The Genealogical Society of South Africa

Barry Ronge

Barry Ronge.
Tracing back the family tree gave me something to chew on.
I have always had a soft spot for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood founded in 1848. They were writers and painters and as their nickname suggests, they looked not to the future, but to the past. What lay before them appeared particularly grim, as the clanking, belching, greedy Industrial Age roared in. They looked back to a passing era that was like a luminous illusion, spiritually rich and soulful. They chose to focus on the past, rather than follow the path of progress.
It was the Victorian era and the British Empire was conquering and claiming half the world. But these artists – like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holeman Hunt and John Everett Millais – stayed stubbornly rooted in what they saw are a richly spiritual and unsullied beauty. They were the precursors of the hippie generation, but instead of singing struggle songs and chanting “make love not war”, they made paintings that have become classic works.
As I write this, I can almost hear an impatient voice saying “OK, I’m listening but get on with it,” so I will. While I was trawling through a book about the art and poetry of the Pre-Raphaelites, I found a version of my surname in print in a poem that Rosetti wrote about a priest named Johannes Ronge. That’s the kind of “blast from the past” that makes you wonder what comes next and I jumped onto the internet to find more info. I found Rosetti’s poem but that was something of a let-down. It was mawkish and sentimental. It reads in part: Oh! Gentle shepherd, dost thou wear/ Meek flowers on thy hair/ and dost thou pipe a simple song/ And love thy flock the whole day long?
Which made me reach for the Eno fruit salts.
So I dug around and found various accounts of the life of Johannes Ronge I was greatly relieved when I discovered a Ronge with education, a cultured man and a man of courage. Born in 1813, he was one of the free-thinkers of the day and he made the bold move to step away from the traditions of the Vatican. He created a congregation called New Catholics, but that entity eventually split and Ronge went on to create another congregation which he called German Catholics.
In 1848, Ronge and his family moved to England, first into Manchester and then to Leeds, where he and his wife cared for his parishioners, especially the starving children during the woes of the Industrial Revolution. Ronge was also remarkable in that he  constantly preached against anti-Semitism.
He was a man of high principals and deep compassion, and when he died in Vienna, his followers started moving through the world, not just in Germany and Europe. Some of the followers went to the US and another group came to South Africa as missionaries. How’s that for a useful clue!
So let me start with my actual name. I was christened Barry Johann Ronge. I am told that my mother had a cadenza when her mother-in-law insisted that I was going to be named Albertus Johannes, after some old granddad. Happily my mom won the battle by cutting my name down to Barry Johann. As for the Ronge surname, my search for the family origins had not produced much to celebrate. I did find a few people called Ronge on LinkedIn, but they are mostly business people promoting their professional skills.
I scoured the internet and found that there are fairly few Ronges in South Africa, but it’s even harder when you look elsewhere. The website lists approximately 150 000 people called Ronge, who all live in North America. Given the size of North America, that number is miniscule, most of them live in California – all probably trying to get into the movie business.
I traced Ronge familie in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, where they have founded a community called La Ronge on a property which includes a lake and wilderness park. It was, however, a surprise for me to learn in Canada, la ronge translates as “the chewed”. It seems that an army of beavers live close to the lake side and they have chewed down the trees to create dams in the streams and along the lake’s edge. The term le ronge also relates to fur trappers who apparently sat for hours chewing the hides of the creatures they had captured. This made the hides more subtle, which made them more valuable.
That’s not exactly the best image to conjure up when I think of the members of my diminishing Ronge clan.
But I guess we all have family secrets.
I did have a momentary lapse and thought it would be a good idea to stage a country wide indaba, just to see what the other Ronges look like. But then I thought of Trappers munching on their pelts and changed my mind. I reached for a book of Shelley’s poems instead.
Permission given to C.W. Beneke 25.02.2013 to publish to our home page.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times on 17 February 2013.

