Welcome!  Please read this page to its conclusion before proceeding to browse or search this project.

Important Reminders!

  • Links appear as  Bold/Underlined and will take you to the relevant page including to specific individuals on the person pages; and, to published articles in the Remarkable Writing and Uprooted Lives pages.
  • If you click or right-click on places that are Bold Underlined you will transition to the Google map for that place.
  • Don't forget our powerful search engine at http://e-family.co.za/ffy/ui49.htm
  • And remember to click or right-click the Calendar of Events each day for anniversaries pertaining to individuals (your ancestors) in the project.


New on Remarkable Writing

Mansell Upham has updated and added to his biography on Groote Catrijn van Paliacatta  and her family including her son Christoffel Snijman which originally featured in Capensis (1997). This update now includes her daughter-in-law Marguerite-Thérèse de Savoye and her slave Maria van Bengale.

Cape Mothers. Groote Catrijn van Paliacatta (c. 1631-1683), her slave Maria van Bengale and her de Savoye daughter-in-law Marguerite-Thérèse (1673-1742)

The SNYMAN family in South Africa is one of the oldest and largest colonially induced Southern African families of European origin also having Asian slave origins. The family dates back to the early years of the Cape of Good Hope's 143-year colonial occupation by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The names SNIJMAN and SNYMAN are interchangeable. The former is an older Dutch spelling, while the latter conforms to modern Afrikaans spelling conventions.  The familiy's ramification is evident by the surname's ongoing omnipresence in the male line. Owing to the custom of relinquishing maiden names at marriage, the extent of the family's permeation into South African society in the female line is as pervasive, albeit less visible. This article should be read together with:

 Delia Robertson's

'Viking' blood at the Cape - DNA evidence confirms European paternity of Christoffel Snijman van der Caep and debunks theory he was the biological son of Anthonij Jansz van Bengale

A examination of recently published public DNA test of Kornelius Snyman showing him to be in the Y-DNA haplogroup I-M253 - the ancient paternal lineage of the Nordic countries popularly known as the 'Viking' haplogroup. Forty percent of Fins and 38% of Swedes are from this haplogroup which also commonly occured other other north European countries and in Germany, France and the United Kingdom.


Mansell Upham has also contributed a revised

Who is Jannetje Rutgertroost?

A genealogical investigation into the origins of a Cape of Good Hope-born mesties woman variously found in the records as: Jannetie / Jannetie Hans: / Hanse: Rutgertroost.

A Cape of Good Hope-born woman - named variously Jannetje / Jannetie Hans(e): Rutgertroost and possibly Jannetje Ant(h)onis: - is concubine to one of the Cape’s transitory colonial ‘founding fathers’:  Dirk Cornelisz: Vermeulen.  She appears to be daughter to the slave woman Maria van Malabar / Bengale.  Is the German immigrant Hans Rugert Trost (from Elberfeld) who frees Maria & her two sons, Jannetje’s biological father?  Prior to that, Maria  slaves in the household of Cape free-burgher & free-black, Anthonij Jansz: de Later van Bengale & his wife (former convict - but doubly pardoned- Groote Catrijn van Paliacatta sentenced to death in Batavia [Jakarta] for killing her lover but pardoned & banished to the Cape as VOC slave).  Later, Maria marries shaven Chinese mardijcker & ex-convict, free-fisherman Domingo van Bengale - also sentenced to death in Batavia, but pardoned & banished to the Cape.  The couple return to Batavia but again came back to the Cape.  The following genealogically significant early Cape colonial women are possible half siblings to Jannetje Rutgertroost: Anna Maria Dominicus:, Cornelia Lamans:, Elisabeth Marcus:.

Don't forget the list (see Lists tab on click on the bold underlined link which follows) called First People, Slaves, Exiles, Convicts and their families. This list highlights first people, slaves, political exiles, convicts, their families and their descendants. The list also includes people in mixed unions (formal and otherwise) and their descendants - the extent of which are underestimated by many people. Few first people, Khoe, San, etc., are currently included in the project. This will change when I have finished entering data from the church and other records of the period and move on to the journals, official correspondence, court records, etc.



Background and goal of this project

This project began as a private endeavour to figure out some of the questions I had about my early Cape of Good Hope (de Caep de Goede Hoop / Cabo de Boa Esperanςa) ancestry, to ensure the foundations of my research into the genealogies of those ancestors was sound.

In time however, I realized my efforts might also help other researchers avoid the same errors I made when I first discovered this ancestry.

Consequently, the first goal of the project is to enter data from all records that are available for the first fifty years or so of the VOC settlement at the Cape which commenced in 1652. "Fifty years or so" because there is in some cases a natural progression that results from available research material.

But more than adding the data, the goal is to add full transcriptions and as far as is possible, an image of that record as an exhibit.

Where appropriate, it will also include groundbreaking published articles in the Acrobat format and linked to the relevant individuals.

But more than the records, this project includes a timeline (more to come); maps both static and live (more to come), a range of indexes, including a place index, an index of exhibits and a gallery of exhibits.

The second, and very important goal, is to generate discussion around the available data, to correct errors, and hopefully to shine more light on some enduring mysteries. In this regard, please write to me to correct errors (motivate and document if possible), or offer suggestions, opinions, and so on.

Please like and join in the discussion on the project Facebook page, co-managed by Mansell Upham and myself.

I also always welcome hearing from site users with corrections, updates, comments by email at: Delia Robertson




Highlighted Pages

  • If you're visiting for the first time, please first read the Important Information page to familiarise yourself with the general methodology used in entering the data, names, places, relationships, etc.

  • FFY is delighted to bring you Remarkable Writing - a section devoted to articles of high merit, whether about individuals, families, records, language or practices of the early decades of the colonial settlement at Cabo de Boa Esperanςa.  In paticular we recommend:

    Uprooted Lives


    an exciting occasional series by


    Mansell Upham

  • I am indebted to the many individuals whose generosity continues to add value to the site - they are highlighted on our Hall of Fame page.

  • Don't forget to visit our Update Page for a list of recent changes.

  •  Do visit our Knowledge Centre for articles that explain the laws, rules, practices and customs of the period.

  • And we have a useful Map Centre

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