Friday, March 29, 2013

The Bluff, Durban

The Bluff and Entrance to Port Natal
 Illustrated London News 1850: shipping in the channel,
but no Bluff lighthouse at that date.
The Bluff, Durban's most instantly recognisable landmark, has appeared in innumerable pictures - from engravings and paintings to photographs. For settlers arriving by ship, it was a welcome sight signalling the end of their long voyage and the start of their new lives in Natal. For Durban residents, the Bluff with its arm protectively embracing the city and the bay, is a familiar and comforting backdrop to their daily lives.

Pictorial representations of the Bluff vary greatly. Has it changed in appearance? Generations of artists took considerable licence with its shape - none more so than in the engraving below, dating to about the end of the 1870s. It is fantastic in the true sense of the word, the lighthouse apparently clinging to the edge of a dangerous precipice:

A nightmarish vision of the Bluff ca 1879

We know this is an exaggerated impression because Thomas Baines left a more realistic, if distant, aspect taken from Currie Road dated 1873:

Yet a much later postcard presents a slanting cliff face rather than the rounded end of the Bluff found in other pictures:

An artist named Shrubsole, working in Durban from about the 1890s to 1920s, painted numerous attractive marine views, mostly of the Bluff and the Entrance to the Bay of Natal. Examples are held in the collection of the Local History Museum, Durban, and - the last time I looked - were on display at its satellite, the Old House Museum. Four of Shrubsole's works are reproduced in Nigel Hughes' magnificent volume, Paintings of The Bay of Natal (Privately Published, Johannesburg 2001).

The Bluff and Entrance to the Bay, C J Shrubsole

Since my great great grandfather and great grandfather were, respectively, Port Captain and Lighthousekeeper, I need make no apology for my obsession with Natal maritime matters.

A painting of Bluff and Bay by Cape artist Ruth Prowse, which was found decades ago on a rubbish heap, sold recently for more than R55 000 at auction in Cape Town:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lighthousekeeper Ancestors in South Africa

'To Guard This Light From all Eclipse'

Was your ancestor a lighthousekeeper in South Africa? If so, the chances are good that you could find out more about him by using a combination of research sources.

Danger Point Lighthouse, Gansbaai
Published sources save time, and the first step is to check the lists of lightkeepers offered at the back of Harold Williams's volume Southern Lights, a comprehensive study of lighthouses in South Africa. Williams, a lighthouse engineer whose own career began in 1947, spent many years of research before publishing his book in 1993. It's a must-read for anyone interested in lighthouses, and particularly for those with ancestors in the South African lighthouse service. A detailed history of lighthouses in this country is given, illustrated with excellent photographs.

An appendix lists lightkeepers with beginning and ending dates of their employment, as well as category ('senior', 'assistant' or 'relief') and where they were stationed. Sometimes additional detail reveals the reason for the keeper leaving the service, 'resigned', 'deceased', 'retired' or, occasionally, 'dismissed'. The keepers' initials are usually given, but there are some first names, too. These are all useful indicators and can provide a starting point for the family historian.

However, Williams's register is not all-inclusive, as the author himself admits. Despite the wide variety of primary and secondary sources used, such as civil service lists, official visitors' books, directories and letters, there are gaps in the information. The blame for such omissions can be laid partially at the door of bureaucracy: before the declaration of the Union of South Africa in 1910, lighthouses were under the control of the colonial authorities in the relevant provinces. After Union, the SA Railways & Harbours department took over, and there were subsequent changes leading up to the eventual transfer of lighthouse administration to Portnet in 1990. Regrettably, with each successive alteration in the administrative structure, valuable material which should have been preserved was lost.

During my search for information on my great grandfather, Thomas Gadsden, who was keeper of the Bluff Light, Durban, from the late 1860s to early 1880s, I found no mention of his name in Williams's register, which shows keepers at this lighthouse from the mid-1880s onwards. The Bluff Lighthouse was officially opened in January 1867, and there were certainly keepers serving there from that date. Their names appear in the Natal Almanac & Yearly Directory, which lists staff employed in various capacities by the Port Office. In 1870, for example, G Salmon is shown as Lightkeeper, with T Gadsden '2nd ditto'. Later in the decade, the Almanac reveals that T Gadsden was promoted to Head Lightkeeper (at an annual salary of £125), with D W Bell - who was, incidentally, Thomas's brother-in-law - as his assistant (salary £100). So, should your ancestor's name not appear on Williams's book, local directories for the period are an avenue worth bearing in mind, as are civil service lists.

The Bluff Lighthouse, Durban,
with Signal Station and signalman's quarters, plus tent, ca 1900s

NAAIRS (the SA National Archives Index) offers references to lighthouses as well as to the keepers. A search on the ancestor's surname plus the word 'lightkeeper' or the name of the lighthouse (if you know where he was stationed) could bring interesting results. Whether he was applying for employment, requesting leave of absence from duty, asking for a salary increase, going on pension or leaving the service for some other reason, these events would have generated memos, correspondence and other records.

For example, we find W W Ritchie applying to the Natal Harbour Department for a post as lightkeeper in 1906, that F B Shortt, Head Lighthousekeeper at the Bluff, makes application for three weeks leave from 10 May 1904, and C G Johnson, lightkeeper at Green Point, Natal, asks for an increase in pay in 1906. In the same year, the 2nd lightkeeper at Green Point (Natal), Laird, states that he wishes to dismantle the storeroom and use the materials to build quarters for African employees. Another reference reveals that J H Laird had taken his Oath of Allegiance as 2nd lightkeeper at Green Point in 1905, so evidently he hadn't long been in the situation before wanting to make improvements.

These events may not be particularly riveting, but they help to place the ancestor in context, giving date parameters which can be used to build up a chronology of his career. There are more startling examples, such as an enquiry into a lightkeeper reported to be 'drunk and violent', or a request for replacement of a '3rd lightkeeper' who had ended up in jail. Fortunately, such transgressors were in the minority. Most men showed the dedication and devotion to duty which is the keynote of the lighthouse service, and they complied with its strict regulations. Each lightkeeper was furnished with a copy of these and any breach of the rules could result in dismissal.

