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Church Cemeteries Cape Town


For most genealogists, trying to find out when a certain church or cemetery opened is important for tracing your relatives. I am trying to find dates of these places to make it easier for you to find those missing records. If you can add or help with any additional information kindly contact Heather.

Church Cemeteries Cape Town2018-10-16T11:59:07+00:00

What is a Veldkornet


The field cornet was the most many-sided military, administrative and judicial officer in South Africa in the 19th century. The word `kornet' is derived from Spanish corneta (Latin corms, horn), which meant a cavalry flag and was later extended to mean the officer who carried this. Denoting a particular rank in the army it came from the Netherlands to South Africa.

What is a Veldkornet2018-10-16T11:58:57+00:00

Marriages and Divorces in South Africa


Pre 1972 Since the days of Roman law marriage in the Western world has been defined as the legally recognised union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion, while the marriage lasts, of all others. Polygamous unions, being fundamentally opposed to our conception of matrimony, are not recognised as valid marriages. Thus, Bantu customary unions, though by no means without legal effect (see Bantu law), are not marriages in the eyes of South African law.

Marriages and Divorces in South Africa2018-10-16T11:58:40+00:00

Keeping Records of your information


Keeping records of your information while researching is vital to the success of your Family Tree. Initially – if you are a beginner or unsure how genealogy works - all records should be kept in paper format. When you have enough information, it may warrant the use of a software package, spreadsheet or database. Individual family sheets should be started for each person, entering all the relevant information required and subsequently repeating the same process for the marriage sheets. Once these two sheets have been correctly filled in, an ancestral chart or descendant chart will then be completed to display [...]

Keeping Records of your information2018-10-16T11:58:19+00:00

Prison Records Pre-apartheid era


Participation in a historical research project about South Africa’s ex-political prisoners involved the retrieval of Apartheid era archive records of the Department of Correctional Services (called DCS hereafter) during which the following observations were made. This could be of use to anyone wishing to conduct similar research and be an indication of what types of records are available. Access procedures are explored as well as the locations and the conditions in which some records were found. The focus is on prison records. Proper management of prison records would have seen those with archival value routinely transferred into the custody of [...]

Prison Records Pre-apartheid era2018-10-16T11:57:57+00:00

Starting your Family Tree


Very few individuals can walk into a library and trace their family line without some knowledge of their ancestors. Even extensive knowledge of your ancestry does not guarantee that you will find your pedigree completed. Usually meticulous research is needed, and it may take years to establish your family tree. Have your tried our Frequently asked Questions section? Starting your family tree is a step backwards in time, but although you are retracing your family’s footsteps, you need to start with the present. Before wasting any time, it would be a good idea to check with grandparents, aunts, uncles [...]

Starting your Family Tree2018-10-16T11:57:41+00:00

Shipping and Passenger Records in South Africa


Cape Town has generally been considered as the initial major port of entry for South Africa. Years later Durban, Port Nolloth, Port Elizabeth and East London became more popular. Tracing the departure of passengers from England can be found in various repositories such as the Cape Government Gazette papers (1805 to 1900) in the Cape Town and Natal Archives. Government Gazette papers are also held at the National Library in Cape Town.

Shipping and Passenger Records in South Africa2018-10-16T11:57:15+00:00

Folk Medicine of South Africa


Various definitions and concepts of folk medicine have been put forward. It will be sufficient here to mention a concept of Afrikaans folk medicine and folk remedies given by Schulz and based on his research into the background of this subject: `Folk medicine includes any medium, treatment or ritualistic act which is applied or carried out to cure or avert illness; and is administered only as a direct consequence of the traditions and lore of a particular country.

Folk Medicine of South Africa2018-10-16T11:56:42+00:00

Fire Wardens at the Cape


In time of fire, the Firewardens controlled the working of the manual fire engines by the slaves. The many thatched houses and the frequent south-east wind in the summer were dangers on the outbreak of a fire. On the alarm being sounded, those responsible for the engines hurried to the station which was next to the Burgher Watch House and ordered the slaves to bring them to the burning building. The Firewardens, who were specially chosen from amongst the prominent citizens of the town, were required to keep the crowd in order, to see that nothing was pilfered and generally to direct operations. As a sign of their authority they carried a staff with the Company's monogram engraved thereon.

Fire Wardens at the Cape2018-10-16T11:56:21+00:00

Early Taverns and Hotels at the Cape


To Jan van Riebeeck goes the credit for having made the first attempt to provide services for the traveling public in South Africa. Barely two years after the establishment of the settlement at Table Bay, in 1654, he submitted for the consideration of Geraert Hulst, Director-General of the Dutch East India Company, whose ship Parel was lying in the bay, a request that he (Van Riebeeck) provide, for those visitors for whom facilities could not be furnished at the Fort, 'a boardinghouse (ordinaris), the keeper to be supplied from the Company's stores and gardens . . .'

