Namibian cousins visit

Last month we had a visit from Val’s cousin Enid Ellis and her husband Justin, who were on holiday from Windhoek, Namibia. Val and Enid are cousins on the Pearson side of the family. We manage to see them once every 5 years or so, usually when they are passing through, and catch up with news of family and friends. This time we did it over lunch in Centurion Mall.

Enid Ellis, Val Hayes, Justin Ellis

Val (nee Greene) and Enid (nee Gammage) grew up in Escombe, in Queensburgh, Natal, near Durban and the families were very close, and they spent a lot of time together.

Steve met Justin when he came to Windhoek with a group of  students from Stellenbosch University to spend part of their summer vac there in 1970. Actually it was a funny summer, as for one week it was bitterly cold, and there was snow in the Cape, in December!

Steve and Justin met again in July 1972 (the real winter) at an Anglican Students Federation conference at KwaMagwaza in Zululand. Steve had been deported from Namibia, along with some other church workers, including the bishop, Colin Winter, and so Steve tried to persuade Justin to go there to take the place of some of those who were kicked out. Whether the persuasion did the trick, or whether it was something else, Justin eventually went.

A few months after that meeting, Steve met Val and Enid in Queensburgh, and in 1973 Val and Enid went to Namibia on holiday. In 1974 Enid decided to go back there, and later that year Val and Steve were married, and Enid and Justin as well. And a few years later Justin and Enid were deported from Namibia (an insidious habit), and spent a few years in England, returning when Namibia became independent in 1990.

Back in the 1970s we were all Anglicans. Now Enid and Justin are Quakers, and Val and Steve are Orthodox.

More meetings of Green(e) cousins

At the beginning of the year Val’s nephew Greg Machin went to New Zealand, and we told him about some of the Green family relatives living there. Yesterday he met some of them, when he went to have lunch with Denton and Ione Evans in Auckland.

Greg Machin and Ione Evans, Auckland, New Zealand 8 May 2010

Greg and Ione are third cousins twice removed, their nearest common ancestors being William John Green (1790-1866) and his wife Margaret Gray (1795-1844). The Green family lived in Quebec, but after Margaret died in about 1843 (we think in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but are not certain) William John Green and the surviving younger children came to the Cape Colony. One of the brothers, Henry Green, married Ida von Lilienstein, and is Ione’s ancestor, while his younger brother Fred Green was Greg’s great great great great grandfather.

We did not know anything about Ione until she was put in touch with us by Colleen Tapscott (another descendant of Henry Green) in January 2006. Ione was researching the von Lilienstein family, and sent a great deal of information on her branch of the family, descended from Henry Green’s daughter Edith Susanna Green who married Ernest Borwick and went to Kenya, which was why we had not been able to find them.

Greg went to New Zealand to be closer to his daughter Abby, who went there with her mother Sharon and Sharon’s husband about 18 months ago. He works in computer networking, and is hoping to find a job in New Zealand. Ione was born and grew up in Kenya, and after leaving school went to London, where she married Denton Evans (who grew up in the Falkland Islands and later lived in Kenya; his father has written an interesting book about the Falkland Islands). After their marriage Denton and Ione went to New Zealand, and all their children were born there.

Kerry Greene in hospital after accident

Val’s sister Elaine Machin has just phoned to say that their cousin Alan Greene’s youngest daughter Kerry, aged 18, is seriously ill in hospital after a car accident, and is in intensive care. They live in Port Elizabeth.

Surge of interest in Wiki pages

There’s been a sudden surge of interest in our family history Wiki pages, with over 70 visitors last Monday, according to the statistics., most of them from South Africa and the USA.

I’m not quite sure what brought that on, but so far there haven’t been been any contributions of information from anyone other than me. I wish a few other people would at least add a sentence or two here and there. It’s really quite easy to do, and there’s more information on how to do it here.

We recently got an e-mail from Caitlin Green, so I added a page of information about the Green family, which has spread to just about every continent from Quebec, which is the first place we’ve managed to trace it to, though it probably to there from somewhere else.

Family WikiSpaces

You may have heard of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, which is one of the most useful sources of information on the Internet.

Now we have started a family history Wiki on Wikispaces, and we invite all members of the family to have a look at it and join it.

The Hayes and Green family history space

This WikiSpace, called “hayesgreene” is for members of the Hayes, Greene and related families to post family news, history and anecdotes, and to make contact with other members of the family, and learn about the family history.

Who is it for?

It’s for any members of our families, that is, anyone who is related to us in any way. That means, in the first place, anyone descended from any of our ancestors — uncles, aunts and cousins. That includes 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, up to and beyond 15th cousins seven times removed, and their spouses, parents of spouses and children of spouses.

Who are we?

We are Steve and Val Hayes, and we live in Pretoria, Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa. You can find out more about who we are on our family web pages, and also on our blog (which you’re reading now!)

How do I participate?

You participate by clicking on “join this space”, which you will find somewhere on the left (not here, but in the WikiSpace page). If you are already a member of WikiSpaces, your application will be sent to us. If you are not already a member of WikiSpaces you will be invited to join (and then you can create your own WikiSpaces as well). When we receive your application, we will check to see whether you are related to us in any way, and if you are, your application will be approved and you will be able to add to and edit the information on these pages. But even if you are not related, you can still read the pages.

How does this compare with a blog?

A blog is for changing information that quickly gets out of date. While you can find old blog posts, you have to search for them, and they are not always easy to find. A family history blog can be good as a record of new information found, meetings with family members, reports of family reunions and so on.

What a blog is not so good for is things like anecdotes by and ancestors, biographies, research problems and dead-ends and so on. Updating biographical information on a two-year-old blog post is not much use, because few people will know that it has been updated, and so few will read it. But in a Wiki such information can be updated and added to as more information is found, and it can be found much more easily.

So, if you are related, go and look at the HayesGreene Wikispace, and think of stuff you can add. There’s not much there yet, but there will soon be if we all get working on it.

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