Some index references give an insight into the nuts and bolts of 19th century and early 20th century lighthousekeeping: reports on materials which were found not to be up to standard or had worn out and needed to be replaced, returns for oil, wicks, lenses etc. A keeper at the Aliwal Shoal Light in 1896 requests that an urgent cable be sent to Messrs. Chance Brothers 'to send at once glass chimneys'. It can't have been easy coping with bureaucratic delays, compounded by communication problems. Just acquiring some red paint to spruce up the exterior of a lighthouse generated a series of memos.

Other more personal details emerge, like the education of a certain keeper's children - a difficulty when living in a remote place far from any available schools. And a lightkeeper applying for a horse insurance proposal form in 1904, not long after the end of the Anglo-Boer War, reminds us that though the railways had arrived in SA, the horse was still vital for everyday transport.

Among archival files you may be fortunate enough to find examples of correspondence in the ancestor's own handwriting. These reveal the day-to-day events of a lightkeeper's life, and provide a unique and tangible link to the man himself.

It's also worth searching NAAIRS  for general references to the lighthouse at which your ancestor worked, as these will give background information. Even if he isn't mentioned by name in connection with that particular lighthouse, you could deduce from Williams's lists that the 'assistant lightkeeper' at a certain date was in fact your ancestor.

Lighthouse, The Hill, Port Elizabeth, after
tower extended

Once you've gleaned the references to your ancestor which relate specifically to his lightkeeping activities, you can spread the net wider and search the index for his deceased estate file - if he died in South Africa, that is. Estate records are informative and include the Death Notice.

Returning to published sources, the works of Lawrence Green offer fascinating anecdotes about keepers: in South African Beachcomber he tells of John Allen of Cape Point lighthouse, who found that a mantle of the wrong size had been supplied. 'It meant that the automatic flashing apparatus could not be used. However, he rigged up a six hundred candlepower electric light with a hand switch. Each keeper in turn sat with a stop watch before him, switching on for two seconds, off for eight seconds. They had to remain at this weary task for three nights until the correct mantle reached them. Try it for only half an hour and you will understand the strain involved'.

In a fitting tribute given at a ceremony on 1 March 1949 to mark the occasion of 100 years of the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, the General Manager of SA Railways, W Marshall Clark, said:

'The Lighthouse Service has developed very considerably in recent years, but neither the men who staff the lighthouses nor the work they do is very well known. Their work confines them to the loneliest spots - like Pelican Point near Walvis Bay, Cape Columbine, Cape St Lucia and others ... As long as they keep their light shining across the seas, to guide mariners in all weathers, they are left alone, and since failure is practically unheard of, the lighthouses are taken for granted.' 

Now the human element has been replaced by technology, lighthouses have lost much of their romantic attraction, but we can revisit the past via the keepers' stories.

North Sand Bluff Lighthouse, Natal

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Siege and Relief of Ladysmith 50th Anniversary 1950

29 February - 4 March 1950
List of some of the veterans attending the celebrations, with place of residence and regiment where given - many of these people are undoubtedly included in the group photograph taken on this occasion.
(Zoom in for a closer look.)

NC Natal Carbineers (or RNC Royal Natal Carbineers)
SALH South African Light Horse
RE Royal Engineers
VCR Volunteer Composite Regt
ILH Imperial Light Horse
NNV Natal Naval Volunteers
BMR Border Mounted Rifles
NMR Natal Mounted Rifles
DLI Durban Light Infantry
KRRC King's Royal Rifle Corps
R I L Royal Irish Lancers

SA Druitt Milton Hankey Cape Province RE
Alex Lyle Capt NC 432 Bulwer St PMBurg
WA Poulton (?) Maritzburg 5 R I Lancers
James E Greig Ladysmith NC
C Page Wood Umkomaas SALH
ER Baldock Bulawayo
R Tomlinson Pietermaritzburg NC
WH Smith Ladysmith Town Guard
AT Rowsell Ladysmith attached to RE Corps
KM Champion Sister Durban*
M Rowland Sister Durban*
K Boyd Nurse Cape Province*
Thos Hackland Richmond NC and VCR
GR Reynolds Port Nolloth Namaqualand
TA Lewis Richmond NC and VCR
WT Hamp Durban
ES MacGillivray Pretoria
WJ Crouch NC Colenso
Dan Yeadon Kings Own (R L) Regt Durban
FS Hornby Donnybrook NC
CR Carter Parkhurst JHBurg NC
EE Houshold 49 Loop St PMB NC
B Buntting Babanango Natal NC
M Taylor Sunrise PO Highbury NC
WE Antel NC
CW Lewis 48A Vause Rd Durban NP
AL Cooper Salisbury S Rhodesia ILH
CR Turner Durban NNV
Geo Craw McArthur Dannhauser BMR and VCR
Thos Gee Camperdown VCR
HG Finch NMR
FM Sivil Scottburgh NNV (with HMS Powerful)
A Joyner Matatiele East Griqualand NC
CF Thomson BMR PMB
C Francis PMB NC
JH Harwin Johannesburg
AA Mason Capt RIL
HE Smith NMR
CE Freeman BMR
JA Greer BMR
AW Starr NMR
J Foster BMR
AB Jones NMR
C Gottschalk BMR
HD Archibald BMR
AH Shuttleworth BMR
BW Martin BMR and NC
JD Watson BMR
WH London BMR Umkomaas
AP Jefferson Currie Rd Durban
JG Shaw Howick NC
AS Clouston St Winifreds South Coast NC
TE Stubbings Royal Scots Fusiliers Ladysmith
GW Stevens Brakpan 2nd Dorset Regt
F(?) Brooks Voortrekker Rd 3rd Batt Rifle Brigade
R Rogers NMR
EC Chittenden PMBurg BMR
CL Tomlinson Bellair DLI
Lucky Lockwood Capt Felixton RFA
JW Tunmer Nicolson Rd Durban NMR
H Evelyn Haddon Kenilworth CP RNC
GD Kettle Durban RDLS
W Haworth Zululand NRR
Hbt T Mitchell Dundee NC
CG Kemp Tpr NC Dundee
O Hesom Trpr NC Dundee
? McMaster Ladysmith SAAF and RLI
R Grant PMB
F (?) A Gifford Ladysmith NC
JB Nicholson Underberg NC and VCR
HN Shaw Ladysmith NC
AB Alexander Durban NMR
C (?) Dunning Rondebosch Cape NNV
FE Follwell St Winifreds S Coast NC
F Yeadon Durban 45A Aliwal St
H Scott Richmond Natal
Mrs K Boyd Onrust Rivier
Mrs CF Cook Durban
? Hawkslee Chelsea Pensioner Royal Hospital Chelsea 1st KRRC Bugles
John Murray Durban NC Med Staff
AA Mason RNC
W Wright NC PMB
(Source: Ladysmith Siege Museum Collection)

*These three women were Siege nurses. Mary Rowland's maiden name was PENTNEY; she was Kate Champion's 'tentmate', and survived an attack of enteric fever while working at Intombi Hospital Camp. Kate Boyd was previously Kate DRIVER, whose diary of her experiences in the Siege has been published by the Ladysmith Historical Society.

