More Irish spent time in South Africa than you might think. A major source they left behind are “death notices.” This is a primary source for documenting birth places, and is contained in a deceased persons estate file. Estates date from 1832 in the Orange Free State. All the files are open to the public and housed in a South African archive or are on microfilm at the Family History Library: www.familysearch.org
The death notices are “fill in the blank” and was generated soon after a person died, usually by a relative. Information can include, name, occupation, address, birth place, date and place of death, age at death, names of parents and spouses (living and dead), children, and siblings. Of course, this is if the form was filled out completely!
The estate file itself usually includes a copy of the will with the typical information found in such a document. However, the provisions for a will was that the death notice was to be completed first and there was enough in the estate to even warrant opening a case file.
The Genealogical Society of South Africa: www.genza.org.za is currently compiling an index to the “Cape Masters Office Estate Files” which will be appearing online.
The FHL collections by province are as follows: Cape (1834-1989); Orange Free State (1832-1989); Natal (1851-1950); Transvaal (1869-1958); Zululand (1890-1903). Make sure to look at for indexes to the estate files in the FHL collections.
Considering where South Africa is geographically located, its people had access to shipping lanes worldwide. Irish-South Africans can be found in most major countries where the other Irish settled. It may be within your family, or a branch of your family, that the birth place in Ireland is found through a death notice.