Sunday, 31 August 2008


“Lady of Mystery”

Deur Lucas Rinken

Met die skoonmaak van vanne in ons databasis kom ek af op “GURNEY (Born GORDON). Ek vervies my dadelik. Ons werk tog nie met vroue se getroude vanne nie. As sy vroeër met ‘n GORDON getroud was, toon hom dan as ‘n aparte persoon en gee haar geboortevan aan. En ek roep die persoon op om dit reg te stel.

Daar vind ek toe die interessante storie. Sy was aangeneem. Maar hoekom? Lees ‘n mens verder, wonder jy of “Bloubloed” sonder ‘n trouformulier hier betrokke was.

Blykbaar het ene Jan van der Merwe oor haar geskryf. In opvolging het die volgende artikel in Familia XX/1983 Nr. 3 verskyn. (Woordeliks aangehaal uit die notas.)

In a former number of this journal (XVI/2) Mr Jan van der Merwe gave some account of a lady named Beatrice Gurney, apparently from information obtained from a descendant. His intention seems to have been to entertain our readers with a light-hearted piece which it certainly did and evidently did not involve any research in depth. As the subject is of some interest it seems worthwhile to explore it more fully and to correct a few seemingly wrong suppositions in the former article. As far as possible I reproduce verbatim parts of it which are relevant to the present study.

Mr Van der Merwe writes of Sir Walter Gurney's 'alleged adoption of a five-year old girl named Beatrice shortly before his emigration to the Cape'. This girl, according to a descendant, was the illegitimate child of Queen Victoria's daughter Beatrice and of General Charles Gordon of Khartoum fame. He says that the couple had taken a liking to each other in the late eighteen-seventies shortly before the general's departure on his last expedition. The child was 'dumped' with full grand-parental authority (that is, the authority of Queen Victoria) on Walter Gurney shortly before he left for the Cape.

The author goes on to say that Walter was a kinsman of the Gurneys of Earlham whose estate neighboured closely upon the Prince of Wales' home at Sandringham. In the region of 1875 Prince Louis of Battenberg embarked upon an affair with Mrs Lillie Langtry who in due course had a child. The infant is said to have been born at Sandringham (though whether born to the Princess or to Mrs Langtry is not clear from the article) and baptised there in about April I87i as the child of Battenberg and Langtry. She was named Beatrice after her godmother and Gordon was the godfather. Mr van der Merwe adds that Mrs Langtry was latcr taken over by the Prince of Wales and is said to have had a child by him also.

The whole story seemed so extraordinary that I wrote to its author and later to Miss Rosemary Wilhelmi (who was thought by hcr mother to have provided the information) to ask if there was any supporting evidence. Such might include a Sandringham baptismal certificate, documents or letters from any of the four possible parents, photographs of Beatrice which showed any likeness to them, gifts from them, and so on. I did not receive any reply from Mr van der Merwe but I did have kindly replies from Mrs Wilhelmi, in which she made no claims to her mother's romantic birth and could give only one reference to General Gordon (which I will discuss later), and from Miss Wilhelmi. The latter planned to consult cousins in England but I heard no more: either they did not reply or they could give no further information. In default, therefore, of any corroborating evidence I must confess that the legend does seem to have a good many weak points.

The Princess and the General Princess Beatrice would have been 18 years old in 1875 and Gordon no less than 52. rather a wide age gap for lovers. And Queen Victoria kept a very strict watch on all her daughters (none of whom is known to have had extramarital affairs) and most of all on Beatrice whom she hardly let out of her sight. The Queen disapproved of the loose morals of the Prince of Wales and would seldom have al10wed the Princess to stay at Sandringham. If Beatrice did manage to have an affair with Gordon there were plenty of people at court who would soon have informed the Queen. I have consulted a number of biographies of Gordon and these do not show that the couple ever met. Nor do they show that the earnest and religious Gordon was a friend of the Prince of Wales or that he ever visited the raffish menage at Sandringham. And he left England for the last time, not in the late 1870s as has been suggested above but in 1884. It is even more unlikely that Beatrice was having a liaison with him then as she was by that date engaged to Prince Louis of Battenberg's brother Prince Henry, whom she married in the following year.

