09 August 2011


Uncle and aunt - your parents’ brothers and sisters.
Niece and nephew - son and daughter of your brothers and sisters.
First cousin (aka cousin, full cousin) - children of your parents’ brothers and sisters. You and your first cousins have one set of grandparents in common.
Double first cousins (aka double cousins) - if a pair of brothers marries a pair of sisters, their children are not only first cousins, they’re also double first cousins as they have both sets of grandparents in common.
Second cousin - you and the children of your parents’ first cousins are second cousins. You share at least one common great-grandparent. Your child and your first cousin’s child are second cousins.
Third cousin - you and the children of your parents’ second cousins, are third cousins and you share at least one great-great-grandparent. And so on for fourth, sixth, etc...
First cousin once removed - a relationship that is removed, is one that exists in two different genealogical generations. Your father and his brother may have been born 20 years apart, but they are still of the same generation. Your parents’ first cousin, is your first cousin once removed. The child of your first cousin is also your first cousin once removed - your grandparent is that child’s great-grandparent. You also carry on with second cousin once removed, third cousin once removed, etc...
Grandaunt and granduncle - the sisters and brothers of your grandparents.
Great-grandaunts and great-granduncles - your great-grandparents’ sisters and brothers.
In-laws - family by marriage. Your spouse’s parents, spouses of your siblings and spouses of your spouse’s siblings. Your sister’s husband is an in-law, but none of his siblings are. Your husband’s sister’s husband is your in-law, but none of his brothers are.
Affinity relatives - your spouse’s blood relatives, the in-laws that are biologically related to your spouse.


Many South Africans will recognise the name Mazawattee. It was found on tin cans in Granny’s kitchen.
John Boon DENSHAM, age 36 years in the March 1851 Plymouth Census, was a chemist and druggist. By 1860, John had moved to London, where he became a partner in a tea import company run by Charles LEES. They renamed the company Lees & Densham. By 1873, John’s three eldest sons (Edward, Alfred and Benjamin) had joined the business and the name was changed to Densham & Sons. The youngest son, John Lane, joined a few years later.

John Lane travelled around the south of England selling his father’s tea. When his father died, John Lane became a full partner and was responsible for advertising. The first change he made, was to the company name. He wanted an exotic name that would stand out. After spending some time in the Guildhall Library, he chose the Hindu word maztha (meaning luscious) and the Singhalese word wattee (meaning garden of growth). He combined the two to form the famous Mazawattee. He then commissioned an artist to paint “The old folks at home”, a painting of a smiling, bonneted and shawled grandmother having tea with her grand-daughter. The painting soon became well-known and the tea was referred to as “Granny’s tea”. In 1891, the company’s name was again changed to the Mazawattee Ceylon Tea Company and in 1899 they expanded into the coffee, cocoa and chocolate business.

John Lane’s health was deteriorating and in 1904 he handed over directorship to a Mr. McQUITTY. In March 1906, John Lane rushed back from India to save the company from bankruptcy, firing McQUITTY. With the outbreak of WWI, the price of tea was raised and it became too expensive for the ordinary person. In 1915, Henry ADAMS, the American representative for Mazawattee, was on honeymoon and travelling on the Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a German submarine. This was the last straw for the ailing company and John Lane decided to start a factory in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. His wife accompanied him to Port Elizabeth. His health remained poor and when he heard that his youngest son had died in the War, he worsened. He died in 1918.

Alex JACKSON who did much to promote the company's products succeeded John Lane DENSHAM. One of his advertising ploys involved a team of 4 zebras that had been trained to pull a wagon - shaped like a tea box and driven by khaki-clad African drivers. The Depression of the 1930s knocked the company hard. During WWII, Joseph Alexander DENSHAM, John Lane's eldest son, headed the company. When Joseph died, so did the company.

Today, Mazawattee tin cans are collector’s items, along with any other Mazawattee memorabilia. In South Africa, many reproduction tin cans are easily obtainable - with the famous painting “The old folks at home”.
Source: Story of Mazawattee Tea by Diana James


Genealogy has been seen as a hobby for those who have retired and have nothing better to do with their time! It has also been seen as a rather boring hobby because it involves history.

Fortunately, events such as the television series Roots (based on the Alex Haley book) and the blockbuster film Titanic, launched renewed interest in one’s background. Today, genealogical society meetings are attended by people of various age groups, not just retired folks. Some schools also use family trees as a teaching aid in history classes. To keep this going, it is important that your children know what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Here are some fun ideas to get the youngsters involved:
* Celebrate an ancestor’s birthday: pick an ancestor that had something in common with your child e.g. a hobby, the same birth month, same names, etc... Find out what you can about this ancestor. Get background information about what life was like in that period. Do all of this with your child and end it off with a birthday cake.
* Pass on a family recipe that you got from your parents or grandparents. Make the time to cook or bake it with you child, talking about the person who gave you the recipe.
* Plot your ancestors on a large map. Mark each place where your ancestors once lived. It could show the countries or the towns. Each time you find another place, mark it together. Display the map where the children can see it.
* Visit a toy museum. Children find it interesting to see the toys that their ancestors played with.
* Make a family time-line. Help the child gather facts and stories about his/her parents, grandparents, etc... Collect photographs (or photocopies) of these people. Let the child write or type out the findings, a page for each person. Paste each photo on a sheet, label the sheet with the person’s details and tape the facts and stories to the bottom of the photo sheet. Hang the pages, in chronological order, with pegs on a line that you’ve put up. Make historical markers (like a bookmark), write an historical, local or world, date and event on each one. Hang these markers in the appropriate spaces in-between the photo pages.
* Create a family time capsule. Each family member places an item of his or her choice in the capsule. Make up lists of the family’s friends, favourite things, teachers, jobs, etc... and place them in the capsule. Store the capsule in a cupboard and one year later, repeat the project, this time adding the past year’s items and lists.
* Play family trivia. Especially suitable for times like Easter or Christmas when families tend to gather. Each family member writes a question on a piece of card. Make the questions by using Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. E.g. “Who was afraid of the tooth fairy?, “What item was brought from England with our ancestor”, “Where was the house with the yellow door?”, etc... Questions could be about amusing stories, interesting careers, etc... Keep the cards in a box and follow the rules of Trivial Pursuit! You can write the answers on other cards, so they can be passed on one day.


