Beningfield family

A Beningfield family group has recently been started on Facebook.

This is interesting to us because many of the South African Beningfields are related to us (though we are not descended from Beningfields) through Louisa Flamme, who married Samuel Beningfield in Cape Town in 1833.

In the early 1840s the family moved to Durban, and Samuel Beningfield became a well-known auctioneer, and some of his sons followed him in that occupation, and their descendants are cousins in varying degrees.

Some are more closely related than others, because Samuel and Louisa Beningfield’s son Reuben Widdows Beningfield married his first cousin Martha Crighton, whose mother, Petronella Francina Dorothea Flamme, was Louisa Beningfield’s sister.

Though you will not find any descendants of the Flamme family with the Flamme surname, we have managed to record 1683 descendants of Johan Friedrich Wilhelm Flamme (1780-1831) and Johanna Sophia Breedschoe (or Breitschuh) (1782-1836). Those on our side of the family are Crightons, but there are many descendants with other surnames as well, some of the most common (apart from Crighton and Beningfield) being Mechau/Michau, Haupt, Enslin, and von Backstrom.

Johan Friedrich Wilhelm Flamme came from Twiste in Hesse-Nassau, Germany. Johanna Sophia Breetschoe was the daughter of Johan Christoph Franciscus Breidschuh, a German, and Francina van de Kaap, a slave owned by Peter Hacker. Johanna Sophia Breedschoe and her sister were born in slavery, and were manumitted by their father. And they are the ancestors we have in common with the Beningfields.

Among the descendants of the Natal Beningfields are the Hickman, Grice and O’Flaherty families.

The 1683 Flamme descendants (565 of whom are Beningfield descendants) are only the ones we know about. We haven’t been able to trace the others yet. But we hope that some of them will be interested enough to help us add to the family history.

Robert Laing of Colington

The Scotsman Mon 19 Mar 2007 carries an obituary for a South African genealogist, Robert Laing of Colington, who died on 12 March, 2007, in Johannesburg, aged 58.

Robert Laing was sometime chairman of the Genealogical Society of South Africa, and was an enthusiastic researcher into genealogy and heraldry, though rather given to claiming dubious and even outright spurious titles for himself, though his friends and fellow genealogists usually good-humouredly granted them to him, and he was referred to in the Genealogical Society’s publications as Chevalier Robert Laing, and Robert Laing of Colington.

We had some common research interests as Dorothea Wilhelmina Katerina FLAMME (1816-1858) married Peter LAING in Cape Town in 1836, and they had three children, who went to Scotland with their father. Robert Laing never managed to establish the connection between himself and this Peter Laing, but he did spend quite a lot of time researching it. Dorothea Wilhelmina Katerina FLAMME was the sister of my wife Val’s ancestor Petronella Francina Dorothea FLAMME, who married Henry CRIGHTON.

Crighton or Creighton

When we started doing family history, soon after we were married, one of the first things we did was to ask Val’s grandmother, Emma le Sueur, (formerly Greene, formerly Chelin, born Decker), about the family. Val’s grandfather was her second husband, Allan Greene, and she couldn’t remember very much about her in-laws, other than that their name was Creighton, and they were leather merchants in Cape Town.

Creighton was the name of a small village in Natal, so we looked in the Natal archives, but none of the Creightons we found seemed to fit. Then we went to Cape Town, and looked in the archives there, and found that the spelling of the name was Crighton, not Creighton (with an exception to be noted below). Henry Crighton (1815-1870) was a saddler in Cape Town (Gran’s “leather merchant” came close enough), and there was even a newpaper obituary, though like many Victorian obituaries, it was full of padding and no substance. His wife was Petronella Francina Dorothea Flamme, whose grandmother was a slave, and probably the most indigenous South African ancestor we have between us.

The eldest son, William John Crighton (1842-1886), married Anna Maria MacLeod (1849-1917), and their eldest daughter Mary Francis Crighton (1868-1957) married Frederick Vincent Greene (1858-1949), and they were the in-laws.

At least three of the Crightons married into the MacLeod famioly, and we have quite a lot of information about the descendants of both families, so if anyone reading this is linked to any of these please get in touch, or at least leave a comment. There were numerous descendants of Charles Augustus MacLeod (1838-1909) and Annie Crighton (1850-c1934).

Both Henry Crighton and his son William John had several children, and so the Crighton family was quite numerous in South Africa. One of William John Crighton’s sons was Daniel John (1880-1939), and in the archives we found correspondence with his granddaughter, Nita Crighton, who lived in America, and was researching the family history too. We were able to make contact with Nita (now Nita Harris of California), and met her when she visited South Africa a couple of years ago.

Daniel John Crighton’s brother Frank Percy (1876-1953), however, adopted the Creighton spelling.

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