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New items online

Genealogy Books: Alta Griffiths has made a list of books now available on the FamilySearch web site - please see Books online in the Links to useful websites section of this web site.

Cemetery registers On FamilySearch have been added to Graves and Cemeteries in South Africa
  Images from the City of Cape Town, Cape Metro Cemetery Records, 
  to search: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2790463
  Maitland cemetery in Cape Town 1886-2007
  Plumstead Cemetery - Record of Interments - May 1959 to Jan 1977 

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Taking care of your family archives

This article is intended to provide simple and practical guidance to anyone who is looking after their family heritage. The articles will cover, for example, what family archives are, what to keep, taking care of the physical condition of the archives, how to package and store the archives, organising the archives, compiling an inventory or list, managing the digital archives, digitising family archives, managing your family archives project and advice on next steps to take.

Many people hold on to at least some records throughout their lives, but few keep the records in such a condition that would ensure their survival into the future. The interest in genealogy and family history research has grown rapidly recently and with that, a need to preserve records of the past.

In order to preserve your family heritage it is necessary to know what family archives are and which are essential records to tell your family’s story.

1 What are family archives?

Family papers are those things that we have saved because they mean something to us, they are our treasures and they tell us something about ourselves, our families and our friends: how we've lived our lives and what we value most.

These collections may include books (such as Bibles or history books), diaries or journals, loose documents (such as birth, death or marriage certificates), financial records, legal documents, deeds, letters, cards, postcards, house plans, school reports, exam or awards certificates, family cookbooks or recipe cards (especially handwritten books or cards), newspaper cuttings, photographs, tickets from events and shows, and maps and medals.


2 What to keep

At this stage you consider your reasons for preserving your family heritage. If your goal is to preserve the archives for future generations, you have to ensure that the records you keep can be managed effectively and you have enough space to store your archives. This will mean gathering together all your family records which are buried or tucked away in closets, drawers, attics, and garages. It does not matter if you have one small box or 10 big boxes, just combine all the records together in one place.

At this point, you are now ready to assess what you own. This isn’t a detailed assessment, but rather a chance (and for some this may be the first time) to see all of your family papers in one place.

Selecting specific records for preservation takes careful consideration as unfortunately, you can’t preserve everything. Consider saving those family papers that contain information that is unique, significant and in the most concise form. While this varies among families, examples of such papers include letters, diaries, photographs, and legal documents such as deeds.

At the same time, determine whether there are any surplus records that can be removed or even destroyed. While sorting your archives, ask yourself: Is this item worth the time and the cost of archival storage supplies to be part of my archives?

A suggestion is to roughly sort the paper records into categories. It is easier to evaluate, list and store records that are the same type or format, i.e. letters, diaries, address books, photographs, etc. Once the records have been categorised, you will have an idea of which of the categories contain vital information and which do not warrant permanent preservation.

The purpose of the selection process is to secure an appropriate documentary reflection of the time and environment in which the records were created. You will have to select the records which provide the best, the richest, most focused evidence of their time. Some people find this an easier process than others.


The paper records that most people possess and that in my opinion should be preserved are:

Bibles, family history books, diaries or journals, birth, death and marriage certificates, identification documents, passports, wills, divorce papers, driver’s licences, letters, cards, postcards, house plans and deeds, school reports and newsletters, exam or awards certificates, newspaper cuttings, address books, birthday books or calendars, church newsletters, children’s health cards, documents relating to work and retirement, photographs, concert programmes, event and show tickets, membership newsletters (professional and related to hobbies) and maps.

The following additional paper records are not essential records, but I would advise that you do not destroy them immediately:

Salary slips, membership newsletters (shops, banks, etc.), motor vehicle registrations and licences, receipts, medical aid statements and claims, bank statements, bank books, cheques, deposit and withdrawal slips, municipal accounts, cell phone accounts, long and short term insurance policies (already paid out or expired), details of expired loans, etc.

The problem with these additional records is that they accumulate very quickly and you have to consider whether to give your full attention and resources to these rather than more valuable records. If you want to keep examples of these records a suggestion is to keep one monthly statement each year or one or two receipts every month to show how prices changed through the years, or one salary slip a year to show how salaries changed. Remember that your primary goal is to preserve your family history archives.

There are certain financial records that you will legally have to keep for a few years, but if there are just a small amount I would perhaps consider keeping them longer, i.e. investments, shares, income tax documents, etc

It can be hard to let go of anything that might carry a family story, no matter how old or broken that keepsake might be. You have to think through this carefully before making a decision, because if you destroy them, you cannot get them back and most of them will be irreplaceable.

3 Taking care of the physical condition of the archives

You already know what family archives are and what you want to preserve forever. You also know how to start sorting your paper records into categories. The next step should be to finish sorting in order to compile an inventory, however, it is also essential to properly care for the records before packing them in storage containers.

Taking proper care of these precious archives will enable future generations to use and enjoy the records of their heritage. Preserving them can be achieved in a variety of ways. There are basic preventative measures which anyone can employ to help extend the life of their collection. The only way to do this is by systematically work through the records to perform basic preservation tasks.


It is important to carefully remove all damaging fasteners such as staples, paper clips and pins and replace them, only if absolutely needed, with non-rusting ones. Rust residue can be brushed off with a soft brush, but be careful that you don’t damage the paper even further.

Archives should be cleaned prior to packaging. This will significantly extend their useful life. Hold the volume firmly closed and wipe with a cloth. A magnetic wiping cloth is preferable, since it does not contain chemicals or other substances that could be left behind. If loose dust or dirt is present, use a very soft, wide brush (e.g. a haké type brush which is available at art supply shops) to gently brush it away. A soft brush is always handy when you work with records. If archives are covered with a heavy layer of dust, vacuuming may be advisable, but only use vacuum cleaners that have been approved for cleaning archives which come with a soft brush attachment. Other vacuum cleaners may damage your books and could suck pieces of your paper in.

