Growdon family in the Eastern Cape

On our recent holiday trip we visited Steve’s second cousin once removed, Hamish Scott, and his wife Monica and their son Robbie at Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.

Scott family

Hamish, Monica & Robbie Scott, Stutterheim, 17 May 2011

Hamish is the son of Steve’s second cousin, Florence Scott, born Moors, and Florence’s grandmother was Christiana Jane (Jenny) Growdon, who married Daniel Moors at Bethulie in the Free State.

Robbie runs a nursery, and self-catering cabins called The Shire which are built on the edge of the forest, and are a marvellous place for a holiday for people who want to relax and watch birds.

shire

The Shire, self-catering cabins at Stutterheim, run by Robbie Scott

The Growdon family came to the Eastern Cape from Cornwall in the 1870s and William Matthew Growdon (my great grandfather and Hamish’s great great grandfather) was a platelayer on the Cape Government Railways, building the railway line from East London to the interior. He retired to Queenstown with his wife Elizabeth (born Greenaway), and they are buried in the cemetery there.

After leaving Stutterheim we went to Queenstown to look at their grave, which we had last seen in 1975. At first we could not find it, and thought it might have been vandalised, as many graves in Queenstown cemetery seemed to be, but eventually found it with the help of one of the caretakers. The stones were intact, but the railing around the graves had been removed, presumably by metal thieves, which was one reason we could not find the graves.

Graves of Elizabeth and William Matthew Growdon in Queenstown cemetery

More family holiday visits

On our holiday travels we have turned homewards again. On Thursday 12 May we left Cape Town and travelled to Knysna, where we visited my cousin Glenda Lauwrens (nee Growdon) and her husband Brian. We also saw Glenda’s daughter Joanne and her children John, 8, and Kate, who is nearly 6. We hadn’t seen Glenda, Brian and Joanne since they moved to Knysna 21 years ago, and had not met Joanne’s children at all. Glenda’s father, Stanley Growdon (1918-1995), was my mother’s youngest brother.

Glenda Lauwrens, John Tanner, Steve Hayes, Kate & Joanne Tanner; Knysna, 12 May 2011

The next day we went to Sedgefield see Val’s dad’s cousin, Patrick  Clark, and his wife Carol. They are related on the Greene side; Patrick’s mother, Gladys Clark (1907-1997), born Greene, was the younger sister of Val’s grandfather Allan Dudley Greene (1893-1942).

Carol & Patrick Clark and Val Hayes; Sedgefield, 13 May 2011

On Saturday 14 May we travelled to Port Elizabeth, where we visited Val’s aunt Nat Greene, the widow of her uncle Roy Greene (1923-1975). Nat gave us the news that her granddaughter Samantha Greene had married Wayne Greenhaigh on 22 Apr 2011 at Cambridge Methodist Church in East London, but Nat had been unable to attend, as she had flu at the time.

Nat Greene and Val Hayes, nee Greene; Port Elizabeth 14 May 2011

Today we’re planning to leave Port Elizabeth for Stutterheim, where we hope to see another cousin on the Growdon side of the family, Hamish Scott.

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.

Falkenberg breakthrough – after 30 years

When we first started doing family history, soon after we were married, we asked Val’s grandmother, Emma le Sueur about her ancestors. She often couldn’t remember their names, but she remembered what they had died of and what pills they took. But she did tell us that her mother was Jessie Falkenberg and her father was Edward Decker (and that he had died when she was about 8, at Covimvaba).

About a year later, with special permission from the magistrate (I was banned at the time) we went to Cape Town on holiday, stopping to visit relations and do family history on the way. We visited Violet McDonald, a Growdon relative, in Queenstown, and spent a morning looking through the parish registers at St Michael’s Anglican Church, and right away got lucky. We found not only Growdons, but Falkenbergs as well. lots of them. Jessie Decker, nee Falkenberg, was there, though it turned out that her full name was actually Justine, along with several brothers and sisters. Her father was Michael John Christian Falkenberg, and her mother was also Justine, alias Jessie.

We recorded all this, and went on to Cape Town, where in the archives we found more about them in death notices and immigration lists.

Michael John Christian Falkenberg came from Germany in 1858, with his wife Dorothea and 3-year-old son Friedrich. But at some point his wife had died and he had remarried to Justine Schultz, who had come over on the same ship with her family, but was 9 years old at the time. He married her when she was about 15, but we still have not been able to discover where.

On our way home again we called at Stutterheim, and there found a grave for a Frederike Falkenberg, born Luthow. The age was right, so could she have been Michael John Christian Falkenberg’s first wife? But the name was different — Dorothea/Frederike?

We traced descendants of both wives. But ancestors were harder. They were in East Germany, and the government there did not encourage genealogical research, and communication was difficult. But a Mr Hans Georg Bleibaum in West Germany was interested in South Africa-Germany connections, and offered to help. He sent a parcel of groceries to an East German researcher, who found the Schultz ancestors, and then a Martin Schultz who married a Marie Payard and traced the Payard side back to the Huguenots in the 17th century.

But the Falkenberg side was a dead end.

Then, last week, along came Peter Woddow. He asked in a South African genealogy mailing list about Germans from the Ueckermark who had settled in South Africa. I mentioned the Falkenbergs to him, and within a short time he had confirmed for us that Frederike and Dorothea Falkenberg, born Luthow, were one and the same person, solving the mystery of the grave we saw in Stutterheim more than 30 years ago.

And now he has given the parents, brothers, and sisters of Michael Johann Christian Falkenberg, which we had despaired of ever finding.

Oh, incidentally, on our trip in 1975, we also visited King William’s Town and found the baptism of Val’s grandmother’s father, who turned out to be Edwin, not Edward. Edwin Robert Morton Decker, to be precise.

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