General Information

Tracing one's South African roots is relatively easy, considering that the first European settlement of the Cape Colony took place in 1652 and records exist from that time to the present.

It must however be remembered that South Africa consisted initialy only of the Cape Colony, so the earliest records are found in what later became known as the Cape Province.

The other provinces in South Africa were until recently, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal and most records from those Provinces are kept within that Province.

Following the 1994 elections, the original four Provinces were expanded to include nine new Provinces, and planning has started to move the relevant records to archives within these new Provinces. This has not happened yet.

Initially the settlement at the Cape was small, centred around the present city of Cape Town. With the pressure of farming and the desire of many of the earliest servants of the Dutch East India Company to remain at the Cape the official position of the Dutch changed and gradually the settlement expanded and grew ever outwards.