30 March 2012


On Grabouw's outskirts you see successful Elgin fruit farms that export apples and pears to local and international markets. One of these farms is Eikenhof where Douglas MOODIE has lived since 1930 when he was appointed trainee farm manager at the age of 18. Apart from serving with the Cape Town Highlanders in the Western Desert during World War II, he has never left the farm. In 1930 he cycled from Cape Town to Elgin for a job interview with Harry BLACKBURN, then owner of Eikenhof. Douglas was employed and learnt to farm with apples, pears, plums and peaches. After acquiring Eikenhof from Harry in 1969, Douglas was joined by his only son Alastair in 1971 and since then they have worked together developing Eikenhof and building The Melsetter Group, a family-owned agri-business with interests in the fruit and poultry industries. Douglas retired from the Board of Directors at age 90 and continues living at Eikenhof.

He dedicated his life to the development of Eikenhof and the Elgin Valley. He pioneered developments in irrigation, spraying techniques and chemicals; became involved in the establishment of the first joint venture pack-house, The Elgin Fruit Company, which soon expanded to become Two-a-Day; secured the water supply for the long-term stability of Eikenhof, Graymead and the surrounding farms. He co-founded, with Jimmy Rawbone VILJOEN, the first local English medium school, Elgin Preparatory School, which served the area for at least 30 years. He also protected and expanded the fynbos and indigenous forests planted by Harry BLACKBURN.

After turning 90 he decided it was time to become computer literate, and, having succeeded, wrote his memoirs. He celebrated his 100th birthday in September 2011. Alastair is one of six shareholders of Elgin Vintners, which recently launched The Century 2011, a tribute to Douglas -  a blend of 65% sauvignon and 35% semillon, sourced from Eikenhof. Douglas is the oldest MOODIE in South Africa.


The first British occupation of the Cape began on 16 September 1795 and ended in March 1803. The second British occupation started in January 1806 and South Africa remained a British colony until 31 May 1910 when it became the Union of South Africa. British immigrants started arriving in 1795.

Many of the early British went to South Africa for work purposes, after which they returned to Britain or continued on to their next posting in another colony. They included civil servants, missionaries, soldiers and traders. With the second occupation, the number of people who remained in the Cape Colony started increasing. Tracing early settlers is no easy task, as ship passenger lists were not always complete and one has to research many resources looking for a mention.

The early settlers were usually individual immigrants as immigration schemes only came much later. Not all the British left in 1803, some stayed including the following families: DUCKITT, MURRAY, TENNANT, CALDWELL, REX, ANDERSON, CALLANDER and READE. Many Britons who saw service in India with the British East India Company, retired to the Cape Colony and were known as the "Anglo-Indians", "British Indians", "Cape India families" or "Hindoos". There were quite a few who settled in Stellenbosch, including William CALDWELL who ran two inns from 1803 to 1812.

Benjamin MOODIE, 9th Laird of Melsetter in Orkney, brought out 200 Scottish artisans in the first British government-sponsored immigration scheme in 1817. They are known as the Moodie Settlers. The first party arrived with MOODIE at the Cape on 04 June 1817 aboard the Brilliant. On 23 August 1817, another party of 50 arrived aboard the Garland. The next party of 90 arrived on 24 September 1817 with the Clyde. MOODIE had contracted the settlers to work for him for the first 18 months upon arrival, or else to pay him their passages and they would be free to work for themselves or anyone else. Most of the settlers soon found out that they could get better jobs on their own. The indentured immigrants were not happy with the conditions of service and a few ran away. Some of them married into local Dutch (Afrikaans) families. Benjamin's brother, John, also settled in South Africa, arriving aboard the Mary in 1819. In 1829 he produced a book, Ten Years in South Africa, before emigrating to Canada. Another brother, Donald, also later came to South Africa.

