Discovering Nuggets of Gold
Are telephone directories just about numbers or are they a window into the past? If we take a closer look they reveal so much that is interesting from a historical aspect.
Familyrelatives is delighted to add some truly unique records to our expanding collection and existing 850 million records. We have added over 200,000 records in a number of directories which are from our Rest of the World Collection providing some fascinating insights.
Among the famous names Lord Delamere one of the leaders of the white settler community and a certain Colonel Grogan – famous for walking from Cape to
1898 and 1900, Lord Egerton of Njoro whose estates and name adorn
the prestigious agricultural college. Kenya
Equally in the European community were Sir Wilfred Havelock a key minister in the pre-independence colonial government and Michael Blundell who was considered to be leader of the white settlers.
So a telephone directory reflects the society it serves from Government House with the Queen’s representative at the head of the colonial administration to citizens of all races. With the railways playing a key role in the development of East Africa East African Railways and Harbours features prominently. East African Airways together with Telecommunications, the currency Board etc. remind us of a bold attempt to achieve a federation which with the independence of
Uganda and Tanganyika (now Tanzania
soon succumbed to national pressure and were dissolved. These directories
were a final glimpse at passing history. Zanzibar
These directories are particularly interesting as they record numerous individuals, families and businesses of those who had settled and followed their daily lives under the flag.
Following independence, there was no great exodus however many expatriates chose to leave in the years following. In
for example Idi Amin
forcibly removed the Indian community who formed the middle class and owned
many businesses. Southern Rhodesia was one of three colonies which formed
the Central African Federation together with Nyasaland and Uganda Northern
Rhodesia. With the break up of the Federation and a unilateral
Declaration of Independence the directory of Southern
Rhodesia in 1958 preceded the change to majority rule and shows
the European population at its peak before Robert Mugabe began his policy of
taking over white owned farms. In 1980 Rhodesia
became the independent . Republic
These are the lands of fame and fable – from Ernest Hemmingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” to Rider Haggard’s “King Solomon’s Mines. Are there many who have not seen at least one movie such as Out of Africa, Born Free, Mogambo, The African Queen, White Mischief or the Maneaters of Tsavo?
Society names and Big Game hunting are all in the telephone directory. White Hunters such as Kerr and Downey – the Muthaiga Club, Mount Kenya Safari Club or the famed Norfolk Hotel from where many safaris began and not least of all – Treetops Hotel faces towards Mount Kenya where Queen Elizabeth II learned of her accession following the death of King George VI.
As a collection these erstwhile colonial directories provide an eclectic mix of settlers, administration, justice, police and military together with businesses and in eastern
the importance of the railways (East African Railways and Harbours) which
opened the three east African territories to trade, commerce and settlement.
The collection is only a part of more than 850 million historic records available online to all members and visitors by way of an annual subscription for just £25 or €30 / US$40 at www.familyrelatives.com
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