National Executive Committee (NEC) 2022

The National Council shall consist of the National Executive Committee (elected and co-opted members) and all Branch Chairpersons and Vice-chairpersons, or their nominated  representatives, as ex officio members, and all such members shall be current and fully paid-up members of the Society
 Hendrik Louw
 Johan Pottas
 Vice President 
 Free State
 Ellen Harmse
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 Northern Transvaal 
 Glynis Steer
 Alta Griffiths
 Additional Member
 eGSSA (Chairman)
 Wilhelm Bernhardt
 Additional Member
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 Northern Transvaal (Chairman)
 Petro Coreejes-Brink
 Appointed Member
 GSSA National Familia Editor
 Germaine Smith
 Appointed Member
 GSSA National Webmaster
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 Vaal Trianlge (Chairman)


President - Hendrik Louw 2022

Hendrik LOUWI was born on 9 September 1959 in Kenhardt as the second child (four sons) of Willem Jacobus Nicolaas Louw and Elizabeth Maria de Waal.
My childhood days on the farm Loogkolk where I grew up were carefree. We had to help from an early age, but also had the wide open landscape to play. In my pre-school years, Bushmanland experienced serious drought. Like many farmers, my parents temporarily went to seek grazing in South West Africa; my mother's parents hailed from Suidwes (Southwest).
I started Sub A in Kenhardt, but in Sub B we had a dry year again and it was back Southwest. In 1968 I returned to the Bushmanland and completed my school career in Kakamas at Martin Oosthuizen High School.
After school I went to Bloemfontein where I obtained a B.Com degree from the University of the Orange Free State (UOFS). In 1986, I married Sharon Gail Lockhart. We have three children, Chantel, Jaco and Sindy.
After 39 years in banking, I started my own real estate firm (HESHA Properties) HE = Hendrik + SHA = Shar in Kempton Park where we still live.
The Genealogy bug bit me when I had to write down the names of Oupa Izaak Jacobus Louw’s siblings around 1970. Although he could remember sixteen (he died at the age of 103 in 1990), research shows that there were at least 22 children. In 2009 I served for the first time as president of the Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA). I still handle GSSA's product portfolio.

Vice President - Johan Pottas 2022

Johan Pottas 1Johan Jacob POTTAS was born on 13 April 1961 in Windhoek in what was then South West Africa (Namibia), one of five children of Johan Jacob Pottas (Skerf) and Elizabeth Mathilde Potgieter (Lilli) from Windhoek. Johan is one of four surviving children and the only surviving son. He completed his school career at Windhoek High School where he excelled as a sportsman (acquired SWAAIKS colours in athletics and gymnastics, and played hockey for the first team).
After school he did compulsory military service before going to study at the University of the Free State, where he obtained BComm and BComm (Hons) (Capital Investment). He became a professional photographer for two years, after which he worked for Pick n Pay and for the University of the Free State in various capacities.
He married Eureka Dannhauser SMITH on 21 September 1985 in Bloemfontein. She was born on 26 Feb 1961 in Edenburg, the daughter of Gert Hendrik Dannhauser Smith and Maria Elizabeth Botha (Mary).
He writes: my interest in genealogy has come a long way. As a kid, I used to love listening to family stories over and over again. I joined the Genealogical Society of South Africa in 2000, but serious interest began in 2001 when I realised that the generation before me was dying out. By 2003, I was able to sort out the Pottas line and was persuaded to re-establish the Free State branch.
My first genealogical publication was "Die Van den(r) Berg's van die Kaap tot Witkraal, Petrusburg" 2005, which I compiled for a longtime friend Cas van der Berg; then my own family register, written for my father Skerf Pottas' 80th birthday: "The Pottas shards from Schwalenberg to Windhoek" appeared in 2006.
Families I am still working on: VAN DEN(R) BERG(H), KLOPPER, POTTAS, MENTZ, parts of BEKKER, SMIT, POTGIETER, OOSTHUIZEN, DANNHAUSER, all the descendants of Elizabeth VOOGD, the daughter of Claus VOIGT (a German ) and Christina, a Khoisan woman. Then there is also the Free State progenitor project, i.e. all the men and women who entered the Free State in the period 1820 to 31 May 1902 and who settled there.

