The Johannesburg Branch of the GSSA serves family history researchers in the central Johannesburg area with a high interest in overseas research and strong ties to the arrivals of the 1820 Settlers’ the O’Byrne Settlers (Natal); German Settlers; Swedish Norwegian and Dutch Settlers and lastly but by no means least, the Scottish Missionary Society.
Our members’ interests all vary, with several people just getting started with research in SA trying to get to that point where they can start on the origin of their settlers overseas. The goal is a common one - to get as far back as possible; to make sure our information is correct; keep our histories secure and confirm or disprove family legends.
Our branch members’ level of experience varies considerably with several people just getting started with research in SA and trying enthusiastically to get to that point where they can start on the origin of their ancestors and in many cases, begin using overseas records. Others are well experienced researchers with many years of genealogical triumphs or disasters under their belts. Regardless of your level of experience, join us and we will get you on the right track to pursue your genealogical journey. Our main goal this year though, is through various activities and courses, to teach the public about this fascinating science and more importantly to encourage members to publish their work through Familia - the ideal avenue for such work.
Calendar: The 2021 calendar promises interesting talks, including an organized visit to the Holocaust Museum as well as a refresher course on using FamilySearh. We also have a two part training course starting in May. This year four meetings will be held at the Church Hall, the other meetings will be held at outside venues, so keep in touch or download our Calendar. Meetings begin at 2.30pm on the 3rd Saturday monthly at St Columba’s Church Hall, Parkview (secure parking) finishing off with tea and cake and plenty of discussion about genealogical research. If you are interested in attending any of our functions, let us know through the Contacts page.
Publication: The Branch Newsletter Tree Topics is published and circulated monthly followed by a flyer before each event. We recently introduced a feature called ‘Challenge of the Month’ in which members are invited to join a collaborative email group for submission of their research problem for discussion and assistance. We hope to showcase our first in the next issue.
Projects: This year we have planned for a Cemetery Recording to take place in October. The more interest and participation we have in recording, the better. On a more personal side, Doreen Piner who has been a Committee member for a number of years is continuing with her work on the Voter’s Roll which she does through the N. Tvl Branch.
Library: The branch Library includes a complete set of Indexes to Estate Files for each Archives depot; various Publications on Family Histories; Guides to Genealogical Research; Cemetery Recordings; CDs etc., Appointments to make use of the library are easily arranged.
Our Roots: We take this opportunity to remember former Committees through whose enthusiasm our predecessor, ‘The Southern Transvaal Branch of the GSSA’ was founded on 19th January 1988 by Chairman Con Roeloffze, Vice Chairman Robert Laing, Secretary Valda Napier as well as Willem Hefer, Frik van Rensburg, Hans Hatecke, Bill Olivier and Shirley Roeloffze. By April 1990 under the Chairmanship of Conrod Mercer we introduced the ‘Genealogist of the Year Award’, now run by the National Executive Council. Another achievement was the Cemetery Recording Project initiated by the Late Peter Holden, which aims at recording every headstone throughout South Africa, a project which became so large it was taken over by the NEC.