Jacobus Hendrik Louw Nell

Started by Lee Alison Francis Cahill on Monday, March 18, 2013


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3/18/2013 at 11:36 AM

Hi all,

Myself and one of the other managers of the profile for my great-grandfather, Jacobus Hendrik Louw Nell (JHLN) have uncovered what appears to be a bit of a tangle in our mutual family tree, and we'd be grateful of any help in our attempts to try and sort this out.

I added a profile for JHNL to my tree based on a very reliable written family tree that I inherited from my Mom. It was put together with the help of my grandmother, one of the daughters of JHLN. In that tree, JHLN's father's name is given as Jacobus Willem Adriaan Nell, and it states that he married in Kakamas. I added this profile to my tree too.

As a result of a subsequent merge somewhere in the tree, JHNL's siblings are currently listed as:-
- Anna Hendrina Helena Maria Nell
- Casper Jan Hendrik Lucas Nell
- Jacobus Adriaan Nell
- Jacoba Hendrika Nell
- Hendrik Johannes Nell
- Pieter Nell
- Salmon Johannes Cornelius Nell
- Jan Abraham Nell

This has always seemed like a mis-match to me, simply because my grandmother never mentioned any of these names, but I understand that doesn't prove anything.

However, one of the other managers of the profile, Jan Jacob de Klerk, recently did some research into this H generation, and came up with the following list of children for the Jacobus Willem Adriaan Nell, SV1b8c1d3e3f1g1 (b. 1844) listed as JHLN's father on our tree:
- Jan Adriaan Nel (note the different spelling of the surname, though)
- Jacobus Willem Adriaan Nel
- Jacoba Hendrika Nel
No other children are listed.

The sources for this information are:
- C.C. de Villiers and C. Puma, 'Geslagregisters van ou Kaapse families'
- J.H. Heese amd R.T. Lombard 'Suid Afrikaanse Geslagregisters'
Transcription are available under the 'Media' tab on the profile for JWA Nell.

Can anyone throw any light on whether the siblings currently listed on the tree are really JHLN's siblings or whether there's been a mis-match? As I say, any help would be appreciated.


3/18/2013 at 11:52 PM

Thanks for documenting your research here, Lee - It does sound like a mis-merge to me. I'll wait to hear if other people have more info to add. Then I'll happily add some curator tools into the mix to help you untangle.

3/19/2013 at 5:29 AM

Thanks, that's great! Jan Jacob de Klerk's sister is trawling through archive material in the Cape to see what we can come up with. I'll post more once I hear back from him,.

You must read/study that Franschoek documents very carefully. Each time i read it i see something new. Not al the sons and daughters of JWA Nell
is mentioned on the document but they say there that there was 12 brothers and 2 sisters. The children of JWA Nell listed on the document
is in no particular order. Jan Adriaan,Jacobus Willem Adriaan,Jan Abraham,Casper Jan Hendrik Lucas,Hendrik Johannes Jacoba Hendrika.
So there are 7 brothers and one sister short. Salmon and Pieter is definatly not brothers of the above . Their names is Visser names and their profiles is later in my Family Tree. I am very sure one of the brothers was Gert (Jacobus) too. He was a very strong man and his brothers name him 'Sterk Gert'. His son is in an old age home in Windhoek. I will see if i can trace him and talk to him. Louwtjie was also one of the brothers. Must be JHLouw Nell-after his mothers family.

3/20/2013 at 12:31 AM

Collaborative research is what makes Geni such fun. Thanks guys.

3/20/2013 at 3:29 AM

It's all good, as the saying goes! As Jan says, the Franschoek records indicate that JWA Nell had 14 children, and we haven't yet been able to confirm the names of all of these. I feel pretty certain, based on my own family records, that JHL Nell was a son of JWA Nell - we just need to confirm that!

But, as Jan says, some of the other siblings on the tree don't seem to be a 'fit' - and hopefully the research being done by his sister, who's a real genealogical sleuth, will clear up the mystery.

Another issue is that JWA Nell was married more than once, so we need to 'fit' the various children to the different mothers too. It's quite a puzzle but, as you say, Sharon - the process is great fun! It's wonderful to be able to work with cousins in other parts of the family tree to try and sort out ancestral information like this.

3/20/2013 at 3:40 AM

Jan, just one question at this stage, though. I see you've added several unnamed wives for JWA Nell, but I can only see two on the Franschoek notes - first Jacoba Hendrika Louw and then Anna Visagie. Is there any indication that JWA Nell had other wives?

