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Harry

When the Loerie Sings Again

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Harry

Sheryl,

the most typical resources are:

1. The Mormon church, believe it or not. Many, if not most, of their temples have a Family History Centre. There is one about 1 km from where I work! Amazingly, South Africa features very prominently in their system. The software they developed has Afrikaans as option. You can find a lot of info on their search site :

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp

I use them and SAG below for most of my "figuring out", and then go to NAAIRS and TANAP below for evidence.

2. There is also Rootsweb, but you can find the most terrible rubbish there: http://searches.rootsweb.com/

3. The formal place to find ancestors in SA is NAAIRS: National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System : http://www.national.archsrch.gov.za/sm300cv/smws/sm300dl

This is where one would go to search for folks in one's most recent family. You need to know your relative's exact names ( maiden and married) and the year of their death.

4. For the stuff about the "stamvaders": http://www.stamouers.com/ A comprehensive system of detail about the original folks in the 1600's and 1700's.

5. For intricate detail during the period of the Dutch East India company (VOC) and a little bit later:

The VOC orphan chamber ( Which handled wills and estates): http://databases.tanap.net/mooc/

The VOC "Kaapse Raad" minutes: http://databases.tanap.net/cgh/

That's where I found out last night that my one forefather was the guy that "held up" the Swellendam drostdy at the start of the Independence effort of the Swellendam Republic, holding the magistrate and raad captive from 10 am til 3pm on 18 June 1795, waiting for the main force of 60 armed Boere toe arrive.

6. The "authoritative document" on SA genealogy is the SA genealogical index : SAG. This is a set of hugely expensive books that is controlled by the GISA...the Genealogical Institute of SA. They can be bought from them at R5000 for the set: http://www.gisa.org.za/ . Despite its status, it has many mistakes, some of which cost me many weeks of frustration and confusion.

7. ...and then there is Cindy's List: http://www.cyndislist.com/soafrica.htm

I avoid sites that make one pay any money.

I hope this helps.

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Harry

Hagar,

here are Jan Smuts' exact own words:

"When I consider the political future of the natives in South Africa I must say that I look into shadows and darkness; and I feel inclined to shift the intolerable burden of solving the sphinx problem to the ampler shoulders and stronger brains of the future"

He held the very future of all of us in his hands......and he dropped the ball willfully....just like that...preferring to be a "world politician". He was inherently one of our better leaders, militarily and otherwise, and clearly had the intellect for the job. But "he shrank from his moment"....and thereby doomed us all. The guys who followed him were simply too parochial to know what they were getting into...and my grandfather hepled put them there.

He also made the fundamental mistake of assumng the "future brains" would be inherently "stronger". I have no evidence from history anywhere that later brains have been demonstably better than earlier ones. Mankind does not evolve that fast.

For example, Bush is still making the mistakes the Brits made in the 1800s

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hagar
Hagar,

here are Jan Smuts' exact own words:

He held the very future of all of us in his hands......and he dropped the ball willfully....just like that...preferring to be a "world politician". He was inherently one of our better leaders, militarily and otherwise, and clearly had the intellect for the job. But "he shrank from his moment"....and thereby doomed us all. The guys who followed him were simply too parochial to know what they were getting into...and my grandfather hepled put them there.

He also made the fundamental mistake of assumng the "future brains" would be inherently "stronger". I have no evidence from history anywhere that later brains have been demonstably better than earlier ones. Mankind does not evolve that fast.

For example, Bush is still making the mistakes the Brits made in the 1800s

I always thought the plot to assasinate him, like in the Wilbur Smith book "Power of the sword" was just a story, but I recently read somewhere on the internet that Hitler really did send somebody to kill him. Does he have an autobriography anywhere? Maybe it's time I catch up on my history! He faced some tough decisions, and maybe he did not have the support or the answers regarding the "rasseprobleem". There really is just one solution, black or white, and we white South Afrikaners were too christian to do what should have been done, and we are paying for it dearly.

