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19 Feb 2014

No feet in Africa

.. but it's still possible to unravel the family's story.  My relative Rob Haine left England around 1900 for a new life in South Africa with his brothers. They ended up in Jo'burg, but he found a farm on the east coast.  He was leaving a land with plenty of fairly accessible records, for a land that until recently, had none.

We saw glimpses of him again - in 1960 his cousin died intestate in Somerset and in the ensuing document, 6 of his 7 kids were named.  In 2009 his wife's niece died in Somerset and her family gave me an old address in Durban, but that didn't lead me anywhere.

I published a book on the family in 2000 and we still didn't know their whereabouts, then.

Last year FamilySearch released some protestant church records for Natal, and I eagerly set to combing through for Haine's.  It wasn't hard to find the family, as the records were mostly indexed.  Although it said marriages for the town weren't listed after 1955, I found the index went up to 1970.  I combed through this looking for the bride, as the dot-matrix index from 1992 listed the marriage in groom order.  Bingo - I found of Rob's granddaughters marrying in 1958 and the other in 1966.

But it was the youngest granddaughter, Mandy, born 1959 I was due to find next.  And it wasn't through googling, through the phone book, but through another resource that I found her.

Thank you FamilySearch for great Natal records and unblocking a 15-year puzzle; without, sadly, me having to set a foot on the continent.

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