North West Branch


The Northwest Branch is a dynamic branch where beginner, as well as experienced genealogists are encouraged to share their passion for family history.
The Northwest Branch is situated in Potchefstroom and serves mainly the North West Province. The Branch was founded in 2004, July 6th with a membership of 12 individuals. Membership has since than grown to a total of 40 individuals. Members and interested parties convene monthly at 10:00, except for the months of January, July and December, at the Potchefstroom library (44 Sol Plaatjie Avenue).
The Northwest Branch aims to equip members with the skills to conduct genealogical research and experts from all over the country often address members on a wide variety of subjects of genealogical interest. New members are shown the ropes with regard to consulting the various genealogical sources and by excursions to relevant archives and the LDS-centre. Beginner courses in genealogical research are also provided. Branch members do not only receive, but contribute to genealogy by photographing cemeteries and making the data available.
The Northwest Branch could not have found a more convenient site for its library than the Potchefstroom library 1stfloor. The branch library provides members with access to more than 150 family registers, more or less 5000 funeral notices and the Museum's collection of historical documents. Local newspapers, published as early as 1905, photographs and maps of considerate historical value and publications on the local history of Potchefstroom and South Africa (for instance the Boer War and the Great Trek) are at members' fingertips. For an updated version of the the bibliography The Branch's library at the Potchefstroom library  is open weekdays from 9:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 16:30 and no entrance fees are required. Genealogical Sources: Potchefstroom Library Admission is free. The Library receives genealogical queries daily and this is reponded to by knowledgeable museum staff members and branch members. Enquiries can be directed to Elmarie Weyers

The Branch's quarterly newsletter, Famnea, is published in February, May, August and November (see latest publication of newsletter). The newsletter provides members with the opportunity to contribute articles about their family research or other related and interesting topics. The editors give preference to articles with subject matter relating to the Northwest Province.


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Kinders van Ontheemdes

Die Volksblad: 6 Okt.2015.

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ʼn Halfeeu van verpakte herinnering is verlede naweek deur afstammelinge van ontheemde boeregesinne van nou die Wildtuin-Tussen-die Riviere uitgepak.
Kinders van 50 jaar gelede is nou meestal ouer as wat hulle ouers was toe hulle in 1965-1967 die gebied moes verlaat omdat hul voortbestaan deur die bou van die Gariepdam bedreig sou word.
Die groep wat die re-unie bygewoon het is die twee kinders van Jan en Corrie du Plessis van Du Plooy's Rust (Petro en Doep), vier van Simon en Rita du Plooy van Brakfontein (Koos, Chris, Simon en Marietjie) en drie van Willem en Lena Kruger van Spes-Bona (Lettie, Lena en Mariaan).
Dit het weggespring met vreugdevolle uitroepe van weersiens, verbasing en selfs ongeloof oor die spore wat vyftig jaar nagelaat het

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Marathon for McArthur

{module Eindpunt}

On Saturday, 10 November 2012, Potchefstromers and participating athletes had a taste of a marathon ran In Stockholm Sweden a hundred years ago during the Traumeel KK McArthur Memorial Marathon and Road Race. This grueling marathon was won by the Irish born Potchefstromer, Kennedy Kane McArthur in a record time of 2:36:54 on July 14, 1912.

The water point in front of the former home of McArthur in

{module Waterpunt3}

102Kock Street Potchefstroom was manned by members of GSSA North West Branch, Heritage Potchefstroom and the staff of the
Potchefstroom Museum. Dressed in period dress and old-fashioned music, played on an authentic "His Masters Voice" gramophone in the background, they encouraged the athletes vociferously, spoiling them with orange slices and cold drinks. Nearly 1,000 athletes took part in the memorial marathon and road race. Among them was Josiah Thugwane, the only other South African who has since succeeded to win an Olympic marathon and Blanche Moila who dominated road races in South Africa in the women's division in the 1970's and 80's. A delegation of 6 Irishmen, including 2 former mayors of Dervock, had specially travelled to Potchefstroom to be part of the anniversary event.Â