Kate Champion, Siege nurse.
Kate Matilda Champion was a descendant of the HILLARY family who came to Natal from Hampshire in the 1850s. She was born ca 1870, the 3rd child of Charles and Emma Champion, and grew up in the Orange Free State. Kate Champion never married but was once engaged to a young lawyer who died of blackwater fever.

At the time of the 1950 celebrations, Kate was 81 years of age. In a manuscript held at the Campbell Collections, Durban, she describes her trip to Ladysmith in 1950, and the nostalgic reunion of herself and her two colleagues with some of the men whom they had nursed fifty years before. According to Kate Champion, Mrs Boyd 'came round by boat with 5 overseas men' (veterans of the Siege) for the celebrations. The three nurses stayed at Ladysmith's Royal Hotel, and were included in the group photographs taken in front of the Town Hall. 'It was a never-to-be-forgotten trip and memories which will keep green to the end of my days'.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Livingstone: 200 years since his birth

19 March 2013 marks the bicentennial of the birth of David Livingston in 1813. (It was only later in life, during the 1850s, that he added the ‘e’ at the end of his surname.) He was born in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, to Neil Livingston and Agnes Hunter.

Perhaps no explorer’s name is as familiar to us as Livingstone’s, though he started out in Africa as a missionary and became renowned and revered as an anti-slavery campaigner. He had his detractors, yet when news of his death on 4 May 1873 reached Britain there was a tremendous public outpouring of grief. His body was interred at Westminster Abbey after a state funeral, but his heart still lies buried under a tree in Africa (Zambia).

Livingstone was the first European to cross the Kalahari, which he did in 1849. In 1845 he married Mary, the daughter of another famous missionary, Robert Moffat; the latter worked among the Bechuana at Kuruman for 50 years. Livingstone joined Moffat at Kuruman before commencing his travels in Central Africa.

The National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is currently holding an exhibition commemorating the bicentennial. Among the exhibits are the hats worn by Livingstone and Stanley at their legendary meeting at Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika.

According to biographer Tim Jeal, the evidence suggests that Stanley did not utter the phrase ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume’, on that occasion, but thought it up later. 

Keeping vigil at Livingstone Tree, Victoria Falls


Tim Jeal:  Stanley, The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer (2007)
   “     “    Livingstone  (1973)

Death Notice, South African, 1903

Friday, March 15, 2013

Passenger lists Umzumbi and Carisbrook to Natal 1905

From The Natal Witness 18 February 1905 
The following are the passengers from England by the Natal Direct Liner, SS Umzumbi, which arrived on Thursday.
Mr and Mrs JM Allan Hay
Miss Dorothy Allan Hay
Master Edward Allan Hay
and maid
Mrs Landon
Mrs Pope
infant and maid
Miss Farley
Miss Hollins
Miss G Hollins
Miss Eaton
Mr AO Jones
Mr Clement Wallis
Mr SC Lambert
Mr GM Launder

The following is the list of passengers who left Durban by the Carisbrook Castle on Thursday.
For East London:
DK Sloan
AE Forrest
Miss D Snook
Miss Barnes
Messrs CF Evans
AJ Crisp
Mrs W Hay
Miss Hay
Mr and Mrs F Seeker
PJ Cromhout
PG Braithwaite
W Taylor
GP Coote
WH Baker
Miss Forbes
GB Russell
G Ellis
FD Chiole
Mrs J Chiole and child
Mr B Levanos
For Algoa Bay:
Miss S Morris
Mr WS Sholl
M. de Gruyter
G Hall
FM Osmond
C Wallis
E Pickard
H Landers
M Fish

For Cape Town:
Mr AE Godbold
Mrs Powell
M Irvine
L Dawson
Capt PC Bam
PJ de Wet
B Levin
Mr and Mrs CR Evans
JP Beldon
JG Wilson
EA Greemen
HJ Shaw
J Cooke
JC Peats
J Paterson
Mr and Mrs Leonard and child
Mr and Mrs Miller and 4 children
K Pringle
JG Midgley
WF Johnstone
H Boyd
Miss E Doidge
Mrs AG Bell and 2 children
AF Brokensha
HC Smith
M Amodes
O Lan....
J de Leur
J Steele
J Scott
Miss G Scott
S Lion
J Denham
LJ Hall
Dr Irvenson
CG Rose
S Benjamin
JT Keene
Mr and Mrs P Hamilton
FP Carne
GE Wand
J Marens
J Wittles
Mrs J Wittles and 2 children
Mr JC Smith
For Southampton:
J Hunter
NP Dalziel
W Bourn
WW Parish
J Cadzow
JB Cranston
Dr and Mrs Prentice and child
GT and BB Dimmock
H Casson
H Williams
A Molver

Monday, March 11, 2013

Passengers 1858 steamers Madagascar and Waldensian Natal and Cape

Advertisement from The Natal Mercury Sept 1858,
shortly before the wreck of the Madagascar (Dec 1858).

DEPARTURE OF MADAGASCAR Natal Mercury September 9 1858

Madagascar, Royal Mail screw-steamer, 500 tons, J McKenzie, for Table Bay and Intermediate ports.
J. Brown, agent.

