The Estate of Willem Morkel 1718-1788

The Estate of Willem Morkel 1718-1788
The inventory of Willem’s estate shows a man of means. He left seven farms to his four sons. Some of the furniture items mentioned are still at Die Bos.
Die volledige inventaris van Willem se boedel is hier – in die oorspronklike Hollands. Soos met Philip and Maria Bibou se inventaris, gee dit verder insae in die lewe van ons voorouers.

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Die Bos Altena Morkel Ancestors Thumbnails

Die Bos Altena Morkel Ancestors Thumbnails
Short cameos of each of the first seven generations of Die Bos – Altena ancestors with signatures and photos where available.

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Dan and Kitty Morkel

  1. Mainly Dan
    This is about my parents. The first part is mainly about Dan, a remarkable man and leader in the community. His epitaph “Hy het geleef om te dien” – he lived to serve, reflects on his active life as father and citizen.
  2. Mainly Kitty
    My mother Kitty was widowed at an early age and carried on with the farm, raising her four sons and active leadership in the community. A remarkable lady.
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Voorburg Morkels

  1. The Early years in Hottentots Holland and Pieter Loreth Morkel at Zonnebloem
    Third generation Willem Morkel farmed at Voorburg next to Onverwacht. This is the first part of this branch of the family. It also tells of Pieter Loret Morkel, butcher of Zonnebloem, Cape Town. There is also a story of how one of his daughters was sadly murdered by her husband.
  2. Sommie and Dougie Morkel and Family
    This second part tells of the family in Transvaal. Hendrik Johannes Morkel who help establish the first township on the goldfields of Johannesburg, and his brother Willem Morkel, the first butcher there. Willem’s sons included Rugby Springboks Sommie and Dougie Morkel, and our story uncovers three brothers missing from the family Genealogy. The two parts were formerly listed as “The Missing Brothers of Sommie and Dougie”.
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  1. Arthur Loreht Morkel
    The first of three articles about Ron Morkel’s family. In his book Rhodesia. Beginning to End, he described how his grandfather Arthur took six months, fighting swollen rivers and bouts of malaria, to reach Salisbury in 1891. He overcame many hardships to establish a prime farm, Ceres near Shamva and also two successful small gold mines. A fascinating insight into the early years of Rhodesia and the story of a remarkable pioneer.
  2. Clifford Earle Morkel
    More from Ron Morkel’s book. Cliff attended St Andrew’s college in Grahamstown and was barely back in Rhodesia when his father Arthur posted him for 5 years at an isolated and desolate gold mine near the Mozambique border. He served in Abyssinia and Kenya during World War II and on his return established Mazuri cattle ranch, near Que Que. He nurtured the wild life on the ranch, including a magnificent herd of sable antelope.
  3. Ronald Norman Morkel
    In the third part from his book we meet the author, Ron Morkel. After attending St Andrew’s he managed Mazuri Ranch and after his father Cliff passed away, became its owner. He spent 14 years as a part time soldier fighting Mugabe’s terrorists. In addition to running the cattle ranch he also supplied the chrome mine bordering his ranch with timber, meat and groceries. Later he and neighbours hosted carefully selected trophy hunters on the farm, as part of a carefully managed wild life project. By 1978 it was obvious that there was no future in Rhodesia and he left the magnificent ranch behind, taking only $2,000 they were allowed. The family first went to Ireland, his wife’s home country, and later to the US.
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Morgenster Morkels

  1. Introduction
    Fourth generation Willem Morkel 1803 – 1876, son of Daniel Johannes Morkel and Maria Dorothea Louw is described in the family Genealogy as “Capitalist, Resident at Morgenster“. The first medical doctor, Willem Morkel had the largest wagon in the old Cape Colony, for trekking into the interior. Family living in Fouriesburg, O.F.S. at Mount Morkel, and p.j.g. Morkel of Oatlands are also in Part 1. We follow some of the other descendants in Parts 2,3,4, and 5 in this series.
  2. Mrs. Alexander van der Byl (née Morkel)
    Mrs Alexander van der Byl, née Morkel was renowned for her elegant style and hospitality at Morgenster. They were the “royal” Morkels. Some good anecdotes to tell.
  3. Dooley (William) Morkel and his family
    William (Dooley Morkel), gifted sportsman in rugby and cricket, was the main stay the Bellville Cricket Club. His son Denys played international cricket and eventually settled in the UK, while another son, Ray played first class cricket. Son Frank moved to Rhodesia. One of his sons, vet Pete Morkel, is active with the rescue and preservation of wildlife against poaching. See photos of Pete tranquillising and tending Rhino in Zambia, Giant Sable in Angola, and elephant in Congo and Chad. The articles can be found under “Morkel Family Stories” on this website.
  4. Paul Andries (P.A.) and Dan Morkel
    Paul Andries (P.A.) organised the Blantyre “Fighting Chamber of Commerce”, a paramilitary group actively supporting the British forces north of the Limpopo. Later he was the Mayor of Middelburg in Transvaal and won competitions for the quality of his horses. His brother Dan Morkel was involved with establishing the telegraph line through the wilds of Africa in Rhodesia and rescued Ernest Brockman from a man-eater lion. Read about this amazing story of derring-do.
  5. The Rome Morkels and the two military cousins Lt. Col Ralph Morkel & Sgt Ralph Morkel
    This part of the branch farmed at Rome, between Morgenster and Onverwacht. Sgt. Ralph Morkel and his brother John were active in the British forces in Bechuanaland and Rhodesia. There was also a cousin Lt Col Ralph Morkel who also served in WWI.
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Beaufort West Morkels

  1. Origins Linking
    Although most of this branch of the family have lived in the Cape Peninsula and elsewhere since the 1950s, they were originally from Beaufort West. Of mixed race, they include Rev. I.D. Morkel (see Pt 3,) and Gerald Morkel, former Mayor of Cape Town and former Premier of Western Cape. In our pioneering study we are able establish the link with the broader Morkel Genealogy.
  2. Family Line
    The family line for the Beaufort West Morkels
  3. Rev ID Morkel Church Founder and Activist
    Reverend I.D. Morkel broke with the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in 1950 when they declined to support his opposition to apartheid laws. His Calvin Protestant Church attracted members of mixed race. I.D. Morkel spoke out against moral decline, alcohol abuse within his flock as well as restrictive government regulations with equal vigour.
  4. Profiles of Samuel and Dolphina’s Children
    Photos and profiles of this family.
  5. Margaret Lodewyk neé Morkel
    Margaret Lodewyk was a daughter of Samuel and Dolphina Morkel and inspired her daughter Margaret Thebus to undertake the research into the Beaufort West Morkels. A tribute to a remarkable and caring lady.
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Genealogies and Personal Privacy

Having just posted the updated Morkel Genealogy, the issue of personal privacy is relevant.  How dare I publish personal information of age, family details (spouse,  children, parents) and so forth.  Some subscription websites blank out details for living persons.  With modern life expectancies, such genealogies in practice are close to being useless for readers.

