South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records, Stellenbosch Archive (FamilySearch Historical Records)

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

South Africa

Access the Records
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records, Stellenbosch Archive 1660-2011 .
This article describes a collection of records at
South Africa
800px-Flag of South Africa.svg.png
Flag of South Africa
South Africa.png
Record Description
Record Type: Stellenbosch Archive
Collection years: 1660-2011
Languages: Afrikaans, Dutch, English
Title in the Language: Zuid-Afrika, Nederlands Gereformeerde Kerk Records
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Dutch Reformed Church Archives, Stellenbosch

What is in the Collection?

The collection includes images of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and memberships of the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk In Afrika) for the years 1660 to 2011. The records are 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 condition. Records are found in different registration formats. The baptism and marriage records are recorded in bound registers, which are kept at the local churches' archives in care of the registrars. Since 1928 the registrar sends the registries to be archived at the Central Archive of the Dutch Reformed Church in Cape Town, South Africa.

General Information About these Records

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.

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 church denominations were created in Cape, leaving a decline in the membership of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Reading these Records

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

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records, Stellenbosch Archive 1660-2011.

What Can these Records Tell Me?

Birth records"' usually include the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of baptism
  • Names of parents
  • Names of baptismal witnesses

Church meeting minutes often include the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of baptism
  • Membership status
  • Name of mission
  • Remarks may include marital status or other relative information

Marriage records usually include the following information:

  • Names
  • Date of marriage
  • Ages
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Names of those giving consent
  • Names of witnesses
  • Race
  • Names of parents

Collection Contents

Sample Images

Click on images for a larger view.

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 the event (birth, baptism, marriage, etc.)

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 or Province"
4. Select the appropriate "Record Type, Years and Alphabetical Section" 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?

  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved 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.

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

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, Civil Registration 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's.
  • 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

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 Records, Stellenbosch Archive 1660-2011." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing Dutch Reformed Church Archives, Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

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 Records, Stellenbosch Archive 1660-2011.

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 Records, Stellenbosch Archive 1660-2011.

Top of Page

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.