5th Article –1820 settlers the story The Settler Lists
5th Article - The 1820 Settler Lists
From The Settler Hand Book by MD Nash - Living with The 1820 Settlers by Marion Robertson.
The official settler lists can be accessed at the Cape Archives and the Public Records Office, London.
(Cape Archives CO 6138/1 and 2)
But these lists are not always correct.
Each party head had to submit a list of settlers to the Colonial Office when applying to emigrate. This would have been in August 1819. But they were only notified of a successful application in October or November. By this time many prospective settlers had changed their minds.
As people cancelled, others took their place, sometimes travelling under the names of the persons they had replaced. Even at the docks unofficial replacements slipped in as people changed their minds about travelling to a strange far off land. Then there were stowaways.
The terms of the scheme were also open to abuse. Each party was to be made up of at least 10 men, one a leader, with or without their wives. The party leader had to deposit £10 for himself and the same for each man in his party. This amount also covered a wife and two children under 14. Families with more than 2 children had to pay an extra £5 for every 2 additional children. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 had to pay £5 each.
Deposits were to be returned to the settlers in three stages:
- One third on arrival so that they could buy provisions,
- One third when they had settled and
- One third after settlement.
To make applications acceptable ages were changed so that older children came into the “under14” category. Children from large families were “transferred” to other families. Apprentices were added as “sons”. Single woman were listed as wives of single men. Older men reduced their ages so that they would be more acceptable as settlers. Occupations were also altered to be more acceptable – after all, who would need a piano-tuner in the Zuurveld!
So for most parties the final lists differs vastly from the initial application. The most reliable would appear to be the Embarkation Lists, made by the Agents of Transports officers when the settlers boarded and updated during the voyage to record births and deaths at sea.
But take note – the Agents’ Returns rely on the honesty of the agent compiling the list and remember they only recorded what they were told by a settler who had his own interests at heart.
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