Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Anglo Boere Oorlog/Boer War (1899-1902) BELFAST Kamp/Camp

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

Belfast Camp

Belfast was one of the later camps, started by the civilian administration rather than the military, between 4 and 10 June 1901. The camp reports only give the British side of the story and we often have to read between the lines to understand the realities of camp life. The first superintendent, G.F. Esselen, did not remain long as he was transferred to Irene. The reports of his replacement, David Murray, suggest that he was a kindly man, but not as efficient as Graumann at Barberton, for instance. He refused either to stop rations as a punishment or to put the recalcitrant into a separate wired enclosure, as occurred in many camps. Unlike most camps, Belfast had no camp police (usually appointed from the inmates) until March 1902, but the need to isolate the potentially infectious newcomers made such a step necessary. However, the Ladies Committee commented on the dirty and ragged appearance of the people and their dwellings. The first camp inmates were described as being fairly well-off, able to afford the goods at Poynton’s store. The inmates’ money did not last long, however; by September 1901 most had exhausted their savings and were left only with SAR ‘blue-backs’ which were useless as currency. As in most camps, there were some black inmates as well, a total of fifty-four in August 1901, including twenty children. The black men were critical to the running of the camp, as Murray admitted. ‘I get an immense amount of work done by the natives, and if it were not for them, some of the departments of the camp would suffer.’ As an encouragement, they were given fresh meat if they were considered to have done a fair day’s work.1


Belfast camp was not easy to administer since it was scattered through the damaged town. In the beginning accommodation included houses, the Dopper church and the ‘township’ (this was probably not the black township which was then more usually called a ‘location’). By the time that Dr Kendal Franks visited the camp in late August 1901 tents had been erected, some in a square in the middle of the town, others on a vacant site to the west, while more were to be pitched further north. When the Ladies Committee arrived in October 1901, about two-thirds of the camp inmates were still living in houses. Town and camp were surrounded by blockhouses and the people could move freely within these limits. The authorities were often edgy, however, for Belfast was often close to the lines of fighting. On 3 September 1901 ten of the ‘more prominent’ members of the camp absconded (presumably to join the commandos) and the camp was raided by the Boers on 15 September, for the goods in Poynton’s store. In the fracas one woman was killed and two children were wounded. Women had been detected sending off clothing and food from the camp via black messengers (some had been described by Esselen as being ‘very bitter’). Under these circumstances, it was not surprising that control became fairly tight.2


The attack on the camp had another effect as well. The women were now nervous about remaining in their tents at night and moved into the houses which were often already overcrowded. The result was considerable squalor and Murray was convinced that the rate of sickness was much higher in the houses. There was growing pressure to move all the people into tents. Finally the inmates of the original camp were moved to the larger area while the western camp (no. 2) was kept for the families of joiners. Somewhat unusually two men from one of the commandos were allowed to inspect the camp. They were so satisfied, Murray claimed, that one of the promptly surrendered. By March 1902 the camp was described as comprising a main camp, a Scouts (National Scouts) camp, observation (for new arrivals) and isolation camps and the hospital. By this time the town houses were occupied solely by the families of the National Scouts and by the administrative staff. Despite the fact that the National Scouts and their families comprised nearly a third of the camp inmates, there was surprisingly little friction between them and the rest, or so Murray believed. http://www2.lib.uct.ac.za/mss/bccd/Histories/Belfast/

  • Here you can seek for photo's of the military tombstones:

http://www.eggsa.org/library/main.php?g2_itemId=766130

Blue names Geni Profiles

Black names Not on Geni Yet

They survived

A

B

C

D

  • Was in Middelburg Camp 8/6/1901 and then transferred to Belfast on 11/9/1901.
  • They had two farms Sterkops and Sterkspruit both in Lydenburg.

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

  • Camp History: Tent 470 Arrived 14/9/1901
  • Farm History:Pelser family Lydenburg
  • Camp History: Tent 470 Arrived 14/9/1901
  • Farm History:Pelser family Lydenburg

V

They Died in Camp

A

B

  • Badenhorst, Frans Lodewyk and family from the farm Lelieput in Ermelo
  • Badenhorst Susanah Elizabeth. (82) Died on 21/1/1902 of senile decay & exhaustion.
  • From the farms: Steenkloof,Middelburg and Sterkhoop / Sterkloop,Middelburg
  • 18/7/1901-21/1/1902

D

  • Cause of death – Senility

J

  • Cause of death – Whooping Cough & Convulsions
  • Cause of death – Diarrhoea & Debility
  • Cause of death – Whooping Cough and Pneumonia
  • Cause of death – Geneois Anoemla
  • Belfast Concentration Camp
  • Cause of death – Brocnho Pneumonia
  • Cause of death – Measles
  • Cause of death – Diarrhoea and General Debility

How to Participate

If you have an ancestor who was in the ABW Belfast Concentration Camp:

  1. Get yourself added as a collaborator
  2. Navigate to your ancestor's profile
  3. Under the "More Actions" link choose "Add to Project"
  4. Select the Belfast Concentration " project

How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles to projects.

Optional:

  • Include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Also include their Settler party and ship name and arrival date if known
  • Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists.
  • Your ancestor's profiles should be marked as "public" and not "private".
  • All included profiles should include full identifying information including birth and death dates as well as birth and death locations. It would also be very helpful if the immediate family of your pioneer ancestor, (their parents, siblings and children) profiles were public profiles also.
  • Do not make public any profiles of living people.

NOTE: All POW included on this project will have their profiles editable by other geni.com collaborators of this project. The object of reproducing the list here is to see if these people can be located on Geni and perhaps develop trees from them. To take part in any project - you do need to first be a collaborator - so join the project. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!