Which Swanepoels?

*** Please note: This is an amateur site – take with a hefty pinch of salt.  If you know something, please correct or add your bit in the comments! ***

The first known Swanepoel to arrive in the Cape of Good Hope was Pieter Jansz Swanepoel, progenitor of the Swanepoel family in South Africa, who came from Nieuwmunster in the present day municipality of Zuienkerke in the city of Brugge in West Flanders.

He came to South Africa in 1699 as a soldier of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). He became a free burgher in 1700. Between 1709 and 1747 he made a living as a farmer on the farm Nieuwmunster close to where the town of Wolseley is now.

On 1 May 1712 Pieter Jansz Swanepoel married Maria Sibella (Sibilla?) Sachs (Sachse?). Seven sons and one daughter were born out of this union. Maria was born in 1675, was from Germany out, and was the widow of Jan Christoffel Haak.

Hereafter six successive generations of Swanepoels lived mostly as stock-farmers, the last five generations mainly residing in the districts of Graaff-Reinet, Beaufort-West and Prince Albert. As a result of droughts, a world wide economic depression, the after-effects of the Second World War, progress –  and life itself – this farming-only tradition changed and the Swanies went into varied careers and ‘went forth and multiplied’ bedonderd all over the world. Spread like the plague, almost:

Map of World Swanepoels

Pick a Coat of Arms:

This blog . . is centred around one of his descendants, our Oupa Paul Fouche Swanepoel and his wife, our Ouma Johanna Elizabeth (nee Bodenstein) who lived in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, later KwaZulu Natal, from around 1920.

Send any info or pics to admin@sheila.co.za and we’ll include them!

Oupa Ouma 1961

Ouma was born on 6 February 1883 and Oupa on 5 May 1883.  So she was a cradlesnatcher – he was her toyboy, three months younger!

They were married on October 30, 1911 in Fauresmith. Granddaughter Sheila has a copy of their marriage certificate.

They lived here:

Dad was told he born in the bedroom on the left on 15 December 1922
– 131 Boom Street Pietermaritzburg –

Oupa worked for the railways. He never owned a car, nor a motorbike, nor even a bicycle, as far as Dad recalls. He walked to work up the road at PMB station.


Our Oupa: Paul Fouché Swanepoel (5 May 1883 – 20 May 1972)


His siblings: Japie (Kirkwood, no kids); Sarel; Anna; Daantjie (South West Africa, later Namibia);

Oupa’s parents:
Father: Sarel Francois Swanepoel 12 August 1855 – 28 April 1909
Mother: Anna Cecilia Maria neé Fouché 23 Nov 1858 – 13 May 1915

Oupa PF Swanepoel's parents. Bliksem!!
– Sarel Francois Swanepoel and Anna Cecilia Maria nee Fouché –

His grandparents:
Jacobus Daniel Swanepoel 1 Dec 1817 – 17 Sep 1891 – from Langevlei, Robertson; Married Martha Elizabeth Marais

His great grandparents:
Willem Christoffel Swanepoel  1787 – 1861 Montagu
Married Elsie Maria vdB (not sure if this B was Berg or Bosch or something else).


Our Ouma: Johanna Elizabeth Bodenstein (6 February 1883 – 21 October 1970)

Ouma’s siblings: Anna; married Andreasen, a Swede; lived in Colorado Farm Hotel on Harrison Flats between Durban and PMB; Hans

Sheila asked, but our Dad youngest child Pieter Gerhardus can’t come up with Ouma’s nickname – he says everyone called her Ma or Ouma.  Sheila: “But she must have had a name as a child and amongst her friends!”

Ouma’s parents:

– Ouma’s father Pieter Gerhardus Bodenstein –

Ouma’s mother was Adriana Wilhelmina Bezuidenhout – no picture.


Granddaughter Sheila was keeping a diary back in the 70’s and made this entry:

“Ouma died in Pietermaritzburg on 21 October 1970. Dad (her fourth and last child Pieter) went to her funeral on 23 October. Mum stayed with us in Harrismith.

Oupa died in Christiana (I think) on 20 May 1972. Dad went to Klerksdorp (in our light blue Holden station wagon) to fetch his body.

He was buried in Pietermaritzburg on 24 May. Grandson Koos went to the funeral with Dad Pieter and oldest child Auntie Janie from Pretoria. I suppose you all stayed with Auntie Lizzie in Camperdown. Then on 25 May, Uncle Boet & Anna spent the night with us in Harrismith after the funeral. They then went up to Christiana to fetch Oupa’s clothes.”