The Gurneys -Mr van der Merwe writes that Walter Gurney 'was a kinsman of the Gurneys of Earlham whose property neighboured closely' on Sandringham. In her book Friends and Relations (London, 1980) Verily Anderson gives a family tree with a great many Gurneys on it but none of Walter's family, so these can have been only very distant relatives of the Gurneys of Earlham. (They may be listed in David Gurney's Record of the House ofGournay (sic) (London, 18481858) but I have been unable to trace a copy of this work.) The Earlham family were of the wealthy landed class and unlikely to have had any contacts with Walter's family who were middle-class professional people in London. Moreover, the Earlham Gurneys were an extremely religious set who would have had nothing to do with the riotous folk at Sandringham. And, finally, so far from Earlham Hall 'closely neighbouring' Sandringham, it was some 45 miles away, a considerable distance in days when roads were rough and there were no cars. So the selection of Walter to adopt the child baptised at Sandringham can have been in no way through the Gurneys of Earlham.

Prince Louis and Lillie Langtry Before discussing the affair of Prince Louis and Lillie Langtry a further combination of parents can be disposed of, namely Louis and Beatrice, who were in fact in love early in 1878 and hoped to marry. But the Queen forbade the marriage and her vigilance would certainly have prevented any affair.

Could Beatrice Gurney have been the issue of Mrs Langtry and either Prince Louis or the Prince of Wales, for whom Louis could have been covering up? In her autobiography Lillie Langtry mentioned no children at all. The authors of several books on her say that she never had more than one child and this has been confirmed to me by the editors of both Burke and Debrett. Prince Louis began an affair with her in about January 1879 when he found he had no chance of marrying Princess Beatrice and Mrs Langtry gave birth to a daugh ter on 8 March 1881. The place of birth is not known but Paris or Biarritz (a favourite resort of the Prince of Wales and his set, which included Prince Louis) or Jersey (Lillie's home island) have been suggested. Normally British subjects whose children are born abroad register them at Somerset House but this birth was never recorded there. Itis said that Lillie and Prince Louis wanted to marry but the Prince of Wales would not release her. Mr Van der Merwe says that she was taken over by Wales'. But in fact she had been his mistress for several years and when her affair with Prince Louis was over she simply returned to Wales. And she was apparently still associating with him during her liaison with Louis. This is borne out by the story she used to tell of an intimate dinner party the three of them had at Newmarket. They discussed in light-hearted vein which of the men was the father of her daughter and tossed a coin. Louis won the toss and was declared the father.

The only known child of Lillie Langtry was given the names of Jeanne Marie but was later always known as Jean. She lived with Lillie and her husband Colonel Langtry and was considered to be her daughter. Her story is very well documented and she cannot in any way be confused with Beatrice Gurney. And neither she nor Beatrice can have been baptised at Sandringham in 1877 as the present vicar informs me that there is not a single entry for that year in his register of baptisms.

The adoption of Beatrice Gurney -Beatrice was described as of full age when she married in 1900, which means that she was born not later than 1879. And the gentleman who administered her estate told me that she was 85 when she died in February 1963, which would put her birth in 1877 or early 1878. Mr van der Merwe says that she was adopted by Walter Gurney at the age of five. He was 'shortly to depart for the Cape' and would presumably have taken her with him. Butin fact Walter came out in 1880 when Beatrice would have been only about two. He was himself only 27 years old and apparently unmarried. It is unlikely that the child's mother would have handed her over at such a tender age to a young bachelor who had no means of looking after her and was about to leave for a distant country where he had not yet secured any employment. Adoption, moreover, is a legal process and the British authorities would surely never have sanctioned such an adoption.

Walter Gurney married a lady named Sarah Elizabeth Grunow at St Andrew's Church in London. I could not trace the date of the marriage but would suggest -and this is no more than a guess that it was in about 1882, which would be two years or so after he had obtained secure employment in Cape Town. Mrs Wilhelmi told me that Beatrice was sent out alone on a ship to Cape Town for adoption when she was five and this again suggests a date around 1882. Mrs Wilhelmi never heard her mother refer to her parentage. She did, however, add one fact which might connect Beatrice with General Gordon though not with Princess Beatrice. The girl travelled to England at the age of 14 and a fellow passenger gave her an embroidered purse with Gordon on it and was told that was her father's name. But, even if correct, this statement takes us no further than the possibility that her father was a man with the surname or possibly only the first name of Gordon.