3/21/2013 at 12:55 PM

As a descendant of Johannes Hendrik Adrian(Adriaan?) Nell *c.1840s-50s of Fish River area of Albany(Grahamstown district),I have a similar problem. No mention in SAG. Only record so far is 1876 Methodist baptism of his daughter Anna Cornelia Maria Nell(maternal great-grandmother). It seems SAG has none of my 4 known(so far) maternal Afrikaner Methodist ancestors-only NG. They appear to suddenly stop dead when the next generation was baptised Methodist/Anglican etc. I got lucky & found my Naude ancestor,obviously NG in SAG after finding his/my family on a cousin's tree. His son(maternal g-g grandfather) was recorded in 1865 Peddie Methodist marriages. Nell Methodist baptisms start in 1824 Albany-recorded incorrectly by English-speakers unfamiliar with Dutch spelling. So search those Methodist registers..My Naude G-grandfather was an Anglican 'Joiner'-even more confusing,yet one brother at least was a 'Rebel'..

3/22/2013 at 12:17 AM

It's quite a tangle, isn't it?? And how odd that SAG doesn't seem to record Afrikaner Methodists.

My Gran's family definitely weren't Methodists, though - all NGK. She was even 'geskors' from the church for dancing on the eve of her confirmation. Being a proud, no-nonsense woman - even at that age - she refused to return to the church when the sanction was lifted, and left the NGK for good. One of those great ancestral stories ...

3/22/2013 at 1:57 AM

There's a similar story in my family from my Anglican-baptised Naude grandma-one of her female ancestors left the NG after her husband(Naude or possibly Nel) died in a snowstorm while out rounding up livestock. The extremely arrogant dominee that came around,refused to enter the lowly 'pondok' erected on their newly acquired farm and looked askance on her crippled teenage daughter dragging herself around. That was too much for the newly-widowed matriarch. She joined the Methodist church I think & never looked back. I realised recently that these Methodist/Anglican Afrikaners probably made up the bulk of the ' Bloedsappe'-staunch South African Party/United Party supporters in the years leading up to the National Party winning their first majority in 1948 and on. PS-found a few Nels in Grahamstown Anglican baptisms-1820-26:Cory MS 14 877/1 Transcribed by Tessa King. There was a whole extended Methodist clan along the Fish River 1860's-80's(Albany district)-probably all relatives of mine. Some of the wives were English-speakers and some of the childrens' names were anglicised-not uncommon in Eastern Cape.

3/22/2013 at 2:14 AM

Such fascinating posts, guys.

Yes my Eastern Cape Doubell grandpa walked out (literally) of the NG Kerk and became Presbyterian when the dominee preached against men bringing war into the church, because he was in a British uniform during the WW.

His mother was a Smuts and his wife was a Botha - (so they stage had already been set :-)) and until then they'd been Afrikaans speaking - but changed to English from that day on and, as you say, @Alistair voted UP.

3/22/2013 at 2:32 AM

Wow! What amazing stories! They really bring our history to life! And I have to say I'm dumbfounded by some of the stuff that went on in the NGK in those days ...

3/22/2013 at 5:57 AM

I'm sure all institutions of the kind :-)

3/22/2013 at 6:29 AM

True enough :))

3/23/2013 at 5:47 AM

Sharon-that sounds familiar-my Cape Mounted Police member (Naude) G-grandfather spoke only English according to my aunt(and clearly a staunch Anglican),was with a 270 strong detachment of his unit @ Siege of Kimberley after coming in from nearby Fourteen Streams.Among the encircling Boers was one of his brothers-a Cape Rebel. Would love to understand why they had such different political outlooks,but it does explain why the rest of his family is so hard to find! Re church-my 2 oldest aunts(granddaughters of the Naude) were Methodist like their parents,the 2 youngest were Anglican(my surviving aunt who said she preferred the high church services dragged my mom,her youngest sister along).Their grandmother(Mrs Naude) was a Cape Dutch-speaking Methodist Nel.

3/23/2013 at 7:04 AM

Wow! What an awful thought that brothers were fighting brothers.
I was interested to find that my mother's gxgrandfather was inside Mafeking during the siege; while my father's gxgrandfather was outside bombarding them with the Long Tom cannon - but your story definitely trumps mine.

3/24/2013 at 12:15 AM

I suspect it was quite common for members of the same family or extended family to be on different sides during the Boer War, because some Afrikaner families/individuals had alliances with the British. I've heard of this happening quite often in my research ...

3/24/2013 at 1:19 AM

'Broedertwis' in Afrikaner families of that time had much to with marrying into Anglo families or not I suspect. Found 2 concentration camp prisoners among my father's Cape NGK-baptised Bosman grandma's uncles-they were Free State Boers,one actively fought the British and was exiled for his troubles. They were both in their 60's! I had never heard a peep about all this in my family...

