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The 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Additonal Information

This is pre 1820 information mainly taken from actual images of UK parish registers and other primary sources which I have personally researched. Further information about the settlers and their families once they reached the Cape can be found at

Sue Mackay

KEEN, Thomas - Extra Data


(member of WAIT's Party)


Death Notice (Cape Archives) says he was born in Buckinghamshire, which is where the majority of WAIT's Party was recruited. His parents are listed as Thomas and Elizabeth.


The date of birth for his daughter Mary Anne is given as 4 December 1813  - See her Death Notice (Cape Archives)


Most trees list the name of Thomas KEEN's wife as Margaret COFFEE, but the death notices of those children born at the Cape simply give her name as Margaret KEEN.  If his wife was Margaret COFFEE then it seems the marriage took place in Elphin, County Roscommon, Ireland in 1812. See here.


Buckinghamshire Baptism Index (from Bishop's Transcripts D/A/T/155 in Buckinghamshire Archives)

Baptisms in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire

Lucy daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth KEEN  2 Aug 1789
Moses son of Thomas and Elizabeth KEEN 11 Sep 1791
Thomas son of Thomas and Elizabeth KEEN 19 May 1793
Elizabeth daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth KEEN 9 Aug 1795
Rachel daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth KEEN 8 Apr 1797

This seemed the more plausible baptism for Thomas, though many trees in South Africa have the baptism of Thomas KEEN in Hawridge, Buckinghamshire on 19 April 1795. The mother on that baptism is listed as Mary, not Elizabeth. More importantly there is a marriage in Hawridge in 1818 of a Thomas KEEN to a Mary HORWOOD and this couple went on to have a numerous family in the village. That Thomas appears on the 1841 census for Hawridge with Mary and the children, with an age consistent with being the one baptised there in 1795, and his wife Mary was still there as a widow in 1851. Definite proof that the Saunderton baptism is the correct one came when a descendant of Elizabeth (born 1795) came up as a DNA match both with descendants of the settler Thomas and descendants of Moses KEEN.


It seems that Thomas was in the Middlesex Regiment and was posted to Ireland, where he met and married Margaret COFFEE. The regiment then moved to Nottinghamshire.


Nottinghamshire FHS Transcriptions

Mary Anne daughter of Thos. and Margaret KEEN , Pte R. Middlesex Militia, Quartered here, baptised 25 December 1813 in St.Peter and St.Paul, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.


National Burial Index

Thomas KEEN buried 10 July 1835 in St.Mary and St.Nicholas, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, aged 78 (likely father of the settler)


Buckinghamshire Burial Index (from Bishop's Transcripts D/A/T/155 in Buckinghamshire Archives)

Elizabeth KEEN buried 8 April 1797 in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire. This is almost certainly Thomas KEEN the settler's mother, who must have died after giving birth to Rachel (baptised the same day as the burial)


Buckinghamshire Marriage Index ( from Bishop's Transcripts D/A/T/19 in Buckinghamshire Archives)

Thomas KEEN of Sanderton married Alice HALL on 26 July 1798 in Bledlow, Buckinghamshire.

This would appear to be Thomas KEEN the settler's father, Thomas KEEN Senior, remarrying after the death of his first wife the previous year. 


Buckinghamshire Baptism Index

Daniel son of Thomas and Alice KEEN bap 19 June 1799 Saunderton
Solomon son of Thomas and Alice KEENE bap 28 July 1805 Saunderton


National Burial Index


Alice KEEN buried 19 Oct 1819 in St.Mary and St.Nicholas, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, aged 57


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