South Africa uses the De Villiers genealogical numbering system in all standard reference works. The system was devised by the South African genealogist, Christoffel Coetzee DE VILIERS, and first used in published works in the 1890s. The system was later revised by Dr. Cor PAMA.

Everyone has 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, and this number doubles in every following generation...

Do you have all your ancestors?
2 parents
4 grandparents
8 great-grandparents
16 great-great-grandparents
32 great-great-great-grandparents
64 great-great-great-great-grandparents
and so on and so on...

In De Villiers, “a” is the South African progenitor of the family.
His children are numbered chronologically as “b1”, “b2”, etc...
His grandchildren are “c”, his great-grandchildren are “d”. etc...

The “b” denotes the second generation of the family in South Africa, “c” the third, “d” the fourth, etc...

Many South African families today have already reached “j” - 9th, “k” - 10th, and “l” - 11th generation down from the original settler.


The Dutch East India Company recruited soldiers, sailors and workers from many other places besides Holland. Many of these recruits were from neighbouring countries, especially Germany. Today, this can still be seen, especially amongst the Afrikaans people, in surnames such as WAGENAAR, SMIT, MEYER, KRUGER, HOFMEYR, SCHUTTE, etc... President Paul KRUGER used the umlaut in his surname (KRÜGER), a very German custom.

South African surnames have their origins in countries such as Norway, France, Russia, Ireland, Greece, Scotland, Lithuania, India, Malaysia, Belgium, Indonesia, Switzerland and many others. Truly “one world in one country” or the “rainbow nation”!

Remember that surnames were often incorrectly spelt and even changed in early records and there can be various spellings of a particular surname. The surname COETZEE has many variations including KOETZEE, KOTZE, COETZER, COETZE and KOETSEE. This can create havoc when following an individual’s paper trail! Even first names have this habit. The French surname of RETIFS became RETIEF, PINARD became PIENAAR and LOMBARDS became LOMBAARD.

When surnames started becoming popular, many were derived from occupations. SCHOEMAN was a shoemaker, VORSTER or FOSTER was a forestry worker, MULLER was a miller, PELSER was a furrier, KRUGER was the keeper of the krug or inn, POTGIETER was a pottery caster and DE KLERK was a clerk. A Portuguese surname that is today common in the Afrikaans people is FERREIRA (meaning a blacksmith).

Place names were another favourite when it came to surnames in the beginning. In Afrikaans the word “van” means “of” or “from”. The VAN DER MERWE’s take their surname from a river in the south of Holland, the Merwede. The surname VAN KEULEN is “from Cologne” in Germany. VAN RENSBURG is also in Germany. France has also contributed to South African surnames, some being DELPIERRE, TERREBLANCHE, MARAIS, DU TOIT and DU PLESSIS.

The Italians brought the PISANIE surname, meaning one from Pisa. The English surname of CORY, is believed to be derived from the town of Cordy in Lincolnshire.

Most slaves at the Cape were given names by the slave-traders or their owners. Slaves owned by the VOC often retained versions of their real names, usually misspelt by the officials, such as Sao Balla, Revotes Kehang or Indebet Chemehaijre. Privately owned slaves were generally called Anthony, Jan, Pieter, Anna or Catrijn. Biblical names like Titus and Rachel were also given. Others were named after the months of the year especially April, September and October. Using the calendar months was another common naming custom and surnames like September still exist today. Slaves’ first names were often followed by their place of origin, as in Paul van Malabar (Paul of Malabar) or Lisbeth van Bengalen (Lisbeth of Bengal). Those slaves born in the Cape usually had van de Kaap (of the Cape). Those whose first names proved difficult to pronounce were given new names, either after their owner (Jan, Anthony...) or after mythology (Apollo, Adonis...).  With the abolition of slavery in 1835, many of the slaves kept their given names.


A careful study of naming patterns can sometimes lead to great discoveries. This is no longer true with later generations but it certainly pays once you are researching circa 1940’s and earlier. In South African genealogy, the Afrikaans community adhered to tradition longer than any other group. The common naming pattern in South Africa was:

First son named after the father’s father
Second son named after the mother’s father
Third son named after the father
Fourth son named after the father’s eldest brother
Fifth son named after the father’s second eldest brother or the mother’s eldest brother
First daughter named after the mother’s mother
Second daughter named after the father’s mother
Third daughter named after the mother
Fourth daughter named after the mother’s eldest sister
Fifth daughter named after the mother’s second eldest sister or the father’s eldest sister

Later children were then named after remaining uncles or aunts. Thereafter, the names of the children’s great-grandparents would be used.


In 1855, Sir George GREY, High Commissioner in South Africa, tried to get British military pensioners to immigrate to South Africa and settle in British Kaffraria. The scheme failed to draw enough immigrants and was replaced with a plan to bring out soldiers of the British German Legion, which was being disbanded at the time. This scheme brought out 2 362 men in January and February 1857, disembarking in East London. When the Indian Mutiny broke out, more than half enlisted for further service in the British Army, and only 981 settlers were left in British Kaffraria in 1858.

Few of the men were married. The British thought of sending out young Irish women as prospective brides. They selected about 100 women between the ages of 18 and 35 who were living in the Union Workhouses. A few English artisans and their families were also selected to assist in taking care of the single women during the voyage. A few Irish agricultural families and about 20 more Irish single women from the ordinary population were also recruited. They were to sail on the Lady Kennaway, but just before sailing, some of the Irish women realised that there might be no Catholic priest where they were to be settled and they withdrew from the scheme. The vacant places were filled with immigrants from the general population. The Lady Kennaway sailed from Plymouth Sound on Saturday, 05 September 1857, with 231 immigrants. Of these, 153 were single women, while 42 were artisans, their wives and children. A baby was born during the voyage. The ship arrived in East London on Friday, 20 November 1857.