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Harry

Hagar,

That quote came from Frontiers by Noël Mostert. I can go check his source.

I don't think the problem was a simple black/white one*, but our forefathers most certainly acted far more humanely than the Westerners on any other continent.

However, our families are paying the price for what those other folks did on their continents, due to the truly sick combination of TV-enforced ignorance and "liberal guilt" that characterises the West today. The West is hell-bent on atoning as cheaply as possible for its past excesses...and will do so to the last white South African.

*:

1. In the late 1700's the farmers considered the Xhosa much easier to live with than the bushmen. With the bushmen it became total war from both sides. The bushmen turned it into a no holds barred effort and lost at their own plan. People forget how bad it was.

2. The behaviour of the British Army in the Xhosa Wars was not ok. That made things much worse than they were and has driven opinion and view ever since then.

3. People expediently forget that, in some of the early Xhosa wars, some Xhosa tribes fought allied with the boere against other tribes....and I am NOT talking about the Fingoes. The Fingo also never got their due recognition for helping the Brits. They did much of the "heavy lifting".

4. People also forget that Sekonyela fought with the Boere against Mzilikhatse around the time of Vegkop.

So these matters are not as black-and-white as people make them out to be or CAUSED them to be later

Imagine what history would have looked like if the eastern border had stayed the Fish and Groot Brak rivers or Keiskamma river.....some blame the mess on the Great Trek.

While we're on things that are often considered black-and-white : How ironic is it that a major section of my Afrikaans family stayed out of the Boer War, but my wife's English-speaking grandfather drove the last train out of Pretoria for the Boere. His English-speaking family ended up in a concentration camp!

SO, I'm careful around things that seem black-and-white.

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Cathy K

Harry, you seem to have a way to get people thinking. :unsure:

Perhaps you should consider listing South Africa's true heroes - of all races - at the end of "When the Loerie Sings Again." People who truly put their people and the country first. A few that are now considered heroes will definitely not be on that list and many who may not even have been considered before, will at last get their dues.

Cathy K.

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LeonF
3. The formal place to find ancestors in SA is NAAIRS: National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System : http://www.national.archsrch.gov.za/sm300cv/smws/sm300dl
Harry

I have also embarked on this journey. Had the opportunity to be in Salt Lake City recently and popped into they Family History Centre, very impressive. A huge library with a big South African section with many of the books in Afrikaans!

I have a question, how do go about retrieving the actual documents or obtaining copies once you have found an entry in NAAIRS? Do you make use of RSA based researchers or do they provide a service to make copies?

Leon

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Harry

Oops!

I missed these two posts a month ago! My focus was elsewhere at the time.

LeonF,

you can order them directly from NAAIRS, but you are ging to wait forever. They have just banned cameras in the Cape town Archive. I have effectively been cut off from the source.

They do describe how to order stuff on their website, but I have effectively given up. It would be better for you to learn how to use the Mormon Church Family History Centres.

Cathy,

I'll take a look at that.

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johankok

Hier is ook 'n LINK na 'n gesprekslys vir SA Genealogie. Daar is ook SA Kanadese wat nie op SACanada is nie.

Hier is ook 'n BELANGRIKE LINK - verskoon indien dit reeds gegee is.

Edited by johankok

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Harry

Update

Having finished the genealogy part of this effort, I'm now at chapter 3 of rewriting the actual thing into a book. This has me checking up on history stuff (much to the chagrin of those who think history is best ignored). I've now found that, besides the interesting points and oddities I have mentioned before, I also have the following:

1. Adam Tas was the brother-in-law of my one ancestor and my ancestor was thrown into the dungeon at the Cape at the same time as Tas and for the same reason.

2. From the same set of events, the man who yelled for the first time ever: "Ek ben een Africander!" around 1707 is the brother of an ancestor.