PASSENGERS per Madagascar, steamer, outwards.
For Algoa Bay
Mr Black
Mrs Haw
Miss Slater
One woman and two children belonging to the Cape Corps.
For the Cape
Mr and Mrs Gordon, two children and servant
Mr Nourse


The Madagascar built on the Clyde in 1855 was Rennie's first steamer. She was brought to South Africa in 1856, fitted for trading on the coast, under command of Captain George Rennie, already well known at the Cape as a former commander of the sailing vessels Lord Haddo and Conqueror. The Madagascar reached Cape Town on January 3 1857 and began her regular service between Table Bay and Durban.

In December 1858 she was wrecked in stormy weather on a reef 40 miles south of East London (now known as the Madagascar Rock). No lives were lost.

After the wreck of the Madagascar the Waldensian, her sister ship also built on the Clyde in 1855, continued the coastal service alone but was herself wrecked on Struys Point in October 1862 on a voyage for Cape Town. The ship broke in two, but the approximately 100 souls on board were safely landed, most going overland to Cape Town by wagon via Bredasdorp. Some returned in Barry's coaster Kadie and the Cape Town tug Albatross which had responded to news of the disaster.

Does anyone have an ancestor who was on that final voyage of the Waldensian in October 1862? Please leave a comment, if so.

For more on the wreck of the Waldensian and mention of some of her passengers see

Friday, March 8, 2013

Passengers to Natal per John Line May 1851

Arrival of the John Line, Natal Witness Friday May 9 1851

JOHN LINE, Ship, 698 tons, Captain Palmer, from London.

B. Dickinson
W Pollard
A Fell
Natal Witness, 9 May 1851
XR Breede, wife and daughter
Grice, wife and twelve children
R Adadigan, wife and two children
G Plowes
T Fosbrooke
WH Gardiner, wife and two children
Caroline Green
James Caile
Henry Cope
John Benge
Arthur Hawkins and wife
-- Bousfield
JS Stuart and wife
ES Walker and wife
John Millar
Geo. Atwood
John McKellar
Frances Palullo
Edward McLeod, wife and child
W Smith
Henry Bascomb
Wm. Irons and wife
JW Irons and wife
BA Tight
Alexr. Gifford, wife and nine children
John Cattier
Wm Tunmar, wife and six children
Wm Tyson, wife and two children
T Tayle [FAYLE], wife and three children*
Jane Moore
Hannah Barkeway
Mary Barkeway
Emma Bevan
John Bevan and wife
James Lausdell
Richard Reay
Henry Jacques and wife
-- Groombridge
Wm Whiteway
Richard Worsly
Robert Moore, wife and five children
George Mayo and wife
John Foster
John Palmer, wife and five children
Henry Davies
John Stevens and wife
Priscilla B. Clough
John Leake
George Leake
CW Sharpe
Z Jordan
H Woodhead
Edward Jones
Rosanna Pender
Richd. Hobday and wife
John Dunkin
Richard Wainwright
Caroline Jordan
William Bevan
Thomas Wadkins
Harriet Searle
-- French, wife and seven children
In all 144 persons.

Incident on arrival of this ship at Natal:

We are informed by a passenger who was on board at the time, that when the John Line drifted from her anchor (through the loss of a shackle-pin) all were asleep on board, no watch being set or at least not kept; and her change of position was never discovered even by the officers till they turned out at day light.


Recent blog queries: Fayle, Tomlinson


To the blog reader searching for information on Thomas Fayle, there were two people of that name in Natal - a father and son. Thomas Fayle (1821-1897) with his wife Sarah arrived on the ship John Line. 27 references emerge on NAAIRS, most of them concerning Thomas Fayle junior (1847-1906) and his occupation as Superintendant of Zwartkop Location. Deceased estate files for both men are held at Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository.

Shelagh Spencer's British Settlers in Natal Vol 6 offers a comprehensive section on Fayle senior, including his children’s names and details.

A Sergeant Fayle and a Trooper Fayle are mentioned in the roll of the Stanger Mounted Rifles.

Update: Note that Thomas Fayle senior (1821-1897) had several sons apart from the one named after him, i.e. Thomas b 1847. There were also John, William, James, George and Henry, as well as Benjamin, who died young.


Missionary who ministered to Indians in KZN for 45 years.

The Noon Family in Natal: Mormonism and Sugar

In the Natal Mercury of March 20 1863 there appeared the following paragraph:

Adolphus Henry NOON (the Mormon Elder mentioned in the above extract) and his brother Arthur N. NOON were sugar planters on the Isipingo River from about 1860 to 1863. Their sisters were Clara Jane and Susan Noon. Clara is better known as the wife of Richard ('Dick') King, also of Isipingo, the Natal colonist who undertook the famous ride to Grahamstown in 1842, taking news of the besieged British Garrison at the Port and enabling reinforcements to be sent by HMS Southampton and William BELL's schooner Conch, which ended the siege. The younger Noon sister, Susan, married another famous Natalian, Robert Bristow TATHAM. A brother to the Noon siblings, Charles, died in England in infancy; Kent was their home county, and all were born and baptized there.

In April 1863, a month after the above Natal Mercury reference, Messrs A H and A N NOON offered for sale their 300 acre sugar estate on the Isipingo plus various items of related equipment including 1 by 12 h.p. (i.e. horse power) steam engine, 1 by 6 h.p. steam engine, 1 new boiler 25 ft by 5 ft, 1 Bour Wetzel, 5-pan battery and 4 clarifiers. (See 'Valiant Harvest' p 284)

A sketch entitled 'A.H. and A.N. Noons' Sugar Mill, Isipingo South Africa 1863' shows the mill building as it looked when the brothers sold their Isipingo Estate. It gives a delightful glimpse into the Natal sugar industry at the time, with small turbaned figures of the indentured Indian workers in the foreground, some returning from the fields with hoes on their shoulders, others loading bags of sugar into a wagon. (The first indentured labourers had arrived in Natal in 1860.) Could the figure on horseback in the central foreground be one of the Noon brothers - or perhaps merely their overseer? To the right of the picture is a separate figure in a turban, carrying a stick, probably an Indian sirdar in charge of the labour. A dog runs at his heels. The words 'Isipingo Estate' can be seen written faintly on the main gable of the mill.*

In January, 1863, Elder Henry Aldus Dixon in company with Brother Aldophous (sic) H. Noon, commenced Latter Day Saints missionary work in Natal. They held meetings at Isipingo (Brother Noon's residence), inviting surrounding sugar planters and others to attend. After a few meetings, the congregation grew into a mob which disturbed and tried to break up the meetings. The magistrate and policemen were on the side of the rowdies, protecting them and screening them while trampling the law under their feet. (Source: A History of the South African Mission, Period I, 1852-1903, by Evan P. Wright).

