Ruda LandmanRuda 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 farms were interspersed among them. Until May 1702 they had their own French minister, Pierre Simond, and until February 1723 a French reader and schoolmaster, Paul Roux. The Huguenots clung to their language for fifteen to twenty years; in 1703 only slightly more than one fifth of the adult French colonists were sufficiently conversant with Dutch to understand a sermon in Dutch properly, and many children as yet knew little or no Dutch at all. The joint opposition of the farmers toward W. A. van der Stel shortly afterwards brought the French more and more into contact with their Dutch neighbours; as a result of social intercourse and intermarriage they soon adopted the language and customs of their new country. Forty years after the arrival of the Huguenots, the French language had almost died out and Dutch was the preferred tongue.

In South Africa we are extremely lucky to have such superb and dedicated family historians, as well as exquisite records in our Archives, which begin prior to Jan Van Riebeeck landing at the Cape. Jan’s diary of his voyage to South Africa is documented and stored in the Cape Town Archives.

This mammoth task of tracing Ruda’s family tree in record time, was compiled to find out how far back the Wahl family and its branches can be traced as well as how many sets of grandparents can be found. Click here to see her family tree.

The Wahl Family

Daniel Hendrik Wahl was born circa 1850 and research has proven that there is no legitimate documentation to prove his parentage. On the 17th February 1874, Daniel Hendrik applied for a special marriage license to marry Maria Catherina Reynecke.

Photographer of the Paarl: Daniel Hendrik Wahl’s Insolvent Estate (In further documentation, and finding the Liquidation and Distribution account, it is noted that Daniel was known as the “Photographer of the Paarl and Wheelwright of Paarl” in 1883) Click here to see image

And in another image one section of the document refers to the surname as “de Wahl” and not “Wahl”, which meant that one would now have to search under the many variants of including de Wahl, Waal and de Waal. Mr D.H Wahl’s Insolvent Estate.Further documentation also mentions the “widow Reynecke” Elisabeth Wilhelmina Reynecke, which was his mother in law, as well as a Constant Wahl and Adam J Wahl who thus far cannot be linked to this immediate family as no parentage exists for Daniel. It is assumed that the two men mentioned are possibly brothers as they fit well with other documentation of the same period.

Unfortunately the common problem with variants of name spelling has been a classic example of the “brick wall” scenario, which has been encountered here thus the time limit on this research has been halted. The original Wahl Family whom Daniel Hendrik would have descended is (1) Johan(n) Christia(a)n Wahl, from Strelitz in Mecklenburg (Germany). Arrives here in 1752 as a soldier. Citizen in 1756. Married 10th September 1757 to Christina Gerrits, daughter of Herman Gerrits (2 children) or (2) Johan(n) Coenraad or Conrad Wahl, from Wildungen (Germany). Arrives here in 1774 as a soldier. Citizen in 1780. Died 15th October 1814. Married 12th November 1780 to Catharina Hilledonda van Dyk (7 children). Motto: Factis non verbis.

charlizeMost family pedigrees of this extent can take many years to complete and I have managed to go back 10 generations in two weeks. A lineage and direct relation to South African actress Charlize Theron has also been illustrated and Ruda finds herself as the 5th cousin to this Hollywood star. See how Ruda and Charlize are related.