National Executive Committee (NEC)

The National Council shall consist of the National Executive Committee (elected and co-opted members) and all Branch Chairpersons and Vice-chairpersons, or their nominated  representatives, as ex officio members, and all such members shall be current and fully paid-up members of the Society
 Hendrik Louw
 Northern Transvaal 
 Johan Pottas
 Vice President 
 Free State
 Ellen Harmse
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 Northern Transvaal 
 Glynis Steer
 Johannesburg (Treasurer)
 Alta Griffiths
 Additional Member
 eGGSA (Chairman)
 Wilhelm Bernhardt
 Additional Member
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 Northern Transvaal (Chairman)
 Petro Coreejes-Brink
 Appointed Member
 GSSA National Familia Editor
 Germaine Smith
 Appointed Member
 GSSA National Webmaster
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 Vaal Trianlge (Chairman)


Hendrik LOUWHendrik Louw 2022
I was born on 9 September 1959 in Kenhardt as the 2nd child (4 sons) of Willem Jacobus Nicolaas Louw and Elizabeth Maria de Waal.
My childhood days on the farm Loogkolk where I grew up were carefree. We had to help from an early age, but also had the open wide field where we played. In my years before school, my parents turned every penny, it was drought years in the Bushmanland and many farmers, including my parents, went looking for pasture for the animals in South West Africa. Of course, my mother's parents were Southwesterners. At that time my parents got a field with the late Uncle Hennie Lubbe from Hofmeyer, East of Mariental. Most farmers, however, went more to the western part of the South West where good rains fell. (This is the area where the famous wild horses of Suidwes are)
I started Sub A in Kenhardt, but the following year was another dry year, thus we returned to South West where I went to school in Stamprietfontein.
In 1968 back in the Bushmanland, during my school years, I participated in almost all sports offered by the schools. My older brother excelled and I had to work hard to keep up and I could never break any of his records.
My last three years of school were at the Martin Oosthuizen High School in Kakamas and our  class mates as still in contact with each other.
After school, it's off to Bloemfontein where I lived as a kovsie in the Pres. Reitz men’s residence. I started studying B. Com at UOVS but started working at Volkskas the end of my 2nd year. Thereafter I did my National service at the Potchefstroom Infantry School where I graduated and got rank, to Lieutenant. I later attained the rank of Major. My army days, camps etc. were full of responsibilities but most enjoyable. I also meet most senior ranks of that time, personally.
In 1986, I married Sharon Gail Lockhart. We have three children, Chantel, Jaco and Sindy. Jacobus de Waal Louw (Jaco) marries Luzanne Meyer and their son, De Waal Louw is born on 22 Nov 2017.
After 39 years in Banking I resigned and start my own Real Estate Business (HESHA Properties) HE = Hendrik + SHA = Sharon.
We have been living in Kempton Park since 1992; with the Lords blessing we have been very happy.
The Genealogy bug bit me when I had to write down the names of my brothers and sisters in late 1969, early 1970s of Oupa Izaak Jacobus Louw. Although he could basically remember sixteen (he was born 4.3.1887, died at 103 years and 6  months  on 13 September 1990) it was later proved by research that there were at least 22 children. It may in itself have been 24, if accepting the fact that names of early deceased children where used again.
In 2009 I was elected as president of the Genealogical Society of South Africa. I resigned during the 2012 AGM due to health, pressure and own business responsibilities. However, I first stayed on as a product representative and treasurer. Very soon thereafter I would just be handling the products for GGSA and do that still today.

