South African archives #general #southafrica


According to my grandfathers marriage and death certificates obtained on line from South Africa his name was Herman Israel Salmenson and he married  Jeannie Berze (Berse). Among my fathers papers I found a copy of my grandfathers naturalization certificate also with the name Herman Israel. According to family lore my grandfather's name was Shneerson when he arrived in South Africa but was advised to change his name to become more anglicized. I have several issues.
1: I can not find any documentation for a Herman Israel (Jewish Gen, Ancestry etc) and am sure if anything his name was Chaim. His tombstone says Israel Tzvi ben Levi Itschak Zalmenson.
2: When the ships arrived at the port of entry in South Africa, there must have been documentation by the South African authorities giving the names of the arrivals and details of the ship. Where would those documents be kept.
3: If he did change his name on arrival,I assume he applied for a formal name change. Where would those documents be. He lived in Piet Retief.
4: I am unable to find in the South African records a copy of his naturalization certificate or for that matter for my grandmother Jeannie (Sheina) Berse.
5: In the records of the Piet Retief Hebrew congregation there is mentioned a Mr & Mrs Isidor Salmenson and family with a first reference 1897. I was not aware of another Salmenson family and have not been able to find any documentation. In the same records there is mentioned that my grandfather Chaim Israel and Jeannie first referenced in 1904 had a cousin Sam Measroch who told him to change his name from Chaim Israel Schneeson to Salmenson.
If anyone can offer suggestions on how to pursue these issues or recognizes any familiar names, I would love to hear from you. I understand that due to COVID the SA archives are currently closed.
Herman Salmenson

Louis Zetler

in the 1890's, southern Africa (South Africa only came into being in 1910) was something like the "wild west". One set of my maternal grandparents came to the Cape of Good Hope (as it was known then) as ISAACS. They bought Berkowitz Cycles in Parow and promptly assumed the surname BERKOWITZ - no formalities as far as I am aware. And then your family went to Piet Retief! That's not the wild west - it's the outback! Believe me, they could have done what they wanted to there and no-one would have raised an eyebrow.

Louis Zetler
Yokneam, Israel

Darryl Lipkie

hi - have you tried NAAIRS
Select RSA database to search all of South African archives at once, then choose Result Details.
Good luck !
Darryl Lipkie

Michele Lock

There is a facebook group called 'Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy', and I have found them helpful in locating descendants of persons I know immigrated to South Africa. They seem to have good knowledge on the greater Jewish community in the country.
Michele Lock

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