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So far africanaunty has created 200 blog entries.

Strange Joshua Norton


Among the 307 new settlers for the Cape of Good Hope, who came ashore in Algoa Bay from the British transport Belle Alliance early in 1820, was a small Jewish boy from London, and aged nearly two years old. Joshua Abraham Norton born February 4th 1819, son of John and Sarah Norton, who accompanied his family to this wild and far-off region, by a strange chance, forged a unique link between South Africa and the United States. Those 4,500 emigrants, from England, Scotland and Ireland, came to the Cape in consequence of the distress prevailing in the Old Country [...]

Strange Joshua Norton2018-10-16T11:35:28+00:00

Sir Ranulph Fiennes


Sir Ranulph Fiennes has more connections with South Africa than most people are aware of. He was born posthumously after his father was killed in the 2nd World War and his mother moved to South Africa in January 1947 when he was 2 and a half, and lived there until he was 12 years old. Initially he went to Little People's Play School in Wynberg and then was educated at Western Province Preparatory School. He grew up in Constantia where his grandmother Florence Agnes Rathfelder descends from one of the wealthiest families in the Cape. Sir Ranulph Fiennes remembers attending [...]

Sir Ranulph Fiennes2018-10-16T11:35:19+00:00

Hugh Grant’s Cape Ancestry


Hugh Grant Suave and dapper film star Hugh Grant family ancestral roots did not begin in the lavish suburbs of Notting Hill, London but right here in our very own vibrant mother City of Cape Town. Stumbling across an article I found about a year ago mentioned Hugh Grants' grandfather Major Ronald Grant being born in the Cape and passing away at his home in Newlands, Cape Town tempted me with my bloodhound instincts to dig a little deeper to see what I could find. But let's go back to the beginning...... Hugh Grant's grandmother Mina Waller Stewart [...]

Hugh Grant’s Cape Ancestry2018-10-16T11:35:10+00:00

RH Morris Master Builder


By 1896 Richard H. Morris had become known as a builder of distinguished quality and workmanship and the fame of R.H. Morris had spread. Herbert Baker had met Richard on several occasions and took immediately to this man who built with such fine quality and precision. It was then that R.H. Morris secured the prestige contract for the restoration of "Groote Schuur", after the building had been extensively destroyed by fire.

RH Morris Master Builder2018-10-16T10:02:18+00:00

Military Records in South Africa


Are you looking for Military Records in South Africa? Contact me I can provide a service for the following records: Pre Anglo-Boer War (1853 – 1898) Various attestation forms, muster and medal rolls are accessible, as are citations relating to awards to South Africans. The Cape of Good Hope Civil Service Lists 1885 – 1898 is another useful source of information for this time period as are the relevant blue books. Anglo-Boer War This archive is substantial and although it places emphasis on the records relating to the Boers, it also includes records of those who served the British [...]

Military Records in South Africa2018-10-16T10:01:59+00:00

Somerset Road Cemetery Lost Inscriptions


Johan Goblob Stegmann born 1787, Jacomina Sofia Hoppe Stegmann, Maria I. van Reenen Stegmann, Helen McGregor Smith Stegmann, Elizabeth M. C. Sandenberg Stegmann, Michael C. Gie died 1874 also Catharina J. Stegmann Gie died 1876, Jacomina S Gie died 1881 Tombstones can be valuable historical records. In some instances printed works give more than one date for a person's death. A more reliable original authority, better even than a burial register, is often to be found in the grave inscription. Moreover, these often supply information not readily available elsewhere. A stone at Maitland cemetery, Cape Town, for example, [...]

Somerset Road Cemetery Lost Inscriptions2018-10-16T10:01:42+00:00

Were your Ancestors in the Circus?


From the evidence of early Dutch and Cape paintings, it may be assumed that the first White inhabitants of the Cape were diverted by performing dogs and various animals trained to do tricks, notably monkeys (which were common household pets) and baboons. The garrisons at the Castle possibly spent part of their leisure in training such animals, and performing bears and various animals from the Orient may have been seen when in transit to Europe. In the country districts feats and tricks of horsemanship were highly esteemed, and were probably demonstrated at kermis (fair) and other occasions where the [...]

Were your Ancestors in the Circus?2018-10-16T12:50:19+00:00

The History of the Orphan Chamber


Also known as the Master of the Orphan Chamber (MOOC), The Board of Orphan Masters was established at the Cape about 1673. In the following year we read in the Government Journal of monies of the Cape Orphans being administered by the Diaconate or Poor Fund and a proposal to separate such monies and place them with the Orphan Chamber. (Journal 9/10/1674) A few months later the Journal records that "the Board of Orphan Masters, already created last year, shall be increased by a Company's servant, so that it will consist of five members, besides a burgher to be appointed [...]

The History of the Orphan Chamber2018-10-16T10:00:23+00:00

District Six


Cape Town in its early days clustered snugly around the slopes of Lion's Head Mountain and Signal Hill, and only when overcrowding forced it did the White population begin to build homes on the slopes of Devil's Peak. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, visitors to the Cape would complain of the insalubrious canals, once clear water-channels to the sea, which had become rubbish-filled and sluggish eyesores. The Capel Sloot was one; it reached Keisergracht (now Darling Street) near the spot now known as Castle Bridge, where a bridge crossed the Castle moat. To get to the area [...]