Oupa died while off on a jaunt on his own by train. Probably getting free tickets thanks to his years of service! Good for him at 89yrs-old!


Thanks for the early history go to Christiaan Hendrik Swanepoel, who did his Masters thesis at Tukkies on “‘n Tak van die Swanepoel-familie in Suid-Afrika, 1699 tot 1999: ‘n Genealogiese en Kultuurhistoriese Studie.”


May I suggest a possible alternative Coat of Arms?


Their Four Kids


Janie (Adriana Wilhelmina) – born 1912 – died 1974

Lizzie or Anne (Anna Naomi) – born – died 1974

Boet (Sarel Francois) – born – died

Pieter (Pieter Gerhardus) – born 15 Dec 1922. Living in Pietermaritzburg as at April 2020

(Please fill in these dates in the comments or email admin@sheila.co.za)

Their Ten Grandkids

Shirley Solomon

10 Grandkids – clockwise from top left –

Shirley Solomon (Janie’s daughter)

Three Swanepoel boys (Boet’s three sons)

Three Grundlinghs (Lizzie’s kids, girl, boy, girl)

Three Swanepoels (Pieter’s kids, girl, boy, girl)

Ten Cousins!

Five are seen here below: Four seated on the ground at cousin Liz (Grundling)’s wedding to Edgar Fortmann: Koos, Sheila, Marlene, Barbara.


Four cousins at Oupa’s funeral, below, in 1972. All four his children present:      l-r: Pieter, Lizzie with black hat, Janie with black hat, and Boet; with Boet’s wife Anna between Janie and Boet. The cousins l-r: Barbara, Koos, Marlene and Liz on the far right.


July 2018

Cousin No.1 (or 2?) – Lizzie Grundling-Fortmann died, aged 76.

Five cousins were at her memorial service: Three Swanepoels and her brother Jack and sister Marlene.

Lizzie suffered from emphysema and had a difficult time the last few years.

Her son Zane and brother Jack spoke beautifully of her at the service in Camperdown, which was attended by many many people. Dad – her uncle Pieter (95) – said it was the biggest funeral he’d ever been to – and he’s been to a bundle! I arrived just on time and then waited for Sheila, hoping I’d be able to hang back and maybe even stand outside as I have at many a funeral and wedding, but they had kept seats for us! We were ushered to the very front row! Caught out!

After the preacherman had finished Dad leaned over and in his loud deaf voice he complained the service had been way too long. I indicated HUSH and he says ‘Can they hear me?’ Yes! I nodded, so he says ‘Well, the last time I was subjected to such a long sermon was by dominee Ras in the Dutch Reformed Church in Harrismith.’ That was about fifty years back.

Liz memorial Camperdown

The gathering afterwards was at Auntie Lizzie’s beautiful old home which Liz had kept and improved over the years. As so often at these gatherings, the new generation was there in a nappy, showing the way of renewal and continuation . .


Reunion on a Farm

A Ten-Cousin reunion was held on Barbara & Jeff and Linda & Dawie’s farm Umvoti Villa in KZN. What a venue!


Nine cousins made it. The tenth tried her best to get there from Seattle Washington, but ran out of steam walking halfway across the Alps!

One cousin rode on his Harley all the way from New Zealand, one canoed up the Dusi, one arrived with wine in her boot, one with Engen in her tank, one with roses in her arms, one with architects plans to change the place, one flew in in a Harvard, one pulling a caravan, one (help needed . . )

– Nine Cousins – and Shirley as in inset –

Four brought their long-suffering spouses. Imagine being married to a Swanepoel!

For some reason the youngest one there (a great-great grandaughter of Ouma & Oupa) thought she was in charge:

Swanie _Fotor_Collage2.jpg
– Mary-Kate and flowers –
– beautiful Umvoti Villa homestead –
– here the shortest, youngest watches the tallest (but youngest cousin) take a picture – of the second-youngest cousin –

It was actually a Union, come to think of it, not a Re-union, as the nine had never before gathered in one place.


Firstborn Adriana or ‘Janie’ – Pretoria

** Please fix Shirley!! write in comments  **

Given name Adriana; Janie married Solly Solomon – when?

Aunty Janie, Solly Swanepoel crawling and ?Shirley Solomon - SWA 1953

In hat with Shirley & ___ in South West Africa on brother Boet’s farm Sans Souci near Koës.

