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16 May 2014

South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895 - 1972

In South Africa, the birth, marriage and death records are held by the National Archives, on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs. In 1894, the registration of births and deaths was made compulsory and the record keeping itself began in 1895. These registers are available up to the early 1970's. 

Now, the Civil Death records for the Cape Province of South Africa, have started to be added to the Historical Records collection at FamilySearch.  As of 16 May 2014, the collection contains over 2.2 million records, however only about 11,000 have been indexed at this point.

 A simple search of the collection shows the quality of the information provided.  I knew that Leah Cohen died on 2 Jul 1954 in Cape Town. Using that information, I found the entry below that also gives me her age and her last place of residence, the Cape Jewish Aged Home. The information also provides the Family History Library Film number (1,796,463).

 I was further able to click on the link to view original document. By doing so I was able to view the original record of her death. In that document (below) we also find out that Leah Cohen, was born in Russia. We also find that she is a widow and that her maiden surname was Gradner.

This record should be most helpful more many families. As so many of the Jewish community of South Africa were from places such as Russia, Lithuania and England, their impact is very far reaching. As always these records are available free at

07 May 2014

IAJGS 2014, World War 1 Stories

We are now less than 3 months away from the 34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which will be held in Salt Lake City from the 27th of July through the 1st of August. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War 1, one of the main themes of the conference will be its affect upon our ancestors. As part of this, conference organizers are encouraging all to upload there own stories to the conference website.

What a great opportunity for all of us to share the stories of our ancestors, of their struggles and hardships, as well as their determination and survival. What a great chance to keep their stories alive.