2020 Branch Meetings and Outings

January:  We started our year off with our AGM held on the 11 January 2020. Our management team has stayed unchanged and we look forward to another exciting year.

2020 Committee Members

  • Chairman Germaine Smith  
  • Vice-Chairman Nico Müller
  • Secretary Cathy Potgieter
  • Treasurer Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter

Additional Members

  • Storiewa Kobie Ströh
  • Training / Guest Speakers Wilma Jansen van Vuuren
  • Cemetery Project Nico Müller
  • Add Member (Advisory) Sampie Orton                         

Committee 2020 4

From the Left: Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter, Germaine Smith, Cathy Potgieter, & Nico Müller, Kobie Ströh (not present but also on the committee - Wilma Janse van Vuuren)


Committee 2020 1

From the left – Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter, Anne-Mari Oosthuizen, Cathy Potgieter, Geramine Smith, Gys Ströh, Back Right - Nico Müller, Piet de Coning, Wolfie Spalek, Front Right - Kobie Ströh, Engela Spaleck, Wilna van den Berg,

February:            Year planning braai

This year we decided to have our year planning session along the banks of the Sugarbush river in Three Rivers. Each member has an input in what we do for the year. We all discussed what we wanted to achieve for the year and what we were going to do to see this happen. It was a fun filled day and everyone who attended had their points heard and so the year plan was set up. (see our events page)


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2019 Branch Meetings and Outings

January:   We started off our year with our AGM. This year we had a big change with Nico Muller being voted in as our Vice-Chairman taking over from Sampie Orton who filled the role with great enthusiasm and dedication. We kept Sampie in an advisory position as his years of experience are invaluable. Kobie Stroh has taken over as the Storiewa editor. We have an enthusiastic team who are always willing to help and get stuck in when the work needs to get done.


Committee Members 2019

From the Left: Sampie Orton, Nico Müller, Wilma Jansen van Vuuren, Kobie Ströh, Germaine Smith, Cathy Potgieter & Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter


Branch Members Jan 2019

Back from the left – Nico Müller, Sampie Orton, Stefan Jansen van Vuuren, Wolfie Spalek, Derick Vorster, Gys Ströh, Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter, Geramine Smith , Johan Naude, Piet de Coning
Front from the left -  Anet Lingenfelder, Wilma Jansen van Vuuren, Engela Spaleck, Kobie Ströh, Cathy Potgieter, Elmari Jacobs, Wilna van den Berg, Alta Jacobs (absent members not in the photos  - Joan van Ellewee & Casper van Wyk – new member Jaco Cilliers)

February:            Year planning braai

This year we decided that each member should have an input in what we do for the year and instead of just a meeting we had a bring and braai. We all discussed what we wanted to achieve for the year and what we were going to do to see this happen. It was a fun filled day and everyone who attended had their points heard and so the year plan was set up.

March:                  “Begrafniesbriefies” Training

It was decided that every member of the branch would transcribe 100 “Begrafniesbriefies” to help Wilma with her back log. These were given to us on a flash drive and were given a crash course by Wilma. Our deadline to hand this back to her was then end of July 2019.

April:                     Archive Tour Training

Wilma Janse van Vuuren gave us a hands-on course of what to expect when going to the archives. How to prepare for the trip and what one can expect to find. We are planning this trip later this year.

May:                      Vanderbijlpark Cemetery Photographing Project

Group photo 4 May 2019

We decided to tackle yet another cemetery this year and picked Vanderbijlpark as our target. 6 Members started on the 4th May 2019 and took a total of 3157 photographs.





May:                      Potchefstroom Museum Tour with Johan Wolfaardt

Potch Visit 2019 1We start our day at the President Pretorius Museum, then Totius House & the Gereformeerde Kerk Museum. From there Molen street (Voortrekker cemetery, watermills, War Memorial), then a short stop by Ds Van Der Hoff Church. It is always a treat to meet up with Johan Wolfaardt – his enthusiasm and his knowledge of our country’s history is really remarkable. A treat for the day was a friend of Johan Wolfaardt, Professor Hennie Coetzee who invited us to join him and his lovely wife Kato at their beautiful home in Potchefstroom for tea. A tour through his home was a remarkable experience, a collection of antiques few people will ever see.

Potch Visit 2019 3 Professor Hennie Coetzee & his wife Kato Potch Visit 2019 2Johan Wolfaardt

June 1                   Vrede van Vereeniging Wreath Laying

GSSA Vaal and the Voortrekkers got together on the 1 June 2019 to lay wreaths at the  Vereeniging Concentration Camp to  commemorate the signing of the Peace Treaty of Vereeniging that brought an end to the ABW. This went well beyond our expectation when more than 50 people arrived. The “Voortrekkertjies” all laid flowers on the graves and we made the local news!

Concentration Camp Group

June:                     Military Records with Dewald Nel

Our first guest speaker for the year was Dewald Nel and a specialist in Military and Police records and an avid collector of all things militaria. Dewald came recommended to me when I was looking for the war records of my great grandfather and great uncles who fought in both WWI and WWII. Dewald has both a B.Com (Law) and an LLB degree obtained from the University of Pretoria.  Whilst completing his articles, he studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, completing an H.Dip (Tax) in 2005. Following articles, he spent some time practising as an admitted attorney and then later working for one of the remaining big four accounting firms as a tax consultant. From early childhood he had a fascination for all things military and currently he collects all medals awarded to recipients with the surname Nel or Nell.  His collection spans the period from the South African War of 1877 – 1879, to the Border War.  Medals present an interesting insight or slant to genealogy, as most South African medals are personalized with either the details of the recipient on it, or a serial number which can normally be traced to a single recipient.  In 2009 his hobby became his career and he has been trading in militaria and doing military medal research full time since then.

July:                       How to decipher Unindexed Civil Records

Germaine gave an in-depth presentation on how to go about searching the unindexed records on Family Search and how to use the various links available on FACEBOOK. These records cover mainly the Civil registrations.  She also showed them how to access the many useful tutorials that have been made by Mathew Bode (Facebook Genealogist) giving guidelines on how to access and use the different tools available to us all.     

27 July:                   Continuation of the Vanderbijlpark Cemetery Photographing Project

This was our second session of photographing. We had 7 members and one guest to continue this massive task. But for the few people I think we have done an enormous amount of work already. The red block indicating our fist photographing session: With a total of 3157 Photographs being taken.  The green block indicating our second photographing session With a total of 3228 Photographs being taken.We hope to complete this project by the end of the year.

Group Photo 27 July 2019

WhatsApp Image 2019 07 30 at 19.51.31 

Alta Jacobs, Germaine Smith, Meshak Nketsing, Stefan Janse Van Vuuren,

Nico Muller, Piet de Coning, Kobie Stroh, Jacob de Coning & Gys Stroh




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2018 Branch Meetings and Outings

February: Group Workshop Web Winkel & Family Search

workgoupWe kicked off and started our year by showing members what they could expect from the new upcoming GGSA Web Winkel site. We ran a live demonstration of how to search on the various options that are currently available. Then we ran a Live Webenar from the Family Search Blog on Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch” aimed more at the advanced genealogists, but very useful tips were discussed in this video. Members had the link to go and re-watch this at their leisure.


March:                  2018 Allegaartjie

A few of us attended the Allegaartjie at the N-Tvl branch last year and I really loved the idea of branch members sharing their stories. We decided this year to also have a mini Allegaartjie of our own. Every member was asked to do a 10 min talk about any topic of their choice. This turned out to be a great afternoon of sharing. I was really impressed not only at how many had something to saybut at the variation of topics. We often forget that in our midsts we have a lot of experience and knowledge that goes untapped.

April:                     Sasolburg Cemetery Project

The April branch meeting was our first outing of the year albeit to a cemetery, it was the start of our eGGSA Gravestone Project contribution. For our first session we had 9 members attending, 4 of which had cameras and the other 5 members were the cleaning crew, taking a total of 1393 photos.

Our second session in May had 11 members attending, this time with 7 photographers and 4 members as cleaning crew, taking a total of 2166 photos. We hope to complete this cemetery on the 16 June. We will also be photographing the register to send to Peter Moss for the Cemetery Recording Project.  

Sasolburg April 18     Sasolburg June 18     May 2018

 May:                      Annemarie Dreyer and Rentia Landman

annemarie en rentiaOur first two guest speakers for the year and what a treat it was. Rentia Landman Annemarie Dreyer

Annemarie came to talk about her Dreyer DNA Project as well as the practical side of DNA testing. I think our members were given some great advice and good insight into DNA testing.