Lived in Prospect Street, Hatfield in Pretoria.

Only daughter Shirley with husband Curt and family in Seattle Washington:

Swanepoel Family 2 - Pre Historic
Swanepoel Family 3
Swanepoel Family 4
Swanepoel Family 5

In 1973 Janie went to visit her only daughter Shirley in ________, Arizona and called in to see nephew Koos in Apache Oklahoma. Here they are with little Mary-Kate and Jimmy Patterson, Koos’ host siblings:

Janie Solomon visits me in Apache (Dad's eldest sister)

Second Child Anne or ‘Lizzie’ – Camperdown

** Marlene and Jack need to help here!! **

** Please add info in the comments **

She was Anna Naomi Swanepoel. She married Con Grundlingh – when?

She was known as Aunty Anne, he was known as Sarge. For some reason her youngest brother Pieter called her “Skinny Lizzie” or some such nickname, so his kids always called her “Aunty Lizzie” and him “Uncle Con”.

Swanepoel Family 1
1942 Ouma Swanepoel & Elizabeth
– Anne & Con Grundlingh’s first-born Lizzie with her Ouma Swanepoel – 1942 –
1943 St Faiths. Elizabeth Grundlingh
– Little Cousin Lizzie at St Faiths – 1943 –

Third Child ‘Boet’ – South West Africa – Malmesbury

** Boel, Paul en Sollie moet help hiermee!! **

Born ca. 1916; Real names: _____  (?Sarel Francois); Married Anna Rossouw in 1942;

Moved to SWA in about 1942. Bought own farm Sans Souci near Koës in 1950.

Moved to Malmesbury in 1968.

Ouma with Boet

Boet with Ouma in PMB

Boet? Where? NR is Howick KZN

Paul writes about his Dad:

Voor Die Eie Plaas

Hy het eers vir ‘n kort rukkie by oom Sarel Swanepoel (‘Lord’) in die noorde gekuier/gewerk, maar ek weet ongelukkig nie wat sy doen en late was in daardie tyd nie. Hy en my ma is in 1942 getroud en toe het hy al so ‘n klein boerderytjie aan die gang gehad en het hulle maar so ‘n nomadiese lewe gehad om so tussen boere rond te trek wat destyds bereid was om vir hulle weiding vir die vee te verskaf. Ek is in 1944 gebore en het maar so saam met hulle getrek. Die laaste ruk voordat hulle die plaas gekoop het was hulle by my ma se ouers op die plaas.

Die reeling destyds in SWA was dat jy aansoek kon doen vir ‘n plaas en as dit aan jou toegeken was kon jy ‘n “gras lisensie” kry vir vier of vyf jaar vir 2/6 (25 sent) per jaar. Na die betrokke termyn moes jy dan besluit of jy die plaas wil koop en of jy maar weer die pad vat.

Hy het toe al ‘n paar pond bymekaar gemaak en besluit om te koop. Ek weet egter nie wat die prys destyds was nie. As my geheue my nie parte speel nie dan dink ek dit was in 1950/51

Die Plaas

Die plaas se naam was Sans Souci – (French for Sonder Sorge – “no worries” or “carefree”) maar daar was meer sorge as sand. Die naaste dorpie was Koës.

Die plaas was so +- 113myl Noord Oos van Keetmanshoop en 35myl oos van die die dorpie Koës. Die eerste gedeelte, +- 15myl was kalk, wit klipperigge grond, voordat jy die Kalaharie gekry het. Van daar was dit seker so 35myl. In die beginjare was daar slegs twee enkelspore waarin jy moes ry, selfs oor die duine. Ek beskryf maar meer omslagtig net dat dit beter verstaan kan word vir iemand wat dit nog nie gesien het nie. Die Kalaharie bestaan uit rooi sandduine en tussen dit strate . Dit is gelykvlaktes met bome, bestaande uit Kameeldoring, Witgatbome en so hier en daar ‘n ander soort, driedoring bosse en verskillende grassoorte soos suurgras en blinkaar. Bo op die duine was nie juis plantegroei nie. Bome, maar nie baie nie en wat ons genoem het duinkweek, soort biesie soos waarvan hulle besems maak, maar nie 100% so nie.

