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 www.genza.org.za. 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.
In the latter stages of the 17th century and in the early stages of the 18th century the dominant population groups in the Eastern Cape area were the white cattle farmers and the black cattle farmers. Both groups were constantly looking for more land on which their cattle could graze. These opposing groups clashed in a series of skirmishes or wars.
Colonel John Graham was the originator of the plan to settle a large group of Scottish Highlanders in this area. He was in charge of the British troops at a fort in the area. The fort later becomes Grahams Town. The plan was not implemented due to the fact that Britain was still involved in the war with Europe and emigration schemes were not priorities.
In 1817 captain Benjamin Moodie brought 50 young Scottish men who were artisans to the Cape as indentured workers. Later on he brought out a further 150 men. Cape citizens bought the contracts of the first group of artisans however some members of the second group absconded; thus leaving captain Moodie with a financial loss. In the final analysis the Cape gained 200 much needed artisans.
Peter Tait tried to emulate Moodie’s model but only managed to recruit 30 settlers.
On 22 April 1819 Xhosa Chief Mdushane attacked Grahams town with 10 000 warriors and overran the settlement.
This attack as well as the successful settlement of the Moodie settlers motivated the authorities at the Cape to write an appeal to Lord Bathurst to implement a settler scheme.
The end of the European war brought misery to the British population due to inflation, unemployment and the general stagnation of the economy. These miserable conditions lead to food riots in London in May 1819.
These riots in London added pressure to the then Tory government to consider an emigration scheme to the Cape.
The Archive Crawl
Rhino Project - 1972 Voters Roll
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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:
The theme of this article is refreshingly original and the style of writing captivates the reader. Although the theme of leprosy is seen in the context of the writers “Lost” family member, the cause of the condition of the illness together with the source of involved stigmas and the broader implications of infected individuals and their families throughout the ages are detailed and treated with empathy.
The write makes the seeking genealogist indirectly conscious of yet another source of looking for an absent, lost or disappeared family member – the records of Leprosy Hospitals, psychiatric facilities of similar instances whereby many a genealogist has never thought of searching at. The genealogist is also subtly challenged to verify all information through consulting primary sources, thus to avoid incorrect assumptions in regard to place of death, cause of death of a person on incorrection information that has been generated by earlier generations in an attempt to cover up any shamefulness or stigmas.
This is what you can expect on your journey to find, as soon as your interest in Family Research has been aroused.
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