Early German Settlers of South Africa
This project is devoted to the German Settlers in South Africa. Please only add the profiles of the Stamvaders/Progenitors who came from Germany. It is also a place where you can share links to online resources, tell other users where records etc. can be found and make queries or ask for help through the discussion facility.
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- Please add the profiles of Progenitors from Germany - (not their entire families and descendants!) and also those of prominent, famous, influential South Africans from that part of the world. This is easily done from the profile page using the Add to project link.
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In 1652 the Dutch East India Company's (VOC) established a supplies station at the Cape of Good Hope under the command of Jan van Riebeeck. The party was made up of 90 settlers. They arrived in the bay of today's Cape Town, on 6 April 1652, on board five ships, the Reijer, the Oliphant, the Goede Hoop, the Walvisch end the Dromedaris., A number of these settlers were from Germany, displaced from there by the 30-year war (1618-1648). While some were Calvinist, a nymber were also Lutheran, and continued to practice this confession until the founding of the Strand Street Lutheran congregation in 1771.
(See a list of some of these very early settlers below0
In the 1680s 50 more Dutch and German farmers and women from orphanages arrived and at the end of the decade 200 by Hugenots arrived. In 1691, the population was 1000 Europeans and 400 Slaves. In 1695 there were still only 340 free-burghers. From this point onwards the white population increased naturally to about 1300 by 1700.
About 4000 Germans emigrated to the Cape during the Dutch period - almost all of them males. They came from all German-speaking areas of Europe. A number of books have been written about the early German immigrants, most notably Hoge's "Personalia of the Germans at the Cape".
The Germans who were at the Cape in the 17th C were not emigrants but worked for the Dutch East India Company, perhaps initially in Holland and then sent to the Cape.
German missionaries established themselves at various centres in South Africa. The earliest efforts were made by George Schmidt, a Moravian whose work was carried on in the late 18th c by other Moravians at the famous Genadendal Mission Station.
A group of 74 Germans, (vine-dressers and wine-makers) selected by the Cape Emigration Commissioner, Mr Field, were among emigrants who sailed to South Africa on the ship Aurifera. This was during the era of assisted emigration to the Cape between 1857 and 1862. These German passengers’ names are given in Esme Bull’s book, ‘Aided Emigration to the Cape’ and an index to all names mentioned can be found at www.genealogyworld.net/immigration/immigration.html 
After the Bergtheil Settlers arrived in Natal, German Military Settlers were sent to South Africa. These men had been recruited for service with British forces in the Crimean War (1854-6) and were stationed in England. From here it was intended they should sail to South Africa but the war ended before their departure. The soldiers (2362 in all) were instead sent to the Cape as settlers, arriving in East London in early 1857. It was suggested that the men marry, with the incentive being free passages for wives, resulting in last-minute weddings at the quayside. For names of those who married in England, on board ship or on arrival in South Africa see the free site: *www.sagenealogy.co.za/German%20Military%20Marriages%201857.htm 
During the 19th Century, a number of German Mission societies sent out Missionaries to South Africa. The Rhenish mission worked in the Cape and Namibia, the Berlin mission in Natal and Northern Transvaal, the Hermannsburg Mission in Zululand and Western Transvaal.
 Mole's Genealogy Blog - a wealth of information is explored - well worth a visit!
Links to Web pages of Interest
- List of German Settlers 1858, 1877 and 1878
- Germans in Kaffraria See also project related to the Germans in Kaffaria
- The Eastern Cape's German Settlers
- Database of German Settlers
- German South African Resource Page