Water was die grootste enkele probleem wat boerdery daar moeilik, ek wil amper sê onmoontlik gemaak het. Dit was eintlik ondrinkbare water vir mens en dier, maar die diere moes maar drink want daar was nie ander nie en die water wat ons moes drink was in skoongemaakte 44 gelling staal petroldromme van die Kalk af aangery is en uit dit uit met ‘n stuk “hose pipe” getap in ‘n emmer wat in die huis was.

Aanvanklik het ons maar met Karakoel skaap en ‘n paar boerbokke geboer. Later jare ook beeste.

Ek (Paul) het in die Republiek skool gegaan. Ek weet oupa P F het daar kom kuier toe Johan so ‘n tjokker was. Foto daarvan gesien.

Tannie Janie en Shirley het daar gekuier; Ook Tannie Liz, Jack en Marlene het daar gekuier. Foto daarvan.

Na Die Plaas

Die plaas was seker so 1964 verkoop en in 1966 het hulle na Piketberg verhuis en op ‘n plaas gaan bly van ‘n skoolmaat van my se pa tot 1968.

In 1968 het hulle Malmesbury toe getrek nadat hy die stukkie grond daar aangekoop het.


Johan en Sollie moet maar invul want hulle was langer op die plaas as ek omdat ek slegs Junie en Desember vakansies huis toe gegaan het.

Koes Namibia Oom Boet
Location of Sans Souci


Solly Solomon (Janie's husband) with Boet (and Solly?)
Boet with his ‘swaer’ Solly Solomon and son Solly
Boet on right

Boet with ___ and son Solly

Swanepoel Family 5
Swanepoel Family 4
Swanepoel Family 3
Swanepoel Family 2 - Pre Historic

Malmesbury 1983

Last Child Pieter – Harrismith

Youngest child, born 1922, in this house 131 Boom Street PMB:

– born in the bedroom on the left on 15 December 1922 –

Went to the ‘Engelse’ school right across the road from home:


Then on to Maritzburg College. Played rugby on the wing. Won the u/15 athletics victor ludorum in 1937 by winning the 100 yard, 220 yard and 440 yard sprints and coming third in the cricket ball toss.

He went to South West Africa by train in 1938 The trip cost six pounds return. Oupa being a railways man probably got a him good deal. To Windhoek, then on the narrow gauge rail to Okahandja. He remembers a lovely wooden dining car, wooden tables, wooden walls.

SWA_Windhoek station 1910
Windhoek station

World War 2 took him to Egypt and Italy with the SA Signal Corps.

In the 70’s he did some hunting in the old South West Africa on his cousins’ farms.

Was active in MOTHs, the Harrismith Club, the Country club and Rotary.

Mom n Dad

Married Mary Bland in Harrismith – luckiest thing that happened to him in his life!

Wed 14July1951

He left the Post Office to run the Caltex garage for Mary’s mother Annie Bland.

We lived on a 13 morgen smallholding east of town in the shadow of the Platberg mountain called “Birdhaven”. Dad kept pigeons in big aviaries visible top left. We also had an African Grey parrot, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and a dog named Bruno.

Birdhaven Harrismith ca 1957

Later, together Mom & Dad bought and ran the Platberg Bottle Store:

That enabled them to buy a beautiful home which they renovated and restored extensively:

95 Stuart St Harrismith

They had three perfect (‘ahem’) children who must have all taken after their Mom – Barbara Koos & Sheila in order. In the photo L-R: Sheila Barbara Koos

Swanepoel Family-001
Us Five Swanepoels with Annie

He fancied birds in cages – racing pigeons, fancy pigeons, parrots and wild birds.

1967 Harrismith Dad's Aviary

Grandkids arrived:

And at last, someone to carry on the family name! Three generations of Swanepoel. He must have been so pleased . . .

Three Generations of Swanepoel

Then great grandkids:

Woodwork is his favourite hobby

Mom & Dad MK


Potted history – facts recorded by daughter Sheila:

Pieter Gerhardus Swanepoel

Born 15 Dec 1922 – PieterMaritzBurg

1937 – completed Std 9 at Maritzburg College;

1938 – Started matric; Won U/15 athletics victor ludorum – 1st place in 100yd dash, 220yd dash and 440yd; 3rd in cricket ball throw; Left school on 1st April to start an apprenticeship as electrician at the general post office in Longmarket Street PMB

1938 – In that year – before starting with GPO? – he went by train to South West Africa to visit uncles, aunts and cousins and to hunt on their farms