The Noon brothers departed for the United States with a company of emigrants from Port Elizabeth in April of 1865 aboard the Mexicana, settling in Utah and later in Arizona. It was in 1865 that the South African Mission of the Church of Latter Day Saints was closed, possibly why the Noons left Natal in that year.

'No official reasons were given by Church Authorities in Salt Lake City or in England (headquarters of European Mission) for closing the South African Mission in 1865. Perhaps the chief reasons were because of the indifference of the local people, difficulties encountered by the missionaries, and because most of the faithful members had immigrated to Zion. No doubt Satan and his followers rejoiced when the mission was closed, but their victory was only temporary. LDS missionaries were to return to South Africa in 1903 and thereby fulfil the prophesy made by Jesse Haven on May 23, 1853'. (Evan P Wright Part II 1903-1904)

According to Noon descendants, Adolphus was not involved with the Latter Day Saints prior to his arrival in SA. He was quite young when he joined the British army in England (a South African unit which he knew would send him there - he wanted to join Clara in Natal) but just where and under what circumstances he was first associated with Mormonism is unknown. He was a devout journal keeper and produced three, A, B and C. Journal A was the oldest and was heavy with his experiences in South Africa - mainly his Mormon connections. Unfortunately, after he became disillusioned with the movement (in Utah), journal A disappeared; he probably destroyed it. Journals B and C have survived.

Clara Jane Noon remained in Natal and after the death of her husband Dick King, she married a Durban merchant, Joseph Henry RUSSELL.

*The original drawing of the mill, featured on this page, is in the Old Court House Museum collection, Durban, presented by Mr and Mrs A H Noon. 

Acknowledgements to Tom Montgomery, husband of Adolphus Noon's great great granddaughter, for information on the Noon family.
Also to Jenny Harries of LDS Family History Library for extracts from the works of Evan P Wright.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Who Do You Think Your Ancestor Is?

In the merry pursuit of ancestry, leaping lightly from twig to twig on the family tree, we tend to lose sight of the fact that an ancestor is a person from whom one is directly descended. That is, by blood, which is why an Ancestry Chart is sometimes referred to as a Blood Descent. A correctly produced Ancestry Chart includes all lines of ascent through male and female lines.

For genealogical purposes, the term family includes all people of the same name and blood descended from a common male-line ancestor. This is quite different from the everyday usage of the term, which includes close relatives of both father and mother and grandchildren by both sons and daughters.

These days, the study of  family history covers research into one’s forebears, often with the object of putting together a narrative history for the benefit of living relatives and future generations. An ideal narrative history should place the family members in the context of their times, giving an insight into their life events.

Since the number of ancestors doubles with each generation, there are more than enough direct ancestors to research without starting on collateral lines. Sometimes, of course, a ‘sideways search’ might help in identifying a problem ancestor.

The photograph below shows a group of my HAMILTONs: of those included, only my great grandfather, great grandmother and their son, my grandfather, are my direct ancestors. The others are my grandfather’s siblings.

Hamiltons of Stevenston, Ayrshire

A few quick searches on ScotlandsPeople provide information on all of them – but where does it all end? Do I proceed further forward to the next generation and the next, in each case? There has to be some consideration of time and costs in such an exercise.

The alternative is to stick to the direct line and use the extra time for in-depth research into the people from whom I truly descend. Disadvantage: going that route you could miss a wealth of interesting stories and some weird and wonderful distant cousins.

While on the subject, descendant is another term bandied about indiscriminately. A descendant has a proven descent from a particular ancestor. I have used this example before, but it’s a good one: nobody could describe themselves as a descendant of the poet John Keats, who had no children and therefore has no descendants. Ergo, a person descended from Keats’s brother cannot refer to Keats as his ancestor nor to himself as a descendant of Keats. (With apologies to Terrick FitzHugh for mangling his perfect prose.)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Verulam Settlers to Natal, Mission Station and Sugar Estates

More on the Verulam Wesleyan baptismal register (see two earlier posts on this blog):

The original baptismal register of Verulam’s Wesleyan Methodist Church (covering the years 1859-1872) is a rare survival, a treasure discovered during a family reunion in the area and subsequently added to The Campbell Collections, Durban. This is a fitting repository for the register, including as it does many entries for the inter-related CAMPBELL and BLAMEY families.

The late Dr Killie Campbell, daughter of Marshall Campbell and Ellen, nee Blamey, was born 9 September 1881 and was christened Margaret Roach Campbell (Roach was Ellen’s mother’s maiden name). Killie, however, jettisoned her given names in favour of the nickname by which she was always – and always will be - known. Note mention of the Roach family name in the register entry for the baptism of Edith Gertrude Blamey, 18 Feb 1872, daughter of James Roach Blamey and his wife Ocea Isabel, of Mt. Prospect.

Practically a roll of settlers to the Verulam area (as well as CAMPBELL and BLAMEY, the register has entries for POVALL, POLKINGHORNE, GARLAND, HULETT, GEE, STARR, RATHBONE and many other famous names) the register also mentions well-known sugar estates and place-names.

For more on these plantations and the people who owned/managed them see Valiant Harvest by Robert F Osborn.

A feature of the register is the inclusion of baptisms of  the Verulam Mission Station African children and adults: records of such baptisms are like the proverbial hen’s teeth.

Why were there Wesleyans at Verulam specifically?

William J Irons, founder and organizer of  the Christian Emigration & Colonisation Society under the auspices of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, as well as the patronage (for a short while) of the Earl of Verulam, sent out  the first three parties of Wesleyan emigrants to Natal by the ships King William, Sovereign and Edward, in 1850. This was under arrangement with J C Byrne, who was running his own emigration scheme at the time. The Wesleyans were settled at Verulam, on the previous Natal Cotton Company lands. Many are the stories of the delays and disappointments they encountered as their new lives began.

Verulam was the first township or village to be established outside Durban. The Wesleyan Chapel was for seven years the only church where people of the area could attend services. A Day School was established in 1852 with T J Champion as master.

