South Africa

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This article details connections between Colonial India and The Cape/South Africa, with particular reference to emigration/immigration.

A large group of Anglo Indians migrated to Cape Colony in the 1820s.[1]

The Cape was also a popular destination for people who were on furlough (leave) from their work in India, who had been obliged to leave India for health reasons, and did not wish to travel all the way back to England.


FamilySearch records

  • FamilySearch: South Africa Indexed Historical Records and Images, a very extensive collection of records with original images. A free website. You must be signed in to FamilySearch to view the records. See IGI for more details about FamilySearch.
    • The FamilySearch databases include many records from The Anglican Church of Southern Africa, previously known as the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. The original records are held at the Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where the records are also available online. It seems likely that all the parish registers are also available on FamilySearch, but possibly there may be additional databases which are not parish records on the University of the Witwatersrand website, but this is unclear.
Refer External links below for a 1976 LDS Church guide, equivalent now to FamilySearch.

National Archives of South Africa

  • National Archives & Records Service of South Africa contains a Search facility. Click on "Search National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System", on the left hand side of the webpage. the databases include “Data of the South African Genealogical Society on Gravestones”.

Genealogical Society of South Africa

Monument inscriptions

  • Monumental inscriptions at the Cape of Good Hope[2] 1799-1861. Transcriptions, in 1907, of graves in two Cape Town cemeteries extracted from General History and Social Life of the Cape of Good Hope by C. Graham Botha 1962. Include many with India connections.
  • Stuart Green transcribed, in April 2003, the following entries from the SA Genealogical Society database at the National Archives of South Africa for the Rootsweb India Mailing list, archived:


  • e-Family A free site for those researching their roots in South Africa, with a Search facility for transcribed records. Includes First Fifty Years - a project collating Cape of Good Hope records, a project to transcribe and publish copies of records relating to individuals who lived at the Cape (Cabo da Boa Esperança / de Caep de Goede Hoop / Die Kaap die Goeie Hoop) during the first decades of the settlement after 1652.


Ancestry is a pay website

  • Ancestry Card Catalogue of all Record Databases (located as an option under the Search tab). Use Search terms such as Africa, and South Africa. Includes
    • "South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004" [Anglican records] and
    • "South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996"
    • "England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976", This is part of the Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish, section of the Ancestry database and holds some genealogical information relating to colonial countries including Africa.


Findmypast is a pay website.

  • Under the tab "Search records" is a category "A-Z of record sets" which is a listing of all the record databases. Use Search terms such as Africa, and South Africa.
    • Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902 located in Military, Armed Forces & Conflict/Boer Wars. All the records appear to be transcripts, without images, from a variety of sources, including medal rolls from The National Archives, Kew in the series W0 100. Also see Medal Rolls. Medal Rolls are also available as free downloads from TNA , and from the pay website Ancestry.
    • First World War database South Africa Roll Of Honour 1914-1918, located in Armed Forces & Conflict/First World War. These records appear to be classified by Findmypast as "Great Britain". Most of the data will also be on the CWGC database, but additionally may include cause of death. Includes data to the official end date of the war, 31 August 1921.[3] The most likely source of this database is a South African publication, Roll of Honour 1914-1918 Ererol [the latter word is Roll of Honour in Africaans].[4]
  • Findmypast in the category "Newspapers & periodicals", with the same contents also available on the British Newspaper Archive, both pay websites, includes the titles
    • Natal Mercury, published daily in Durban, Natal, South Africa (Details[5]). Added Nov 21, 2022 , with available years 1878 only, with details on a BNA page. (BNA Region=South Africa, or County=Natal, South Africa or Place=Durban, Natal, South Africa. Fmp County=Natal, South Africa, Place=Durban, Natal, South Africa).
    • Natal Witness, published in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. (Details[5]). Added Nov 21, 2022 , with available years 1878 only, with details on a BNA page. (BNA Region=South Africa, or County=Natal, South Africa or Place=Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. Fmp County=Natal, South Africa, or Place=Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa).

Other records

Other records, not online

  • See Society of Genealogists, London.
  • Held at the British Library, London The Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Directory of South Africa, 1924(-1926-7) ... Edited by Ewald Herbert UIN: BLL01000948630 . The 1924 edition is also available at the Society of Genealogists.
    • The 1896 and 1897 editions are available online, see below.

Northern and Southern Rhodesia

Northern Rhodesia was administered by the British Government as a protectorate from 1924. Prior to that it was administered by the British South Africa Company (BSAC), see the Wikipedia page Northern Rhodesia. Similarly Southern Rhodesia was administered by British South Africa Company (BSAC) until 1923 when it became a British crown colony, see the Wikipedia page Southern Rhodesia. Perhaps some South African records may also contain early Rhodesia records.

