Re: Records 1920 - 1923 #southafrica

Ann Rabinowitz <annrab@...>

In regard to Beryl Baleson's questions regarding lack of records for the
period of 1920-1923 in official resources in South Africa, I am providing
the following info:

According to Prof. Aubrey Newman who is the expert on the Poor Jews'
Temporary Shelter, his database does not go beyond September, 1914, although
there are further registers which end in 1919. There are some limited lists
existing for the 1930's, but nothing between 1919 and the 1930's.
Sometimes, records are not kept, or disappear or are destroyed accidently or
lost through War and other means. Beryl, there are Juter records relating
to your family in the earlier Shelter records while not for the period when
your family came in 1921 or so.

The limited registers or lists we have for JEWISH naturalizations were not
prepared by the government and therefore are not found in the Archives, but
at the Kaplan Centre. There are naturalization records that are found in
the Archives, although some of the pre-1924 records have disappeared or been
disposed of as I found when I went to look for them.

The same goes for the JEWISH arrival records which are limited to the period
1924-1929 and were not prepared by the government either. However, there
are ships' manifests in the PRO in London relating to arrivals in SA. These
records are part of an indexing project that is underway at the moment that
has been discussed on this digest previously.

There are always going to be natural conditions or various reasons why there
are gaps in records and it isn't always a matter of the records being lost
and needing to be found somewhere. Many times, just changes in government
breaks the continuity of recordkeeping such as may have happened in South

In America, for instance, there is almost an entire census year of 1891 that
is missing due to a fire. This was a critical year when many Jewish
families had come to America and there is nothing now to document their
information except perhaps ships' manifests on their arrival. Another
instance is the fire that destroyed Army records at the St. Louis, Missouri

Also, another instance of missing records is to be found in England as many
records were destroyed during the bombings of WWII. Other records in
certain localities were thrown out when lack of space confronted the keepers
of the records or they forgot to transfer the records to larger
repositories. Others were retained and access denied due to damaging
personal materials in certain of these.

However, I always feel that researchers should keep looking and following
tips they may run across regarding possible locations of missing records.
There is always the possibility that something was misplaced or misfiled or
tucked away in some storage facility and mislabeled.

All this means is that genealogical researchers have to become adept record
scavangers by visiting Archives and other holding repositories, chatting
with staff where possible, talking to old employees, and following leads
from other researchers.
Ann Rabinowitz

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