In the modern digital/internet age, such notions of privacy are illusionary — they simply do not exist.  In fact they never really existed, even in the past.  Births, deaths and weddings have always been well known in the community (family, friends and others) and have been a feature in newspapers for years.  Government and church records (baptisms, funerals and weddings) are publicly available.  Genealogists collect and organise such publicly available data.  Thus their main offence would be to do this work and publish it.  I plead guilty.

A real ethical issue is using data without referencing and acknowledging who supplied it.  This practice is rife in genealogy.  I have sought to properly reference sources for family history and stories, but it is more difficult to do in a tightly formatted genealogy as on our site.  I am guilty here and am searching for ways to do this without damaging the readability of the data.  Genealogy programs such as Family Tree Maker and Legacy handle referencing.   However, it is usually not printed out in most of the reports, and it is usually hidden in the ‘black box’ part of the program, unless specifically requested.

I am happy to share the genealogy with fellow family members and genealogists. Having put a lot of work in compiling and cleaning the genealogy, I do not like the idea that our gedcom will be downloaded in seconds onto one of the many commercial websites such as and others charging subscription fees for their use.   I can only ask our friends not to pass it on, but I know it is only a matter of time when these websites get hold of it .

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Correcting Errors

Corrections to our book MORKEL A Remarkable South African family.

Three major errors.

In spite of efforts to avoid them, errors are bound to occur in a book with a wide scope and covering so many family members.  Apart from minor typos, three errors of fact have emerged by November 2015, five months after the book launch.  In a website they can be  corrected but, once published, a book is inflexible.  At least we have a webpage to make the errors known.  

Error 1.  Rugby Springbok Andrew MORKEL

Andrew played for South Africa in 1903 (against the British touring team) and in the famous 1906 tour to the UK, when the term ‘springboks’ were first used.  In the 1906 team he was joined by brothers Sommie and Dougie MORKEL.

The only ‘Andrew’ MORKEL in the Genealogy I had was f4 Andries (Andrew) Brink MORKEL, and his family line was entered on p77 in the book.  However, subsequently an entry by his granddaughter in the website ‘’ shows that the springbok Andrew was indeed Daniel Johannes Andries MORKEL  born in 1882 at  Broadlands, Somerset West.

d9 Willem MORKEL b: 03 Jun 1803 d: 27 Dec 1876 Morgenster x Isabella Margaretha ZEEDERBERG

e5 Hendrik Johannes Louw MORKEL b: 28 Sep 1838 Broadlands  x Johanna Mollerstrom VAN BREDA

f12 Daniel Johannes Andries (Andrew, Springbok) MORKEL b: 04 Aug 1882 d: 14 Jun 1965  x Grace DEVINE

Error 2. Bill MORKEL.  Author of ‘Hunting in Africa’ 1980. 

His book ‘Hunting in Africa’ lists him only as  Bill (W.A.) MORKEL, born in Middelburg, Transvaal in 1928.  Using that sparse information, I assumed that he was a descendant of P.A. MORKEL, who was mayor of Middelburg in the late 1890s, and who had a life of adventure in Blantyre, now Malawi.  He is featured in chapter 29 of our book. I was wrong.

According to his niece, Arion (Ron) DA SILVA COSTA, he is Willem Aron MORKEL of the Overberg (Uitkyk/Varsfontein) Morkels. 

c7 Hercules MORKEL 29.1.1767 – 20.5.1808 (Welgelegen) x Helena MUNNIK ca 1772 – 8.11.1818

d2 Willem MORKEL (Brakfontein) 1795 – 5.7.1851 x Jacoba Elizabeth Arnoldina DREYER ca 1799 – 14 .11.1881

e5  Johannes Augustus Dreyer MORKEL  (Uitkyk) 13.5.1823 x Catharina Cornelia MARAIS 1830 – 15.6.1891

f2  Willem Aron MORKEL (Varsfontein) 23.5.1851 – 17.2.1917 x Helena Catharina ROOS 1.11.1847 – 1.9.191

g8  Paul Johannes Roos MORKEL  3 8.1883 – 19.2.1950 x Charlotte Maria Margaretha VAN DER WESTHUIZEN

h3 Willem (Bill) Aron MORKEL 2.8.1928 x Maureen MANN 7.10.1930

Error 3. Rodney Tyrone RHODA — wrong photo. 

The photo on p242 in the book is wrong.  It is of Rodney’s cousin Stanley RHODA instead.  Rodney and his family was graciously amused by the error.  Rodney’s photo is below.RODNEY RHODA COLOUR PHOTO

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Updated Morkel Genealogy

I finally managed to update the family genealogy. My main interest has been family history but in doing so it was important to know where the family came from and how we were related. In other words, genealogy or family tree. I lack access to archives as well as the skills and interest to do a complete genealogy.  I compiled what was available and added family trees collected with our website and more recently writing the book.  There are big gaps but it is still the most complete one available

It was compiled on the ‘Family Tree Maker’ program, available from LDS in Salt Lake City. It is an amazing program but it is also difficult to detect errors in it (a bit of a black box).  Problems were compounded recently when, after many years,  my copy became corrupted, with sibling order changing every time it loaded. This gave a distorted printout of the family tree. It took a new version and many tedious hours (weeks 🙂 ) to correct the entries on the printout.

The result is available as a transfer protocol (gedcom) to others with genealogy programs such as Legacy.   A family trees is surprisingly difficult to represent on paper for more than a few generations.  The best way I found was to use a ‘Descendants Outline Report’ for stamvader Philip Morkel as on this website under Morkel Genealogy

There are inevitably omissions and errors.  If you spot these and can contribute missing family, please contact us on ‘Contact Us’.

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Steenberg – in the same family 1682 to 1990 – longer than Die Bos

In my earlier blog ‘300 Years on the Farm’, I mentioned that the Morkel farm Die Bos (formerly Onverwacht) has now in 2013, been 300 years in the Morkel family.  I was uncertain about Steenberg which could be older but where the family name changed as sons-in-law took over.  Neil van Zyl has kindly filled me in on the history of Steenberg, where it stayed in one family from 1682 to 1990.  Thus Die Bos is indeed the oldest with the same family name, but has another eight years to go to beat the Steenberg record.

