We serve a community of dedicated amateur family researchers. Anyone who hasn't ever dabbled in genealogical research can imagine the relief, joy and great exultation that the genealogist experiences on having made a breakthrough, or finds the final link to complete a family line. It truly is the experience of a lifetime.
Families have migrated far and wide within South Africa. Later descendants of families that arrived in South Africa as early as 1676 trekked North and East, some ending in the present day Namibia and or even further afield to Angola and Kenya. Tracing their footsteps, opens up new worlds, and gives one insight into cultural, political and the religious motivation for these great treks.
The Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA) that was established in 1964 has twelve branches of which eleven are land based and one which is an electronic branch catering for members worldwide, via the internet. Each branch arranges its own activities and meets all year round apart from December and January. More information can be gleaned by visiting the branch pages of Members  become close friends and are more than happy to assist newcomers with their research. Many a dead end has been resolved by discussing the issue with a fellow genealogist.

Our aim and goal is:

  • To promote and facilitate interest and research in genealogy and family history to present members, to the genealogical hobbyist and to all members of the public who may be interested in genealogy and/or family history.
  • To promote general understanding of Genealogy and its value, to understand and maintain professional status and dignity for genealogists amongst members of the Genealogical Society of South Africa and the general public.
  • To encourage the observance of the highest standards of research by members of the Society.
  • To provide a wide range of educational courses, research programmes and services for the general benefit of GSSA branches and members, as well as any other service or assistance as may from time to time be decided upon by the National Council of the GSSA.
  • To encourage and develop links with Family History Societies.
  • To establish and maintain contact with like minded Societies throughout the world.
  • To establish a certification program to promote the reliability, professionalism and integrity of all South African Genealogists and Record Researchers.
  • To assist in the preservation of all genealogical records and memorabilia

***  To become a member and join one of our 12 branches click the link below ***

join now


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 Archive tours currently being arranged for 2020

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western cape tour 2020   Archive Crawl ENG 2020
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1e Familia Buiteblad

The Familia / Best Article 2018

The Familia is the Quarterly Journal of the Genealogical Society of South Africa. On the photo above, the first cover of the Familia published during 1965/66 can be seen. The Northern Transvaal Branch of the GSSA has since the early 2000 presented a yearly prize, available for the best article published during a particular year.

The criteria by which such an article must comply includes the following: 

  • Does the article deliver a significant contribution to Genealogy; is it new information?
  • Is the article professionally set up with good source references etc.?
  • Does it read easily; is the presentation interesting; engaging and a good balance between readability and academic correctness maintained?

The Panel's Comment: It's a good, well laid out article that reads well and is abundantly illustrated with photos and which contains new information about the family. The author's references refer to bibliographic requirements and the genealogical notations which is required by Familia. In addition to meeting all the criteria as required, it is one of the few articles that provide sources as far as criteria is concerned, research, namely, that genealogists can follow it up and check.

In 2018 the best article in Familia was dedicated to Charlie Els for his article Die Verstoteling. One of the judges had the following to say:

Read more: The Familia / Best Article 2018

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5th Article - The 1820 Settler Lists

From The Settler Hand Book by MD Nash  - Living with The 1820 Settlers by Marion Robertson.

 The official settler lists can be accessed at the Cape Archives and the Public Records Office, London.

(Cape Archives CO 6138/1 and 2)

But these lists are not always correct.

Each party head had to submit a list of settlers to the Colonial Office when applying to emigrate. This would have been in August 1819. But they were only notified of a successful application in October or November. By this time many prospective settlers had changed their minds.

As people cancelled, others took their place, sometimes travelling under the names of the persons they had replaced. Even at the docks unofficial replacements slipped in as people changed their minds about travelling to a strange far off land. Then there were stowaways.

Read more: 5th Article –1820 settlers the story The Settler Lists

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4th Article –1820 settlers the story The Abeona

In November 1820, the transport-ship Abeona was chartered by the Government for the conveyance of emigrants to the Cape of Good Hope. Having taken on board fourteen passengers at London she proceeded to the Clyde, where 126 emigrants embarked. There were 21 crew on board and with a fair wind the ship left Greenock, Scotland on the 13th October 1820 and began her voyage down South.

She caught fire at 4°30’N, 25°30’W and burnt for 15 hours. She was completely destroyed.

Three boatloads of survivors were rescued by a Portuguese merchant ship and taken to Lisbon.

Read more: 4th Article –1820 settlers the story The Abeona

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3rd Article - 1820 Settlers the story

The Fanny and the East Indian both sailed from the Cove of Cork, Ireland on the 12th February, 1820. On the 30th April the East Indian arrived in Simon’s Bay, followed the next day by the Fanny.  Only leaders of parties were allowed ashore.

The leaders met with the Colonial Secretary, Colonel Bird, who informed them that they would not be heading for Albany but were to be settled in the Clanwilliam district. This would reduce the number of settlers arriving in Albany by about 350 and would also keep the hot-headed Irish apart from the other settlers.

Parker and two other men left for Clanwilliam on horseback on the 13th and on the 17th were shown the locations by the Land Surveyor. Horrified at, what he considered, the awful conditions and the position the settlers would find themselves in, the three men hurried to Saldanha Bay to try and prevent the settlers leaving the ships.

Read more: 3rd Article - 1820 Settlers the story

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Sunday, 19 January 2020 20:58