3. I have now confirmed that Daleen Matthee's Pieternella van die Kaap is an ancestor. It also means I have two ancestors in Jan van Riebeeck's household. None other than Eva Krotoa and Mooie Angela, the Indian slavelady. That, of course, makes Harry die Strandloper a great-uncle of mine. And to think I suffered years of teasing about my name for that reason...and it turns out true! [ I share this ancestry with hundred's of thousands of Afrikaans people, by the way]

4. In the more "Exotic" category, I have at least one Italian ancestor, one Jewish and one who came from Japan, but was likely not born there.

5. It seems I have finally identified which ancestral relatives died at Dingane's kraal.

6. I have also discovered that Piet Retief's father was a brother to an ancestor and his mother was a sister to an ancestor, both being ancestors of my father.

7. Due to a mistake in the genealogical literature, my one "agter-ouma grootjie" very nearly was hijacked by one of Hendrik Potgieter's brothers-in-law, but I managed to get the experts to concede they'd made a boo-boo, and now she's safely back in the Camdeboo amonst the noorsdorings where my agteroupagrootjie can marry her to ultimately create me. I was in big trouble there for a while. I very nearly did not exist.

8. I am a descendant of the first ever Huguenot at the Cape, an ancestor had the first ever vehicle accident and a family member was the first ever Free Burgher to be executed...his sentence being commuted from garotting to being shot. Another one was banned, but his leader was hanged, drawn and quartered.

9. I have also traced some of my Huguenot ancestors to a small heap of villages in a part of France and I know which way they fled.

10. I now also know what exactly eventually happened to the Dromedaris, the Reijger and the Goede Hoop...but I'm not telling, otherwise I'll spoil it for Adele.

My mother is at present in SA and has been trying to take some pictures of key stuff for me, but Heaven only knows what will be coming back with her. She does not profess to be a photographer.

SO, I am nearing the point where I'm going to start begging people for pictures of key things, if those offers still stand.

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Adele

Ok now Harry I can't wait to read the final book! Go as fast as you can, but if I know you, it will be checked in triplicate before I can get to read ANYTHING!

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Harry

Who were the "Boere" as in "Boer War"?

Folks have heard me go off the deep end before about misinterpretations on this subject. Partly my reaction is because

1. I come from the East Cape where the ditinctions were always almost zero, and partly it is because

2. my very "English" wife is a descendant of Natal Boer rebels, and partly it is because

3. I know that there were many "English" Boere, two of whom saved the day at Spioenkop in the "Incident of the Flag"

HOWEVER, in the process of my research for the book version of the Loerie, I have found the list of Boer prisoners of war who died on St Helena. Obviously, many more lived to tell the tale (including my wife's Irish grandfather). Amongst the names of the deceased are:

J. Boltman (40)

F. Wehlan (40)

W. Hallat (26)

J. Johnson (24)

M.C. Rosslee (18)

A. McGrath (51)

H.F Cox (34)

B.J. Stone (24)

M.T. Goddefroy (19) [could be French]

F.H. McDonald (27) [could go either way..lots of Afrikaans McDonalds where I come from..especially in the NG Church]

My own very Afrikaans family already had McQuires in the early 1800s near Uitenhage.

SO, when I use the term "Boer", please know that I use it in these terms and in showing respect to men who fought under that simple, honest and honourable association for the country they had accepted as their own.

It is only from 1930 onwards that people warped the word. It would be the same folks who hijacked the vierkleur in the 1980s. These men above died honourably for that flag.

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Harry

Some photographic help needed

I'm now at about page 100 and chapter 5, and I'm only now starting on Slagtersnek. Of course the folks at Slagtersnek were actually hanged by an American, but I'm not saying more, because then I'll spoil it for Adele. :cry:

I'm now at the point wheer I can really use a good pictures (1950 pixels in the horizontal) of a few things in the Suurveld northeast of PE (Maybe someone wants to take the family on a day drive from PE or Grahamstown?):

1. The Slagtersnek memorial in blue sky without the spiked fence in the way. It is 10km south of Cookhouse on the right hand side of the road. By now it will have been intentionally neglected. It is not really Suurveld, but is ancilliary to it...part of the same saga.