Vice President

Johan Pottas 1Johan Pottas 2022
Johan Jacob POTTAS was born in the Elizabeth Heim, Windhoek, Namibia on 13 April 1961 and one of 5 children of the late Johan Jacob POTTAS (Skerf) and Elizabeth Mathilde POTGIETER (Lilli) from Windhoek. He is one of four surviving children and the only surviving son, an older brother died as a baby. He goes to school in Eros Primary School, Windhoek and Windhoek High School. Is head boy in primary school and student council member in high school, acquires SWAAIKS colors in athletics, gymnastics and played hockey for school's first team.
After school he does military service. He studied at the University of the Free State obtained BComm and BComm (Hons) (Capital investment). Articled for 2 years as auditor clerk, works as a professional photographer for 2 years, works at Pick n Pay as a perishable food manager for 8 years and then for the University of the Free State in various capacities.
He was married in the KOVSIE NGK, Bloemfontein on 21 September 1985 to Eureka Dannhauser SMITH born in the nursing clinic in Edenburg, Free State on 26 February 1961, daughter of the late Gert Hendrik Dannhauser SMITH and Maria Elizabeth BOTHA (Mary). She grew up in Trompsburg, Free State, studying at the University of the Free State.
His interest in genealogy has come a long way, as a child was the one who constantly wanted to hear the family stories over and over. In 1997 he started researching the Pottas family on his own and joined the Genealogical Society of South Africa in 2000. Earnest interest started in 2001, when he realized, the generation before him was dying and with them all the amazing stories and information. By 2003 he had sorted out the POTTAS line and then his trouble started with his other ancestors. One thing led to next and today he actively doing research on more than 80 different surnames in their entirety. In 2003 Simon DUPLOOY and Hendrik LOUW convinced him to attend the AGM in Port Elizabeth and there the two of them and Johann JANSE VAN RENSBURG to re-establish the Free State branch.
He was elected chairman of the branch in 2003, a position he would fill until September 2013. Hereafter he was no longer involved on the branch committee but remained an active member. During the time as chairman, he was also involved with Hendrik LOUW in the making and compilation of a number of GSSA's Omnibus CDs. His first genealogical publication was “Die Van den (r) Berg's van die Kaap tot Witkraal, Petrusburg” in 2005 which he compile for a  friend Cas VAN DER BERG. His own family register appeared thereafter, written for his dad Skerf POTTAS's 80th birthday “Die Pottas skerwe vanaf Schwalenberg tot Windhoek” 2006. After that the “Van den (r) Berg (h) families of Southern Africa” 2008 and also “Alexander's SA” 2011. He am also involved as a co-author in the “BEKKER register ”compiled by Ann TIRAN and himself.
There are also numerous smaller families that he research and that appeared in the GGSA's Omnibuses.
Furthermore, he was also the author of the Free State GGSA's publication Maiores from 2003 to 2010, after which he did not see chance to continue with it.
Families he is still working on: VAN DEN (R) BERG (H), KLOPPER, POTTAS, MENTZ, parts of BEKKER, SMIT, POTGIETER, OOSTHUIZEN, DANNHAUSER, all the descendants of Elizabeth VOOGD the daughter of Claus VOIGT (a German ) and Christina ('KhoiSan woman) and many more. Then there is also the Free State progenitor project that he was busy with, i.e. all the men and women who entered the Free State during the period 1820 to 31 May 1902 and had already settled here.


Ellen HarmseEllen Harmse 2022
Ellen HARMSE nee RUSCH, was born on 13 June 1950 in Windhoek, in what was then South West Africa. According to German tradition, a pink flag was hoisted at the hospital as a  welcoming sign and a notice was placed in the local newspaper! My parents are Franz * 1908 Windhoek, German South-West Africa x Else KAPPEL * 1911 Berlin, Germany. Grandfather Ernst Julius, the progenitor, was one of the first 41 Schutztruppler (German protection forces) to bring peace between the Hereros and Namas and set foot ashore in Namibia in January 1890. From 1970 she lived in Johannesburg, Kempton Park where she worked in the construction industry and as a lecturer in adult education for the Department of Education until 1995.
In 1973 she married Neels Harmse * 1939 Schweizer Reineke and they have two daughters, Benita and Anja and one grandson Tristan. She realized that not much research had been done on the HARMSE. She has placed a draft compilation of her research at the Heritage Foundation's Library and at Library of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Wellington which houses the GISA collection for comment and to be supplemented and replaced annually with the latest information.
Ellen is also the co-ordinator of the tours to the different archives every year for the GSSA. It has grown from only going to the Western Cape Provincial Archive (formerly KAB), initially, to so much so that now tours to the Free State Provincial Archive and also to the National Archive in Pretoria are organized.


Glynis SteerGlynis Steer 2022
I was born and raised in Johannesburg and proudly still live there. My interest in genealogy started way back in the 1990’s when my mother-in-law gave up her research after discovering that her grandmother was imprisoned for murder and infanticide and died in prison. What and incentive to start scratching up the family secrets!
I previously served on the Southern Transvaal (now Johannesburg) Branch committee as Librarian and Newsletter Editor and conducted their training courses on researching one’s family history.
I trained as a librarian and with time moved into IT Systems Support.
My husband, Rob and I have a Zulu foster daughter and a Mexican/Zulu granddaughter. When not in Johannesburg, I enjoy spending time in the tiny hamlet of Rosendal in the eastern Free State.


Additional Member - Marketing

 Germaine SmithAlta Griffiths 2022
Alta Griffiths, nee Rudolph, was born and grew up in the picturesque town of Heidelberg in Gauteng. She is the eldest of two children. Alta's family roots in this town go back to the early 1845's. Although her mom was born Kruger, the maternal side with the Rossouws, Brits and Slabbert families were there much earlier with baptisms recorded in the Potchefstroom register being done at the  Suikerboschrand.
Alta has been doing family research for the last 16 years , with  a couple of brick walls still to be worked on. On the Rudolph side she has ties with the Voortrekkers, it was believed that there were so many orphans under the Voortrekkers that her great-grandfather was appointed the "Weesheer" (Orphan Master).
Alta is chairman of eGGSA, the virtual branch of the society and was appointed as an Additional Member on the NEC with the portfolio of Marketing. She works as a full time Occupational Health Nurse in Cape Town while raising two children.

