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The History of Maitland


Base Calvary Camp at Maitland where the Calvary were sent on arrival to retrieve their horses after the voyage. The first recorded grant of a section of land in the Maitland area was made during the first decades of the British colonial occupation at the Cape. The farm, named ‘Varsche Vallei’ was a loan farm granted by the then-Governor of the Cape, Lord Charles Somerset to M.J. La Cock at 30 rixdollars per annum. The farm covered 826 morgen and encompassed the area now known as Wingfield. [De Vries, 1991] The well-known fossil of the extinct Cape [...]

The History of Maitland2018-10-16T12:50:17+00:00

Our Family Heirlooms


Do you have any precious family heirlooms or artefacts that you would like to share with our readers? Every one of us has something in our home that is special, that we would like to treasure, as well as showcase and flaunt to our friends and family. Now is the time to email us a clear photo of what you have, as well as height, notable marks, dates or even the history around it. Please send it to us now. Images must be between 2 and 5 megabytes. Victorian Vases We received a mail from Daphne Brown in [...]

Our Family Heirlooms2017-11-27T17:59:34+00:00

Your Family Bible


Some families are lucky enough to have a Family Bible in which ancestors have recorded the dates of births, baptisms, marriages or deaths of family members. This information should always be checked against other records. In particular, you should check the date of publication of the Bible so that you know what information was written from memory and what information was likely to have been written in the Bible contemporaneously (since that is more reliable). A Family Bible could have been handed down to your cousins, rather than to your immediate family, so it is worthwhile to broaden your [...]

Your Family Bible2017-12-03T15:11:43+00:00

Claremont Then and Now


Claremont Station circa 1900 Claremont is a residential suburb in the municipality of Cape Town, within the magisterial district of Wynberg. It lies 9.6 km south of Cape Town between Newlands and Kenilworth. The village started forming in the 1830s on the Main Road around what was essentially a farming area. The community flourished, and with the opening of the railway line from Cape Town to Wynberg in 1864, Claremont developed even further. Arderne Gardens, now a public park of 4 hectares, was originally planted by R. H. Arderne in 1845 as part of his estate, The Hill. [...]

Claremont Then and Now2018-10-16T12:50:17+00:00

Sale of Free Black


Widow of the late agriculturist, Hendrik Swanepoel; mentions that her late husband in 1764 bought from the late free black, Johannes Jansz of Ceylon, a slave named Manna of Boegies, who, especially since the death of her husband, has shown himself very obstinate and unbridled, so that, for fear of disaster, she had been obliged to do away with and sell him in another country. Accordingly having brought him into town from her place in the country, in 1771, she requested the Provost, Jan Jacob Doeksteen, to send him away to India, in charge of one or other seaman, in [...]

Sale of Free Black2018-10-16T12:36:39+00:00

Newsletter Contribution Ancestors South Africa


Would you like to contribute to the Ancestors South Africa Newsletter, The Cape Almanac? It has been out of circulation for a while, but with the help of some genealogical Imps and Elves, we hope to get it going again into a Quarterly Newsletter and then eventually a monthly issue. We are looking for any interesting family stories, old photographs of places of interest, 'then and now', or anything of historical or genealogical interest that will whet the appetite of our thousands of readers. Hopefully, this newsletter will grow into a real magazine. All articles will be proofread to ensure [...]

Newsletter Contribution Ancestors South Africa2018-10-16T12:28:12+00:00

Traditional Heritage Recipes


Traditional Heritage Recipes are part of our everyday life and especially when it comes to public holidays. The South African people are renowned for their varied culinary dishes. Since early times travellers have mentioned the good food they were offered at the Cape. South African cookery developed from the eating habits of the colonists and their slaves, who came from various parts of the world. Many South African recipes derive from the Netherlands. German soldiers in the garrisons, as well as subsequent German immigrants, also contributed considerably. Social activities at the Cape always reached a peak when there were ships [...]

Traditional Heritage Recipes2018-10-16T07:26:48+00:00

Missing Ancestors


Have you got any missing ancestors in your family tree? Every week, in some town in South Africa, someone is reported missing; but for 99 out of every 100 disappearances there is a simple explanation. Occasionally, however, there is the inexplicable disappearance that remains unsolved, the best-known case perhaps being that of George Arthur Heard, a well-known Johannesburg journalist and political commentator, who was Signals officer with the rank of lieutenant in the South African frigate Good Hope, when he walked off his ship on to the Table Bay Docks on Tuesday, 7 Aug. 1945, and vanished without trace soon [...]