Letters that are folded in envelopes should be removed from the envelopes and unfolded. The creases made by folding and unfolding paper records can cause damage and eventually those creases get weak and can cause records to tear into pieces. Do not press or force the pages flat. Gently fold back any creased corners.

If your records are infested with insects, isolate these items so that the insects don’t spread. Insects can be difficult to eradicate. Consider the value of the item and if it can be replaced by, for example, a mass market book. Alternatively you could make a copy of the specific page(s). Consult a conservator about valuable or sentimental items that are infested with pests.

One of the biggest threats and challenges is mouldy records. Mould can be a health hazard to people, so limit handling mouldy items. Remove the source of water or high humidity to stop mould growing. Replace the item or make a copy of the item. Consult a conservator to treat valuable or sentimental items. An experienced conservator will treat the mouldy items by placing them in Ziploc bags in a freezer to kill the mould. When the mould is dry the mould can be brushed off every page. Work outside on a sunny windless day (since it is hazardous to your health and you don’t want mould spreading throughout your home) wearing protective gear (N100 dust masks, some nitrile gloves, and an inexpensive soft-bristled paintbrush or two). The cleaned materials should be safe to handle if you brush off every page. Once cleaned store these items in an environment where the humidity does not get above 60%. It is possible to get rid of the mould, but do not treat them without the advice or assistance of a conservator.


If your photographs are stored in the old "magic" photo albums with sticky pages (of the 1970s and 1980s) it is better to remove them from these albums. Not only does the adhesive in these albums become very sticky over time making it difficult to remove the photos, the adhesive can also turn brown and stain the back of the photo and the acetate covers of the earlier albums can shrink and expose the photos to dust. If the photos are difficult to get out of the album, you can remove them carefully with un-waxed dental floss.

The problem with fading ink is that it is difficult to bring it back. You can create a high-quality digital image and then manipulate the photo to enhance the writing. The original document can be safely stored so the ink doesn't continue to fade. Unfortunately, there is no way to restore the ink on the original document.

There is no safe and easy way to remove tape from your documents unless you work with a conservator. The tape's adhesive will often be stronger than the underlying paper so trying to remove it will most likely damage it beyond repair. The best thing to do is to get a good quality scan so you don't lose the information and then simply protect the item as well as you can. As the tape ages, the adhesive will dry up and the tape itself will fall off but the adhesive will remain.

Older documents and photographs sometimes turn yellow and unfortunately there is little that can be done to reverse the yellowing. The best approach is to have the photograph scanned and digitally retouched. You can then have the photo printed out to whatever size you would like and safely store the original.

Stains on records are very difficult to reduce or remove without doing irreparable damage even for professional conservators. The best approach would be to have the photograph scanned and digitally retouched. You can then print the photo and safely store the original.

Labels, barcodes, and "protective" tape coverings on documents are difficult to remove and since it is a very tricky process, one should leave it to a conservator. Removing tape simply leaves a sticky residue which will attract dust and cause additional damage. There is no product to remove the residue safely without causing even more damage.

Torn papers can be repaired by a professional conservator. Until that is possible, carefully store the pieces together in a plastic sleeve where you can still read the information.

The best solution for most of your basic preservation needs is to clean the items with a soft brush and to either make photocopies of the items or scan them so the original record can be safely stored in archival-quality sleeves.

These are just a few basic preventative preservation duties to extend the useful life of your archives, but there are many more. The two basic rules are to read more about preventative care and to consult a professional conservator to perform detailed treatments when necessary.

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Differences between archival, library and museum material

Archival institutions, libraries and museums are frequently considered as related institutions. Although libraries, museums, and archives all look like similar repositories housing cultural resources, there are some fundamental differences in mission, what is collected, how works are organised, how items are described, and in how the institution relates to its users. Here is a comparison that will highlight the main differences between the three institutions.

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Grahamstown Journal transcriptions download

To coincide with the bicentennial of the arrival of the 1820 settlers in the Eastern Cape, Sue Mackay has made the master file of her Grahamstown Journal transcriptions for 1832-1890 available on the 1820 Settlers section of the website as a downloadable PDF file.

This is on the 1820 section of the website rather than the newspaper section, as all the transcriptions are already on the newspaper site in quarterly files with an improved search engine. The transcriptions make numerous mention of 1820 settlers and their descendants and it is hoped that the master file will be useful to those wishing to trace settler lines without having to open nearly 300 individual files and to those whose broadband is unreliable during these troubled times.

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Shop active again for downloadable items

Our online shop is available for purchasing downloadable items and membership.

In fact our stock has been re-organised so that most (but not all) items can now be purchased as downloadables, including the Cemetery DVD, but it will, unfortunately, not be possible to post any CDs, DVDs or books during the current Corona-virus lock-down.

The Archives are closed and our photographers in lock-down so document photograph orders are also suspended. 

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The Fort Beaufort Advocate and General Advertiser 1859-1874

The Fort Beaufort Advocate and General Advertiser, first published on 23 July 1859, was a weekly publication produced on Saturdays.

Fort Beaufort Advocate Front Page 

Nadine Van der Merwe realised the potential interest of this publication for genealogists, especially in the run up to the bicentennial of the 1820 settlers, and began to take pictures in her local library with a view to transcribing them. She then realised what a large project this was, and also that many issues were missing, so she approached eGGSA for help. The eGGSA management committee agreed to buy digital scans of the newspaper covering the period 1859-1874 from the SA National Library, and these are now being transcribed by Nadine Van der Merwe and Lorraine Beechey. Sue Mackay started adding them to the eGGSA website on 1 March, and these can now be seen in the eGGSA Newspaper Extracts section.

Because the entire paper has been scanned, the transcribers were not under the same time constraints that I was when photographing extracts from the Grahamstown Journal and other 19th century newspapers in London with a digital camera, when I could really only focus on BMDs. These new transcriptions contain all sorts of interesting snippets, advertisements, shipping news and sometimes the downright bizarre! Many of the 1820 settlers moved into the Fort Beaufort area, so in this bicentennial year we should be especially grateful to Nadine and to eGGSA for making this project possible.

