Which Pieter Gous was Aletta Vorster’s husband?
originally printed in the February 2007 issue of genesis, the quarterly journal of eGGSA, internet branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa.
Genealogies of Old South African Families, by C.C. de Villiers, revised C. Pama, A.A. Balkema, Cape Town, 1966 (De Villiers / Pama) does not allocate this Pieter Gous any parents, leaving him uncoupled to the main Gous family tree. South African Genealogies, by J.A. Heese and R.J.T. Lombard, GISA (SAG) has Aletta Vorster as the second wife of Pieter Gous, born 1693, son of the Stamvader André Gauch and his second wife, Jannetje de Clerq.
Unfortunately for this last theory, there is no doubt that this Pieter Gous (born circa 1693) died in 1730 (MOOC 8/5, 27) as pointed out by Johann Pottas in 2004 in the GISA errata database, doubly confirmed by the fact that his widow, Anna Oosthuisen, married Gerrit van Emmenes on 1st April 1731 at Drakenstein.
A little more investigation revealed that the Estate Accounts (Boedelrekening) of Johanna De Clercq, 1748, listed the following children of her two sons, both of whom had predeceased her. Of her eldest son Pieter Gous, four children: Johanna, Dorothea, Pieter and Sara, and of her second son Andries Gous, eight children: Pieter, Andries, Barend, Johanna, Sara, Stephanus, Helena and Hester.
The Pieter in the first list, son of Pieter, was baptised in 1727 and, therefore, did not seem a likely candidate for the husband of Aletta Vorster (married 1742), but the Pieter in the second list, that of the children of Andries Gous, seemed to be a good candidate. I found baptisms for all of the children in that second list except for the Pieter who heads the list. Since the list is in the same order as the other children were baptised I assumed that Pieter was the first born, despite the lack of a baptism.
Andries Gous the father of these children, died circa June 1735 (Inventory MOOC 8/5, 85). This inventory does not mention the names or number of his children.
The next document I consulted was the Acte van Kinderbewys (deed of guarantee for children’s inheritance) (MOOC 12/1, 28) sworn by Johanna Conterman, the widow of Andries Gous, on 23 June 1735. Such a deed was required by the Weeskamer if the surviving spouse was going to retain control of the inheritance due to the children, as a safeguard in case of such spouse’s future marriage. Such a marriage as took place soon afterwards between Johanna Conterman and Jan la Grange.
In this document she guarantees an amount of 5259 gulden as the paternal inheritance of her eight minor children, whom she listed as: Pieter aged 16, Andries 15, Barend 13, Johannes 10, Sara 8, Stephanus 6, Helena 3 and Hester Gous, aged 1 year, thus confirming the previous conjecture that Pieter was their eldest son.
Here, in my opinion, we have an excellent candidate for the husband of Aletta Vorster, since this Pieter would have been around 23 in 1742. I have, however, been unable to find any direct evidence that unequivocally identifies Pieter Gous born circa 1719 with Pieter Gous, bachelor, who married Aletta Vorster on 25 November 1742. I believe, nevertheless, that he is our man.
I first became interested in this Pieter Gous when researching Maria van Staden, the wife of Frans Smit, a very interesting woman in her own right. In her will (CJ 2672, 44, 17 January 1775), Maria van Staden makes (among others) a bequest as follows:
And the testatrix bequeaths to her nephew the farmer Pieter Gous and to his wife Aletta Forster, or to the survivor of them both, the farm buildings on the cattle farm which she also has on leasehold from the Honourable Company, situated across the Oliphants Rivier at the Langefonteijn.
Maria van Staden referred to him as her nephew (neef - an ambiguous word in afrikaans, but the others in her will to whom she referred in the same way were all sons of her half sister Cecilia Janse van Rensburg, so we can assume that her meaning was that of nephew). Maria's husband, Frans Smit, and his brother, Alewijn Smit, farmed in partnership all through their lives, so far as I can establish (Frans died first, in 1758). Alewijn Smit was married to Hester Bekker. Pieter Gous the son of Andries Gous, would have been her nephew. I presume that Maria van Staden regarded him, in this related-by-marriage sense, as her nephew too.
