South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895-1972 .

Title in the Language of the Records

Suid-Afrika, Kaap Provinsie, Siviele Sterftes

Record Description

Currently, this collection of civil registration records includes only death records and covers the years 1895-1972.

Entries are generally in chronological order and are usually grouped alphabetically by locality. In many cases, the English name rather than the preferred Afrikaans name is used to maintain alphabetical sequence. However, some records are filed out of alphabetical order. Most of the records are handwritten in English.

In South Africa, the National Archives holds records of births, marriages, and deaths on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs. The Registration of births and deaths was made compulsory in 1894 and began in 1895. Indexes and registers are available up to the early 1970s.

Compulsory civil registration began at different dates for the various parts of South Africa. For Cape Province, the birth and death records start with the year 1895 and the marriage records start in 1840. In Cape Province, provision was made for voluntary registering of births from 1880.

The National Archives of South Africa is the main repository of documents created before 1956. The National Archives has a number of repositories scattered throughout the country; the one for Cape Province is located in Cape Town (Western Cape).

The Department of Home Affairs maintains the records of births, marriages, and deaths, but the physical records are not accessible to the public for research purposes. To access information, you must apply in writing to the Department of Home Affairs and give exact information about the event.

Civil registration records such as birth, marriages, and deaths are recorded for vital statistics and to better serve public health needs.

For a list of records by dates and localities currently published in this collection, select the Browselink from the collection landing page.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information for collections published in Source citations include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895-1972."Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Department of the Interior, Registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths. National Archives, Pretoria.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These death records usually contain the following information:

  • Full name, age and gender of deceased
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death and duration of illness
  • Race or nationality, and place of residence
  • Occupation and marital status at time of death
  • Intended place of burial
  • Name of informant and their residence
  • Sometimes, the names of parents
  • Date and place of registration

How to Use the Record

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Approximate year of death
  • Municipality

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Year"
⇒Select the appropriate "Municipality or Municipality Range" which will take you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

Using the Information

If you have found the record of your ancestor, the following information can aid you in your research:

  • Use the age to calculate the year of birth
  • The place of residence may help you determine if that is the place your ancestor was born.
  • The place of residence may help you know where to find other relatives of the deceased person.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Afrikaans. For help with reading the records, see the following wiki article:

Afrikaans Word List

General Information About These Records

Civil registration gives important information about an individual, including personal details that may also help in finding other ancestors of the same family.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 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.

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Contributions to this article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from the record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"South Africa, Cape Province,Civil Deaths. 1895-1972" images, FamilySearch ( accessed 23 May 2012), 1923 > Elliot > image 29 of 155, John Wary, 1923; citing South Africa Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, National Archives of South Africa, Pretoria.