Missing Ancestors2018-10-16T09:19:40+00:00

Pickhandle Mary


Mary Fitzgerald nee Sinnott also known as "Pickhandle Mary" was born in Wexford, Ireland on the 4th August 1885 and died in Johannesburg on the 26th September 1960, labour leader, politician, suffragette, master printer, and writer, was the eldest of the four children of Thomas Sinnott and his wife Margaret Dunn, both of Irish farming families. Mary’s father emigrated to America, from where he came to Cape Town, representing the Singer Sewing Machine Company. His family followed in about 1902. Mary married John Brick Fitzgerald, a tramwayman, and had two sons and two daughters. Mary was one of the first [...]

Pickhandle Mary2018-10-16T07:26:47+00:00

Cockney Liz Legendary Barmaid of Barberton


Sometimes bold, sometimes bashful, sometimes seductive but mostly Cockney Liz was a business woman and hotelier, with a lust for life. After traveling thousands of miles unaccompanied across the Atlantic Ocean and then by train to the gold mines of the Reef, Liz has to lower her upbringing by selling her body to some of the richest men in South Africa. The likes of Abe Bailey, Sammy Marks, Hirschel Cohen and Alfred Beit swooned her, protected her and one of them even offered her a hand in marriage. The shy and quite Alfred Scribbens accidentally meets Lizzie for the 2nd [...]

Cockney Liz Legendary Barmaid of Barberton2018-10-16T07:42:11+00:00

Philip Allen from County Cork


Philip Allen Philip Allen was born in County Cork, Ireland before 1830 and died in Pietermaritzburg on 1st July 1865, colonial treasurer of Natal, was the youngest son of William and Mary Allen. Although an Irish insolvent, arrested for debt in Bangor, Carnarvonshire, and imprisoned in Caernarvon Castle, Wales, he received in 1852, as patronage from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the post of Colonial Treasurer of Natal. He settled at Pietermaritzburg in November that year, his wife and four children following in October 1854. The Treasury Chest robbery which took place in 1854 resulted in [...]

Philip Allen from County Cork2017-07-27T17:29:49+00:00

Samuel Patton Adams


Samuel Patton ADAMS an accountant was born on 4th June 1871 in Tully, Eglinton, Londonderry, Ireland to Robert ADAMS and Sarah MC CONNELL. He was educated at National School in Eglinton. He came to South Africa 1900 and married M. A. Armstrong of Bloemfontein on 7th June 1905. Samuel was the Vice President of the Orange River Colony Football Association and President of the Orange River Colony Referees’ Association. He refereed in both the Beckett’s Shield and the Corinthian matches in 1906 and the Corinthian Test match in Bloemfontein in 1907. He was highly commented on by T.S. Rowlandson, the [...]

Samuel Patton Adams2018-10-16T12:46:05+00:00

William Porter Attorney General


William Porter was born at Artikelly, near Limavady, co. Londonderry, Northern  Ireland on  15 th  September 1805 and was  attorney-general of the Cape of Good Hope, was the second son of the Rev. William Porter and his first wife, Mary Scott, daughter of Charles Scott, of Strauchroy, near Omagh, county Tyrone. His father had been ordained as a Presbyterian minister at Limavady in 1799; he was clerk of the general synod of Ulster from 1816 to 1830, but in that year he was elected the first moderator of the Unitarian Remonstrant synod and held the clerkship of that body from [...]

William Porter Attorney General2018-10-16T12:36:39+00:00

Alfred Philip Bender


Alfred Philip Bender was born in Dublin on 16th April 1863. He was a Jewish clergyman and professor of Hebrew, was the eldest son of Dr Philipp Bender, chief minister of the Dublin Hebrew congregation, and his wife, Augusta. The first Jewish minister to study at one of the older English universities, he graduated with a B.A. in 1891 at St John's college, Cambridge, in the first class of the Semitic languages tripos, and with an M.A. in 1894, with first-class honours. Philip was inducted as minister of the Cape Town Hebrew congregation on 13th September 1895, and immediately established [...]

