Families we are researching
My wife (Val Hayes, born Greene) and I have been researching our family history since we were married in 1974.
Some families we are researching
If you think you may be related to any of these families, please make contact with us either by e-mail or by leaving a comment in an appropriate place so that we can share family history information.
The earliest ancestor we know of was Simon Hayes, born about 1785 in North Curry, Somerset, England. He married Rachel Allen of Winscombe, and they had four sons, William, Sander, John and James who moved to Bristol and became builders and carpenters. Steves grandfather, Percy Wynn Hayes, came to South Africa at the end of the 19th century, and was a stockbroker in Johannesburg, and later secretary of the Dumbe coal mine at Paulpietersburg, Natal.
The Green family came from Canada. The earliest ancestor we know of was James Green, a butcher of Quebec. His daughter Eliza had a son, William John Green, by a London merchant, William Goodall, and so the son was also known as William Goodall Green. Eliza Green later had an affair with Edward, Duke of Kent, which gave rise to a family legend that the Greens were of royal descent. She later married Thomas Esdaile, and settled in England. Though she had no children by him, he was apparently a very good stepfather, for his name cropped up several times in later generations.William Goodall Green joined the commissariat department of the British Army, and served in Montreal, Halifax, and later in the Cape Colony, where several members of his family went. One son, Henry, was British Resident of the Orange Free State in the 1850s. Vals great great grandfather, Frederick Thomas Green(erroneously referred to in several books as Frederick Joseph Green), was an elephant hunter and trader in what is now Namibia and Botswana from the 1840s until his death in 1876. His first wife was from a well-known Herero family, and one of the descendants of that line, Mburumba Kerina, is credited with having invented the name Namibia (Kerina is the Herero form of Green). Other members of the Green family settled in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. Eventually a few made their way back to Canada.
The Growdon (or Growden) family came from Cornwall. The earliest ancestor we know of is William Growden of Egloshayle who married Elizabeth Sandercock in Cardinham, Cornwall. They lived in Bodmin and had several children. Some moved to Australia and New Zealand, and from New Zealand one branch went to the USA. Steves great grandfather, William Matthew Growdon, married Elizabeth Greenaway and came to the Cape Colony about 1876 as a platelayer on the Cape Government Railways. Eventually he was promoted to permanent way inspector, and settled in Queenstown. Several of his sons also worked on the railways. There is more information on the Growdon/Growden family on this page
The Pearson family came from Whitehaven, Cumberland, England. Vals grandparents, William Walker Pearson and Martha (Mattie) Ellwood, were born in Whitehaven and came to Natal in the early 20th century. They were married in St John the Baptist Church, Pinetown, in 1913.
The Cottam family came from Lancashire, England. Richard Cottam married Margaret Bagot in Lancaster in 1835, and their son John Bagot Cottam married Adelaide Herbert in Manchester Cathedral in 1858. The family came to Natal on the Sebastian in 1863. J.B. Cottam came as accountant to the Natal Cotton plantation company, but later took up market gardening. We also have quite a lot of information on the Bagot family of North Lancashire.
Decker & Falkenberg families
Vals grandmother was Emma Decker who married Allan Dudley Green, and she was the daughter of Edwin Robert Morton Decker and Jessie Falkenberg. The Decker and Falkenberg families came from Germany to the Eastern Cape in the 1850s.The Falkenberg family came from the Ueckermark district of Brandenburg, and among their ancestors were several Huguenot families who were refugees from France in the 17th century. Among these families were Payard, Bettac, Bevierre, Berthe, Fasquelle, Varenbourg, Veillard, Devantier, and several others. There were also spelling variations: Fasquelles, Varembourg and so on.
There are several other families for which we have information that are not listed here, though they are listed in our Tiny Tafels. Among them are Hannan, Beningfield, Crighton, Stooke, Brathwaite, Flamme, Sandercock and Vause.
There is more on our family history blog at:
and our family history wiki at