2. A good shot of a human hand behind a soetdoring (acacia karroo) branch showing the 5 inch thorns (usually the new growth shows it)

3. A good shot of the countryside around Bathurst. The view from the Sundial is particularly good.

4. A good shot of Diaz's cross near Port Alfred

5. A good shot of the church at Salem.

6. A good shot of the Fish River showing its winding bushy gorge. I think the best place that is easily accessible, is on the R57 a few kilometres north of Fort Brown. As I recall, one can see the Fish (and soon afterwards the Koonap) wind crazily off to the east next to the road. I don't know whether one has good views inside the Andries Voslaoo Koedoe Reserve. It may be too bushy tee see anything....this is the countryside where the epic part of South Africa's history is born....with Boer, Brit, Hottentot and Xhosa all fighting one another in various ways or allying with one another. This is the heart of F.A.Venter's Die Geknelde Land.

7. A good shot of the typical Suurveld thicket. I need to describe the Suurveld with its grassy flats broken by impenetrable sweetthorn, plumbago, honeysuckle, boerboon & euphorbia/ghaap thickets (I have a good shot of Ghaap alone). The Xhosa used to attack the Brits from these and would also hide their cattle in there. The plumbago, honeysuckle and boerboon should be flowering (unsure about the rboon) around now. If folks look carefully next to the road on the left handside, as they go down into the Ecca Pass north of Grahamstown, they'll see the strelitzias growing wild through the fence next to the road.

...if anyone is going anywhere near Kommadagga and Riebeeck East, Piet Retief's farm, Mooimeisiesfontein, is right outside town to the east on the way to Grahamstown, on the north side of the road. It is quite nondescript and is actually occupied, as far as I know. I was last there in the early 90's.

If anyone can help, please let me know. I may NOT use pictures posted on the internet by virtue of copyright problems. So I need original photos. Of course I'll give all proper credit due.

P.S:

My mother came back from SA with 900 pictures, but the camera got stuck on ISO 1250 and many shots are therefore total garbage. I could tear my hair out of my head. DO NOT BUY PANASONIC. They know not what they do and should stick to video cameras. Everything looks like seasandwith a gritty picture superimposed on it....that's how grainy it is because the voltage on the chip was jacked up too high. ISO 1250 should NEVER have been an option on such a camera. It should be no higher than 400 max. Beyond that, point & shoot cameras waste your money with their small and insesnitive chips.

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Karen

Oh dear - I have a Panasonic LZ7.

I hope it doesn't bum out on me like your Mom's did.

I must say that next time around, I will go back to Canon again, but for now my Panasonic has not been too bad and has taken some pretty nice pictures for an amateur like me.

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Harry

Karen,

it will be OK as long as you make sure that the ASA/ISO stays at 400 or less. When the ISO number goes up, two things go wrong:

1. Your picture becomes grainy...in my case, so much so that some pictures are utterly useless

2. Your colour quality becomes garbage...just like on old style "hard" or "high contrast" or "fast" film. You'll very quickly notice that if there is sky in your picture. With the low end point and shoots cameras one should stay as near to 50 ISO as one can (not 1250!!!).

As for the Fish River area that I am so interested in, Here is the Google shot:

fishriverhe5.jpg

The southern river is the Fish and the northern one is the infamous Koonap of Geknelde Land. They join on their way to the sea about 2/3 of the way up along the righthand side of the shot. I seem recall numerous views of the two rivers over this stretch, but the last time I was there was in the 1980's, I think.

As for the Strelitzias I mentioned...here you go..

strelitziahh9.jpg

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DucRider

Harry, if this book makes it into Print, I will buy at least 4 copies... one for myself, and one each for my three children - who seem to have all but forgotten the REAL reasons why we left South Africa.

