Parents of Record: Philippus A. MINNAAR & Helena D. STEYN

 “In genealogy, all conclusions are tentative pending further research.”

So wrote James Tanner on 14 Apr 2013 in his blog Genealogy’s Star — a timely reminder of the approach that I must take for the MINNAAR family tree recently received from a distant cousin in South Africa. Although it’s tempting to accept the information contained in this tree, add it to my database, and quickly move on to research all of the exciting new family lines found there, each piece of information, no matter how specific and apparently true, must be verified.

As detailed in a previous post, neither the marriage certificate nor the Death Notice for my husband’s great-grandfather Hendrik Nicolaas MINNAAR lists the names of his parents, and each document gives a different birthplace for him.

Based on Afrikaner naming conventions, in another post I had tentatively concluded that Hendrik’s parents were Philippus Andries/Andreas MINNAAR and Helena Dorothea STEYN, who had trekked from the Cape Province in the mid-1830s, eventually coming to live in Potchefstroom, Transvaal. And, indeed, Hendrik’s baptism appears in church records for that town.

MINNAAR Hendrik Nicolaas - bap1856 - name crop

MINNAAR Hendrik Nicolaas - bap1856 - parents crop

1856 Baptism of Hendrik Nicolaas MINNAAR
Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk
Potchefstroom, Transvaal, South Africa
Image Source: Family History Library Film #1439118

The first excerpt is from the lefthand page and shows registration #1285 with the infant’s two given names and his date of birth: 27 May [18]55. The baptism date given at the top of the page (not shown) appears to be 12 Apr 1856.

The second excerpt is from the facing page. The full names of the parents, Philippus Andries MINNAAR and Helena Dorothea STEYN, are listed in the left column while the two godparents are in the right column. I have not yet identified the latter, but the surnames STEYN and SCHOEMAN indicate they were members of the mother’s family.

Voortrekkerstamouers: 1835 – 1845 by J. C. Visagie, the primary source of compiled information for those couples who made the Great Trek, does not list any other couple with the same or a similar combination of names who could be confused with Hendrik’s parents. For now, this one faded document will have to satisfy my quest for verification.

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