Familiebond 25-jaar Oud/Family League 25 Years old

On 21 July 1984 twenty six Hennings gathered at the home of Olivier Henning in Wierda Park, Centurion to establish a family league for the descendants of Peter Henrich Henning, who arrived at the Cape of Good Hope during 1765. Now, after 25 years, only 15 of those founder members are still alive, and all of them are still involved with the family league. Since then our family league developed into one of the best organised family leagues in South Africa.

We can be very proud of our family league and we mention only a few of the most important achievements.

1. The Family Cronicle of all three Henning clans in South Africa have been compiled and are maintained. We are very proud of the CD with the family cronicle.

2. A Family Crest for the descendants of Peter Henrich Henning have been designed and registered at the State Herald. We are one of a few families with an officially registered crest.

3. Newsletter. Over the past 25 years a newsletter appeared every three months - and every one on time! This is an extraordinary achievement, because we do not have full time reporters and family members are not keen to supply us with family news.

4. Souvenirs. We manufactured items, such as teasoons, sugerspoons, collar badges, cuff links, beer mugs, wall plates, writing pads with the family crest and sell it without profit to our members. We appeal to all members to support us. We still have a number of teespoons (R28.00 each), collar badges (R20.00 each), cuff links (R60.00 set), writing pads (R24.00/50 pages) and Family Cronicle CD's (R120.00) available.

5. Family Festivals. We had three country wide family festivals, as well as several smaller ones over the past 25 years - all of them were very succesful, although we were every time a little bit disappointed with the small attendance. The best attendance was the 1988 country wide festival at Aliwal North, when 220 people attended our festival over the three days. This is in comparison to the 600 plus who indicated that they would attend. Will we ever forget the opening ceremony. A procession consisting of a coach with four white horses, 20 horsemen with Henning flags and pendants and an ox wagon moved Saturday morning 8 October 1988 through the streets of Aliwal North to the sports hall at the Aliwal Spa. Leonard Henning (80 years) and a Henning boy and girl were in the couch and Leonard was the person who had to deliver an address to the mayor of Aliwal North. We were worried that something would go wrong due to the fact that some of the horsemen have never been on a horse's back before that day. Fortunately nothing went wrong. When the procession arrived at the Sports Hall they were met by the sound of trumpets from the local school cadet band and a specially composed Henning song were sung, before Leonard delivered the address to Mr Gawie Swart the mayor of Aliwal North. We also remember that the State President, Mr P W Botha, as well as the Administrators of Transvaal, Free State and the Cape Colony sent their salutations to the Henning family with their festival.

6. Radio. We introduced the Henning family several times on radio.The most important occasion was 13 June 1988, when almost the whole of South Africa belonged for almost an hour to the Henning family during the program "Dis my van" (It's my surname).

7. Family Museum. We are very proud of our family museum, which forms part of the Aliwal North town museum. During 1987 Olivier Henning started discussions with members of the Aliwal North Municipality. Our idea of a family museum fitted nicely into their plans for the town museum and they approved and invited the Henning, De Wet and Joubert families to integrate their museum plans with the municipality's plans. Only the De Wet's and Henning's accepted the invitation.

The planning of our exhibition took a few years. We decided that the front view of our exhibition would be a replica of the second house on the farm Damfontein, district Aliwal North, which was built during 1850. Leonard Henning *1908 volunteered to build a reduced replica of the house from wood at his home in Brakpan. He was born and grew up in this house. During November 1991 Leonard, his son Olivier and Mauritz Henning went to Aliwal North to install this fašade for our exhibition. Olivier was also responsible for the exhibition as a whole.

We must not forget that the majority Hennings lived during the 19th Century in the Transvaal and Free State. These people lost everything, except their clothes, during the Anglo Boer War. We, therefore, could mostly obtain items for exhibition from the Aliwal North and Burgersdorp Hennings.

The weekend of 4/5 April 1992 we took our museum into use. Several guests of honour, with Mayor Gawie Swart, the most important, joined more than 60 Hennings for this function.

Since 1994 the wonderful people who voluntarily man the Aliwal Museum, with mrs Madeleine Joubert the most important, receive no support what so ever from the new municipality. Unfortunately the new officials and the town council regard museums as "white people's rubbish", in spite of the fact that the museum developed a section with the history of the local black tribes. Our League Secretary, Olivier Henning, even donated a beautiful framed picture of Paramount Chief Kreli (1818 - 1893) to the museum. The photograph was taken by a family member during the 1880's and the original is still in possession of Olivier Henning.

The Henning Family League donate annually a small amount to the museum (2008 - R1000.00) to say thank you for the privilege to house our exhibition there. Unfortunately we do not know what the future holds in for our museum. We can only hope that reason will prevail at the municipality.

8. Internet. On 28 June 1997 the Henning Family League appeared on Internet. Jannetta Steyn, daughter of Leonie Steyn (born Henning) who lives in Durham, England designed on own cost, with the inputs of League Secretary, Olivier Henning, a web site for the Henning Family League. Today this web site is the most important source of information for the name Henning world wide. Even the family trees of two German - and a Netherlands and Estonian Henning clan are hosted on the web site. Please visit our web site regularly - or write to Olivier at or Jannetta at

Bursary Fund. Only one of our objectives could not be achieved during the past 25 years - the creation of a bursary fund for promising Henning students. Due to the huge amount needed for such a fund to be viable - approximately R500 000.00 - it appears that it is impossible to achieve this objective. We are, however, of the opinion that it is possible if Henning's (especially Henning's without heritrix) remember the Family League in their testaments. We feel that this objective can be reached in the long term.

Number of Members. During the first 15 years the number of members increased to more than 250 families and individuals. There-after our numbers started declining due to deaths, resignations and members not informing us when they moved. In addition to that, we did not have any recruitment efforts for many years, due to the fact that is nowadays almost impossible to get hold of good address lists. At present we have about 180 members, although less that 100 contribute financially.

Finances. Fortunately our finances balance every year. The system according to which we leave it to members themselves to determine what amount they can - and are prepared to contribute is successful. Some years we have to aquire new equipment or have family festivals, where larger amounts are needed, but this does not happen every year. It is true that a large number of our members do not contribute financially at all, but with those members who contribute generously we cope every year. All surplus funds are kept in our reserve/bursary fund, until we need any money. We are very proud of our members!

Management. The past 11 years the management committee resided in the Western Cape. Gideon Henning of Strand is the Chairman and Olivier Henning is still the League Secretary. Those who would like to communicate with the Chairman can contact Gideon at 12 Kalden Str, Strand, 7140. His telephone number is 021 853 3378. Olivier has been the League Secretary for the past 25 years. Unfortunately his health deteriorated the past three years. He, however, identified two young Henning's who would take over his job, when it is no longer possible for him to do so. Rudolf Henning of Oak Glen, Bellville will take over the duties as "genealogist" and his sister, Cornelia of Kuilsriver will be the League Secretary.

Our Family League advance towards the next 25 years with enthusiasm, pride and zeal.

Genealogie- en Erfenisfees, Voortrekkermonument/Genealogy- and Heritage Festival, Voortrekker Monument. The annual Genealogy- and Heritage Festival would take place at the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria on 30 May 2009 from 09:00 hours until 13:00 hours. All Henning's in the vicinity of Pretoria are cordially invited to attend. A tea garden and food stall would be available. With the Family League's 25th anniversary so near, we plan to hold our own festival the afternoon at the same place. Bring your own camping chairs and picnic basket along. Please propagate this family gathering with your own family and other Hennings. At the entrance to the Voortrekker Monument terrain an entrance fee of R15.00 is payable.

Geldsake/Money matters. Thank you to all members who contributed over the past three months - especially those who contributed amply, as well as Jan Henning of Glenstantia, Pretoria and Henning Pieterse of Rietvallei Park, Pretoria who keep on contributing every month by means of a debit order. As usual we mention the names of those members who contributed R200.00 or more (Names mentioned in the Newsletter).

Sterftes/Deaths. We mourn the death of b1.c3.d10.e10.f4.g2. Pieter Henning *7-7-1947 on 8 February 2009. As his wife, Ansie, Pieter lost his struggle against cancer. His funeral took place at the Reformed Church Alkantrand, Pretoria on 12 February. Pieter served for many years on the management committee of the Family League and was a real pillar of strenth.

Briewe uit die Buiteland/Letters from Overseas. We received a letter from b6.c3.d3.e4.f1.g1.h2.i3. Annamarie Botha (born Henning) who lives in Canada and visited our web site on Internet.

We moved to Canada in 1998. Where we lived in Garsfontein, Pretoria, there were so may burglaries and my own life was threatened twice. We also came to the conclusion that our children would not have a good future in South Africa. My former husband, therefore, searched for work overseas. He received offers from the USA and Canada and we chose Canada. Due to the fact that we were not "landed immigrants" I could not get any work. It really took very long to adapt, but in course of time we received "landed immigrant" status and my children and I were sworn in last year as citizens of Canada.

Eventually we settled and my children grew up here. They were 11, 4 and 3 when we arrived and today they are 21, 15 and 14 respectively. I must admit that I often yearn for South Africa - especially when it is so bitterly cold and with so much snow, but I do not think that we would ever return to South Africa. South Africans keep on streaming to Canada and we are already a small community of our own.

Two other letters we received, are the following:

Hello, my name is Chris(topher) Johnson. My mother Jutta Henning is from Greifswald Germany, born in 1938. Her father's name was Bruno Zahn Henning, and her mothers name was Hausangestellte Irmgard Minna Anna Henning. She was taken to a consentration camp around 1940, and never heard from again. My question would be, how would I trace information on where she went and what happened?

We referred this letter to Prof Peter Henning from the Karlsruhe University, Germany.

In researching my husband's family I found the name Maria Henningsdtr, meaning daughter of Henning, married to Jacob Pedersen (of Sunde, born 1739 and died 1797) married 1789 in Hustad church in Norway. Irene Crosland.

We do not have any information on this variation of the name Henning, but would one day try to do some research.

Henning Huwelike/Henning Marriages. b1.c6.d3.e9.f4.g2.h1. Johan (Jay) Henning *18-10-1975 and Melanie Desiree Dobson of Winston Salem in the USA got married on 14 February 2009 at Uiterwyk farm in Stellenbosch district. Melanie is the daughter of Randolph Dobson and his wife Andrea (born Wentling). Jay is the son of the late Johannes Stephanus Henning *1-5-1945 and his wife Kathryn Edith (Kathy, born Hansen).