Kieserslys DVD

DVD 2 met die data van die 1984 Kieserslys is nou beskikbaar. DVD 2 bevat 572 Excel lêers elk met tot 5271 name. (die totale 1984 Kieserslys). Die lêers word in Excel formaat sowel as in Zip formaat op die DVD verpak. Die data is in die volgorde soos dit in die kieserslys mikro-fiche voorkom maar dit is dan ook soekbaar d.m.v. Windows Explorer Soekfunksie. Daar is net minder as 3 miljoen name met geboortedatums, van en volle name, nooiensvan, adres soos deur Binnelandse Sake aangetoon in 1984 en dan ook die beroep van die persoon.
DVD 2 kos R 280,00 plus posgeld binnelands R 35,00 en R 75,00 buitelands. GGSA Takke kan bestellings plaas vir hulle lede en korting van 15% vir hulle takke verdien. Die data kan ook per Dropbox of WeShare gestuur word – tel net R 35 by vir datakoste (ipv R 35 vir posgeld) aangesien die volume nogal groot is – die data word dan in Zip-formaat gestuur.
84 KieserslysBestellings kan geplaas word by Versending kan ook per Dropbox of WeShare gedoen word. R 35,00 word gehef vir data koste: Totaal R315-00. Korting van R 42, 00 per DVD vir GGSA takke wat bestel
Doen inbetalings by: Nedbank. Rekeningnaam: GGSA-GSSA; Killarney Tak Takkode: 191605; Rekeningnommer: 1916051332. Verwysing: KS+Voorletters en Van. [Voorbeeld: KS-MEduToit].
LW: Volledige afleweringsadres asook bewys van betaling moet verskaf met bestelling.


GENEALOGIESIMPOSIUM: SATERDAG 12 AUGUSTUS 2017                           GGSA Logo met onderskrif Versag               GGSA Logo met onderskrif Versag

Aangebied deur vier takke: Noord-Transvaal, Vaaldriehoek, Johannesburg en Wes-Gauteng.               
97 ywerige genealoe het die simposium bygewoon. Die sprekers het hulle baie goed van hul taak gekwyt.     
Die onderwerpe was uiteenlopend van aard. Apart from providing well researched family stories intertwined with history a factual  
description of the implications of the amendments to the the Copyright Act provided food  for thought for the attendees. 
An exciting insight into the little known resources of the Police Archives was provided.



 Margaret Gundry -  Five Women from St Helena -   I have been researching Sarah Riley on Tristan da Cunha and St Helena and again and again in my research I came across the   Margaret Gphrase “In 1827 Captain Amm/Ham brought five ladies from St Helena as wives for the five bachelors on the Island.” It became my mission to work out who these ladies were by working from the baptismal and marriage records and then to try and trace them back to St Helena. I can’t say that I have been really successful so far although I think I have traced Sarah Riley back to a baptism on St Helena.                      

Isabel GIsabel Groesbeek - Die sinergie tussen genealogie en godsdiens (500 jaar na Reformasie.  As genealoog sedert 1988, eers as navorser by Genealogie-Inligting, RGN en later as private navorser, het ek ‘n besondere waardering vir kerkregisters ontwikkel. Vanjaar vier die Protestantse kerke regoor die wêreld 500 jaar Reformasie en met die viering in gedagte het ek gedink dat ek graag oor die sinergie tussen genealogie en godsdiens met u wil gesels.

Charline Wentzel -
Ouma vertel ons bietjie.......   'n Reis deur ou  kiekies om met die kleinkinders te deel hoe interessant en gevarieerd hulle voorgeslagte  se geskiedenis was. Charline WEenvoudige mense tot die met meer aansien, tog is nie een se verhaal minder belangrik nie . Ouma se verhaal het as 'n jong dogtertjie op die plaas tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog begin. Glashelder kon sy die verskillende gebeure verhaal. Ouma Catharina Magdalena Vorster (x ZA de Beer) het hulle wedervarings opgeteken en aan elkeen van haar kleinkinders n boekie oorhandig. Dit bly n baie kosbare besitting. Daarmee saam het talle foto's behoue gebly.                        

Robert B Robert Bush - Sometimes it is Easy. Researching my maternal grandfather, Jasper Bradley Hall lead me to a very interesting lady Catherine Hall (Wager).  The Wirksworth.Org.UK web site, run by John Palmer provided a one stop research site for the Wirksworth area and I obtained a lot of interesting information on Catherine. ……. and …….. Sometimes it is Not So Easy. The second lady that I discussed was my paternal great-grandmother Emmah Miller (Hannah) 1861 to 1893, Graaff-Reinet, my oldest South African born ancestor.  She is my one of my three brick walls and I have not been able to research her line any further.