A committee of clergymen and businessmen had been formed in King William’s Town in September 1857, to distribute the immigrant women as soon as possible after they had landed. At the same time sub-committees of ladies were formed in East London and King William’s Town to meet the immigrants on arrival, to arrange accommodation and assist them with advice. Interested parties in King William’s Town were invited to register their applications for servants. In Grahamstown, a committee had also been established to receive and arrange employment. The King William’s Town committee arranged for accommodation in the Pensioner Village for the women. Further accommodation was arranged in East London so that the immigrants could be housed for the duration of their stay at the port. A Catholic priest met them in East London as they disembarked. The immigrants waited until the last of the party had disembarked on 23 November, before they set out on the next leg of their journey.

Four women were immediately offered employment in East London. Two women found husbands and were married at once, one being Fredericka SCHULLE, the only German girl in the party, who had been recruited from Middlesex. The other woman married the local police constable. None of the artisans chose to remain in East London at that time. On 24 November, ox-wagons set out for King William’s Town, carrying the married people. On 26 November, the single women left by ox-wagon and stopped at Fort Pato for breakfast. The soldiers of the 73rd Regiment had prepared two rooms for them and a breakfast. They arrived in King William’s Town that same evening. The hiring commenced the next day and continued for one week, with 79 people being employed in King William’s Town. Another 22 were employed or married at Line Drift, Peddie, Alice or Wooldridge and about 61 artisans and labourers, including their families, also found work in these places. Fifteen women who had not found employment by the 12 December, and the remaining immigrants set out for Grahamstown, arriving two days later. In the meantime, four women had returned to the committee in King William’s Town because of misunderstandings about their employment. On 4 January 1858 another seven were sent to Grahamstown and the committee in King William’s Town was closed. The exact figure of immigrants who found employment in British Kaffraria and Grahamstown is impossible to ascertain as the statistics given in various documents contradict one other, but 6 women eventually settled in East London, between 78 and 93 found employment in King William’s Town, and between 70 and 84 were sent to Grahamstown. Of the artisans and their families, none remained in East London, between 46 and 68 settled in King William’s Town, and about 16 went to Grahamstown.

The 153 unmarried women did not all marry the German soldiers, nor did they all find employment. The German soldiers had hardly settled down, generally made poor farmers, and were mostly interested in enlisting for military action. The women are also known as the Kennaway Girls. The scheme was not a successful one and eventually Sir George GREY brought out 1600 Germans to British Kaffraria in a more successful scheme in 1858.

A list of unmarried women (surname, first names, place of origin and age) who arrived in East London, South Africa on 20 November 1857 on-board the Lady Kennaway.

Anderson, Sarah. Armagh. 20
Armstrong, Eliza. Dublin. 30
Barrett, Maura. Dublin. 19
Barry, Bridget. Meath. 20
Blakeney, Deborah. Dublin. 18
Blakeney, Mary Ann. Dublin. 21
Blykes, Mary. Armagh. 23
Borbidge, Ann. Dublin. 18
Boulger, Jane. Dublin. 28
Bradley, Susan. Donegal. 24
Bradner, Margaret. Dublin. 28
Branagan, Eliza. Dublin. 22
Breen, Margaret. Dublin. 18
Bright, Margaret. Kildare. 24
Brophy, Catherine. Tipperary. 20
Bullin, Ellen. Cork. 18
Burke, Bridget. Dublin. 25
Byrne, Ann. Dublin. 23
Byrne, Catherine. Kilkenny. 20
Byrne, Johanna. Dublin. 19
Campbell, Mary. Armagh. 19
Caughlin, Margaret. Armagh. 19
Chapman, Harriett. Cork. 20
Clark, Jane. Dublin. 25
Clarke, Anne. Donegal. 26
Clarken, Ellen. Fermanagh. 18
Collins, Mary. Dublin. 20
Collis, Kate. Dublin. 32
Connor, Catherine. Clonmel. 18
Corcoran, Jane. Dublin. 18
Corrin, Susan. Dublin. 21
Cox, Catherine. Fermanagh. 21
Caffrey, Eliza. Kildare. 19
Cullen, Jane. Dublin. 23
Cummins, Bridget. Kildare. 19
Curry, Margaret. Dublin. 18
Dalton, Mary. Dublin. 21
Daniel, Margaret. Clonmel. 20
Day, Mary. Dublin. 23
Demsey, Sarah. Dublin. 17
Donaldson, Jane. Monaghan. 20
Donaldson, Prudence. Monaghan. 19
Donohue, Margaret. Clonmel. 28
Dool, Jemima. Derry. 19
Doran, Bridget. Clonmel. 18
Doyle, Margaret. Dublin. 24
Doyle, Maria. Dublin. 26
Doyle, Mary. Dublin. 21
Dunn, Eleanor. Dublin. 24
Finlay, Maria. Dublin. 18
Fitzroy, Johanna. Dublin. 23
Flanagan, Anne. Tipperary. 20
Flanagan, Mary. Tipperary. 18
Flora, Bridget. Dublin. 25
Fulham, Harriet. Dublin. 19
Gaffney, Jane. Meath. 20
Gallagher, Catherine. Tyrone. 21
Gallagher, Margaret. Dublin. 24
Garry, Anne. Meath. 21
Glascott, Judy. Clonmel. 18
Cogen, Mary. Dublin. 30
Goodwin, Ellen. Dublin. 20
Grace, Kate. Dublin. 21
Graham, Ellen. Dublin. 25
Hall, Maria. Dublin. 20
Hanrahan, Catherine. Kilkenny. 23
HaNrahan, Johanna. Kilkenny. 21
Hefferty, Mary. Donegal. 21
Henderson, Jane. Derry. 27
Henry, Selina. Dublin. 23
Hinds, Sarah. Armagh. 23
Hughes, Charlotte. Dublin. 19
Hunter, Mary. Antrim. 23
Hyland, Honor. Clonmel. 18
Jones, Mary. Dublin. 30
Kane, Matilda. Tyrone. 18
Keane, Esther. Dublin. 25
Keating, Mary. Kilkenny. 25
Keegan, Susan. Dublin. 20
Kehse, Mary. Dublin. 20
Kelly, Charlotte. Dublin. 19
Kerr, Rose. Armagh. 31
Lacy, Elizabeth. Dublin. 18
Lavenny, Judy. Galway. 19
Lawrence, Jane. Cork. 20
Lee, Catherine. Dublin. 20
Lee, Nora. Dublin. 20
Leekey, Elizabeth. Antrim. 21
Lodge, Dora. Dublin. 27
Maher, Anne. Kildare. 20
Mann, Mary. Clare. 21
Mannsell, Anna. Tipperary. 18
Mannsett, Mary. Dublin. 21
McAlendon, Anne. Dublin. 19
McAlister, Margaret. Armagh. 20
McBride, Jane. Fermanagh. 27
McCafferty, Bridget. Donegal. 22
McCafferty, Margaret. Donegal. 20
McDonnell, Mary. Donegal. 27
McEvitt, Isabella. Dublin. 19
McGuigan, Jane. Tyrone. 18
McGuire, Johanna. Dublin. 18
McIleen, Margaret. Dublin. 17
McItee, Ann. Dublin. 19
McNamara, Fanny. Dublin. 18
McNamara, Isabella. Armagh. 31
Merrigan, Anne. Dublin. 22
Merrigan, Eliza. Dublin. 20
Milton, Anne. Wicklow. 24
Moore, Mary. Dublin. 18
Mullin, Olivia. Dublin. 26
Murphy, Anne. Dublin. 23
Murphy, Bridget. Limerick. 19
Murphy, Mary. Limerick. 26
Myles, Isabella. Donegal. 21
Neale, Honor. Kilkenny. 27
Neary, Mary. Kilkenny. 30
Neill, Margaret. Tipperary. 19
Norton, Anne. Dublin. 23
Norton, Ellen. Dublin. 25
O’Neal, Catherine. Kildare. 26
O’Neill, Anne. Dublin. 26
Phillips, Mary. Antrim. 26
Power, Susan. Dublin. 27
Purss, Harriet. Middlesex. 15
Read, Jane. Dublin. 18
Robinson, Sarah. Dublin. 19
Ryan, Judith. Tipperary. 18
Schulle, Fredericka. Middlesex. 29
Shea, Mary. Clonmel. 18
Sheeran, Mary. Fermanagh. 18
Singleton, Eliza. Dublin. 21
Slavin, Sarah. Fermanagh. 20
Smith, Mary. Dublin. 18
Sullivan, Margaret. Dublin. 26
Tago (or Tays / Teys), Catherine. Donegal. 24
Talbot, Anne. Dublin. 28
Taylor, Elizabeth. Armagh. 21
Tobin, Mary. Clonmel. 18
Toole, Mary. Dublin. 28
Walsh, Elizabeth. Kilkenny. 23
Warren, Mary. Dublin. 18
Waters, Maria. Dublin. 19
Weir, Ellen. Antrim. 19
Weir, Mary. Antrim. 24
Welch, Sarah. Clonmel. 24
Whelan, Anne. Dublin. 27
White, Margaret. Clonmel. 18
White, Mary. Kildare. 21
White, Mary. Donegal. 20
Winstan, Maria. Cork. 20

