A few years ago I was contacted by Tiaan Schutte, who was researching my late father's family. He is writing a book, and maintains a fascinating website.

His call triggered a memory of a file my dad once showed me......I must have been around 12 years old. He was composing a family tree for his kids.

The file had lots of loose pages in it. Some were numbered and some were pages of numbered diagrams. He explained that I could one day, when he was done, find a family member's number on the tree diagram, and go to that page number to read about the person.

It was painstaking and meticulous; I remember being very impressed. My dad died soon after. Years later, I wondered where that file was. When I 'phoned my elderly mom, she assured me that she had "thrown out all those old papers", and my heart sank. I visited her one weekend, and rummaged around.... and I found it!

What a strange feeling it gave me! To see my dad's own hand, and the way he thought, and to read stories about people linked so closely to me, but whom I had never known, or even known about.

History I had studied suddenly became peopled with real live human beings, instead of with political tactics and other dry facts. Awesome!
This page is about my ancestry, family connections - the kind of stuff that interests you once the people who could have told you all the stories are no longer there to ask. Fortunately, there are some people who do the work of recording family history -

Read about ten generations of my paternal ancestors...
or about an AMAZING REUNION: After 50 Years - from South Dakota to South Africa!
I've also built a website about my maternal family, called Schnell-connect. It's in Afrikaans, but there are pics for those who don't understand the language.
Four generations of the Schutte family.
My cousin on his Great-Grandfather's lap, behind him my uncle and my father's father,
Oupa Andrew
Mom and Dad
1950's
WHERE DO I COME FROM?
A picture from the 1920's
Mutti Erna, my grandmother, on the
left. My mother is the shy little girl in
the middle, in front.
My mother grew up in this house in Ventersdorp.
My grandmother kept a boarding-house for children of farmers who needed to live near the schools.

My parents got married in this house.
This is the mission church my maternal grandfather built, literally with his own hands, near Ventersdorp.
I took the picture from the cover of a book called TLOU! TLOU! about my grandfather's work. I am translating the book from the German
Opa Vati
click image of Johannes Schnell to enlarge it
Click to enlarge -  my Ouma Schutte & her sister Heilie
CLICK!
This is Christiaan Ernst Gerhardus Schutte, my father's  great-grandfather. He is listed in Eric Rosenthal's  Book of South-African Records as having fathered the  most children. He had 31 of them. He was twice a  widower. On 3 March 1876, on the way to the baptism of  his thirty-first child (by his third wife who was 47 years his junior) he accidentally fell off the horse  cart, and died, aged 76. Of course, his is only a fatherhood record amongst  white South Africans. Black kings and tribal heads have  many more - but they have many wives simultaneously.
My maternal grandfather arrived in South Africa from Germany in 1899. He travelled by ox-wagon to the Western Transvaal, and saw Johannesburg when it was a shanty-town. He worked as a missionary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church for 55 years.