Rentia added a bit of fun with some interesting  facts on her talk of Genealogy: The Never Ending Story

9 June:                 Johan Wolfaardt 

OssewabrandwagWe had Johan Wolfaardt back for a second visit to our branch, this time to come and talk about the Ossewabrandwag. Many of our members had family that were a part of this movement and so we had a huge interest in this topic.



16 June:               Completion of the Sasolburg Cemetery Project

Our greatest achievement I think was recording the Sasolburg cemetery. We started in April and over three months completed this enormous task. Then Riana and her team had the arduous task of transcribing some 5000 photos for the eGGSA Gravestone Project. All our efforts paid off when the indexing was all done by October and the photos went live. We also had a special mention in the Genesis Publication for our efforts! A big thank you to our team members and to Riana le Roux and her team.

 Sasol Map

July:                    Training in July

We ran the following training session:

Nico Muller Family Tree Training namely Legacy. He started at the basics and moved on to the more advance features of this program.

Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter File Creation and File Organizing. A very valuable asset to have when one starts with genealogy. Again, he started at the basics of file creations moving on and sharing his very useful ways of how to organise ones data.

Wilma Jansen van Vuuren Sources. How to correctly note your sources, the different types of sources and how to identify them.

Germaine Smith -  Family Search and NAAIRS. Updated manuals were handed to our members on how to use both of these. We also went through how to use Cornel Viljoen Excel Cape Register. 

training in July

August:         Annemarie Carelsen Pretoria Museum

To me the highlight of our year so far. Annemarie has been a curator of the National Culture and Historical Museum in Pretoria since 1982 and what a wealth of information and knowledge she has indeed. We were lucky to have her for a double session.

  • Firstly, she spoke about the more than 200 small museums in SA and what their value to the genealogist is. What to look for and how to get the most out of items that may not always be in plain sight.
  • Our second session had her take us on a journey through the ages of historical clothing and identifying these eras by the dress code. One needs more than a session with this very interesting guest speaker. I think what we enjoyed the most was her willingness to share.

September:        Isabel Groesbeek's 11th Genealogie & Familie-Erfenisfees

Sep 2018 Genealogie Familie Erfenisfees

Our branch meeting was replaced with an outing to this year Genealogie & Familie-Erfenisfees held in Pretoria. Seven of our members attended and for some it was a first time.

There was talk of the Vaal GSSA also having a table at next years event  watch this space is all I can say!


Front: Wilna van den Berg, Cathy Potgieter, Engela & Wolfie Spalek
Back: Hendrik (Pottie) Potgieter, Germaine Smith, Casper van Wyk

 October:              Movie & Discussion Afternoon

Our first movie afternoon saw us gathering with popcorn, chocolates and drinks to watch the newly released Krotoa. It was something new for all of us and was well received by the members. We did however run out of time to have an in-depth discussion and critic our movie, but will make time again next year for another movie afternoon. 

November:         3 Museum visits with Annemarie Carelsen.

Our first stop was Smuts Museum Irene where were met by Annemarie Carelsen and given a private tour of this old historical building.  A Smuts house visit is not complete without scones and tea under the trees!

Next stop Hervormde Kerk Museum in Gezina once again a private tour with her expert knowledge guiding us through all their artefacts.  We ended our day at the Engelenberg House Collection in Acardia . A spectacular day and our thanks to Annemarie for her time and for sharing her wealth of knowledge with us.

Smuts House Nov 18

Nico Muller, Wilna van den Berg, Kobie & Gys Stroh, Germaine Smith  Wolfie & Engela Spalek










December:         Spit braai under the trees at Sylviavale

We closed off our year with a spit braai under the trees at Slyviavale Heritage Museum. An event enjoyed by many of our members each year end. We welcomed Annemarie Dreyer and Rentia Landman from the Pretoria branch, who joined us at this wonderful get together.

 Year end Function Dec 18

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2020 Branch Meetings and Outings



21 March 2020


18 APRIL  2020


9 MEI 2020


31 MEI 2020


13 JUN 2020


16 JUN 2020


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Ons tak se stories

StoriewaDie GGSA Vaal se eie publikasie.