The original grant of the property now known as Steenberg was made to Katharina Ras in 1688 after she previously had a lease on the property with effect from 1682.  It was initially known as Swaaneweide.  She then sold the property to a son-in-law Frederick Russouw in 1695.  The Russouws owned the property until sold by a Nicolaas or Daniel Russouw to a Johannes Adriaan Louw in 1804.  Louw was connected through marriage and could have been a brother-in-law.  Approximately three generations of Louw then owned the property.  My grandfather, Nicolaas Andrew Louw, inherited the farm in 1917 from his father, Abraham.  Nicolaas initially owned the farm along with his brother, Kobus, which brother was later bought out.  My grandfather died in 1977 and the farm was inherited by his three children, Andrew, Jean and Nicolette, my mother.  The property was then owned by my mother and her siblings until 1990 when it was sold to JCI Limited.  JCI developed the front portion as a residential golf estate and established a winery and ran an hotel from the main residence.  JCI sold the property to an Uruguan called Gaston Savon who then, in turn, sold it to Kangra Holdings in 2005.  Kangra Holdings is controlled by the Graham Beck family.  Graham died a few years ago and the only interested family member is Anthony who lives in Kentucky in the United States.

Many thanks Neil, for this fascinating history


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Video. Danie en Kleinjan at Die Bos talking about our new book

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The new book on Morkel Family History has been printed and is available

I have been working on the book for more than a year, and finally it is available. Nickey Cilliers, a specialist publisher in Cape Town, is married to my niece, Karen Morkel and is publishing and distributing the book. The website has been key to this project. Over a period of more than ten years, the website has grown in scope and size. Apart from posting new information about the family from published sources, we have received contributions from a range of family and friends.

Now I have reworked much of the website into a printed book.  Contributions from co-authors and contributors range from comments to chapters.  We have tried to keep costs down without compromising quality (for example as author I and co-authors receive no royalties and Nickey does not charge a fee as publisher). Nickey organised colour printing at a reasonable cost, using his trade knowledge to good advantage.

MORKEL-BOOK-COVER-2015-237pxMORKEL  A Remarkable South Africa Family

Colour.  289 pages.  Soft cover R270 plus postage.

Order books from:    Nickey Cilliers   Future Managers (Cape Town).  Email:  Cell no : 0833010813

Order CDs and Downloads at R150 (or a range of equivalent currencies from):  Colin Pretorius,

Why buy a book when the content is freely available on our website?  Those that do will have their reasons, and I am comfortable that some will prefer the website and others the book.   I see merits in both and, being responsible for this website, I  clearly believe in its value.  But I also love books and the new Morkel book is special.  I can hold it in my hand, turn the pages, browse and read.  I see where I am, at the beginning, halfway through or at the end. Look at the pictures and diagrams, spot read here and there, go back or forward a few pages with ease.

A book can be handed down to the kids and it could be around to pass on to the grandchildren and beyond.  When that happens, it will still be readable.  We cannot be so sure about digital versions.  Will we be able to read this website or a CD in say fifty year’s time?   Floppy disks and VHS videotapes of say 30 years ago, are already unreadable except by specialists.  Will the situation be better in another 50 years?   I doubt it.  Phil Morkel published his book on the Morkel family more than 50 years ago in 1961.  The book was typed on wax paper using the old manual typewriters and then Roneo reproduction machines were used to produce copies.  This was the way copies were made in offices in those days.   The quality was poor even at the time it was produced, but his books are still readable.

It was an amazing learning experience to write the book.  I tell more about that in future Blogs.


Incidentally, we have changed the opening page for our website.  It is now this page, our Blog, providing something new and topical from time to time (when I find time to write it:-).  The old regular opening home page is still here, now shifted to “about”.

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Two anecdotes from the early days

Through ‘contact us’ I received two anecdotes from the early days of the Morkel family. Thanks so much to those who passed them on. They do much to bring the history of the family alive.  They have been posted under “Vanities, Fables and Foibles Pt1” in “Family Stories”.

One is a ‘Moppie’ praising ‘Rich’ Mister Morkel –  it was apparently by freed slaves in thanks for their liberation.  Moppies are ditties sung primarily at the New Year festival  in Cape Town by troupes  of mixed race revellers.

The other is about the wife of  2nd generation Willem Morkel (Helena Catharina Malan), who rescued and reared a Khoi baby. It was one of twins and their custom was that only one may survive. The baby was suspended on a branch over a river in the expectation that it would fall and drown.


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Saving wildlife from poachers in Central Africa.

I have changed the Morgenster Morkel series to include the family of Francis Sievewright Morkel.  One of his sons is Pete Morkel, a vet who is active with wildlife preservation in Central Africa – elephant in Chad and Congo Democratic Republic, Rhino in Angola and giant Sable in Zambia.  Wonderful effort.  See the story and photos in Morgenster Morkel Part 3 (Morkel Ancestors), and the magazine articles under Family Stories.  The exploits of Paul Andries Morkel (Blantyre Fighting Chamber of Commerce and mayor of Middelburg) and Dan Morkel (saving Brockman from the lion) are now in Morgenster Morkels Part 4, and the Rome Morkels are now in Morgenster Morkels Part 5.

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The Morkel Rhoda connection

The research by Ebrahim Rhoda about the Muslim branch of the Rhoda family has been on our website for some time, under “Morkel Family Stories”.   This has now become Part 1 of a series, with the Christian branch of the Rhodas in Parts 2 and 3.  Building on family traditions and family bible entries, combined with Ebrahim’s research, there is a very plausible case that Christian branch of the family is descended from a Morkel farmer, likely 3rd generation Daniel Johannes Morkel of Onverwacht, and slave girl Rhoda (or Kandaza as she was known before marrying fellow slave Rhode).  We give accounts by Rodney and Ebrahim Rhoda and Timothy Visser (his mother was a Rhoda).   The oral history in the family is extensive and Ebrahim’s research provides strong support.  We have been searching for key documentary evidence that Daniel Johannes was indeed the ancestor but the chances of finding this is not high.

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DNA connection to the US – cousin Art Morrical

I recently updated the Deep Ancestry posting to include the STR markers (short tandem repeats) for my y-DNA test.   y-DNA is handed down father to son and all male Morkels, including back to stamvader Philip Morkel, would share the same markers and haplogroup which is I1.   Recently Art Morrical from Illinois in the USA contacted me.  Not only is he also haplogroup I1, but that 66 out of my 67 STR markers were identical with his (Art had his done for 111 markers).   This is the closest fit Art has found anywhere.  Art traces his family back to Wilhelm Morgel from Germany who settled in the USA in 1767 and who changed his name to Morricle.  Eventually it became Morrical.   I have little doubt that we are family, stemming from a common Morkel or Morgel in Germany centuries ago.  Remarkable.  Art and I are having a great time by email, talking family.

