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French Surgeons at the Cape of Good Hope


It is a pity that so little is known about the medical men and profession at the Cape during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and on that account any information gathered from the official records of the country should prove of interest. We have no record to show that any of the Cape surgeons or physicians studied under any of the noted professors of Holland or France, but it does seem natural to suppose that they studied and read the publications of some of the celebrated medical authorities of their day. We know that those who practised here were examined [...]

French Surgeons at the Cape of Good Hope2018-10-16T12:27:34+00:00

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.

Index to Birth Registers in the Cape Town Archives2018-11-03T21:15:31+00:00

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.

Birth Records in South Africa2018-10-16T12:27:33+00:00

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.

Historical Graves in South Africa2018-10-16T12:50:09+00:00

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.

Hidden Treasures in South Africa2018-10-16T12:27:30+00:00

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.

The Scots in South Africa2018-10-16T12:27:24+00:00

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.

Die Boerevrou Magazine2018-10-16T12:27:23+00:00

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.

Ancestors in Kilts2018-10-16T12:10:08+00:00

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

Mothers, Midwifery, Births & Babies2018-10-16T12:11:57+00:00

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.

A Century of Who’s Who – The Early Years2018-10-16T12:12:15+00:00

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.

Freemasons in the Family?2018-10-16T12:13:01+00:00

When did Civil Registration begin for birth records in South Africa?


Birth records housed in the Cape Town Archives from 1895 - 1971 are now open to the public at the Cape Town Archives for birth registration in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and some of the Eastern Cape. However, actual copies of birth certificates in South Africa can only be obtained by physically going to any Department of Home Affairs branch and standing in a queue. They do not have forms on-line that you can download and you cannot apply on-line either. Only immediate family members can apply for a copy of birth certificate of someone else in your family [...]

When did Civil Registration begin for birth records in South Africa?2018-10-16T12:13:16+00:00