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The Sutton Times
OUR family history goes back seven centuries and many generations. Our forebears came from England, Ireland, Holland and elsewhere in Europe.
The English side came from Yorkshire, where a master cutler was followed by three generations of clergymen, the last two also school headmasters. The first of these came to South Africa.
The Cape Dutch (later Afrikaners) were South African pioneers, farmers and landowners owing allegiance in turn to Holland, Britain and the Boer Republics, who became involved in a civil war, and finally to the Union of South Africa.
The English name was Sutton, the Dutch Reitz. Another side was Marshall and Hazelton, with English and Irish origins named Kift and Lombard. In more recent times the bloodline has been enriched by strains from Scotland, South Africa and Germany.
My father’s Reitz roots were in Utrecht, Holland, a family with a professional background. They rose to great heights in SA as pioneer landowners, warriors and politicians.
One side of my mother’s family originated in Cork, second city of Ireland, including civic leaders dating back to the 14th century. Little is known of her English ancestors.
Remarkably, the Irish wing of the Marshall family might never have landed up in South Africa had one ancestor not been bitten by a vampire bat in the West Indies. He changed his mind about settling in the Caribbean and emigrated instead to this country.
The Sutton and Reitz wings might never have come to this country had both family stamvaders (progenitors) not left their homelands to recover from ill health. They survived for decades.
Legend has it that yet another ancestor, a Captain Hazelton, settled in SA after being shipwrecked. Unfortunately there is no documentary evidence to support this romantic tale.
* From The Introduction to Joe's memoirs