Northern Transvaal Branch - Memory Lane 2021

We live through history daily – and eventually it all becomes part of our own personal history. The world is changing so rapidly that those memories of our childhood years already elicit amazement in today’s young people: evenings without TV, using a ‘tickey box’ to phone someone, church services under a big tree during holidays at the seaside …  Genealogy demands that we also pen our own stories with which to walk others down our own memory lane.
Navigate to the presentation video, text or slide set. Each presentation is in the language of the topic. View below the English summaries of stories as told by our branch members.
    Click on the to open
2021-08-01 Hettie Muller My peetmoeders
2021-07-01 Louna Bischoff-Coetzee Die lemoenboere van Rustvoorbij
2021-06-01 Ina Hattingh ‘n Tolletjiestoel en ‘n handsak met slegte medisyne
2021-05-01 Sam Basch Grootouers-kleinouers
2021-04-01 Rentia Landman Reid My ouma Esther Reid (geb. Eksteen)
Pieter van Aardt Genealogie verryk MaHlogola (die Reënmaker) se lewe
2021-02-01 John Boje Moenie oordeel nie
2020 Northern Transvaal Branch - Memory Lane 2020

My godmothers

Hettie MullerHettie Muller, 1 August 2021
On Mother's Day Hettie thought of her two godmothers, both her mother's sisters and nurses.
In an era when letters were still being written, letters to her mother were concluded with: "Give Hettie a kiss."
The two were in close contact with the sister and children in the Petrusburg area. The three sisters had the same physique and clothing, such as shoes, were sent and for the children shells from East London.
The bond with the godmothers was further strengthened after Hettie's mother died when she started university. They looked after her with love.
The husband of one of them died and she married a Scot in her fifties and moved to Glasgow. She went to visit her godmother and could see more of her when they returned to SA to escape the cold winters in Scotland.
They had a far-reaching impact on her life and they enriched her life as a rural Afrikaans daughter and contributed to her development.
Hettie concludes with a matriarchal and patriarchal lineage of the three Cloete sisters.

The orange farmers of Rustvoorbij

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Louna Bischoff-Coetzee, 1 July  2021
Her grandmother explained the striking farm name thus: When the family settled on the farm after the Great Trek, the time for rest was over and now the work will start.
Louna takes us back to a bygone era and the farm life of that time.
Her grandfather and his two brothers inherited the farm. There were orchards with oranges. The orchards were irrigated in the traditional way with furrows and Louna remembers how much fun she had playing in the water.
The family was also affected by events experienced by many Afrikaner families – the Dorsland Trek, the concentration camps, participation in and the aftermath of the Anglo-Boer War.
They were more affluent Afrikaners as evidenced by the export of oranges to England, the import of a pump organ (harmonium) from England and they their second car in 1949.
They were leaders in the community.
The memorial path is illustrated with beautiful photos.

A chair made out of yarn spools and a handbag with bad tasting medicine

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Ina Hattingh, 1 June 2021
Ina introduces us to her grandfather Hansie (Johannes Gerhardus Schoeman) and grandmother Ellie (Ellie Catharina Holtzhausen).
Grandpa Hansie was a farmer, with a love of woodworking. Through the woodwork, his love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren is evident. He used yarn spools to make chairs for them. Ina still has the trousseau chest he made out of soapboxes as well as her chairs. As befits a true farmer and grandfather, he always had a pocket knife. He was a specialist in peeling oranges and he shared it with Ina.
Grandma Ellie was slender and attractive. And strict. With bad tasting medicine for every ailment - from Lennon medicine to castor oil - in her handbag. No one dared to cough in her presence or complain of a stomach ache.
Ina had a special bond with her grandfather and her love for him radiated from her contribution to the feature “down memory lane”.
The contribution is beautifully illustrated with photos.


VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Sam Basch, 1 May 2021
Were my grandparents small? - People with Big Hearts
Sam writes with compassion about his grandparents. He did not know his grandfathers. Looking at available photos, it creates the impression that both were short as opposed to his grandmothers.
Even though he did not know his grandfathers, he has a lot of information about them. Grandpa Basch was a farmer and it as a family they struggled financially, especially during the Depression years. Grandma Alie Basch lived with them for some time and he got to know her well.
His other grandparents were Karoo people. He was 11 years older than she. They also suffered financial hardship. He could work with water and irrigated lucerne and other crops - he pumped water from the Buffalo River with a steam engine. His grandmother Martha also stayed with them at times.
Sam writes with empathy and he wonders if living with children was due to financial reasons. Or did children take care of their parents years ago?
Sam has photos in his story and it gives one a glimpse of the clothing and in one photo, in the background, of a house.

My grandmother Esther Reid (née Eksteen)

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Rentia Landman Reid, 1 April 2021
This walk down memory lane is mainly about events during the Anglo-Boer War and is based on letters that Esther received from her 21-year-old brother-in-law, Charlie Reid. Esther Eksteen was born in 1869 and she married William George Reid in 1896.
What can be deduced from the letters is that Esther was a good cook and worried about her brother-in-law on commando - she gave him cooking tips before he left on commando. He writes: "The training you gave me in the kitchen stands me in good stead".
During the siege of Ladysmith, Esther receives many letters that give one insight into life on commando during the siege (almost four months). They even counted ticks on their legs: ‘’…we caught no less than 13 ticks on to our legs…’’
Charlie died on 22 January 1900 at Spioenkop.
Esther is the example of the iron women at the time who stood behind their husbands on the battlefield, as can be seen from her letter to General Ben Viljoen. She ends up in the Howick concentration camp. Her husband survived the war. He was a Bittereinder.

Genealogy enriches the life of MaHlogola (the Rainmaker)

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Pieter van Aardt, 1 March 2021
Pieter was born in 1935 in Chrissiesmeer.
Initially Pieter grew up on a farm but moved to Middelburg during the Second World War - his father joined – later the family moved to Pretoria. After he matriculated in Pretoria he had to find a job. He carved out a career at the Land Bank after successful studies at various institutions, like Unisa.
He was cutting and polishing semi-precious stones as a hobby before he “discovered” his interest in his family history. In 1976 he read the book Slagtersnek en sy mense by J A Heese and was surprised by the role of the Aardts at Slagtersnek and wanted to know more.
He pursued the new interest in his family history with zeal. He visited archives, even obtained information from Delft in the Netherlands and traced the family back to 1590.
He gives a lot of interesting information about Chrissiesmeer and Nu Scotland and the attempt to settle Scots there. It was not successful and many of the farms in the area still have Scottish names.
He published a booklet, Die Van Aardts van Chrissiesmeer, in 1985.

Judge not

BOJE My oupa DML Foto 2021 02 01John Boje, 1 February 2021
Named after his grandfather Johannes Gerhardus Bornman, John recalls that this grandfather was the only one who called him by the name Johannes, shortened to Jaans. Everyone else called him John. His grandfather, unlike many others who ignored children, had conversations with him and on one occasion took them along to bid farewell to a friend. It was a comrade from the Anglo-Boer War who, like Oupa Johannes and six thousand other combatants, had laid down arms with the fall of Bloemfontein.
This brought the insult of hensoppers to them. For John, it was unacceptable for people to judge others without knowing the choices leading to it. Therefore, with Prof. Fransjohan Pretorius as promotor he completed a thesis on this issue, dedicating it to his grandfather.
Before moving to England in 1957, John learnt that his grandfather was at death's door and went to see him. It turned out that Grandpa would survive his wife to live in a second marriage for another six years. On John's return to South Africa in 1961, when he introduced his young wife to Oupa Johannes, the old gentleman of 90 apologised for his English: "I have not spoken it since the Boer War."
John considers it a privilege to have had such a grandfather.