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Judi Meyer - Rest in Peace

Judith Susanna Hendrika MARAIS 1951

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that Judi has passed away after a short illness. When we got the call this morning we had no words and were not ready for this farewell.

Judi joined eGGSA in 2009 and straight away volunteered to take on the role as GENESIS editor. When we started our Facebook page, she was the first to put her hand up. From the beginning Judi became an integral part of our management team.

Judi will be remembered for her joy for life, her passion for genealogy, her positive attitude, her willingness to help others with their research, her readiness to take on the next challenge and always being prepared to help. Judi we are going to miss you. We have today lost a respected genealogist, team member, friend and confidant.

Our sincerest condolences to her husband Jan, the children, grandchildren, family and friends. 

All at

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BMDs from the Natal Witness for 1846-1885

natal witness

Michael Scogings has now completed his indexes of BMDs from the Natal Witness for 1846-1885 inclusive, which are the issues he has access to.

He will now turn his hand to the early issues of the Natal Mercury, to further fill in the gaps until the start of civil registration in Natal in 1868.

A huge vote of thanks to Michael for this mammoth task.

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The Harcourt Diaries

frontpage 2022 AprFollowing a talk she gave on researching in South Africa, Sue Mackay was contacted by a lady in the UK who had taken possession of two old diaries written in the 1870s by a relative, John Thomas Davis Harcourt (b1851 in Birmingham), who went out to join the Frontier Police. The diaries were acquired from a South African who no longer wished to be responsible for them, and they found their way to Jane Milne in the UK, who was known to be “the family historian”. With them were several WW1 diaries written by the son, William Douglas Harcourt, and these have drawn the interest of the Imperial War Museum, but Jane was keen that the two older diaries should also have a wider audience.

I suggested that the diaries themselves might be offered to the National Archives, but Jane was willing for them to be photographed and published on eGGSA, so that historians at the Cape could access them. I offered to transcribe the diaries, as I have experience of reading old handwriting following my transcriptions of the 1820 settler correspondence, and I enlisted the help of Geoff Chew in London, a retired South African academic, who has a greater knowledge than I have of South African history, and who was also familiar with most of the places mentioned in the diary.

It soon became apparent that Harcourt was present at many important meetings with tribal chiefs and that the diaries were very interesting historical documents, so thanks are due to Jane Milne for ensuring that they were not lost.

The Diary images can be seen HERE

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Taking care of your family archives

Lunette Lourens has added a further part to her interesting and useful article, discussing Packaging requirements and options for your family archives.  This article is intended to provide simple and practical guidance to anyone who is looking after their family heritage. 

1 What are family archives?
2 What to keep
3 Taking care of the physical condition of the archives
4 Packaging requirements and options for your family archives
5 Storage environment for your family archive
6 Arrangement of your family archives

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New items online

Genealogy Books: Alta Griffiths has made a list of books now available on the FamilySearch web site - please see Books online in the Links to useful websites section of this web site.

Cemetery registers On FamilySearch have been added to Graves and Cemeteries in South Africa
  Images from the City of Cape Town, Cape Metro Cemetery Records, 
  to search:
  Maitland cemetery in Cape Town 1886-2007
  Plumstead Cemetery - Record of Interments - May 1959 to Jan 1977 

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Shop active again for downloadable items

Our online shop is available for purchasing downloadable items and membership.

In fact our stock has been re-organised so that most (but not all) items can now be purchased as downloadables, including the Cemetery DVD, but it will, unfortunately, not be possible to post any CDs, DVDs or books during the current Corona-virus lock-down.

The Archives are closed and our photographers in lock-down so document photograph orders are also suspended. 

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800 000 Gravestone photos on the eGSSA website!!

Congratulations to Riana le Roux and her team of volunteers for this outstanding achievement. It is the product of many years of hard work, patience and dedication.

A big thank you to all of you going out to the cemeteries to take the photos, to those of you doing all the uploads onto the website, indexing the photos and cemeteries, maintaining our website. The project is extremely valuable to us and we appreciate your contributions.

The project is growing so fast that we are looking forward to the next milestone.

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Drakenstein / Paarl NGK baptisms 1746 to 1755

VC 645

These baptisms have been transcribed by Corney Keller from photographs of Cape Archives VC 645, which is a set of photocopies of the original register made in the 1980s for the Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Copies were donated to the South African Archives, one copy going to the Cape Town repository and another to the Pretoria Repository (where it is part of the FC series). The original register is now housed in the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerkargief, Noordwal-Wes, Stellenbosch, as G3 3/2. They have been added to the eGGSA BDM database.