The following artisans and their families were also on board (surname, first name, occupation, place of origin, age in ( ):
APPS, George. Carpenter. Surrey. (31). Wife: Mary (28). Children: Sarah (7), Jane (6)
BERRY, John. Labourer. Galway. (30). Wife: Catherine (24). Children: Mary (2), John (1)
CARRALL, Patrick. Farm Servant. Monaghan. (22). Wife: Catherine (24). Child: Owen (infant)
CHRISTMAS, Frederick. Carpenter. Middlesex. (32). Wife: Eliza (31). Children: Samuel (8), Harry (5), George (3)
CLARKSON, Charles. Carpenter. Middlesex. (28). Wife: Emma (24). Child: Eliza (infant)
CLARKSON, William. Carpenter. Middlesex. (35). Wife: Charlotte (25). Children: William (3), Louisa (3), Mary (1)
COBURN, James. Farm Servant. Tyrone. (22). Wife: Ann (18)
COOPER, William. Carpenter. Essex. (23). Wife: Sarah (23). Children: Eliza (2), Ruth (infant)
HICKEY, Richard. Labourer. Middlesex. (21). Wife: Margaret (23)
HOVENDON, John. Farm Servant. Dublin. (42). Wife: Bridget (35)
KNOWLES, William. Labourer. Antrim. (25). Wife: Eliza (22). Child: Lilly (2)
LEEKEY, Peter. Labourer. Middlesex. (26). Wife: Elizabeth (23)
LOCKHART, John. Bricklayer. Middlesex. (36). Wife: Mary (36). Children: John (18), Edward (2)
PHILPOT, Edgar. Carpenter. Middlesex. (26). Wife: Susan (23). Children: Susan (5), Anne (1)
PURSS, Charles. Bricklayer. Middlesex. (40). Wife: Harriet (44)
RAWLINSON, Charles. Carpenter. Middlesex. (24). Wife: Catherine (20). Child: Samuel (1)
REED, Thomas. Carpenter. Middlesex. (31). Wife: Mary (28). Children: Thomas (9), Elizabeth (7), William (5), Emma (3), Emma ? (infant)
REID, John. Carpenter. Middlesex. (27). Wife: Harriet (25). Children: Martha (4), Eliza (2)
SMYTH, Gerald. Labourer. Antrim. (20). Wife: Mary (26)
SYMONS, William. Carpenter. Middlesex. (42). Wife: Anne (26). Children: William (Carpenter, 17), John (Carpenter, 15), Harry (Carpenter, 13), Mary (11), James (7), Rebecca (5), Robert (3), Samuel (infant)
WOODHOUSE, William. Farm Servant. Armagh. (23). Wife: Eliza (24). Child: Robert (infant)
Source: “Nominal List of Emigrants on Board the Lady Kennaway, Plymouth, 05 September 1857” and “List of Immigrants forwarded to Grahamstown Immigration Commission, 05 January 1858” in Cape Archives Depot.