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British Settler Locations

The Thames at Deptford, 1775 Engraving by J.Royce after J. Oliphant.
The Thames at Deptford, 1775 Engraving by J.Royce after J. Oliphant.
BAILIE’s Party embarked at Deptford.
Picture courtesy of the Wellcome Collection (CC BY 4.0)

As part of my contribution to the bicentennial of the 1820 Settlers, I have collected as many photographs as I can of British and Irish locations relevant to the 1820 settlers. These can be found on the eGGSA website, arranged by county, on the 1820 Settlers section of the eGGSA website. Where the photographer’s name is followed by a CC reference, this is a Creative Commons Licence enabling me to copy photographs which appear on http://www.geograph.org.uk/ or selected other internet sites.

In the early months of 2020 I shall be posting Albums on the eGGSA Facebook pages arranged in Party groupings. I am trying to add an album each day. For those with access to Facebook, the Albums already posted can be found all together on the eGGSA Facebook page. For those who are not on Facebook, the pictures are all on this site, arranged according to county. Follow the link at the top of this notice, or put the name of the settler you are researching into the Search Box in the 1820 Section.

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More VOC Ships' Pay Ledger Accounts (soldijboeken)

Johan Diedericks has extracted from the data at National Archief at the Hague, 123 more of these VOC employees who settle at the Cape of Good Hope, and made them available onthe eGGSA web site. They have now joined those previously extracted by Lizette Svoboda, on the Stamouers.com section of our web site. Our thanks go to Johan and Lizette for making their hard work available. 

VOC (Dutch East India Company) Accounts from Ships' Pay Ledgers, 1662-1805, contain information about many of its employees who settled at the Cape. Below are a number of excerpts from the online links to the Nationaal Archief (The Hague, Netherlands) web sites gahetNA and VOC - Opvarenden which seem likely to refer to those settlers. If you have any to add, please copy to a Word document and email them to the Stamouers editor.

The Nationaal Archief is making a huge effort to digitize the complete collection of the VOC and they hope to have it completed by 2017.

As of May 2016 almost all the Zeeland accounts have been digitized and put online, a large number of the Amsterdam ledgers are currently being scanned and should be available at the end of May or early June; the next batch is already planned.

For an introduction to these Ships' Accounts (soldijboeken) please see Corney Kellers' explanation on the Rekeningen uit de Scheepssoldijboeken 1662-1805 page.

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800 000 Gravestone photos on the eGSSA website!!

Congratulations to Riana le Roux and her team of volunteers for this outstanding achievement. It is the product of many years of hard work, patience and dedication.

A big thank you to all of you going out to the cemeteries to take the photos, to those of you doing all the uploads onto the website, indexing the photos and cemeteries, maintaining our website. The project is extremely valuable to us and we appreciate your contributions.

The project is growing so fast that we are looking forward to the next milestone.

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Archival terms and definitions

Archival terminology is a flexible group of common words that have acquired specialised meanings for archivists and provides a useful and necessary means of specialised communication within the archival profession. Since researchers communicate with archivists it will be to their benefit to familiarise themselves with the basic terms to facilitate their research experience. Listed below is a few of the most frequently used archival terms and their definitions:

2. Archives on the shelves in a stack room

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1820 Settler Places in the British Isles

Staffordshire, Barton under Needwood, Shoulder of Mutton pub, opposite St.James ChurchI am at last in a position formally to reveal a project on which I have been working single-handedly for the last two years, as my contribution to the 1820 Settler Bicentennial. As my husband and I enjoy touring the country I rather rashly agreed to take as many photographs as I could of British Settler locations prior to 1820 so that they could be added to a new section on the eGGSA website.

I have indeed taken hundreds of photographs, but it was soon borne in upon me that I couldn’t possibly visit every location, and also that in many cases, particularly in cities like London and Bristol, many buildings with settler ties simply no longer exist. In the latter case I have tried to include historical pictures where possible, and where I have not been able to take pictures myself I have added pictures from www.geograph.co.uk, which can be used under a Creative Commons Licence. Where the photographer’s name appears as a clickable link followed by a CC BY-SA 2.0 reference, the original photo can be viewed together with other photographs of the surrounding area.

I have uploaded over 1300 photos to the new site (with thanks to Richard Ball for his help and patience in setting it all up), and these are currently arranged by county for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, with separate sections for the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham. London has been further sub-divided into Boroughs so as not to have too many pictures in one file.

The pictures appear as small icons with a brief title. Clicking on them will reveal a larger picture with text explaining the link to one or more settlers and a credit to the photographer. Clicking on the + sign will further enlarge the picture to full screen (use ESCape to exit full screen mode), and the photographs can all be downloaded from the site.

During the bicentennial year I hope to upload a series of Photo Albums to the eGGSA Facebook pages in Party Groupings. In the meantime, if you wish to see if there are photos relating to your particular settler ancestor, go to https://www.eggsa.org/1820-settlers/ and type in the settler’s name in the Search Box in the top right hand corner, then scroll down the list of hits. Links to the relevant photographs should appear at the end of the list. It is also linked from the Photograph Collections button on the banner across the top of the site.

This has been a one woman show, and so it would be amazing if I have managed to complete the project without typos or broken links. Please let me know if you find any, and if you can add any further UK photos to the collection which are not copyright then they will be gratefully received.

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Dutch East India Company Name Books (Naamboek van de wel edele heeren der hoge Indiasche regering….)

These books literally cover anyone involved in the service of the VOC at all of their posts including the Cape. Those listed include officials, the military, burghers, surgeons, church leaders and court officials. In some places there is more detail on officials than others. The books also include the names of people that died and those who had returned or were being sent out to posts. Of particular interest is that ranks (and the date they were achieved) were listed so that one can follow a person’s career even if some books are missing. Searching the books also allows one to follow the career of a person if they were stationed at various places.

