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South Africa Colonial Records

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Portuguese Colonization (1487-1488)[edit | edit source]

The Portuguese claimed the islands of South Africa in name only in the late 15th century, never sending settlers to the area. The largest single event of Portuguese settlement occurred when the former Portuguese colonies became independent in 1975, with most of these refugees going to Portugal and Brazil. However, a significant number of refugees from Angola and Mozambique made their way to South Africa, making South Africa the home of the largest Portuguese African population we have today. [1]

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records

Dutch Colonization (1652-1795 and 1803-1806))[edit | edit source]

In 1652, the Dutch East India Company sent an expedition to the Cape of Good Hope to establish a permanent Dutch settlement. Britain invaded and took control from 1795-1803. When war between the British and French broke out in 1806, Britain took permanent occupation. In 1814 the Dutch government formally ceded sovereignty over the Cape to the British, under the terms of the Convention of London.[2]

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records (Stellenbosch Archive), 1690-2011 at FamilySearch — index and images 1690-2011 Church records English and Dutch Members of the Dutch Reformed Church
Opgaafrollen, 1692-1844 1692-1844 Tax rolls Afrikaans Any taxable males (16 years and up) who lived in the Cape Colony
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970 at Ancestry - index ($) 1660-1970 Church records English Any members of the Dutch Reformed Church
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records, Stellenbosch Archive, 1660-2011 at Ancestry - images ($) 1660-2011 Church records Dutch, Afrikaans, and English Any members of the Dutch Reformed Church
South Africa, Birth and Baptism Records, 1700s-1900s at Ancestry - index ($) 1700s-1900s Births and baptisms English People born or baptized in South Africa
South Africa, Voter Indexes, 1719-1996 at Ancestry - index ($) 1719-1996 Voter rolls English Eligible voters who resided in South Africa
All South Africa, Miscellaneous Court Records Index, 1652-2004, 2008-2011 at Ancestry - index ($) 1652-2011 Court records English Anyone who needed to go to court. For the Dutch colonial period, most results will be people who went to the Courts of Justice.
South Africa, Passenger Index, 1688-1950 at Ancestry - index ($) 1688-1950 Immigration records English People who immigrated, or traveled, to South Africa
South Africa, Slaves and Free Blacks Records Index, 1658-1835 at Ancestry - index ($) 1658-1835 Multiple different record types English This collection has a variety of different collections helpful for those of African descent.
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970 at MyHeritage - index and images ($) 1660-1970 Church records Dutch, Afrikaans, and English Members of the Dutch Reformed Church

British Colonization (1795-1960)[edit | edit source]

In 1795, after the Battle of Muizenberg in present-day Cape Town, the British occupied the colony. Under the terms of the Peace of Amiens of 1802, Britain returned the colony to the Dutch on 1 March 1803. However, the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803 invalidated the Peace of Amiens, and in 1806 the British occupied the colony for the second time. The South Africa Act of 1909 consolidated British colonies into one nation called the Union of South Africa. The nation became an independent Dominion of the British Empire, governed by constitutional monarchy, with the British monarch represented by a Governor-General. The Union of South Africa came to an end after a referendum on 5 October 1960, when a majority of white South Africans voted in favor of unilateral withdrawal from the British Commonwealth and the establishment of a Republic of South Africa.[3]