An enjoyable way of sharing your genealogical information and learning more is by organising a family reunion. Family reunions come in all shapes and sizes, and happen all over the world. It can be a huge or small gathering, lasting a few hours or several days. They can be held as a once-off event, annually or every few years. Many are held in the same location each time, while others are held in a different location each time. No matter what kind of reunion you choose to have, the focus is on bringing the family together to celebrate and share their roots. Planning should start a year ahead for large reunions, and 6 months ahead for smaller reunions.

The first consideration is the family members - their ages, where they live, financial resources, disabilities, etc... If you want to include everyone - young, old, rich, poor, locals, out-of-towners - then the most popular type of reunion is a picnic or braai (barbecue) in a park or on a family farm. This is also the cheapest and easiest to plan. Consider your family’s background and interests, try to include them as part of the reunion. If they are outdoors people, plan outdoor activities. If the family is interested in the family heritage, meet at a family farm or other historical place. Organize tours that include places of significance to your family. More family members will attend if they see that the reunion will be interesting to all.

Call a meeting in person or by phone of family members interested in getting together. Form a reunion committee - who will do what. One person should be in charge of the address list and the correspondence as well as any finances. Another person will organize accommodation and catering. Another person can be the entertainment planner. Choose a date, place and theme. No date and place will suit every family member but by planning far enough in advance, members can make better arrangements. If the reunion is at a hall, resort, etc... make sure it is available for your chosen date. The chosen place should have or be near extra accommodation for longer reunions or for those members who will travel from far. Pool your address books together and make a list of all relatives you know about. Write a letter/email telling them about the reunion (date, place, time, who to contact...), enclosing a copy of the address list and asking them for any other addresses that have been left out. Ask for donations or take a collection at the reunion to help cover costs. Advertise in area newspapers, popular national magazines (in reader’s letters section) and genealogical publications. As your planning progresses, you can send out a monthly 1-page letter to all concerned, keeping them up to date and interested in the reunion.

Ask family members to bring their photo albums to display at the reunion. An activity can be the writing of dates, places and names on the back of the photos. This will save many hours for future researchers.
Create a family crossword puzzle, or a family trivia game with question and answer cards.
Make a display area for photo albums, books, memorabilia, etc...
Fashion parade by family members of the clothing worn by their ancestors.
Demonstrations of the way things were done in the old days (quilting, butter churning, bread baking, calligraphy...).
Clean family cemeteries or gravestones. Let children make gravestone rubbings that they can frame later.
Attend a family memorial church service in memory of past ancestors. Children can be helped to light candles for them.
Buy a plain white tablecloth. Let each family member present at the reunion trace his or her hand outline with a fabric marker pen on the cloth. Inside each hand, write that person’s name and date of birth. In the centre of the cloth, reserve space to write the reunion date and place. Keep this as a family heirloom.
Make a wall-size display of a tree and each person can write his or her name and birth date on a paper leaf. Pin the leaves on and then keep them for the next reunion, when you should add the new members’ leaves.
Record interviews on audio or video tapes with the older family members present.
Have each person complete a family group sheet, which you can add to the family’s genealogical research.
Make name tags for each person attending or print names on a family reunion T-shirt. The names should be big enough so that they can be read in a photo.
Take plenty of photos.
If you have published a family history book, you can sell copies at the reunion. Create a family recipe book, which can be sold to cover costs of reunions.
Serve foods from the countries of origin in your family.
Have certificates made for the oldest relative attending, the youngest relative, the relative who travelled the longest distance to attend, the longest married couple, the most newlywed couple, the person who most resembles the common ancestor, etc...
You could also have small prizes for various people such as:
- most newlywed couple: a family recipe book
- youngest attendee: a baby bib cross-stitched with “I’m a future ancestor”
- largest family: a His & Hers braai apron with braai tools
- grandparent with the most grandchildren: a calendar with all their birthdays on
- who is pregnant: a small potted tree to plant for adding the next branch of the family tree
- thank the reunion organizer: each family member signs a guest book with his or her name, address, who came with and a short thank you note
Plan fun activities for the children. Try old games like egg-and-spoon races, sack races, three-legged races, tug-of-war, etc...

Compile a newsletter or video to commemorate the reunion. Include names, photos, stories, etc... and send one to each family who attended. If the family is in agreement, you can start planning the next reunion. Update all your genealogical information with facts gathered at the reunion. Maintain the new friendships formed.


What was Christmas like for our ancestors in bygone days? For starters, there was no Christmas shopping rush! Before 1859 Christmas celebrations in Cape Town were rather low-key.

The English ship Dragon was in Table Bay on Christmas Day in 1607 and its sailors carved one of the earliest English post office stones. Jan VAN RIEBEECK made no mention of Christmas celebrations in his diaries, but he did note that he gave each of his men a tankard of Spanish wine for the New Year. His successor, Zacharias WAGENAER, noted that on 25 December 1662, Christmas was celebrated by hearing God’s word twice. The week before Christmas in 1705 saw stormy weather and on Christmas Day there was a huge rainstorm. In 1713, the south-easter blew at hurricane force on Christmas Day, with the English ship, Great London, anchored in Table Bay, signalling for help. The Castle did not reply and 19 sailors rowed to the shore to get an anchor and cable. On their way back, they were blown out to sea and never seen again. On Christmas Day in 1769, the first horses sent to India from the Cape left on-board the ship Duke of Kingston bound for Madras. In 1849, Mr. DONALDSON, owner of the Round House, offered his place for Christmas celebrations with skittles, quoits and pigeon shooting.