Beatrice grown up--The facts of Beatrice's adult life, at any rate, are well established. She was, for instance, an accomplished musician who served as organist in the Anglican churches of Wynberg and Bout Bay and played the piano at concerts. lIer adoptive father had bought a cottage at Hout Bay and, as this village was in the parish of Constantia, she was married in Christ Church, Constantia, on 18 October 1900. The rector Frederick Bullen Moore conducted the ceremony and entered it as No 219 in his register. The witnesses who signed the register were Walter Gurney and his wife, a Mr Sidney Stephen and the rector's wife Evelyn Moore.

The bridegroom was Anthony Francis Gurney who seems likely to have been a distant cousin. Details of his family and himself are given in Burke's Landed Gentry. He was the second son of Sir Somerville Arthur Gurney of North Runcton Hall. This estate lay only a few miles west of Sandringham and its owners may well have been in the royal set there but there is nothing to show that they had anything more to do with organising the adoption of Beatrice than the Earlham Gurneys did. Anthony was born on 5 August 1864 and at the time of his marriage was in command of H.M.S. Widgeon at Simon's Town. He died at Lyndhurst in Hampshire on 30 August 1909, leaving a son and two daughters. The son spent most of his life in England while the daughters lived with their mother in this country where they both married.

Beatrice in later life -Beatrice evidently thought the name Gordon was in some way relevant to her for she published a book under the pen name of Beatrice Gordon. This was a collection of poems which A. II. Stockwell brought out in London in 1919. The volume was priced at 2J6d and contained 34 poems, one addressed to each of her three children but none with any South African relevance. A copy entered the South African Library on 18 August 1919. It is unlikely that the library ordered a copy of this unknown author's work as soon as it came out. This copy was probably presented by Walter Gurney and it was probably he who wrote the explanatory word Gurney in pencil under the name Gordon on the title page. There is also a copy in the British Library, indexed under Gordon.

Beatrice remarried on 7June 1932, her second husband being Leonard Clarence Brandreth Hughes of The Landing, Belvidere, Knysna. Hughes was later a tobacco farmer in Rhodesia and died in 1951. Beatrice's final union was with George Arthur Ward of the British South Africa Police in Umtali. Ward died in 1960 and Beatrice herself in Stutterheim on 25 February 1963.

Walter Gurney retired as Controller and Auditor-General of the Union of South Africa and was knighted on 18 February in the next year. He died on 7 January 1924, leaving his papers to a brother whose son William Brodie Gurney died in 1981, after which the papers were presented to the Hout Bay Museum. Although they are quite extensive they shed no light at all on the origins of Beatrice Gurney.

R.R. Langham-Carter

Nou wonder ‘n mens: wat is die werklike feite. Sy bly ‘n “Lady of Mystery”

Thursday, 28 August 2008

How To Clean Inside Your Computer

Question: I was wondering if you can use a vacuum to clean the inside of your computer tower. If not, what should you use to clean the inside of the computer tower?

: It is not a good idea to use a vacuum cleaner on the inside of your computer, the static electricity generated by the vacuum can cause damage to the delicate components inside your computer.

Instead, get a can of compressed air and blow the dust off the computer components.

If your computer is really dusty, take it out on the porch to blow the dust out. Have the vacuum cleaner ready to clean up the dust once it is outside your computer case.

Monday, 25 August 2008


Op SAGEN het die volgende onlangs verskyn:

Petrus Schoeman: Ek het deesdae 'n probleem met die skryfwyse van die datum. Vergelyk die Amerikaanse wyse met ander skryfwyses van datums. Waar 'n klompie datums op dieselfde bladsy gelys word, is dit nie moeilik om dit te ontsyfer nie, maar wel as ‘n enkele datum verskyn? (Is “08.11.2008” 8 November of is dit 11 Augustus?)

