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British Ships to South Africa in the 1800's

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  • Thomas Davenport, SV/PROG (c.1811 - 1877)
    Context of the passenger DAVENPORT, Martha on the passenger list for the Henrietta, 4 July 1850 . Landed at Port Natal, sailed from Liverpool 10 April 1850 Notes: full dates of departure and arrival ...
  • Eliza Priscilla Wood (1833 - d.)
    The KING WILLIAM sailed from London/Plymouth on 20 October 1849 and arrived at Port Natal(Durban), South Africa on 22 January 1850. Wood, James R. Wife: Mary. Children: William, James W., Mary W., Ma...
  • William Medley Wood (1831 - d.)
    Name William Medley Wood Event Type Baptism Christening Date 28 Jul 1831 Christening Place Cripplegate, London Father's Name Peter Wood Mother's Name Anne Marie Affiliate Publication Number RG4_...
  • Anna Wood (c.1824 - d.)
    The KING WILLIAM sailed from London/Plymouth on 20 October 1849 and arrived at Port Natal(Durban), South Africa on 22 January 1850. Wood, James R. Wife: Mary. Children: William, James W., Mary W., Ma...
  • Sarah Ann Kirkham, SM/PROG (1802 - 1853)
    The UNICORN sailed from Liverpool on 13 June 1850 and arrived at Port Natal(Durban), South Africa on 19 September 1850. Kirkham William C. Sarah Ann - John, William, Sarah, James, Tiney


The purpose of this project is to record as many of the ships bringing ORIGINAL settler pioneers (Heads of the family groups) to South Africa so that researchers can identify family lines and descendants.

Secondly, current researchers who are descendants of these families will be able to identify fellow researchers.

Note : These ships do not include those in the 1820 Settler sponsored settlement programme.

Historical Summary

Between July 7, 1858, and November 16, 1859, 2344 immigrants arrived at Algoa Bay on eight vessels:

  • Aurifera
  • Indian Queen
  • Vocalist
  • New Great Britain
  • Schah Jehan
  • Coldstream ~ 1st arrived Port Elizabeth 1859
  • Chatham
  • Bermondsey

The EP Herald (December 16, 1859, p 3) published a table with the statistics of this immigration scheme which saw 4633 people arriving at the Cape - about the same number as the much more famous settlement of 1820.

Esmé Bull, Aided immigration from Britain to South Africa 1857 to 1867, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, 1991 :

p 19: "It is difficult, now to imagine what conditions must have been in 1858, but imagine living for two and a half months with 226 passengers in an area less than half the sixe of a tennis court. A tennis court, wire to wire, measures 118 ft by 59 ft and the Aurifera, the smallest of the ships was 125 ft long and 24 ft 6 in wide with 6 ft 6 in headroom between decks. She carried 226 settlers. The larges vessel Gipsy Bride was 190 ft long and 38 ft wide with 7 ft 6 in headroom and carried 413 passengers."

p 28: Indian Queen (1050 tons compared to Gipsy Bride's 1487 tons) left Liverpool on 20 May 1858 with 403 settlers and arrived in PE 63 days later on 23 July 1858. "A well fitted ship which had excellent ventilation. The conduct of the passengers was very good. No illness occurred except a few cases of diarrhoea among the children. The preserved meat was bad and the supply of milk and eggs inadequate for the number of children on board. School was tolerably well attended and good progress was made... The immigrants commended both surgeon and captain for their care and attention."

How to Participate

If you have an ancestor who was an pioneer Settler who arrived by sea :

  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 Ships to South Africa in the 1800's" project.

In order to become a collaborator please join the project using the request link under "actions" at the top right of the page. Visit Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images which gives a great deal of assistance. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

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


  • Include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Also include their Ship name and arrival date if known, and if possible, the Ship's list.
  • Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists. In the interests of uniformity please use one of the images attached to this project as "flags" for pioneers where there are no other photos available. It easily identifies the actual person who was on one of the ships when browsing the Tree.
  • 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 pioneers included on this project will have their profiles editable by other collaborators of this project.




S.S. African

S.S. Anglian

S.S. Arab

S.S. Arundel Castle


S.S. Asiatic

S.S. Athenian


S.S. Avondale Castle


Balmoral Castle


S.S. Barden Tower



S.S. Braemar Castle


S.S. Briton

S.S. Carisbrook Castle

S.S. Carlton Tower

S.S. Carth Castle




City of Afra


S..S Conway Castle

Conquering Hero

S.S. Courland


S.S. Dane

S.S. Danube

S.S. Doune Castle

S.S. Dover Castle

S.S. Drummond Castle

S.S. Duart Castle

S.S. Dublin Castle

S.S. Dunbar Castle

S.S. Dunolly Castle

S.S. Dunottar Castle

S.S. Dunrobin Castle

S.S. Dunvegan Castle

S.S. Durban

Earl of Southesk





S.S. Florence

S.S. Gaika

S.S. Garth Castle

S.S. Gascon

S.S. Gaul

General Havelock

S.S. German

S.S. Gerundc

S.S. Goorkha

S.S. Goth

S.S. Grantully Castile

S.S. Greek


S.S. Guelph

S.S. Guilph

S.S. Harlech Castle

S.S. Hawarden Castle

S.S. Howarden Castle


S.S. Imbrian


Indian Queen


John & Lucy

John Masterman

S.S. Kafir

S.S. Kinfaun Castle

King William

Lady Bruce

Lady of the Lake

S.S. Lismore Castle

Lord Raglan


Maria Somes


S.S. Melrose

Methven Castle


S.S. Moor

S.S. Natal

Natal Star


S.S. Norham Castle

S.S. Norman

S.S. Nubian


S.S. Nyanza

Ocean Ranger

S.S. Olympus



S.S. Pembroke Castle



S.S. Pretoria




S.S. Roman

S.S. Roslin Castle

Royal Albert

Royal Charlie



S.S. Spartan

S.S. Pembroke

S.S. Saxon

Schah Jehan

S.S. Scot



Silvery Wave


S.S. Spartan

S.S. Stettin

S.S. Syria

S.S. Tantallon Castle

S.S. Tartar

S.S. Taymouth Castle

S.S. Tenton

S.S. Teuton

S.S. Tintagel Castle

S.S. Trojan

S.S. Truton






H.M.S. Virgo


S.S. Walmer Castle

S.S. Warwick Castle


S.S. Zulu


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