Additional Member

Germaine SmithWilhelm Bernhardt 2022
Wilhelm Bernhardt was born on 7 January 1970 in the Provincial Hospital in the town of Belfast, in the then Transvaal. He is the eldest son of Wilhelm Bernhardt and Jacomina Johanna Venter. His childhood was carefree and was mostly spent in the village of Waterval Boven, where he was also in primary school as a pupil at Oosterlijn Primary School, where his parents taught. After this he rode a bus every day for 5 years to finally matriculate in 1987 at Belfast High School.
After school he went to Tukkies, where he obtained a degree in Political Science in 1990, and an Honors degree in Political Science in 1991. He joined the National Intelligence Service in 1992, currently the State Security Agency. In 1998 he obtained a Master's degree in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, and in 2004 he completed his D. Phil at the University of Pretoria, again in Political Science, with the subject application of risk management principles in statutory intelligence and national security. context.
Wilhelm's predilection for history and genealogy was fueled by several people, but his maternal grandfather, Willem Frederik Venter, should probably get the most credit for this. Grandpa Willem, a particularly intelligent man and farmer from the Machadodorp district, knew the history and stories of his various ancestors at his fingertips, and passed them on countless times to his children and grandchildren. Wilhelm, who married Isabel Nel in the year 2000, already has several genealogical publications behind him, including his magnum opus, which appeared in 2015, entitled: "The Family History of Corli and Anica Bernhardt". In it he explores the ancestors and history of his two daughters on both the paternal and maternal side (a total of 32 families, 16 on the paternal side, and 16 on the maternal side), down to the respective patriarchs and mothers. He is a strong supporter of a holistic approach to genealogy, and thus promotes both pedigree research, as well as the broader concept of science-based family history writing.
In 2020 he won the GGSA's award for best article in Familia, and in 2021 he was elected Chairman of the GGSA's Northern Transvaal Branch. When he is not engaged in genealogy, he spends his free time writing history, collecting books, restoring classic cars, riding his motorcycle, traveling with his wife, browsing antique shops and markets, and just hanging out in his garage to tinker with all sorts of things.

Appointed Member - GSSA National Familia Editor

Germaine SmithPetro Coreejes-Brink 2022
Petro Coreejes-Brink  (nee Coreejes)  was born in Bellville 2 June 1973.  She is the elders of two daughters of Magrietha Louisa  (Marina) van Wyk  (from Brackenfell) and Gerhardus Johannes (Basie) Coreejes (from Carnarvon).
She matriculated at the Hight School Brackenfell in 1991 and started with a BBibl at the University of Stellenbosch.  Soon after completing her Library qualification, she starts working as a Librarian at the Cape Technicon in Cape Town.  Petro loves doing research and obtained a BA Hon and a Masters qualification in Cultural history as well at the University of Stellenbosch.  The focus of her last qualification was on genealogy and naming patterns within the Coreejes family over a period of 200 years.   Petro has been doing genealogical research from 1992 on the Coreejes family in South Africa.
Only after completion of her studies, did she become involved in the GSSA and has been a member sinse 2003.  She has been one of the GSSA past Presidents and was very active within the gravestone recording projects for years.
Petro, working at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for the last 25 years and is involved with special collections that include the collections of GISA that was donated to the Library in 2018.
She is married to Sybrand Abraham Brink (*08/04/1972) and has two children (Kiran * 2007 and Milina *2008) 

Appointed Member - GSSA National Webmaster

Germaine SmithGermaine Smith 2022
Germaine Lisel Rosslyn Smith born in the City of Roses on a beautiful Saturday winters afternoon during a very important rugby match no less!  My parents are Arthur Leslie Rosslyn Smith and Carol Evelyn van den Berg.
I lived in Bloem and went to one of the best girl’s schools, namely Eunice Primary. Later on we moved to Three Rivers, Vereeniging where I completed my primary school years at Milton Primary and then matriculated at Riverside High.
My love for art took me to study Fine Arts at the Vanderbijlpark Technikon, but today I find myself drawing more on my pc than on canvas.
I started researching my British heritage on my paternal side (Smith & Farmiloe ). They were from British decent and two trips to the UK led me to finding my grandfather’s family and obtaining many of the documents I was looking for at the time.
My maternal line takes me as far back as the Great Voortrekkers  and the British settlers, this was going to be exciting to research as it would cover both my grandfather and grandmother. The surnames of Holder, Dicks, Thompson, Durand and de Bruin was my grandmothers Heritage. They all hailed from the Dordrecht, Maclear region in the Eastern Cape. I have to still receive the photo of proof that my Great Aunt was born on an ox wagon trekking the arduous journey to Natal.
I am the Chairman of the Vaal Triangles GSSA Branch and find it so true to my nature to encourage and assist our members to find their long gone family members for which some have searched for decades.