The Vorster's and family History

Your Family's Journey Through Time

Origin of the name "Vorster"

Forster (also spelled as Förster) is derived from the medieval high and low German words "forstaere or vorstere" Förster = forest caretaker. The oldest names mentioned are Ruod. (possible modern meaning Rudolph) Forster, 1270 in Konstanz as well as Walther Vorster, 1288 in Baltenhausen (Überlingen also settled in Konstanz). Only for comparison was Günther von dem Forste mentioned. The language of the original Förster / Vorster family was German, but it is not the German of Germany: it is Swiss German (Schwytzerdütsch). Both Bern and St Gallen were part of Switzerland. Several Germanic tribes settled in present-day Switzerland, including the Alemanni (from whom the French derive their name from Germany - Germany) and the Suevi. The Suevi are the most recent, and have also settled in present-day Baden-Wüttemberg and Alsace. So the local dialects of those regions are very similar to Swiss German. (Except just: the Germans don't gr, the Swiss don't.)


Jan Vorster

main imageProgenitor: Jan Vorster (Hans Förster) Arrival and origin of Jan Vorster Upon his arrival, Mouritz Pasques (1714-1724) was governor of the Cape at the time. On the lease agreement that Rev. Petrus van Aken of the PaarlDrakenstein congregation signed, with the governor, to hire Jan as a building servant, his name was given as Hans Förster van Bern. In the Cape, however, his name took on the Dutch form, as Jan Vorster. It is not known when Jan left Bern (Switzerland) for the Netherlands, to join the United East India Company (VOC), also known as the Dutch East India Company (HOIK), as a sailor. In order to obtain free passage to the Cape, he first had to be employed as a sailor for the Company for a certain period. Many other prospective German emigrants to the Cape also joined the VOC in the 18th century, first as soldiers or sailors. As a German-speaker he had to learn to understand and speak Dutch in the service of the VOC. As a Lutheran, he had to become a member of the Reformed Church here in the Cape, in order to be accepted into the Holland-speaking community in the same way as other German emigrants. When Jan joined the VOC in 1716 as a sailor, his profession or trade was a mason. It is not known where he received his training as a mason. Maybe his father was also a mason and he learned the trade from his father or he could also have been employed by another mason in Switzerland. Guilds of different professions existed in Europe at that time. On July 7, 1718, Rev. Petrus van Aken of the Paarl-Drakenstein congregation contractually hired Jan from the Company as a building servant to assist with the construction of a new church building in Paarl as a building servant. On June 6, 1719, the lease was extended for a further year and was terminated on June 22, 1720 when the church building was completed. This building was used as a church until 1805 (more than 80 years) when it was replaced with the current well-known Thatched Roof Church of the North Paarl Congregation. The first job that Jan, apart from being a sailor of the Company, did in the Cape was to assist as a mason with the erection of a church building. In the church council minutes of the Paarl congregation, Jan Vorster is only referred to as Jan the mason. From 22 June 1720 to 1724 heemraad (b2) Schalk Willem van der Merwe again hired Jan as a building servant (mason) at the Company. Due to the serious need for suitable and reliable laborers that the free burghers experienced from the beginning, the Company was willing to lease some of its officials, mostly soldiers and sailors, to the free burghers throughout its reign, whereby the Company also did much. on their salary. Many of these "building servants" applied for free citizenship after the end of their employment contract with the Company.



Family Crest

The Vorster family crest illustrated here comes from Cor Pama's book, Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaam boek. The meaning of Vorster, is forester. The current family coat of arms of Vorster is an allusion to the meaning of the surname. The weapon was redesigned in 1945 to what it looks like today. There is also already in 1361 in St. Gallen, Germany named from a Vorster coat of arms which was a variation of green, black and purple with a rising silver-like bear. Then there was also documented in 1275 in Thurgau, Germany, of a coat of arms consisting of a silver-like black rising bear. The latter was not necessarily a family weapon but possibly used as identification between different tribes. The current emblem creates the impression of Vorster's descent from a forester.


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Kaapse Rebel

Kommandant Jan Vorster, alias Jan Pieter Retief, Kaapse Rebel. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereeniging, Military History Journal, vol 7 no 4. deur Dr P.W. Vorster,

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Susanna Bingle Vorster
Susanna Bingle Vorster

Susanna Bingle Vorster

Family Name

Die geskiedenis van die "Bingle familie in Suid Afrika". Susanna het die noem naam Bingle aangeneem en dit is ook hoe sy deur haar familie en vriende geken word.

Susanna Bingle Brits Vorsterbottom image


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The Swiss in Southern Africa-1652bottom image

Arrivals at the Cape 1652-1819. By Adolphe Linder. This work documents the Swiss in the whole of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.


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