South Africa, Free State Dutch Reformed Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Africa
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South Africa, Free State Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1848-1956
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Free State, South Africa
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Location of Free State, South Africa
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Record Description
Record Type: Church Records
Collection years: 1848-1956
Languages: Afrikaans and English
Title in the Language: Suid-Afrika, Vrystaat Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk Rekords
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Dutch Reformed Church Synod Centre, Bloemfontein


What is in This Collection?

This collection includes records from 1848 to 1956. It consists of an index and images of christenings, marriages and memberships. The collection also includes marriage records from 1921 through 1947 from Lusaka (Zambia).

The Dutch Reformed Church records have been maintained in good condition. The records are found in different registration formats, most are written in Dutch while others are in Afrikaans and English.

From 1652 to 1862, all church records are in the Dutch Reformed Church's Cape Archives. From 1862 to the present, the records are in individual churches and the church's provincial archives. From 1632 to 1780, the Dutch Reformed Church was the only established church, and it recorded other denominational baptisms. Forty-three percent of the white population in Free State, South Africa are members of the Dutch Reformed Church.

General Information about Free State

Under the Union of South Africa in 1910, South Africa had four provinces: the Transvaal and Orange Free State, previously Boer republics, and Natal and the Cape, once British colonies. In 1994, under South Africa’s new democratic constitution, the country was broken up into nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, and Western Cape. Free State was originally the Orange Free State.

To learn more about Dutch Reformed Church Records, see the wiki article, South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records) for more information.

Reading These Records

These records are in Afrikaans and English. For help reading these records see the following guides:

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Africa, Free State Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1848-1956.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Christening

  • Full name
  • Date of christening
  • Place of christening
  • Parents' names
  • Date of birth
  • Names of witnesses

Marriage

  • Place of marriage
  • Date of marriage
  • Groom's full name and surname
  • Bride's full name and surname
  • Bride and groom's ages
  • Occupation of groom
  • Occupation of bride
  • Residence at time of marriage
  • Names of witnesses

Membership

  • Name
  • Date of baptism
  • Age
  • Place of residence

Collection Content

For additional details about these records and help using them see South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

You can search the index or view the images or both. Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person you are looking for
  • Approximate date of the event (birth, marriage, death)

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page

  1. Select Province
  2. Select Town/Municipality
  3. Select Event Type to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved, been recruited or lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records indexes in the country
  • Use the age to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in civil records
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records indexes in the country
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, Civil Registration records may be more useful
  • Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by other names or alternated between using first and middle names
  • Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800's
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another
  • Be aware that there may have been some transcription errors


Known Issues with This Collection

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"South Africa, Free State Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1848-1956." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org: 4 November 2016. Citing Dutch Reformed Church Synod Centre, Bloemfontein.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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