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Correcting a few errors in the Morkel Genealogy

I combined the two main Morkel Genealogies (PW Morkel and GISA) into a Family Tree Maker software package, as well as new items collected over the years.  While the more than 1,600 names is fairly modest compared to some genealogies, it took quite some effort to type them in and to proofread and correct errors.  Even though there are substantial gaps in the genealogy, particularly for the past 50 years or so,  it is still the most comprehensive available for the Morkels of Southern Africa.  Hopefully some brave person will try to compile a full updated genealogy some day.

I used Family Tree Maker (FTM) package because it also works on Mac computers.  Buying online, it came without a manual but it is sufficiently intuitive that I could make the entries without problems.  The descendant report for stamvader Philip was posted on the website under ‘Morkel Genealogies’.  Subsequently new information came to light and I did not know how to update the Genealogy without possibly corrupting it in the process.  I needed a manual.  I managed to obtain one through Amazon, but when it arrived from the US, it was for the Windows version.  The manual mentioned that the FTM software contains a pdf of the manual under ‘help’ in the toolbar.  Thus I had the manual for the Mac version all along!  It was great reading about the many capabilities of the package which the DIY user so easily misses.  After experimenting with a mock family tree, I managed to make the corrections and have updated the Descendants Report.

The errors were:

1.  Maria Dorothea LOUW married to Daniel Johannes MORKEL 1764 – 1825, died not in 1801 as the existing Genealogies have it, but in 1807.  Thus she was the mother of Willem Morkel 1803 – 1876, not Daniel’s 3rd wife Alida BRINK.  Such a change is not straight forward to make – all the descendants of Willem must be involved.  It involved detatching Willem from Alida BRINK  and attaching him to Maria Dorothea LOUW.  Once I knew how, it was not difficult.

2.  Further research into the Beaufort West Morkels showed that Gert Thomas MORKEL was the son of Hercules Adriaan MORKEL born in 1823, not Hercules MORKEL born 1821 as we had it originally.   This was a bit more tricky to change, but it was done.

3.  An error I was unable to correct is fortunately not serious.  Hendrik Johannes Louw MORKEL 1825 – 1889 was married to a second cousin Elizabeth Anna MORKEL 1830 – 1869.  In the Descendants Report their children and their descendants are listed twice, once under Hendrik and again under Elizabeth.  I tried various ways but could not get rid of the duplication – it was either both or none.  What made it puzzling was that this problem did not occur in the case of another Hendrik Johannes MORKEL who married cousin Esther Elizabeth MORKEL.   While it would be nice if the error could be corrected, I do not judge it serious – it means 22 names are listed twice -but no information was lost.

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Rhodesia Beginning to End – Arthur, Cliff and Ron Morkel

Ron Morkel who now lives in North Carolina is the grandson of Arthur Loreth Rubidge Morkel who in 1891 made the arduous six month journey to Salisbury at a time that Cecil John Rhodes and Leander Starr Jamieson were establishing the colony which became Rhodesia.  Ron wrote a book Rhodesia. Beginning to End which is about the three generations of this Morkel family, and also about Rhodesia as a country – from its beginnings with Rhodes, until the end when  Mugabe took over.  Like most Rhodesians, Ron had to leave his wife and children alone on the cattle ranch for weeks on end while serving in the army fighting terrorists. They emigrated in 1978 with only the allowed $2,000, leaving a magnificent ranch with livestock and wildlife behind. His wife Brigid was from Ireland and that is where they settled first, before moving to the US, where Brigid worked as a nurse and Ron established a taxidermy business in Florida. He later moved on to other activities in North Carolina.

Rhodesia Parts 1,2,and 3 under ‘Morkel Ancestors’ on the website are about Arthur, Cliff and Ron.  Arthur endured almost unbelievable hardships getting established in Rhodesia.  They took six months to trek with a donkey wagon from Johannesburg to Salisbury, waiting weeks for flooded rivers to subside and recuperating from debilitating bouts of malaria.  Arthur eventually developed a magnificent farm near Shamva as well as two small  gold mines.  His son Cliff worked for five years in isolation at their gold mine in desolate country close to the Mocambique border.  Cliff served in the army in Abyssinia during the second world war and afterwards established the Mazuri cattle and wildlife ranch near Que Que.  Son Ron eventually took over on the Ranch while also spending fourteen years fighting terrorists.

Ron kindly supported my efforts to extract the three stories from his book, and they are amazing to read.


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The Wreck of the Schonenberg.

I finally updated our story about the Wreck of the Schonenberg.  Stamvader Philip Morkel and his brother Willem hosted 80 shipwrecked crew on his farm Onverwacht in 1722.   An epic poem, Liefdekrans, was composed and printed in 1725 to thank Philip.  This historic document hangs on the wall at Die Bos.  Thorough research on the wreck, done by Dr Jan Malan in the Cape Archives, is documented in two papers in Afrikaans and posted on our website with permission.  I used this together with the accounts in P.W. Morkel’s book on the family for our story.  It also gained a bit of sparkle with charts showing the route of the unfortunate ship, a photo of the rocky Agulhas coast where it happened, and a chart of the likely route the crew took overland to Philip Morkel’s farm – taken from Malan’s articles.  Jan originally became interested because Eric Rosenthal claimed that his ancestor Jacques Malan of Morgenster (who was also second generation Willem Morkel’s father-in-law) took part in looting the wreck and was banished from the Cape in chains.  As he commented, a more unlikely  robber and conspirator could scarcely be found.  French Huguenot Jacques Malan was a prosperous farmer and family man in his mid fifties, and a deacon (elected elder in the following year) in the church.  He found the stories by Eric Rosenthal and Lawrence Green figments of the imagination.  The real events are fascinating enough and do not need fantasy and embroidering.   I have removed these stories from our article and have focused on more reliable accounts by P.W. Morkel and Jan Malan.

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We had the wrong Hercules link for the Beaufort West Morkels.

Compiling the family line for the Beaufort West Morkels was quite an achievement.  Margaret Thebus and her late mother Margaret Lodewyk were the main drivers with assistance from others, as described in the article under ‘Morkel Ancestors’.   My contribution was to try and link Gert Thomas MORKEL and his descendants who became that branch of the family to the Morkel Genealogy.  There were two likely candidates – Hercules born 1821 and his cousin Hercules Adriaan, born 1823.   According to the GISA Genealogy the first Hercules (born 1821) died young.  However, PW Morkel’s Genealogy had that date for his baptism, so he could have grown up, but there is no further information about him.  I chose him as the most likely candidate for our link because the other one, Hercules Adriaan (born 1823) was married with children.