It was the convention then, and much later too, for baptisms of children to be witnessed by close relatives. Thus the witnesses at the baptism of a first child were often the grandparents, for later children often the uncles and aunts. There was no hard and fast rule, however, and relatives were not obligatory as witnesses; sometimes apparently unrelated individuals appear as witnesses, or the parents double as witnesses, or sometimes there were no witnesses.
With the children of Pieter Gous and Aletta Vorster, this is true so far as the Vorster relations go, but there is not one single Gous relative appearing as witness at the baptism of any of their six children.
Their children were all baptised in the church at Tulbagh, known then as De Land van Waveren, and I assume that they lived within the area of that church. The baptism of their first child was witnessed by her brother and her mother, of the second child by Francois Smit and Maria van Staden. One later baptism was witnessed by Hester Smit, daughter of Alewijn Smit and Hester Bekker, all the others by Vorster relations. My conjecture here, not confirmed by any document as yet, is that on the death of his father, or perhaps the remarriage of his mother, he went to live, or more likely to live and work, on the farm owned and run jointly by his aunt Hester Bekker, her husband Alewijn Smit and her brother- and sister-in-law, Frans Smit and Maria van Staden. Either he was too far from his mother's home, or out of favour there, to ask them to stand as baptismal witnesses. Their first son has the same name as Aletta Vorsters's father (a not uncommon variation of the usual naming pattern) or perhaps as Pieter’s step-father, Jan la Grange, or perhaps both of these, and their second son as Pieter's father, Andries. His eldest daughter has the name, as was the usual convention, of his mother-in-law, and his second daughter the name of both Maria van Staden and his own mother, Johanna Conterman. It would seem that this couple held Maria van Staden in high esteem, and vice versa.
We know that Pieter Gous, born circa 1719, eldest child of Andries Gous and his wife Johanna Conterman, survived into adulthood. We have the documents mentioned above, the kinderbewys of 1735 and the estate accounts of 1748 attesting to his still being alive at those dates. In addition we have an estate account (boedelrekening), dated February 1799, for Sara Gous, widow of Nicolaas Bruijns, in which are listed as her heirs all her brothers and sisters, just as they had been listed in the two previous documents of 1735 and 1748.
This Pieter Gous seems to have been the one who died 18th January 1790 at Waveren - unfortunately no other details are given. His wife, Aletta Vorster, died 20th July 1798, inscribed as the widow of Pieter Gous.
I hope that I may yet discover more direct proof, but in the meantime I believe that Pieter Gous, born circa 1719, the eldest child of Andries Gous and his wife Johanna Conterman, is the most likely candidate for the husband of Aletta Vorster.
All references are to documents in the Cape Archives unless otherwise specified.
My grateful thanks are due to Malan Jacobs, Helena Liebenberg, Keith Meintjes, and the late André Kellerman, all of whom have helped me to consult source material and accounts of this family to which I did not have access here.
As always I will be very pleased to receive any corrections, additions or references to other documents bearing on this family.
Richard Ball Norfolk, England firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gous Family Tree
In my attempts to establish the above facts, I have reconstructed a large part of the first three Gous generations from the various documents that I consulted and I take the opportunity of presenting the first two generations here, since there is some variation between what I have found and what is presented in De Villiers / Pama and SAG. These generations can also be seen on my web site The Gous Family of the Cape where the detailed source for every piece of information is also provided.
André Gauch, smith and farmer, living in Drakenstein Born: Le Pont-de-Montvert, Languedoc - died 26 February 1698 x Jacqueline Decré 13 January 1683 Celigny, Geneva died before 1691 (assumed) xx Johanna de Clercq 19 August 1691 Stellenbosch, born Zeeland, died circa 1748
His own signature gives his name as André Gauch. At the Cape the name was variously spelled; mostly Gausch and Gousch in the early documents (reproducing very closely the sound of the French name using Dutch spelling) and later apparently taken to be the word 'Gouws' and spelt thus or as 'Gous'. I have decided to standardise the form of the name as Gous from his children onwards.
The marriage entry in the Celigny, Geneva, register gives his father's name as the late Pierre Gauch of Pont de Monvers aux Sevens, but does not record the bridegroom's age at that date. So far as I know there is no source for his date of birth.
