South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Africa

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South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970 .
This article describes a collection of records at
South Africa
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Record Description
Record Type: Church Registers
Collection years: 1660-1970
Languages: Afrikaans, Dutch, English
Title in the Language: Suid-Afrika, Kaap Provinsie Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk Rekords
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
State Archives, Cape Province

What is in the Collection?

This collection dates from 1660 through 1970 and includes records of baptisms, marriages and membership records. The Dutch Reformed Church records have been maintained in good condition. Baptisms and marriages are found in different registration formats, usually in bound registers, which are kept at the local church archives 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.

Reading these Records

The records are written in Afrikaans, Dutch and English. See the section For Help Reading these Records for translation helps.

General Information about the Dutch Reformed Church

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 Reformed Church has been very much bound up with the politics of the Afrikaner community of South Africa.

The Dutch 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 Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeede Kerk) was the only officially recognized Church denomination in South Africa and many white residents of the Cape belonged to it. In later years other church denominations were created in Cape, leaving a decline in the membership of the Dutch Reformed Church.

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers (Cape Town Archives), 1660-1970.

What Can these Records Tell Me?

Baptism records usually contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of baptism
  • Place of baptism
  • Date of birth
  • Names of parents

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Names
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Ages
  • Country of birth
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Names of persons giving consent

Collection Contents

Sample Images

Click on images for a larger view.

Coverage Table

The collection includes records from the following municipalities in Namibia and South Africa:

Province Municipality Record Type Year Range
Karas Keetmanshoop Marriage 1936-1960
Cape of Good Hope Cape Town Baptism 1695-1948
Marriage 1839-1952
Memberships 1757-1929
Ceres Baptism 1903-1926
Paarl Baptism 1849-1865
Richmond Baptism 1844-1865
Stellenbosch Baptism 1688-1908
Marriage 1700-1944
Memberships 1732-1857
Tulbagh Marriage 1899-1911
Transvaal Brixton Marriage 1931-1951
Jeppe Marriage 1942-1952
Johannesburg-Wes Baptism 1931-1948
Memberships 1931-1943
Turffontein Marriage 1931-1956

How Do I Search the Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. Before using this collection it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the person you are looking for
  • Approximate date of birth or marriage

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page:
1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have 2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
1. Select the appropriate "Country"
2. Select the appropriate "Province"
3. Select the appropriate "Municipality or Town"
4. Select the appropriate "Record Type and Years" to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

For more tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

For Help Reading these Records

These records are in Afrikaans, Dutch and English. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:

What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the age to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in civil records.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved, been recruited or lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify. Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records indexes in the country.
  • When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, either Civil Registration records or Church Records may be more useful.
  • While searching, it is helpful to know such information as the ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as an ancestor and that the ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation.
  • Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.
  • Be aware that there may have been some transcription errors.

Known Issues with This Collection

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection citation:

"South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing State Archives, Cape Province.

Record citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970.

Image citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660-1970.

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