The Genealogical Society of South Africa
  • Home
  • Branches
  • East Cape Branch

East Cape Branch

IMG 0873The Eastern Cape Branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa officially joined the fold during 1982.  The first general meeting of the Branch at which minutes were taken was on 13 January 1982.  The East Cape Branch of the GSSA is located in Port Elizabeth. The branch serves the Eastern Cape and surrounding areas.
Port Elizabeth has a history going back many years before the arrival of the 1820 British Settlers.
In 1799 a fort was built by the British and soldiers garrisoned there for the protection of Algoa Bay from attack from the sea.  Even before that Frederick Korsten lived on his beautiful manorial estate which was a haven to all weary travellers. The committee for 2014 was elected during the March 2014 meeting and can be seen here.
An interesting development in the Eastern Cape is the number of separate groups which have sprung up in a number of small towns around the Eastern Cape, which are not affiliated with GSSA.  A regular monthly meeting is being held with a group of researchers from Grahamstown, not all of whom are members of GSSA.  Visits are also planned for Port Alfred and Uitenhage and any other town that contacts us. An English group specialising in the United Kingdom, for which the the contact person is Liz Eshmade, who may be contacted by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Our meetings are open to the public and are conducted every third Monday of the month in the Lolly Shtein Hall at the Laubscher Park West Retirement Complex in Villiers Road, Greenshields Park. Meetings start at 19h30.  A variety of speakers address the meetings on a wide range of the aspects of life surrounding our families and the era in which they lived and also on specific surnames. 
East Cape Branch publishes a quarterly journal called "Chronicles."  Should one wish to contact the Branch per snail mail, the postal address of the branch is P.O.Box 1183, Port Elizabeth 6000.

EAST CAPE LIBRARY

Researchers are more than welcome to pop around to do their research or if they are living out of town then they would be able to send an email to Ken or Eleanor at either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Should you wish to personally call, then just telephone and make an appointment (this is to ensure that they are home). Their telephone number is 041 368-8615.
Some new additions to the library are available for the researchers:
*Cillier, Celliers, Cillie and Cilliers families in Suid-Afrika Part 1 and 2 by Dr Barend Cilliers and Mariana Olivier
*Ferreira Families by Janet Melville and Emmerentia S Ferreira.

*Die Joubert in Suid-Afrika 1688-2013 Volume 1 and 2 by P G Joubert.
*Pretorius oor drie eeue/through three centuries 1600-1900 by M E Pretorius was donated by Janet Melville
*Just ordinary people  The lives of some of the forgotten British Settlers of 1820, is a privately owned copy of Liz Eshmade’s book.

In the August, 2016 issue of Chronicles we published a comprehensive list of books written on South African family surnames.
There is a National Product CD No.075 listing all stories that have been published about families in Familia since 1964. ISBN 978-0-9921833-9-4 records some 750 South African Families.
We also have an incomplete list of “Who is Researching Who”
An index of names mentioned in Chronicles from issue No.1 in 1987 is available.
Ken and Eleanor will gladly assist in referring to these lists for you as well as the info on the electronic database.

Eastern Cape May 2014

We had a really riveting talk by Cheryl Vermaak at our last meeting on her grandfather see below. This diary is in my opinion really valuable because it is well written and detailed on the trip to South Africa. She gave a very good power point presentation with it.
"My great grandfather on my mother’s side of the family was Albert Charles Isaac Wheeler, born in Islington, London in 1849. He was the son of Charles Cheryl Vermaak 2and Mary Ann Wheeler who were born and grew up in Frome, Somersetshire. On moving to London, Charles worked as a piano maker, and his wife Mary Ann was a dress maker. They lived at 19 Ampton Street, near Grays Inn Road, London. (Near the British Museum and Charles Dickens Hou se Museum). Albert and his younger brother Frank were choir boys at St Judes Church in London. In January 1869, Charles and 20-year old Albert sailed to South Africa from London on the Umgeni, a wooden sailing ship (built 1864) which transported many immigrants to Natal. They arrived in Port Natal (Durban) three months later after a dangerously long voyage, beset by head winds and stormy seas. They were part of an immigration scheme, the Natal Colonisation Company, who provided them with land to farm in the Camperdown district, near Pietermaritzburg. Albert kept a journal during the voyage, recording his experiences each day, giving great insight into what immigrant passengers were exposed to the the Nineteenth Century.
In 1879, Albert married Betsy Wheeler whose parents, who were immigrants from Lincoln shire, England, farmed at Foxhill near Pietermaritzburg. Albert and Betsy eventually moved to Pietermaritzburg where he had a grocery shop, and in later years, a stationery shop. He was organist for many years at Victoria Road Wesleyan Church. Albert and Betsy had seven children of whom the fifth child was my grandmother, Emma Gertrude Wheeler, (1891-1967) who married Alfred Sydney Weekes from Torquay, Devon. Soon after celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary, Albert died, aged 80 in 1929. The newspaper obituary mentioned that he was one of the pioneers of Pietermaritzburg. He is buried in the Wesleyan section of the old Commercial Road Cemetery in Pietermaritzburg. Betsy died, aged 85 in 1943."