3/24/2013 at 1:48 AM

There's a book in this you know :-)

3/24/2013 at 1:50 AM

Ah, yes, the issue of marrying into Anglo families makes a lot of sense! I think there were some trade alliances too, but I can't be sure - I'd need to investigate. And yep, amazing what comes out of the woodwork in the course of one's research - lots that was never mentioned in the family :)

4/26/2013 at 6:10 AM

Been visiting Jan Jakob (Kobus) on his farm near Koës in Namibia and when the first rains started in that drought stricken area.
Not sure whether all the persons have been untangled.
Lee, I guess that the chasing away was in Kakamas. A number of my relatives were also chased away for similar "weaknesses" but not all of them can plead "holiness". They were scattered so widely that I am trying to use the transcription of the 1984 Voters roll to find some of them .

No need to disclose my whereabouts - I know where I am!!!

4/26/2013 at 6:28 AM

All of us so far on this discussion are 7th or 8 th cousins, (at least you are related to me in that degree), so we should have some common history.
Most of us will also be related to Bezuidenhout, Scheepers, Vermaak and van Rensburg families as these were prominent in the Eastern Cape where most of the trekker families mingled with the 1820 settlers.

4/26/2013 at 3:28 PM

Half of my grandfathers siblings are anglican and the other younger half are catholic. The story i heard was that there was someone seriously ill and the anglican minister was summoned. For some or other reason he could not come immediately. The catholic priest hearing of the trouble came and offered what comfort he could. My great grandmother thereafter attended the catholic church. It may pay to also look in catholic records.

4/27/2013 at 1:07 AM

Peter Dennis-Catholic Church is tough nut to crack,treating records as if the Information Protection Act applies to them,very secretive so I've heard!

4/28/2013 at 4:23 AM

Daan - yep, I think we've managed to untangle things, and that the proiles on the tree are now correct to the best of our knowledge. Jan Jacob (Kobus) came up with some amazing information - like old baptism records - that have really enabled us to clarify things.

I also managed to confirm with my aunt (JHLN's granddaughter) that a few of his siblings moved to Namibia after having some success as diamond diggers in the northern Cape Colony. I hadn't realised this, so was a surprised to hear of family in Nambia when Kobus first contacted me, but it all 'fits' now.

Otherwise, I've been off the grid a bit of late, so still don't know what happened with regard to the two brothers Salmon and Pieter, who apparently belong to a different generation. Have you and Kobus managed to chat about this?

Alistair - what a pity about the Catholic Church records! I have Catholic family on the other side of my family tree (paternal), and access to the records would really help!

3/17/2014 at 1:35 AM

Just to upset the whole apple cart and casting some doubt on the "certainty", I add somme inputs from a message:

Daniel Jacobus Botes, g2h3
Today at 9:49 AM
Managers of Jacobus Hendrik Louw Nell, SV1b8c1d3e3f1g1h1,

I am contacting you about this profile: http://www.geni.com/people/Jacobus-Hendrik-Louw-Nell/60000000177360...
How certain are you about his date of birth, because I found a guy with the same name and same parents born on 13.4.1872 and baptised 2.3.1873 in Calvinia?

Daniel Jacobus Botes, g2h3

Jacobus Hendrik Louw Nell, SV1b8c1d3e3f1g1h1

Alternatively this guy was linked to the wrong parents - any evidence to the contrary?

Most of the settlers only arrived in the late 1890's in Kakamas which makes it really doubtful that he was born in Kakamas.

Daniel Jacobus Botes, g2h3
Today at 9:52 AM
Alternatively this guy was linked to the wrong parents - any evidence to the contrary?

3/18/2014 at 2:32 PM

Hi Daniel,

As mentioned in my response to your query, Jacobus Hendrik Louw Nell was my great-grandfather, and I got the birth date of 21 November 1865 from my grandmother (his daughter), so I'm almost sure it's correct. We can check up on this, though. He's buried in Fairlands Cemetery in Johannesburg, and I know I have a photograph of my grandmother at his headstone (somewhere!), so I'll try to find it in order to confirm his birth date one way or another.

As far as the Cavinia/Kakamas issue is concerned, I know that JHNL's father (Willem Adriaan) was married in Kakamas, but information drawn from other trees indicates that he was born in Calivinia, so either birth place is possible for JHNL - I just don't know for sure. My grandmother always used to say that her people (family) came form 'beyond Upington', which is more likely to be have been the Kakamas district than Calvinia, but her parents wouldn't necessarily have been born there. I guess that if we can verify JHLN's birth date, we may be able to verify the place of birth based on that.

Kobus de Klerk might also be able to offer some input, as his great-grandfather and JHNL were brothers.

I hope this helps. I'll try to find that pic of the headstone and will upload a copy when I find it.

P.S. According to family records, the parents he's linked to are correct so, as far as I know, there's no error there.

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