My father has always been known as John or Jack. The names on his birth certificate, however, are Johannes Cornelius Human which, as a boy, I used to think was a bit exotic. Certainly, when I was cautioned by the police in Lytham for knocking a cricket ball off Lytham Green and into the passing traffic, they looked very quizzically at me when I rattled off my fathers full set of Christian names.
My paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Human. She married my grandfather, Thomas Sydney Lloyd in 1907 in South Africa and they had two boys; my uncle Bill in 1909 and my father in 1911. As the clouds of war gathered in Europe it was decided that she and the boys would go to the UK and that he, Thomas Sydney would join them there. Elizabeth was sent over with a modest sum of money to support her until her husband could join them. For whatever reason, he never did. Elizabeth earned a meagre living playing the piano in the Lytham area. She rented rooms in West Beach in Lytham but succumbed to valvular heart disease in the Wesham (nr. Kirkham) workhouse hospital on 2 July 1914. My father has a clear memory of being taken to see her when he was very small. He remembers not being tall enough to see out of the train window and being lifted onto the bed to see his mother who was dressed in white and had long dark hair. Thomas Sydney subsequently remarried and we believe he had a son and two daughters. One of his daughters was named Edna. The son may have died in the UK shortly after WW2. We have copies of correspondence from the daughter dated June 1947.
Elizabeth had few close relatives in South Africa. Her elder sister survived her and there is evidence of continuing communication between the family in Lytham and Josie Smeer, Elizabeths niece, in continued attempts to trace the errant Thomas Sydney. Elizabeth's father was a larger than life character called Johannes Cornelius Human - hence my dad's Christian names! Through the efforts of my cousin Roger Lloyd, we have photographs and documentation about this man. Through South African based researchers Des Human and Audrey Slabbert and others, I have managed to create a huge family tree of the Humans in South Africa.
Johannes Cornelius was the youngest son of Matthys Gerhardus Human. Matthys Gerhardus had donated a substantial part of his farm in order to found the town of Humansdorp. Humansdorp is about 55 miles to the West of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. JC was raised in Humansdorp and was an active member of the council there in later life. He was a huge man with a massive bushy beard. He was also active (or so it was believed) in the Boer resistance. He claims to have surrendered Krugersdorp to the British during the Boer War in his role of Landrost (Magistrate) of Krugersdorp. We have copies of documents from British Intelligence dated from around 1901 looking for evidence to link him with "terrorist" activities. He died in 1911 in Durban.
Matthys Gerhardus was the great grandson of Jan Human, the progenitor of the Humans in South Africa. Jan (b ca 1680) was not Dutch but a German from Solingen. He joined the Dutch East India Company as a soldier seeking service in South Africa and subsequently joined the Governors household. He married Elizabeth Villon in 1712 at Stellenbosch. Elizabeth it turns out was "nie blanke" (not white) which was a bit of a surprise to some of us. Her surname is variously spelt as Vion or Viljoen. Clearly the Dutch authorities had problems with French names! I am unaware of whether she was derived from the Hugenot exodus to South Africa.
Jan Human would no doubt be gratified to know that I have records of some 6000 descendents of his and I have no doubt that there are many more yet to be traced and added to the tree.
I guess that this is an example of where an unusual name makes it easier to trace ancestors. Probably most of the Humans in South Africa derive from this one man. There are a great many Humans in the USA and I understand that many ofthem can be traced back to Germany as well. There is also a significant number in Cambridgeshire in the UK but their origins are more difficult to establish. They may be unrelated.
Apart from the Humansdorp connection I am unaware of any other famous Humans though of course they intermarried with a range of other Boer families many with familiar names such as Botha, Kruger etc.
17/03/2006 St. Mary's House, 25 Victoria Road, Wargrave, Berkshire RG10 BAD , UK Tel +44 (0)1189402226 Fax +44 (0)1189406499 E mail genes@lloyd.ADSL24.co.uk