1940 – Ran away; Joined the army in Durban – Signals; But he was found out: too young; Taken back to PMB; Sent to Harrismith by GPO

1941 – Ran away to Durban again; Joined 14th Armoured Brigade Signal Company as a signaller under the name Peter Swanson; Billeted in bungalows at Kings Park; After about six months, caught again – too young; Sent again to Harrismith to continue working for GPO

14 Arm'd Brigade Kings Park Durban

1942 – Asked to be released from his apprenticeship; Needed his father to sign the papers; Old man refused at first, but PGS said he would simply keep running away, so Oupa signed;

1943 – Went to Sonderwater as a lance-corporal; Sent by ship to Port Turiq on the Suez canal in Egypt; Spent 18 months in Egypt

PGS Suez 1943

1944 – August – To Italy by ship across the Mediterranean to join the offensive against the Germans up the Adriatic coast with the British (the Americans were advancing up the west coast)

1945 – War ended; Spent Xmas on the Italian/Austrian border with mates in a ‘borrowed’ army vehicle; Drove on into Austria and then back to Rome after a few weeks adventure

Austria 1945 PGS

1946 – Six to eight months in Rome; Flew from Bari in Italy to Cairo in Egypt in a Lancaster bomber; freezing cold and uncomfortable flight! Six to eight months in Egypt;

1947 – August – Flew home in a Dakota via Khartoum; Was now a sergeant and his pay was up to 15 shillings a day

1947 – Back to PMB GPO; Then to Ixopo and Donnybrook as an electrician

GPO truck and dog Max.jpg

1949 – Howick with the GPO; Joined the MOTHs, the ex-servicemen organisation and drinking club; Asked to go back to Harrismith

1949 – Met Mary Frances Bland in Harrismith

1951 – Bought a Hudson Terraplane for 100 quid

Married Mary on 14th July 1951

Went to Lourenco Marques in Mocambique on honeymoon; Stayed in Kruger Nat’l Park on way back

Honeymoon Hudson



Please help with captions – names – places – dates –

Jack wrote later in 2014: Today I had a flip in a Harvard during a formation flypast at a memorial service for the WW 2 Italian prisoners of war. The Harvard (American AT 6 Texan) prototype first flew in 1937 which makes the design 77 years old. I got my wings on Harvards in 1964 and last gave instruction on them in 1969. The 1964 wings group remain closely connected and we had our 50th reunion last year. Five Harvards are kept in perfect condition by the Air Academy flying from Rand Airport lead by Scully Levin (photo above) a colleague from the 1964 wings course

Janie & Lizzie went on an Ocean Cruise!

Janie & Lizzie Swanepoel

Dad remembers his two older Swanepoel sisters Janie and Lizzie going on a trip from Durban to Lourenco Marques in Moçambique, then on to Moçambique Island on a ship (the Julio or Giulio or Duilio or the Giulio Cesar, he said).

This was in 1934. They probably took the train from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Oupa would have organised that, being a railway man!

He remembers the trip costing them seven pounds each, all in.

I went looking and found – as so often – that Dad’s memory was good. Maybe the Grundlinghs and Solomons know more about this trip?

Service history

The SS Giulio Cesare was used on Genoa and Naples to South America voyages but also served North American ports. Until 1925 the SS Giulio Cesare and the SS Duilio were the two largest ships in the Italian merchant fleet.

In November 1933, the Giulio Cesare was reconditioned and made ready to serve on the Mediterranean – South Africa Service.


A feature of this ship was the Club situated on the boat-deck, with a bar. The ship also featured a saloon dining room, galleries and a ballroom. Second class was situated amidships. Talkie apparatus were also fitted to the ship and a long-distance wireless telephone was also available.

Tourist class accommodation was situated astern and also had several public rooms. The tourist passengers shared an open air swimming pool with the 2nd class passengers.

SS Giulio Cesare


SS Giulio Cesare


Julius Caesar


Italia Line (Navigazione Generale Italiana)

Port of registry:



Italy-South America & Cruising


Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd, Newcastle-on-Tyne, United Kingdom.