The next government-sponsored immigration scheme was the 1820 Settlers, which brought out approximately 4500 settlers. They arrived on 21 ships, the first being the Chapman which arrived in Algoa Bay on 09 April 1820. Among the settlers were artisans, tradesmen, ministers of religion, merchants, teachers, bookbinders, blacksmiths, discharged sailors and soldiers, professional men and farmers. They were settled in British Kaffraria, where their first homes were the tents given to them by the government. They pitched their tents once they had chosen their piece of land. Their first task was to build a more permanent abode for their families, after which they started to till the lands. The government wanted them as farmers, but many settlers did not have farming experience. Soon the drift towards towns started and this is where these settlers started making their mark on South African society. They started a free press, schools, churches, and businesses. Those who had stayed on the farms eventually began to prosper.

Dr George THOM was the first of several Scotsmen to leave the London Missionary Society for the Dutch Reformed Church at the Cape. He left London in early 1822 with Rev. Andrew MURRAY and 6 teachers. They arrived at the Cape on 02 July 1822 on board the Arethusa. Joseph BYRNE organized some 4500 British settlers in 1849 to settle in Natal, known as the Byrne Settlers. Groups of Cornish miners came to work on the copper mines in Namaqualand from 1850. On 05 September 1850, the Zenobia arrived in Table Bay with approximately 230 new settlers who were mostly artisans. Between 1857-1862, approximately 5800 immigrants arrived under the Cape of Good Hope Immigration Board, which had an agent based in London. This scheme offered free passage to suitable applicants. In 1860, discharged British soldiers were offered land to come and settle at the Cape and many took up this offer. A lot of British settlers worked on building the railways after 1872. The discovery of diamonds and gold also brought more British to South Africa. The Cape government started an immigration scheme in 1873 by which settled residents could sponsor new settlers by undertaking to give them employment.

Irish immigrants also made their home in South Africa. The first Irish were soldiers sent out during the first and second British occupations. There were three Irish Cape Governors: George, 1st Earl Macartney; Du Pre Alexander, Earl of Caledon and Sir John Francis Cradock. Henry NOURSE, a shipowner at the Cape, brought out a small party of Irish settlers in 1818. In 1823, John INGRAM brought out 146 Irish from Cork. Single Irish women were sent to the Cape on a few occasions. Twenty arrived in November 1849 and 46 arrived in March 1851. The majority arrived in November 1857 aboard the Lady Kennaway. A large contingent of Irish troops fought in the Anglo-Boer War and a few of them stayed in South Africa after the war. Others returned home but later came out to settle in South Africa with their families. Between 1902 and 1905, there were approximately 5000 Irish immigrants.

The British contributed in many ways - founding the first university, building roads, developing the harbours, developing the first banks, creating the postal, telegraph and railway services. However, it has only been in the last few years that more genealogical research has been done on families originating from the UK. Although it is becoming easier to trace their roots in South Africa, one does meet brick walls quite often, especially when trying to trace back to the UK.

22 March 2012


E-mail groups or mailing lists for genealogy enthusiasts have been in existence since the early days of the Internet. A mailing list is a way of forwarding messages to others who are interested in the same topic as you. You send your message to the list and it is sent to everyone who has subscribed to that list - and everything that anyone else sends to the list will be sent to you. You can receive each message as it is sent to the list, or you can receive a daily digest that contains all the day's messages in one e-mail. Most of these lists are hosted by RootsWeb - more than 23 000 genealogical and surname mail lists. The Mail List Index, which lists all of RootsWeb's mail lists, is at http://lists.rootsweb.com/ Some lists are hosted by other service providers.

The lists are a forum for discussion on genealogy and a way to make contact with others interested in the same topic. There are searchable list archives. Once you are a subscriber and start sending messages, make sure that the subject line of your message is clear and meaningful. Use ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS for SURNAMES only.

