Thursday, December 22, 2016

New to South African genealogy research?

If you are just starting to put a toe gingerly into the murky waters of South African family history research, take a look at the Beginners' Guide on this Blog:

This offers useful tips on sources and procedures to be followed during your search, giving an introduction to the topic - where to start and what your aims should be. What is a deceased estate, what is the difference between a Death Notice and a Death Certificate, how to obtain certificates in South Africa - and much more.

I do not undertake private research for others but you could check the list of professional researchers for all provinces given on the NAAIRS site at

Happy Hunting!

Young woman photographed by H Kisch


Robyn said...

Hello there,

Have found your blog incredibly helpful in my being able to find a bunch of "missing" ancestors & relatives belonging to a newly-discovered distant cousin. The NAAIRS database is a treasure trove! And finding the passenger list of the ship that contained the "originating" family that arrived in 1862 was a big win in terms of identifying correct names and ages of the children, in particular.

Would you happen to know how/why some of these relatives don't show up in NAAIRS, even though they lived in Natal & presumably died there because they are buried in Natal?
In a couple of cases I have pictures of their gravestones, so some of them definitely did die in Natal.

All of these folks died well into adulthood, some in their 70's & 80's, so it's not a case of them being minors without any sort of estate. So I am somewhat dumbfounded that they are not in the NAAIRS records.

Would appreciate any you insight you might have on this!

All the best,

Mole said...

So pleased you found the blog helpful. NAAIRS, properly used, is indeed a treasure trove. There are various reasons for an ancestor not being found on the index. As a general rule,not EVERYone who died in SA had an estate file lodged with the Master of Supreme Court. Sometimes this was because the deceased had minimal assets, literally no 'estate'. This might occur if a person lived to a great age and had virtually no money left or was living with family members etc. Also, if the deaths are comparatively recent i.e. about mid 1970s, the estate files would not be shown on NAAIRS as still held by the Master - it is more difficult to find such files as usually in off-site storage at selected locations. To start a search you need at least year of death plus a private researcher prepared to undertake the task - they are listed by year in the Master's registers. Occasionally a person might die in another province and the death be registered there - this happens if man serving in Anglo Boer War and died of disease or as a casualty, when a death notice might be issued by the Adjutant then another death notice later on in province where man usually resident. So - this tells you that nothing is simple in genealogy research, as you have already discovered! If you have a specific example not covered by any of the scenarios above, you could run it by me if you like. Regards and thanks for the feedback, Mole.