7 February 1920


March 1922

Maiden voyage:




General characteristics


Ocean liner


22,576 grt


636 feet


76.15 feet


66.3 feet



Installed power:

  • four sets of geared steam turbines manufactured by Wallsend Slipway

  • six boilers D.E. & four boilers S.E. creating 220lb of steam pressure by Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Company Ltd. Newcastle-on-Tyne

  • 21,800 shaft horse power


Quadruple screw


20 knots


Total passengers: First Class: 244 Second Class: 306 Tourist Class:1800


Paintwork: White hull and upper works ; Boot-topping green

  • Funnels white with red and black tops and narrow green band

Her fate:

During WW2, SS Giulio Cesare was chartered to the International Red Cross for a time before being laid-up in the port of Trieste. She was sunk there by Allied aircraft on 10 July 1944, along with the SS Duilio.

Oupa’s Stuff

Somehow I ended up with two bibles: A Bijbel and a Kinderbijbel – Oupa’s own, apparently.


Found in his bibles:

1963, I think. 5th of May

But then I found out there’s also a “Familie Bijbel”, which the eldest son keeps. Solly told me Paul’s family bible is a big metal-clasped bible, so it is obviously the main one. So there were bibles, plural. I asked Paul about it and he sent these pictures. He says it’s the “SF’s and the PF’s bible”. That’s Sarel Francois and Paul Fouche, I believe.

Swanepoel Family Bible

This page seems to be the Bodenstein family – that’s Ouma’s family.

Swanepoel (PF's and SF's) Family Bible (1)

Oupa worked for the railways. Here’s PMB station.


Oupa was born on 5 May 1883 and Ouma on 6 February 1883. She was a cradlesnatcher – he was her toyboy! 

They were married on October 30, 1911 in Fauresmith.  I (Sheila) have a copy of their marriage certificate.

He never owned a car, nor a motorbike, nor even a bicycle, as far as Dad recalls.

His siblings: Japie (Kirkwood, no kids); Sarel; Anna; Daantjie (South West Africa);

Paul Fouche Swanepoel 5 May 1883 – 20 May 1972

Oupa’s parents:
Father: Sarel Francois Swanepoel 12 August 1855 – 28 April 1909
Mother: Anna Cecilia Maria nee Fouché 23 Nov 1858 – 13 May 1915

Oupa’s grandparents:
Jacobus Daniel Swanepoel 1 Dec 1817 – 17 Sep 1891 – from Langevlei Robertson
Married to Martha Elizabeth Marais

Oupa’s great grandparents:
Willem Christoffel Swanpoel  1787 – 1861 Montagu
Married Elsie Maria vdB (not sure if this is van den Berg or Bosch or something else.)

Sheila wrote: Oupa died in Christiana (I think) on 20 May 1972.  Dad went to Klerksdorp in the Holden station wagon to fetch his body. He was buried in PMB on 24 May. You (Koos) went to the funeral with Dad and Auntie Yarnie. I suppose you all stayed with Auntie Lizzie in Camperdown.

Then on 25 May, Boet & Anna spent the night with us after the funeral.  They then went up to Christiana to fetch Oupa’s clothes.

Ouma’s Stuff

Bodenstein Group photo ca 1910

A photo left by Ouma. Sheila also found a piece of paper with it:

Agter: ?Man Vrou: Gien Bierman ?Man Vrou: My ouma Elizabeth Bodenstein wat met Paul Fouche Swanepoel getroud is; ?Vrou en kind

Middel ry: ?Man Vrou: Adriana Wilhelmina ?Vrou en Man

Voorste ry: Liel de Klerk

Four of the men have very interesting hats! Joking, I guess!

Ouma’s siblings: Anna (married Andreasen, a Swede; lived in Colorado Farm Hotel on Harrison Flats between Durban and PMB); Hans

Oupa was born on 5 May 1883 and Ouma on 6 February 1883. She was a cradlesnatcher – he was her toyboy! 

They were married on October 30, 1911 in Fauresmith.  I (Sheila) have a copy of their marriage certificate.

Sheila asked, but our Dad – youngest child Pieter Gerhardus – can’t come up with Ouma’s nickname – he says everyone called her Ma or Ouma. Sheila: “But she must have had a name as a child and amongst her friends!”

Ouma’s parents:
Father: Pieter Gehardus Bodenstein
Mother: Adriana Wilhelmina Bezuidenhout
This AW Bezuidenhout was the daughter of Gen Koos de la Rey’s sister, who married a Bezuidenhout.

Ouma died in PMB on 21 October 1970 – I was keeping a diary in those days, so I looked up and found the entry.  Dad went to her funeral in PMB on 23 October – Mum didn’t go.

The de la Rey Connection

I’ll have to check with sister Sheila, but it goes something like this:

Famous Boer War general Koos de la Rey had a sister.

