I joined the English genealogy forum and posted an e-mail requesting whether anybody was doing research on the McCarthy’s. No response.
A few weeks later I got an e-mail from a Scottish lady Sandra Gurney with a document attached. This contained the initial information that got me going with genealogy.This document linked my great grandfather James with his wife Katrina Magdalena du Preez. From this I could establish the following:
- She was born on the 17 January 1840 in Riversdal
- Her parents were Hercules Jacobus DU PREEZ married to Margaretha Isabella VAN ZYL.
- She got married to James McCarthy on 18 July 1866 in Humansdorp
- She died on the 16 th of February 1902 in Vryburg
- Her children were:
- Margaretha Isabella MCCARTHY
- Johan Jeremias MCCARTHY
- Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY
- Daniel Christoffel Benjamin MCCARTHY
- Theunis Cornelis MCCARTHY
- Their four oldest children were born in Humansdorp
It was a wonderful start. Now I needed proof. Months went past and could not find a clue. I found on the 18 January 2005 her husband’s death certificate in the Freestate confirming most of the data above with some additional information:
- She was living on the farm Waterval in the district Ladybrand.
- She was 41 years old.
- He died on 30 April 1881 at the age of 46 .
- Her husband was a farmer
- The value of his estate was: 46 pound 10 sjielings
- The names of her children(all minors) were:
- Margaretha Elizabeth
- Hercules Jacobus
- Daniel Christoffel Benjamin
- Theunis Cornelis
- Johanna Catharina
- Catharina Jacoba
- Embrenicia(not readable) Cornelia
- Four of their children were born in Humansdorp.
- She was only married for 15 years.
- They had 7 children
I visited the Church of latter Day Saints in January 1996, in Parktown Johannesburg and found Catharinas death certificate.
Additional information on her death certificate was:
- Her childrens data:
- Margaretha Isabella (36) –married to Abraham Paulus Ralph
- Hercules Jacobus (32) – not shown as married, but he got married on the 21 Jun 1898
- Theunis Cornelis(28)
- Johanna Katrina
- Katrina Jacoba – married to Josia Estherhuisen
- Emily Cornelia
- Margaret Marian Richards married to William Benjamin Buun
- ( A discrepancy in the children’s names: two names were left out,I must deduct that they must have passed away.
- Johan Jeremias (34?) – not listed, still cannot trace any further data on Johan.
- Daniel Christoffel Benjamin– not listed. I later found proof in 2006 in Vryheid in a little museum. It was a booklet with names of soldiers that died in the Boer war. He died on the 22/09/1900 at Kromspruit fighting under Commandant AJ Prinsloo. He was 28 years old.
- She was 61 years 10 months and old when she died
- She was a widow
- She died on the farm England in the district Vryburg.
- Her estate consisted only of movable items.
- Her daughter signed her death certificate on the 18 May 1905.
Using the current evidence I must deduct Catharina and her husband James relocated to the Freestate after 1872. They stayed in the Ladybrand area on the farm Waterval. Interestingly, her father also relocated to the Freestate, he died on the 22 Nov 1872 in Donkerpoort, Winburg, OVS.
In January 2006 I visited Humansdorp while on holiday. Maybe I could find some information about James and his wife here. I tried the churches, asking around and established that the oldest church in town was the Dutch reformed church. To my disappointment, I had to wait till the office opened in the new year. What an experience, I was given the old church registers to read. All the christenings from 1845 were there. I found my great grandmother Catharina Magdalena du Preez christening. She was christened in 1857 in Humansdorp on the 4 th of April. She was 15 years old when she was christened.
Calculating from this evidence, she was 24 years old when she got married on the 18 July 1866 in Humansdorp. I tried to get her children’s christenings without success.
Finding no other information I started looking critically at all my old information. I saw the reference in the document I received from Sandra Gurney of her estate. I found a contact in the Cape archives. (Cape estate ref 1647). He transcribed the estate documents for me. Another piece of the history fell in place.Her son Hercules was appointed as the executor of her estate on the 18 May 1905. The estate documents was sent to Hercules on the 7 June 1906 almost a year later.Her whole estate is listed including for ex.:
- Pots and pans
- Table and chairs etc
Next I tried the records of marriage certificates for Humansdorp. Here I struck gold. I could not believe it; I found her marriage certificate dated 1866. I found no new evidence on this document, just the physical proof that the details on their marriage certificate were correct.
