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Ancestors South Africa

Researching your Ancestors

Overberg and Irish Family Histories

This part of the Ancestors South Africa website covers two projects which are the Overberg Families which is dedicated to Happy Engela who kindly provided me with this valuable information collected over decades of personal research. Additions, corrections and web links will be welcomed and can be sent to me via the contact link.

The 2nd part is the Irish Immigrants to South Africa, of which many historical books and thesis have been written on, but not one entire collection of Irish people who came to South Africa has been compiled. I hope you will find your missing links to your Irish Ancestry. Although the database is still in its infancy, my collection of Irish families is immense. If you need any research done, I can gladly give you a quotation.

Please note that this information is not for any Wiki type or Geni public databases but remain my intellectual copyright. It has taken much of my time and effort to collaborate and put all this data together. Permission for any publication whether it be internet, paper publication, email, or verbal, permission is needed from me.

This is not a social media webpage and I reserve the right to reject, refuse or publish any material sent to me that is not relevant to any person or place.

Yours in Genealogy, Heather MacAlister

Francis William Reitz

Agriculturist and politician from Swellendam

Pickhandle Mary

Labour leader, politician, suffragette, master printer, and writer

Annie Frances Botha

Leading personality and wife of General Louis Botha

John MacBride

Irish patriot and volunteer in the Boer forces

Searching the Databases

Kindly note that the Overberg database is not indexed entirely by surname otherwise every surname that begins with Van der or De will end up in the tens of thousands so when searching for Van Breda search in the surname section for BREDA.

We hope you like our new section to the Ancestors South Africa Web Site? We love the way the template showcases our family trees. Please collaborate as we make this content completely free to all users. Kindly email us with any family trees or photos of Irish family we don’t have, as this is the part of the website we hope that will grow the most.

We hope you find our research useful for your family history. All of our sources have been documented to the best of our ability.

Frederick William Fitzsimons

Fitzsimons, who came to South Africa in 1881, was educated in Ireland and Natal. He became curator of the Pietermaritzburg Museum in 1897, was transferred to the Natal Government Museum, where he classified and catalogued all the departments, and from 1906 built up the Museum in Port Elizabeth as its director. Here in 1918 he established the well-known snake-park, the first in Africa and second in the world. As an authority on the snakes of South Africa and their venoms he gained an international reputation and did pioneer work on the production of anti-snake-bite serum. Fitz Simons has been described as `the Fabre of South Africa'. He was also interested in psychic research and anthropology. Of great importance were his discoveries regarding coastal Bushmen; his Boskop skull made him famous in the world of science. He married Henrietta Patricia Russell, a prominent social worker and suffragette.

Vivian Frederick Maynard Fitzimons, one of his sons, was born at Pietermaritzburg on 7 Feb. 1901, was educated at Port Elizabeth and proceeded to Rhodes University College, where he obtained an M.Sc. in 1923. In 1942 he obtained the degree of D.Sc. in zoology at the University of the Witwatersrand with a dissertation on The lizards of South Africa..

He joined the staff of the Transvaal Museum in 1924 and in 1945 became acting director; his appointment as director followed in 1947, and he retired in 1966. Under his direction the Transvaal Museum developed into a natural science research centre, with a research station in the Namib Desert. He wrote a standard work, Snakes of Southern Africa (1962) and was awarded a D.Sc. honoris causa by Rhodes University in 1967. The other son, Desmond Charles Fitzsimons (1906-63), was the founder and owner of the Durban snake-park and Director of the Clinsearch Serum Laboratories in Cape Town.

Works of F. W. Fitzsimons: The snakes of South Africa (1910 and 1926); The monkey folk of South Africa (1911) ; The natural history of South Africa, 6 vol. (1919-2923); Snakes and the treatment of snake-bite (1929):, Pythons and their ways (1930); Snakes (1932); Opening the psychic door (1933). D. C. FITZSIMONS

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Fake Irish Minister

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 find him in the Royal Navy as a chaplain, and present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 while serving in H.M.S. “Britannia”.

Two years later, on 7 December 1807, he arrived at the Cape of Good Hope to take up his position as chaplain to the garrison, and, a little later, he became chaplain to the navy as well. His extraordinary career at the Cape has been described at some length by Theal in his History of South Africa since 1795, vol. 1, p. 237-240, and also by Laidler in his Tavern of the Ocean, Cape Town, Maskew Miller, p. 128-130, but nothing seems to have been known about his final years in New South Wales to which he was sentenced to be transported for seven years in 1818.

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Joseph Barry

Merchant, businessman and Cape member of parliament, was the youngest of the sixteen children of Richard Barry, an innkeeper, and his wife, Elizabeth Stretton.


William Porter

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


Rebecca Bartholomew

Her father's family arrived in Durban from Ireland in 1880 (February 29th), and settled at Camperdown for a short time, afterwards farming at Mooi River ("Theddlethorpe") for many years.

Enjoy the Humor!


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