Paul Bosman: Dis presies om hierdie rede dat ek oral in my skrywes, databasis, webwerf ens. die datums soos volg aandui: 8 Jan 2008, 13 Feb 1899, ens. Ek gebruik die Afrikaanse weergawe van Legacy en die maande is afgekort na Mar, Apr, Mei Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Okt, Nov en Des. Op 3 na geld almal ook in Engels. Dis my persoonlike voorkeur.

Johan Ahlers: Vanweë die (moontlike) verwarring met datums het die Internasionale Standaarde Organisasie reeds 'n geruime tyd gelede ISO8601 gepubliseer om datums te "standaardiseer".

In hierdie internasionale standaardvorm sal
17 Augustus 2008,
soos volg geskryf word:


Die jammerte is dat min mense hulle inderdaad aan hierdie internasionale standaard steur en elkeen gebruik maar sy eie voorkeur. Maar daar IS 'n standaard en dit maak SIN.

Johan verskaf ook die die onderstaande webtuistes vir meer besonderhede. Klik daarop.

Wikipedia: International standard for date and time en

A summary of the international standard date and time notation.

Sunday, 24 August 2008


Bobby Nilsson, an Australian living in Cape Town,
posted the following on Rootsweb South Africa:

"Aussie newspapers are being put online. Although its at an early stage, there are already stacks of references to South Africa. "

Click HERE, register (free) and experience an outstanding example of technological aid for the historian and genealogist.

Bobby subsequently forwarded the following to us:

As of 31 July 2008 1.4 million pages for the Australian Newspapers Digitisation program had been scanned, covering the following:

Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser 1843 - 1893
Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 1803 - 1842
The Sydney Morning Herald 1846 - 1954
The Argus 1848 - 1945
The Melbourne Argus 1846 - 1848
The Courier-Mail 1933 - 1934
The Brisbane Courier 1864 - 1899
The Courier (Brisbane, Qld.) 1861 - 1864
The Moreton Bay Courier 1846 - 1861
The Canberra Times 1926 - 1954
The Perth Gazette and West Australian Journal 1833 - 1847
The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News 1848 - 1864
West Australian Times 1863 - 1864
The Perth Gazette and West Australian Times 1864 - 1874
Western Australian Times 1874 - 1879
West Australian 1879 - 1900
The South Australian Advertiser 1858 - 1861
The Advertiser 1901 - 1919
Colonial Times 1828 - 1857
Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser 1825 - 1827
Hobart Town Gazette 1825 - 1827
Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser 1821 - 1825
The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter 1816 - 1821
The Hobarton Mercury 1854 - 1857
The Hobart Town Mercury 1857 - 1857
Hobart Town Daily Mercury 1858 - 1859
The Mercury 1860 - 1920
The Courier (Hobart, Tas.) 1840 - 1859
The Hobart Town Courier and Van Diemen's Land Gazette 1839 - 1840
The Hobart Town Courier 1827 - 1839
Northern Territory Times and Gazette 1873 - 1927
Northern Territory Times 1927 - 1932.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


  • Johan Pottas van die Rekenaarsentrum, Universiteit van die Vrystaat het onlangs op 'n paar poslyste geskryf:
Net om julle almal weer te daaraan te herinner dat 'n mens amper nooit genoeg rugsteun kopieë kan hê nie. Ek het gisteraand my eksterne hardeskyf verloor. Dit het uitgebrand.

Ek was besig om 'n rugsteun van sowat 4 000 foto's wat ek die dag op hom afgelaai het, te maak toe dit besluit genoeg is genoeg.

Die enigste probleem is dat die foto's net op dié skyf was toe ek besig was om dit te rugsteun toe dit oppak. Ek hoop nou dat die tegniese ouens die data kan herwin anders is ek sowat 'n week se harde werk van foto's neem verlore. Dan sal ek alles weer moet oordoen.

Dus, probeer om altyd 'n rugsteun kopie so gou moontlik te doen van enige belangrike of tydsame werk wat jy berg.

It took one sentence to send a shiver down my spine: "The book she was writing was lost in the fire."