A week or two ago, a contributor generously sent along two website URLs that contained the baptism and marriage registers for Gert Thomas MORKEL.  It showed clearly that his father was indeed Hercules Adriaan MORKEL and his mother Flora MORKEL (unmarried) – we know that her maiden surname was SIMON.   It seems that Hercules Adriaan, a farmer near Nelspoort (not far from Beaufort West)  and field Cornet for Beaufort West maintained two families.  He clearly did not neglect Flora and her children.  Four girls were baptised in 1856 and Gert Thomas in 1864.  The marriage register entry for Gert Thomas has him as a farmer at Salt River Vlei in the Beaufort West district (look it up on Google Maps) so Hercules looked after all his children, whether with his wife or with Flora SIMON.

I am in the process of updating our website to reflect this new information.  The article under ‘Morkel Ancestors’ has been updated and posted.  It will be much harder to change the Morkel Genealogy.  The Family Tree Maker Program I use is amazing and versatile but I still have not figured out how to make this change without laboriously erasing and whole Beaufort west line and re-typing it all.   I encountered this problem also trying to correct the error I had with Maria Dorothea LOUW – see below).  One day I shall get on to this task.

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Thanks to all who write in via ‘Contact Us’

Every now and then someone writes in via the  ‘Contact Us’  facility to point out errors and/or to contribute new information about the family.  We all benefit from this – errors are caught and corrected and the information on our website becomes richer and more authoritative.

Sometimes the errors might seem minor – for example James Ashford BATTY instead of what we had, James Allison BATTY – but it is important to get it right.  Unfortunately I cannot correct the published Morkel Genealogies going back to De Villiers/Pama where the error came from, but we can do it on the website.

As I describe in our next Blog, we got our Hercules link for the Beaufort West MORKELs wrong.  Thank to a generous contributor, we now have entries in registers for baptism and marriage of Gert Thomas MORKEL which need quite far reaching changes.

Thanks so much.    I am cautious about mentioning names without permission and have thanked the contributors directly.  I shall make the changes.

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You, dear Reader

For years I wondered how much interest there is for our website.  Occasionally someone would use the ‘contact us’ facility but how many others were/are there?  Recently I became aware that Google Analytics provide amazingly detailed statistics of visitors to the site.  Please be reassured that your privacy is safe – the analyses contain only numbers.  I will only know who you are if you contact me.

For example during the month of August 2013,  77 people visited the site for a total of 101 visits.  There were 258 page views and an average duration of almost 3 minutes (2:50).   There are inevitably short casual visits with quick departure.  There are also those that stayed to read, and who remained with the site quite a bit longer than the average.  The level of interest is also reflected in the ‘bounce rate’ where a value of 100% are for persons who do not proceed further than the home page.  45% of visitors were from South Africa with a bounce rate of 53%, an average of 2.4 pages and an average time of 3:25 minutes per visit.  The next group, 19%, were from Australia with bounce rate of 21%, 3.05 pages and 3:37 minutes per visit.  My own visits to work on the website would be in the latter group, but there were also other visitors.

Over the years several people have contacted me for more information or pointing out errors and I welcome this interest.  However, there is also a strange, and for me, a somewhat unsettling pattern, along the following lines.  I respond to the initial contact in which I try to provide information as best I can (usually it is about the ancestral line of the inquirer).  I also ask whether he or she would be willing to provide current information about their family – parents, grandparents, brother and sisters, uncles and aunts and, where possible, dates.  I often get a warm response with a promise to come back soon – and then silence.  I follow up with reassurance that it need not be exhaustive – just send what you know, after all we usually know the names of our relatives, even if dates are lacking.  But so often the line then goes dead.  Sadly, the value of the website would be enhanced so much if people were willing to provide information.  But it is not to be.

In the SA Genealogie chatroom several members have commented how hard it is to get relatives to respond and provide information, and I have long ago decided not to even attempt constructing a full genealogy of the family.  It is simply too hard.  However, even those who are interested and initiate contact, seem to find it hard to respond with the names of their family, and will stop answering my emails.  Do I intimidate them? – I sincerely try not to, and I try to reassure just give what you know – even if dates are missing, but to no avail.  Do they feel the information is private and should not be on the website? – names, dates, births, weddings and deaths are public knowledge – published in newspapers, well known among family and friends and are available from the relevant government departments, so I find that hard to understand. The best explanation I have found so far is that people are reluctant to ask dates and details from family – it is not always easy to explain that you want to pass it on for a website.  But there are also those who are happy to share information, or someone who writes in to say they enjoyed reading the stories.  This makes it all worthwhile.  For those, thanks so much – it helps to continue with the task.




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Nuwe lig op die Stranding van die Schoonenberg – New Research about the Wreck of the Schoonenberg

Die Liefdekrans, gedruk in 1725 is ‘n dankie sê epiese gedig wat vertel hoe stamvader Philip Morkel meer as 80 skipbreukelinge van die Schoonenberg (in dokumente word dit ook die Schonenberg genoem) gehuisves het.  Dit is een van die besondere erfstukke in die familie.  PW Morkel vertel die geskiedenis van die gebeure in sy boek en dit is op ons webwerf.  Hierdie verhaal is in skerp kontras met die kleurryke verdigsels van joernaliste soos Rosenthal en Green.   Dr Jan Malan het pas sy uitgebreide navorsing oor die stranding gepubliseer in die SA Tydskrif vir Kultuurgeskiedenis en met toestemming plaas ons dit op die webwerf.  Daar is sommer baie meer oor wat gebeur het en die struwelinge tussen die kaptein van Soest en sy bemanning.  Die verhaal is spannend genoeg en het nie die joernaliste se borduurwerk nodig nie.

Baie dankie Jan vir jou deeglike navorsing en lekker lees verhaal.  Ek hoop om die bestaande storie op die webwerf binnekort oor te skryf in die lig van Malan se werk.

The Liefdekrans, printed in 1725 is a thank you ode from the survivors of the wreck of the VOC ship Schoonenberg (also named Schonenberg in the records).  It documents how more than 80 of them received hospitality from stamvader Philip Morkel after they had walked from for six days in the wildernis.  It is a special heirloom in the Morkel family, and the story was told by PW Morkel in his 1961 book on the family, and on our website.   It contrasts sharply with lurid telling by journalists Rosenthal and Green. Dr Jan Malan has just published his extensive research about the wreck in the SA Tydskrif vir Kultuurgeskiedenis and we have posted it on our website with permission.  It is a great story well told.  There is much more about the conflict between captain van Soest and his crew.  The story is exciting enough without the embroidery of journalists.