The children and grandchildren of André Gauch and Jacqueline Decré:
b1 Steven Gous, born between 1683 and 1684 at Geneva, died before March 1758
farmer, of Berg en Daal, Koeberg
x Catharina Bok, 6 March 1718 Cape Town
born: circa 1704-1705 at the Cape, died circa December 1779 father: Christiaan Bok, mother: Anna Groothenning
I have assumed that he was the son of Jacqueline Decré. There is, so far as I am aware, no proof of this. He gave his birthplace as Geneva at the time of his marriage, so it seems very likely. Although he appears as 'Etienne' in SAG, De Villiers / Pama, Boucher’s French Speakers at the Cape, and many of the web sites which list this family, I have found not a single historical source for this name. So far as I know we have no record of him other than what is housed in the Cape Archives where his name is always Steven.
b1.c1 Stephanus Gous, baptised 1 September 1720 Cape Town died (in all probability) between 1720 and 1721 as an infant.
Although given a large progeny by SAG this child almost certainly died as an infant. The opgaaf (tax cum census) returns for this family list no children for the year 1721. Later returns of 1725 to 1738 list only daughters in this family. The return of 1741 lists 1 son and 5 daughters. In addition the will of Catharina Bok, widow of Steven Gous, 17 March 1758, lists her 5 daughters and her one son, Andries Stephanus and the estate accounts of Clara Bok, who died without children of her own in 1798, lists the then living children and descendants of her late sister Catharina Bok, 'procreated within marriage with her likewise deceased husband Stephanus Gousch' as Andries Stephanus Gousch, Sara Gousch and Clara Gousch.
b1.c2 Anna Gous, baptised 30 September 1721 Cape Town
b1.c3 Catharina Gous, baptised 1 August 1723 Cape Town
The two daughters above were still living when their mother made her opgaaf return in 1773 but had died by the time the estate accounts of their aunt, Clara Bok, were drawn up in 1798 (MOOC 13/1/22, 4).
b1.c4 Christina Gous, baptised 18 March 1725 Cape Town, died circa 1792
b1.c5 Sara Gous, baptised 6 April 1727 Cape Town,
date of death unknown, except that it was probably after 1798 since she is mentioned as one of the heirs of her aunt, Clara Bok (MOOC 13/1/22, 4).
b1.c6 Clara Gous, baptised 20 July 1732 Cape Town, died circa July 1821
b1.c7 Andries Stephanus Gous, baptised 12 June 1740 Cape Town, died circa October 1814 x Maria Hendrina Mulder born at the Cape
This couple had no children of their own but their apparently unrelated adopted son, Andries Stephanus Faculyn Gous, left a large progeny (see SAG).
b2 Marie Gous, baptised 31 May 1690 Amsterdam, Oude Waalse Kerk
died presumably before her father arrived at the Cape.
The children and grandchildren of André Gauch and Johanna de Clercq:
b3 Pieter Gous, born circa 1692-1693 at the Cape, died circa 1730
farmer of De Doorn Rivier, over 't Roode Sand
x Anna Oosthuisen 4 May 1721 Stellenbosch
born at the Cape, died circa December 1745 (date of inventory)
she married secondly Gerrit van Emmenes, 1 April 1731, Drakenstein.
De Villiers / Pama and SAG both list what appears to be a spurious daughter named Anna for this couple, but I have been unable to find any evidence of her existence. So far as I can establish there were only the following four children.
b3.c1 Johanna Gous, baptised 25 April 1723 Drakenstein, died circa July 1794
x Matthijs Strijdom 11 October 1739 Drakenstein
farmer, died before 1758
xx Ockert Brits 16 April 1758 Drakenstein
She had children with both husbands.
b3.c2 Dorothea Gous, baptised 26 November 1724 Stellenbosch
according to SAG she married Willem Botha (Tulbagh, VC 664, marriages, page 18, 23 May 1762) and they had four children.
b3.c3 Pieter Gous, baptised 6 July 1727 Drakenstein
of De Voorbaad, situated at the Swarteberg
x Magdalena Brits 5 November 1752 Tulbagh
I found no evidence from wills or other documents that the Pieter Gous baptised 1727 was the husband of Magdalena Brits, so I checked out the baptisms of their all their children for the clues provided by baptismal witnesses.