I did a comparison of the names of the children of Katrina and James to that of her brothers, sisters and grandparents . All the names of her children relate to her family`s names except the ones in bold.
Her children names: (Names in bold not linked)
- Margaretha Elizabeth(Named after her mother and sister child 9)
- Johan Jeremias (Named after her grandfather and brother child 2)
- Hercules Johannes Jacobus (Named after Her father and grandfather)
- Daniel Christoffel Benjamin (Named after her brothers children 3,5,8 and 11)
- Theunis Cornelis (Appear in sisters names 1.10 and 13)
- Johanna Katrina (Named after Grandfather and Grandmother)
- Katrina Jacoba (Named after Grandmother and Father)
- Emily Cornelia (Named after sisters 1, 10 and 11)
Her Families names:
- Father: Hercules Jacobus DU PREEZ
- Grandfather: Hercules Johannes DU PREEZ
- Grandmother: Catharina Magdalena VAN ZYL
- Mother: Margaretha Isabella VAN ZYL
- Her Brother and sisters:
- 1 F Emmerentia Cornelia DU PREEZ
- 2 M Hercules Johannes Christiaan DU PREEZ
- 3 M Christoffel DU PREEZ
- 5 M Christoffel DU PREEZ
- 6 M Gideon Petrus DU PREEZ
- 7 F Anna Margaretha Isabella DU PREEZ
- 8 M Jan Daniel DU PREEZ
- 9 F Elizabeth Aletta Magdalena DU PREEZ
- 10 F Regina Cornelia DU PREEZ
- 11 M Daniel Christoffel Benjamin DU PREEZ
- 12 F Maria Sophia DU PREEZ
- 13 F Susanna Cornelia Elisabetta DU PREEZ
My Great grandfather, my father and my oldest name son is named after Catherina Magdalena du Preez father Hercules Jacobus du Preez. What joy from not knowing anything about Catherina to having a glimpse in her life.
- 1773 – Catherina`s grandfather born Hercules Johannes DU PREEZ
- 1807 – Hercules Jacobus DU PREEZ (Katrinas Father) born 1 April 1807 in Tulbagh
- 1816 – (1) Margaretha Isabella VAN ZYL (Katrinas mother) born.
- 1833 – HJ du Preez got married to Margaretha Isabella VAN ZYL On the 18 Aug 1833 in George
- 1840 – (2) Katrina Magdalena born on the 17 January 1840 in Riversdal
- 1851 – HJ du Preez 9 th child Regina Cornelia DU PREEZ was born, but it’s the first child born in Humansdorp
- 1858 – HJ du Preez 13 th child Susanna Cornelia Elisabetta du PREEZ was born in Humansdorp.
- 1865 – Economic depression in South Africa 1865 -1866.
- 1866 – Catherina got married to James McCarthy on 18 July 1866 in Humansdorp
- 1866 – Catherinas oldest child (3) Margaretha Isabella MCCARTHY born 17 July 1866
- 1868 – Catherina`s second child (3) Johan Jeremias MCCARTHY was born on 12 Jul 1868. He was christened on 27 Sep 1868 in Humansdorp.
- 1870 – Catherina`s third child (3) Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY was born on 28 Mar 1870. He was christened on 12 Jun 1870 in Humansdorp.
- 1872 – Catherina`s fourth child (3) Daniel Christoffel Benjamin MCCARTHY was born on 1 Feb 1872. He was christened on 3 Mar 1872 in Humansdorp.
- – Katrina`s father HJ du Preez died on the 22 Nov 1872 at Donkerpoort, Winburg, Freestate
- 1874 – Catherina`s fifth child (3) Theunis Cornelis McCarthy was born. No additional information.
- 1880 – First Anglo boer War 16 December 1880 – 23 March 1881
- 1881 – 30 April 1881 her husband James died at the age of 46 on the farm Waterval, Ladybrand
- 1898 – Her son Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY got married to Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elisabeth Therblanche
- 1899 – The second Anglo Boer war 9 October 1899 – 31 May 1902
- 1900 – Her son Daniel C B died at Kromspruit, Vryburg on 22 nd September 1900
- 1902 – Katrina died in 1905 on the farm England, Vryburg