{module Waterpunt4}

Everyone agreed that the KKÂ McArthur Memorial Marathon and Road Race must definitely become an annual event in Potchefstroom.
Kennedy Kane McArthur was born on February 10, 1881 in Dervock Northern Ireland. He was the second of five children from the marriage of Robert Jamieson McArthur and Mary Ann McArthur. After his schooling, he was a postman in Dervock and District. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, McArthur joined the South African Constabulary that served in the former Transvaal. As a policeman,

{module McArthur Marton Logo}

he was stationed in Potchefstroom at Lindequesdrift, Kraalkop and later in Potchefstroom.
In 1904 McArthur completed his first race between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom (57 km). During his athletic career, he took part in a total of 6 marathons and won them all. Despite his achievements, he was not selected for the Springbok team in 1908 that participated in the London Olympics. This honour would be bestowed on him 1912 when he and his Springbok team-mate, Christopher Gitsham participated in the Stockholm Marathon. At the halfway mark Gitsham was first and McArthur third. Approximately 3.2 miles from the finish line Gitsham stopped at a fountain along the road to drink water. McArthur kept running and crossed the finish line in a record time of 2:36:54. Gitsham was second with a time of 2:37:52. Of the 69 athletes that took part in the race, only 34 finished.
On McArthur's return to South Africa he suffered an injury that ended his athletic career. He died 13/08/1960 at the age of 79 years and was buried in Potchefstroom Cemetery.
McArthur's Springbok jacket, the laurel wreath he received during Stockholm Olympics, his athletic number (No. 613), and his medals and trophies can be viewed in the Potchefstroom Museum.

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Genealogy Beginner's Course: 25 May 2013

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The Genealogy Beginner's Course sponsored by the Northwest Branch on Saturday, 25 May 2013 at the Potchefstroom Museum, was well-attended and once more proved that the interest in family history and research is steadily growing.
The renowned Isabel Groesbeek of Isabel Groesbeek Genealogiese Dienste (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) introduced 19 course attendants to the many facets of genealogical research. In two theoretical and one practical sessions of 2 hours each she focussed on the essence of genealogy; the reasons why this kind of research is done; the different kinds of research undertaken; the methodology behind it; sources of information as well as how the documentation of information is done. In her presentation, Isabel often referred to the service provided by the Genealogical Society. She encouraged everyone to join.
The Beginner's Course was mainly advertised through local and area-newspapers. This explains why a lot of those who were present came from Rustenburg, Schweizer-Reineke, Wolmaransstad, Klerksdorp, Stilfontein and Carletonville in order to attend the course in Potchefstroom. Suzette du Plessis, from Potchefstroom, sent the following SMS after completing the course:" Dankie vir die naweek se uitmuntende kursus. Ek het so baie geleer en alles was uit die boonste rakke. Van die dekor, verrassingspakket tot die heerlike ete en verversings." Everbody agreed that the course was really worth it's while and that those who attended had more knowledge and confidence afterwards to proceed on their own with researching their ancestors.

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Cemetery Project

ingangAfter much planning of and in spite of a lengthy preamble to a project of huge magnitude, seventeen members of the Northwest Province's GSSA acted on Santa's summons to convene at the Potchefstroom Cemetery on Saturday October 1, 2011. Distance proved no problem for members from Parys and Klerksdorp and project-enthusiast arrived at the Potchefstroom Cemetery at 8:30.  Everyone came prepared and in good spirit, armed with cameras, extra batteries, memory cards, brushes, chalk, buckets, cloths and of course lots of drinking water.  Since it is Potchefstroom, sun screen was applied in abundance and sun-hats worn from the get go.

A lot of planning went into the project and when discussions started on how the project should be approached, Peet Fourie took it upon himself to schematically plot the general lay-out of the cemetery.  Although not practiced anymore, the deceased were previously laid to rest in pre-ordained sections, according church affiliation.    Peet's graphical lay-out of the cemetery made it easy to allocate sections to the different teams.  Sections were photographed in an ordered and systematic fashion to ensure that all the gravestones were included.