The witnesses at the baptism of their first child were Johanna Gous and Matthijs Strijdom, the sister and brother-in-law of the Pieter Gous who was born 1727 to Pieter Gous and Anna Oosthuijsen; those of the second child were Johannes Oosthuijsen and Anna Botha, brother of Anna Oosthuijsen and his wife, uncle and Aunt of the Pieter Gous born 1727; those of the third child were Dorothea Gous and Ockert Brits, she the sister of the Pieter Gous born 1727 and the second husband of Johanna Gous, sister of Pieter Gous born 1727. It seems pretty certain to me, therefore, that this is a correct identification.
Beyond their baptisms, I have not investigated their children.
b3.c4 Sara Gous, baptised 21 August 1729 Cape Town
according to the SAG, vol 2, page 494, she married Willem Goosen (Cape Town marriage register, VC 621, page 59, 31st August 1749) and they had eight children.
b4 Sara Gous, born circa 1694 or 1695, died circa December 1722
x Christiaan Gobrechts, farmer, died circa 1731 (date of inventory)
they had just the one child, Andries Gobrechts, born circa September 1722
b5 Johanna Gous, baptised 25 September 1695 Drakenstein, died before June 1698
b6 Andries Gous, born circa May 1698, died circa June 1735
farmer of De Melkhouteboom, on the Duijvenhoks River
x Johanna Conterman 14 May 1719 Drakenstein
she married secondly Jan La Grange, circa 1735 or 1736 (there are no entries for this period in the Drakenstein marriage registers).
b6.c1 Pieter Gous, born circa 1719, died 18 January 1790 Waveren
x Aletta Vorster 25 November 1742 Drakenstein born circa 1722 at the Cape, died 20 July 1798 Waveren
Please see the article above which introduces this family tree for my reasoning in allocating this family to this point of the tree, which I consider their correct location. Their children, so far as I can see, are exactly as laid out in SAG and De Villiers / Pama.
b6.c2 Andries Gous, baptised 5 January 1721 Drakenstein
x Anna Magdalena Vosloo 9 September 1742 Drakenstein
b6.c2d1 Andries Gous, baptised 16 December 1744 Tulbagh
b6.c2d2 Johannes Stephanus Gous, baptised 31 March 1748 Stellenbosch
The NAAIRS online index suggests (but I have not seen the documents concerned) that he died circa 1792 and that his wife, Anna Magdalena Vosloo died circa 1810 (MOOC 7/1/37, 24 and MOOC 7/1/59, 62). The Cape Death Notifications (MOOC 6, volume2, page 49) lists her death under the district of Swellendam during the year 1794, no date attached.
b6.c3 Barend Gous, baptised 25 April 1723 Drakenstein, died circa January 1741
b6.c4 Johanna Gous, baptised 8 July 1725 Cape Town
x Wessel Pretorius, farmer of Hollebak, over the Duijvenhoxrivier died circa 1752 (date of inventory)
xx Jan Vosloo 26 November 1752 Stellenbosch died circa 1756 (date of inventory)
xxx Jan Lasch 15 October 1769 Tulbagh
She appears to have had children by all three husbands.
b6.c5 Sara Gous, born circa 1727 at the Cape, died circa 1797
x Claas de Bruijn 9 March 1745 Tulbagh born at the Cape, died before 1797
They appear to have had no children.
b6.c6 Stephanus Gous, baptised 25 September 1729 Cape Town
of De Elands Valleij, at the Swarte Berg
x Catharina Huppenaar 16 June 1756 Cape Town baptised 2 September 1736 Drakenstein,
Father: Frederik Huppenaar Mother: Catharina Hofman
We have seen earlier that it could not have been Stephanus Gous, the son of Steven Gous (b1c1), who married Catharina Huppenaar, as averred by SAG and De Villiers / Pama, since he did not survive (or leave surviving heirs) to be named as an heir in his mother’s will of 1759, having most probably died as an infant. We have also seen that Steven Gous (b1) died around 1758 and was survived by his wife, Catharina Bok, so that he could not have been Catharina Huppenaar’s husband.
This leaves as the only other candidate Stephanus Gous (b6.c6). I have, in addition, checked the baptismal witnesses for his first two children (I have not been able to examine details of the baptisms of his later children as I do not currently have access for the appropriate dates to the registers where they were presumably recorded, possibly Cape Town or Drakenstein).
