On the 20th October Christa Roberts spoke about the tour to Cape Town with the N-Tvl branch. The tour took place on 12-17 August 2012. She was part of a group of 15 members.
Their tour was excellently organised by Ellen Harmse, who planned everything down to the last detail and gave plenty of information in advance. Christa was able to prepare her research before departure and knew what to expect at the different research centres.
The members of the tour met twice in the months preceding their departure, and were therefore not total strangers when they gathered at OR Tambo Airport. Once they arrived in Cape Town they travelled to Solms Delta, a wine estate outside Franschhoek. This estate has a wine cellar dating to 1740, a museum with a full time historian as well as archaeological diggings dating to the later stone age.
Mark Solms gave the group a fascinating talk on the history of the farm.
They stayed at the Parliament Hotel in Cape Town which is a kilometre and a half from the archives. The archive staff were very efficient in having the files ready for them. There is a wealth of information, and time is needed to look through the many books.
They were taken on a tour of The Castle by the author Dan Sleigh, who was very informative and showed them parts of the castle not normally seen by tourists. They went to GISA in Stellenbosch. Although the premises were small there is a lot of information available and the staff were very helpful. Then a trip to Franschhoek to visit the Huguenot Museum and Monument. They had lunch at the well known Rueben’s Restaurant. Their final visit was to the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch.
The advantages of this worthwhile tour was that she met new people with a passion for genealogy and everything was arranged for them. The cost of the tour included flights, accommodation, meals and bus trips.
Tracing the biological mother of an adopted child
He started by telling two stories to illustrate different outcomes -- those which ended on a happy positive note, and those with the opposite outcome. It is important to inform the client that the parent may not wish to make contact.
He draws up a contract with his client including this aspect as well as written permission to do this research. He starts by contacting the Registrar of Adoptions in Pretoria as all records of adoption are kept there. As Dennis does research on behalf of a client he is able to have access to the file and make photocopies of the documents. The biological mother’s maiden name, ID and birth date are obtained from this file.
The father’s information is not recorded in this file. He then uses the 1984 voter’s roll as this is indexed according to maiden name. It can be difficult to obtain the married surname and address. Once he has these details he will ring the mother and confirm that he is speaking to the correct person. It is important that he assures the mother that he will protect her identity should she not wish to make contact. Should she wish to make contact, Dennis asks her and his client to write a letter to each other and to include a photo or two. He will then arrange for a meeting. Good preparation needs to be done to prepare parent and offspring for the meeting.
Dennis asks someone trained in dealing with these situations to accompany him.
Normally there is a happy ending, but not always. The parent could have died. He said that this research gave a great deal of satisfaction, but could also be emotionally draining.