The spelling of the books varied and included Naamboek, Naamboekje and Naam-boekje.

The earliest I have found online is from 1729 and the latest 1801. Each contained a very detailed front page of their contents!

The title page in the 1729 book contained the following information:

Van de Weled. Heeren der
Gequalificeerde Persoon, ens. Op
De Respective Gouverneurs, Directeurs, Commandeurs en Opperhoofden of de Buyten-Comtoiren van Nederlands India; gelykze in wezen zyn gewest to primo Maart 1729
Als mede alle Gouverneurs Generaal, t’sedert den Jaare 1610
A later one in 1766 was even more explicit about its contents:

Van de Wel-Edele Heeren der
Zoo tot, als buiten,
Mitsgaders van de Politique Bedienden, die van de Justitie, de Kerk, Burgery, Zeevaart, Militie, Arthillery, Chirugie, &c., zoo als dezelve onder medio September 1766. Alhier in weezen zyn bevonden;
Der Gouverneurs, Directeurs en Commandeurs, mitsgaders verdure Opperhoofden en mindere Bedienden, op de respective Comptoiren van Indie
Een Lyst van de Personen, die repatrieeren zullen, een van die naar de Buiten-comptoiren vertrokke zyn; en een van de overledenen.
A 1798 book explicitly includes the Cape of Good Hope :

Over geheel Nederlandsch Indie en Kabo de Goede Hoop
Van de Wel-Edele Heeren der
Zoo tot, als buiten,
Mitsgaders van de Politique Bedienden, die van de Justitie, de Kerk, Burgery, Zeevaart, Militie, Arthillery, Chirugie, &c., zoo als dezelve, onder ultimo December 1798, alhier in weezen zyn bevonden;
Der Gouverneurs, Directeurs en Commandeurs, mitsgaders verdure Opperhoofden en mindere Bediendens, op de respective Comptoiren van Indie.
Een Lyst van de Persoonen, die naar de Buiten-comptoiren vertrokke zyn, en een van de overledenen.
All the name books listed below are online and are downloadable as a pdf. The pdfs are in black and white and sometimes it is easier to read some type on the jpeg versions on the sites.

The following sites have links to the books but not all are to be found on the same sites. Many except for Google Books contain links to the National Library of the Netherlands and most have search engines. They are also a good resource for finding other books, documents, maps and pictures of the VOC, the Cape and South Africa

If you are searching the sites make sure you use the various names for the Naamboek as some are only found by using the variants.







The books:

1729 March

1732 March

1736 April

1737 April

1748 October

1750 February

1751 January

1751 September

1753 January

1754 January

1755 September

1758/59 (no date on frontispiece but printed in 1759)


1761 March


1764 April

1765 January


1766 September

1767 May

1771 December

1778 January

1778 January

1778 December


1780 December

1782 December

1783 December


1785 December


1786 December

1787 February

1787 December
version one
version two

1788 December
version one
version two

1789 March

1789 December
version one
version two

1790 December
version one
version two

1791 January
version one
version two

1791 December
version one
version two

1792 December
version one
version two

1793 December

1794 December

1795 December

1796 December

1797 December

1798 December

1799 December

1800 December

1801 December


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Drakenstein baptisms 1694 to 1799

VC 647 2Data from the Drakenstein baptismal register from 1694 to 1744 is now available in the eGGSA BDM database

Lizette Svoboda has transcribed the section 1702 to 1732, Corney Keller the section 1733 to 1755 and Richard Ball the section 1694 to 1713. Cornel Viljoen has transcribed from 1756 to 1799 and provided the links to the LDS online copies of the original registers, G1 8/1, G3 3/1, G3 3/2, G3 3/3 and G3 3/4 which are housed and maintained by the NGK Argief, Stellenbosch .

In order to access the LDS images you will need to be registered with FamilySearch.org.

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Photographs, Negatives and Colour Slides in the Western Cape Archives and Records Service (WCARS)

Photographs are important sources of information for researchers in all study fields, including genealogical research. We are all aware of the necessity of preserving documents, since archives have an important cultural value for the protection of our identity and collective memory. Photographic materials are therefore key sources for historical research, especially for the study of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The amount of information and detail that can be seen in photographs is what makes them a uniquely rich historical resource.  They can show exactly how a person, place, item, building, clothing, etc. looked at a specific time.  Therefore, photographs should not be considered as purely supplementary material but instead as illustrative “windows to our past”.

( click on pic to enlarge, plus more pics )

At present the Western Cape Archives and Records Service (WCARS) has about 90 000 photographs in the various collections in stock. The photographic section also houses the negatives of most of these photographs. The descriptions of most of the photographs, negatives and colour slides are already available on the internet databases. The photographs that accompany this article were chosen from the collections due to the buildings shown being subsequently demolished, replaced, restored, neglected, deserted or changed as a result of development. Therefore, although the buildings are not there anymore, the images are proof of their history.

The following is a list of some of the various photographic collections and the where they can currently be accessed:

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NGK Bibles

NGK Bibles in the eGGSA Bible CollectionKeith Meintjes writes: When I visited the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk Archive at Stellenbosch in 2016, Isabel Murray gave me a tour of all the stuff in their basement. They have all manner of things in addition to the church registers - 370 years of church history. One thing that caught my eye was a pile of Bibles since many people wrote their family information in their Bibles. Isabel told me they had many Bibles, all uncatalogued, that no one had ever looked at.

So, we cooked up a project. Isabel found a student, and I bought them a camera, lenses and a tripod, and paid for the student's time to catalog and photograph the Bibles. The outside, the title pages, and any handwritten notes or newspaper clippings.

I supported the student's time, and he spent his senior year doing the work. Towards the end, he was being interviewed on TV and radio about the importance of preserving the archives and family history.

