Finding an Irish Ancestor Using South African Records
Nineteenth century South Africa did not attract mass Irish immigration, but Irish communities are to be found in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, and Johannesburg, with smaller communities in Pretoria, Barberton, Durban and East London. A third of the Cape's governors were Irish, as were many of the judges and politicians. Both the Cape Colony and the Colony of Natal had Irish prime ministers. A large contingent of Irish troops fought in the Anglo-Boer War on both sides and a few of them stayed in South Africa after the war. Others returned home but later came out to settle in South Africa with their families. Between 1902 and 1905, there were about 5,000 Irish immigrants. Place names in South Africa include: Upington, Portevill, Caledon, Cradock, Sir Henry Lowry's Pass, the Biggarsberg Mountains, Donnybrook and Belfast.