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Find South African ancestors in millions of new church records

2-3 minute read

By Niall Cullen

9 February 2024
Findmypast Friday

With the release of four new record sets, we're taking a trip to South Africa this week.

Church records and membership lists document over 350 years of South Africa's history and people in our latest release. With records from the Cape, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal and Transvaal regions, is there a South African branch of your family tree waiting to be explored? Plus, we've added over 102,000 pages to our newspaper archive.

Spanning 1660-2011, over 785,000 new baptism records offer essential information about your South African family heritage. Some entries include a digitised scan of the original record, which is always worth checking for extra details, like godparents' names. Where available, the original record is likely to be written in Dutch or Afrikaans.

Did your ancestor tie the knot in South Africa? Find out in over 314,000 new church marriage records.

A South African marriage record from 1840

An example of a South African marriage record from 1840. View the full record.

The records reveal the names and birth years of both spouses, as well as when and where their wedding took place.

Trace South African ancestors from cradle to grave with the help of over 4,800 new burial records.

1897 map of South Africa

A map of South Africa from 1897.

From its indigenous people to European colonisation and apartheid, South Africa's history is as diverse as it is tumultuous. Could these records help you trace a family connection there?

Detail-rich records reveal when your ancestor joined the church, along with important biographical facts. The 141,000-strong collection includes membership lists from Cape and Free State.

We've added Morecambe Visitor to our newspaper archive this week, alongside updates to 24 other papers. Here's a full rundown of what's new:

New title:

Morecambe Visitor covering 1900, 1917, 1952-1954, 1956-1962, 1964-1968 and 1987

Updated titles:

  • Arbroath Herald from 1988
  • Banbury Guardian from 1929, 1931-1945 and 1964-1977
  • Batley News from 1991
  • Bellshill Speaker from 1987
  • Biggleswade Chronicle from 1967-1969
  • Bo’ness Journal and Linlithgow Advertiser from 1889
  • Chorley Guardian from 1988
  • Crawley and District Observer from 1985
  • Derry Journal from 1996
  • Eastbourne Gazette from 1927
  • Guernsey Evening Press and Star from 1917
  • Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser from 1869
  • Kilsyth Chronicle from 1986-1987
  • Londonderry Sentinel from 1967
  • Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle from 1986
  • Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail from 1981-1982
  • Motherwell Times from 1974
  • Northampton Chronicle and Echo from 1987
  • Prescot Reporter from 1873
  • Retford, Worksop, Isle of Axholme and Gainsborough News from 1973
  • Rugby Advertiser from 1980-1981, 1985 and 1989
  • Wigan Observer and District Advertiser from 1986
  • Worcester Journal from 1917
  • Worthing Herald from 1983 and 1985

Filter by title and date when searching to focus on the updates that interest you most.

We released even more baptism, marriage and burial records last week. If you missed them, you can catch up on what was featured here.