She had a great granddaughter called Johanna Elizabeth Bodenstein.

That was our Ouma.

Koos de la Rey was the son of Adrianus Johannes Gijsbertus.

He was Brave

He is generally* regarded as the bravest of the Boer generals during the Boere Oorlog and as one of the leading figures of Boer independence. As a guerilla his tactics proved extremely successful. He ran the Brits ragged in the Western Transvaal and became known as The Lion of the West.

*well, by us, his descendants anyway . .

He was Pragmatic
Before hostilities, De la Rey opposed the war until the last, but once he started fighting he fought to the Bitter Einde. De la Rey opposed the war until the last, but when he was once accused of cowardice during a Volksraad session by President Paul Kruger, he replied that if the time for war came, he would be fighting long after Paul Kruger had given up and fled for safety. This prediction proved to be exactly accurate. While Kruger soon scuttled off to the safety of Switzerland, de la Rey fought to the end! Once the war was lost, he spent a lot of energy getting his people to accept the Treaty of Vereeniging, even traveling to Ceylon to encourage Boer prisoners of war to come home.

He was Chivalrous
De la Rey was noted for chivalrous behaviour towards his enemies. At Tweebosch on 7 March 1902 he captured Lieutenant General Lord Methuen, whose arse he had kicked earlier at Magersfontein, along with several hundred of his troops. The troops were sent back to their lines because de la Rey had no means to support them, and Methuen was also released since he had broken his leg when his own horse had fallen on him. De la Rey provided his personal cart to take Methuen to hospital in Klerksdorp.

His Earlier Life
As a child De la Rey received very little formal education, and as a young man he worked as a transport rider on the routes serving the diamond diggings at Kimberley – so he probably visited Harrismith? He and wife Nonnie had twelve children and they looked after another six children who lost their parents.


Thanks, wikipedia for the Anglo-Boer War history, and sister Sheila for the family history

Take all this with a pinch of salt until it has been vetted. Rather see the Anglo Boer War Museum and wikipedia.



The Van der Schyff Ancestral Line

As Prepared for Peter and Sheila Swanepoel

By Greg Seibert, Hudson, Ohio, USA

First we begin with Dirk Pretorius who was born in Holland before 1650. His wife or partner (I haven’t located a marriage record for them yet) was Maria Hansen van de Caep who was born in the Western Cape about 1663. Maria’s name is also recorded as Maria Hanssen, Maria Hanze and Maria Harmse. It appears that Maria was most likely a slave because of the status of a baptism record from around the time of her birth. Also, at that time, most individuals with the surname attachment of “van de Caep” had been born into slavery.

** GASP!! ** We’re not pure royalty! Unlike most Saffers and Aussies we may have had our undoubted blue blood MIXED! I’ll try and fade the parts where Greg says ‘slave’ instead of ‘aristocrat’, OK?

The following information is from “The First Fifty Years Project” with info provided by Delia Robertson.

Swanepoel Ancient History

Together they had Sijbilla Pretorius who was born about October 29, 1688 which is when her baptism is recorded in the Dutch Reformed Church book for Capetown. She married Harmen Barend Van der Schyff on September 23, 1703 when she was only 14 years old. Harmen was born about 1680 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Together they had Dirk Van der Schyff who was born about 1719 at the Cape of Good Hope. He married Catharina Meyer on July 6, 1738 who was born on April 12, 1716 and was the daughter of Lucas Meyer and Agatha Blom.

Together they had Hermanus Barend Van der Schyff who was born in 1739. He married Susanna Johanna de Buijs who was born on February 20, 1746 and who died on January 26, 1825 in Stellenbosch. She was the daughter of Jean de Buijs and Elsje Hoffman. This Hoffman ancestral line is extremely interesting because it follows back to an Indian slave of the early Cape, Louis van Bengale, and an Arabian slave girl named Lijsbeth Arabus from Abyssinia which is now modern Ethiopia. I’ll do another narrative on this line because it seems so interesting!

Together they had Elsie Catharina Van der Schyff who was born in 1774. She married Daniel du Plessis which ties this into the du Plessis narrative.

**** OK, I’m lost. Unfortunately dear ole Greg died way before he should have – damn! – so we may never know just how pure our royal bloodline actually is. We won’t be able to ask him if , for example, where he said ‘Abyssinia’ he actually meant ‘Camelot’ – a simple typo? ****