TEPC Guidebooks for Beginner Researchers
by Carohn Cornell & Antonia Malan

The TEPC project (Transcription of Estate Papers at the Cape), and its predecessor the TANAP transcription project (Resolutions of the Council of Policy), make available to the public a searchable database of documents relating to180 years of political and social history of the Cape of Good Hope.
This work was funded by the Dutch government. TEPC website:
TEPC & TANAP transcriptions online:
TEPC transcriptions CD (includes material not online):

TEPC published three guidebooks to introduce ‘beginner researchers’ to the historical resources and heritage of the Western Cape.

The guidebooks use everyday language to demystify research methods and sources. They present research as detective work that draws on various kinds of evidence, and tell detective stories about interesting research people have done.

The first guidebook in the series, Slaves at the Cape (revised edition 2005), is about how to research slave roots and heritage.
The second guidebook, Household Inventories at the Cape (2005), looks at people’s homes and families and possessions and follows up clues about the lives of slaves.
Places at the Cape (2008) is the third guide, to finding out about houses, farms, settlements and cultural landscapes of the Western Cape.

Households at the Cape AND Slaves at the Cape

These two are ‘beginners guides to research’ …

Do you want to explore slave roots – the slave roots of a community or a family, perhaps your own?
Do you want to find out about the lives of slaves as the Cape?
Are you interested in what we have inherited from the time of slavery – the cultural heritage of Cape slavery?
Do you want to explore Cape households of the 17th, 18th and early 19th century?
Do you want to find out about old houses and farmyards and the objects in each room?
Are you interested in family life or the relationships between slaves and their owners?
Do you want to trace your ancestors?
Are you curious about how people made a living or what they wore?
If so, these books are for you.

You don’t need any previous training in research or any special qualifications and it doesn’t matter at all if you never did history at school.
This book will guide you through how to begin your research, what sources you can use and where you can look for them.
It will also tell you about how many other people – community researchers, historians, archaeologists and genealogists – have discovered stories about slaves.
Even if you are already an experienced researcher, the guides offer you something of interest.


Slaves of the Cape R100
Households at the Cape R100
Places at the Cape R120

To buy printed versions of publications:
EITHER come to a free VASSA Talk at the Athenaeum, Newlands on the third Tuesday of a month,
OR email with your order to confirm availability and price.