 Erna Buber-de Villiers - Formidabele Vroue/ Unsung heroines. Ek bespreek die elf lede van my pa se matriargale lyn in Suid-Afrika vanaf stammoeder  Margaretha Geertjen/Grietje GERRITS Erna B(mtDNA T2b3-C151T)  tot by my my ouma, Johanna Barbara Frederika BUITENDAG. Hul stories strek vanaf 1662 tot 1980, vanaf lewe in e vroeë Caeb en die latere ontberings tydensdie Suid-Afrikaanse Oorlog, tot die omswerwinge van ‘n Spoorwegman se se vrou in die eerste helfte van die 20e eeu.

Neels CNeels CoertseVoorgestelde wysiginge  aan die Outeursregwet - Die voordrag het in hooftrekke oor die wysigingswetontwerp oor outeursregte gegaan. Oa voorgestelde wysigings t.o.v. musiek, videos, literatuur, kunswerk & rekenaarprogrammatuur ens word gedek. Die outeursreg van tabelle hoewel nie die inhoud nie, maar die samestelling is ook bespreek. Die filosofie van wetsopstelling het verander en daar word gesorg vir die minderbevoorregtes

Brig. Hennie Heymans Onderbenutte Genealogiese Polisiebronne. Misdaad is so oud soos die Hennie Hmensdom self. Polisie hou oog oor gemeenskap. Daar is wettige bedrywighede, onwettige bedrywighede of versuime en algemene verdagte optrede. Bronne sluit dinge in soos medaljes - soldaat en polisieman se CV wat hy op sy bors dra, nommer, rang en naam rede vir  toekenning. Die  SAP se magsorders sluit  aspekte in soos sterftes, eervolle vermeldings, toekenning van medaljes, dekorasies en ordes. In ou magsorders is sterftes, attestasie,  bevordering, eervolle vermeldings, sportkampioene, eksamenrade, In die ou polisie argiewe is daar verdagtes se leggers, bekende moordenaars die diamanttak – oudste  aaneenlopende polisie-eenheid. En meer.


 Die simposium is opgeneem op video en kan besigtig word by  hierdie skakel: The symposium was recorded and can be viewed at this link.

  het hierdie fasiliteit beskikbaar gemaak.

3H7B0847 Saal3H7B0860 Margaret3H7B0965 Dave K3H7B1121 Janine en span3H7B1139 Middagete


Join Now

boertjie drink teeThere are two options to choose from should you wish to become a member of the GSSA.
1)Decide on the branch that you would like to join by visiting the GSSA website Then on the page of the branch of your choice select  “contact us” and forward your completed form to the membership committee member. 2) You can join via the eGSSA branch. Visit this page: and follow the instructions. The membership fee of the eGSSA consists of three elements, viz. membership of the GSSA; membership of the eGSSA and optional member of a land based branch as well. Download the apllication, complete the form and submit the form to the branch of your choice as described above
Application/Aansoek (Scroll down on the page for the Afrikaans version)


Versameling Grafte 1
Many people pass idly by cemeteries and little graveyards next to the roadside. Very few people realise that on headstones a wealth of information lies to be exploited. Many genealogists will go out of their way to visit graveyards and cemeteries, Information such as birth and  date of death, full names of the deceased and in some cases the name of the spouse can be found. This may lead to a breakthrough in the family researcher's quest. Over the years the members of the GSSA photographed thousands of headstone. These have been uploaded to eGSSA website. 

DNA Research

dna logo Jaco

 There are basically three types of DNA tests: Y-DNA – Y-DNA is passed on from father to son along a direct paternal line and it is therefore possible to track the paternal surname from one generation to the next. For this reason, only men are eligible for this test. mtDNA – All children inherit mtDNA from their mothers and since mtDNA traces generation after generation of one's direct maternal ancestors, both sexes are equally able to determine the origin of their maternal line. Autosomal DNA – this ‘Family Finder’ test literally hundreds of thousands of possible SNPs for precise DNA correlations/matches with others across all of one's genetic lines. This test is therefore also available to both sexes