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.
Filed under: family history, genealogical research, genealogy, German military settlers Tagged: | British German Legion, British Kaffraria, Casdorff family, Castorff family, Colchester, Eastern Cape, Emma Castorff, Essex, family history, genealogy, George Castorff, German military settlers, Morten family, Morton family, South Africa