Since the personal use of the Internet and e-mail only became available / affordable in South Africa in the mid-1990s, these mailing lists reached South Africa later than many other countries. In the beginning there was only one list that covered the whole of South Africa. Since then, other lists have sprung up - sometimes the result of personal disputes between list members. As South Africa is actually a small country genealogically-speaking, I have often found it bizarre that so many lists exist for this little country. After a long sabbatical from genealogical work, I returned to an e-mail inbox containing over 3000 genealogy messages, including the list mails. What I soon discovered, upon starting the catch-up process, was that on the South African lists the exact same message was being posted to multiple lists every day. For anyone who uses the Internet and e-mail in South Africa, you will know how expensive it is and how slow it is compared to other countries (using your employer's Internet account does not count!). To download the same message 5 times or more eventually becomes annoying. Some of the lists have the same duplicated messages and very little else - this can be seen by looking at the list archives. South Africa's genealogy is so small and inter-connected that splitting the country into so many lists is not only ineffective, but also a waste of bandwidth. Surely the time has come to consolidate the South African lists into fewer yet effective lists.

If you'd like to wade into these lists (after you have read and understood their guidelines / rules), these are the available South African lists in no particular order:

A mailing list for anyone interested in Southern African genealogy and related topics. This was the original South African list.

A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical, cultural or historical interest in the province of Eastern Cape, South Africa.

This is a mailing list hosted by Yahoo. It is an Afrikaans list and was formed after the original Afrikaans list, GenForum, closed. The Afrikaans lists were formed when sending Afrikaans messages to the Rootsweb lists became an issue for subscribers who could not understand Afrikaans.

A mailing list for anyone with an interest in the genealogy and history of South Africa as well as those countries and regions connected to its various migrations. The primary language for the list is Afrikaans, although English, Dutch and German messages are accepted. Also formed after the closure of GenForum.

A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding the immigrants from the United Kingdom to South Africa prior to 1900.

A mailing list for anyone with an interest in family history in Cape Town, South Africa.

Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy Special Interest Group
A mailing list for South African Jewish genealogy. Hosted by JewishGen and has stricter policies than Rootsweb lists.

A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Transkei area of Eastern Cape province, South Africa.

Focus is on the South African province of Kwa-Zulu Natal (pre-1994 called Natal). Covering families settling and living in the area, wars in the region and other relevant historical events.

A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical, cultural or historical interest in the province of the Orange Free State, South Africa.

All links and interests regarding the Northern Cape of South Africa, whether people, settlers and history.

A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding historical, passenger and genealogical data related to post World War II emigration to South Africa (mainly the period 1948-1961).

De Caep Dd Goede Hoop. This list is used for discussion of the First Fifty Years project which aims to transcribe and display all the records of the early settlement at the Cape of Good Hope which commenced in 1652.

A mailing list for anyone interested in South African genealogy to discuss and share information that will help to provide a historical context to their research efforts.

19 March 2012


Many Britons immigrated to the Cape Colony when it became a permanent British colony in 1815. The first major groups of settlers were Captain MOODIE's in 1817 and the 1820 British Settlers. A little-known group of British settlers are the Anglo-Indians.

The Anglo-Indians were mostly British civil and military men serving in the Raj, Bengal, Madras and Bombay. From circa 1819 these men and their families spent their long leave or sick leave at the Cape. The Cape's inhabitants referred to them as "Hindoos". Most of the visitors rented houses in Wynberg. Quite a number of them retired to the Cape, and some went into business or farming.

Major Samuel PARLBY bought the Kleijne River Valley estate in the Caledon district from Chief Justice Sir Johannes Andreas TRUTER in 1831. The purchase was for 8000 hectares around present-day Stanford. PARLBY was born in Boxted, Essex, England in 1789, the son of Rev. Samuel PARLBY. He joined the Bengal Artillery in 1804 and first saw the Cape in 1806 when, while enroute to India, he went ashore briefly with the invading British forces. In 1831, on his way back to England to retire, he stopped off at the Cape for three months and decided to stay.

After buying his farm, he stocked it with fine cattle and merino sheep. He also raised stud horses for racing and riding, as well as for remounts for the British Army in India. He imported cotton, flax, millet, hops, wheat, barley, oats and fruit seeds. At one stage he imported poppy seeds but this was not a successful crop. He was a member of the Cape Town and Swellendam Agricultural Societies. Not content with just farming, he also got involved in slave emancipation. He often hosted visiting friends from India and Cape Town, including the explorer Sir Andrew SMITH.

