Welcome in our Midst


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 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 contracted 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 Moodies 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

Archive Crawl ENG cropped****click on the image for more details****


Rhino Project - 1972 Voters Roll

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To download an Order Form click here

Should you wish to still want to sponsor an entire book @ R350.00 this option is still available.

To download a copy of the Index and the Order Form for this option click here


The Familia / Best Article 2018

1e Familia Buiteblad

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.

Click here to download the article

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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How do I join

GSSboertjie drink teeA & eGGSA Membership New Applicant
Membership fee for the Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA) can either be R340,00 or (Abroad R570) or R230,00. This is based on whether you would like to receive the quarterly Journal of the Society, Familia, by post or electronically. This also excludes the branch fees When you decide to join you will be allocated to a particular branch e.g. Johannesburg Branch, Vaal Triangle Branch, Western Cape Branch, etc. There are 12 land based  branches and 1 Cyber branch called the eGSSA- this is an web based branch.
The various branches of the GSSA in some instances levy an additional mandatory fee for the newsletter of the branch, this differs from branch to branch.

A copy of the application form can be downloaded here Application 2019
There are two options to choose from should you wish to become a member of the GSSA
1)     Decide on the branch that you would like to join by selecting the Branches Tab on this website, select the branch of your choice and select the menu “contact us”. By clicking the relevant chairman's name will open a "contact form" form which can be completed.
2)    You can join via the eGSSA branch. Visit this page: and follow the instructions. The membership fee of the eGSSA consists of three elements, i.e. membership of the GSSA; membership of the eGSSA and optional member of a land based branch as well.
Should you have any queries kindly contact a committee member of the branch of your choice.

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Goals and Objectives

  • To promote and facilitate interest and research in genealogy and family history to present members, to the genealogical hobbyist and to all members of the public who may be interested in genealogy and/or family history.
  • To promote general understanding of Genealogy and its value, to understand and maintain professional status and dignity for genealogists amongst members of the Genealogical Society of South Africa and the general public.
  • To encourage the observance of the highest standards of research by members of the Society.
  • To provide a wide range of educational courses, research programmes and services for the general benefit of GSSA branches and members, as well as any other service or assistance as may from time to time be decided upon by the National Council of the GSSA.
  • To encourage and develop links with Family History Societies.
  • To establish and maintain contact with like minded Societies throughout the world.
  • To establish a certification program to promote the reliability, professionalism and integrity of all South African Genealogists and Record Researchers.
  • To assist in the preservation of all genealogical records and memorabilia.
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Some South African Genealogy Milestones

Since the earliest days at the Cape far sighted individuals recognised the need for recording genealogical information of the new arrivals to the Cape since 1652 From 1652 there were exceptional milestones reached by the recording of genealogies. Genealogy in South Africa today is the hobby of many South Africans and a growing science. It would be unfair to say that the following list is comprehensive but it still reflects the growth and development of genealogy in South Africa.

1652 - Diary of Jan van Riebeeck.

Read more: Some South African Genealogy Milestones

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Monday, 19 August 2019 14:37