In preparing for our trip to South Africa next month, Blane and I came across an old history of his family written in Afrikaans titled “Die Van Pletsen Saga” by Helen Lewald (nee van Pletsen). For several years he had been meaning to translate it, and finally did a few months ago to post on his blog.
This weekend I decided it would be kind of neat to find as many descendants of the original van Pletsen in South Africa (the “old immigrant”) Carl Johannes von Plessen. According to “Die Van Pletsen Saga”, he was born in East Prussia in 1795, fled the country for some reason and settled in the Brabant region of Belgium where he fought (literally) alongside Napolean. Then, for unknown reasons, he stowed away on a ship to South Africa. He was almost dead by the time the ship arrived, but luckily survived long enough to marry, have a large family, settle a farm in South Africa, and die an old man in 1888 in Rouxville, South Africa.
As far as I can tell, most descendants are still in South Africa, although I’m sure there are those who have emigrated to other parts of the world. The history of the authors line can be found both on my blog and my partner Blane’s blog. Blane has both the original Afrikaans as well as the English translation. I only posted the English translation as I don’t understand Afrikaans. (Blane has had comments posted in Afrikaans on his blog, and I’d rather not simply due to my current lack of understanding–however, I do hope to learn that language one day!)
Blane’s line of ancestry to the “old immigrant” is posted on a public family tree at Ancestry.com.