His first wife was a Javanese woman who died in 1816, leaving an only child John Samuel (born 1814, died in Oudtshoorn in 1862). In 1831 he married Hester VOWE (born 1808, died 1835) in Cape Town. Her tombstone can be seen at Stanford. After her death, and combined with financial strains, he sold the farm in April 1838 to Captain Robert STANFORD. He moved to Green Point in 1839 after living at Riversdale and taking trips to England. He later married Marian Emma MATHEW (died 1871) in Rondebosch. In 1839 he published a book "Hints for Emigrants to the Cape" in London. He returned to England in 1850, where he died in 1878. His son John Samuel remained at the Cape and farmed near Oudtshoorn.

Thomas Butterworth Charles BAYLEY, born in 1810 in England, was in the Bengal civil service. His sister had married in Cape Town, Lord Charles SOMERSET being a witness at the wedding. She died at the Cape. In 1844 he bought Hartebeeste Kraal from Coenraad NELSON and renamed it The Oaks. He renovated the original house. In 1859 the artist Thomas William BOWLER was a guest and painted six water-colours of the house.

Thomas imported thoroughbred stallions and mares, Cleveland carriage horses, Yorkshire half-breed horses, cattle (Ayrshires, Kerrys, Shorthorns, Galloways) and sheep (French Merinos, Sturgeons, Dorriens). He was the first Cape farmer to import iron ploughs, water pumps, seed drills and other farming tools. He sent the ploughmakers, Howard & Sons of Bedford, England, his suggestions for modifications, which led to the Colonial model plough. He also imported seeds from Europe, India, the USA and Natal. He employed the Scot Robert SMITH as his head gardener and forester. Articles written by SMITH were published in the Cape Monthly Magazine in 1857. When BAYLEY left The Oaks, SMITH joined the Central Roads Board as an overseer on the Cape Flats.

In 1855, an epidemic horse-sickness decimated the Cape horses and in 1856 BAYLEY sold his farm and stock to Michael VAN BREDA. He moved to a large house in Wynberg and occupied himself with writing, committees and charity work. He rode with the Cape Hunt, became a steward of the South African Turf Club and promoted the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society, introducing annual shows. He wrote articles for India's Sporting Review between 1845 and 1857. In 1856 he had a booklet published, Notes on the horse-sickness at the Cape of Good Hope in 1854-55. Thomas never married and when he died in 1871, his estate was worth £62000. His books were left to the South African Library. His art collection was left to the South African Fine Arts Association and it later became the founding collection of the South African National Gallery. He is buried at St John's Church in Wynberg.

Dr. James Ross HUTCHINSON was born in 1796 in Scotland. He served with the Bengal Army for 20 years as a medical doctor, before retiring to the Cape. In 1836 he was on sick leave at the Cape when he bought 10 farms east of Palmiet River. Steenboks River (renamed Dunghye Park), Elias Gat (renamed Glen Hart) and Kleijne Steenboks River were three of them. He moved into Dunghye Park in November 1837 for a while. He returned to India in April 1842 and leased Dunghye Park to John METCALF for 5 years. He also owned Belle Ombre in Constantia, where he spent his last 25 years. He died there in 1870 and is buried on the estate. His properties were bequeathed to his three brothers on condition that they live there. The brothers declined and the properties were all sold. Dunghye Park was bought by Matthijs (Thys) Johannes DE VILLIERS (born 1832, died 1924) and became a DE VILLIERS family farm. Dunghye Park then became known as Donkiespad by the locals.