Our grateful thanks to Corney Keller for the transcriptions and the NGKerkargief for preserving and maintaining these records. 

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Kruisvallei marriages 1843-1870 now available in the eGGSA database

Kruisvallei pastorie Kerkstraat 42 Tulbagh foto Morné van Rooyen

When Keith Meintjes visited South Africa in 2016 he visited the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) Archives in Stellenbosch and photographed, at my request, the baptism, marriage and death registers of the Kruisvalei Congration. With the permission of the NGK Argief, eGGSA is currently transcribing these records in order to add them to the Church Register database on our web site. Marriages 1843 t0 1870 have now been added and are available in the eGGSA marriages database.

Our grateful thanks to Keith, to the NGK Argief and to Lorraine Beechey for transcribing the records.

The Kruisvallei Gemeente was formed in 1843 as a breakaway group from the Tulbagh congregation, due to a disagreement between some of the members on the one hand and the minister at Tulbagh, Robert Shand. They bought the farm called Kruisvallei not far from Tulbagh and used the large stables as a church while the minister lived in the farmhouse. In 1936 the two congregations, Kruisvallei and Tulbagh, were once again united. See the Wikipedia article by Morné van Rooyen: NG gemeente Kruisvallei

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Gravestones now have a website to themselves!

The collection of gravestone photographs has now become so large that it is more convenient for it to have a web site of its own. This has, therefore, been done and the gravestones will now be found at

Links saved from the old site, if you have any stored, will go through correctly to the new site, but if you have stored links that you would like to convert to the new links, then these will be easy to bring into line with the new web site location. The earlier link would have been   whereas the link from the new web site is

so all that needs doing is to replace the      in the old link with     to form the new link. 

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2018 eGGSA Annual General Meeting now over

Our virtual AGM closed at midnight 28 February 2018. Thank you to all those members who responded to our notice regarding the Annual General Meeting and the support we received for the nominations.

Members were invited to participate in the meeting; and as mentioned in the email dated 22 January 2018, we accepted that members from whom we did not hear were satisfied with the management nominations and 2017 Annual report.

Attendance at the Virtual Meeting
Members who selected eGSSA as their primary branch were entitled to participate in the AGM. Our email package keeps track of the number of emails delivered, returned, forwarded and unread and as the virtual branch we use these figures to determine our quorum.
No additional nominations or objections were received for the management positions; the nominations were also uncontested and the 2018 committee will therefore remain unchanged:

The Management
Alta Griffiths - Chairperson
Daan Hamman - Vice-Chairman
Carol Beneke - Treasurer
Lynn Couperthwaite - Membership Services, communication and marketing
Richard Ball - Web Services
Judi Meyer - Editor genesis

Additional members
Annelie Els - Stamouers
Corney Keller - Dutch Transcriptions
Daan Botes - Post Cards
Riana le Roux - Cemetery Project

To the team, congratulations! Thank you for making yourself available for another year on the committee.

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eGGSA Newspaper Extracts

Publishing of extracts from the Grahamstown Jounal continues. I have started to publish them monthly rather than quarterly, as there are more issues of the paper to go through. I only need to transcribe a few more pages and my Word file of GTJ transcriptions will have reached 1,000 pages!

See the extracts from the Grahamstown Journal, now up to December 1882, on the Newspaper Extracts section of the eGGSA web site.

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NAAIRS results parser

Keith Meintjes has provided a parser for NAAIRS online index references, which neatly formats them into a spreadsheet program (eg: Excel, etc).

This will prove very useful for anyone needing to save a large number of such references.  The details can be found on our The Meintjes NAAIRS Parser page.

Thanks to Keith for making this available and to his son, Ian, for creating it. 

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Records of the Cape Colony

records of the cape colonyIn the late 1890s and early 1900s George McCall Theal published 35 volumes of "Records of the Cape Colony", covering Colonial Office correspondence from 1793 to 1827 held at what was then the Public Record Office (now the National Archives) in London.

Sue Mackay has checked each of the online copies of these volumes and provided links to them on the eGGSA web site.