Thanks for your hard work, and Here's to Truth! (not that I have much hope that the rest of the world actually cares, but hey, you never know)

-- DucRider

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Hendie

Harry, I would try Flickr to search for the pictures you still need. I have found it a veritible treasure house of good pictures. Often all you need is to ask the photographer nicely, and they are all too happy to allow you to use their photographs. I sent you an email with some links too.

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vinceb
Who were the "Boere" as in "Boer War"?

M.T. Goddefroy (19) [could be French]

Knew a Dr Goddefroy in middle 1980's who must have been about 65 years old then in Bloemfontein and who was very afrikaans - so if one died on St Helena, there might have been a family by that name in SA already by the 1880's.

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Harry

Hendie,

thanks...the thing with creative commons licences is that, if you use the thing, you have to make your result free as well. I'm not rich enough to afford that with a book.

The Fish River I had in mind is, of course, the one in the East Cape that formed the border with the Xhosa around 1800.

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Harry

Vince ...interesting.

At Blood River there were also a few guys with English names:

William Cowie : Veld-cornet ( At least two Englishmen are definitely known to have actually trekked with the Voortrekkers, namely William Cowie and Samuel Liversage. Cowie trekked with the family of his wife Magdalena Josina Laas. He was appointed Field Cornet by the Boere in 1838, and was one of their Heemraden in 1839). (I don't know where Liversage was duringthe Battle.)

Thomas Jervis Biddulph (His father was an 1820 Settler in Bathurst in the East Cape)

Alexander Harvey Biggar (whose son had been killed by Dingane along with Retief; grandfather of the Zulu Chief John Robert Dunn)[ He died in a later battle after Blood River] Biggar brought 200 black folks (presumably Zulu) to the Blood River Battle to help on Boer side. Remember the black people south of the Tugela lived in fear of Dingane and had helped the English Settlers at Port Natal in their failed effort against Dingane. One never hears about their role at Blood River.

Edward Parker. no info, but apparently came with Biggar

Robert Joyce. no info, but apparently came with Biggar

----- Leech : English father and Afrikaans mother. I have some odd anecdotal bits about him realting to the February 16/17 1838 battle at Maritz's laager, where a wounded Zulu threw an assegaai through his shirtsleeve.

Simon Ranger. No info

Captain Garden. no info

F Marcus (unsure as to origin) All the folks named Marcus who I know in SA are descended from folks who left Lithuania in the late 1800's and are of Jewish extraction. I have no idea who this early 1800's Marcus might be.

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Island Life

Harry, I'm no expert on origins of family names, but Joyce (as in Robert Joyce above) is most certainly an Irish surname, from Connaught area (in the west of Ireland). Likewise in your earlier posting (#86) - McGrath is an Irish name. In the same posting I also noticed the name Wehlan, and I was wondering if that was a typo, and should actually have been Whelan - another very Irish name. Testimony to the Irish fighting on both sides in the Boer War. Sorry to be pedantic. The worst thing you can call an Irishman is an Englishman!

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Harry

Island Life ,

I hear you. Same for the Scots....Cowie was a Scot, as best I know. I wondered about the "Wehlan" my self. I knew Whelans. I'll check up on it. Biggar was an Irishman.

However, I'm posting for an SA audience. Afrikaans folks do not always appreciate that the Irish, Scottish and Welsh have very much the same relationship with the "English" as what they themselves do....often much more intensely so. After all, over here I'm called "The Englishman" and they come to me to get their language use sorted out(!!?).

As for Irish fighting both sides....I have that in the family: Callanan, my wife's grandfather and his brother... fought either side ( if you were to add the Jameson Raid to the 2nd Boer War)

---------------------

Other fascinating stuff I dug up includes the estate docs of a British Settler in the Tarka. On the list of property are his slaves (errr...ooops!). Guess who, by the wonders of irony, is the Field-Cornet who signs witness to the estate?...Andries Hendrik Potgieter, the great Voortrekker leader, whose people would later be accused in the media of emigrating because they supposedly resented the freeing of slaves (total trash).