The Wesleyan Chapel was opened at Verulam in 1851 and managed to survive the floods of April 1856 when the Umhloti River rose 30 feet. The Wesleyan Day School, damaged by the floodwaters, had to be closed for three years.

Further reading:  Natal Settler-Agent by Dr John Clark (Balkema Cape Town 1972) for more on Byrne's emigration scheme as well as that of W J Irons.

Page from the Verulam Wesleyan baptismal Register, March 1867:
zoom in for a closer look

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Backing up your family history data

Read Thomas McEntee's post on data backup at:

Verulam Natal Wesleyan Chapel Baptisms 1868-1872

VERULAM   Victoria   Natal
Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel Baptisms cont.
1868 - 1872

Date of Baptism Name Parents Abode Date of Birth

6 Jan 1868 Ada Harriet Elizabeth Rathbone Thomas Brittania and Harriet Transvaal 2 May 1867
15 Jan 1868 Edith Marianne Barton Henry Sumpter and Julia Verulam Mission Station 18 Dec 1867
22 Jan 1868 Kate Matiwane Jacobus and Maria Verulam Mission Station 21 Dec 1867
22 Jan 1868 Rachab Cele Cornelius and Margaret Nonhlavu N Umhloti 13 Jul 1867
22 Jan 1868 Ezekiel Cele James and Emma Ezinkaugeni 23 Oct 1867
22 Jan 1868 Jane Unsumbane Elias and Dorothea Ezinkaugeni 6 July 1867
22 Jan 1868 Peter Ushumayelo Jonas and Umatanda Verulam Mission Station About 12 years
22 Jan 1868 Emily Ushumayelo Jonas and Umatanda Verulam Mission Station About 9 years
22 Jan 1868 Jessie Ushumayelo Jonas and Umatanda Verulam Mission Station About 7 years
2 Jan 1868 Martha Ushumayelo Jonas and Umatanda Verulam Mission Station About 2 years
22 Jan 1868 Reuben Nompofana James and Jane Verulam Mission Station 20 Aug 1867
26 Jan 1868 Ellen Makengane Petrua and Bessie Verulam Mission Sation About 3 months
15 Mar 1868 Frank Tring Peachey Thomas and Lucy Emma Upper Umvoti Victoria 28 Aug 1867
- Herbert Richard Allen Markham James S Frederick and Elizabeth Victoria 11 Sep 1867
7 Apr 1868 Alice Caroline Lean William and Mary Umhlanga Victoria 31 Jan 1868
7 Apr 1868 Francis James Newbury James and Margaret Umhlanga 4 Feb 1868
3 May 1868 Ellen Gertrude Shaw Charles and Ann Elizabeth Verulam 20 Mar 1868
20 May 1868 James Surridge Fowle James and Mary Verulam 25 Mar 1868
20 May 1868 Lilly Groom Thomas and Elizabeth Verulam 20 Mar 1868
24 May 1868 Julia Joanna Buckley James and Joanna Sinquazi 27 Jul 1866
21 Jun 1868 Ernest Robert Dawson Thomas and Helen Milkwood Kraal Little Umhlanga 24 Apr 1868
29 Nov 1868 Joshua Kumalo Samuel and Eliza Station 19 Sep 1868
16 Dec 1868 Eva Lonsdale Garland Thomas and Henrietta Verulam 1 Aug 1868
7 Jan 1869 Jessie Usihashi Thomas and Mary Verulam Mission Station 11 Aug 1868
16 Jan 1869 Grace Takana John and Maria Verulam Mission Station Sep 1866
16 Jan 1869 Abel Takana John and Maria Verulam Mission Station Sep 1868
17 Jan 1869 Edwin George Warren Henry Albert and Elvira Victoria 15 Nov 1868
19 Feb 1869 Henry Murot Dupont Edward Mitchell and Elizabeth Umhlasine 3 Aug 1868
19 Feb 1869 Annie Thomas Henry and Ann Redcliffe Mills 25 Jan 1869
21 Feb 1869 Edith Catherine Thring James and Catherine Nonoti 3 Jan 1869
18 Mar 1869 Beatrice Annie Povall Charles James an Mary Esther Meadow Bank Umhlanga 1 Aug 1868
18 Apr 1869 Florence Allen Burne John and Isabella Umhlali 21 Mar 1869
25 Apr 1869 Charlotte Amelia Foster Peter and Elisa Jane Verulam 15 Mar 1869
31 May 1869 Frederick Thomas William Rathbone Thomas Brittania and Harriett Farm 'Tiverton' Transvaal 14 Mar 1869
28 Jul 1869 Martha Nunn Thomas and Jessie Bridgeport Great Umhlanga 24 May 1869
18 Aug 1869 Emily Gertrude Markham James Frederick and Elizabeth Victoria 26 Feb 1869
5 Sep 1869 Elisa Alice Taylor Alfred John and Ann Girvan's Estate Rose Hill 15 Mar 1869
13 Sep 1869 Sarah Jane Harris Robert and Sarah Umhlali 31 Jul 1869
13 Oct 1869 Ada Gertrude Lean William and Mary Ann Cornubia 22 Aug 1869
29 Oct 1869 Edwin Groom Richard and Elizabeth Inanda 20 Jul 1869
7 Nov 1869 David Marshall Gamley David and Helen Oswald Milkwood Kraal 10 Oct 1869
17 Nov 1869 Edith Isabel Lean Francis Harris and Jane Hill Watson Cornubia 19 Jul 1869
5 Dec 1869 Frances Hannah Sinfell Charles and Mary Grace Cornubia 4 Sep 1869
26 Dec 1869 Walter William Harris Peter and Jane Umhlanga 6 Oct 1869
17 Jan 1870 Charles Edwin Symmons Charles Edwin and Jessie Maria Nonoti 3 Sept 1869
12 Jan 1870 Isaac Henry Oliver Isaac and Sarah Umhlali 8 Oct 1869
13 Feb 1870 Horace Benjamin Hulett James Liege and Mary Ann Kearsney 11 Aug 1869
