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Many families in South Africa have long and proud histories. Find them here!

William of Griquatown

Launching this website was inspired by my father Dr Ralph Anderson who studied his own family's history for over 15 years. The result is a website he created http://www.griquatownandersons.com which records the families linked to the Anderson family over seven generations and including over 4,000 individuals.

The work started with attempts to establish the genealogy of the Andersons descended from the Reverend William Anderson born 1769, pictured here, who left London, England in 1800 for Cape Town. In February 1801 he left with Kicherer for the North West Cape to mission among the nomadic Griquas. After 2 months they were 150 miles north of the Zak river on the banks of the Orange river. Growing tired of the nomadic life of the Griquas, he and Nicholas Kramer, another missionary, decided to settle in 1804 at Klaarwater (Griquatown) where they started making gardens and cultivating the soil. The community around them apparently grew as in 1805 a smallpox epidemic carried off about 300 of them. Soon after, William became seriously ill with fever, and was taken back to Cape Town to recover. After his marriage to Maria Johanna Schonken in 1806, he returned to Klaarwater for 3 years, then after a rest again in Cape Town, he returned in 1811, this time with Mr and Mrs Kramer.

William's father, also William was born in 1724 in Aberdeen, Scotland but moved to London where he became a successful merchant. According to a scrapbook compiled by Alice Kitching, married to George Elliot Caldwall Anderson, there is a statement by Maria Elizabeth Anderson that William was a silk merchant in partnership with Messrs Reid and Green in London. Note that on the marriage certificate for William Anderson and Catherine Turner one of the witnesses was a Thomas Reid.

There was considerable confusion over who William senior's father was as William Wardlaw Anderson in a short genealogy named him also William. However Dr Ralph Anderson in several visits to London and Aberdeen became convinced that that was an error, and that his name was George. This has been confirmed to very reasonable certainty in Ralph's recent visit to Aberdeen at the age of 93.

From Ralphs notes:

The evidence strongly supports the idea that the father of the 5 children was indeed named George and not William Anderson. The naming of children follows normal custom in that the first child was female and thus named Margaret after her mother, Margaret Taylor. The second child a male was named after his father, George. The third child being a male would have been named possibly after his grandfather, say William which seems to have been a common family name. Peter Stafford Anderson, who has the biblical record of the family states that there is no record of the name William for the Anderson born in Aberdeen about 1697, but we have found that my father William Wardlaw Anderson had used this name as the original name of the earliest family head in his booklet "A Pioneer's Tradition"
In hindsight, I can well understand why he assumed this name, as it was certainly a traditional first name of a number of his forefathers. He could also have assumed that he was born 20 years earlier than his first born child, Margaret (1717-) and hence he entered the birthdate as Abt 1697.
Thus I am led to believe that our first known Anderson was indeed named George and not William, and furthermore, his spouse was Margaret Taylor, who we have not previously had any information about. I have therefore taken the liberty of making this very important change to the Anderson family tree, and I hope that it will be accepted for at least until it could be further investigated and only changed if then found to be to the contrary.
Ralph Anderson. (21 July 2006)

 Poll Tax, 1696, Wagley, Newhills Aberdeen.  In trying to obtain more information about George Anderson we found that name in the records of the Family Society on the 1696 Poll Tax in Scotland. In the Parish of Newhills there were a total of about 1200 people, but in Wagley there were only two who paid tax and one was a George Anderson, described as a weaver, and I am informed that he would have had to be at least 16 years old before he could be liable for tax. William is reported to have been a partner in a firm of silk merchants in London, and there may be some connection therefore with his work as a weaver father in Aberdeen. The only other factor is that of the very small population of the parish Newhills of only 1200 and Wagley must have been much less so that there could not have been too many George Anderson's in Wagley. I would be happier to accept this George as the father of the 5 children if we could find further evidence in records of his birth and death, for example, and/or an actual record of his marriage to Margaret Taylor.

In his most recent visit, Ralph says he found conclusive evidence that George Anderson married to Margaret Taylor records for all five children. Formally it was thought that there was an anomally in the fact that one son given in the biblical record, namely Peter Anderson, could not be found: However, it is established that the first name "Peter" was interchangeable with "Patrick" at the time they living in the early 1600's. A record was indeed found for Patrick Anderson, son of George Anderson of Walgley in the Parish of Newhills, Aberdeen.

Therefore, any doubt that may have existed as to who the father of the five children were, is now dispelled. George Anderson married to Margaret Taylor were the proven parents of the five children beyond doubt.

Once that matter was cleared up, it was easier to go further back and find both George's father and grandfather. His father was also named George was born in 1663, while his grandfather was Thomas, born about 1635. More details of these extrordinary finds are found in Dr Ralph Andersons Website.

And again, thank you to those contributing daily to our Genealogy website.

Mike Anderson - Webmaster


Additional Resources

The main work of the genealogy in this website is done on a program called Legacy Family Tree by Millenia. You can download a free version from their website at Legacy Family Tree.com  The best way to send information for inclusion in this website is to download that program, enter the information into the program and then email a file to the webmaster.


How To Have Your Family Genealogy Incorporated Into This Website

1 If you already have a website, just email us a link.

2 If you don't yet have a website and already use Legacy, or some other genealogy software, just export a GEDCOM file and attach it to an email.

3. If you have not used any genealogy software before, .......

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