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records
The Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), 1384-1858 1725-1857 Wills English Until 1858, all wills had to be proved by the church and other courts. Most of the individuals in these records were relatively wealthy.
British Armed Forces and Overseas Births and Baptisms, COUNTRY at FindMyPast - index and images ($) 1802-1998 Births and baptisms English Children born to those working within the armed forces, merchant navy, and consular forces, as well as, civilian ship passengers.
British Armed Forces and Overseas Banns and Marriages, COUNTRY at FindMyPast - index and images ($) 1806-1991 Banns and marriages English British armed forces members and civilians who were married abroad and at sea
British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials, COUNTRY at FindMyPast - index and images ($) 1828-1991 Deaths and burials English Members of the British armed forces who died while serving their country overseas, British civilians who died while traveling or working overseas, and individuals (including seaman) who died at sea.
British Civil Service Evidence Of Age at FindMyPast - index ($) 1820-1930 Civil Service applications and paperwork English Individuals who worked for, or applied to join, the British Civil Service.
South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004 at FamilySearch — index and images 1801-2004 Parish registers English Members of the Church of the Province of South Africa, now known as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Quarter sessions records, 1723-1820 1819-1820 Court records English Emigrants to the Cape of Good Hope
Burgher refugee camp death notices (South Africa), 1901-03 1901-1903 Death notices English Refugees, mostly women and children, that were kept by the British in concentration camps during the Second Boer War
Civil registration (deaths - whites, blacks, and coloureds), South Africa (various locales), 1895-1984 1895-1910 Deaths Afrikaans and English Residents of South Africa
Civil registration (marriages - coloureds), South Africa (various locales), 1902-1923 1902-1910 Marriages Afrikaans and English People of mixed-race descent in South Africa
Civil registration (marriages), Cape Province, 1696-1899 1696-1899 Marriages Afrikaans and English Residents of the Cape Colony in South Africa
Civil registration (marriages), Natal, 1845-1899 1845-1899 Marriages Afrikaans and English Residents of the Natal Colony in South Africa
Lists of those that died in the Anglo Boer War, either in battle or from other causes, 1899-1902 1899-1902 Deaths English and Dutch People that died in the Second Boer War
South Africa, Transvaal, Irene, Middelburg and Balmoral Camps, church records 1901-1902 Baptisms Dutch People that were baptized into the Dutch Reform Church, while living in Boer refugee camps
Opgaafrollen, 1692-1844 1692-1844 Tax rolls Afrikaans Taxable males over the age of sixteen
South Africa, Natal, Protector of Indian Immigrants, South and North Indian Ship Register Book, 1860-1911 1860-1911 Immigration records Afrikaans and English Indian immigrants to South Africa
Archives of the Intelligence Officer, Pretoria (IOP), 1900-1901 1899-1902 Military records English Shortly after the British forces occupied Pretoria in June 1900, an Intelligence Officer was appointed to assist the Military Governor in combating espionage and conspiracies against the British regime in the Transvaal. The Intelligence Office gathered miscellaneous information about the inhabitants of the country and particularly about persons under suspicion. These records include information about: prisoners of war, rebels, and naturalized persons
Archives of the officer charged with gathering information concerning deaths among the Republican fighting forces and the civilian population (RS), 1899-1902 1899-1902 Deaths Afrikaans People that died in concentration camps during the Second Boer War
Archives of the Staff Officer, Prisoners of War, Cape Town, 1900-1903 (SO/POW) 1900-1903 Military records English Prisoners of war of the British during the Second Boer War
Graves of British soldiers killed in Boer War, 1902 (P175) 1902 Cemetery records English British soldier who fought and died during the Second Boer War
Lists of British prisoners of war, 1899-1900 1899-1900 Military records English British prisoners of war during the Second Boer War
Lists of prisoners of war in South Africa, 1899-1902 1899-1902 Military records English Afrikaner prisoners of war during the Second Boer War
Admission, discharge and other records, 1788-1890 1788-1890 Admission registers English During the 18th and 19th centuries, the British government sent poor and delinquent children to Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This transportation was an effort to reform these children and make them "useful members of society." These records contain these children.
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970 at Ancestry - index ($) 1660-1980 Church records English Members of the Dutch Reformed Church
Cape Province, South Africa, Civil Deaths, 1895-1972 at Ancestry - index and images ($) 1895-1972 Death records English Anyone who died in Cape Province from 1895-1972
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records, Stellenbosch Archive, 1660-2011 at Ancestry - images ($) 1660-2011 Church records Dutch, Afrikaans, and English Members of the Dutch Reformed Church
Transvaal Province, South Africa, Estates Death Notice Index, 1855-1976 at Ancestry - index ($) 1855-1976 Death notices English Property owners who died in the Transvaal
South Africa, City and Area Directories, 1813-1962 at Ancestry - index ($) 1813-1962 Directories English Residents of South Africa from Cape Town to Pretoria
Web: South Africa, Second Boer War British Service Register, 1899-1902 at Ancestry - index ($) 1899-1902 Military records English Members of the British military who served in the Second Boer War
South Africa, Voter Indexes, 1719-1996 at Ancestry - index ($) 1719-1996 Voter rolls English Eligible voters in South Africa
South Africa, Miscellaneous Court Records Index, 1652-2004, 2008-2011 at Ancestry - index ($) 1652-2004, 2008-2011 Court Records English Anyone who needed to go to court.
South Africa, Immigration Index, 1858-1986 at Ancestry - index ($) 1858-1986 Immigration records English People who immigrated to South Africa
South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996 at Ancestry - index and images ($) 1822-1996 Church records English Residents of South Africa, who were Methodist
South Africa, Biographical Index, 1825-2005 at Ancestry - index ($) 1825-2005 Biographies English Prominent people in South Africa
South Africa, Marriage Index, 1807-2007 at Ancestry - index ($) 1807-2007 Marriages English Residents of South Africa
South Africa, Military Index, 1853 - 2004 at Ancestry - index ($) 1853-2004 Military records English People in South Africa, who served in the military
South Africa, Passenger Index, 1688-1950 at Ancestry - index ($) 1688-1950 Immigration records English People who immigrated or traveled to South Africa
South Africa, Select Estates Death Notice Index, 1833-2008 at Ancestry - index ($) 1833-2008 Death notices English People, who owned property or created a will, that are now deceased
Cape Town, South Africa, Maitland Cemetery Records, 1888-1959 at Ancestry - index and images ($) 1888-1959 Cemetery records English People buried in Maitland Cemetery in Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa, Reformed Church Records, 1856-1988 at Ancestry - images ($) 1856-1988 Church records Afrikaans Members of the Reformed Church
South Africa, Occupational Index, 1864-1918 at Ancestry - index ($) 1864-1918 Directories English This index has a variety of occupational records and as a result has a variety of different types of people.
South Africa, Slaves and Free Blacks Records Index, 1658-1835 at Ancestry - index ($) 1658-1835 Many different record types English This database includes several different types of records that are useful for people of African descent
South Africa, Select Academic Records, 1800-1965 at Ancestry - index ($) 1800-1965 School records English People who attended school in South Africa
South Africa, Shipping Index, 1802-1848 at Ancestry - index ($) 1802-1848 Shipping records English Ships that arrived in ports of South Africa. This database does not list individuals on the ships besides the captains.
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970 at MyHeritage - index and images ($) 1660-1970 Church records Dutch, Afrikaans, and English Members of the Dutch Reformed Church
South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996 at MyHeritage - index and images ($) 1822-1996 Church records English Methodist South Africans
Boer War Casualties, 1899 - 1902 at MyHeritage - index ($) 1899-1902 Military records English Soldiers who fought and died in the Boer War. This collection has details for the men of the South African Field Force and Natal Field Force.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Portuguese South Africa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_South_African, accessed 19 August 2019.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "History of South Africa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, Uhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_South_Africa#Dutch_colonisation_(1652%E2%80%931815)accessed 19 August 2019.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "History of South Africa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_South_Africa#British_colonisation,_Mfecane_and_Boer_Republics_(1815%E2%80%931910), accessed 19 Aug 2019.

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