Alfred Philip Bender2018-10-16T12:36:38+00:00

Marthinus Johannes Greyling


Marthinus Johannes Greyling,  'n Gebore Vrystater, district Thaba 'Nchu. Hy was 'n egte Nasionale burger van sy Vaderland. He was gekies as veldkornet in die oorlog van 1899 en het ook gedien as kommandant. Het ook deelgeneem met die Jameson inval, as vrywilliger an die Vrystaat, en was as krygsgevangene gestuur na Ceylon. Was 'n flinke voorsitter gewees van die Nasionale Tak Germiston. Die ou Sanna in die hand van Wyle M. J.Greyling in die bygaande portret was reeds in die gebruik in die groot Kaffer oorlog van ons Voortrekkers. Dwarsdeur sy lewe was hy 'n dappere held gewees en [...]

Marthinus Johannes Greyling2018-10-16T12:34:24+00:00

Alabama Confederate Raider


The Confederate raider the Alabama was built by Lairds of Birkenhead during the American Civil War. She was designed to prey on the mercantile shipping of the Northern states. The Northern government attempted to have her impounded under the neutrality laws, but she escaped to the Azores, where she was armed on 29 August 1862. Her captain, Raphael Semmes, and her officers were Southerners, her crew British. By 28 July 1863, when she arrived at Saldanha Bay, she had accounted for SS enemy ships, and on 5 August she captured the Northern bark Sea Bride outside Table Bay. The Alabama [...]

Alabama Confederate Raider2018-10-16T12:34:23+00:00

National Archives Source Codes


National Archives Sources Codes below is a compiled list of links to pages which contain References to Source Codes from the National Archives of South Africa for documents listed on the National Archives of South Africa's website under the section called NAAIRS (National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System). To contact the Archives personally you can do so here but be advised that they are understaffed and will not always answer your emails. I am here however on a professional basis to help you retrieve and photograph any of these documents. Contact me. Bloemfontein Archives Source Codes Cape Town Archives Source [...]

National Archives Source Codes2018-10-16T12:34:22+00:00

Source Codes for the Port Elizabeth Archives


Reference to Archives Source Codes for the Port Elizabeth Archives GSEE Department of Justice, Supreme Court Port Elizabeth (1974 - 1975) GSEE Department of Justice (Illiquid Cases) (1982 -) PWDP Department of Public Works (1948 - 1983) 3/PEZ Municipalty, Port Elizabeth. Department of the City Engineer (1950 - 1976) 3/PEZ Municipality, Port Elizabeth. Department of the Town Clerk (1944 - 1970) 3/PEZ Municipality, Port Elizabeth. Electrical Department (1948 - 1979) 3/UIT Municipality, Uitenhage (1950 - 1967) 4/PEZ Divisional Council Port Elizabeth (1858 - 1964) Should you need copies of any of the documents which full references can be found on [...]

Source Codes for the Port Elizabeth Archives2018-10-16T12:34:24+00:00

Durban Archives Source Codes


Durban Archives Source Codes are listed below from the National Archives of South Africa for documents listed on the National Archives of South Africa's website under the section called NAAIRS (National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System). To contact the Archives personally you can do so here but be advised that they are understaffed and will not always answer your emails. I am here however on a professional basis to help you retrieve and photograph any of these documents. Contact me. ABD Port Natal Administration Board (1949 - 1987) RSC Registrar of the Supreme Court, Durban and Coast Local Division, Criminal [...]

Durban Archives Source Codes2018-10-16T07:26:45+00:00

Source Codes for the Cape Town Record Centre


Reference to Archives Source Codes for the Cape Town Record Centre which need to be ordered from the Cape Town Archives ACD Native Administration Board, Diamond Fields, Kimberley (1973 - 1979) ACN Northern Cape Administration Board, Vryburg (1971 - 1979) AEK Administration: House of Assembly: Department of Education and Culture: Heuwelkruin Girls' School (1937 - 1985) AFC Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing, Fruit Inspection Service, Cape Town (1945 - 1965) AKR Coloured Advisory Council (1943 - 1955) AWC Development Board Western Cape: Langa Area (1926 - 1978) AWC Development Board Western Cape: Former South-Western Cape Administration Board (1956 - [...]

Source Codes for the Cape Town Record Centre2017-04-05T13:29:52+00:00