werkgroepPieter Potgieter was responsible for the valuable, yet extremely time-consuming task of photographing and digitally transcribing the Potchefstroom Cemetery Register.   According to Pieter, the register consists of four books arranged in chronological order:  Book 1 (1903 – 1954), Book 2 (1954 – 1983), Book 3 (1983 – 1999) and Book 4 (1999 to the present date).  His study of the register indicated that up until 1940 the register recorded only the date on which the diseased was laid to rest.  In the years following 1940, the date on which a person passed away was also included.  Pieter indicated that identity numbers were included in the register's recordings since 1980, making it possible to obtain date of birth for a diseased.  He does not want to speculate on the actual number of people laid to rest in the cemetery, but offer his digital transcriptions to researchers to draw their own conclusions.  Since it is of utmost importance to include all the graves, his work can be used as a baseline and checkpoint once the Potchefstroom Cemetery photographs are uploaded and cataloguing on the national cemetery database takes place. 

A few rookies got initiaaan die werkted into the ways of the province's GSSA, and although the surroundings were quite peaceful, many members felt relieved that it was a day-time project.  Those who visited loved-ones might have wondered about the “strange people in hats”, but members were not deterred in their duties.  Knowledge that epigraphy is used as a scientific method to conduct historical research and the value it has for genealogical research, spurred members on although moments of sadness were felt when photographing the graves of for instance babies or entire families that met violent death in accidents. 

BlaaskansFor the photographers is was not a day of all work and no play, and although the day started quite cool, the temperature kept on rising as the day progressed and a formal break brought much relieve to tired feet and parched throats.  In true genealogical fashion, the ladies chose a spot near the entrance where a few “lang boompies” provided a little bit of shade, close to the final resting place of some of the sisters of St. Mary's.  The photograph shows the ladies relaxing and hospitably sharing in a picnic.

Work however started in earnest again soon and members chose new sections to photograph.  To ensure that members made most of the available time, full memory cards were downloaded on a central computer for processing at a later date.  Nothing could dampen the spirits of the team and Simon had to threaten members to compel them to stop. 

The day eventually ended with members jokingly speculating on who took the most photos and who “worked” the most.   It was a good day, not only project-wise, but for making friends and getting to know those who share similar interest, better.  More than 5 500 photos were taken and the project is definitely off to a flying start.  The members will re-convene again in April 2012 for phase 2 of the project. 



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Beginnerskursus in Genealogie: 25 Mei 2013

Klik op die foto om te vergroot

{module Genkursus}

Die goeie opkoms na die beginnerskursus in genealogie wat die Noordwestak op Saterdag, 25 Mei 2013 by die Potchefstroomse Museum aangebied het, het weereens bevestig dat daar 'n groeiende belangstelling in familiegeskiedenisnavorsing is.
Die bekende Isabel Groesbeek van Isabel Groesbeek Genealogiese Dienste (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) het 19 kursusgangers getrakteer op die vele fasette van genealogiese navorsing.  In twee teoretiese en een praktiese sessie van 2 uur elk het sy kortliks gefokus op die wese van genealogie, die rede waarom genealogiese navorsing gedoen word, die soorte navorsing wat onderneem kan word, die metodiek daarvan, bronne van inligting en hoe om nagevorste inligting te dokumenteer.  Isabel het ook telkemale in haar aanbieding verwys na die dienste wat die Genealogiese Genootskap lewer.  Lede is ook aangemoedig om by die Genootskap aan te sluit.
Die beginnerskursus is hoofsaaklik vooraf deur middel  van plaaslike en streekskoerante bekend gestel.  Dit verklaar dan waarom 'n groot aantal kursusgangers vanuit Rustenburg, Schweizer-Reineke, Wolmaransstad, Klerksdorp, Stilfontein en Carletonville die kursus te Potchefstroom bygewoon het.
Suzette du Plessis, een van die kursusgangers vanuit Potchefstroom, het na afloop vandie kursus die volgende SMS gestuur:  “Dankie vir die naweek se uitmuntende kursus.  Ek het so baie geleer en alles was uit die boonste rakke.  Van die dekor, verrassingspakket tot die heerlike ete en verversings.”  Almal was dit eens dat die bywoning van die beginnerskursus oor en oor die moeite werd was en dat hulle nou met meer selfvertroue en kennis na hul voorsate kan begin soek.

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