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.

Looking for Franca Greene, nee Bladezki

Have you ever watched Heir Hunters on the History Channel? We have had heir hunters looking for the heirs of Ignat Bladezki. Two different lots of heir hunters in the UK have contacted us in the last couple of weeks, looking for the heirs of Ignat Bladezki, who died in Coventry, England, in May last year.

Our connection is that a daughter of Ignat Bladezki, Franca, married Val’s dad’s cousin, Errol Royden Norman Greene. We met Franca Greene once, about 18 years ago, when she was living in Bryanston with her daughter Courtney, who was then about 14. Errol Greene died in 1980, when Courtney was less than a year old. We chatted about family history, and Franca gave us some details for the family tree. She said her father, Ignat Bladezki, was born in Russia, but had deserted from the Red Army and gone to live in England, so it may not even have been his real name, and he spoke very little about family connections. He married Yola Conti, who died some years before he did, and, according to the heir hunters, he himself died in a nursing home and no one on the staff knew who his relatives were.

We’ve lost touch with Franca, and Courtney, who must be about 30 now, may have married and changed her name. But we’d like to get in touch with Franca again, to let her know that her father has died, and also that she probably stands to inherit a sum large enough to make the heir hunters think it worth their while to try to trace the next-of-kin (they make their money by taking a commission).

Franca was Errol Greene’s second wife. He had two daughters by his first wife, Dionne and Tracey. They don’t stand to inherit anything, but if they can be traced they may help us to find Franca. Franca told us that Tracey had married a Grant Stack. So if anyone reading this knows where Franca or Courtney are, please ask them to get in touch with us.


Errol Greene ran an air-conditioning business in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, before his death in 1980.

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.

Many years!

Today is Val’s 60th birthday, and also her name day, being the feast-day of the Great Martyr St Katherine of Alexandria.

To celebrate Val took the day off work and we went out to lunch at a fancy fish restaurant, since the feast of St Katherine is one of the days in the pre-Christmas fast when fish is permitted.

Val Hayes 60th birthday 25 Nov 2008

Val Hayes 60th birthday 25 Nov 2008

God grant you many years!

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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