Museum Day in South Africa was intended to draw attention to the plight of museums in the country and I was asked to take part in the Humansdorp Museum’s Exhibition where I was able to promote eGSSA’s Outreach Program.
Trudie Marais and I, together with our husbands Tinus and Ludwic, set off before sunrise to arrive at Jeffrey’s Bay’s Fountain Mall by 8 am to set up for the Exhibition. Before we were even finished setting up the first few eager seekers arrived. From there it became a never ending stream of people, surnames too many to remember. Some people did, however, stand out:
WILLIAMS - a young couple now living in Mexico. SCHARNIK - a wonderful gentleman desperate to find out all he can about his family. OLIVIER - we could help him with the help of one of the Jeffrey’s Bay group who researches the OLIVIERs who had popped in to say hello. DEYSEL – (German descent) we referred the seeker to a gentleman at the Exhibition who had the Deysel book, so we had another satisfied member of the public. FOWLDS – Yvonne, looking for her parents COCKCROFT/FOWLES marriage. ARENDT - researching his German family, he spoke to Trudie MARAIS, the leader of the German Group in Port Elizabeth.
Best of all, and I forget the surname, was a woman who knew absolutely nothing about her father’s family as he had grown up in an orphanage. She could give me his name and date of birth. We were very fortunate to find this family. Her father was one of 20 children, an absolute shock to her.
eGGSA also obtained permission to photograph an old HUMAN family register in the safekeeping of the Museum, as well as a number of family bibles. I will try to do this as soon as possible.
If you don’t mind us bragging a little, it certainly seemed to us that the eGGSA stall received by far the most attention at the Exhibition. As a result, we had a busy day helping many people and set many on the correct path.
I believe that we are reaching people who did not know that help was available - the Outreach Program is working.