23 Mar 1870 Thomas Peachey Thring Francis and Mary Ann Verulam 16 Jan 1869
27 Mar 1870 Harriett Anne Woolridge William and Mary Jones New Carrisbrook Tongati 23 Mar 1866
23 Mar 1870 Charles Richard Woolridge William and Mary Jones New Carrisbrook Tongati 18 Jan 1868
27 Mar 1870 George Hambly Woolridge William and Mary Jones New Carrisbrook Tongati 4 Jan 1870
11 Apr 1870 Charles Lucas William and Susannah 'Ridon' Farm Nonoti 23 Dec 1867
12 Apr 1870 Emily Eliza King Charles and Rebecca Victoria Tongati 18 May 1868
12 Apr 1870 Lily Isabella King Charles and Rebecca Victoria Tongati 19 Jan 1870
25 Jun 1870 Arthur Joseph Shaw Charles and Ann Elisabeth Verulam 13 Mar 1870
22 Jul 1868 John Howard Foss John and Alice Verulam 22 Jun 1868
27 Jul 1870 Annie Ella Foss John and Alice Verulam 29 Jun 1870
4 Jul 1870 Annie Elizabeth Sykes William and Elizabeth Mt Edgecombe Umhlanga 31 Dec 1869
24 Jul 1870 Annie Lizzie Fowle James and Mary Verulam 8 Jun 1870
7 Aug 1870 Eleanor Gertrude Dawson Thomas and Helen Milkwood Kraal Umhlanga 21 Apr 1870
7 Aug 1870 Lilly Maud Watson James and Amelia Mary Thornhill Milkwood Kraal Umhlanga 16 May 1870
11 Aug 1870 William Stuart McKenzie George and Annie Milkwood Kraal 4 Jul 1870
11 Sep 1870 Mary Elizabeth Thring James and Catherine Lang Spruit 5 Jun 1870
18 Sep 1870 Thomas Arthur Warren Henry Albert and Elvira Victoria 6 Aug 1870
3 Oct 1870 Louis John Phipps John and Jane Little Umhlanga 18 Aug 1865
3 Oct 1870 Charlotte Eliza Phipps John and Jane Little Umhlanga 27 Jul 1867
3 Oct 1870 John Edwin Phipps John and Jane Little Umhlanga 16 Oct 1869
3 Nov 1870 Agnes Brown John and Mary McGibbon Little Umhlanga 31 Aug 1870
30 Jan 1871 Ella Grace Dupont Haiken Michel and Elizabeth Verulam 18 Dec 1870
6 Mar 1871 Ada Louise Berry William and Harriet Sarah Fairview nr Verulam 29 Oct 1870
9 Apr 1871 Elizabeth Fowler Swann James and Robina Hill Head nr Verulam 30 Mar 1871
19 Apr 1871 Arthur Frederick Waugh James and Jane Victoria 14 Jan 1871
19 Apr 1871 Gertrude Emily Mazery Rathbone Thomas Britannia and Harriet Victoria 3 Mar 1871
23 Apr 1871 John James Barr Matthew and Hannah Verulam 13 Jan 1861
23 Apr 1871 Herbert Benjamin Barr Matthew and Hannah Verulam 19 Feb 1871
23 Apr 1871 George Robert Plant Robert and Elizabeth Ann Verulam 12 Jan 1871
30 Apr 1871 Herbert Edward Foster Peter and Eliza Jane Verulam 23 Feb 1871
16 May 1871 Frederika Elizabetha Katrina Landmann Willem Frederick Conrad and Frederika Elizabeth Transvaal 14 Feb 1871
31 May 1871 Bertha Grace Sinfell Charles and Mary Grace Cornubia 9 Oct 1870
31 May 1871 Winifred Lilian Lean Francis Harris and Jane Hill Watson Mt Pleasant Cornubia 10 Apr 1871
30 Jun 1871 John Henry Reed George and Hannah Elizabeth Lake Farm nr Verulam 8 Dec 1863
30 Jun 1871 William Thomas Reed George and Hannah Elizabeth Lake Farm nr Verulam 28 Nov 1865
30 Jun 1871 Joseph Samuel Robert Reed George and Hannah Elizabeth Lake Farm nr Verulam 12 May 1871
30 Jun 1871 Walter Edwin Bee Reed George and Hannah Elizabeth Lake Farm nr Verulam 18 Dec 1869
22 Sep 1871 Henry Groom Richard and Elizabeth Inanda 11 Aug 1871
10 Oct 1871 John Ashworth Jackson Thomas and Miriam Ottowa Estates nr Verulam 27 Aug 1871
17 Oct 1871 Richard Wilson Jee Joseph Lawrence and Ann Nr Verulam 13 Sep 1851
15 Nov 1871 William Albert Bath William Thomas and Mercy Verulam 21 Aug 1871
16 Nov 1871 Charlotte Mary Arundel Charles Sutcliffe and Mary Meadow Bank nr Verulam 3 Jun 1867
16 Nov 1871 Annie Margaret Arundel Charles Sutcliffe and Mary Meadow Bank nr Verulam 17 Apr 1869
16 Nov 1871 Eliza Alice Arundel Charles Sutcliffe and Mary Meadow Bank nr Verulam 20 Aug 1871
24 Nov 1871 Eliza Dawson Thomas and Helen Milkwood Kraal nr Verulam 5 Oct 1871
14 Dec 1871 Leonard Newberry James and Margaret Red Hill nr Blackburn Victoria 3 Oct 1871
7 Feb 1872 Peter Albert Harris Peter and Ann Jane Nr Verulam 22 Oct 1871
22 Feb 1872 Isa Rockey William and Mary Ann Milkwood Kraal 17 Oct 1871
23 Feb 1872 Mabel Adeline Gamley David and Ellen Oswald Milkwood Kraal 26 Nov 1871
31 Mar 1872 Charles Edward Williamson George and Esther Verulam 20 Feb 1872
18 Feb 1872 Edith Gertrude Blamey James Roach and Ocea Isabel Mt Prospect 25 Oct 1871
18 Apr 1872 William Witty Sykes William and Elizabeth Cornubia 12 Oct 1871

Verulam Wesleyan Chapel open to the elements

Friday, March 1, 2013

Verulam Natal Wesleyan Chapel Baptisms 1867

VERULAM   Victoria   Natal
Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel Baptisms cont.

