In the 1880s my great grandfather, John Gill Keown, left the Isle of Man for South Africa. He worked as a carpenter for the De Beers Mining Company in Kimberly. A little later in his life, he bought land in the Northern Cape and named his farm, Frisco Pokwani. That farm name was key to being able to locate the land on a map today.
Begin by visiting the website of South Africa’s Chief Surveyor-General and enter the province and the farm name as below:
Below is the result of my search, giving me the region the farm was in (Vryburg) and the parcel number (857). Click on the Search where the red arrow points.
The resulting information will focus on any documentation the Surveyor-General’s office has for the farm Frisco. In this case, there were two results. After studying both, they appear to be the same document.
Clicking on the TIF file provides the Surveyor’s drawing of the farm. It shows the geographical coordinates of the land, lists the lot number and the division the land is located in, and at the bottom, names John Keown as the owner.
To locate the land on a map of South Africa, go to the Chief Surveyor’s Cadastral Spatial Data Viewer, and click on the first icon on the left of the screen, as below:
Enter the Province and Farm Name again in the search box:
Now you can see the land plotted on a map! You can zoom in and out to see the surrounding area. On the Layer List (found on the top menu) you can add or remove overlays to see variations in how the map data is displayed.
A quick look at Google Maps shows that the land remains rural and uncultivated today.
John Keown lived on his farm, Frisco Pokwani, until his death in January 1950.
Have you had any luck locating your ancestor’s land in South Africa?
Shout out to Ivan Meyer on the South African Genealogy Facebook page for pointing out this incredible resource!