The lady, who had lost everything when a forest fire consumed her home, would have to start writing the first draft again. Then I asked myself, was I prepared if my home was destroyed by fire, flood or other disaster?

Unfortunately, the answer was no. The important information on my computer was backed-up on CD's, but those were stored by my desk. If the house goes, so do they. All the genealogy information gathered in the past 25 years would be gone. Family members have pieces of my family tree, but the most complete up-to-date copy can only be found at one location: my home.

No one can predict when disaster strikes, but we can prepare ourselves just in case. I thought I was prepared, but in reality, I am only prepared if the computer crashes. When I realized this, ideas of how I could become 'loss of home' prepared, began rolling through my mind.

  • I thought about storing the information in a 'storage bank' on the Internet. I could post the information on a public website or I could create a personal website where access was limited with passwords. This might work for some individuals, but I didn't want personal information on those still living posted to the Internet. Also, it would take time to create the pages. This was not something that everyone wanted to do nor could do. My second idea was better.
  • The first step was to create an up-to-date copy of my family tree on CD. I would only need two, one for data files and another for digital images of old photographs and documents. Another option was to store the information on a memory stick.Once the files were backed up, I needed a place outside the home to store them.
  • My first thought was with a family member. Then I re-evaluate this idea. Everyone does not value genealogy information as much as I do, so I wondered about the CD's getting misplaced or thrown out (by mistake, of course).The other downside was if I updated the files every six months, I would need to retrieve the original CD and store the new one. Again, this might be fine for some, but if that family member lived a great distance, it might be a hassle. The more convenient, the more likely I would take the time to update the original material.
  • Then I thought about a safety deposit box. Even the smallest ones are large enough for CD's and memory sticks. There were several advantages to this plan. Not only would the material be in a safe place and never get lost, it would be in a nearby location I frequently visited anyway. Furthermore, if something happened to me, the contents of the safety deposit box would be given to my heir.

No one wants to imagine the loss of their home, but being prepared makes such a loss more bearable.

Where is your genealogy?

In the basement in card board boxes? In the garage in card board boxes? Or loose papers on shelves or stuffed into the drawers of discarded bureaus and chests? Or lying in old trunks stacked in the corner of the utility shed?

On your computer hard drive? Or stored on discontinued and obsolete floppies?

Organized and tidy on the shelves and in file cabinets in your genealogy room or corner?

This is a wake-up call for us all.

If your genealogy is digital, purchase a handful of memory sticks. Transfer multiple copies of your files to them. Send them to your family members. Different towns, different venues in those towns. And if you are a woman, whose surname changes each time you marry, be sure at least one copy goes to a male of your ancestral surname – who can be tracked.

If your genealogy is online. Circulate pin and password to family members, so your hard work can be retrieved. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get access to password-protected data? Takes weeks of documentation that you have a right to access the stuff. If you are gone, your work may be locked up tight!

If your genealogy is still in paper files, copy them. And send a copy somewhere else where it will not be subject to the same risks your originals are.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Google Earth: An Excellent Tool in Genealogy Research

Google Earth can be an amazing online tool to assist in our genealogy research.

Today, with high gas prices and rising air fares, it is difficult for many genealogy enthusiasts to make trips to the homes of their ancestors.

But now, we can take a virtual trip, and gain a new perspective into the location and landscape of far away places, which may hold keys to our history.

My first experience using Google Earth to assist in family history research involved searching for my grandfather's farm in Michigan. I live in Arizona, and have never been to Michigan. But, I did have an aerial photo of the farm, along with an address. My paternal grandfather had passed away some forty years ago, and I had never met the man or had the opportunity to visit his farm.

After downloading the free version of Google Earth on my computer, I typed in the address to the farm in the upper left hand corner search box. Suddenly the earth pictured on the site began to whirl, and I found myself being whisked to Michigan. It didn't take long to identify the farm, even though it had been over four decades since the picture was taken. Many of the buildings remained, and matched the photo I had of the farm. Amazingly, the online image was very clear.

It was pretty fascinating, and soon I began zooming to Norway, Sweden, and even my old neighborhood in Covina California. I noticed some images were remarkably clear, showing cars and in some instances, people. Some searches did not bring terrific visual results, and were only clear from a distance.