The Cape Argus was the first newspaper to wish its readers a Merry Christmas on 24 December 1859. In the same issue, Sefton PARRY, owner of the Cape Town Theater, announced the first Christmas pantomime in South Africa - The babes in the woods. That year the weather was “blazing, flaring, scorching, nose-blistering, red-hot”. The week prior to Christmas Day, the paper carried only two Christmas adverts, one suggesting French flower vases as gifts and another offering Westphalia hams for the Christmas meal. A fattened pig cost 30 shillings, a suckling pig cost 9 shillings and a chicken was 1 shilling. A turkey was 4 shillings and 6 pence, and 100 oranges could be bought for 7 shillings. Robert GRANGER had a grocery store on Castle Street and had just received a shipment of white rice from Calcutta. He also had Lancashire hams, Irish butter, Havana cigars, whisky, and cheeses from England and Holland.

In December 1864, the main attraction in Cape Town was a ride on the new Wynberg railway. The then world’s largest ship, Great Eastern, was in Table Bay on Christmas Day in 1869 and Cape Town residents were allowed to visit the ship. Christmas in 1871 saw diamond diggers from Griqualand spending their holidays in Cape Town. They gave their friends champagne parties and treated everyone that crossed their paths. That year also saw Christmas trees for sale in the shops. A Mr. LONG, shopkeeper, had the following advertisement up: “Oh Pa! Oh Ma! Do go and pay Mr. Long a visit and buy me some toys - they are so fine, so unique, and so instructive. Oh do dear Pa! We will be such good children hereafter”. Some things don’t change with the passing of time!

07 August 2011


A private art collector of East London hit the jackpot when an untitled oil painting depicting a Pretoria landscape with the Union Buildings in the distant background, turned out to be one painted by Pieter Willem Frederick WENNINIG, considered a South African master. The painting is thought to have been completed in 1915. In November 2010, it was sold for R1 225 400 by Strauss & Co Fine Art Auctioneers and Consultants in Johannesburg. It was the highest paid for a painting by the South African artist. The high price was helped by the painting's catalogued sales from when it was first sold in 1919. Wenning’s paintings are very rare.

Pieter instructed Johannesburg auctioneer Ernest LEZARD to auction more than 30 of his paintings and drawings in February 1919. He was at the time under financial pressure, as his wife, Johanna Hillegonda BENNINK, required serious surgery. She underwent the operation, but died on 23 February 1919.

The sale was not a success, with almost a quarter of the works remaining unsold. The untitled Pretoria work was sold for £15 at the time, reputedly then the highest price paid for his painting. It was bought by Gordon Campbell TOMLINSON. Gordon was born on 06 October 1887, one of 13 children. He became an attorney and author, and played a leading role in the second Afrikaans language movement. Together with Prof. J.J. SMITH and Dr. Tobie MULLER, he published the periodical Ons Moedertaal which later merged with Die Huisgenoot. He spent most of his life in Vredefort. Shortly after buying the painting, he arranged a small local exhibition of his collection and presented a lecture. The painting was now sold by a Tomlinson descendant.

Pieter was born in The Hague, Holland in 1873 to a family with artistic associations, one or other member had been either a practicing artist or a dealer in artists' materials. He developed a passion for painting from an early age; the availability of art materials from his father’s shop and contact with his cousin Ype Wenning, a well known Frisian painter, were contributing factors. He had never studied art formally. After school he took a job at the Dutch Railways, where his language fluency saw him working as a foreign correspondent, and giving him an opportunity to travel to Europe and England. In the Great Railway Strike across the continent in 1902 and 1903, Peiter joined the strike at Dutch Railways, which led to the strikers dismissal. Pieter's marriage to a young widow with two children added to his responsibilities. After finding work with H.A.U.M. de Bussy, Holland’s largest publishing firm, he was offered a transfer to South Africa to work as bookkeeper in the Pretoria branch, arriving in South Africa in 1905.

In 1909, after working mostly in water colour and pen and ink, he was able to work in oils when a friend and neighbour, Professor JANSE, gave him his first colour box and brushes. In 1910, De Bussy’s decided to expand their business, and started selling art materials. Pieter was put in charge of this new department, where he met many of the artists active in Pretoria. While he was working daily in De Bussy’s Bookshop he used every available free Wednesday afternoon and Sundays to go out painting. It often took him about an hour to cycle out to his chosen sites where he would work furiously, sometimes till after sunset, before packing up and cycling back into town. De Bussy’s opened an office in Johannesburg between 1912-1913, and Pieter was appointed as manager of the art department. In 1913, he was sent by De Bussy’s to the Cape, where he met D.C. BOONZAIER and forged a friendship that would last until his death. In 1916, after fellow artists had collected money for him, he spent three months in the Cape, painting. It was in the autumnal and wintry Cape that he was happiest and most productive. By this time, he had left De Bussy’s and was working at Van Schaik's Bookshop, who gave him the three months off. Later in 1916, another fundraising effort saw Pieter go on an a second extended trip to the Cape. For the next five years, he lived mostly in the Cape, interrupted by short visits to his family, and trips to Lourenco Marques and Zanzibar. Between 1916 and 1919 he painted between 300 and 400 oils, though it was still not making him much money. His health had taken a turn for the worse, yet he was often seen canvas in hand, trudging through the rain, looking for subject matter to paint. During his last visit to the Cape in 1920, he felt sick and finally gave up painting in bad weather, only painting in good weather. By mid-1920 he was seriously ill and on one he collapsed and was discovered in the evening and helped home by passers-by. He was moved to a hospital soon after, and from there taken back to Pretoria by his son, where he was admitted to the Zuid-Afrikaanse Hospitaal. He was feverish and coughing violently, until eventually he passed away on the evening of 24 January 1921.


The Sukume Museum and Xhosa Cultural Centre is a community-based tourism centre that showcases Xhosa culture. The history of the Walmer Township (known by the locals as known Gqebera) is on display, as well as histories of Xhosa personalities. It was opened in 2010, under the Jerusalem Ministries, a non-profit and public benefit organisation in Walmer. The ministry runs projects aimed at improving the lives of Walmer Township residents.