Early Taverns and Hotels at the Cape2018-10-16T12:50:18+00:00

Cape Criminal Procedures


During the 17th and 18th centuries criminal cases were tried before the Court of Justice which sat at Cape Town. This Court, the highest in the Colony, was composed of eleven members in 1686, and a hundred years later of twelve. In 1797 the number was reduced to seven, when the members received salaries for the first time. The President received £400 per annum. Up to 1734 the Governor occupied this position, but after this the Vice-Governor did so. The members acted as judge and jury combined.

Cape Criminal Procedures2018-10-16T11:37:51+00:00

Inhabitants of the Cape


From the 1815 a list of principal Inhabitants of the Cape were included in the African Court Calendars. As the city grew and the population increased more names were added to this list. It must be noted that generally only heads of households were listed. First names, surnames, initials, titles, occupations and address's of individuals can be found. In some instance as early as 1813 slaves and Muslims are listed including occupations such as fisherman, Malay priests and washerwomen.

Inhabitants of the Cape2018-10-16T11:37:21+00:00

Personalia of Germans in South Africa


After publishing his monumental History of the Lutheran Church at the Cape, Dr. Hoge set himself the task of searching out the references in the various archives to the Germans who settled at the Cape during the indicated period. Previously the subject has been dealt with by Schmidt and Moritz, but now for the first time exhaustively by Dr. Hoge. Besides the 4,000, whose personalia are given in alphabetical order, followed by a list of women and Swiss immigrants, Dr. Hoge has collected the names of some 10,000 Germans who, during the above mentioned period, did not leave the service of the Company; this brings us to the figure of 14,000 persons of German origin, who individually and collectively must have contributed their share in the formation and the upbuilding of the Cape Colony during the first 150 years of its existence.

Personalia of Germans in South Africa2018-10-16T11:37:11+00:00

Weights and Measures in South Africa


In 1681, through the 'Statuten van India', the Dutch authorities prescribed standards of measurement and their application in trade. Instruments had to be assized twice yearly and the most common goods had to be marketed in fixed quantities. Fines were imposed for non-compliance. At the beginning of British rule in 1806 the following standards were in use

Weights and Measures in South Africa2018-10-16T11:37:03+00:00

Quakers in South Africa


The Quaker movement arose in Great Britain out of the religious ferment of the mid- 17th century and soon spread to North America. Probably the first members to visit South Africa were whalers from Nantucket, who often called at Table Bay around 1800. Immigrants followed later and settled in various parts of the country. As their numbers grew they gathered for worship and counsel, first in isolated groups, then on a wider basis, until eventually national gatherings became possible. In 1946 the Friends in Southern Africa were given recognition as an autonomous body within the world fellowship.

Quakers in South Africa2018-10-16T11:36:54+00:00

Somerset Hospital


Somerset Hospital in Beach Road, Green Point, Cape Town, the first hospital in South Africa to be used for the training of doctors. It admitted its first patient on 18 Aug. 1862. This picturesque building is the third hospital on the site to bear the name 'Somerset Hospital'. The first Somerset Hospital, named after Lord Charles Somerset when he was governor, was founded by Dr. Samuel Bailey, a naval surgeon, and was opened in 1818 somewhere below Signal Hill.

Somerset Hospital2018-10-16T11:36:46+00:00

The Slave Lodge in Cape Town


A circular raised dais near Church Square in Bureau Street Cape Town, almost next to the slave lodge, marks the spot where imported and local slaves were auctioned under a fir tree. Perhaps as many as 100,000 human beings were sold and resold from this point. Yet unless one trips over the circular concrete marker, one is quite unaware of this spot. One has to stand above the marker to read it. Much, much more should be made of this historical site. Contact me about tracing your slave ancestry. The old slave tree used to stand on this spot. [...]

The Slave Lodge in Cape Town2018-10-16T11:36:39+00:00

Ruda Landman


Ruda Landman's birthplace in the dry and dusty town of Keimoes, in the Northern Cape, is a far cry from where her family's humble beginnings started in the lush and fertile valleys of Europe. From the Persecution of her family in France in the 1600's, her ancestry consists of a kaleidoscope of French refugees as well as Dutch and German Immigrants. When the French Huguenots arrived at the Cape in 1688 as a closely linked group, in contrast to the Germans, they all lived together in Drakenstein, although they never constituted a completely united bloc; a number of Dutch [...]

Ruda Landman2018-10-16T11:49:26+00:00

Laurence Hynes Halloran


Have you ever considered that your Ancestors marriages and baptisms in Cape Town during the 2nd British Occupation were not valid?, all by one minister who faked his identity. One of the strangest characters at the Cape of Good Hope during the first decade of the nineteenth century, was the Rev. Dr. Laurence Hynes Halloran (29 December 1765 - 8 March 1831). Little is known of his early life. Born in Ireland at Ratoath, he appears as a schoolmaster in Exeter at about the time when his first two volumes of poems were published, in 1790 and 1791. Next we [...]

Laurence Hynes Halloran2018-10-16T11:35:39+00:00