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Unresolved South African Genealogical Mysteries

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  • William Rosser (1817 - 1893)
    Death Notice 1893 Prince Albert John James Rosser on 21st February, 2012 wrote: We believe that my great great grandfather escaped amid the confusion when the ship The Waterloo sunk off the coast o...
  • William John Worthington (c.1826 - d.)
    The Haystack grows bigger and the needle smaller===ON 14 OCTOBER 2013.Bets TerblanceMy search involves finding the origins of my great-grandfather on maternal side. My grandfather’s surname was initial...
  • William Brooks (1815 - 1895)
    John James Rosser on 21st February, 2012 wrote:We believe that my great great grandfather escaped amid the confusion when the ship The Waterloo sunk off the coast of South Africa on the 28 August 1842....
  • Jan Hendrik Leonard van Greening (1919 - 2001)
    Aangenome kind Biologiese ouers onbekend Adopted child, adopted at age 9, Biological parents unknown.
  • Gysbert Gerhardus Sutherland, b1c9 (1859 - 1915)
    Middelburg Baptism Record Death Notice: KAB MOOC 6/9/846 119 (1917) -------------------------------------------------According to a Source (see Sources), he died on 21 Jan 1915. It reads, "the deceased...

A collection of profiles connected to South Africa with some intriguing aspects still to be resolved. Any genealogy sleuths who like to solve mysteries, please feel free to assist.

  • Were the mysterious 3 Englishman connected to the remote Afrikaner farming community of Gamkaskloof (aka ‘Die Hel’) survivors of the Shipwrecked Convict ship Waterloo?, which sunk off the coast of South Africa on the 28 August 1842. William John Worthington’s descendants have a tale that he was shipwrecked and subsequently adopted by an Afrikaans-speaking family – with a sister and brother being adopted by two other families. William John Worthington married Martha Johanna Cordier of Gamkaskloof in Prins Albert on 25 June 1852. John James Rosser believes that his gg grandfather William Rosser escaped amid the confusion when the ship sunk. He believes that a prisoner by the name of Brookes also managed to escape at the same time. The reason for this theory is that on the 2 November in 1851, A William Rosser married Maryna Hendrina Maria Cordier in Ladismith, and on the same day in the same church a William Brookes married her mother the widower Anna Petronella (nee Hartman) Discussion here:
  • Jan Hendrik Leonard van Greening Biological parents unknown. After his death his family discovered out of old documents that he kept secret, that he actually was LEONARD DOUGLAS SUTHERLAND who was adopted at the age of nine by Jan Hendrik van Greening, and given the name of JAN HENDRIK LEONARD VAN GREENING. It was always fascinating to his children that he as an Afrikaans speaking person was so fluent in English, and when they inquired about it he always just smiled. If anybody has information please contact Managers.
  • SOLVED Gysbert Gerhardus Sutherland According to his death notice, he died on 21 Jan 1915. It reads, "the deceased was in the kitchen during a thunderstorm when he was struck by lightning and killed instantaneously". Another member of the Sutherland family, Alleta Elizabeth Sutherland, died with him in the unexpected tragedy. According to her death notice she was 14 years old when this happened, i.e. she was born circa 1901. I have been unable to link her with a profile, or to an individual in SAG Vol 12.
  • Vaughan Daniel Urbasch I can not find any documentation referring to my grandfather. I've checked for birth, marriage and death records. I also searched for reference to him during the WWII period. All the information I have about him was given to me by my mother and another close family member. I know he used to work at a railway station in Johannesburg. The last time my mother saw him must have been around 1942. Other family members confirmed that he just vanished around that time. - Charmaine Carstens
  • SOLVED Lawence Ernest Smith According to his death notice, his date of death was "8-11-63". However, the death notice is very clearly dated "7 April 1963". It appears then that one of these two dates had to be wrong. According to the cemetery' records (of which I had sight), his date of death was "8-7-63", i.e. 8 July 1963. And therefore the mystery of his death notice deepens: A person who died on 8 July 1963, had his death notice completed with TWO erroneous dates ("8-11-63" and "7 April 1963")? I have not been able to come up with an explanation for this set of facts.
  • SOLVED J C T van der Merwe and the mysterious grave. According to SAG Vol 5b Maria Elizabeth Marchand was married to a J.C.T. van der Merwe. Anyone who knows more about J C T van der Merwe, please let us know. SOLVED!!! I am confident the people buried in this mysterious grave have now been positively identified: see Joseph Cornelis Jacobus van der Merwe and Johanna Susanna Marchand - Nico Conradie
  • SOLVED Jacobus Johannes van Zyl He died at age 15. His death notice gives his place of birth as "Klipperlein, District Albert" and "At his father's house wagon, McKernley" as the place where he died. If anyone knows where these places are/were located, please enlighten us. SOLVED!!! by Charmaine Carstens (Labuschagne)
  • SOLVED Martha Hester Jacoba van Zyl died at the age of 15. The transcription of her death notice (see sources) gives "Halboschkoek" as the place where she died. Does anyone know where this might be? SOLVED!!! The original of her death notice made it clear that the reference was in fact to Holbosch Kolk (Holboskolk), Kenhardt, South Africa. - Nico Conradie