Joubert House in Long Street, Montagu is a house museum depicting the country lifestyle of the 1850s. It is the oldest dwelling in Montagu. The house was built by then 22-year old Pieter Gideon JOUBERT for his parents from sun-baked bricks and clay, in what was then called Agter Cogman's Kloof. His father, also Pieter Gideon, was the town’s first Justice of the Peace. The wallpaper in the Ken Birch room is unique, being specially printed in the Netherlands from a sample of the original that was found in the room. The peach pip floor in the kitchen and pantry was laid according to a the old local method. A small room houses a large collection of toys from bygone days, including some individually numbered handmade porcelain dolls. The dolls costumes are historically correct, including underclothing and leather shoes. On 25 January 1981 the house was almost lost after a devastating flood. The Montagu Museum trustees and Ken BIRCH helped fund the restoration. The house was declared a national monument in 1975 and was re-opened on 14 October 1983 by State President Marais VILJOEN. There is an indigenous medicinal plant garden behind the house. The museum has been researching and recording the oral history and traditional uses of medicinal plants, in the Montagu district, passed down by the Khoikhoi, San and early farmers. A book, Herbal Remedies of Montagu Museum, was published, and the garden is often visited by foreign botanists and pharmacologists. Dirkie JOUBERT, daughter of Pieter who built the house, wrote a book, Crab Soup and other stories, in which she relates how she began gardening with herbs, helped by a local Khoi who brought herbs from the surrounding mountains for her to use.


Johan and Ursula BRESLER bought the Robb & McLees Pharmacy in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, in 1998. They have kept many old pharmacy items, including a 101-year-old prescription book. The first prescription filled at the pharmacy is dated 1903, the year the pharmacy was started by two Scots, David Wallace ROBB and John Prentice MCLEES. They are both listed as Chemists and Druggists in the Government Gazette dated 29 January 1915, both qualifying in the UK in 1900. David's address is given as 414 Paisley Road West, Ibrox, Glasgow, Scotland; whilst John's is Middelburg, Transvaal. John registered as a Chemist in South Africa in 1903 and David in 1905. John was married to Edith Ann MITCHELL. She passed away in 1928. John died in 1962, and had married three times - first to Edith, then Harriet Helen TRACEY (died 1958), and lastly to Magdalena Petronella DU TOIT. David died in the Cape Province in 1931. Bottles containing various old remedies, are still to be seen in the pharmacy. The prescription book lists each prescription filled, along with the person's name. Most of the early prescriptions were for stomach ailments and skin problems. The Scots kept two large glass bottles, one red and one green. When there was a contagious disease in town, the red bottle stood in the window to warn the residents. Once the disease had passed, the green bottle was placed in the window.

06 August 2011


Alan HARRIS is trying to create the most comprehensive record of Est London servicemen who died in World War II, something he started working on 11 years ago. He has photographed war memorials in the Border area for a number of years. He would like to make contact with all living relatives of the 44 East London seamen who served on-board Royal Navy ships in the war. He hopes to build a history of the servicemen with pictures and biographical information. He also wants to include information about the engagements in which they lost their lives, the area where they were stationed, the ships they were on or the regiments they belonged to. As an example, the ship HMS Neptune, a cruiser based in Simon’s Town, went down in the Mediterranean, north of Tripoli, on a mission to intercept transporters carrying Panza tanks. They sailed into a minefield and struck a mine. They then tried to reverse out of the minefield and struck another mine. The ship went down quickly, and of the 764 crew on-board, only 30 survived the initial sinking. However, by the time an Italian cruiser rescued them, only one man was still alive. None of the six seamen from East London who were on-board survived. The incident in 1941 was also New Zealand’s biggest loss of servicemen in any single engagement in WW2. They lost 150 personnel. One of the East London servicemen on-board was Signalman Cecil RANKIN, who attended Cambridge High School before enlisting in the Royal Navy. His father, Freddy, was a typesetter at the Daily Dispatch and the first president of the Typos Bowling Green. One of the bowling greens is named after Cecil.

Alan, whose father served in WWII, still needs information and pictures on the following seamen:
Roy AINSLIE, son of George and Kate, on HMS Cornwall, buried in Simon’s Town. John Robinson AUSTIN-SMITH on HMS Gloucester.
Cecil BOARD, son of William and Annie, buried in Simon’s Town.
Herbert Charles GERAGHTY, son of Christopher and Florence, on HMS Gloucester. Raymond HARRIS, son of Frederick and Lily, buried in East London.
Cedric KRETSCHMER, son of Edward and Rosanna, on HMS Duchess.
Douglas Edward MORROW, son of Thomas and Agnes, on HMS Dorsetshire.
John George MOSCOS on SS Ceramic.
Clifford SCOTT, son of William and Edith, on HMS Jaguar.
Jack VORSTER, son of Mrs M.E. VORSTER of Cambridge West, on HMS Hermes.

Anyone who can help Alan can call him on 043-7343092 or 0760408398 or e-mail: alanandirene@telkomsa.net


Tertius ARCHER, of the farm Pedroskloof in Kamieskroon, is a fundi on Namaqualand history. He has collected old books and other items and photos from days gone by. He owns an original postcard with a photo of Koos SAS' lifeless body - which was sold by the then Namaqualand ACVV to raise funds. The photo was mass printed as postcards and sold to raise money for the ACVV, a Christian women’s organisation.

Koos, a Khoisan, lived a nomadic life in the Montagu area in the early 1900s, allegedly stole sheep and was often caught by the local constable Tonie SWANEPOEL. After Koos murdered his employer Danie (Boetatjie) BOTHA, the son of a Stellenbosch church minister, he was arrested in Touwsrivier. Danie ran a farm stall on the farm Hoek-van-die-berg near Montagu. Before his day in court in Worcester, Koos escaped and hid in Namaqualand. On 06 February 1922, Koos was in Droodaap, about 45 km north of Pedroskloof, where a policeman, Jurie DREYER, recognised him from a police file photo. When he approached Koos, he ran away. Jurie tracked him and shot him on 08 February. His body was taken to Springbok, where a posed photo was taken of Koos by the local church minister Willem STEENKAMP's son. This photo was used by the minister for the ACVV postcard. Steenkamp later exhumed the body and took the skull to America where he went for studies. When he returned to the Cape, he gave the skull to Prof. Hercules BRINK of the University of Stellenbosch. It eventually ended up on display in the Montagu Museum, where David KRAMER saw it, prompting him to write a song Ballade van Koos Sas in 1983.


