In May 1842 British forces under Capt. T. C. Smith occupied Port Natal for the purpose of making an end to the republic of Natalia. The protests of the Volksraad and Commandant-General Andries Pretorius he rejected. His camp was situated under the Berea on the Point side of the Umgeni River, where he had dug himself in well. He had about 240 men, with Capt. Lonsdale and 4 lieutenants, under his command.
In August 1805, while the French army with which Napoleon intended to invade England was still in waiting at Boulogne, a formidable British fleet sailed southwards on a secret mission, The Battle of Blaauwberg was going to happen. It was proposed to take the Cape - the key to India - from the Batavian Republic (which was an ally of France) by means of a surprise attack. Naval and cargo vessels, 61 in all, under the command of Commodore Sir Home Popham had 6,654 soldiers and officers under Major-General Sir David Baird on board. Baird, who had spent ten months at the Cape during the first British occupation, knew the fortifications well. Reports of a mighty fleet sailing south reached Lt.-Gen. J. W. Janssen’s, the Governor at the Cape, and he made all possible preparations, but it was the harvesting season and he could not mobilise the burghers without sufficient information of an intended attack.
The names of houses are a fascinating way of tracing your ancestors as they may have been the people that actually named the house. Many people name their houses after the towns or places they originated from or places that are strongly associated with the family. These place names could be vital clues when looking for that missing link. House names also contain names of people, eg Alison & Donald become “Aldon” - they could be named after children, spouses or something special in their lives.
The term epidemic is used to indicate an unusual prevalence of a disease. The disease which most harried early navigators, occurring in epidemic form on long voyages, was scurvy. It was known that the condition was caused by absence of fresh food in the sailor's diet. Only in the present century, however, was it discovered that the factor absent from such stored or preserved foods was a vitamin. Vitamin C, the anti-scorbutic factor, is the most vulnerable of all the vitamins, readily destroyed by heating, drying and other methods of food preservation.
A biography is the story of a person's life. Some biographies are just a few sentences long, others are a book. Short biographies give the basic facts of a person's life. Longer biographies include the facts with more details. Most biographies are about famous, or infamous, people. Some are about historical people, and others are about people still living. Everyone can have a biography.
The decision to move will inevitable come at some stage of our life where we need to downscale and get rid of stuff. Whether it’s your own decision or be it a parent going into frail care or even you, when you are forced to make decisions on those precious family items and heirlooms we all hang on to its going to be a difficult one.
Voter’s records can be access at the National Archives and as well as the main public libraries - if you need help in looking up voters records, please contact me
The change-over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and 1752 had no influence on the calculation of time in South Africa, but the researcher wishing to continue his work in Great Britain will have to take this into account.
The Blue Books in the Cape Town Archives are one of the hidden gems that you can use in tracing your family history. They do not only contain statistical data but also names of people in many instances. These Blue Books contain data regarding the following areas: Civil Establishment; Taxes; duties and other heads of revenue; Fees(personal); Revenue, Expenditure and Balances; Comparative statement of revenue (1873, 1874), expenditure (1873,1874), estimated and actual revenue, estimated and actual expenditure; estimated and actual expenditure under schedules, ordinances, and Acts of Parliament; an Abstract statement under appropriation ordinance etc; General Account - Current; Local revenues (Church, Municipal, and Divisional Council); Public Debt; Military; Public Works and Buildings; Legislation; Political franchise; Council and Assembly; Security for Discharge of Duties; Pensions; Recapitulation; Foreign Consuls; Population; Miscellaneous Numerical Return; Ecclesiastical Return; Education; Money, Exchange, Weights and Measures; Shipping/Exports and Imports: Agriculture; Wages etc; Prices of Provisions and Clothing; Stock and Produce; Manufactories, Mines and Fisheries; Grants of Land; Jails and Prisoners; Charitable Institutions and Hospitals; the appendix contains Reports of Civil Commissioners.
When searching for information on your ancestors, one of the most useful documents is the Estate Papers of the deceased which in brief gives the final summary and status of their life at the time of death.Depending on when the person died will depend how many of the following files below are included. The more recent estate papers will reveal more. Older Estate papers did not include Wills and death notices and were filed as separate documents and - pre 1900.In these documents you should find:
Did you know that one of the most important documents in the Archives of the Colonial Secretary are the petitions of private persons, 1843-1876 (CSO 2 236-2 281), letters received from private persons, special marriage licences, 1857-1882, naturalization documents and the Byrne Immigration Papers,
Smallpox, introduced from the Orient, first made its appearance as an epidemic on Friday 13th 1713 when a crew member aboard a ship was infected with the disease. His clothes were taken out to be washed in the river near the castle which in turn contaminated the local drinking water. Another outbreak occurred later in 1755 and hit the Cape Settlement very hard. It ravaged all the Hottenot tribes, this together with the pressure of the fast expanding settlement, largely destroyed the tribal life of the Hottentots of the 18th Century. Many tribes were wiped out. Their numbers were reduced so much that their tribal organisation disintegrated and they were gradually taken into service as labourers, especially herdsmen by the local farmers.
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.
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.
Ascendants and descendants in the direct line - father and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter, and so forth - may not marry each other. Collaterals are prohibited from intermarrying if either of them is related to their common ancestor in the first degree of descent.