District Six2018-10-16T10:00:15+00:00

Counterfeit Countess


Princess Catharina Maria Radziwill was born Ekaterina Adamevna, Countess Rzewuska, in St Petersburg, Russia on 30th March 1858. A journalist and only daughter of Count Adam Rzewuski, an exiled Polish noble-man living in Russia. Christened Ekaterina, she later changed her name to Catherine Maria. Whilst living in Russia and a favourite of Tsar Nicholas she married Prince Wilhelm in 1873 at the age of 15. They settled in the Radziwill family palace in Berlin and moved in the highest social circles, but because of her indiscretions - under a pseudonym she had written a series of articles in La [...]

Counterfeit Countess2018-10-16T10:00:07+00:00

Cape Slave Naming Patterns


When Robert Semple visited Cape Town in 1804 he correctly noted the significance of the naming pattern for Cape Slave owners: It ay here be observed that the whole heathen mythology is ransacked find the names which are generally bestowed in a manner not the most honourable to those deities at whose alters one half of the human race formerly bowed down. Thus Jupiter cleans the shoes, Hercules rubs down the horses, and Juno lights the fire. Yet [this] is it not done through any disrespect towards these once remarkable names, as those in Scripture are applied with as [...]

Cape Slave Naming Patterns2018-10-16T09:59:44+00:00

Clanwilliam Civil Deaths


The records of Civil Deaths for Clanwilliam are presently being transcribed from 1895 onwards. These records provide full names of deceased, age, gender, race, residence, place of death, date of death, intended place of burial as well as cause of death. Should you wish to see the actual image you need to go to the year you want to look at and put in the page number corresponding to the image number as see in the record link below. Please note that every record is transcribed exactly as is. If any surnames, farm names or causes of death are wrong please feel free to contact me with corrections.

Clanwilliam Civil Deaths2018-10-16T09:59:28+00:00

Were you a Buxton Baby?


Babies and children had a tough time in the early nineteen hundreds. The boom that followed the South African War was sadly brief and within months the country was plunged into a depression. Life was hard for many people, but the children's suffering was particularly cruel. Though governments plan to invade Cape Town came to nothing and the Mother City had no direct experience of the carnage, many shattered lives had sought refuge in the alleyways and slums. Pimps, prostitutes and gamblers who'd been drawn by the glitter of the gold and diamond fields had retreated to Cape Town during [...]

Were you a Buxton Baby?2018-10-16T09:59:14+00:00

Was your Ancestor a Murderer?


From the beginning of time, there have been murderers and psychopaths - if we delved deeply enough into our family we may find that somewhere along the way one of our ancestors either killed someone for revenge, love or by mistake. We now take a look at some famous and not so famous South African murderers - perhaps you are related to one of them? Daisy De Melker DAISY LOUISA DE MELKER was born on 1st July 1886 at Seven Fountains, near Grahamstown. She was the daughter of William Stringfellow Hancorn Smith from Grahamstown and Fanny Augusta [...]

Was your Ancestor a Murderer?2018-10-16T09:56:20+00:00

Sir Leicester Beaufort


Sir Leicester Beaufort On a recent trip to Plumstead Cemetery to photograph all those lost and forgotten people in, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the people buried there and where they came from. Some people’s names bother me and I have this urge to find out more. One particular person was Sir Leicester Beaufort who died on 13 August 1926 – now who would have thought that someone who had a title would have been left and forgotten with the thousands of other neglected and derelict headstones that say “we will never [...]

Sir Leicester Beaufort2018-10-16T09:35:43+00:00

Who’s Who South Africa


If you would like any personalities looked up from the Who's Who of South Africa, I do have small fee for supplying you with a copy. 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. As regards omissions for [...]

Who’s Who South Africa2018-10-16T09:35:03+00:00

History of the Heerenlogement


For hundreds of years travellers, botanists, astronomers, ministers and Missionaries have travelled northwards from Cape Town and spent the night at the ‘Heerenlogement” also known as “The Gentleman’s Lodging”, a huge cave on the slopes of the Langeberg Mountains approximately 20 km north of Graafwater in the Western Cape. Names engraved on the walls of the cave Names engraved on the walls of the cave Its an easy walk of about 15 minutes up the mountain-side, but if you have not been their before its difficult to imagine there is a cave where you could stay warm and dry in [...]

History of the Heerenlogement2018-10-16T09:34:46+00:00

Clanwilliam History


This section of my website has been create to promote and bring an awareness to the historical value of  the town Clanwilliam, This is aimed at the forgotten people in the Cederberg with references to deaths, burials, farm graves, farm names and historical properties as well as any scandalous events you may know of.  This is an ongoing project. Anyone willing to contribute can contact me. Clanwilliam is a Principal town of the magisterial district and division of the Cedarberg Municipality, situated at the foot of the Cedarberg Range where the Jan Dissels River flows into the broad Olifants [...]

Clanwilliam History2018-10-16T12:28:16+00:00

Frequently asked questions


Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for anyone researching their family history in South Africa. Is there a National Index to search for births, marriages and deaths certificates in South Africa ? No – you can, however, search for death notices, deceased estates from 1830 until aprox 1975 on the National Archives web site . If they are not there, contact me and for a small fee I will find them for you. What does Ex Parte Application mean? An ex parte application is an application by one side when the other is not, does not need to [...]

Frequently asked questions2018-10-16T09:30:25+00:00

Birth, Marriage and Death Records


Birth, marriage and death records housed in the Cape Town Archives from 1895 - 1971 are now open to the public for the Western Cape, Northern Cape and some of the Eastern Cape. However, actual copies of 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 and they no longer allow 3rd [...]

Birth, Marriage and Death Records2018-10-16T09:30:13+00:00