The witnesses recorded were; for the first child, Andries, baptised 7 November 1756 at Tulbagh, Johanna Conterman and Jan le Grange, the child's paternal grandmother with her second husband; for the second child, Catharina, baptised 17 December 1758 at Tulbagh, Catharina Hofman and Willem Landman, maternal grandmother of the child with her second husband.
Again, this is slim evidence, but I believe that mine is the correct interpretation.
SAG lists a good number of other children as well but I have not investigated them.
b6.c7 Helena Gous, baptised 4 July 1732 Cape Town
x Willem van Wijk 5 September 1756 Tulbagh, Died before 1802
b6.c8 Hester Gous, baptised 27 June 1734 Cape Town
x Reijnier van Rooijen 4 March 1753 Tulbagh, of Swellendam, died 18 July 1770 at Swellendam
xx Willem Pilje 26 May 1771 Stellenbosch, died before 1802
copyright Richard Ball
Original Documentary Sources used in the above research:
Cape Death Notifications 1758-1838, MOOC 6/1, 6/2, 6/3
Cape Opgaaf Returns, computerisation by the University of the Western Cape,
printouts, as housed at the Genealogical Institute of South Africa, Stellenbosch
Amsterdam, Oude Waalse Kerk, Gemeentearchief Amsterdam web site
Cape Town Congregation, VC 603, 604, 605, 621
Celigny, Geneva 1571- 1798, Latter Day Saints, film number 128310
Drakenstein Congregation, VC644, VC645, VC654
Stellenbosch Congregation, VC 633, VC 639, VC 645
Swartland Congregation, VC 666-8, VC 672
Tulbagh Congregation, VC 657, and VC 644
Deed of Surety, Conterman, Johanna wed. Gous, 23 June 1735, MOOC 12/1, 28
Bok, Clara, weduwe Gideon Slabbert, dated 12 July 1798, MOOC 13/1/22, 4
De Clercq, Johanna, from 1748 to 8 August 1757, MOOC 13/1/4, 2
Gousch, Sara wed Bruijns, from 1798 to 9 December 1802, MOOC 13/1/25, 31
Inventories: (transcripts available on the TANAP Cape Inventories web site)
Gaus, Pieter, dated 9 May 1730, MOOC 8/5, 27
Gausch, Andries, dated 23 June 1735, MOOC 8/5, 85
Gobregts, Christiaan, dated 8 November 1731, MOOC 8/5, 49
Goos, Andries, dated 9 June 1698, MOOC 8/1,37
Gous, Sara 1722, dated 9th December 1722, MOOC 8/4, 39
Oosthuisen, Anna, dated 22 December 1745, MOOC 8/6,100
Joernaal-boek der Caapse Weesen van de jaare 1698, MOOC 18/1, page 14
entry dated 21 June 1698:
Johanna du Clercq: vryburgeresse, en weeduwe wijlen de franse smit
tot drakensteijn Andries Goos, aan haar 4 onder volgende weeskinderen
aan Steven Goos oud 14, zijnde 't voorkind f 100:-:-
aan Pieter Goos oud 5 jaar, f 100:-:-
aan Sara Goos oud 3 jaar, f 100:-:-
aan Andries Goos oud 6 weeken, f 100:-:-
Bock, Catharina, wed. Steven Gousch, dated 17 March 1758, CJ 22664, 10
Bock, Catharina, wed. Steven Gousch, dated 22nd April 1767
and filed 30th December 1779, MOOC 7/1/22, 45
Gous, Andries Stephanus, dated 31 March 1804
and filed 8 November 1814, MOOC 7/1/49, 85
Van Staden, Maria, dated 17th January 1775, CJ 2672, 44
Secondary sources consulted:
Boucher, Maurice - French Speakers at the Cape, Univ. of South Africa, 1981
De Villiers, C.C. Genealogies of Old South African Families,
revised by C. Pama, A.A. Balkema, Cape Town, 1966
Gouws, Danie M.G., Die Dubbele Gouwse, no date.
Heese, J.A. and R.J.T. Lombard, South African Genealogies, GISA
Malherbe, J.E. Jannetje de Clerc, In: The Huguenot Bulletin, 35, 1998, page 52
Swanepoel, Wynand P., Elf geslagte van die gesin Gouws in Suid-Afrika 1691-1997,
Randfontein, COM Printers, 1999.