Sunday, May 29, 2011

Names of the Bergtheil Settler Families


Catherine Elisabeth married Friedrich W KÖNIGKRAMER at New Germany 18 Dec 1856


Friedrich Heinrich, clothmaker of Bramsche, and wife Johanna Adelheid LOND


Bernhard Heinrich, clothmaker born Rheine, Hanover, and wife Katharine Margarete SCHWEGMANN from Bramsche




Friedrich Wilhelm, carpenter of Westerkappeln, and wife Catherine Margarete BARLAG. Married 2nd Catherine Wilhelmine NASEKE at New Germany 12 Aug 1856.


Bernhard Heinrich and wife Catherine Engel BUNTE


Gerhard and wife Elisabeth SCHALLENBERG


Johann Heinrich and wife Margarethe Mathilde Charlotte BEYER married at Pietermaritzburg 30 January 1866


Johannes Friederich married Karoline Johanna Catharine WEHAUS 25 April 1872


Johann Christian married Maria DUNKELMANN (or DINKELMANN) at New Germany 17 January 1856


Franz Heinrich and wife Anna Maria ENGEL


Gerhard Friedrich (senior) married Catharine Wilhelmine BIERBAUM at New Germany 3 March 1870


Rudolf Friedrich and wife Elise BOSSE


Johannes Heinrich and wife Maria SCHRODER


Heinrich Ernst Wilhelm married Anna Maria Amalia MEYER at New Germany, 10 December 1849


Friederich Wilhelm and wife Sophie Lisette KÖNIGKRAMER




Catharine Elsabein, serving maid


Catherina Maria of Westerkappeln married Friedrich Adolf WESTERMEYER at New Germany on 5 May 1848


Friedrich Wilhelm and wife Louise Dorothea FRANKE


Heinrich Wilhelm, clothmaker, and wife Elise BOSSE


Louise, serving maid


Friedrich Wilhelm and 2nd wife Elisabeth SCHEMME


Hermann Heinrich and wife Catharine Margarethe LADBERG, both of Westerkappeln


Friedrich Wilhelm of Westerkappeln


Hermann Heinrich and wife Catharine Wilhelmine MEYER


Nicolaus and wife Anna Maria EGGERMANN


Franz, labourer, and wife Anna Karoline RETHMANN


Andreas, gardener, and wife Anna HÖSCH


Christian Friedrich and wife Regina Maria STERTEFELT


Rudolf Franz and wife Carolina Amalia AULFES. 2nd wife Augusta Schroon AULFES.

Friedrich and wife Katherine FREESE


Johann Heinrich, cobbler, and wife Louise Charlotte


No further details


Johann Heinrich married Anna Karoline SCHWEGMANN at New Germany 4 May 1849


Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm married Dorothea Adelheid AULFES at New Germany 12 August 1854


Georg Friedrich, blacksmith, and wife Johanna Caroline W. Married 2nd wife Barbara FIELD at New Germany on 13 March 1851.


Rudolph Heinrich, carpenter, and wife Anna Caroline


Friedrich Wilhelm and wife Dorothea Louise SANDROCK


Friedrich Rudolph married Bernhardina Sophie KÖNIGKRAMER at New Germany, 10 January 1850


Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm married Dorothea EVERS at New Germany on 30 May 1848.


Hermann Heinrich and wife Anna Regina KELLNERS


Johann Heinrich and wife Margarethe MULLER

Jörgen Heinrich and wife Anna Catharine FREESE


Hermann Diedrich, labourer, and wife Katharine


Christian Rudolf and wife Anna Maria Elise PIENEMANN


Johann Christian and wife Wilhelmine ERDMUTE


Hermann Heinrich and wife Catharina Maria Elisabeth KETH


Ernst Heinrich and wife Catharine Elise TORLAGE married at New Germany 15 August 1858. Married 2nd Margaretha Maria WEHAUS at New Germany 14 March 1859.


Bernhard Heinrich, weaver of Bramsche, and wife Josephine Katharine.


Heinrich of Westerkappeln.


Johann Ernst Friedrich and wife Christine


Friedrich married Catharine Maria HANDELMANN at New Germany 4 May 1849


Johann Heinrich Georg, clothmaker of Bramsche.

The definitive work on the Bergtheil Settlers is Walter Volker's The Cotton Germans of Natal/Die Baumwolldeutschen von Natal:  From Bramsche to New Germany 1848-2006  ISBN 0 620 36298-7
(Just Done Productions-Publishing, Durban 2006). This monumental volume contains background information on the Bergtheil scheme as well as detailed genealogies of the settlers. A must read for any descendants.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Bergtheil Settlers

A group of German settlers came to Natal in March 1848 on the ship Beta, under a private scheme arranged by Jonas Bergtheil. This was the first organized initiative to bring settlers to Natal, pre-dating the much-publicised and well-documented Byrne scheme.

