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WELCOME TO THE GSSA JOHANNESBURG BRANCH

The Johannesburg Branch of the GSSA serves genealogists in the immediate Johannesburg area. The Branch holds meetings on the 3rd Saturday of every month except December.

Place: 18 January 2020 and 15 February 2020 meetings will be held at the Upper Church Hall, St Columba’s Church, 45 Lurgan Rd, Parkview. A new venue is being negotiated and will be confirmed after the February 2020 meeting.

Time and Format: Until further notice, meetings will start at 14:30. The format is normally a speaker, workshop, discussion or visit/tour.

Visitors are welcome and are charged R25 to cover the cost of the tea after the meeting.

Research facilities include:

  1. Experienced genealogists are available to assist members with their research.
  2. A library with many useful reference books.

Information: Please contact David Kinghorn on 082 808 4864 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Doreen Piner on 083 650 2036. These will change after our AGM on 15 February 2020.

 

BRANCH MEETINGS 2020

Date

Topic

Speaker/Comment

18 Jan

My family tree research in Belarus

Stan Close

15 Feb

Branch AGM: Annual reports. Elect Committee

Member profiles /interests

14 Mar

Book in a Box

Make a special memento

18 Apr

Workshop.

Get help with brick walls

16 May

Current Resources

Natalie da Silva

Jun (tbc)

Midweek. Pretoria archive visit

 

18 Jul

My family tree

Talks by members

15 Aug

Tertiary Research Resources (out the box info)

Natalie da Silva

Sep (tbc)

LDS visit

 

Oct (tbc)

Cemetery Recording

 

21 Nov

Show and Tell

Year end party

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Visit to Jewish Roots in Belarus

Stan Close who will be telling us about his visit last year to Belarus in search of his Jewish Roots. This promises to be a very interesting meeting and has raised my interest so much that's when I realised how little I knew about the Jews in South Africa.
Stan was born in Bulawayo in (then) Rhodesia, attended primary school in Bulawayo and Ndola, and senior school in Johannesburg.
Stanley John Close married Edith Close (yes, maiden name Close) on 12 December 1970 in Graaff Reinet. The fact that the couple shared the same surname begged the obvious question whether the two Close families were related in any way. And so Stan's genealogical research began. Back in the seventies this was not easy as the internet wasn't around, most other family members were luke warm on the subject, and all charts and family trees had to be done by hand. Stan's research dribbled along until 2015, when some new information on the Jewish side of the family came to hand, and he decided to revive his research work, on the Jewish line as well as the two Close lines.
The Jewish line : Stan's grandfather, Alan Robert Close, married a young Jewish lady, Lilian Sylvia Rosenberg in (then) Salisbury on 23 July 1919. Lily was the daughter of a Russian Jewish couple, Coppel and Mathilda (Mechanik) Rosenberg, who had emigrated from two small villages in then Russia, now Belarus, to settle in Bulawayo, Rhodesia. This part of the research concerns the origins of the Jewish family in Belarus, the passage of the Rosenbergs from Belarus to Bulawayo, their lives in Bulawayo, and follow up on Rosenberg descendants in South Africa, England and the USA.
In August 2015, together with a local genealogist/ guide, Stan and his cousin Paul Tomlinson (Paul's mother was my grandmother Lily Rosenberg's sister) visited Vilnius in Lithuania and the towns of Vashiliski, Zheludok and Scuchin in Belarus “ where our Jewish family originated" - to uncover as much information as possible regarding the original Jewish family (ies) who had lived there, and also to expose ourselves first hand to the typical way of life in these small Belarusian villages.

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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

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