He photographed and catalogued 375 Bibles, of which 58 had inscriptions of some sort. Of those 19 had family information and those 19 have been added to the eGGSA Bible Collection, with grateful thanks to Keith for his project and enthusiasm, to Isabel Murray and Andrew Kok and to the anonymous student who did the work.

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The oldest official written document in South Africa

KAB C1 page 2The oldest official written document is volume 1 of the archival group ‘Council of Policy’ (C). The first page in this volume is a prayer that is known as ‘Jan van Riebeeck’s prayer’. The second page is the first official document that contains the resolutions of the Council meeting held on board the VOC ship Drommedaris, Saturday, 30 December 1651. The first signature at the bottom is that of Jan van Riebeeck.
On Sunday, 24 December 1651, six days before the fleet of three ships of the VOC Chamber of Amsterdam that was to establish the VOC replenishment station at the Cape of Good Hope (today Cape Town, South Africa), left Texel in the Netherlands.

The three ships were: Drommedaris (Captain Davit Coninck), Goede Hoope (Captain Symen Turver) and Reijger (Captain Jan Hoochsaet).
Present at this meeting of Saturday 30 December 1651 were the three above captains, the Fleet Commander Jan van Riebeeck and also Pieter van Helm, the Provisional Secretary. The fleet arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 6 April 1652 and established the VOC replenishment and halfway station to Batavia (today Djakarta, Indonesia).

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Bible photographs added during September


We have had a great many contributions of Bible photographs in recent months - here are those that have been added to our Bible Collection this month. 

We offer grateful thanks to the generous contributors: Billy Baard, Willie Breet, Ockert Malan, Riana le Roux, Leslie Duckworth, Alice Boshoff, Joost Hogewoning, Sam Basch and Hennie Nel.

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UK settler locations please?

Blakelaw Farm was the birthplace of William Dods PringleAs part of eGGSA's contribution to the 1820 settler bicentennial, Sue Mackay is planning to add photographs of UK settler locations to The 1820 Settler Correspondence section of the eGGSA web site. She has lots of photographs of churches where baptisms and marriages took place, but would be grateful to receive any non copyright pictures of farms or houses where settlers are known to have lived prior to emigration. If you can contribute any such, please contact Sue Mackay.

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Graaff-Reinet NGK baptism registers 1792-1805

graaff reinet doopCornel Viljoen has kindly made his transcription of the Graaff-Reinet NGK baptism registers 1792-1805 available for the eGGSA BDM database.

His transcription was made from the Latter Day Saints photographs of the original register which is preserved by the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerkargief, Noordwal-Wes, Stellenbosch, and it is published in our database with the consent of the NGK Argief.

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Drakenstein / Paarl NGK baptisms 1746 to 1755

VC 645

These baptisms have been transcribed by Corney Keller from photographs of Cape Archives VC 645, which is a set of photocopies of the original register made in the 1980s for the Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Copies were donated to the South African Archives, one copy going to the Cape Town repository and another to the Pretoria Repository (where it is part of the FC series). The original register is now housed in the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerkargief, Noordwal-Wes, Stellenbosch, as G3 3/2. They have been added to the eGGSA BDM database.

Our grateful thanks to Corney Keller for the transcriptions and the NGKerkargief for preserving and maintaining these records. 

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Kruisvallei marriages 1843-1870 now available in the eGGSA database

Kruisvallei pastorie Kerkstraat 42 Tulbagh foto Morné van Rooyen

When Keith Meintjes visited South Africa in 2016 he visited the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) Archives in Stellenbosch and photographed, at my request, the baptism, marriage and death registers of the Kruisvalei Congration. With the permission of the NGK Argief, eGGSA is currently transcribing these records in order to add them to the Church Register database on our web site. Marriages 1843 t0 1870 have now been added and are available in the eGGSA marriages database.

Our grateful thanks to Keith, to the NGK Argief and to Lorraine Beechey for transcribing the records.

The Kruisvallei Gemeente was formed in 1843 as a breakaway group from the Tulbagh congregation, due to a disagreement between some of the members on the one hand and the minister at Tulbagh, Robert Shand. They bought the farm called Kruisvallei not far from Tulbagh and used the large stables as a church while the minister lived in the farmhouse. In 1936 the two congregations, Kruisvallei and Tulbagh, were once again united. See the Wikipedia article by Morné van Rooyen: NG gemeente Kruisvallei

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Gravestones now have a website to themselves!

The collection of gravestone photographs has now become so large that it is more convenient for it to have a web site of its own. This has, therefore, been done and the gravestones will now be found at http://www.graves-at-eggsa.org/

Links saved from the old site, if you have any stored, will go through correctly to the new site, but if you have stored links that you would like to convert to the new links, then these will be easy to bring into line with the new web site location. The earlier link would have been 

http://www.eggsa.org/library/main.php?g2_itemId=2898227   whereas the link from the new web site is

so all that needs doing is to replace the    eggsa.org/library      in the old link with       graves-at-eggsa.org     to form the new link. 

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What ever happened to Drooge Vlei?

Along the dry and dusty road between Cape Town and Malmesbury lies a stretch of the Swartland known – certainly in the 1800s – as Groote Drooge Vlei (or, alternatively, Droge Vallei). It’s an area I stumbled across searching for the origins of my great-great-grandparents, and one whose history remains elusive.

( click on pic to enlarge, plus more pics )

What we know, it seems, is that it fell within the field-cornetcy of Paardeberg in the District of Malmesbury, part of the quitrent farm having been granted to a C Esterhuysen in 1715 and another to W Proctor on 15 January 1822. Significantly for my own personal research, the section known as Doordrift was granted to Misters WH and JT Eaton on 4 February 1862, as it is this section that came to be known simply as Drooge Vlei.

