South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records, Stellenbosch Archive (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1850-2004 .
Title in the Language of the Record
Zuid-Afrika, Nederlands Hervormde Kerk Records
The collection of records covers the years 1690 to 2007.
This collection contains images of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and memberships of the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk In Afrika) housed at the Genealogical Institute of South Africa (Genealogiese Instituut van Suid-Afrika) Archive at Stellenbosch, South Africa. Communities from the entire country of South Africa are represented. Includes records from the current African nations of Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This collection is being published as images become available.
The Dutch Reform Church records have been maintained in good conditions. Records are found in different registration formats, most written in Dutch and others in Afrikaans, Dutch, and English.
When South Africa was settled by the Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries, they transplanted their Dutch Reformed theology into the African continent. The Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa was formally established in 1652, and became the only official church in South Africa until 1778, when freedom of public worship was given to other churches. The history of the Dutch Reform Church has been very much bound up with the politics of the Afrikaner community of South Africa. The baptism and marriage records are recorded in bound registers, which are kept at the local churches archive in care of the registrar. Since 1928 the registrar sends the registries to be archived at the Central Archive of the Dutch Reformed Church in Cape Town, South Africa.
Reformed Church in South Africa consists of three separate churches: the Nederduitse Gereformeede Kerk (the largest and usually called the Dutch Reform Church; the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk (largely restricted to the Transvaal); and the Gereformeede Kerk in Suid Afrika (the Doppers). During the 17th and 18th Centuries the Dutch Reform Church (Nederduitse Gereformeede Kerk) was the only officially recognized Church denomination in South Africa and practically all the whites in the Cape belonged to it. In the following Centuries, several other churches denominations were created in Cape, leaving a decline in the membership of the Dutch Reform Church.
For a list of records by date and event currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- Reformed Churches. Genealogical Institute of South Africa. South Africa Dutch Reformed Church Records. The Dutch Reformed Church Archives, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa.
The baptismal records in this collection usually contain the following information:
- Name of child
- Child's date of birth
- Date and place of baptism
- Parents' names, including maiden name of mother
- Parents' residence
- Names of witnesses names and their residence
- Name of officiant at baptismal ceremony
The marriage records in this collection usually contain the following information:
- Date and place of the marriage
- Race of the husband and wife
- Name and age of groom
- Groom's place of birth
- Groom's marital status, occupation and residence
- Name and age of bride
- Bride's place of birth
- Bride's marital status and residence
- Marriage by license or published banns
- Names of witnesses
- Name of minister and religious denomination
How to Use the Records
To begin your search in the baptism records, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:
Search the Collection
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To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Year Range" category
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⇒Select the "Alphabetical Sequence" category which will take you to the images
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s in the records, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.
- Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the child being baptized, the bride, or the groom; this is especially helpful if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Keep in mind:
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.
Known Issues with This Collection
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Related Wiki Articles
- Afrikaans Word List
- South Africa Vital Records Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- South Africa
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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
“South Africa Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1666-2011," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 21 June 2012), Zimbabwe > Mashonaland > Various Towns > Baptisms or Christenings 1993-2007 > Image 2 of 915, Austin Jacky, born 7 December 1990, Christened 6 June 1993; citing Reformed Churches. Genealogical Institute of South Africa. South Africa Dutch Reformed Church Records. The Dutch Reformed Church Archives, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa.