The references I am using come from a family register my father left me.

It refers to Phillipe Pistel (named Pitel in Germany), born in Falaise, France on 3 August 1723. As far as I could determine through contacts in France, the family were weavers and advisors to the King of France.

It would appear as if the Pistel family moved from France to Germany in or around 1760.

His son, Nicolaus Ludwig Pitel, born in Neuwied, Germany on 28 July 1772, married Anna Katherina Elisabeth Kochendörffer (born Cassel, Germany on 16 January 1780), who had a son, Johan Christian Theodor Pitel born Cassel, Germany on 9 September 1816, my great great grandfather.

He had a son, my great grandfather Conrad Martin Pitel, who was born on 22 February 1865 in Cassel, Germany. He moved to South Africa in approximately 1893.

Conrad Martin Pitel wrote, in 1922, from memory, a letter to a friend recounting his travels from 1884 to around 1899. The letter was transcribed as best as possible. The second half of the file is a copy of the original letter in his own handwriting. Click here to read the letter.

He first married Engela Petronella Steyn in 1894 in Heidelberg, Transvaal (died 1899) and then Johanna Petronella van der Berg in 1903 in Belfast, Transvaal.

From his first marriage was born Anna Dorothea Susanna Cornelia Pitel (Born 4 June 1895, died 29 December 1931) and Johan Christiaan Theodor Pitel (Born 23 September 1899, died 23 September 1899). Anna died during child birth.

From his second marriage was born my grandfather, Johannes Willem Jacobus Pitel on 2 June 1904 at Standerton, Transvaal (died 4 April 1990 in Belfast), Johan Conrad Theodor Pitel born 19 September 1905 (died 12 November 1958) and Daniel Johannes Hendrik Pitel, born 13 April 1908 (unknown date of death).

My father, Johannes Willem Jacobus Pitel was born on 21 November 1929 in Heidelberg, Transvaal and passed away on 27 November 2002. He married my mother Cornelia Johanna Magdalena Marais, born 12 August 1931, on 3 April 1954.

I was the only son (and child) born in 1956 and have two children, Martin (born 1980) and Vanessa (born 1989).

Photos of the Pitel Family