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Fort Beaufort Register 1840-1850

Fort Beaufort CoverThis register, of the Anglican pastor at Fort Beaufort (there was no church building at the time), which includes Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, has been transcribed by Lorraine Beechey from Tessa King's photographs of the original register in the Cory Library. Proof read by Brenda Gassner.

They have been added to the eGGSA BDM database.

To all concerned, our grateful thanks.

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Drakenstein / Paarl NGK marriages 1815-1839

Paarl 1824 400Transcriptions of these marriages have been added to the eGGSA BDM database. These are particularly interesting in that they include, for most entries, the ages of the parties and the names of their fathers (as patronyms). This is unusual for NGK (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk/Dutch Reformed Church) marriages at this period and can be extremely useful for genealogists.

Our thanks to Jonathan Heath, Corney Keller and Richard Ball for the transcriptions.

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Transcription updates

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Voortrekker baptisms added to eGGSA BDMs

Cornel Viljoen has kindly contributed his transcription of the so-called Voortrekker Baptisms, a photocopy in the Pretoria Archives, FK 2290, of an earlier transcription by hands unknown, of baptisms from 1837 to 1850 found in a number of early church registers from Natal, the Free State and the old Transvaal.

These 4,600 baptisms have been added to the eGGSA BDM database and can be searched there. Surnames included can be seen here ...

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Uniondale NGK baptisms 1866-1920 added to the eGGSA BDM database.

The baptism register of the Uniondale Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) 1866 to 1920, has been transcribed by Carol Beneke from photographs of the original register taken by Mechelle Beneke at the Church, by agreement with the minister.

These records have been added to the eGGSA BDM database and are now available to searchers. Any queries or corrections can be addressed to Richard Ball.

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Searching and using the content of these Registers

Use the menu on the left to choose the type of register you wish to search.

Our object in the transcriptions done as part of the eGGSA project is to try to convey, as accurately as may be possible in the circumstances, what actually is written on the register pages. With this in view we have transcribed names, places, dates, abbreviations, etc. without interpretation on our part. Nothing in any entry that could be read has been omitted. We have added notes about any problems or oddities we have encountered during the transcriptions.

The registers vary in what information they record, from church to church and from one era of time to another. We have attempted to fit them all into one database format to allow coherent searching and reporting but no information has been knowingly omitted in the process.

Each entry as provided in the resulting list has its source included. When using this information we would ask you please to retain this information - it is the authority for that information.

Since spellings are not always what we might expect nowadays, you will probably need to use a certain amount of ingenuity in your search. Spellings may vary due to many factors, not least among which may be a mis-reading by the transcriber. If you find what appears to be a mistake please contact me - I will be happy to check against the photographs of the originals. Any other feedback will also be gratefully received.

Richard Ball

NB. The content of these registers is provided here for the use of all, it may not be used in any commercially motivated enterprise, or sold on for any purpose whatsoever. It may, of course, be used as reference material for published books or articles, when it should be quoted in full.

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1877 to 1917 burial register of Christchurch, Grahamstown, added to the eGGSA BDM database

Christchurch buriasThe burial register of Christchurch (Anglican), Grahamstown, 1877-1917, has been transcribed by Lorraine Beechey using William Jervois' photographs of the original register in the Cory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, MS 17 633, by agreement with the Cory Library and the Archdiocese of Grahamstown. Brenda Gassner did the proof reading.

These records have been added to the eGGSA BDM database and are now available to searchers. Any queries or corrections can be addressed to Richard Ball at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Church Registers in South Africa - a brief outline

Until the 19th century, the recording of baptisms, marriages and burials was largely the province of the church. When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established its trading post at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 it also established at that outpost the state church of the Netherlands, the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) which remained, throughout the Company's rule an integral part of the Church in the Netherlands, subject to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Amsterdam classis (governing body), its ministers being appointed by the Church authorities in the Netherlands and paid for by the VOC. 1

Until the appointment in 1665 of the first resident minister at the Cape, Johann van Arkel, baptisms were performed by visiting ministers on their way between the VOC's headquarters at Batavia (Indonesia) and the home country. Marriages could be performed by the Governor or by visiting ministers. Burials were naturally performed as and when necessary.

Some baptisms, marriages and deaths were recorded in the diaries kept by the Governors of the settlement, but the first permanent record was established by Ds. Van Arkel in 1665 from when baptisms and marriages were recorded in the register books of the Cape (later Cape Town) church. We have no burial or death registers from this period.

Until [1783] the NGK was the only permitted church at the Cape, even though the mother country, the Netherlands, practiced a policy of practical toleration towards other religious sects. In that year a Lutheran church and congregation was permitted in Cape Town. Not until the British government assumed control of the Cape in 1805 were other Christian religions tolerated. The Muslim belief had been propagated and taken up from early days of the Dutch settlement, largely by slaves and freed slaves and their descendants, but what the attitude of the authorities toward this religion was is not known. The Muslim communities  appear not to have kept registers of their members and the VOC did not recognise Muslim marriages. 2

In 1758 the Cape Government introduced the recording of deaths in the colony, a rather haphazard and perfunctory business at first, but by about 1800 the detail recorded was significant. These records survive in the Cape Archives3 and later, in 1834, were succeeded by the familiar, and still current, Death Notice system for recording deaths.4

By the time the British took over in 1805 there were around 8 Christian church congregations in the Cape recording baptism, births and, in some cases, burials. After that event the establishment of new congregation for many different sects and of missionary stations proliferated. I have not come across any comprehensive list of all the congregations established during the 19th century at the Cape and the records they kept.