Bergtheil himself was born in Bavaria in 1819 and had travelled at the youthful age of 15 to the Cape, where members of his family were then living. In 1843, he arrived in Natal during an unsettled period in the area's history. The conflict of 1842 between the Boers and British was in the recent past, many Voortrekkers had left for pastures new, the population was depleted and there was no guarantee that Britain would establish control of Natal. Matters hung in the balance until 1845, when Natal was declared a Colony and its future became more assured. Bergtheil bought a large acreage of land (Wandsbeck) from Edmund Morewood, and decided to put this under cotton. A man of vision, Bergtheil, as director of the Natal Cotton Company, saw Natal's potential as an area for immigrant settlement. He visited England with some sample bales of cotton, and received a high price for them in Manchester, but failed in his attempts to interest Scottish and English immigrants to come to Natal.

He then turned to his own country of birth, Germany, where at that time not much was known about Natal except that it was a remote and savage place peopled by indigenous tribes and wild animals. Bergtheil, in what would now be called a marketing exercise, tried to disperse such notions, and even took a Zulu with him to Germany as evidence that the dangers of living in Natal were widely exaggerated.

Eventually, his persistence paid off and he was able to put together a group of settlers who would travel on the Beta, under Captain Georg Poppe, leaving Bremen on 19 November 1847 (some sources give 21 November as embarkation date) and arriving at Port Natal on 23 March 1848. All the expenses were borne out of Bergtheil's private funds, which is indicative of his faith in the venture. So confident was he that he didn't travel out personally with the settlers and this was a mistake because he wasn't on hand to make sure initial arrangements in Natal went smoothly.

The settlers' contract provided 210 acres for each of them, ten acres for growing vegetables and the rest to be put under cotton. Seed and other necessities were supplied free, though the settlers had to buy farming implements and oxen. They were at the start accommodated in tents or huts, and had to make their own bricks in order to build more permanent homesteads - e.g. the Konigkramer family home constructed in 1871 stands to this day, in Barn Place, Westville. Bergtheil changed the name of the area previously known as Wandsbeck to Westville in honour of Martin West, first Lieutenant-Governor of Natal.

The first year was a struggle for the settlers: the harvest was poor, and imported seed had been damaged in transit, but gradually, with hard work, conditions improved. After about 10 years most had prospered and had been able to take ownership of their lands.

Jonas Bergtheil became a prominent figure in the business life of the Colony, and was elected to the first Legislative Assembly in 1857. In 1866 he and his family left Natal. Bergtheil died in 1901 and lies buried in the Bayswater cemetery, London. The many successful and well-known descendants of his German settlers who still reside in Natal are a living memorial to the man who was the forerunner in organized immigration to this province.

Friday, May 27, 2011

St Helena: Slaves and Owners

Friends of St Helena is a charitable Society that has several aims, one of which is to provide information about St Helena and its two sister islands, Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha.

Of specific interest to anyone tracing their ancestry to St Helena, this Society has just published a full list of over 700 slaves emancipated from the year 1827, together with a list of nearly 200 owners.

The St Helena government effectively loaned a sum of money to each slave to buy their freedom, and then required that sum to be paid back over the next few decades.

A considerable amount of additional information is available to members of the Society, which anyone can join for a nominal sum, this being the Society's only source of funding. This additional information comes from reports generated by the St Helena Government to track the sums owed by slaves and includes their age, value, skills, family relationship and comments on their character.

Over and above that, the Society publishes a magazine called Wirebird with a number of articles on St Helena. A detailed index of all 39 editions published since 1990 is available to anyone visiting the web site, and members can upload full copies of any of these editions as Acrobat files.

The above information was provided by Ian Bruce (Membership Secretary and Webmaster, FoSH).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wreck of the Jane Davies Follow-up

It's always good to hear from a descendant whose ancestor has been mentioned in this blog. [See post on Wed June 16 2010 for the original story.]

Re the wreck of the ship Jane Davies, and her master, Philip Le Gallais, Mark Woods writes:
We were told that our ancestor, Captain Philip Le Gallais, had been shipwrecked off of Madagascar ...
Philip Le Gallais was originally from Jersey and his wife, Mary Ann Durbin was from Clevedon, Somerset. Philip died in 1877 at the Workhouse in Long Ashton, England with cause of death as “Injury to Brain & Spine. Dropsy”. These may have been the injuries referred to in this account (i.e. the newspaper report as seen in the blog post). My great grandmother was born in Bristol in 1873, so was not the child that it appeared Mrs. Le Gallais was about to have. I have no record of who the two year old child would have been. However, the records of 4 children between 1859 and 1865 were all from British records and some more children may have been born overseas.