Inventory of the Notarial Archives of the Cape of Good Hope, 1790 - 1879

Fonds Specifications


Biographical History
Notorial deeds were initially drawn up by the secretaries of the Council of Policy and the Court of Justice. [1] In 1779 and again in 1782 the Cape colonists requested the appointment of notaries with instructions on the execution of their duties. [2] During the visit of the Commissioners - General, Nederburgh and Frykenius, the secretary of the Court of Justice, Johannes Daniel Karnspek, and the secretary of the Council of Policy, Pieter Hendrik Faure, were honourably discharged from the Compagny's service and allowed to practise as notaries from April 1793. [3]
Although initially only two notarial practices were permitted in Cape Town, [4] the number of notaries grew in time to., e.g. six in 1823. [5]
According to the instructions issued by Nederburgh and Frykenius notaries were to be trained according to the laws and customs applicable to the notarial office in Holland. Notaries were required to be honest and sincere and before being allowed to practise, a sum of 1000 rixdollars was to be deposited as security against any possible claims for damages which could be brought against them.
A notary was required to keep a protocol and register of all deeds drawn up by him. These protocols were to be examined six - monthly by the commissioners of the Court of Justice to ensure that all deeds had been drawn up correctly and all stamp duties paid. Except in cases where irregularities occurred, the commissioners were not empowered to read the deeds. The Court of Justice could also order a notary to lay his deeds before them for inspection. On ceasing to practise or on his death, the notary or the executors of his estate had to hand his protocol and register to the secretary of the Court of Justice for safe - keeping. [6]
The inspection of protocols by the commissioners of the Court of Justice fell into disuse in 1828 but was re - introduced on 15 March 1844. [7]From March 1845 each notary was to keep a protocol and register in which each of his deeds was to be noted in its final form. The deeds were to be inspected twice annually to ensure that they conformed to the legal requirements. [8] C05307 Montagu - Notarial Public. General memorandum, 27/3/1845 pp. 206 - 208.
A proclamation of 24 December 1807 had indicated the stamp duties applicable to all deeds and declared deeds drawn up without the correct stamps to be null and void. [9] From 1815 notaries who drew up deeds contrary to the stamp duty specifications were liable to fines. [10]
In 1864 and 1870 statutory provisions were made for the use of stamps on notarial deeds. [11]
This ever - growing and living archives is regularly supplemented by the protocols of retired/ deceased notaries in the Cape Division which are transferred by the Registrar of the Supreme Court to the Cape Archives Depot.
The archives of each notary is listed under his name in chronological order. An alphabetical index of the names of the notaries is available.