Wednesday, December 11, 2013
10 Links to Documenting South African Genealogy
Preserving South African History
For the true Genealogists in you, I know you have at least been wondering where would a country like South Africa turn to for an account of its history? The answer…depends on your ancestral heritage.
It should surprise no one that there is a 1) Genealogical Society of South Africa. Yes, you will find information on gravestones, a collection of 2) Family Bibles with genealogical information, and early 3) Church Registers and Baptisms (1745 - 1912). Like FindaGrave.com and BillionGraves.com, you will be pleased to know volunteers have added over a half a million gravestone photos to the 4) Gravestones in South Africa project.
Researchers of historical topics of South Africa will find an impressive collection also at the 5) National Archives of South Africa (NASA) website, which provides searchable finding aids for various topics. Here are a few of the databases of interest.
What about the Slave History?
Slavery existed in South Africa from 1653, Cape Town, until 1834 when it was abolished. (Yes, before the USA - it was under the British Empire nonetheless). This only granted ex slaves a life of forced indentured servants under their former slave owners. The “mandatory” apprenticeship of indentured servants did not end until about 1840. So where are these records? What more is available? Where would the“Nelson Mandela” family find information on his family history.
There are resources to searching South African genealogists. Websites (many searchable, or at minimum with a finding aid) can be found to cover every thing from 6) British 1820 Settlers to South Africa to the 7) Jewish South African SIG and database. There's the 8) University College, London database to assist descendants of slave owners trace their ancestors' involvement in the Mauritus, and Cape Colony slave trade. But what about the enslaved? Or indigenous Khoikhoi, as for true history of South Africa?
Suggestions for Enslaved Research?
Of course oral family history is essential, but there’s more, at least for Mauritians. Researchers may wish to visit the Nelson Mandela Centre for 9) African Culture Slave Database to learn more of their Mauritian slave history.
Others are joining the 10) Cape Coloured DNA Ancestry Project, that began in 2007, tracing their ancestry to the south African slave trade.
Accurate, Accessible Answers