Several months ago I discovered a couple of websites that focus on South African genealogy: Ancestry24 and Ancestor.co.za. Ancestry24 is a subscription service with transcriptions of original records or compilations–including parish baptism, marriage and burial records, voter registration lists and court records. Some transcriptions can be viewed without a subscription. Ancestor.co.za has a limited collection (the South Africa Death Records index, South African Newspaper Classifieds from 2007 and South African Settler Families Genealogy), but they supply digital images of original records on a pay-per-view basis (US$7.00 or 50 ZAR per record). It can take several weeks to receive the digital image, but the wait is worth it–and for people like me, it helps to control costs!
Using these two sites, I’ve made some serious headway on our Conway – Bayman lines–my father-in-law’s great-grandmother’s family. It started when I found Eliza Conway Bayman listed in the Death Records index at Ancestor.co.za. When I finally received the image, I was thrilled to see not just her death date and age, but also her birthplace (Mossel Bay), husband’s name (James William Bayman), all of her children and her parents’ names (Richard and Ann Conway)!
Using this new information, I found the death record for her husband, James William Bayman, on Ancester.co.za. Not only did it list the usual, but I learned that he was born in London, England, and had a previous wife (Catherine Margareta Styl) and children. And again, it gave the names of his parents (James William and Sarah Davis Bayman).
I have taken this information and tried to find more information on James William Bayman in England records on Ancestry.com, but haven’t had much luck yet. However, yesterday I found baptismal records on Ancestry24 for several of James’ children with both wives. (HINT: when looking at baptism and marriage records, pay attention to the witnesses. Many times they are relatives and can contain missing information.)