Northern Transvaal Branch - Monthly Presentations 2022

One of the benefits of GSSA membership is the opportunity to attend a monthly talk by a knowledgeable speaker. The Northern Transvaal branch is renowned for the quality, professionalism, and relevance of its presentations on a myriad of genealogy related topics. Navigate to the presentation video, text or slide set. Each presentation is in the language of the topic. For a summary of each presentation, see below. 
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 2022-04-09  Maya Roon  In die hart van die Pilanesberg
 2022-03-12  Maj Gustav Bentz en Annelies Schoeman  Die Militêre Argief
 2022-02-12  Dr Tian Schutte & Peet Coetzee
 2021  Northern Transvaal Branch - Monthly Presentations
 Northern Transvaal Branch - Monthly Presentations

In die heart van die Pilanesberg

Maya Roon Ms. Maya Roon, 09 April 2022
Maya, who was born in the Netherlands, spoke comfortably in Afrikaans about her research on the farms in the Pilanesberg of ealier times.
She joined Friends of the Pilanesberg and helped clear up old walls and clean graves. On the map of the Pilanesberg one can see the crater well. The size of the farms depended on how far one could ride a horse in an hour.
She started looking for deeds at the Deeds Office and maps at the Government Printer - and with hard work persisted and continued to identify the farms, as well as the families who lived there. She had to decipher the writings of notaries, the deeds were in a cellar and could not be taken out or photocopied. That was before the time of cell phones with cameras.
It was great for her to see who owned the farms, such as Paul Kruger and Sammy Marks. She identified farm names such as Leeuwfontein, Nooitgedacht and Palmietfontein as well as the surnames of owners - about 35 surnames. Surnames are spelled differently and this has made research difficult e.g. Schoombee, Schoonbee, Scroombee. She contacted families to find out more. Some did not want to share information.
The talk was appropriate and well-illustrated with photos and maps.
She has written a book about her research and there are no more printed copies available. Work is currently underway to make it available digitally.


The Military Archive

Tian SchutteMajor Gustav Bentz and Annelies Schoeman, 12 March 2022
A military archive is the "memory of soldiers".
The military archive is the repository of army records.
The Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000, PAIA is the important law according to which information must be made available.
The collection dates back to 1912. It is a large collection, consisting of about 700 000 cartons and there are three to five files in a carton. There is also a collection of photos, glass negatives, maps, movies and videos. Some of the sources should be stored in a cold facility, such as microfilms. There is also supplementary material such as old magazines and military publications.
SCHOEMAN Annelies PRESENTATIONS Photo 2022 03 12The public is welcome to visit the archive. All information is available that has been declassified. In addition to the PAIA Act, there is also the Popi Act which protects personal information (Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013) and the Archives Act (Act 43 of 1996: National Archives of South Africa Act) which underlies the management of an archive. The way in which one can access information is fully explained.
Plans to digitise the collection are progressing.
Inquiries can be directed by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Telephone: 012 670 8000
After the interesting talk, illustrated with photos, many questions were asked and the people present were kindly invited to visit the archive.


Train Destroyers

Tian SchutteDr. Tian Schutte,  12 February 2022
Tian spoke about the guerrilla struggle during the Anglo-Boer War.
In the 1890s the ZAR started to build a railway to Mozambique with much help from the Portuguese.
It seemed as if the English were waiting for the railway lines to be finished before they started the war. In a war mobility is very important − for the transport of troops, food as well as of horses and of ammunition. Trains played a major role in this enterprise.
Treinvernielers Dr T SchutteSome of the photographs show trucks full of canned food ("bully beef") and coal from England, as well as fodder for the horses (especially from South America that distributed the seeds for khaki bush and cosmos in SA). One photograph shows cannons being brought inland.
The talk was illustrated with photographs of blown-up trains − locomotives and carriages – tracks and bridges. Some of the farmers who worked on the mines were able to implement dynamite. One of the photographs show that in Colenso the bridge was virtually destroyed and the English erected a temporary structure to serve as a bridge.
Some of the foreigners who helped the Boers were Italians and one was a Scot, Jack Hindon. In Hindon's corps there were Dutch, Germans and possibly also Swedes.
Later, the English burnt down the farms where bridges were blown up.
The talk was very interesting and informative and thoroughly researched.

A grave in the grass

Peet Coetzee
Peet Coetzee, 12 February 2022
Afterwards, Peet Coetzee (co-author of the book "Treinvernielers") briefly talked about the death of Combat General
H R Lemmer, in a talk titled A grave in the grass.
He illustrated the three days before the general’s death with a map and a photograph of the grave − showing only stones laid flat in the grass.
A memorial for Lemmer will be erected in the near future.