Treasurer - Ellen Harmse 2022

Ellen HarmseEllen HARMSE née RUSCH, was born on 13 June 1950 in Windhoek, in what was then South West Africa. According to German tradition, a pink flag was hoisted at the hospital as a welcome and a notice was placed in the local newspaper! My parents are Franz * 1908 Windhoek, German South West Africa x Else KAPPEL * 1911 Berlin, Germany. Grandfather Ernst Julius, the progenitor, was one of the first 41 Schutztruppler (German protection forces) to bring peace between the Herero and Nama and set foot on Namibian shores in January 1890. From 1970 Ellen lived in Johannesburg and Kempton Park where she worked in the construction industry and as a lecturer in adult education for the Department of Education until 1995.
In 1973 she married Neels Harmse * 1939 Schweizer Reineke, and they have two daughters, Benita and Anja, and one grandson Tristan. She realised that not much research had been done on the HARMSE family, and is doing so now. She posted the draft composition in the Heritage Foundation's library and at the Library of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Wellington, which contains the GISA collection, for comment and to be supplemented and updated annually with the latest information.
Ellen organises the archives tour to the various archives for the GSSA every year. From a small beginning when they initially only went to the Western Cape Provincial Archive (formerly KAB), it has grown; so much so that tours to the Free State Provincial Archives and also to the National Archives in Pretoria are now being arranged.

Secretary - Glynis Steer 2022

Glynis SteerI was born and bred in Johannesburg and still live there with pride. My interest in genealogy began as early as the 1990s when my mother-in-law abandoned her research after discovering that her grandmother had been jailed for murder and infanticide and had died in prison. What an incentive to start researching family secrets!
I previously served on the Southern Transvaal's (now Johannesburg) branch committee as librarian and newsletter editor, and also offered their training courses on researching one's family history.
I was trained as a librarian and eventually switched to IT systems support.
My husband Rob and I have a Zulu foster daughter and a Mexican/Zulu granddaughter. When I'm not in Johannesburg, I enjoy spending time in the small hamlet of Rosendal in the Eastern Free State.


Additional Member - Alta Griffiths - Marketing 2022

Germaine SmithAlta Griffiths, born Rudolph, was born and raised in the picturesque town of Heidelberg in Gauteng.
She is the eldest of two children. Alta's family roots in this town date back to the early 1845’s. Although her mother was born Kruger, the mother side of the Rossouws, Brits and Slabbert families was there much earlier with baptismal names in the Potchefstroom register were recorded on the Suikerboschrand.
Alta has been doing family research for the past sixteen years, with a few more brick walls to work on. On the Rudolph side, he has ties to the Voortrekkers. It was believed that there were so many orphans among the Voortrekkers that her great-grandfather was appointed as the 'Weesheer' (Orphan Master).
Alta is chairman of eGSSA, the virtual branch of the society, and has been appointed as an additional member in the NEC with the portfolio of marketing. She works as a full-time nurse in Cape Town while raising two children.