 Date of Baptism Name Parents Abode Date of Birth

16 Jan 1867 Ernest Seath Garland Thomas William and Henrietta Verulam 3 Dec 1866
23 Jan 1867 Charles William Povall Charles James and Mary Esther Meadow Bank Umhlanga 5 Dec 1866
17 Mar 1867 Unobasuto now Maria Bombosi John and Elizabeth Umhloti Girl
17 Mar 1867 Unogika now Alice Ncamba Noindaba - Verulam Mission Station Girl
17 Mar 1867 Ntombi now Ellen Guardian: Cornelius Nogiwawa Cornelius farm Umhloti Girl
17 Mar 1867 Cebe now Mary Elizabeth Komiyapi Unosizi - Umhloti Girl
17 Mar 1867 Uhlagipi now Emily Uncikwa Daniel and Phebe Verulam Mission Station Girl
17 Mar 1867 Inojana now Isabella Shumialo Jonas Verulam Mission Station Girl
17 Mar 1867 Unobando now Emma Jabez Umkake Cornelius farm Adult baptism
17 Mar 1867 Kukekile now Janette Fatiyana Umkake Alpheus Verulam Mission Station Adult
17 Mar 1867 Unozinhlova now Hannah Kikile Unkake John Verulam Mission Station Adult
17 Mar 1867 Ntombikaba now Elizabeth Bombosi Umkake John Umhloti Adult
17 Mar 1867 Nozilelo now Caroline Nyosi Unkake Solomon Verulam Mission Station Adult
17 Mar 1867 Unomancwanyane now Sarah Tobi Umkake Verulam Mission Station Adult
17 Mar 1867 Nolugrvaku now Elizabeth Umbeke Umkake Verulam Mission Station Adult
17 Mar 1867 Kademane now Benjamin Guardian: Jacobus Umdungago Verulam Mission Station Youth
17 Mar 1867 Umfish now Jabez Komiyafri Unosizi - Verulam Mission Station Youth
17 Mar 1867 Amakaka now Kate Ulliroro - Cornelius farm Girl
17 Mar 1867 Janette Kikile John and Hannah Verulam Mission Station About 4 years
17 Mar 1867 Alfred Dikile John and Hannah Verulam Mission Station Dec 1866
17 Mar 1867 Leah Bombosi John and Elizabeth Umhloti -
17 Mar 1867 Jonathan Uvaxa Jabez and Emma Cornelius farm Umhloti About 3 months
17 Mar 1867 Lizzy Uvaxa Jabex and Emma Cornelius farm Umhlto About 2 years
10 Apr 1867 Gertrude James Peter and Eliza Verulam 7 Dec 1866
10 Apr 1867 Thomas James Nunn Thomas and Jessie Verulam 17 Mar 1867
15 May 1867 Frederick Thomas Alder Charles and Ann Verulam 20 Feb 1867
2 Jun 1867 Lizzy Ada Watson James and Amelia Little Umhlanga 8 Jan 1867
2 Jun 1867 Annie Duff Thomas and Anna Maria Little Umhlanga 20 Feb 1867
7 Jun 1867 Mary Groom Richard and Elizabeth Inanda 30 Mar 1867
23 Jun 1867 Stephen Tobi - and Sarah Nuka Verulam Mission Station About 10 months
23 Jun 1867 Frederick John Harris Peter and Jane Great Umhlanga 30 Mar 1867
23 Jun 1867 Elvina Georgina Warren Henry and Elvina Victoria 11 Apr 1867
14 Jul 1867 Margaret Euseleni Barnabas and Eliza Verulam Mission Station About 5 months
18 Aug 1867 George Cannon Townsend John William and Sydney Catherine Tongati 28 Feb 1866
18 Aug 1867 Frederick Llewellyn Townsend George Seaborne and Sarah Payne Tongati 26 Oct 1866
25 Aug 1867 Harriet Pickard Dawson Thomas and Helen (?Higham) Milkwood Kraal 7 May 1867
1 Sep 1867 Catherine Isabella Burne John and Isabella Umhlali 23 Jun 1867
22 Sep 1867 Amelia Mary Foster Peter and Eliza Jane Verulam 7 Jul 1867
25 Sept 1867 Archibald William Symmons Charles Edwin and Jannette Maria Verulam 22 Jun 1867
29 Sep 1867 Frances Maud Lean Francis Harris and Jane Hill Cornubia 7 Aug 1867
13 Oct 1867 Amajnonwana now Philip Foyola - Verulam Mission Station Youth
13 Oct 1867 Andabanibi now Charles Umzwi - Verulam Mission Station Youth
13 Oct 1867 U Faku now Philip Ulnkimibuae - Verulam Youth
13 Oct 1867 Umsotli now Matthew Pambaniso - Verulam Mission Station Youth
13 Oct 1867 Umapapa now Johannes Madionzwa - Verulam Youth
13 Oct 1867 Sepripuma now John Umkalo - Verulam Youth
13 Oct 1867 Makapa now Mark Myati - Verulam Mission Station Adult
13 Oct 1867 Verandah now Abrahams Untongwa - Verulam Mission Station Youth
13 Oct 1867 Unigawo now Joseph Umradu - Verulam Mission Station Adult
13 Oct 1867 Magombi now Richard Umguduze - Verulam Mission Station Adult
13 Oct 1867 Inoti now David Tomazuba - Verulam Youth
13 Oct 1867 Ungamda now Sarah Ugeorge - Cornelius farm Girl
13 Oct 1867 Tugela now Lydia Uciana - Mt Fynney Stonehenge Girl
13 Oct 1867 Mangiyana now Jane Umkomo - Verulam Girl
13 Oct 1867 Umfusi now Eliza Umxake Muka Verulam Mission Station Adult
13 Oct 1867 Umjibosa now Leah Sam Muka James Mang Jana's Land Adult
13 Oct 1867 Umumor now Jane James Nompofana Muka Verulam Mission Station Adult
13 Oct 1867 Stephen Kumalo Samuel and Eliza Verulam Mission Station About 9 months
24 Nov 1867 Umkwarebi now Petrus Umurakeo Bafukeni - - Youth
8 Dec 1867 James Inigo Balcomb Hulett James Liege and Mary Ann Kearsney 14 Sept 1867

Wesleyan Chapel, Verulam, Natal,
now in state of disrepair