Recently there has been a fair amount of work put in hand transcribing these registers and making these available in various formats, for instance Ockert Malan's magnificent transcription of the early Stellenbosch baptismal register5 published as a CD in 2004, and his very recent transcript of the Stellenbosch burial records6 and also a number of transcriptions commissioned by the web site Ancestry24.com, some available only to paying members and some available free of charge7. The web site e-family.co.za has also, for some time, housed a searchable database of transcripts done by Nolene Lossau from LDS Church microfilms, covering Cape, Orange Free State and Transvaal records.8

Also extremely useful in this context are the extracts transcribed by Sue Mackay from a number of Cape Newspapers housed in the National Archives, Kew. These transcripts are available on several web sites including the eGGSA Newspaper Library.

If I have omitted any other sources I will be happy to add them to this introduction.

Richard Ball


Hattersley, Alan F. An illustrated social history of South Africa, A.A.Balkema, 1969, page 54

for further information see Shell, Robert - Children Of Bondage, a social history of the slave society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1838, Witwatersrand University Press, 1994, page 356

Cape Archives, MOOC 6, Record of deaths at the Cape of Good Hope, 1758 - 1831

eGGSA Collection of Estate Files

Stellenbosch Doopregister 1688-1732, Die Genootskap vir die Kerkversameling, met vertolking deur
Ockert Malan & Lorna Newcomb.

Stellenbosse Dode- en Grafregisters, saamgestel deur Ockert Malan, Die Stellenbosse Heemkring

Ancestry24.co.za

e-Family.co.za, contributions by Nolene Lossau

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The eGGSA BDM project

The eGGSA Archive Project was begun several years ago and so far has covered photographs of archive documents, gravestones and Family Bibles. The aim of this project has always been both to preserve and make available records of genealogical interest and value housed in South African archives and libraries. We aim to do this by photographing the records and making them available, either as photographs or transcripts, on this web site or on DVD, thus making copies of the originals which can be use in place of the originals.

We have felt recently that it is difficult to establish where any church register or copies of such can be found. Various projects have been initiated recently to transcribe some of these, as mentioned on our introductory page, and it seemed a good idea to try to provide a guide to where such records are or may be found, assuming we could establish this information ourselves! During these discussions the idea was mooted that we also photograph, were possible, original registers with the primary aim of preserving them and the secondary aim of transcribing them so as to make them available to all. So we are hoping achieve both of these aims with this project.

Recently there has been a fair amount of work put in hand transcribing church registers and making these available in various formats, for instance Ockert Malan's magnificent transcription of the early Stellenbosch baptismal register1 published as a CD in 2004, and his very recent transcript of the Stellenbosch burial records2 . Ron Smit's web site, e-family.co.za, has also, for some time, housed a searchable database of transcripts done by Nolene Lossau and Ellen Stanton from LDS Church microfilms, covering Cape, Orange Free State and Transvaal records4.

Also extremely useful in this context are the extracts transcribed by Sue Mackay from a number of Cape Newspapers housed in the National Archives, Kew. These transcripts are available on several web sites including the eGGSA Newspaper Library.

We have started our series of transcriptions with the early NGK registers and the Anglican registers of the diocese of Grahamstown. Our transcriptions of the NGK registers are being done from the photocopies of the originals made by the HSRC in the 1980s and now housed in the Cape Archives and the Pretoria Archives6, and those of the Anglican Grahamstown Diocese from photographs taken for us in the Cory Library7 by William Jervois, genealogist at the Albany Museum.8

Our aim is to arrange for the registers to be photographed so that we may transcribe them and add them to our searchable database of these records. A copy of the photographs will, of course, be presented to the body housing the registers and also, if desired, to the originating church itself. The transcripts will be available on our web site for all to access. The first of these are now ready, and have been joined by transcripts done by Gary Cannon who has kindly made these available to add to our database.

The project is funded from the income of the eGGSA branch whose source is the annual membership fee and the small profits we accumulate from online sales of CDs and from the photographing of documents in the Archives. We have also received a very generous contribution towards the cost of the project from one of our members, Ian Edwards.


Stellenbosch Doopregister 1688-1732, Die Genootskap vir die Kerkversameling, met vertolking deur
Ockert Malan & Lorna Newcomb.

Stellenbosse Dode- en Grafregisters, saamgestel deur Ockert Malan, Die Stellenbosse Heemkring

e-Family.co.za, contributions by Nolene Lossau

See the introduction to the 1665-1696 Cape Town Registers for some more details.

Cory Library

Albany Museum

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Searching and using the content of these Registers

Use the menu on the left to choose the type of register you wish to search.

Our object in the transcriptions done as part of the eGGSA project is to try to convey, as accurately as may be possible in the circumstances, what actually is written on the register pages. With this in view we have transcribed names, places, dates, abbreviations, etc. without interpretation on our part. Nothing in any entry that could be read has been omitted. We have added notes about any problems or oddities we have encountered during the transcriptions.

The registers vary in what information they record, from church to church and from one era of time to another. We have attempted to fit them all into one database format to allow coherent searching and reporting but no information has been knowingly omitted in the process.

Each entry as provided in the resulting list has its source included. When using this information we would ask you please to retain this information - it is the authority for that information.

Since spellings are not always what we might expect nowadays, you will probably need to use a certain amount of ingenuity in your search. Spellings may vary due to many factors, not least among which may be a mis-reading by the transcriber. If you find what appears to be a mistake please contact me - I will be happy to check against the photographs of the originals. Any other feedback will also be gratefully received.

Richard Ball

NB. The content of these registers is provided here for the use of all, it may not be used in any commercially motivated enterprise, or sold on for any purpose whatsoever. It may, of course, be used as reference material for published books or articles, when it should be quoted in full.

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