Thanks you so much Jan for your thorough research and readable account.  I plan to rewrite our own story of the events on the website to include Malan’s research.


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300 Jaar op die plaas. 300 Years on the farm

Ek het groot geword met die wete dat Die Bos die oudste plaas in die land was wat vader na seun in die familie oorgedra was – dus het die Morkel naam behoue gebly.   Daar was glo ‘n ander plaas wat langer in ‘n familie was, maar dit het deur ‘n dogter op ‘n slag gegaan en die familie naam het verander.  (Ek is onder die indruk dit was Steenberg in die Constantia vallei, oorspronklik in die Louw familie.  As ek dit verkeerd het, laat my gerus weet).

Vanjaar 2013, is die familie 300 jaar op die plaas.   Philip Morkel en sy vrou Catharina Pasman het in 1713 op Onverwacht (later is die naam verander na The Bush en toe  Die Bos)  begin boer.   Dit het eers aan Claas Elbertsz en sy vrou Margaretha Pasman behoort, maar hul is in die 1713 pokke epidemie oorlede.  Dit het toe na Margaretha se ma Fytje (Sophia) Pasman gegaan wat haar skoonseun Philip en haar dogter Catharina daar laat boer het.   Die plaas is in 1718 in Philip Morkel se naam oorgedra.

Verstedeliking het nou meeste van die plaas oorgeneem maar die uitgebreide plaaswerf met ringmuur, historiese duiwehok, ronde kraal dorsvloer, slaweklok (1722) en die ou opstal is nog in Morkel besit, nou die tiende geslag.   In die huis is daar meubels en items van oor die generasies.  Die pragtige ou kis van Catharina Pasman, die Liefdekrans, gedruk in 1725 hang teen die muur, die Hollandse staan horlosie, brandewyn stook-ketel, stinkhout toonkas, en die ‘prul’ sideboard van Vergelegen se kamferhout gemaak, is almal nog daar.


I grew up knowing that Die Bos was the oldest farm in South Africa within the same family handed down father to son, retaining the Morkel family name.  I believe there was another farm that had a longer record in one family, but the surname changed when it passed through a daughter.  (I am under the impression that it was Steenberg, originally in the Louw family.  If I am wrong, please let me know).

The family has now, in 2013, been on the farm for 300 years.  Philip Morkel and his wife Catharina Pasman commenced farming at Onverwacht (later renamed The Bush and still later Die Bos) in 1713.   It originally belonged to Claas Elbertsz and his wife Margaretha Pasman.  Sadly they died in the small pox epidemic of 1713 and the farm passed on to Margaretha’s mother, Fytje (Sophia) Pasman, who allowed her son-in-law and daughter to farm there.  The property was transferred to Philip Morkel in 1718.

Much of the farm has been taken over by urban sprawl.  However, the extensive farmyard with ringmuur, historic dovecote, round-walled threshing floor, slavebell (1722) and old home is still owned by Morkels, now the tenth generation.   In the home there are furniture and items that go back over the generations.  Catharina Pasman’s beautiful old ‘kis’, the ‘Liefdekrans’ printed in 1725 hanging on the wall, the Dutch grandfather clock, old stinkhout writing desk/display cabinet, the ‘prul’ sideboard made from camphor wood from Vergelegen, are all there. 


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The Family Crest

I used to be ambivalent about the Morkel family crest.  We do not come from European aristocracy and there are strong indications that it was acquired at the Cape.  However, further reading showed a long tradition of crests in  Dutch middle class families.    When the Dutch settled at the Cape in 1652, crests were common.  This is different from the British where they were confined to individual knights and not to families.  Thus, while there is some vanity here, it is also an expression of pride and a feeling of kinship in having a crest that is already 290 years old.  In our story “The Family Crest” we look into why and how stamvader Philip Morkel had his designed.

Crest Morkel


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Who was Willem’s mother?

Who was the mother of Willem MORKEL 1803 – 1876, the 9th son of 3rd generation Daniel Johannes MORKEL?

According to the Morkel Genealogies, Daniel’s second wife Maria Dorothea LOUW, died in 1801, two years before Willem’s birth.   Daniel married a third time, to Sophia Alida BRINK (widow VAN AS), in 1808, five years after Willem’s birth.  There is clearly a wrong date somewhere.

Initially I thought the date of the third marriage was wrongly transcribed, i.e. instead of 1808 it was 1802 (an easy mistake to make).  Willem would then have been the son of Daniel Johannes and his third wife Sophia Alida BRINK, listed as widow VAN AS.   This was the best way to resolve the puzzle.

However, a few months ago I learned that the VAN AS couple had a child baptised in 1804, so my assumption of an 1802 marriage was wrong.   Research in  Cape Archives shows that the Will of Daniel Johannes and Maria Dorothea was filed in 1807.  She would have died shortly before that, most likely in the same year.   She was thus the mother of Willem, not Sophia Alida.  I have changed the family lines on our website.  However, the Genealogy for the total family, is on “Family Tree Maker”, a wonderful Genealogy Program, but so constructed that this simple change in mothers requires a fairly massive re-entering of names and dates.   I shall do this over time.


1.  One of the Genealogies stated that Maria Dorothea died in childbirth in 1801.  This is wrong as she lived until 1807.

2.  Sophia Alida BRINK was not a widow.  She and her husband Willem VAN AS were divorced.  Willem VAN AS re-married in 1813, to Johanna Philippina MORKEL, Daniel’s niece.   Willem Rijnhard VAN AS divorced for the second time in 1830.   Was he a difficult person to live with?

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Naamgee tradisie vir nege geslagte. Naming tradition sequence continued to the 9th generation.

Daniel Henri MORKEL is op 20 Februarie gebore, die kleinseun van my nefie Daniel Johannes MORKEL.  Sy ouers, Henri (Hendrik Wade MORKEL) en Rinke (Catharina Elizabeth PRETORIUS) het die ou familie tradisie voortgesit met die vernoeming van hul oudste seun na die paternale oupa.  Die patroon van Daniel, afgewissel met Hendrik word nou reeds vir nege geslagte gevolg.  Lees gerus meer hieroor onder ‘Naming Traditions’ onder ‘Morkel Genealogies’.