Captain John Duke JACKSON was born on 18 Sept 1781 in East Lexham, Norfolk, England. He was the son of Thomas JACKSON, a farmer, and Mary DUKE. He was baptised on 10 Oct 1784 at Greenwich, Kent. He joined the Honourable East India Company as a midshipman at age 13. John was later transferred to the Bombay Marine and his first voyage to India was in 1794. He married Mary Anne FROST (born 27 Aug 1797 in London, daughter of Bartholomew FROST and Marian DE CASALIS. Died 1882, buried at Korteshoven). They were married at St Alfgeg, Greenwich. Their children were:
1) Marianne, born 1825 in Greenwich. Married Frederick METCALF of Voorhoede on 06 May 1845 at Somerset West. She died in 1921 and is buried in Caledon.
2) Harriet Lautier, born in Norfolk
3) John Scafe, born 1830 in Norfolk. He married Hannah A. HODGSON. He was a shopkeeper in Victoria West where he died on 28 Jul 1881.
4) Henry Duke, born 1831 at Houw Hoek. Married Carolina Maria Joubert GADNEY (born 1844, daughter of John GADNEY and Geertruyda Maria Jacoba SWART) on 01 Jan 1863. Their grandchildren carried on living at Korteshoven.
5) Walter Hawkins, born 1833 at Houwhoek, died 1903 and is buried at Korteshoven.
6) Edward Frost, born 1835. He built the stone werft and dam walls on Dunghye Park, which are referred to as "Jackson's Dam". He married Sarah Wilhelmina DELPORT on 09 Jan 1872.
7) Jessie Mary, born 1837
8) Maximilian James, born 03 Jul 1839, died 26 Jan 1923 in Cape Town, buried at Korteshoven. He entered the Cape Civil Service in 1858 and was a magistrate from 1868-1904. He had married Bertha BRINK on 04 Apr 1879 (her wedding gown was part of the Africana Museum collection in Johannesburg).

In March 1823 John retired to the Cape. His wife and three children remained in Greenwich. He bought a house at 47 Castle Street and opened a seed and saddler business at 1 Longmarket Street. In 1829 he returned to Greenwich and brought his family to the Cape. In 1831 he bought land between Somerset West and Gordons Bay. He tried to make a go of farming there but it proved disastrous and he sold the farm in 1839. He had been staying in Houw Hoek since 1831 and in 1839 he bought the farm Korteshoven from John SMITH. He died at Korteshoven on 04 Nov 1856. The farmhouse is built in the Cape Dutch style and a sailing ship is carved on one of the walls.

Lieutenant-Colonel William SHAW was born in 1790 in Scotland. He became a cadet in the Madras Native Infantry in 1805. He married Lucy Maria PARRY (born 1804, died 1886) in an Anglican ceremony at the NGK in Cape Town on 01 Sept 1827. They left for a final tour of duty in India and returned to the Cape in 1833. They lived in Wynberg until August 1837. At some stage, William left his wife in Wynberg and went to India to finalise his retirement, returning in February 1837. In 1839 he bought the farm Tryntjies River near Caledon. He renamed it Muirton after his family home in County Inverness. William bred merino sheep. He was appointed Justice of the Peace in the Caledon district in 1840. He was a member of the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society. In August 1848 the Anglican Bishop Robert GRAY spent a few days at Muirton. William was on the fund-raising committee for the building of Holy Trinity church in Caledon.

In 1860 William retired from farming. He moved back to Wynberg where he bought Longwood House. He died there on 30 Dec 1869. The house was demolished in the 1950s. William and Lucy had 11 children, including:
1) Jean Mackenzie, born 1851, died 1919. Married Bishop GRAY's diocesan registrar, James Christopher DAVIDSON (Scot) in March 1867.
2) William, took over Muirton when his father retired to Wynberg. He was also a Justice of the Peace.
3) Hector John, born 1838, died 1887. Was a chief engineer of Punjab and later an adviser to the Cape government on railways and irrigation. Married
Margaret HOGG (Scot and a relative of Sir George GREY) in Madras in 1871.
4) Archibald Mitchell, died 1857.
5) male
6) male
7) male

Meent BORCHERDS was minister of the Stellenbosch NGK from 1786 to 1830. He was married to Aletta Jacoba DE WIT, whose English grandfather had married a Dutch woman at the Cape and was in the mercantile business. The DE WITs offered accommodation to British soldiers stopping over at the Cape from or on their way to India. After the British occupation of 1806, Stellenbosch became a popular town with the soldiers. On 21 May 1810 one of the BORCHERDS daughters, Johanna Titia, married Robert BAYNES in the Stellenbosch NGK on 21 May 1810. BAYNES was a chaplain in Bombay. The newly married couple lived mostly in Bombay until Robert's death circa 1838. Johanna returned to the Cape. She died on 20 Feb 1854 at her house in Buitenkant and was buried in Stellenbosch. Three of her sisters also married India soldiers.