Using Google Earth brings into perspective the geography of our family history. Even though the satellite images are fairly recent, they allow us to get the general lay of the land, along with giving us a better idea where the area is located. Some searches even provide snapshots of the area, so we can see more elevation visuals, rather than just the roof tops. -- Bobby Holmes, Associated Content.
  • The picture on top shows the Krugersdorp-Roodepoort area. The next picture is a zoom into supposedly a smallholding in the same area.

Saturday, 16 August 2008


Die Müllers hou oor twee jaar -- in 2010 -- vir die vierde keer in sestig jaar ‘n saamtrek en begin nou reeds organiseer. Dit sal in die Mosselbaai-Riversdal-omgewing gehou word.

Koot Müller, organiseerder, vertel dat verreweg die meeste Müllers in Suid-Afrika afstam van Antonie Michael Müller (nie "Michiel Mulder" soos verkeerd in die Geslacht-register aangegee word nie) van Duitsland.

Koot versoek dat die volgende persone hom kontak.

Almal wat weet dat hulle afstammelinge van Antonie Michael is en

Diegene wat nie seker is van Műller-stamvader hulle afkomstig is nie.
(Daar het ‘n aantal Müller-stamvaders hulle in Suid-Afrika kom vestig.)

  • Die eerste Müller-saamtrek is in 1948/49 gehou. Hiertydens het prof. D. F. Du Toit Malherbe die reuse-taak onderneem om ‘n volledige familieregister van stamvader Antonie Michael op te stel. Dit is later gepubliseer.
  • Die tweede Műller-fees is in 1965 gehou. Hiertydens is daar veral gekonsentreer op die restourasie van die stamvader se huis te Zeekoegat (Riversdal).
  • Die derde Müller-fees is in Januarie 1990 gehou. Hiertydens is die Müller publikasie die eerste keer opgedateer en opnuut gepubliseer. Nel-Marie Műller het koördinering gedoen.
  • Nou volg die die vierde Műller-fees IN 2010. Daar word beplan om dit in 2010 in die Mosselbaai-Riversdal-omgewing te hou. Die plan is dat die opgedateerde Műller-boek daar beskikbaar sal wees.
Koot se besonderhede is:

Posadres: Posbus 33436, Glenstantia 0010.
Selfoonnommer: 083/378-9550.
  • Verdere gegewens oor Antonie Michael Müller is:
Hy was afkomstig van Merscheid, na 1891 bekend as Ohligs, en sedert 1929 deel van Solingen, suid-oos van Düsseldorf, Duitsland.

As soldaat van beroep, vertrek hy met die skip Hillegonda van die Oos- Indiese Kompanjie in 1735 na die Kaap. Van 1740 tot 1745 was hy ‘n kneg by A Bergh, het in 1745 volle burgerskap ontvang, en is op 4 Mei 1746 op Roodezand (later Tulbagh) getroud met Adriana van Rooyen (oudste dogter van stamvader Cornelis van Rooyen en sy vrou Jacomina, dogter van 'n ander stamvader Gerrit van Deventer).

Hy het hom toe gevestig op die leningsplaas Zeekoegat, in die huidige distrik Riversdal. In 1747 het hy dragonder geword in die Swellendamse Burgermag en toe korporaal. In 1759 is hy bevorder tot luitenant, die tweede hoogste militêre rang en 'n jaar later tot heemraadslid.

In 1763 het hy, om gesondheidsredes, sy ontslag as luitenant aangevra. Hy is in 1768 oorlede. Adriana hom 21 jaar lank oorleef het.