Daniel Henri MORKEL was born on 20 February 2013, grandson of my nephew Daniel Johannes MORKEL.  His parents, Henri (Hendrik Wade MORKEL) and Rinke (Catharina Elizabeth PRETORIUS) has continued the tradition of naming the oldest son after the paternal grandfather.   The sequence of Daniel alternated with Hendrik has been followed unbroken now for nine generations.   More in “Naming Traditions” under “Morkel Genealogies”.




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Why the Dovecote?

The dovecote at Die Bos is a Morkel family icon.  It was likely a copy of a similar one at Meerlust, with the same configuration of a center dovecote flanked by a side court on either side.  The neo-classical centre gable dates it to the early 1800s, the time of Daniel Johannes Morkel (1764 – 1825).  Except for Meerlust, there are no dovecotes on other farms at the Cape.  It was either a type of “folly” or to provide pigeons for the pot, guano for the farm and feathers for pillows.  But perhaps the side courts as arenas for cock fighting was the real reason.  Daniel Johannes might have been introduced to the “sport” by his cousin,  Phillippus Albertus Myburgh of Meerlust.   This is as plausible a reason, as erecting a building to house doves when meat  and fish were plentiful.   Read the story under “Morkel Family Stories”.

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My 80th birthday

We celebrated my 80th and Barbara’s 76th birthdays in September.    The whole family was together in Perth.   We had a lovely dinner with our sons and their wives – the grandkids stayed at home with babysitters.   Our youngest son Charl said some warm words which were highly appreciated (balancing my 70th ten years ago when Daniel as the oldest did the honours).   The next day we all were at our home celebrating the birthday of granddaughter Paige from Brisbane and for a photo of us all.

Family photo Sep 2012 At the restaurant.

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Correcting errors and making changes.

On the website I can correct errors and add new information as they come to light.  I am toying with putting the most interesting family stories together in a book, and then that advantage will be lost.

There are quite a few changes to make, and I shall do so over the coming weeks.

  1. Hennie Morkel from Sydney alerted me to “Jail Journal”, an 1854 account by Irish activist John Mitchel.   It is interesting for us because he was on the unfortunate convict ship Neptune III which encountered the anti-convict agitation at the Cape.   Our family was involved in our story “Breaking the Pledge”.   Mitchel’s journal has about 50 pages (out of more than 400) about their stay at the Cape.  Staunchly anti-British, he supported the anti-convict agitation, even if it caused him discomfort.  The journal also has a letter written to the newspaper of the day by Hendrik Johannes Morkel about being ostracized and it also provides us a wonderful insight into the events.  Reading the journal it is hard not feel outraged how badly the Irish were treated by their British overlords.  During the potato famine more than a million Irish starved to death,  and masses emigrated while the British exported large quantities of grains and sheep from Ireland to England.
  2. Fil Morkel is keen that we join him on family matters on Genebase.  I am happy to cooperate and he has incorporated our genealogy onto that site.  Fil also runs a wall for the family on Facebook.  I have also incorporated his family line into our Genealogy.
  3. Our Genealogy has also been incorporated into eSagi which is a massive database (more than 600,000 names) of South African families run by Lucas Rinken.   Also, Hendrik Louw of the Genealogiese Genootskap van Suid-Afrika has incorporated our genealogy into Omnibus 8, a CD of South African Families.   Hendrik uses a wonderful program to convert a Gedcom into the alpha-numeric system used by many South African genealogies, such as de Villiers/Pama and GISA.  Unfortunately it only runs on Microsoft Word and I use an IMAC.   In all of this, we also discovered a few errors in our Genealogy which I shall attend to.
  4. Ron Morkel published a book “Rhodesia.  Beginning to End” in 2010.  It is available from several online bookstores.  His grandfather, Arthur Loreth Morkel was one of the earliest pioneers with Rhodes and Jamieson.  The book covers three generations of the Morkel family in Rhodesia until Ron left in 1978, first for Ireland and then the US.   It is a great read and I recommend acquiring it.  I shall correct a few errors in “Africa with Lions”.  I am in contact with Ron who lives in North Carolina and hope to cooperate with him in a story about the Rhodesian Morkels.
  5. VOC ships sailed close to the coast of Western Australia on their way to Batavia.  Some ran aground on the treacherous reefs and cliffs, including the Batavia, Zuytdorp, Zeewyk and Vergulde Draeck.   The story of the Batavia is a harrowing one of endurance, mutiny and cruel punishment and have been told in several books.   I have just read another one –  “Carpet of Silver” by Philip Playford, about the Zuytdorp wreck.  He has the intriguing theory that some of the survivors of the wrecks intermarried with local aborigines.  According to him incidences of the genetic disease Porphyria Variegata, which occurs among some Cape families, came from these encounters.   He mentions that Hendrik Biebouw, Stamvader Philip Morkel’s brother-in-law, may have been involved.   However, research in South Africa show that Biebouw went to Batavia at a later date on another ship, and that he died there.  Maria Biebouw was Philip’s first wife and her mother Arientjes de Wit was a Dutch orphan sent to the Cape because of shortage of females.  Her half-sister has been associated with Porphyria among the van Deventer family.   Philip and Maria’s daughter Elizabeth married Jan Louw and her granddaughters married back into the Morkel family.   I have not come across any hint of Porphyria in our family, so hopefully the Biebouws were not involved.
  6. The West Australian Maritime Museum has extensive exhibits of the Dutch shipwrecks mentioned above – it is well worth visiting.  Among their exhibits they also describe life aboard the ships and the weapons they used.   They also explain the duties of the “Constable”.  Stamvader Philip Morkel was constable on the Oosterstijn en Noordbeek .   “The ships were equipped with cannons an other firearms.  Apart from armour, equipments such as swords, halberds and pistols were available.  On board the constable and his assistants were responsible for the weapons.  Beneath the constable’s room was the powder room.  An average ship carried about 2000kg of powder and other 4000kg of munitions”.  I shall add this to our history of Philip.
  7. In our story “The Formidable Pasman Ladies” there is a conjecture that Sophia Pasman (Philip Morkel’s mother-in-law) had a son by her second husband Pieter Robberts.   The child was born before their marriage and her father, Schalk van der Merwe had him baptised in the French Drakenstein church.   Historians mistook the French “there has been a child baptized” (il ya eu un enfant baptisé) for his name and he is listed as Ilya van der Merwe.    New research shows that Ilya was not Sophia’s child, but her sister’s.   Sophia did not have children with Robberts.  This would also explain why she left her farm to her grandson – she did not disinherit Ilya (which by then would have been Jan Robberts).   A charming story spoiled by facts.  Again a story to be amended.
  8. Some stories about the family have it that stamvader Philip Morkel arrived at the Cape in 1691.     This is at odds with documentation that he first arrived at the Cape in 1708 on board the Oosterstijn.  (He married that year to Maria Biebouw and had to serve out his contract with the VOC.   So he returned to Holland, and finally arrived at the Cape on the return journey of the Noordbeek).   Pieter van der Merwe of the SA Genealogie chatroom sent the following extract from the venerable Die Geslacht Registers de Oude Kaapsche Familien by C.C. de Villiers, 1894:   De stamvader van deze familie was Philip Morkel, van Hamburg, in 1691 burger te Stellenbosch, gehuwd met Maria Bibon, weduwe van Hercules Verdeau, hertrouwd 17 September 1713 met Catharina Pasman.   Apart from the date error, the author also incorrectly has Maria Biebouw (there are several spellings of her name) as the widow of Hercules Verdeau.  Hercules was married to Maria Huibeaux, a similar sounding name, but a different person.  Historian George McCall Theal, Geschiedenis van Zuid Afrika, perpetuates the error.  On p. 98 he states that land was allocated to Philip Morkel in 1691.  Again in his History of South Africa under the Administration of the Dutch East India Company [1653 to 1795] he states “According to the census of 1691, corrected by entries in the church registers, the most notable burghers in the Cape district were:  (a long list including) “Morkel, Philip, with wife”.   Thus, according to Theal, Philip was already established at the Cape in 1691.   A careful reading of C.C. de Villiers says the same thing.   They are clearly in error.


