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Vaal Triangle Branch


The Vaal Triangle Branch is located at the Sylviavale Heritage Museum, 14 Vaal Drive, Sylviavale Agricultural Holdings, Vanderbijlpark and serves the Meyerton, Sasolburg, Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging areas. Anyone who would like to attend our meetings are most welcome.The Branch has 25 members who meet every second Saturday of the month. In December we have our year end function and January we open with our AGM.
Meetings commence at 15h00 and are held at the Mumpumpan Logistics Office, Vision 21, Industrial Park, Steel Road, Peacehaven, Vereeniging.
This year we decided to divide our year into quarters – in each quarter we aim to have a training session, a guest speaker and arrange an educational outing. We hope this will encourage people to join in on the fun and also be able to learn from the years of experience some of our members have. (See our events page for the lineup).
Our aim is to inspire and support our members and to keep them up to date with all the latest technology.
We enjoy refreshments at the end of each meeting; this gives us a chance to really catch up and also allows for an informal question and answer session.
We do have a very useful collection of research material in our library cupboard and members may borrow any of these books or CDs.
For further information, contact the Chairperson - See Contact us on the right hand side for details.

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Ons tak se stories


During 2012, our branch embarked upon an ambitious (for us!) project. We decided to produce our own members' publication. Members were asked to write an article about their genealogical triumphs and tragedies, about themselves as researchers, about their methods, finds, frustrations and about themselves and their families. Thirteen people contributed stories and photographs to our first edition, which has since become an annual effort.

The Ons Storiewa banner picture shows an old, broken-down wagon, with a little flower blooming at it's wheel. Our family histories are old, come from afar and are missing a lot of pieces, but they bloom again when we tell and re-tell them to our friends and our children. By hook or by crook, we genealogists will keep our story-wagons on the road!

Ons het nou al ses Ons Storiewa’s aanmekaargesit. Ons stel temas voor om ons lede idees te gee,  maar die hulle is geensins verplig om daarby te hou nie. Voorbeelde wat mense aan die skryf gekry het is “familiefeeste”, en “verlief, verloof, verlore”. Lede word aangemoedig om hul eie lewensstories vir hul nasate neer te skryf, want, soos Isobel Groesbeek benadruk, is die vertel van jou eie verhaal ‘n belangrike bydra tot die genealogie.

We've uploaded the PDFs onto this website for everyone to enjoy. You can find them by clicking on Ons Storiewa in the menu on the right, and then select either Storiewa 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Most of the articles in Ons Storiewa are in Afrikaans, but there are excellent ones in English, too, such as the one about the descendants of the 1820 Settlers. Some articles reflect impressive research skills, some are by beginners, but all are worth reading.

We’d really love to hear your comments if you’ve enjoyed reading them.

GSSA Annual General Meeting 2011

The Vaal Triangle Branch had the honor of acting as hosts for the 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA) which was held during March 2011.

AJV_lokaalDelegates from all the branches of the GSSA attended the meeting. The event was hosted in the Church Hall of the Dutch Reformed Church of Unitaspark, Vereeniging.

A social event was arranged for Friday evening, 11 March 2011, at which delegates could meet each other and get better acquinted. Seeing that Vereeniging is not too distant from the Reef, from where most of the delegates were to come, the event was not very well supported. With the current high price of fuel, it was understandable that travelling as well as accommodation costs were to be reduced to the minimum.

It was not unsuspected that a couple of telephone calls were to be received enquiring instructions on where the venue was and how to arrive there. One of the delegates was actually on his way back to Johannesburg, but with the necessary guidance he eventually arrived at the venue! He shall, however, remain nameless.

The National Council (NC) had special T-shirts made with the GSSA-logo on. Each delegate received one of these shirts. Delegates from our branch received their T-shirts at this event. Branch members involved in the organisation of the AGM also received a shirt, but only after a 'negotiated price' was concluded.

