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Hi everyone

I hope I'm posting this in the right section.

My great-grandfather participated in the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) and at some point was taken prisoner and deported to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) till the end of the war. That's about all I have about that part of his history since every time someone mentioned the topic he would clam up and sort of mentally shut down.

Is there some resource where I can perhaps trace where he might have been held on Ceylon?

Kind regards,

Wessel

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Interesting!  When I searched 'Boer POWs', 'Boer Pows in Ceylon popped up first.  There are lots of sites with some general information but the one below is clearly the result of a concerted effort: actually includes some POW names and information.  I'd suggest you start there.  And good luck with the hunt!

https://www.geni.com/projects/Anglo-Boere-Oorlog-Boer-War-1899-1902-POW-Ceylon/14300

Peter

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Peter,

Thanks for the reply.

 

I've had a quick glance and it sent my antenna's into overdrive.

 

I couldn't find my great grandfather's name but I did find a male with his surname who was from a town about 130 kilometers from where my great grandfather lived. At the moment I don't have a single dot of proof that they were related but what I know about the family background etc the odds are that they are somehow related.

Sadly all my ancestors in that part of the family died over the years so I have to find some old documents to shed a bit more light on my search.

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The frustration of being the first in a family to care!  I'm currently tracking down details on a WWII casualty, grand-uncle of a young work colleague.  All he has is a name, an obituary notice and the death date.   The good news is that the man's file is available, the bad news is that he wasn't 16 when he joined, as per family legend, that he probably burned to death in a truck, so all his personal kit was lost, and that the family DID get his medals but... :(

Good luck with the hunt.  I have no idea how many surnames Boers shared, so can't comment on whether the two would be related but, 'never know your luck;, as granny said. :)

Peter

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I did some more digging in the meantime.

The individual that I spotted on the site you provided carries the ''family names'' of the family of my great-grandfather. That basically means he carried the same names as his father or paternal grandfather in the case of an eldest son. Second sons would carry the names of their maternal grandfather and additional sons would carry the names of their father's brother, then mother's brother in rotation.

I did find someone on a genealogical website that's married to my fourth cousin once removed or something and he's willing to help track family members for me.

 

 

 

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Mike,

Thank you very much. Your link cracked open the mystery and answered the question that nobody in the family could answer (except my great grandfather who refused to talk about it) for over a hundred years.

I now know his POW Camp as well as his POW number.

Kind regards,

Wessel

 

 

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21 hours ago, Wessel Gordon said:

The individual that I spotted on the site you provided carries the ''family names'' of the family of my great-grandfather. That basically means he carried the same names as his father or paternal grandfather in the case of an eldest son. Second sons would carry the names of their maternal grandfather and additional sons would carry the names of their father's brother, then mother's brother in rotation.

That must be a real boon  to genealogists!  The Irish and Scots, typically, were nowhere near that methodical! ;) 

While researching the names on my local WWI war memorials I discovered any number of identical names - 1st, 1st & 2nd and even Occasionally 1st, 2nd & 3rd - who were uncle and nephew or first cousins or grandsons, as often as father and son. :(

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Peter, 

As you saw on the war memorials being named after family can cause a researcher to bang his head against those memorials in frustration. 

i'm not sure if it's a worldwide custom but South African families often have nicknames for family members that's unique to that family member i.e. a physical characteristic or character trait...I for one have a cousin we all call ''Naughty Pete'' because he was always up to some mischief. So knowing those nicknames of prior generations can go a long way in helping someone researching a family.

Some kind of in-law relative of mine (my fourth cousin once removed's husband or something) sent me his great grandfather's diary that he kept while he was a POW on Ceylon. While it's sometimes tricky to translate the essentially Dutch into Afrikaans the details that come through about conditions are harrowing.

 

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Gordon

The nickname thing is universal in 'shallow gene pools', I think.  I was raised in 'New Scotland' [Nova Scotia, Canada] and 2,000 of the 3,000 people in my town were MacDonalds  Most had what the Gaelic speakers call 'side names' - Black Donald, Tall Donald, Awkward Donald, etc.  My favourite was 'Mrs Doctor Macdonald' and the widow known as 'Mrs D.D. [dead doctor] Macdonald' to distinguish her from the live doctor's spouse.  That was over 50 years ago and when I was back last year, everyone in town still refers to 'Angus D.D., Jimmy D.D. and 'Phyllis D.D. aka 'Fiddledeedee'.  True story! 

A friend is of Acadian descent and tried to research 'Joseph Marie Chiasson' - his own name and that of a great grandfather.  The Acadian History Centre said 'we have 86 of them' but when he mentioned that the man was also called 'Joe Gickum' the response was 'Oh, sure.  We know him.' ;)

I can only imagine what the conditions were like in the POW camps.  I still recall the first time I watched 'Breaker Morant' and his defence lawyer explained what he'd been doing before he was called to the trial 'rounding up Boer women and children, burning their homes and poisoning their wells' or words to that effect.  I always mentioned to my history students that 'concentration camps' were NOT a German invention. 

Take care.

Peter

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