It is mentioned by the Bishop of Cape Town in the April 1875 edition of The Mission Field, and his description offers some fascinating insight into a place that appears to be a thriving community of its own:

“At Drooge Vlei, a small private station, which I visited on my road, I confirmed five persons. The place, containing about 140 inhabitants, is the property of Mr Eaton, who has built on his farm a school-chapel, where he holds the church service every Sunday, once in English and once in Dutch – Mr Clulee [the Reverend Charles Clulee (1837–1892), born Birmingham] visiting it from Malmesbury and holding service as often as he can … It is a wonderfully complete little town, with it’s smith’s, shoemaker’s, haberdasher’s, grocer’s, butcher’s and baker’s shops, its carpenter’s shed, its wheelwright, machine maker, and brickfields – Mr Eaton being proprietor of the whole and the employer of all the labour at the place.”

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2018 eGGSA Annual General Meeting now over

Our virtual AGM closed at midnight 28 February 2018. Thank you to all those members who responded to our notice regarding the Annual General Meeting and the support we received for the nominations.

Members were invited to participate in the meeting; and as mentioned in the email dated 22 January 2018, we accepted that members from whom we did not hear were satisfied with the management nominations and 2017 Annual report.

Attendance at the Virtual Meeting
Members who selected eGSSA as their primary branch were entitled to participate in the AGM. Our email package keeps track of the number of emails delivered, returned, forwarded and unread and as the virtual branch we use these figures to determine our quorum.
No additional nominations or objections were received for the management positions; the nominations were also uncontested and the 2018 committee will therefore remain unchanged:

The Management
Alta Griffiths - Chairperson
Daan Hamman - Vice-Chairman
Carol Beneke - Treasurer
Lynn Couperthwaite - Membership Services, communication and marketing
Richard Ball - Web Services
Judi Meyer - Editor genesis

Additional members
Annelie Els - Stamouers
Corney Keller - Dutch Transcriptions
Daan Botes - Post Cards
Riana le Roux - Cemetery Project

To the team, congratulations! Thank you for making yourself available for another year on the committee.

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eGGSA Newspaper Extracts

Publishing of extracts from the Grahamstown Jounal continues. I have started to publish them monthly rather than quarterly, as there are more issues of the paper to go through. I only need to transcribe a few more pages and my Word file of GTJ transcriptions will have reached 1,000 pages!

See the extracts from the Grahamstown Journal, now up to December 1882, on the Newspaper Extracts section of the eGGSA web site.

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NAAIRS results parser

Keith Meintjes has provided a parser for NAAIRS online index references, which neatly formats them into a spreadsheet program (eg: Excel, etc).

This will prove very useful for anyone needing to save a large number of such references.  The details can be found on our The Meintjes NAAIRS Parser page.

Thanks to Keith for making this available and to his son, Ian, for creating it. 

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1820 Settlers' Correspondence - update

Sue Mackay writes: I have just added extra pages on these settlers

James RICHARDSON, leader of Richardson's Party

William Senior DENTON, member of Richardson's Party

Charles DENTON, member of Richardson's Party

There has been a wealth of confusion surrounding these three, and their connection with the name SENIOR/SENYOR/SAYNOR, and I have spent ages sifting through original parish register entries for Sheffield.

As a result I have made a couple of leaps of faith (backed up by the evidence as I see it) which would seem to contradict a lot of "facts" circulating about these families. I'd be grateful if anyone descended from this line can tell me whether I have been literally barking up the wrong tree. I have tried to set out the facts from original sources found whilst at the same time allowing for an element of doubt.

Do you think I am right in thinking that Charles DENTON was not William Senior DENTON's older brother but his stepfather?

You can contact Sue here: Editor, 1820 Settler Correspondence

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2017 eGGSA Annual General Meeting results

Our virtual AGM closed at midnight 2 February 2017. Thank you to all those members who responded to our notice regarding the eGSSA’s Annual General Meeting and the support we received for the nominations.

Members were invited to participate in the meeting; and as mentioned in the email dated 27 January 2017, we accepted that members from whom we did not hear were satisfied with the management nominations and 2016 Annual report.


Members who selected eGSSA as their primary branch were entitled to participate in the AGM.  Our email package keeps track of the number of emails delivered, returned, forwarded and unread and as the virtual branch we use these figures to determine our quorum.

Here follows the summary:

Number of members who received notification of the meeting: 
English Members 147 – 62.2 % opened mail
Afrikaans 101 – 58.6 % opened mail
Undelivered notifications:  Nil

No additional nominations were received for the management positions; the nominations were also uncontested and the 2017 committee will therefore remain unchanged:

The Management
· Alta Griffiths - Chairperson
· Daan Hamman - Vice-Chairman
· Carol Beneke - Treasurer
· Lynn Couperthwaite - Membership Services, communication and marketing
· Richard Ball - Web Services
· Judi Meyer - Editor genesis

Additional members
· Annelie Els - Stamouers
· Corney Keller - Dutch Transcriptions
· Daan Botes - Post Cards
· Riana le Roux - Cemetery Project

To the team, congratulations! Thank you for making yourself available for another year on the committee.

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Fort Beaufort Register 1840-1850

Fort Beaufort CoverThis register, of the Anglican pastor at Fort Beaufort (there was no church building at the time), which includes Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, has been transcribed by Lorraine Beechey from Tessa King's photographs of the original register in the Cory Library. Proof read by Brenda Gassner.

They have been added to the eGGSA BDM database.

To all concerned, our grateful thanks.

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Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette 1828

Cape GazetteAlta Griffiths has scanned several years of this publication and Brenda Gassner and Lorraine Beechey are working their way through these. The first quarter of 1827 has now been added to the Newspaper Extracts section of the eGGSA web site

Additionally, Liz Eshmade has contributed her transcripts of Colin Graham Botha's extracts from from earlier issues of this periodical, Baptisms of English person, 1810-1821,  and marriages of English persons, 1806-1821, and these have been added to the BDMs database section of the web site. 

