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Old Photos of the Murray’s

Peter writes:
I have again just read the book about the Orlandini Family by Anna Cloete. In it appear numerous family photos covering a period of about 100 years. A son of our progenitor John Murray - Robert William Murray (born 24:11:1819) - was married to Elizabeth Orlandini at Stellenbosch on 17:05:1852. Robert William was a dealer in horses in Stellenbosch. In this book by Anna Cloete no less than 102 photographs directly or indirectly concerning the Orlandini family may be found.

Also the Andrew Murray Family of South Africa are able to boast with their own book "Murray-Stamregister 1794-1954" compiled by Emma Horn. There may only be two photos, but they are of the very first members of their family. To possess something like this is a privilege.

Well, I would just like to say to the John Murray’s, if the above-mentioned two families could do it, so could we. I would hereby like to challenge all Murray’s to send me at least one photo of each household for me to place in the Murray Family Tree (or later publish in a John Murray book).

Such old photographs are obviously irreplaceable and each family and each individual will attach great worth to those mementos of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Those who have access to a computer with a scanner would be well advised to safeguard such old photos depicting each family member, on their computers. One or more photos representative of your whole family may then be sent to me. Also remember to send your granny and grandpa's portraits. But the most important of all are those really old photographs that perhaps are already 150 years old, and are definitely irreplaceable. Make or have a copy made and send to me electronically. If you don't have a computer and scanner at your disposal then forward the copy itself to me. My address details are on the contact page.

Our Present Photo Album

Our photo album still only consists of a small variety of photos. Family members are rather reluctant in making their photos available since it is too personal to some and they don't want it displayed to the general public. Nevertheless, we appeal to all those in possession of old photos to loan them to us so that they may be placed in this electronic album.

Apparently, photography began in 1839. The first photograph to be taken in South Africa was in Port Elizabeth in 1846. The oldest Murray photograph in our possession, was taken in Cape Town in 1866. Perhaps there are other Murray’s who are in possession of older photographs. We would be pleased to hear whether there are interesting photos available for placement here.

John Murray III

... or rather John of Cape Town, or John 1818, or John Lightning, or John Junior, or John the Schoolmaster.

John Lightning and family

Peter writes:
This is John (born: Cape Town, 1818) together with his wife and three of his four daughters. (The children were, in the correct order: Barbara, Martha, Anna, Izak (my grandfather), John, Hermanus, and Helena). The daughters present on this photo are: Martha, Anna and Helena. John's wife was: Helena Josina de Milander. She and her husband were first cousins.

I sent this photo to the NALM (Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkunde Museum), Bloemfontein. An expert, a certain Miss Amanda Groenewald, carefully examined the photo. I told her that the names and date are inscribed on the back, but that the date is very faint and nearly illegible. It seems to me that it could be 1866. As a result of what I had told her and by the clothing worn by every one on the photo, she confirmed that the date must be 1866. She is an expert on old photographs and dress and women's fashions of that time.

For me this is really an exceptional photograph, just a pity that the bunch of boys (and the eldest daughter) was absent. If all the family were present and each were as clear as this lot, then it would truly be africana.

The first photograph was taken in 1839. Therefore photography was still a novelty in 1866 and it probably was not possible for everybody to be photographed.

Henry Murphy Murray

Henry Murphy Murray

Percy writes:
This is the photograph of my great-grandfather Henry Murphy Murray 1832 - 1869. I don't know when it was taken, but Henry died on 11 October 1869, so this photo is also very old. According to the story handed down, he died after being thrown from a horse. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of my great-grandmother. She was Andrina Louisa Brink and died in 1873, apparently of breast cancer. My grandfather Andries Brink Murray was just 8 years old. What became of the (orphaned) children is a story I can tell later.

Three Photos Relating to the Marriage of John en Martha

Cape Archives, Cape Town: Matrimonial Court Proceedings 1/CT:

Zaturdag den 3e February, 1816 zyn voor het Collegie van Commissarissen van
Huwelyksche (xxx) verscheenen de navolgend persoonen ter xxx van de gewoonch
Huwelyksche Proclamatien als
31 jaar John Murray geboortig van Edinburgh in Schotland jongexxx
24 jaren Martha Geysberta de Melander van Cabo voorm jonggedxxx
Zo zyn deselve aan hun na voorgaande examinatie xxx
Aan Kaap de Goede Hoop Datum ut Supra

Saturday 3rd February 1816 appeared before the College of Commissioners for Marital Affairs the following persons, subject to the usual Marital Proclamations:
31 years John Murray born in Edinburgh in Scotland, bachelor
24 years, Martha Geysberta de Melander from the Cape, previously spinster.
The same have presented themselves for examination.
At the Cape of Good Hope - Date as above.

Cape Archives, Cape Town: Matrimonial Court Proceedings [Annexures] 1/CT:

ik ondergeteekene certificeeren by deeser
met volkoome toestemme aan mijn
mender jaarerige dogter Martha
Geijsbertha de Melander Een huwelyk
te mooge aangaand met de heer
John Murraij Jnr
De weduwe M de Melander
geboore Kotze
Als getuygen Dk Js de Melander
George Tait

I the undersigned hereby give my full consent to my daughter Martha Geijsbertha de Melander to marry Mr John Murray Jnr. The widow M de Melander, born Kotze
As witnesses Dk Js de Melander
George Tait.

