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Estelle Pretorius, the HF’s Head of Professional Services, presented a lecture on 15 July for the West-Gauteng branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa. The theme of the lecture was on the contribution of the discipline of cultural history to genealogy.

Genealogists study the origins and succession of, and relationship between, families as well as the influence of certain families in a region. However, the genealogist should have a wider scope beyond merely collecting names and dates. In this regard, cultural history can bring important elements to the fore, which would never have surfaced if only names and dates were collected. People’s living conditions, their occupations, customs, traditions and habits become alive (Cruywagen, Prinsloo & Tempelhoff, 2006, p. 193). We get to know these people who once impressed something on their society – people who created valuable tangible and intangible cultural treasures.

“If your ancestor was a French Huguenot, wouldn’t you want to know in which ship he arrived, where he lived and what he did for a living? If your ancestor was a Voortrekker from the Eastern Border, wouldn’t you want to know how the family moved eastward? Cultural history and genealogy are interwoven disciplines – the one cannot exist without the other!”

Contact Estelle Pretorius at for more information.

W.A. Cruywagen, D. Prinsloo & JWN Tempelhoff, Die waarde van genealogiese en familiegeskiedenis vir kultuurgeskiedenis in die SA konteks, Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe 46(2), Junie 2006, p. 193.

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