Sunday, June 15, 2014

Our British Isles History Algoa Bay Port Elizabeth

From: Lehmkuhl<>
Subject: South Africa’s people: the British
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 08:26:09 -0500

Here is an article from my newsletter, Generations - a South African
genealogy newsletter.
Anne Lehmkuhl
Professional genealogist specializing in South African genealogical research
Web site:

South Africas people: the British
A brief look at their history

The first British occupation of the Cape began on 16 September 1795 and
ended in March 1803. The second British occupation started in January 1806
and South Africa remained a British colony until 31 May 1910 when it became
the Union of South Africa. British immigrants started arriving in 1795.

Many of the early British went to South Africa for work purposes, after
which they returned to Britain or continued on to their next posting in
another colony. They included civil servants, missionaries, soldiers and
traders. With the second occupation, the number of people who remained in
the Cape Colony started increasing. Tracing early settlers is no easy task,
as ship passenger lists were not always complete and one has to research
many resources looking for a mention. The early settlers were usually
individual immigrants as immigration schemes only came much later. Not all
the British left in 1803, some stayed including the following families:
Duckitt, Murray, Tennant, Caldwell, Rex, Anderson, Callander and Reade.
Many Britons who saw service in India with the British East India Company,
retired to the Cape Colony and were known as the British Indians, Cape
India families or Hindoos. There were quite a few who settled in
Stellenbosch, including William Caldwell who ran 2 inns there from 1803 to

Benjamin Moodie, 9th laird of Melsetter in Orkney, brought out 200 Scottish
artisans in the first planned British immigration scheme in 1817. The first
party arrived with Moodie at the Cape on 04 June 1817 aboard the Brilliant:
. On 23 August 1817, another party of 50 arrived aboard the Garland:. The
next party of 90 arrived on 24 September 1817 on board the Clyde:.Moodie
had contracted the settlers to work for him for the first 18 months upon
arrival, or else to pay him their passages and they would be free to work
for themselves or anyone else. Most of the settlers soon found out that
they could get better jobs on their own.

The next immigration scheme was the 1820 Settlers, which brought out
approx. 4500 settlers. They arrived on board 21 ships, the first being the
Chapman:, arrived in Algoa Bay on 09 April 1820. Among the settlers were
artisans, tradesmen, ministers of religion, merchants, teachers,
bookbinders, blacksmiths, discharged sailors and soldiers, professional men
and farmers. They were settled in British Kaffraria, where their first
homes were the tents given to them by the government. They pitched their
tents once they had chosen their piece of land. Their first task was to
build a more permanent abode for their families, after which they started
to till the lands. The government wanted them as farmers, but many settlers
did not have farming experience. Soon the drift towards towns started and
this is where these settlers started making their mark on South African
society. They started a free press, schools, churches, and businesses.
Those who had stayed on the farms eventually began to prosper.

Dr George Thom was the first of several Scotsmen to leave the London
Missionary Society for the Dutch Reformed Church at the Cape. He left
London in early 1822 with Rev. Andrew Murray and 6 teachers. They arrived
at the Cape on 02 July 1822 on board the Arethusa:.

Joseph Byrne organized some 4500 British settlers in 1849 to settle in
Natal, known as the Byrne Settlers. Groups of Cornish miners came to work
on the copper mines in Namaqualand from 1850. On 05 September 1850, the
Zenobia: arrived in Table Bay with approx. 230 new settlers who were mostly
artisans. Between 18571862, approx. 5800 immigrants arrived under the Cape
of Good Hope Immigration Board, which had an agent based in London. This
scheme offered free passage to suitable applicants. In 1860, discharged
British soldiers were offered land to come and settle at the Cape and many
took up this offer. A lot of British settlers worked on building the
railways after 1872. The discovery of diamonds and gold also brought more
British to South Africa. The Cape government started an immigration scheme
in 1873 by which settled residents could sponsor new settlers by
undertaking to give them employment.

Irish immigrants also made their home in South Africa. The first Irish were
soldiers sent out during the first and second British occupations. There
were 3 Irish Cape Governors: George, 1st Earl Macartney; Du Pre Alexander,
Earl of Caledon and Sir John Francis Cradock. Henry Nourse, a shipowner at
the Cape, brought out a small party of Irish settlers in 1818. In 1823,
John Ingram brought out 146 Irish from Cork. Single Irish women were sent
to the Cape on a few occasions. Twenty arrived in November 1849 and 46
arrived in March 1851. The majority arrived in November 1857 aboard the
Lady Kennaway:. A large contingent of Irish troops fought in the Anglo-Boer
War and a few of them stayed in South Africa after the war. Others returned
home but later came out to settle in South Africa with their families.
Between 1902 and 1905, there were approx. 5000 Irish immigrants.

The British contributed in many ways, founding the first university,
building roads, developing the harbours, developing the first banks,
creating the postal, telegraph and railway services. However, it has only
been in the last few years that more genealogical research has been done on
families originating from the UK. Although it is becoming easier to trace
their roots in South Africa, one does meet brick walls quite often,
especially when trying to trace back to the UK.
British residents at the Cape 17951819, Peter Philip, 1981
They were South Africans, John Bond, 1958
In search of South Africa, H.V. Morton, 1948

Copyright 1998 Anne Lehmkuhl