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Four Bibles added to the eGGSA collection

Botma biblePhotographs of four Bibles have been added to the eGGSA Collection: BOTMA Abraham Carel, Cornelis Zoon en Anna Sophia Magareta MALAN, David Dochter getroud 3 Jul 1854; KRUGER Gert Lodewyk 1882-1957 en sy vrou Hester Hendrina AUCAMP 1884-1961; REDELINGHUIJS George Frederik en Helena Johanna LEROUX, getroud 11 November 1895; VAN HEERDEN Isaac Petrus Jacs.Sts.Zoon en Geertruida Maria AURET, getroud 1 Maart 1836; VAN WIJK Petrus Lodewikis Julie 30 1876.

Our thanks to Allan Carson, Dirk van Heerden, Riana le Roux and Adriaan Redelinghuys.

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Drakenstein / Paarl NGK marriages 1815-1839

Paarl 1824 400Transcriptions of these marriages have been added to the eGGSA BDM database. These are particularly interesting in that they include, for most entries, the ages of the parties and the names of their fathers (as patronyms). This is unusual for NGK (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk/Dutch Reformed Church) marriages at this period and can be extremely useful for genealogists.

Our thanks to Jonathan Heath, Corney Keller and Richard Ball for the transcriptions.

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Records of the Cape Colony

records of the cape colonyIn the late 1890s and early 1900s George McCall Theal published 35 volumes of "Records of the Cape Colony", covering Colonial Office correspondence from 1793 to 1827 held at what was then the Public Record Office (now the National Archives) in London.

Sue Mackay has checked each of the online copies of these volumes and provided links to them on the eGGSA web site.

Sue writes: these volumes can be freely downloaded (or browsed through on line) via the Internet Archive. Volumes 12 and 13 cover the 1820 settlers, and reproduce a lot of the correspondence I have transcribed on this site, although Theal's work is much more selective and does not include non party leaders or those who did not emigrate. It does, however, include some answers written by the Colonial Office to letters found elsewhere on this site. There is an index in every fifth volume and Volume 35 contains a complete index. Volume 36 is a Register of Contents of Volumes 1-35

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Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette

Cape GazetteAlta Griffiths has scanned several years of this publication and a start has been made on transcribing extracts by Brenda Gassner and Richard Ball. The first extracts, from the year 1826, have been added to the Newspaper Extracts section of the eGGSA web site

Additionally, Liz Eshmade has contributed her transcripts of Colin Graham Botha's extracts from from earlier issues of this periodical, Baptisms of English person, 1810-1821,  and marriages of English persons, 1806-1821, and these have been added to the BDMs database section of the web site. 

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Grahamstown Journal 1871 onwards being transcribed

newspaper extractsSue Mackay writes: I have finally been able to photograph the next couple of years, from 1871 onwards, of the Grahamstown Journal at the British Library in London. The first batch can be seen among the eGGSA Newspaper Extracts.

This batch is considerably longer than usual, not only because there are a few lengthy obituaries but because I got seduced by a series of articles on Life at the Diggings, describing the burgeoning businesses at the diamond fields.

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Transcription updates

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Voortrekker baptisms added to eGGSA BDMs

Cornel Viljoen has kindly contributed his transcription of the so-called Voortrekker Baptisms, a photocopy in the Pretoria Archives, FK 2290, of an earlier transcription by hands unknown, of baptisms from 1837 to 1850 found in a number of early church registers from Natal, the Free State and the old Transvaal.

These 4,600 baptisms have been added to the eGGSA BDM database and can be searched there. Surnames included can be seen here ...

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Helena Garner's Kriel collection added to eGGSA's Document Library

Helena has generously contributed her collection of Estate documents (Death Notices, Wills and Liquidation and Distribution accounts) to the online Document Library. She spent much time renaming these to reflect the contents in order to simplify their captioning for the web site, and the captioning was done by Anina du Plessis and completed by Lorraine Beechey.

The documents can be found in our collection in four separate albums:
Western Cape Archives
Pretoria Archives
Bloemfontein Archives
Pietermaritzburg Archives.

Our grateful thanks to Helena, Anina and Lorraine.

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Uniondale NGK baptisms 1866-1920 added to the eGGSA BDM database.

The baptism register of the Uniondale Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) 1866 to 1920, has been transcribed by Carol Beneke from photographs of the original register taken by Mechelle Beneke at the Church, by agreement with the minister.

These records have been added to the eGGSA BDM database and are now available to searchers. Any queries or corrections can be addressed to Richard Ball.

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Gipsy Bride Passenger list added

Richard Wolfaardt's team of transcribers has transcribed Cape Archives IB7 and IB8 passenger lists. These are being compared with IB9 which, in some cases, contains extra information. Added today to the eGGSA Passenger lists database is that of the Gipsy Bride, transcribed by Ray Pitt. A list of the surnames contained in this list can be seen here ....

Londonderry Standard - Thursday 01 April 1858 - Emigration to the Cape. On Saturday, the magnificent 'Black Ball' ship Gipsy Bride, sailed for the Cape of Good Hope, with 500 emigrants, selected by the Hon. William Field, who has been deputed by the Cape Government to represent them in England. They were chosen almost entirely from the pastoral districts of Scotland, and a finer set of people have rarely left our shores. The Aurifera has been chartered for the conveyance of emigrants to Algoa Bay, and she will leave the Mersey on the 22d of April. Liverpool Albion.
Courtesy: British Newspaper Archive

Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin review; and Forfar and Kincardineshire advertiser. - Friday 09 July 1858 - Cape of Good Hope.
Dr Livingstone's expedition sailed from Table Bay on the 27th Apr8l, for the Zambesi. An elegant silver box, containing 800 guineas, had been presented to Dr Livingstone, as a testimonial, by the colonists. A proposal was made by the Governeor to establish five intermediate posts between the colony and the Zambesi, to ensure a line of monthly communication.
A fierce struggle continues on the frontier between the Bisutos and the Orange Free State. Sir G.Grey consented to act as mediator. Two Basuto towns and four French mission stations were destroyed. The colony was peaceful and prosperous.
The first batch of emigrants has arrived in the Gipsy Bride and gave great satisfaction.
Courtesy: British Newspaper Archive

Reynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 11 September 1859 - Emigration to the Cape of Good Hope.

