Happy-ness in the Overberg.
[A summary of a talk given, in February 2007 to the Society, be HAPPY ENGELA]
There was a record turnout of members and a number of visitors to listen to Happy ENGELA about Overberg Genealogy at our January meeting.
Happy is clearly passionate about the work he has been doing and soon we were also caught up in the story of his search for information about the ‘Families of Hermanus’ – which grew into a search through all of the Southern Cape, stretching as far as Swellendam.
His father started him off on the trail by leaving him a page of names and dates pertaining to the Engelas.
When he finally retired to Hermanus (after a number of false Starts), he decided to do a study of the local cemetaries and being a very organised methodical person he quickly reaIised that he would have to colate all the data he was accumulating in a way that was retrievable.
By way of explanation: Every grave has its own unique number identifying its place in the graveyard, as well as the number referencing the cemetery. He finally settled on the computer program PAF [Available from the website www.lds.com] as the one capable of storing the information of the more than 50 000 people that he has identified.
He also transcribed more than 6000 death notices at the Cape Archives to support the other informationn he had.
He has placed six volumes containing the info of immigrant families in the Overberg, in the Cape Archives.
A problem that was highlighted at the meeting in January is “what happens to a unique database that has been built up” – such as the one that Happy has. He tries to help people when they contact him for information but this is some-times quite costly for him as the cost of paper and printer ink is continually increasing. He has approached museums in the Overberg to see if they would be interested in housing his collection but so far he has had not takers. He has also approached other institutions but has had no success.
Members present felt very strongly that the Society should study this issue and come up with some suggestions in order to ensure Harpy’s efforts do not go unrewarded or lost. Volunteers offered their assistance and we hope that soon our society will be in a position to help Happy and others in the same predicament.