Denneville in Silverton Cemetery

In correspondence with Gunter von Schumann of the Windhoek Scientific Society (who helped us a great deal with out family history research in Namibia last year) he mentioned that some cousins were buried in Tshwane. We discovered that they were buried in Silverton Cemetery, which is probably the closest one to where we live, and we went along to see the grave.

They were Karl Jacob Denneville (1907-1982) and Gladys Adelheid Denneville (1915-1979), both Val’s second cousins twice removed, and second cousins to each other, all being descended from Francis Stewardson and Frances Morris.

Denneville grave in Silverton Cemetery

Denneville grave in Silverton Cemetery

Karl Jacob Denneville’s father, Jacob Denneville, was an Alsatian, and was born in 1869, the year before Alsace was transferred from France to Germany after the Franco-Prussian War. In German South West Africa most of the records used the German spelling Dennewill, and it seems that many of the family did too, but Karl Jacob retained the original spelling. Jacob (father of Karl Jacob) settled in Omaruru, and married Emily Jacoba Stewardson,

Gladys Adelheid (or Adelaide) Lindholm was the daughter of Gustav Adolph Lindholm who was born and died in Omaruru, and Johanna Susanna du Plooy.

Gunter von Schumann drew our attention to the record of the gravestone on the eGGSA website here, but as the inscription was faded and hard to read, and the cemetery was nearby, we went along to have a look at it. The cemetery is in the middle of the industrial area of Silvertondale, a kind of oasis of spring green peace.

We drove down Cemetery Street, turned around at the end, and wondered where to start looking for the grave. We stopped under a suitable shady tree, and thought that graves dated from the late 1970s would be a good place to start, but even before we got out of the car we spotted the grave, about four away from the road.

The grave, like many other nearby ones, had a granite base, but the part with the information we were looking for was made of marble, and the paint had peeled out of the inscription, which, after 30 years, was barely readable. That is probably the result of of industrial pollution and acid rain. Granite is a much more long-lasting material.

It seemed like a good opportunity to try the BillionGraves app on my cellphone, but we had some problems with it, so took some photos with our ordinary cameras as well, and when we got home entered the results into the Find-a-Grave web site, using the full dates instead of the years only recorded on the eGSSA web site.  The BillionGraves application sounds useful, but we found it difficult to use. Find-a-Grave is easier, and both do roughly the same thing. For more infor on the comparison between them, see our other blog.

Chasing Namibian families

Next week we hope to travel to Namibia to see friends and family, and do some historical research — family, church and general history. We’ll try to update our blogs with our progress if we have internet access: this one for family news and family history; Notes from underground for general observations, photos and chit-chat; and Khanya for general history, church history and more serious observations. It used to be possible to keep in touch with all of them by following Tumblr, but Tumblr doesn’t seem to work as a blog aggregator any more.

It’s more than 20 years since we last visited Namibia, and more than 40 years since I lived there, so we expect to see many changes. We plan to go first to Windhoek, where we hope to stay with Val’s cousins Enid and Justin Ellis. Enid is a cousin on the Pearson/Ellwood side of the family.

We also hope to see Mburumba Kerina, a more distant cousin on the Green side of the family. “Kerina” is the Herero form of  “Green” and Mburumba Kerina is descended from Val’s great great grandfather Fred Green through his second wife, Sarah Kaipukire (Val is descended from his third wife, Kate Stewardson). We also hope to find out something about Fred Green’s first wife, who was a Dixon, and died about 1860. We don’t even know her name. There’s more on this in the earlier article Gunning for the Dixons. On the Stewardson side of the family, there are several descendants in Namibia, mainly of the Lindholm, Dennewill and Jeske families. We don’t have any current addresses for them, but we may be able to make contact with some of them while we are there.

HiskiaUOne of the friends we hope to see is Hiskia Uanivi. When I lived in Windhoek he was a student at the Paulinum, the Lutheran theological seminary then based at Otjimbingue. In early 1971 my friend and colleage Dave de Beer and I went on a holiday trip to see friends and family in South Africa (rather like the trip we are planning now, but in reverse).

Hiskia had never been to South Africa, and the Paulinum was closed for the Christmas holidays, so he came with us, travelling via Keetmanshoop, Vanzylsrust, Hotazel and Kuruman to Johannesburg (about a 22-hour drive). There we were joined by my cousins Jenny and John Aitchison, and we travelled to Nqutu in Zululand, staying at the Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital (then an Anglican church hospital), and then via KwaMagwaza and Mphumulo to Pietermaritzburg, where John and Jenny Aitchison lived. We left Hiskia at the Mapumulo Lutheran Seminary for a couple of days, as he was curious to see how it compared with the Paulinum, and one of the old Paulinum teachers, Dr Theo Sundermeier, was then teaching there.

We spent a couple of days with the Mnguni family in the foothills of the Drakensberg, helping them to erect a chicken run that would gather manure for fertilising the crops, and then went on to Umtata, Alice, Grahamstown and Cape Town, and from there back to Namibia. At that time there were Anglican theological colleges in Umtata, Alice and Grahamstown, and we visited them, so Hiskia was able to make more comparisons.

With the Mnguni family at Stepmore, near Himeville. Hiskia Univi on the left, Mr & Mrs Mnguni on the right, Chris Shabalala in the middle, flanked by Dave de Been and Steve Hayes, Jenny Aitchison in front, and other members and neighbours of the Mnguni household. 16 Feb 1971

With the Mnguni family at Stepmore, near Himeville. Hiskia Uanivi on the left, Mr & Mrs Mnguni on the right, Chris Shabalala in the middle, flanked by Dave de Beer and Steve Hayes, Jenny Aitchison in front, and other members and neighbours of the Mnguni household. 16 Feb 1971

Now we are planning, for the first time, to travel to Namibia via Botswana on the Trans-Kalahari route. Back then it was not possible, as one needed passports to cross Botswana, and the South African government, which then ruled Namibia, would not give passports to people it regarded as politically unreliable. We also hope to visit the Etosha Pan Game Reserve, and Ovamboland, and return via the Okavango and following the course of the Taokhe River to Lake Ngami, which in Fred Green’s day was navigable by boat, though getting a boat there by ox wagon must have been quite a feat.

So, if the opportunity arises, we hope to blog about our trip as we go. You’ll find the first instalment of our travelogue here.

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