Henrietta Maria (born 10 May 1797) married Charles ROBINSON at Stellenbosch on 07 Sept 1828. Charles was a doctor in Calcutta. He settled in the Cape where he died on 16 Jun 1835. Henrietta died in Stellenbosch on 07 Jun 1865.

Catharina Johanna (born 10 Dec 1799) married Charles SMITH of the Bengal Civil Service circa 1824. He was born in 1787 and died in Cape Town on 02 Jan 1854. He was buried at Maitland Cemetery. Catharina died on 14 Aug 1893.

Petronella Jacoba (born 04 Mar 1802) married Captain James ROBINS of the Madras Native Infantry on 02 Oct 1823. He was born in London in 1790. He was a midshipman on Lord NELSON's ship at Trafalgar and hoisted the flag signal "England expects every man to do his duty". He transferred to the Indian Army. After their marriage they went to Holland for the rest of his leave. They settled in Holland at some stage, where James died.

One of Meent BORCHERDS sons, Petrus (born 08 Jul 1786), lived in Claremont and later in Wynberg. Some of his daughters married India men. Aletta Jacoba (born 30 Mar 1807) married Captain George Bridges Plantaganet FIELD of the Bengal Native Infantry on 07 Sept 1822. FIELD was born in 1789 into an aristocratic English family. He was court martialled and discharged from the Army. The couple settled in Calcutta. Aletta died there of cholera at the age of 33. FIELD died in 1861.

Another of Petrus' daughters, Johanna Titia (born 06 Apr 1815), married George EVELEIGH on 15 May 1838. He was from London and a doctor in Calcutta. He retired to the Cape and became Medical Officer at Riversdale, then District Surgeon at Simonstown and Swellendam. The couple then moved to England. George died circa 1886 and Johanna returned to the Cape. She lived with one of her brothers in Wynberg where she died on 25 May 1896.

Yet another daughter, Wilhelmina Hendrina (born 08 Mar 1819), married John Whitley STOKES at St George's Church, Cape Town on 15 Dec 1841. John was born in Ireland on 06 Jun 1819 and was a Lieutenant in the Madras Native Infantry. Their son was born in Nov 1842 and was baptised at St George's in Mar 1843. In April that year, the family left for leave in Britain. When they returned they stayed at the widow WRANKMORE's hotel at 4 Burg Street, which was very popular with India soldiers. John died there on 03 Nov 1844. He was buried in the Somerset Road NGK cemetery. Wilhelmina went to live with her parents in Claremont and later Wynberg. She died in Claremont on 18 Mar 1878. There were many more BORCHERDS married to India soldiers.

Pieter Lourens CLOETE (born 15 Jan 1764, died 1837) married Maria Catharina VAN REENEN on 26 Aug 1787. Their daughter, Catharina Maria (born 1798, died 1877) first married Joseph LUSON on 24 Mar 1817. It was an Anglican ceremony at the NGK in Heerengracht. Joseph was born in London in 1783 and was a clerk with the East India House before being transferred to Cape Town in 1808. He died on 17 January 1822. She then married Pieter Gerhard BRINK on 21 Feb 1831.

Pieter's son, Abraham Josias (born 07 Aug 1794, died 26 Oct 1886 in London) was an officer in the British Army and was later knighted. Another daughter, Sophia Florentia Jacoba (born 1802) married Evelyn Meadow GORDON of the Bengal Army on 25 April 1829. There were many more CLOETE marriages to India men.