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Vaal Triangle Branch

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The Vaal Triangle Branch meets at the Sylviavale Heritage Museum, 14 Vaal Drive, Sylviavale Agricultural Holdings, Vanderbijlpark. We serve the Meyerton, Sasolburg, Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging areas, but members from as far away as Heilbron and Alberton also attend. Anyone who would like to attend our meetings is most welcome. Each December we have our year end function and in January we start the new year with our AGM.

Meetings are held on the second Saturday of every month and start at 14h00, ending around 17h00 with refreshments and informal discussions during which members catch up and share their knowledge.

Our annual programme is divided into quarters. During each quarter we present a training session, invite a guest speaker and arrange an educational outing. The line-up can be found on our events page. Do join the fun and learn from members who have years of experience, which they are eager to share. Our aim is to inspire and support each other and to keep up to date with all the latest technology available to genealogists.

We have a very useful collection of research material in our library cupboard and members may borrow any of the books or CDs.
For further information, contact the Chairperson - See ‘Contact us’ on the right hand side of this page for details.

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Ons tak se stories

Ons Storiewa 1 7During 2012, our branch embarked upon an ambitious (for us!) project. Renier Feldtmann, our chairperson at the time, challenged us to produce our own publication. Thirteen people contributed stories and photographs to our first edition, which has since become an annual effort.

The Ons Storiewa banner picture shows an old, broken-down ox wagon, with a little flower blooming at its wheel. It was chosen to remind us that our family histories are old, come from afar and are missing a lot of pieces, but they bloom again when we tell and re-tell them to our friends and our children. By hook or by crook, we genealogists will keep our story-wagons on the road!

We have put together seven Ons Storiewa’s so far. We suggest themes that could help to get people writing. For our very first edition, members were asked to share their research methods, triumphs and tragedies, and stories about themselves as researchers and about their research methods. For subsequent issues we chose themes that encouraged us to tell our own life stories and stories about our families. Isabel Groesbeek, genealogy guru, emphasizes that your first duty is to make sure that your own life is well documented for your descendants. Examples of past themes for telling your story are ‘family fests’, ‘schooldays’ and ‘falling in love’. We believe that these themes have made our publication exceptionally readable and personal.
As members have grown in confidence, they have come up with wonderfully original and entertaining stories.

We've uploaded the PDFs onto this website for everyone to enjoy. You can find them by clicking on Ons Storiewa in the menu on the right, and then select either Storiewa 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6 or 7. Most of the articles in Ons Storiewa are in Afrikaans, but there are excellent ones in English, too, such as the one about the descendants of the 1820 Settlers. Some articles reflect impressive research skills, some are by beginners, but all are worth reading. We’d really love to hear your comments if you’ve enjoyed reading them.

Should you prefer a print copy, please contact Kobie Stroh - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The complete first six issues are available as a ring-bound A4 book, quality printed in full colour on glossy paper. Price excluding postage R400

2017 Branch Meetings and Outings


Our first guest speaker for the year in January, was Gys Stroh Jnr who came to show us how simple it is to make movies using our smart phones!
With the download of two apps this is process is as easy as 1-2-3



April: GGSA NTVL - Dr. Nicol Stassen   


Our outing started with a visit to the heritage library at the Voortrekker Monument: a must for every genealogist. The wonderful staff and volunteers  hand make research there a real pleasure. We then joined the NTvl Branch for their monthly meeting and special guest speaker, Dr Nicol Stassen on the “Dorsland Trek”. Click on the image. “Dr. Nicol Stassen het vanjaar GGSA se toekenning vir Uitmuntende Genealogie Publikasie vir sy boek Dorslandtrek 1874-1881 ontvang. ʼn Groot eer het ons tak te beurt geval deurdat die oorhandiging van die trofee tydens ʼn N.Tvl.-takbyeenkoms op 8 April plaasgevind het. Isabel Groesbeek, ʼn vorige visie-president van GGSA, het die oorhandiging namens GGSA se nasionale president, Simon du Plooy gedoen”. (With compliments NTVL Newsletter) 

May: Members’ Workshop

A few of the more experienced members of our branch shared some of their own knowledge about their research methods and it turned out to be a wonderful day. Some of the topics and programmes covered: NAAIRS – How to navigate through the new National Archives and Records Service of South Africa
Family Search – How to locate estate files through the Catalogue / Probate files
eGGSA - Navigating the Gravestones in South Africa, how to order NAAIRS files online etc.
Government WebPortal - Johan Naudé showed us how to search for the old farm names.
Piet de Conning shared GenScriber. This very small but powerful program allows you to
transcribe old documents and text 
This day proved to be a huge success with many of us learning a new thing or two.

June: Johan Wolfaardt – Die bewaring van Erfstukke en Oudhede


It was a privilege having Johan Wolfaardt of the Pretorius Museum in Potchefstroom come and share his wealth of knowledge about historical photography in South Africa.
Johan Wolfaardt, Senior Vakkundige Beampte, President Pretorius Museum. Voorheen werksaam by die Oorlogsmuseum in Bloemfontein, Voortrekker Monument en Krugerhuis. Click on the image to enlarge


July: Piet de Coning shares his research
Piet de Coning is one of our branch members and we called on him to share his research, resources and methods with us. These sessions are invaluable as we all get to see a new perspective through other people’s research methodology.
“As beginner in die veld van Genealogie deel ek graag wat ek sovêr van my familie geleer het. Die de Conings is afkomstig van België. My belangstelling in Genealogie het so 'n paar jaar gelede begin en ek probeer om soveel moontlik van die de Coning familie te wete te kom. Ek deel graag wat ek het met die vertroue dat ek sodoende meer kan leer en die familieregister meer volledig kan maak. Die gereedskap en bronne wat ek gebruik sal ek ook noem en hoop dat wat ek te sê het ’n lekker lewendige bespreking tot gevolg sal hê.”


August: Genealogy Symposium 12 August 2017
Our branch was one of the four branches involved in the symposium this year. Erna Buber-de Villiers’ talk was titled “Formidable Women” and Germaine Smith was second session chairman for the day’s events! A very successful day and we were proud that our branch was able to contribute to this wonderful event this year. Click on the omage.To read more click on the link below

December: Year End Function along the banks of the RiverWe had the pleasure of meeting and closing off our year under the trees along the banks of the Vaal River again this year.
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