Sue writes: these volumes can be freely downloaded (or browsed through on line) via the Internet Archive. Volumes 12 and 13 cover the 1820 settlers, and reproduce a lot of the correspondence I have transcribed on this site, although Theal's work is much more selective and does not include non party leaders or those who did not emigrate. It does, however, include some answers written by the Colonial Office to letters found elsewhere on this site. There is an index in every fifth volume and Volume 35 contains a complete index. Volume 36 is a Register of Contents of Volumes 1-35

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Helena Garner's Kriel collection added to eGGSA's Document Library

Helena has generously contributed her collection of Estate documents (Death Notices, Wills and Liquidation and Distribution accounts) to the online Document Library. She spent much time renaming these to reflect the contents in order to simplify their captioning for the web site, and the captioning was done by Anina du Plessis and completed by Lorraine Beechey.

The documents can be found in our collection in four separate albums:
Western Cape Archives
Pretoria Archives
Bloemfontein Archives
Pietermaritzburg Archives.

Our grateful thanks to Helena, Anina and Lorraine.

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Passenger List Project updated:

The eGGSA Passenger List Project has been updated and now includes the Natal Immigration Board's list of immigrants 1850 to 1904, as well as the passenger lists from the departure notices in the British Mail 1879 to 1881. The database includes details of 27,000 passengers and 800 voyages.

This is an ongoing eGGSA project and the finished, searchable data is provided on the eGGSA web site.

The volunteers who are doing the work (photographing the records, co-ordinaing the transcribers, transcribing, proof-reading and database creation) are members of the eGGSA, Eastern Cape, Natal Midlands, West Gauteng and Western Cape branches of the GSSA and live on four contintents, Africa, Europe, America and Australia. .

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23rd Aprl 2012 - a new part of the web site for transcripts:

A new section has been added to the web site to bring together the many transcripts we have available. Here, at South African Records Transcribed, you can now find the Muster Rolls, and the Cape Baptisms and Marriages 1665-1696. These have been revised and corrected by Corney Keller and he has just added to them a transcript of the Cape Town NGK marriages 1696 to 1712. You will also find some earlier baptisms and marriages found in the De Stael letters to the Amsterdam Classis, that Corney found in the Amsterdam Archives who have given permission for the letters themselves to be transcribed - letter reports to Amsterdam from Peter Stael, siekentrooster at the Cape from 1654 to 1663. Also there is a transcript of the French baptism register of Drakenstein, 1694 to 1713, with translations into English.

In addition Corney has acquired scans of 25 soldijboeken of early 17th and 18th century settlers at the Cape which are displayed with the permission of the Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Nederland, and also provided a transcript to a few of them.

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19th December 2011 - an appreciation from Dianne Dever:

I am the niece of a '19 year old lad' from Manchester England who found himself in a war and a country I am certain he had little knowledge of. He tragically lost his life in January 1943 and is buried in Stellawood Cemetery, Durban. His name is Bernard Vaughan Healey, born to impoverished parents who had 7 children to feed and clothe. His childhood was miserable and before he had a chance at making a better life for himself, lost that life at such a young age. He was buried thousands of miles from home and of course no family members ever visited his grave. He has been long forgotten, his parents and siblings all long dead. I never knew him, being born 15 years after he died.

But because of the fantastic work you all have done, including those who tend and care for the graves, Bernard Vaughan Healey has been cared for more in death than he ever was in his short sad life.

He is 'at peace' in a beautiful corner of the world being watched over by angels who at the least deserve heartfelt thanks and praise for the dedicated work you all do. I will always think of you all with gratitude and praise.

Yours sincerely
Dianne Dever

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1st December 2011 - GSSA Voters Roll Project - Letter S compete

When the eGGSA branch first started on Project S (the transcription of the whole of the letter S in the 1984 South African Voters' Roll, 296 668 names and addresses) we were simply just going to type forever!! You must know when the S's first arrived at my desk, I sommer put the computer off for 2 weeks, not knowing where to start. eGGSA's initial plans for handling the transcriptions were also put to bed and we had to come up with a new approach. The simplest for us was to approach anybody with even the remotest interest in the S-surnames, family and friends were also not safe.

The first of the S's were typed with the start of the Soccer World Cup in 2010. In the first quarter of this year we set ourselves a deadline for completing Project S by the end of December 2011. We typed right through the Rugby World Cup and today we won the S-CUP!!! The transcription of the letter S is now complete - 31 days BEFORE the deadline!!


Read more …1st December 2011 - GSSA Voters Roll Project - Letter S compete

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