May 3, 2016
We left Port Alfred on Monday, May 2, 2016, and headed to Port Elizabeth. The plan was to do some family history research, ride elephants, and participate in a Schotia Safari.
We arrived at President and Sister Pershing’s apartment and stayed for 2 nights.
On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, our plan was to travel to Uitenhage, about a 45-minute drive from Port Elizabeth to go to the Department of Human Affairs. The information that was online about this office showed a form to fill out for copies of birth certificates. We thought this was a good start for a record of Martha Ann Gillson Hall, my Great Grandmother. birth/christening record from 1849. (There is some confusion on Family Search and histories I have in my possession between birth year of 1849 or 1850, so I wanted to see if I could find something to document the exact dates.)
We stood in line for about 2 hours and found out we had filled out the form correctly and needed to go pay the cashier for the service of obtaining a record to be processed. The cashier told us we were probably wasting our time. She has been waiting what I believe she said 9 years for a 1983 family birth certificate, and still has not received it.
We knew that we had another option. The Uitenhage Methodist Church was our next stop. The sign in front of the church said the office was closed at 12:30 pm; we arrived around 1:30 pm. Randy called the phone number listed on the sign and spoke with a woman who worked there that was just leaving the office. She told us that the old records had been moved to the Cory Library at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. She said she would go back into the office and send us an email with the information.
We traveled to Grahamstown and arrived at the Cory Library. The librarian assisted us after we filled in a form documenting the information we were there to research. She went into the back file room and returned with the baptism book covering the general time period we were after.
We flipped through the pages and found Martha Ann Gillson’s christening record. We were both excited. The copies of the entry and book reference are attached below.