Cape Archives, Cape Town: Anglican Baptismal, Marriage & Death Registers A1939 1/1/1 p.153:

Cape Town
Settlement of Good Hope
20th February 1816.
All requisite forms and ceremonies having been complied with
John Murray from Edinburgh in Scotland, Bachelor and
Martha Gysberta de Melander of the Cape of Good Hope,
Spinster were legally married this twentieth day of February
one thousand eight hundred and sixteen.
By me J S Hewett
Military and Acting Colonial
This marriage was solemnized between us
John Murray
Martha de Melander
In the presence of
G. Tait
J. Merrington.

Samuel Murray snr at seminary


Peter writes:
This photo was taken in 1934. It depicts the students and staff at the Stellenbosch seminary. Samuel Murray is in the second row from behind, third from the left. During that year he was a first-year student at the seminary.

Samuel Murray sr at seminary II (Princeton)


Peter writes:
This portrait is one of the theological students at the seminary of the University of Princeton, New Jersey, USA. The photo was taken in 1938. My father, Samuel Murray, is in the second row from the top, twelfth from the right, in a light coloured suit. What a pity that we can only put this photo on the internet now, for I doubt if any person on this photo still lives. Most probably they are all dead by now. Perhaps some of their children (somewhere in the world) may recognise their fathers, uncles or grand-fathers.


My father used to explain to me that this was a type of cinema camera. It didn't take just one second, with a single click, to take the photo. The camera had a rolling action. The photographer started on the left, and then moved his camera evenly to the right. Two guys on the photo knew how it worked -- they're on the far left (the two ones laughing) -- they ran behind the stands to appear on the photo again on the far right. They appear on the photo twice, in other words.

Izak Murray and his household

Peter writes:
Grandfather Izak Murray and his household:
Front: Abraham (Abé), Samuel (Sam) and Hamilton (Ham).
Middle: Grandfather Izak, Barbara, Judith, John, grandmother Dina and Helena Josina (Cinie).
Back: Frederick (Fred), Elizabeth (Ellie), Izak (Boet Sakkie), Hermanus (Manie) and Dinah.

Grave stone of Samuel snr and Eunice Phoebe Murray

Peter writes:
Rev Samuel Murray and his wife Phoebé are buried at Kareedouw in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Where Izak Murray is buried

Peter writes:
It is unfortunate that our grand father Izak Murray's grave does not have a headstone.
He and grand mother Dina (De Vries) Murray are buried in graves number 99 and 100 in the old graveyard of Petrus Steyn. I took this photo in 1990. On the place where graves 99 and 100 should be, the soil is bare and even. There is no grave stone. I got the information from the municipal office.

The Breytenbach family

Peter writes:
This photo was taken approximately 1940, and is the family of father Samuel's sister Dina.
The two adults are Andries Breytenbach (1897) and Dina (Murray) Breytenbach (1897). The children are Adriana Murray (Breytenbach) Van Deventer (1938), Jacobus Breytenbach (1932), and Izak Breytenbach (1934).

Dina and Izak Murray

Peter writes:
It is not certain who the boy in the middle in front is, but it is probably father Samuel (who was born in 1913 at Loxton). Seated is grand mother Dina (De Vries) Murray (born: 1867, Prins Albert) and grand father Izak Murray (born: 1850, Napier). The 3 girls at the back are probably Judith (Murray) Hugo (born: 1902, Loxton), Cinie (Murray) Meyer (born: 1893, Beaufort-Wes) and Ellie (Murray) Theron (born: 1884, Carnarvon). The date of the photo is unknown, but it was probably taken in 1917 or 1918 at Victoria-Wes.

Graves of John Herman and Gertryda Elizabeth (De Vries) Murray

Peter writes:
This beautifully clear picture about "Loxton's Murrays" was sent to me by Annelise Meyer fromn Loxton.

Samuel adds: These are the graves of John Herman Murray (born 28 October 1893, died 21 August 1981) and Gertryda Elizabeth (De Vries) Murray (born 5 October 1897, died 30 August 1963). John Herman was the 4th child of John Herman Murray (born 1954 in Franschhoek) and Geertruyda Johanna Viljoen (born 1866), who in turn was the 5th child of John Murray (the teacher) and Helena Josina (de Milander) Murray. Herman and Gertruyda had two children that we know of, namely Maria Mabel (Murray) Jooste (born 1922 in Loxton, died 1958, married to Jacobus J Jooste, born 1908) and John Herman Murray (born 1927 in Loxton, married to Ena Helena Alberta Mans, born 1936). The grave mentions that Gertryda was a grandmother, but we do not know who the grandchildren were.

Barbara (Murray) Burgers Vermaak, 90 years old

Peter writes:
Barbara (Murray) Burgers Vermaak, right, was 90 years old on 19:12:2019. Here she is with her two children, Andries Burgers and Marlene Muller in Frankfort.

Izak (Boet) Murray, 90 years old

Peter writes:
Here is a photo of my cousin, Izak (Boet) Murray of Pretoria. He celebrated his 90th birthday on 28 April 2020. Izak is married to Gina (neé Dolfing), originally from Drenthe in the Netherlands. He is the son of Izak Johannes Daniël Murray (ab2c4d3) and Petronella Carolina Retief de Villiers.


Izak (Boet) Murray from Pretoria, son of the late ds Izak Murray, also from Pretoria, died on 18 June 2020 at 15:00 in Pretoria. He was 90 years old. The funeral will be on 27 June at 11:00 in the Pretoria-Oos cemetary. Owing to isolation rules due to Covid-19, only 50 family members and/or friends will be allowed at the graveside.

(c) Peter Murray, 2005. Last updated 2020-06-24