S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Noome, Mr Frederick Owen (ornithology)

Born: 3 October 1882, Graaff-Reinet, South Africa.
Died: 3 August 1959, Pretoria, South Africa.

Frederick Owen Noome, taxidermist, was the son of Hendrik Petrus van Gelder Noome and his wife Catherine Anna Frederika, born Basson. He was educated at the Wesleyan School in Pretoria and at the age of 16 was called up for service in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). However, by this time he had already been appointed at the Transvaal Museum, Pretoria (now the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History), where he remained for his entire career. He was first appointed to the post in 1897 (Gunning, 1908), and re-appointed on 1 September 1900 by the new British administration after the occupation of Pretoria. His position was described as "inspector of [the zoological] gardens" in 1902, "assistant taxidermist" in 1904, "second taxidermist" in 1906 (the "first taxidermist" being L.T. Griffin*), and thereafter as "taxidermist" (the only one at the museum).

Noome's duties included the collection of natural history specimens. For example, from 30 October to 4 December 1905 he and C.J. Swierstra* went on a collecting trip to the Soutpansberg district from which he brought back many specimens of birds and small mammals, and during 1907/8 he presented Lepidoptera from the Rustenburg district to the museum. Around 1906 he was granted six months vacation leave, which he used to study the work of various museums in England and on the European continent. His main interest appears to have been in birds, and in 1912 his "Field-notes on birds collected at Blaauwberg, N. Transvaal" (now Blouberg, west of the Soutpansberg) were published in the Journal of the South African Ornithologists' Union (Vol. 8(1), pp. 15-21). He was a member of the Union from 1906 and when it amalgamated with the Transvaal Biological Society in 1916 to form the South African Biological Society he remained a member of the latter and was still listed as such, and residing in Pretoria, in 1920.

In March 1907 Noome married Augusta Emily Adendorff, with whom he had three daughters and three sons, including a son named Frederick Owen (1919-1942) like his father. His wife shared his enthusiasm for ornithology, for during 1906/7 "Mrs Noome" was said to have discovered a bird entirely new to science, which she presented to the Transvaal Museum. Several bird species were named after them by Austin Roberts*.

In 1928 the museum received the partial human skeleton known as Tuinplaas Man, found on the Springbok Flats north-east of Pretoria. Noome was sent to the site to search for the rest of the skeleton, but did not find anything. In 1930 he participated in the Verney-Lang Kalahari Expedition. He retired in 1938 and moved to England, but later returned to South Africa.

List of sources:
Fourie, Heidi. Science at the Transvaal Museum - Palaeontology, 1897-1994. Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 2008, Vol. 45, pp. 16-20.

Frederick Owen Noome. Family Jonge(n)s. Retrieved from https://gw.geneanet.org/kajee?lang=en&n=noome&oc=0&p=frederick owen on 2019-1-3.

Frederick Owen Noome. Our Margetson Family Ancestors. Retrieved from http://margetson.one-name.net/getperson.php?personID=I00055&tree=Margetson on 2019-1-3.

Gunning, J.W.B. A short history of the Transvaal Museum. Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 1908, Vol. 1(1), pp. 1-13.

Journal of the South African Ornithologists' Union, 1909, Vol. 5(3), list of members; 1912, Vol. 8, paper by Noome.

Mr and Mrs F.O. Noome (and their birds). BirdForum. Retrieved from https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3489265 on 2019-1-3.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Frederick Owen Noome / F.O. Noome.

South African Journal of Natural History, 1919, Vol. 1(1), pp. 8-15: Roll of Foundation Members [of the SA Biological Society]; 1920, Vol. 2(2): List of members].

Transvaal civil service list, 1906.

Transvaal [Colony]. Transvaal Administration Reports for 1902, pp. I.1-3: Pretoria Museum and Zoological Gardens.

Transvaal [Colony], Colonial Secretary's Department. Annual Report, 1903/4.

Transvaal Museum. Annual report, 1905/6, 1906/7, 1907/8 (National Archives, Pretoria, Vol. TKP 196 and TKP 277).

Union of South Africa. Public service list, 1914.

Compiled by: C. Plug