The Genealogical Society of South Africa

Using The Johannesburg Branch Library

The Johannesburg Branch of the Genealogical Society boasts a very well stocked Library. Making useof the Library suits the beginner, just starting out and certain publications and guides offer excellent advice for the more experienced researcher too.

 Concentrating on South African resources, all researchers are welcome to peruse a complete set of Indexes to Estate Files for each Archives depot in South Africa; these indexes are a mine of information and although they are available online, we generally find that in the printed form, name variants, or groups of surnames are easier to see when searching for Death Notices and Probate references. Formal Sources in the Library include the well-thumbed Guide to Genealogical Research; and of course A-Z Genealogies of Old South African names now published by the Genealogical Institute of South Africa. Another excellent book is Esme Bull's Aided Immigration 1856-1866 which gives fantastic details about new
English, Irish and German settlers to these shores.
To counter the possibility of re-inventing the wheel, we heartily encourage new members to check the numerous publications on South African family histories such as Van Der Merwe, Le Roux and Truter books so that if a Family Tree exists, one can check information or even collaborate with the Author.
What members find particularly useful is the printed version of the GSSA product of selected Cemetery Recordings in South Africa. Keeping up with the times and moving swiftly into the 20th Century the Genealogical Society has for a number of years offered these Cemetery Recordings on DVD and the Library has a full set of them. Members researching specific settlers refer to British Settler's in Natal by Shelagh O'Byrne Spencer or The Cotton German's of Natal or Afrikaner Families in Natal and of course Pieter Coertzen's Huguenots of South Africa and those with 1820 Settler stock will find several publications of old Settler families very useful, for example The Tarr's of Rokewood or 1820 Settlers by Guy Butler but a favourite must surely be The Guide to Manuscripts held at Cory Library in Grahamstown second only to the List of Photographs (A-G} which is held at the Albany Museum.
A good number of members busy tracing their Scottish, English or Irish ancestors, will find our Library is well stocked with Guides to researching Census Records or Baptisms and Marriages in Methodist, Baptist or Church of England records, as well as several Guides to researching in Public Record Offices in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. The more experienced researcher will be pleased to learn how to make use of Tudor England's Muster Rolls, the Poor Law Union records or even Hearth Tax records for various counties in England.
Heraldry research compliments historical and Genealogical research thoroughly. The Library has several publications on Heraldry such as The Complete book of Heraldry by Stephen Slater an excellent publication covering an international history of heraldry and its contemporary uses. In the same vein, descendants of landed Gentry may find the well-known Whitakers or Burkes Peerage of good use. Books are available to the researcher when the Library is opened after each monthly meeting every 3,d Saturday monthly at the RJM Hall, Randjes Estate, Highlands North.icon Library Book List