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Locating South African Death Records on LDS Films

Ellen Stanton

Birmingham, Alabama, USA
updated April 2015 by Sister Jarvi of the Parktown Family History Centre

The following guide should enable you to relate the South African Archives Death Notice reference numbers to the appropriate film among those which can be ordered at one of the Latter Day Saints family history centres.

FIRST: Find the reference numbers for the death notices you are looking for.

1. These can be found by searching the South African Archives online index, know as NAAIRS, to be found here:

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS)

2. Click on SEARCH

3. Click on RSA. This option allows you to search all of the available records.

Type in the name you are searching for, one name per line. Do not hit the space bar after typing the name. Use the tab key instead to get to the next box. When you have completed typing the name, hit the SEARCH button at the top left of the screen.

On the next screen, you will see how many ‘hits’ you got on those names. If you enter a very common name, like ‘John SMITH’, you will get a lot of extraneous hits, so try to include some unique info about your particular ‘John SMITH’, such as a middle name, or a date.

4. Click on Result Summary at far left of set of gray boxes.

Each one of the resulting links can be clicked on and will give you some information about what type of record it is. In this case, you are looking for death notices. They may say Death Notice, or Estate Papers, or they may just list the individual’s name.

5. To find the LDS film for the death notice, you will require the Depot, the Reference Number, the Description, and the start/end date. For example, here is the pertinent information from four different death notices:

i. Depot: KAB Reference #: 6884 Description: RIDGARD, Sarah (nee UITCHLEY). Death Notice. Starting: 1871 Ending: 1871

ii. Depot: NAB Reference #: 25467/1937 Description: THOMAS, Henrietta (S/S William Alexander) Starting: 1937 Ending: 1952

iii. Depot: TAB Reference #: 20426 Description: LESLIE, George Starting: 1912 Ending: 1912

iv. Depot: VAB Reference #24233 Description: COCKCROFT, James Nendick Starting: 1932 Ending: 1932

SECOND: Find the catalogue number of the LDS film for the required death notice

6. Go to the LDS Family Search web site, section: Family History Library Catalog

7. Click on Search by Places  (the default)

8. In the Place box, type in the Province:

a. If the Depot is KAB, type in Cape Province South Africa

b. If the Depot is NAB, type in Natal South Africa

c. If the Depot is TAB, type in Transvaal South Africa

d. If the Depot is VAB, type in Orange Free State South Africa

In our examples above, there is one from each depot, so you will repeat this step four times to get the information you need. Click on the SEARCH button.

9. Scroll down to Probate Records and click on the link.

10. Select the appropriate class of record:

For Cape Province, click on Probate records, 1834-1989.

For Natal, click on Deceased estates, 1846-1950.

For Transvaal, click on Probate records, 1869-1958

For Orange Free State, click on Estate files, 1832-1989

11. Scroll down to the desired year, and find the film number that corresponds to your reference number.

In the case of Orange Free State, your reference number may have a single letter prefix before the number. The reference numbers with the letter prefix are first in the list, and then following them are some reference numbers that are strictly numeric. Just keep scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on Next film notes until you find the reference number and the year you are looking for.

copyright Ellen Stanton 2008


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