Jager (Jaeger) Corps

Also known as the British German Legion or the German Legion

In 1860 the 109th Regiment of Foot in India was joined by over 500 men of the Jaeger Corps who had volunteered from the Cape Colony (part of South Africa under British Occupation until 1910) for service in India on the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny The Jager (Jaeger) Corps had its origin in the German Legion sent to the Crimea, which was then resettled in South Africa

For further details , see Jager Corps.

Also see

Information about the database African Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, 1800-1925; and African Newspapers: The British Library Collection, both part of Readex World Newspapers Archive, both of which are available at the British Library. Also information about a database containing a collection of African Blue Books from thirteen colonies across Africa, including Cape of Good Hope, 1821-1909, also available at the British Library.

External Links

Boer War

On return of the regiment to India, page 409 of the History states "They left nearly sixty of their number in South Africa, some as administrators, some in the Regular Army, some in the Police" and page 418 of the History gives a List of Lumsden’s Horse who joined the Johannesburg Police in December 1900.
  • See POW Camps in India-Boer War for details of the Boer prisoners of war who were taken to camps in India, Ceylon and elsewhere. Some of the prisoners in India died there.

General information

South Africa Genealogy FamilySearch Wiki.
Update October 2022. A website page of The South African Military History Society gives the contact email for the National Archives of South Africa as [email protected]
Update February 2023. It appears that the contact address is as given above for the National Archives of South Africa [email protected]. [6] It is also possible to hire a researcher.[7]

Mailing Lists

All Rootsweb Mailing Lists (part of Ancestry) have been discontinued from 2 March 2020, but the Archives will remain available. Search all Rootsweb Mailing List Archives.
The Ancestry Message Boards remain active and there may be a relevant Message Board. Search all Ancestry Message Boards. Freely available - you do not need to be an Ancestry member, but must register to post.

A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding the immigrants from the United Kingdom to South Africa prior to 1900. However, Archives are Searchable as follows
Search South-Africa-Immigrants-British Mailing List Archives
Search South Africa Orange Free State Archives

Historical books online

"Extracts from the register of deaths at the Cape of Good Hope 1816-1826" by C Graham Botha. Page 47 The Genealogist 32, 1915.
"Extracts of marriages at the Cape of Good Hope 1806-1821"; and "Extracts of Baptism at the Cape of Good Hope 1810-1821" by C Graham Bortha. The Genealogist 30, 1914. (digital page 632/744).These are separately numbered sections towards the back of the book.
Alternative version: Marriages and Baptisms from The Genealogist Volume 30, Supplement 11, 1913-1916 by Colin Graham Botha.
A brief guide to the various classes of documents in the Cape Archives for the period 1652-1806 by C Graham Botha in charge of Cape Archive. 1918
The French Refugees at the Cape by Colin Graham Botha (of the Cape Archives) 2nd edition 1921
Records for the early history of South Africa by C Graham Botha 1921
"Prices in the eighteenth century" by C Graham Botha, Chief Archivist, Union of South Africa. Reprinted from the South African Journal of Science, vol. XX, pp. 552-554, December, 1923.
"The dispersion of the stock farmer in Cape Colony in the eighteenth century" by C Graham Botha, Chief Archivist, Union of South Africa. Reprinted from the South African Journal of Science", vol. XX, pp. 574-580, December, 1923.
Social life in the Cape Colony in the 18th century by Colin Graham Botha 1926
The writings of C Graham Botha were re-published in 1962 as The Collected Works of C. Graham Botha, in three volumes, being Volume 1 General History and Social Life of the Cape of Good Hope; Volume 2 History of law, medicine, and place names in the Cape of Good Hope and Volume 3 Cape Archives and Records. It appears that at least volumes 1 and 3 include genealogical transcriptions. Available at the British Library UIN: BLL01000426508
Article "Heartbroken on St Helena: the naturalist William John Burchell" 1781-1863. Part One 23 January 2020; Part Two 30 January 2020. British Library Untold lives blog. William John Burchell Wikipedia.
The National Army Museum book of the Zulu War by Ian Knight 2004, first published 2003. Books to Borrow/Lending Library.
Part 1 A-J, with index. Part 2 A-O, with index, Part 3 P-Z, unfortunately index missing, with some additional entries at the end
This page mentions the East India Company.


  1. Lehmkuhl. Anglo-Indians at the Cape Rootsweb South-Africa-Immigrants-British Mailing List 5 September 2003, archived. Anne Lehmkuhl's article in Generations - A South African genealogy newsletter
  2. Rootsweb South- Africa- Immigrants- British Mailing List 9 August 2003, archived.
  3. South Africa’s Roll of Honour for the First World War
  4. Roll of Honour 1914-1918 Ererol, archived page from eBay.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week" November 28, 2022. The British Newspaper Archive Blog (Scroll down).
  6. Taking into account website page of The South African Military History Society, together with RussT Service Records of South African Troops Great War Forum 2 October 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  7. Keith_history_buff South African Service papers WW1 Great War Forum 7 January 2022. Retrieved 27 February 2023.