Salomina Edith 'Minnie' Gilbert nee Steyn

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Salomina Edith Gilbert (Steyn)

Also Known As: "Minnie", "Salomin Edith", "Steyn b1c8d13e6f8g2"
Birthdate: (85)
Birthplace: Heilbron, Northern Free State, Free State, South Africa
Death: June 18, 1962 (85)
Johannesburg, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng, South Africa (Natural causes)
Place of Burial: Mooi River, Indlovu DC, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Marthinus Willem Petrus Steyn, b1c8d13e6f8 and Anna Cornelia Catharina Steyn
Wife of George Gilbert
Mother of George Edward Gilbert; Alan Calder Gilbert; John Leslie Gilbert and Dorothy Mackay
Sister of Willie Steyn; Reginald Steyn, b1c8d13e6f8g3; Frances Maud van Onselen; Irving Steyn, b1c8d13e6f8g5 and Eustace Steyn, b1c8d13e6f8g6

Managed by: Chris Steyn
Last Updated:

About Salomina Edith 'Minnie' Gilbert nee Steyn

Written by her grandson, Rodney Gilbert:

I spent some time this weekend going through trunks of family documents trying to find a photo of Minnie Steyn without any success. I have also emailed the few family members still alive again without any success. I do have a photo of her gravestone in Mooi River, but that is all.

It is now up to my memory and family notes to try to paint a brief picture so here goes :-

When I was 16 years old in 1954 I “interviewed” grandma Minnie Steyn about her family history for a school project I was doing. The most amazing thing I can say is that she had the ancestry back to Douwe Gerbrant Steyn [now known 1631-1700] very largely correct. The big difference is that she thought Maria [his wife] was a half-cast Dutch-Malaysian slave who had been liberated in Java and came to Cape to work. She thought Jacobus Steyn and Antie were their natural children and their only children.

She was extremely bitter about the death of her mother in the Heilbron Concentration Camp set up by the British military during the Anglo-Boer war. Her mother [my great-grandmother], Anna Cornelia Catharina Steyn [nee Siebert] died on July 4, 1901, of Typhoid as a result of the terrible conditions in the Heilbron Concentration Camp. She was also very bitter about the burning down of her parents farm during the same war.

The history, very briefly, George Gilbert [born in Scotland 16 Nov 1870] and his brother John took a mine engineering qualification at the university in Aberdeen, Scotland. They planned to go to Australia to join the gold rush. They changed their minds and went to South Africa in 1893. John got a job with a mine in Witwatersrand but George took a job with the Roads Department in Natal. George had a Blasting Certificate as a part of his qualification and the Roads Dept needed an expert to set the charges to blast through cuttings in the new roads they were building. The job paid well and George bought [as an investment] a small hotel in Mooi River. I cannot find how and when he first met Minnie but she was qualified as a nurse and he met her at her hospital. Think but not sure one of his employees was injured and he met her when he took said employee to hospital. He proposed on the basis she moved to Mooi River and managed his hotel while he continued to work for Roads Dept until he made enough money.

They had absolutely no idea the Anglo-Boer War was going to happen. Their first child died in early infancy and George was back comforting Minnie in Mooi River in Nov 1899 when Boer forces attacked and surrounded Ladysmith less than 100 km north of Mooi River. George and Minnie stayed in Mooi River during the whole of the war. Ironically, the hotel did very well during this time.

Most of the rest of the “interview” was very great detail of her brother Willie’s escape from prison camp in Ceylon [with four others] when they swam to a Russian ship and Willie’s subsequent life. Lots of info on other Boer prisoners in Ceylon. Lots of info on her cousin President Marthinus Theunis Steyn [1857- 1916].

What I cannot find is the name of the second wife of her father, Marthinius Willem Petrus Steyn [1848-1918]. Some time after his first wife [Minnie’s mother] died in the Heilbron Concentration Camp he remarried. Minnie was very bitter about this and did not even mention details of his children. As far as she was concerned she had one older brother Willie [1875-1946 ] and two younger brothers Irving [1886-1964 an extremely wealthy successful auctioneer ] and Eustace [1894-1979 a Schools Inspector] and that was that.

I cannot find out whether Irving [15 at mother death] or Eustace [7 at mothers death] were in the Concentration Camp with their mother.

End of quote from the contribution by Rodney Gilbert.

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Salomina Edith 'Minnie' Gilbert nee Steyn's Timeline

March 5, 1877
Heilbron, Northern Free State, Free State, South Africa
Age 24
Age 27
March 17, 1908
Age 31
January 16, 1916
Age 38
June 18, 1962
Age 85
Johannesburg, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng, South Africa
June 18, 1962
Age 85
Mooi River, Indlovu DC, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Photo of her gravestone on eGGSA website