|About A proud and fascinating heritage - Roets/Bezuidenhout; Janse Van Rensburg /Potgieter ens.
Researching a family tree is a long, slow process, and I will present this information bit by bit,
as I progress. It is intended to be a tribute to the powerful ancestors that contributed to my
existence – Roets and Bezuidenhout families and the close relatives on my Father’s side, and later
on, I hope to add my Mother’s Potgieter and Van Rensburg records as well. It would not have been
possible without the help of a number of people and organisations – credits elsewhere on this site.
Please visit our GUEST BOOK, and leave your constructive comments. I appreciate your feedback regarding the information
you are looking for; the format of this website etc etc. Ongoing contributions sincerely appreciated!
Uit respek vir die hoofsaaklik Afrikaans sprekende familie lede wil ek dit graag tweetalig hou,
maar aangesien ek in ‘n groter arena werk, sal die artikels hoofsaaklik in Engels aangebied word.
Hierdie familiestamboom van die Roets, Bezuidenhout en Steenkamp families is my poging om
erkenning te gee aan die stoere voorgeslag wat dit moontlik gemaak het dat ons vandag in hierdie
wonderlike land kan leef. Ons voorouers het almal hul stempel afgedruk en die resultate is om ons
te sien. Met verloop van tyd sal die Potgieter en Van Rensburg Voortrekkers aan moederskant hopelik
bygevoeg kan word.
Ek het die afgelope paar maande besef dat dit ‘n baie tydrowende en soms frustrerende proses is
om ‘n familiestamboom na te vors. Omdat ek egter nie die inligting wil weerhou terwyl die legkaart
stadig voltooi word nie, gaan ek my vordering op hierdie webblad deel met belangstellendes.
Hierdie projek sou maar ‘n klein, intieme familie stamboek gebly het as dit nie was dat Marie
Roedolf haar onskatbare Roets navorsing van 4 jaar aan my beskikbaar gestel het nie. Ek bly diep
dankbaar vir haar bereidwilligheid om die inligting met my te deel, en ek doen my bes om die
elektroniese medium te gebruik om dit verder ten toon te stel.
Die lewe is so ‘n dolle gejaag, en bitter min tyd word bestee om net rond te kyk en op te let wat
om ons aangaan. Nog minder tyd word spandeer om die spesiale oomblikke van ons jeug en kindrjare
te onthou, maar wanneer dit gedoen word, veskaf dit soveel plesier!
Dit is dalk tekens van oud word, maar ek ondervind al hoe meer dikwels dat pragtige staaltjies en
gebeure wat baie jare lank in my onderbewussyn weggesluit was, skielik vars in my geheue is.
Nostalgiese “onthou jy die dag” oomblike word deel van ons oues se gesprekke, en dis sooooo
Ek het die afgelope paar jaar al die drang om weer my ou familieplaas op te soek. Toe ek in 1969
met ‘n Kapenaar getroud is, het ek in ‘n groot mate kontak verloor met skoolmaats en familie in die
Transvaal, maar na my egskeiding was daar skielik ‘n sterk drang om my ou speelgronde op te soek,
om die familiegrafte te vind. Om ‘n lang storie kort te maak, ek glo daar was ‘n hoёr hand wat my
gelei het na daardie verwaarloosde grafte in die middel van digbegroeide bosse, in een van die
menigte valley in Magoebaskloof. Omring met hul teenwoordiheid het die saadjie in die vrugbare rooi
grond geval en sommer wortel geskiet . Toe ek die name van familielede sien wat ek nooit geken het
nie, wou ek meer weet van hierdie mense.
Hulle het die Anglo Boereoorlog, die tweede wereld oorlog beleef; baie jong kinders is in die griep
epidemie oorlede, my oupa het die Beitbrug help bou, my pa was betrokke by die bou van Dap Naude,
Ebenezer, Oviston damme; ons huis was die eerste gebou op die Turfloop universiteit kompleks, en
vandag word al hierdie plekke op daaglikse basis gebruik en as vanselfsprekend aan vaar as iets wat
maar net altyd “daar was”.
Sedert ek hierdie ontdekkingsreis begin het, het ek kontak hernu met familielede wat ek 50 jaar
gelede gesien het, en ek het besef dat my Afrikaanse wortels baie diep geanker is, dat die afgelope
paar dekades tussen Engelse familie ‘n fase was wat my waardes nie laat verander het nie. Die
spanpoging om raaisels op te los, om ons voorsate op te spoor, ontwikkel ‘n nuwe samehorigheid wat
ons as kinders heel anders beleef het.
Ek is dankbaar vir al die bydraes en raad wat steeds instroom – en geniet die nuwe vriendskaape wat
gevorm word. Ek hoop opreg dat hierdie amateur poging sal lei tot die skepping van ‘n redelik
volledige rekord van ons families. Ek is spyt dat geen van ons voorsate beter rekords gehou het
nie –en my groot jammerte is die feit dat talle persone wat oor onskatbare inligting beskik het in
die afgelope jaar of wat oorlede was – kort voor ek met hulle kon kontak maak.
As is verbrande hout, en noudat ons die elektroniese mediums gebruik, is dit soveel makliker om
rekord te hou. My raad aan almal is – praat met die ouer mense wat nog onthou; neem fotos, voor
dit te laat is.