Additional Member - Wilhelm Bernhardt 2022

Germaine SmithWilhelm Bernhardt was born on 7 January 1970 in the Provincial Hospital in Belfast in the erstwhile Transvaal, the eldest son of Wilhelm Bernhardt and Jacomina Johanna Venter. His childhood was mostly spent in the village of Waterval Boven where his parents were teachers. He matriculated in 1987 at Belfast.
In 1990 he obtained a degree in Political Science from the University of Pretoria (Tukkies), followed by an Honours degree in Political Science. He joined the National Intelligence Agency in 1992, currently the State Security Agency. In 1998 he obtained a Master's degree in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch and in 2004 completed his D.Phil at Tukkies, again in Political Science.
Wilhelm's predilection for history and genealogy was especially fueled by his maternal grandfather, Willem Frederik Venter. Grandpa Willem, a particularly intelligent man and farmer from the Machadodorp district, knew the history and stories of his ancestors at his fingertips, and retold them on countless times to his children and grandchildren.
Wilhelm, who married Isabel Nel in the year 2000, already has published several genealogical publications, including his magnum opus that appeared in 2015: "Die Familiegeskiedenis van Corli en Anica Bernhardt" (The Family History of Corli and Anica Bernhardt). In it he explores the ancestry and history of his two daughters on both the paternal and maternal side (32 families in total), down to the respective patriarchs and mothers.
He is a strong supporter of a holistic approach to genealogy, and thus promotes pedigree research, as well as the broader concept of science-based family history writing. In 2020 he won the GSSA's award for best article in Familia, and in 2021 he was elected chairman of the GSSA's Northern Transvaal branch. When he is not engaged in genealogy, he spends his free time writing history, collecting books, restoring classic cars, riding motorcycles, travelling with his wife, snooping in antique shops and markets, and just hanging out in his garage to tinker with all sorts of things.

Appointed Member - GSSA National Familia Editor - Petro Coreejes-Brink 2022

Germaine SmithPetro Coreejes-Brink (born Coreejes) was born on 2 June 1973 in Bellville, Cape Town. She is the eldest of two daughters of Magrietha Louisa (Marina) van Wyk (of Brackenfell) and Gerhardus Johannes (Basie) Coreejes (of Carnarvon).
She matriculated at Brackenfell High School in 1991 and began a B.Bibl degree at Stellenbosch University. Shortly after completing her library qualification, she started as a librarian at the Cape Technicon in Cape Town.
Petro enjoys doing research and also holds a BA Hon and a master's degree in Cultural History from the University of Stellenbosch. The focus of her last qualification was on genealogical registers and naming patterns in the Coreejes family over a period of 200 years. Petro has been doing genealogical research on the Coreejes family in South Africa since 1992.
Only after completing her studies, did she become involved with the GSSA. She was one of the former presidents of the GSSA and was very active for many years in the recording on the tombstone project.
Petro has been working at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for the past 25 years and is involved in special collections that include the GISA collections donated to the Library in 2018.
She is married to Sybrand Abraham Brink (* 08/04/1972) and has two children (Kiran * 2007 and Milina * 2008).

Appointed Member - GSSA National Webmaster - Germaine Smith 2022

Germaine SmithGermaine Lisel Rosslyn Smith was born in what is known as the City of Roses on a beautiful Saturday winter afternoon during a very important rugby match - of all things! My parents are Arthur Leslie Rosslyn Smith and Carol Evelyn van den Berg.
I lived in Bloem and was a pupil of one of the best girls' schools, namely Eunice Primary. Later we moved to Three Rivers in Vereeniging where I completed my primary school years at Milton Primary and then matriculated at Riverside High.
My love of art saw me studying fine arts at the Vanderbijlpark Technikon, but today I draw more on my computer than on canvas.
I started researching my British paternal heritage (Smith and Farmiloe). They were of British descent and two trips to the UK led me to finding my grandfather's family and get many of the documents I was looking for at the time.
My maternal line takes me as far back as the Voortrekkers and the British Settlers. It's going to be exciting to research as it would cover my grandparents. The surnames of Holder, Dicks, Thompson, Durand and De Bruin were my grandmother's legacy. They all come from the Dordrecht and Maclear regions in the Eastern Cape. I still have to receive the proof photo that my great-aunt was born on an ox-wagon during the extremely difficult trek to Natal.
I am the chairman of the Vaal Triangle GSSA branch and find it accords with my disposition to encourage our members and help them find their family members that some have been looking for for decades.