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Jacobus Philippus Snyman

Johanna Cecilia le Roux

Gabriël Johannes Snyman
Born Circa 1855

Wilhelmina Petronella Elizabeth Schaap
Born 1861

Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Snyman

of Olijvenhoutskloof in the district of Oudtshoorn 1
Born 26 September 1878 2
Baptised 19 October 1878, Oudtshoorn 3
Died 5 March 1911, Olijvenhoutskloof, De Rust, District Oudtshoorn 4


Known as Bettie, Elizabeth is the eldest of no fewer than fifteen children of Gabriel Johannes Snyman and Wilhelmina Petronella Elizabeth Schaap of Rietvley. Wilhelmina, in turn, is the daughter of Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Destro, whence Bettie's name as eldest daughter. Bettie is confirmed in the Dutch Reformed Parish of Oudtshoorn on 28 September 1894 and is introduced to the congregation the very next day as a 15 year old teen.

A mystery surrounds the naming of Bettie and Petrus Booyens' children. The convention is that the first daughter be named after the mother's mother. This means the first daughter should be named "Wilhelmina Petronella Elizabeth", but the first daughter is in fact named after Petrus' mother, Maria Susanna Jacoba Stander, who is present as witness at that baptism. Convention also calls for the first son to be named after the father's father, but this also is reversed, and the first son is named after Bettie's father, Gabriel Johannes Snyman. This may have something to do with the fact that Petrus' father, Pieter Johannes Ernst, dies in 1897, before any of the children are born. It may also be that Gabriel Snyman, whose four eldest children are all girls, is very eager to see his first grandson and insists on the naming. This may be precipitated by the realisation that his four eldest children are all girls, implying that it is only their second sons that will eventually, one day, be named for him. There are other such examples of grandfather warpage of the naming convention, somtimes assuming the extremely unfortunate dimension of giving men's names to daughters.

It certainly appears as though an active decision was made to precisely invert the convention. Once that assumption is made, the naming proceeds as per the inverted convention. However, the child to be named for Bettie herself is absent. The usual reason is that such a child has died in infancy. Whatever the reason, the third surviving daughter instead ends up named for Petrus' late eldest sister, Anna Sophia. This is exactly in line with the inverted convention if a daughter before her, named for the mother, has died. The only plausible explanation, consistent with the human reproductive cycle, is if first son Gabriel has a twin sister, named for Bettie, but who dies in infancy before being formally baptised. No baptism exists for such a child. Indeed, within this family, the members insist in the 21st century that Gabriel had a twin sister, but she is usually conflated with a much later daughter named Johanna, who also dies at a very young age.

Married 4 January 1898 at Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa 5

Petrus Johannes Booyens1871-1953
General farmer at Olyvenhoutskloof farm outside Dysselsdorp

Maria Susanna Jacoba
1899 -

Wilhelmina Petronella Elizabeth
1901 -

Gabriël Johannes
1902 -

Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina
Born and died

Anna Sophia
1903 -

Petrus Johannes Hendrik
1905 -

Johanna Cecilia
1906 -

Jacobus Philippus
1908 -

Bernardus Jacobus
1909 -

Willem Gerhardus
1911 -

Children of Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Snyman and Petrus Johannes Booyens

Maria Susanna Jacoba Booyens 1899-1969
Born 16 November 1899, Olijvenhoutskloof farm, De Rust 6
Baptised 17 December 1899, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa 7
Died 24 March 1969, Kimberley 8

Wilhelmina Petronella Elizabeth Booyens 1901-1969
of Republiekstraat, Lichtenburg 9
Born 18 February 1901 10
Baptised 9 June 1901, De Rust, Western Cape, South Africa 11
Died After 1969 12

Gabriël Johannes Booyens 1902-1905
Born 15 July 1902 13
Baptised 2 November 1902, De Rust, Western Cape, South Africa 14
Died 21 March 1905, Spring Grove, Ward 5, District Oudtshoorn 15

Notes: In the 21st century, there has been much disagreement about the birth and death of this young man. However, his Cape Colony "medical" death notice has now been found, as has his baptism. Family members maintain that he was one of a set of twins. No record of such a twin sister has ever been found, though the omission of the mother's name from among the children is a very strong clue that a child is missing from the formal list. Around 7 March 1905, Gabriël contracted mumps and struggled for 14 days, before succumbing on 21 March 1905, despite the best efforts of Dr. Pretorius. Young Gabriël never saw much of life, dying at the age of just on three years.

Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Booyens 16 Born and died 1902
Born possibly 15 July 1902 17
Baptised no record 18
Died possibly ca.1902 19

Notes: There is no formal evidence of the existence of this child, though remaining family members insist that the child was born and died young. The most persuasive evidence is the absence of the mother's name from among her children; a peculiar phenomenon indeed within the Afrikaner culture. The next daughter is named for the mother's eldest sister, strongly suggesting that a daughter bearing the mother's own name has died in infancy. The absence of a baptism for such a daughter suggests the child died in 1902, either at or soon after birth. A formal affadavit drawn up in the 1960s by a stepson of the eldest sister, Maria Susanna Johanna, lists the names of two siblings who died in infancy. The name of the putative Elizabeth is not among these.

Anna Sophia Booyens 1903-1987
of Angelierstraat 12, Homelake Uitbreiding, Randfontein 20
Born 22 November 1903 21
Baptised 10 January 1904, De Rust 22
Died 14 October 1987, Krugersdorp 23

Petrus Johannes Hendrik Booyens 1905-1989
of Chestnutstraat 6, Algoapark, Port Elizabeth 24
Born 9 May 1905 25
Baptised 11 June 1905, De Rust, Western Cape, South Africa 26
Died 19 October 1989, Klerksdorp 27

Johanna Cecilia Booyens 1906-1907
Born 16 November 1906 28
Baptised 13 January 1907, De Rust, Western Cape, South Africa 29
Died 7 April 1907 30

Notes: An affidavit submitted on behalf of the family at the death of eldest sister Maria lists any brothers or sisters that died young. That list contains Gabriel and Johanna, but quite incorrectly suggests Johanna is born in 1902. This proves that by 1969 the family had unfortunately lost its own information from the first decade of the century.

Jacobus Philippus Booyens 1908-1993
of 39 Kirkwood Street, North End, Port Elizabeth 31
Born 7 February 1908 32
Baptised 19 April 1908, De Rust, Western Cape, South Africa 33
Died 13 February 1993, Port Elizabeth 34
Buried Forest Hill, Port Elizabeth 35

Bernardus Jacobus Booyens 1909-1985
Born 12 June 1909, Le Roux Station, De Rust 36
Baptised 25 July 1909, De Rust, Western Cape, South Africa 37
Died 9 November 1985, East London 38

Willem Gerhardus Booyens 1911-1986
of Elsemereweg 16, Kimberley 39
Born 5 March 1911 40
Died 3 December 1986, Kimberley 41

Notes: His mother dies in labour. It leaves father Petrus Johannes with 8 children of ages ranging from 2 hours to 11 years. It is under these circumstances that his late wife's cousin, ironically bearing her identical triple name, travels down from the north of the Cape Colony and marries Petrus. The couple then raises all but Willem, who is placed with the new wife's family in Barkley West. The young man is indeed referred to in the Liquidation and Distribution Account of his late mother, but is as yet unnamed at that time.

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