Symbols used in the genealogy family lines:
* birth ~ baptism x married xx second marriage † died d.o. daughter of ÷ divorced ## name not known
Stamouer, Stamvader, Stammoeder
These neat words are Afrikaans for the first parent, father or mother of a family at the Cape. The English “progenitor” or “founder father” or “founder ancestor” do not convey the meaning as elegantly.
The word “stam” can mean the trunk (stem) of a tree (i.e. family tree), and it is also used for a group, family or a tribe (i.e. the Morkels).
The Dutch “ij” or “y”
The Afrikaans “y” (pronounced “a” as in face) is written “ij” in Dutch (pronounced “i” as in fight). Mijburgh (my grandmother’s surname) has several spellings, Myburg, Meyburgh etc.
The Alpha-numeric Numbering System used in Family Trees
Cape genealogists used an alphabetic sequence for the generations and numbers for the sequence of children. Thus stamouer Philip Morkel is a1. His oldest child would be b1 and the next child b2 and so on. My code for example is a1b3c6d7e1f4g9h4, i.e. reading from the back, I am the 4th child in the 9th generation (“h”), of a 9th child in the 8th (“g”) generation and so on.
Once the reader is used to the system, it conveys useful information and can distinguish between the many relatives with the same given names. However, it can only be used in a settler community such as South Africa where the first of the family can be identified as “a1”, the stamouer. The system makes no sense in old communities such as in Europe where one cannot talk of a stamouer.
From 1652 to 1795, the Cape was run by a commercial company, the Dutch East India Company, the Vereenigde Oost-indische Companje (United East India Company). They started the settlement at the Cape to provide fresh produce and recuperation to the crews during the long voyages from Holland to Indonesia. Soon there were pressures to settle and the Company found itself somewhat reluctantly governing a country. As an activity of a business corporation the records of the early years of the Cape are surprisingly good and detailed. An interesting aside is that the business name and logo of the VOC were recently acquired by the West Australian Margaret River winery, Voyager Estate and are prominently displayed at the Winery.
The Cape of Good Hope was named thus by the Portuguese when they first rounded the southern point of Africa, with the good hope of finding a route to the rich spice trade of the far east. The Dutch referred to it as de Kaap (the Cape) and in the early days the town at Table Bay was simply called Cabo or De Kaapsche Vlek (the Cape settlement or also lit. patch or stain). After the British occupation in 1795 and again in 1806, it became the Cape Colony, and the city Cape Town (Kaapstad). In 1910 it became part of the Union of South Africa. Most of our stories are set at times when it was the Cape.
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