The Round House restaurant in The Glen, between Cape Town and Camps Bay, is the oldest surviving building in Camps Bay, possibly built in 1786. It was originally built as a small round guards house that served to protect against enemies entering Cape Town from the Camps Bay side. Since the 1840s it has been used as a lodge, tea room or restaurant. The historic double-storey building suffered fires twice - one in 1860 and one in 1923 - and was left forsaken for many years. In the centre of the building, you can still see the gun cupboards where Lord Charles SOMERSET kept his firearms when he used the building as his hunting lodge. The restaurant was used as a ballroom in the 19th century. One of the outbuildings, a flat roofed house, was converted into a dwelling about 1860, it was used as an annexe to the Round House Hotel. In 1957 this became a youth hostel called Stan’s Halt, named after Stanley SENNEY who lost his life climbing Table Mountain. His father helped restore the building in his son’s memory.

From 1814 to 1817 it was owned by Jan Carel HORAK who used it as a livestock farm. He was the grandson of Jan Andries HORAK, a magistrate in Swellendam. Lord Charles SOMERSET, Cape Governor from 1814 to 1826, used it from 1817 until 1823 as a hunting lodge to shoot lion, leopard and buck on the slopes of Lions Head. He changed the rondawel to a double-storey. In 1837 it is believed that HORAK had to sell after which the building was used as a restaurant, tearoom and hotel. It was very popular in Victorian times and had two large ballrooms. With the new road (Lady Smith’s Pass, later renamed to Kloof Road), the Round House was turned into an hotel offering skittles, quoits and pigeons for sportsmen at 1s 6d a pair. The hotel with dance hall and amusement resort was run from 1849 by Mr. M. DONALDSON. A fire in 1860 destroyed the thatched roof, leaving the walls intact. The owner of the tearoom at the time was Thomas William Langley TITMUS but the proprietor was Edmund TILLEY, who had insured it for £300, and opened an hotel in Stellenbosch instead. Thomas was in the Royal Field Artillery. Edmund married Sophia Dorothea EXTER on 14 Nov 1849 in Cape Town. By 1863 the Round House was back in business under a new owner, Mr BRAZIER. Edmund TILLEY was back again in 1895 and on 23 December had been granted the land above the Round House. By 1901 H. TILLEY was the owner of the Round House Hotel, possibly Edmund's son as Edmund died in 1901. Two years later John KELLY took over. In 1904 the Cape Town City Council bought the property and leased it out. Mr D.J. WATSON was the proprietor of the tea room. In 1923 Thomas William Langley TITMUS again leased the property. After the second fire, the building had to be rebuilt - only the original walls and gun cupboards remaining. A plan of the area known as The Glen was found in the National Archives in Cape Town and dates back to 1881. In June 2008 The Round House Restaurant re-opened and is now one of Cape Town’s most exclusive restaurants.


In June 2010, a piece of Port Elizabeth’s original tramline was unearthed next to an old condemned bridge at the bottom of Brickmakerskloof by an excavator digging a channel for a new sewer line. An undamaged 2m long piece was donated to the Bayworld Museum. The tramline was part of the link between the Brickmakerskloof tram sheds and the main shed near the mouth of the Baakens River. The piece was found about one metre below the surface. Possibly after the 1968 flood, the level of the roadway was raised by about half a metre to keep vehicles safe and dry. As trams were no longer in use, the rails were tarred over. James BRISTER, who owned a furniture business and later became Mayor of Port Elizabeth, was involved in starting the public transport system in early Port Elizabeth.

The Port Elizabeth Tramway Company Act was passed by the Colonial government on 11 September 1878. Five horse-drawn tram cars were brought in from the United States of America and the service started operating on 14 May 1881. The first line ran from Market Square to Adderley Street, and took 25 minutes. A ticket cost sixpence first-class and threepence second-class. On 22 February 1888, the line was extended to Prince Alfred’s Park (the present-day Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium). In 1895, Parliament passed an Act allowing the municipality to construct an electric tramway and the Port Elizabeth Electric Tramway Company was registered on 09 May 1896. Ten trams were ordered from the JG Brill Company of Philadelphia, USA. Electricity to power the trams was provided by a power station. The first electric tram in Port Elizabeth was driven on 16 June 1897 from Market Square to Prince Alfred’s Park. Two weeks later the company put their 26 horses, stables, smithy and residences in North End up for sale/rent. On 04 July 1897 a double-decker tram was tested up Russell Road. A new single-decker tram was also successfully tested. The journey started at the power station, to Walmer Road, then to Prince Alfred’s Park in North End. The route was opened to the public on Tuesday, 20 July 1897 and the trams Port Elizabethans until the last car returned to the tramways building on 17 December 1948.
Source: Port Elizabeth - A social chronicle to the end of 1945, by Margaret Harradine.


Barry NAUDE has built up a rugby museum on his farm, Driekoppen, in Hanover, Free State. It is South Africa's largest collection of rugby memorabilia, including books, jerseys, ties, photographs and badges. In 1974, at the age of 10 years, he started collecting rugby memorabilia and making scrapbooks from articles in newspapers and magazines. He has more than 1000 rugby books. More than 200 rugby jerseys, 200 ties and 30 jackets are also on display. In 1995 the North-Eastern Cape Rugby Union closed down and Barry became the keeper of its memorabilia. Most of the items on display have been donated. Barry and a friend, Hannes KOTZE, are working on making the Test Programmes from 1891 to 2009 available in book form. They also want photos and/or signatures of all the 814 Springbok players for the book. Visitors are welcomed by appointment (this is a working farm). The farm is just off the N1 south of Hanover. Contact details: Mobile No. 0823177655 / 0832348779 or barrynaude@webmail.co.za or jmk@intekom.co.za