The Cape Town Immigration Board at their last meeting, a few days before the departure of the mail, resolved to forward the following communication to the Emigration Commissioner in England.

Immigration Office, Cape Town, July 30, 1859.
The Honorable W.Field Esq., Emigration Commissioner, London.
Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of three letter from you of the 6th ultimo, acquainting me, for the information of the Immigration Board, of the departure of the Burlington with emigrants on the 30th May, and of your having chartered the Lord Raglan to convey emigrants to Table Bay, which were to embark on the 16th instant. The board instructs me to inform you that the immigrants per Bride have all taken employment, and with the exception of a few, have quitted the depot - those remaining being the parents of children suffering from measles. Several remained also for some days owing to the unfavourable state of the weather, and the difficulty existing at the present time in procuring conveyance for their removal to the interior. The wages obtained by most of them are quite equal to former rates, as will be seen by a list accompanying this. The board desires me to call your attention to the circumstance of one of the immigrants per Bride, named Simon Lucas, having died of consumption the day after his arrival, and would recommend a more strict inquiry into the health of emigrants generally, and that none be sent out but such as are and have been for some time in perfect health, and in the habit of working for wages. Lucas, according to the statement of the surgeon-superintendant, Dr Pearce, came on board in a very delicate and precarious state of health, showing evident symptoms of consumption; and it has come to the knowledge of the board that several sent out on former occasions, particularly of the Scotch per Gipsy Bride, were invalids in search of health, some of whom have died, and a few recovered. Lucas leaves a wife and six children, with the prospect of a seventh, all of whom continue at the depot at the expense of the Government. With regard to farm labourers, the board considers it most undesirable that such immigrants should be encumbered with large families, and particularly with any number of young children, such operation as a hindrance to their obtaining ready employment, the wages they receive are sometimes as inadequate to meet their expenses that they naturally feel dissatisfied, and become disheartened. The board deem sit necessary to remark upon the practice adopted in some cases by the immigrants themselves of describing a man incorrectly in regard to his trade or calling, in proof of which I herewith enclose a list of names of men who declared the were refused to be received under the head of their proper calling, but were allowed to enter themselves under some other head, in order to render themselves eligible. This false statement has given rise to considerable unpleasantness and disappointment in one or two cases; it misleads the public, and causes the immigrant who refuses employment to suffer.
W.Hampson, Secretary. The following is the scale of wages at which engagements were made in Cape Town by the immigrants per Bride: - Farm labourers £2 to £2.10s with board and lodging, and 3s to 4s per day without ditto; railway labourers, 4s6d to 5s per day; stonemasons 6s6d per day; wheelwrights 6s; sawyers, piece-work, equal to 6s to 7s per day; [s]bines makers, 5s to 7s per day; tailors, piece-work, 4s to 5s per day; painters and glaziers, £3.10s per month and found, or piece-work; brickmakers, piece-work; dressmakers, £1.10s per month and found; female cooks, £1 to £2 per month and found.

Courtesy: British Newspaper Archive

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Proving descendancy

Proving your lineage can be useful for a number of reasons: citizenship, estates, family and general history. For a while British ancestry visas were available for descendants either of whose grandparents were born in Britain. Then the Irish ancestry became easier than the British ancestry. With the tightening of immigration to Britain, the chance of getting or even renewing British passport has become stricter. For some dual citizenship, South African and British may be a privilege of the past but we hope not.

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7 Bibles added to the eGGSA collection

Seven Bibles from the collection of the Heritage Foundation (Erfenisstigting), Pretoria have been photographed by Annelie Els and contributed to the eGGSA Bible/Family Register collection: DUPREE A., gebore 1836; ERASMUS Lodewikus Johannes, gebore 1845 & Magrietas Martins VAN DEN BERG, gebore 1844, getroud 1866; HATTINGH Johannes Dewald, D.zoon. geboren 1794 en Anna Elisabeth RETIEF geboren 1798, getroud 1812; MALAN Stephanus Petrus, gebore 1849 & Martha C.A. LOURENS, gebore 1886, getroud 1904; MOCKE F.G. & S.E. NEL getroud 1831; NAUDE Stefanus Jacobus, gebore 1872; and DU PREEZ Nicolaas Johannes Jakobus, gebore 1865.

Many thanks to Annelie Els for the photographs and to Basil Royston for captioning them.

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Four more Bibles

Four Bibles have been added to the eGGSA Bible/Family Register web site: COETSEE Abraham Petrus Carolus gebore 1876 & Wilemina Lodeweika LOMBARD gebore 1881 getroud 1898, contributed by Susan (Coetsee) de Bruyn; GEYSER, Johannes Jacobus Stephanus gebore 1801 & Magdalena Susina CALITZ gebore 1910 getroud 1827, contributed by Tracey Itta; RAFFERTY, Elsie Susarah Aletta Maria born 1853 contributed by Andrea Furness (nee de Jager); and TRUTER Johannes Andries gebore 1778 & Hilletje Aletta SMIT gebore 1778 getroud 1788 contributed by Matty van Rensburg.

Our thanks to the generous contributors and to Basil Royston for captioning these. Any queries or corrections can be addressed to Richard Ball.

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1877 to 1917 burial register of Christchurch, Grahamstown, added to the eGGSA BDM database

Christchurch buriasThe burial register of Christchurch (Anglican), Grahamstown, 1877-1917, has been transcribed by Lorraine Beechey using William Jervois' photographs of the original register in the Cory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, MS 17 633, by agreement with the Cory Library and the Archdiocese of Grahamstown. Brenda Gassner did the proof reading.

These records have been added to the eGGSA BDM database and are now available to searchers. Any queries or corrections can be addressed to Richard Ball at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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