The mystery of the cast-off Castorffs

Solve one family history mystery, and another dozen spring up to take its place.

Last week we had a breakthrough with Val’s Morton ancestors, described in the previous post. Val’s great-great grandmother, Mary Nevard Morton, married August Decker of the British German Legion at St Botolph’s, Colchester in Essex on 31 October 1856. We’ve known that for more than 30 years. But now it appears that two of Mary’s sisters may also have married German legionnaires, possibly on the same day, and we have ordered their marriage certificates just to make sure.

According to the FreeBMD Index, Emma Morton married George Casdorff:

Surname      First name(s)            District      Vol      Page
Marriages Dec 1856   (>99%)
Casdorff     George David Julius          Colchester     4a    443
Decker     August                              Colchester     4a    443
Morton     Emma                              Colchester     4a    443
Morton     Mary _e_and           Colchester     4a    443
Rodwell     Emma                              Colchester     4a    443

and Emma Morton alias Rodwell married George David Julius Casdorff. They sailed to the Easten Cape on the Stamboul, and disembarked at Eastlondon on 2 February 1857. According to the German Settlers Database George Kasdorf purchased his discharge on 16 February 1860.

Having finally found the Morton family in the 1851 census we know Mary had a sister Emma, and when August and Mary Decker had their first and only son Edwin baptised at King William’s Town in 1861, the godparents were George and Emma Castorff.

But that seems to be the last sign of George and Emma in South Africa. Searching for Castorff or Casdorff (and Kasdorff and Kastorff) in the South African archives index NAAIRS draws a blank, and they should have appeared there if they died in South Africa. There are a few references to Kasdorf, but none appear to be related. So they must have emigrated again, as many of the German military settlers did. Any reports of sightings anywhere will be gratefully received.

Germans in the Eastern Cape

There’s a new website on Germans in the Eastern Cape. Or perhaps I should rather say that it is an old site that has been revamped and moved to a new address.

Two groups of German settlers came to the Eastern Cape (well, the part of it then called British Kaffraria) in 1858/59. The first to arrive were the military settlers of the British German Legion, who had been recruited to fight in the Crimean War, but the war ended before they could be deployed, so it was decided to send them to the Eastern Cape instead. The civilian settlers followed about a year or two later. The web site explains the background to the emigration of both groups, and gives quite detailed information on the military settlers.

Val’s grandmother, Emma le Sueur (formerly Greene, formerly Chelin, born Decker) descended from both groups. Her Decker ancestors were among the military settlers, being Carl August Decker, who married Mary Nevard Morton in Colchester just before leaving (the British Germaon Legion was trained at Colchester in Essex). The civilian settlers included the Falkenberg and Schultz families from the Ueckermark in Brandenberg. The Schultz family were of French Huguenot descent, and they are the ones we know most about in the earlier generations, but practically nothing since they arrived in South Africa.

We’ve also discovered other links, not direct ancestors, but people who married into other branches of the family. Another of the military settlers was Captain Carl Arthur von Lilienstein. He was a customs official in Holstein 1839-1848, then joined the British German Legion and led a party of 100 military settlers to Berlin in British Kaffraria in 1857. He was also a Count (Graf). His daughter Ida married Henry Green, brother of Val’s great great grandfather Frederick Thomas Green.

The Falkenberg and Schultz families came on the Wilhelmsburg, which sailed from Hamburg on 19 October 1858, and arrived in East London on 13 January 1859. According to the web site, 64 children and one adult died on the voyage. We know that one of the children who died was a member of the Schultz family, three-year-old Wilhelmine Caroline Schultz, because she was on the embarkation list at Hamburg, but not on the disembarkation list at East London. The web site does not give details of the children who travelled, just the parents, though perhaps one day it may be possible to include the complete passenger lists for both ends of the voyage.

A quite recent discovery we have made is that a Devantier family on board the Wilhelmsburg was related to the Schultz family. It is possible that several other families who emigrated may have been related as well. And ironically, though we have been able to trace the Schultz ancestry furthest back, to Calais and Flanders in the mid-17th century, once they reached South Africa they all vanished without trace, all, that is except for Justine (nicknamed Jessie), nine years old on the voyage out, who married Christian Falkenberg after his first wife died, though we haven’t been able to find a record of that marriage either. So if anyone sees anything possibly related to this Schultz family, please contact us!

Family Group Record for Martin Schultz


Husband Martin Schultz-[26]


           Born: 11 Aug 1822 - Wendemark, , , Germany
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:

         Father: Martin Schultz-[25] (Abt 1781-          )
         Mother: Marie Payard-[23] (1785-          )

       Marriage: 9 Jun 1844 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia [MRIN:13]

Events


1. Emigration, on Wilhelmsburg, 19 Oct 1858 – Hamburg, Germany


Wife Justine Holtzendorff-[37]


            AKA: Justine Holzendorf
           Born: 16 Dec 1825 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:  - Cape Colony
         Buried:

         Father: Friedrich Holtzendorff-[36] (Abt 1788-1846)
         Mother: Dorothea Kaeding-[35] (1796-          )

Events


1. Emigration, Ship Wilhelmsburg, 19 Oct 1858 – Hamburg, Germany


Children


1 F Wilhelmine Luise Schultz-[38]


           Born: 3 Sep 1844 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died: 14 Nov 1850 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
         Buried:

2 M Wilhelm Friedrich Schultz-[39]


           Born: 3 Aug 1847 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:

3 F Justine Wilhelmine Schultz-[40]


            AKA: Jessie Schultz
           Born: 22 Jun 1849 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died: 21 Apr 1927 - East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
         Buried:
         Spouse: Michael John Christian Falkenberg-[44] (1827-1882)
           Marr:  [MRIN:20]
         Spouse: Charles John Koch-[336] (          -1940)
           Marr: Mar 1883 [MRIN:19]

4 F Marie Luise Schultz-[41]


           Born: 22 Jun 1852 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:

5 F Wilhelmine Caroline Schultz-[42]


           Born: 9 May 1855 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died: Abt 1858 - At Sea
         Buried:

6 M Karl Wilhelm August Schulz-[43]


            AKA: August Schultz
           Born: 2 Jan 1858 - Meichow, Ückermark, Brandenburg, Prussia
       Baptised:
           Died:
         Buried:


General Notes (Husband)


Knecht und Tagelõhner in Meichiow, emigrated to the Cape Colony with his family in 1858.
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2008

There’s more on the Falkenberg family here and here, and more about the Decker family here.

Decker family of the Eastern Cape

Clyde Hannan left a comment about a school friend of his, Ben Decker, who lives in Transkei. As far as I know he isn’t related, but it prompted me to start a page for the Decker family on the family Wiki.

Val’s grandmother was Emma Decker (1900-1980), who married Joseph Theodore Christopher Chelin in Bulawayo, then Allan Dudley Greene, and finally Ed le Sueur.  Her grandfather, August Decker, came to South Africa with the British German Legion in the 1850s with his wife Mary Nevard Morton, whom he married at Colchester, Essex.  They had one son, Edwin Robert Morton Decker, and he died a few years later.

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