My wife's own great great-grandfather was on Koos Potgieter's and Jan Du Plessis Trek. His sister was married to Du Plessis. The ancestor's elder brother left earlier on Piet Retief's Trek and died with him, as did Biggar's son, who was the interpreter. The last two weeks I have been tracking these exact events in excruciating detail.

I keep harping on this stuff because folks have trivialised history into good guys and bad guys...and I'm trying to show we're in the @#$# together. We've had "a job" done on us and one actually has to go way way back to see it vividly clearly.

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dieulefit

Hemel Harry, is there anyone else inside South Africa and or outside who knows as much as you do about our history :angry: ... I do not think so!

I too would be, for sure, purchase copies of this book once it is giving a proper birth! My kids are avid readers and they love reading about South African history and will absolutely find this interesting. Hopefully it could even be their next Christmas gifts :angry: .

Well done so far and may it be also a joy for you thus far and may you be richly blessed! (Mula too!)

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Harry

Dieulefit,

I assure that there are many professors of history in SA. Whether they can convey that history to people in useful fashion is anothr question.

I'm now busy with the 1820 Settlers. I'm having to read old 1830's books for my ammunition, and that takes time. However, while checking up on Settlers, I came across some Piet Retief letters that I have never heard of in my life....in it he says the Trekkers shot 249 lions in the Free State in 1837 and three people were attacked by lions. This was before he went to Dingane the first time. He also carefully lists the treaties they made with tribes. Seems he really was QUITE a guy. There is also a letter from him to the Cape Governor of the day......

Other interesting stuff is old Harry Smith's own diary...especially the bit where he eats the American President's hot dinner when the latter had to flee the White House in the War of 1812, which the US declared on Britian. For their pains, the Brits burnt the White House ( after stealing the dinner), and so the house was painted white after the Brits withdrew and has stayed white ever since. I like that kind of stuff...makes history very interesting. I have known about the burning since I was a kid, but I never knew it was "onse Harry Smiff" who did it! It just shows you how interestingly the knee-bone connects to the toe-bone in history.

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Louis & Marion

Which makes me really proud of having been born in Harrismith! ;)

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Blesbuck
Update

3. I have now confirmed that Daleen Matthee's Pieternella van die Kaap is an ancestor. It also means I have two ancestors in Jan van Riebeeck's household. None other than Eva Krotoa and Mooie Angela, the Indian slavelady. That, of course, makes Harry die Strandloper a great-uncle of mine. And to think I suffered years of teasing about my name for that reason...and it turns out true! [ I share this ancestry with hundred's of thousands of Afrikaans people, by the way]

Harry, daar's 'n goeie artikel in Beeld daaroor:

"Dit is ook die geval met Afrikaners. Deur kerkregisters te bestudeer, het die genealoog dr. Johannes A. Heese al in die 1970’s aangedui dat Afrikaners sowat 7% nie-blank is."

"Ná ’n paar jaar se werk het ek my voorouerlyne teruggevolg tot amper 300 immigrante wat gemiddeld al vir 11 generasies hier in Suid-Afrika is.

Dit is seker nie ’n verrassing dat ek meer as 30 keer aan die eerste Van der Merwe verwant is nie. Ek is 18 keer aan die eerste Botha en 15 keer aan die eerste Potgieter verwant."

"Hierdie stamboom wys ook dat Afrikaners tot ’n mate ingeteel is. In die wetenskap meet ons inteling as die kans dat twee gene wat jy van jou pa en ma ontvang, identiese afstammelinge van een voorouergeen is.

Hierdie klein deeltjie van my stamboom wys ses voorouers deur wie my pa en ma verwant is (Lijsbeth, Johan Herbst, Johannes Potgieter, Clara Herbst, Isabella Potgieter en Philippe du Preez). Vir elkeen van hierdie sogenaamde gemeenskaplike voorouers is daar ’n kans dat twee van my gene identies kan wees.

In my hele stamboom het ek 125 sulke gemeenskaplike voorouers opgespoor."

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