My groot wens is dat ander lesers iewers in herdie stamboom inligting sal bekom wat hulle eie
navorsing sal help, of iets kan aanbied wat my vermiste skakels sal inpas. Die volgende uitdaging
is om my Blog saam te stel, en die talle ongelooflike verhaaltjies en gebeure aan die nageslag oor
In the busy world we live in, we so often miss some of the real gems that surround us. We tend to
settle into a routine of day to day activities, dealing with the most essential demands on our
time, and if not careful, we rarely stop to smell the roses!
But there comes a time when we suddenly realise life is rushing past, and we have neglected so many
aspects of this precious gift of “being,” when we start reflecting on our past, our childhood, our
dreams – and wonder “what could have been”. When even the much hated history lessons at school
takes on a new, very personal meaning, and you love exploring it!
This Website has come about at the ripe age of nearly 67, when belatedly, I embarked on a journey
of discovery. I gave in to this growing urge of going back to my roots, and visited the old family
farm in Magoebaskloof, some distance from Cape Town where I spent the biggest part of my life. And
I realised how much I missed my life of yesteryear!
The last time I set foot in those beautiful mountains was 20th December 1963, when my Grandmother
was buried in the family graveyard. Nearly 50 years later, on the 5th February 2013, exactly one
day after arriving at our beautiful lodgings near Haenertsburg, I found this tranquil spot in the
woods and reconnected with my family at their gravesite. I cannot describe that feeling
of “belonging” that washed through me at that point. My first little steps were taken on these
hills, holding the hands of my parents or granny, long before the lovely grasslands were turned
into plantations, and as we grew up, Broederstroom became our favorite splashpool.
Unfortunately the farm was sold after her Granny's death, but the current owners very kindly allows
I left the area many years ago, married and settled in the Cape, and sadly, lost contact with the
family as years went by. But since embarking on this journey, I have realized just how deep my
roots grew all those years ago!
Initially it appeared to be mission impossible as so much of the original grassland had become
pineforests. Talk about looking for a needle in a haystack! But throughout this process I have felt
the presence of another power, leading me to the right people, helping me make the right decisions,
and there was the not insignificant factor of memories that came flooding back to make this task a
lot easier! I have been amazed by the clear images that flashed through my mind in recent weeks –
once you open the window into the past the snapshots comes tumbling out.
Seeing all those graves as an adult had a profound effect on me – as a child I did not like going
to the graveyard. It was spooky, it was a sad place where loved ones were put into the ground and
you never saw them again. Yet this time I read the inscriptions on the headstones with great
interest. People that never existed in my life were suddenly given status!
I never knew either of my grandfathers, and can’t recall any mention of them. My own father was a
very young boy when his father died, and seeing this grave suddenly reminded me there was in fact a
grandfather! I never even knew my dad had another little sister, who died aged two, when he was
only 4. Another lonely little grave in the centre of this plot was identified as the brother of one
of my favourite playmates/2nd cousin – we always thought he was an only child.
As a result of seeing these facts I decided to make every effort to connect the dots of my missing
family members, and that decision has changed my life. So much has happened the past few months I
am bursting with excitement and information, but will gradually introduce the stories that have
been told, the events that are unfolding.
One of the most significant items I have found has been the group photo of the Roets family, taken
approximately December 1926. (My assumption of date is based on the estimated age of the two babies
sitting on their grandparents laps).
I look at this well (identically?) dressed, solemn group, and wonder what the occasion was; what is
going though their minds as they stare at the camera, what will they be doing after they get up
from these seats? This appears to be a studio environment – did they travel a long way to pose for
this photo? They were all hardworking people, tending their own land and certainly did not all live
on the farm after marriage, even though the homestead was large and built for an extended family!
Having learnt a bit about some of their activities, I now realise this group certainly left their
mark in the community. One of them (the young boy second from right in front row) gave his life
during World War 2 – he was ‘missing in action” and does not have a grave where he can be
remembered. Grandfather Bezuidenhout helped built Beit Bridge and together with his father-in-law,
helped the doctors distribute medicine on horseback during the bad flu epidemic of 1918-29. Great
grandfather Petrus was a scout during the war, and also provided the “Kwaggas” and mules used for
the Zeederberg postal coaches that served most of the Northern Transvaal for many years.
Some of the ancestors helped conquer this land we live in, were part of the Groot Trek, fought the
Slagtersnek rebellion, and saved lives during the Dingaan battle. In later years my father
supervised building of the Turfloop University; was involved in building various large dams – Dap
Naude, Ebenezer, the ambitious Oviston project. Today these places are landmarks, and a proud
reminder of a meticulous, thorough if hard-assed man’s high standards!
Apart from recording the family trees, and telling their stories, this website is also an
opportunity for living relations to join in and become part of the cyber family. I am aware of at
least one or two connected families that are doing their own genealogical research, and I invite
them all to make contact, to link up their work. I have been more than amazed about the number of
people that have been bitten by this bug – and the resources, available information that exists.
One of the most fascinating projects underway is the listing of Graveyards, but that is a topic
that deserves its own discussion! Suffice to say there is an urgent need to take photographs and
record the detail of all ancient graves before they disintegrate or are removed.....
See links on http://www.eggsa.org/library/main.php?g2_itemId=43
I look forward to sharing many happy hours reminiscing.....
Connie Griessen (neé Bezuidenhout)