March 2014 Meeting

Janet Melville reports:
Our March monthly meeting was very well attended even members from Jeffreys Bay attended. The Theme was publishing your family tree. Pamphlets were handed out with the recommendations of several members of Buitenposten with their findings on the various programmes they use. I offered to help people to get their information collated and published in one form or another. I had several of my books that I had published to show members what you could do with a little bit of effort even if you photo stated your information. A lot of positive feedback was received and as I have the entire set of Blue Books for all the archives, Cape, OVS, Transvaal, Kimberley and Natal that people can look up death Notices and discovered several which they could not find on NAAIRS because of the spelling. I’ve had several members at my house to come and work they bring their laptops with, I show them family search.org as well as other websites, and as I have copies of several East Cape NG churches as well as a copy of the Paarl baptisms and one lady found out that one of her forefathers was actually a bastardin, she has had her DNA done at Wits which was interesting as the findings in the Paarl confirm some of the blood in her ancestors. I have also purchased a lot of the CD’s that have become available so they can do their own research under guidance.
The Eastern Cape also purchased the CD’s A – K which they can search. The graveyard CD will also be a welcome addition to the CD’s available. It was felt that to just have a monthly meeting and the rest of the month you forget about the members till the next meeting was not good enough we should communicate with members during the month re new websites or other interesting information. We are trying to see if we can get more new members and keep the old members interested. The Committee has suggested that we hold an additional meeting on a Saturday morning for those that might not want to travel at night. In the meantime the local LDS has approached me and I am now helping their members on the first Wednesday of every month at the church to do their research on their family trees, very nice as you have internet on tap etc. The first meeting was packed out and we could barely cope. 
The new committee was elected and the following members received award for services rendered to the GSSA. Trudie Marais, Janet Melville, John Wilmot and Selwyn Bouwer.
So the East Cape branch is still keeping the Candle burning. Click on the image to enlarge

imageimageimageimage
AwardsAwardsAwardsAwards

Oos-Kaap Byeenkoms Sep 2013

Klik op foto om te vergroot

Ons maandvergadering was The Les Williams Memorial lecture ter ere van wat hy gedoen het vir genealogy en ‘n sertifikaat is oorhandig aan sy vrou vir die jare se navorsing wat hy gedoen het. Ons het 52 mense (Vir ons is dit BAIE) by ons vergadering gehad. Liz Eshmade het gepraat oor die 1820 Settlers maar meer oor persoonlikhede en hulle doen en laates. Dit was ‘n baie interessante pratjie en die mense het dit geniet. Na die tyd het ons tee en koek geniet. Ons gaan hopelik n paar nuwe lede wat teenwoordig was by kry en daar was heelwat navrae van mense wat hulp gesoek het met hulle navorsing wat ons kon help. Om die rekenaar daar te he en die reeks A tot K CD’s waar mense opsoeke kan doen help baie. Ek kon ook vir n paar mense w ys hoe om op Family Search asook Naairs n soektog te doen.

imageimageimageimage
Sep2013Sep2013Sep2013Sep2013

Down Memory Lane

Click on the Image to enlarge
Lyn Haller gave the meeting a talk on Down Memory Lane in Port Elizabeth.  She has an incredible collection of photographs of old Port

Elizabeth.  Buildings that existed in main street Port Elizabeth that no longer exist.  The old tramline that ran down Main Street, Port Elizabeth as well as the double decker buses. Photographs of the old Post Office building that eventually turned into the Baakens Street Police

image
Memorylane
Station.  The old Bioscope and OK Bazaars in main street that were demolished and replaced by office buildings.  The building of the Campanile that lies at the entrance of the harbour.
Happy  Valley done up in all its Christmas decorations, beautiful as it was before the floods damaged it.  The beachfront with the old bathing house where you could still rent a bathing costume.  These bathing costumes were a thick black wooly material and covered your whole body.  The Elizabeth Hotel which was always used by the visiting Springbok rugby teams, and after a game everybody used to go there for a drink hoping to meet the Springboks.  The Elizabeth Hotel was demolished and replaced by the Radisson Blu Hotel.  The McArthur swimming pool which was a tidal swimming pool being filled by the sea at high tide.

  • 1
  • 2