich Street - this was called St. John's Chapel - and here the [...]

St. Johns Church2018-04-26T17:12:35+00:00

Irish Missionaries in South Africa


St. Mary's Cathedral Cape Town Irish Missionaries in South Africa play an extremely important part of the growth and dvelopment of Churches and schools in South Africa. Of the four provinces which compose the Union of South Africa- namely, the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, Natal, and the Cape- only the last mentioned was to any notable extent the scene of the missionary labours of Irish bishops and priests. Irish nuns, of course, who are more daring and efficient in their methods of ‘peaceful penetration’, have found their way into every nook and corner of the sub-Continent. [...]

Irish Missionaries in South Africa2017-12-08T11:18:47+00:00

Ancestry Gift Vouchers


Ancestry Gift Vouchers are the perfect gift idea for family and friends for Christmas or Birthday presents. An Ancestry Gift Voucher is something that will last for generations to come and preserve family history's. Ancestry Gift Vouchers can be bought in terms of "hours of research undertaken" and are emailed to the purchaser as a customised jpeg image with the receivers’ name on it so that you can print it out. Payments can be made via Electronic Bank Transfer in South Africa and PayPal for overseas clients. How does this work? You buy a few hours of my time [...]

Ancestry Gift Vouchers2017-11-30T15:48:27+00:00

The Villains Wore Hats


Danzer, a renegade Xhosa, who settled with a party of his followers on the banks of the Great River, in the territory of Jager Afrikaner. There was talk of their uniting their bands, but Jager lured a number of Danzer's followers into a trap and beat them to death. [Source: Africana Museum, Johannesburg] The Oorlam or Orlam people are a subtribe of the Nama people, largely integrated after migrating from the Cape Colony (today, part of South Africa) to Namaqualand and Damaraland (now in Namibia). Oorlam clans were originally formed from mixed-race descendants of indigenous Khoikhoi, European settlers and [...]

The Villains Wore Hats2017-12-04T06:37:53+00:00

How Grahamstown got its name


John Graham was born on the 24th July 1778 in Dundee Scotland. He was a British officer and the second son of Robert Graham, the last laird of the Fintry demesne and twelfth representative of the Grahams of Fintry in Forfarshire, north of Glasgow, and his wife, Peggy Milne. His old and noble family was descended from the first Duke of Montrose, and, originally, from Sir William Grame, laird of Kincardine in the early fifteenth century. As a lieutenant aged sixteen, he joined the 90th Regiment, which had been raised in 1794 by his kinsman, Thomas Graham, of Balgowan [...]

How Grahamstown got its name2018-10-16T12:28:12+00:00

Government Gazettes


Thanks to Lisette Forsyth for permission to use the above artwork The first South African newspaper, The Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, appeared on 16 August 1800, during the first British occupation. This paper, which was published in English and Dutch, later became the Cape Government Gazette, which has continued in modified form to the present day. The first unofficial newspaper, the South African Commercial Advertiser, was founded in 1824 by Thomas Pringle and John Fairbairn, settlers of Scottish descent. George Greig, the printer, was also a British settler. The establishment of this newspaper led to a [...]

Government Gazettes2017-11-28T18:20:41+00:00

The Amazing Greens


It’s hard to believe that just less than three years ago, I knew virtually nothing of my roots, except of course occasional family hearsay. I was a high-school graduate with little more on my mind than a desire to enter the workforce, gain independence and travel the world. I’ll be honest, though – for the longest time, I was positively fascinated by said hearsay. Having received a mini-family tree as a child (compiled by my mother’s first cousin), I learned the full names of my great-grandparents and their parents for the very first time; I found myself staring at [...]

The Amazing Greens2018-10-16T12:50:18+00:00