Wat is GENEALOGIE? ( Wikipedia)

Die woord is vanuit Griekse afkoms nl “ Genea “ – Afkoms en “Logos” – Kennis. Die studie van afkoms. Die studie van gesinne en hulle afstammelinge.

Genealoë gebruik mondelinge tradisies, historiese rekords, genetiese analise en ander bronne om inligting oor families te bekom.

Genealogie word meestal as ‘n stokperdjie beoefen.

Wat is die GGSA? ( Wikipedia/ GGSA)

Die Genealogiese Genootskap van Suid-Afrika is ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse genealogiese organisasie van persone (toegewyde amateur-familienavorsers) wat hulle besig hou met die studie van genealogie, familiebome en familiegeskiedenis wat ‘n Suid-Afrikaaanse verbintenis het. Die GGSA is in 1964 gestig.

Mense het van oor die wêreld na Suid-Afrika gekom, families begin en vêr en wyd versprei binne en buite die grense van Suid-Afrika. Om hierdie gesinne se voetspore te volg en om insig te kry in hulle kulturele, geestelike, godsdienstige en politieke sieninge is ‘n moeilike dog interessante en verykkende ervaring.

Wat is die GGSA VAAL? Bydrae deur Hendrik Potgieter (Pottie)

Die Genealogiese Genootskap van Suid-Afrika (GGSA) se Vaaldriehoek tak is in Sept 1999 gestig as 'n organisasie sonder winsbejag met die volgende doelstellings:

  • om met almal wat belangstel in genealogiese navorsing kontak te maak
  • om die wetenskap van genealogie te bevorder
  • om steun te verleen aan die bewaring van genealogiese en ander waardevolle verwante dokumentasie.

Alhoewel die Vaal Tak 'n baie eenvoudige ontstaan gehad het met net 5 lede wat aangesluit het, het die Tak stelselmatig uitgebrei oor die jare met ‘n konstante ledetal van 25 lede per jaar vir die laaste 5 jaar. 3

Na die stigting in 1999 was die Vaal Tak verskeie kere by verskillende adresse in die Vanderbijlpark-,en Vereenigingomgewing gesetel en is die behoefte vir ’n meer permanente adres nog steeds ’n droom vir die toekoms.

Ten spyte van die “klein tak” status wat die Vaaldriehoek het, word hier elke jaar groot dinge deur die bestuur en lede van die tak vermag. Die konstante vraag van “wat doen julle by die Tak”, kan maklik beantwoord word met:

  • Vergader een keer per maand.
  • Gereelde interessante gassprekers wat vir ons inligtingsessies aanbied.
  • Takuitstappies na ander relevante instansies.
  • Biblioteek wat bestaan uit boeke en cd’s.
  • Opleidingsessies aangebied by vergaderings.

Van die projekte wat die Tak aktief bedryf is deelname aan die nasionale Begraafplaasprojek. Die fotografering van grafte by die begraafplase is baie belangrik vir almal binne en buite die landsgrense.

Die absolute hoogtepunt is natuurlik die jaarlikse Ons Storiewa uitgawe. Ons Storiewa verskyn hierdie jaar vir die 8ste keer. Dit is die geleentheid wanneer al die Tak se lede ’n bydrae kan lewer om in hierdie publikasie as vertoonkas te wys waarmee hulle as amateur en gesoute navorsers en genealoë besig is.

Indien mens na die publikasies kyk, besef jy baie gou dat dit nie formele, stywe navorsingspublikasies is nie. Dit is sommer net lekker leesstories en staaltjies en dan besef mens die waarde van “Wat is Genealogie?”

Dit is die navorsing van ’n familie se erfenis.

Genealogie is die lyn van ’n nagevorsde afstammeling, onafgebroke van ’n Stamvader of Stammoeder.

In ons geval werk ons van onself af tot by ’n Stamvader of Stammoeder.

Genealogie is ’n passie en in baie gevalle ’n lewenslange missie. Die algemene gevoel is dat ‘n mens baie selde ‘n volledige stamboom met al sy sytakke sal hê.

Die stories wat ons skryf, is die murg en been van die verlede.

Onthou - Genealogie sonder dokumentasie is Mitologie.

Dit is met groot trots dat ons deel is van die Genealogiese Genootskap van Suid-Afrika (GGSA) wat uit 12 takke met ongeveer 1,000 lede landswyd en in die buiteland bestaan.

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