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The Morkel Genealogy

A few days ago I posted the Morkel Genealogy, consisting of 29 busy pages of the family tree.  It was a big task.  I started by entering PW Morkel’s Genealogy (Franklin Boonzaaier compiled it in the 1950s)  into the Family Tree Maker application – all 195 pages!  Then compared it line by line with the Genealogy in GISA (Genealogical Institute of South Africa, Vol 5, L-M, pages 677 to 684).   Considering the many opportunities for error, it was pleasing to find that the bulk of the entries were confirmed.  The main differences were in coverage – each source contained portions of the family missing in the other.   I also added information about the family that we accumulated over the years from family members.  Gerrit Morkel generously contributed the family tree for descendants of Willem (Japie) Morkel, who lived during the latter part of the 1800s in Johannesburg, including the rugby springboks, Sommie and Dougie.   Margaret Thebus collaborated with me to sketch out the Beaufort West branch, which is missing in both the Morkel and GISA genealogies.

The Genealogy is reasonably complete up to the 1905/60s with opportunistic forays to recent times, where information happened to be available.    There is a huge gap in our genealogy since the 1960s, which I hope some dedicated family member/genealogist will one day fill.   Thus far there are more than 1,600 names in the database.  As more names and dates become available, I will update the file.

There are bound to be errors in the database.   They can start with primary documents, which were eventually transcribed by genealogists, then retyped into books and finally entered into our database.  At each stage errors can occur.  I went through my entries line by line at least three times and tried to have it as accurate as I could make it, but there are bound to be remaining errors.  If you spot any and /or have additional information, please let us know via the “Contact Us” facility.  I shall be happy to assist anyone who wants to update the Morkel Genealogy.


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Videos of 270th Anniversary of Morkel Family at Die Bos, 22 December 1983.

In 1983, my brother Charles organised a gathering of the descendants of my grandfather “Hennie Bos” (6th generation owner Hendrik Johannes Louw Morkel, 1854 – 1926) at Die Bos.  It was 270 years after stamouers Philip Morkel and Catharina Pasman commenced farming at Onverwacht, later named Die Bos.    Cousin Hanna (8th generation owner Hendrik Johannes Louw Morkel) was the host and about eighty family attended.  Being in Perth, I was unable to be there, but Charles provided a VHS tape made of the event.    I had the tape digitised and, using the iMovie application on the iMAc,  produced a number of You Tube clips, which we have posted on this website.

1. Die Bos – Die plaas, huis en fotos van voorouers

2.  Die gaste daag op, deel 1

3.  Die gaste daag op, deel 2

4. Seremoniemeester Charles Morkel

5.  Hanna (H.J.L.) Morkel, agste geslag eienaar van Die Bos

6. Oudregter Nic de Villiers, oudste kleinkind van Hennie Bos

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The Beaufort West Morkels

During 2011 Margaret Thebus in Sydney contacted me about her family.  Her mother was a Morkel from Cape Town, and the family originally came from Beaufort West.   They were not listed in either Genealogy – PW Morkel or GISA – although GISA had a brief entry of baptisms in 1855 under the “ongekoppelde” (unattached) label.   Of mixed race, they included some well-known Morkels such as the former premier of the Western Cape (Gerald Morkel) and the founder of a church (Calvin Protestant Church), reverend I.D. Morkel.  Together with her mother, Margaret was able to provide more than a hundred and twenty names and family relationships, and we were able to add names and dates from other sources.  I was impressed – not many people I know can lay out family to this extent.  We were also able to plausibly link the family to the Morkel genealogy, as described in our story “The Beaufort West Family Line”.  Gaps remain – surnames of wives and many dates were not available, but the result is a major contribution to the family tree.  Margaret also provided information which allowed me to complete a story about reverend I.D. Morkel and his church.


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Developing the website.

André and Barbara Morkel. September 2011

I saw a short news item of a book about the Morkel family, published by Phil Morkel, the Chairman and founder of the chain of furniture stores of that name.  That was in 1961.  I contacted him and spent a fascinating time with him learning about the family.   He provided a copy of his book (Two volumes – Family History and Genealogy), privately published, using the mimeograph system of the time, for the princely sum of R10 – well below his cost.   For several years afterwards, Barbara and I visited him when we vacationed in The Strand.    Oom Phil was a gracious man who encouraged us to continue with family research.    However pressure of work, and for Barbara of raising a family, made this a dream.  We were also intimidated by the scope and thoroughness of his study of the family.    He had co-opted staff from the Cape Archives to assist him with the book and commissioned a professional genealogist to develop the family tree.

Over the years I collected books and materials about the family wherever I could find them.   Many years later, retired and living in Australia, I started writing short stories about the family, mainly for my own satisfaction and, in case family members should become interested some day.   Much of the material came from oom Phil’s book – which I acknowledged – and over time I was able to add material from other sources as well.  Our son, André, encouraged us and also provided the website.   Initially it was mainly about our own direct line but over time it broadened to other branches of the family, as various Morkels contacted me.   For those stories we had fun working together to uncover “missing” parts of the family.  I hope you find the stories as interesting as it was for me to write them.  Please use the “contact us” (sadly necessary in these days of internet security) about your interest and stories about the family, and also any errors you have spotted.  I shall then respond by email.


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