Een van sy drie seuns, Hillegart, het veral bekendheid verwerf as medeleier en verslaggewer van die ekspedisie wat in Desember 1782 na die skipbreukelinge van die Grosvenor gaan soek het.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Datum: Saterdag, 16 Augustus 2008

Tyd: 14:00 tot 16:00

Plek: NG Kerk, Ontdekkerskruin, Phillipslaan, Ontdekkers, Roodepoort
(padkaart onder)


  • Genealogiese navorsing wat aan die kriteria vir geesteswetenskaplike navorsing voldoen, is wel deeglik 'n wetenskap;
  • Genealogie lewer 'n belangrike bydrae tot die geesteswetenskappe, veral in die algemene geskiedenis en
  • Genealogie verdien meer erkenning as wat tans die geval is.
Aanbieder: Dr Rentia Landman (regs)

Verkorte CV:

  • Verwerf BCom; THOD; BEd; MEd (met lof) en PhD;
  • Haar loopbaan sluit in: onderwyseres in rekeningkunde en ekonomie; dosent aan die Technikon Pretoria, nuuskorrespondent vir die SAUK vanuit België; dosent aan die Onderwyskollege Pretoria; navorser van die Onderwysburo, senior adjunkhoofonderwyskundige in die Departement van Onderwys en Administrasie Volksraad;
  • Raadslid en lid van die uitvoerende komitee van Centurion-stadsraad sedert 1995;
  • Raadslid van die Tshwane Metropolitaanse Munisipaliteit sedert 2000;
  • Stokperdjies: skilder, beeldhou en genealogiese navorsing;
  • Genealogiese navorsing voltooi: Reid-familiegeskiedenis, 250 jaar (beperkte oplaag aan die familie in 2007 uitgegee);
  • Huidige Genealogiese navorsing: Die Eksteens van Zeerust EN Die nageslag van Johan Christiaan Landman.
Toegang: R5,00 vir verversings.

(BRON: Mail and Guardian Online)

Monday, 04 August 2008

Raar, maar waar

Alta Roux skryf op SAGEN: Mense wat kla oor familiename moet weer dink. Ek sien vanaand die volgende skeisaak op NAAIRS:



Friday, 01 August 2008


Jeff Koertzen recently posted the following on the
Mailing List of Rootsweb, South Africa
It is published here with Jeff's permission.

In my research of Dutch names in particular, I've come across several circumstances in which other researchers warn of misspellings. There are several reasons why a name might be misspelled.

  • The individual may have changed the spelling for personal taste;
  • The individual may have changed the spelling for ease of use (difficult for others to spell);
  • Another individual/official may have officially changed the spelling for ease of use;
  • An official may have spelled the name as they heard it but, not requested the correct spelling;
  • An official may have spelled the name as they heard it, but the individual was illiterate and couldn't spell it and
  • An official may have copied the name incorrectly from another document.

There are a few other potential circumstances.

As an example of my own research and spelling variations, my distant cousins had told me to ignore the spelling of my own name as "Koertsen" instead of "Koertzen" as I know it, as they "obviously wouldn't be related." I have a copy of my great-great-grandfather's death certificate from the late 1800s, however, in which my great-great-grandmother signed her own name with the “s”.

Many of the surviving children were listed with their names as I spell it, but one daughter was listed also with the "s", all on the same document. What appears to me to be an "s", could merely be an incorrect reading, but in comparison to the others on the document it seems that it truly is an "s".

NAAIRS also has her name spelled as Koertsen in the archive search of that particular document, so I wouldn't be the only one to spell it "incorrectly" with the "s" if in fact it was an incorrect interpretation of the handwriting.

Also, keep in mind that surnames are relatively new. From my understanding, in the early 1800's, many people in Europe began using surnames due to a decree from Napoleon.

The same individual might have multiple surnames depending on their location, parentage, vocation, or some other descriptor and on who was recording the document. As examples, I will use English names, but you should be able to get the point:

  • John the Younger, resulting in John Young;
  • He might later be known as John son of William, resulting in John Williamson;
  • When he moves to another area, he could be known as John of Lockesly, resulting in John Lockesly;
  • There he works in the sawmill, resulting in John Sawyer and
  • If he later changes profession, he could become John Carpenter.
The point here being that names were rather fluid for a period of time.

Not only does it make our research more difficult, it can cast a large shadow of a doubt if assumptions are made without proof. With a huge illiteracy rate, even if the name itself is consistent, it might be spelled several different ways.

Although there's proof that surnames became more common and consistent in the mid- to the late-1800's, there can still be variations going into the early 1900's.

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