The delegates present at the event on Friday evening were treated to a braai with 'pap-en-sous' and salads. A display of typical South African folk-dancing was given by a local group - one of our branch members belongs to this group. A daughter of one of our branch members also recited two Afrikaans poems.

Saturday's meeting was again preceded by a couple of phone calls calling for directions on how to arrive at the venue. This is just prove of how easy it is to misinterpret instructions.

The meeting progressed smoothly with occasional short commentary by Dennis Pretorius on the status of the World Cup Cricket match between South Africa and India. India batted first and initially caused South Africa some serious problems!

AJV_teetydDuring tea interval and at lunch delegates were treated to some fine refreshments. The catering was done by members of the branch assisted by some friends and/or family members.

During the meeting certain awards were made to individuals who were unable to attend the gala function during the evening. Both Ellen Erasmus from Northern Transvaal and Gideon de Kock from Eastern Cape received a Merit Award from the National President.

The AGM closed around 15:00 leavng enough time for people to prepare for the gala function that was to start at 18:00 on a boat at Stonehaven on the banks of the Vaal River just outside Vanderbijlpark. To make matters interesting, it began to rain with a typical Highveld thunderstorm, with just the slightest possibility to ruin te evening. Fortunately the thunderstorm rave itself out before 18:00 with the result that the function on the boat could continue without any inconvenience.

While there was still enough daylight available, the boat left shore shortly after 18:00 travelling downstream enabling passengers to view the magnificent houses of the rich on the banks of the Vaal River. The boat arrived back at Stonehaven just as the sun finally set and the official proceedings could hus commence. It still took quite a while before the guests took up their places and settled down. Only then could the guest speaker be introduced.

The guest speaker for the evening was Prof. Johann Tempelhoff. He is a member of our Branch and is employed at the History Department of the Vaal River Campus of the University of the North West.

In view of the fact that water played, and is still playing, such an important part in the development and survival of the Vaal Triangle, we chose this as the theme of the AGM. Prof. Tempelhoff outlined important aspects in the development and importance of the Vaal Rivier in his speech. After his speech the question of the current problem with acid water on the Witwatersrand was raised. Elize Tempelhoff, Prof. Johann's wife, answered these questions. She is an Environmental Reporter with Beeld and this particular subject is close to her heart. The subject suited her perfectly and she could thus provide all the necessary answers to the questions.

Guests were served a three course meal. Drinks from the bar, however, was for each individual's own account. Gradually the tension mounted in India as the cricket match between South Africa and India reached a climax. Beyond expectations, South Africa only neede a couple of runs from a few balls to be bowled in order to win the match! Dennis pleaded to be allowed to watch the final moments of the match on his cell phone before continuing with the evening's program. After all, it was a matter of national interest and most of those present would like to hear the result. Please, could proceedings not be halted for three balls to be bowled!

The main purpose of the gala function is the handing out of awards for deserving matters to individuals. Awards were made in the following categories:

Extra Mile:

Here there are too many names to mention. About forty individuals received awards.


  • Hercules Jurgens Engela,

Overberg families CD

  • Alta Griffiths

Cemetery photo coordination, indexing and loading on eGSSA's web site

  • FA Smith

'Die Smit-familie: Maastricht tot Rustenburg'


  • Joan Augustyn

Publication: Genealogy of the Franzsen family 1575 to 2010

  • Lucas Rinken

e-SAGi and stalles at various exhibitions & during Hobby X Show

  • Helena Garner

Publication: Die Kriels: sommer gewone mense

  • Exhibition Team (Western Cape):

Mariana Olivier (Leader), Alta Griffiths, Eugene du Toit, Lorraine Fautley, Engela v Dyk, Simoné Kay & Anita Slabbert

  • MA Venter

Publication: President Brand Begraafplaas & Rusplaas onder die berg, Smithfield

  • Cemetery Project team:

Alta Griffiths; Simoné Kay, Andre v Wyk, Annemie Lourens, Dr Dawid de Klerk, Dirk v Rooyen, Johann Claassen, Nicky Lategan, Sasa Malan & William Warrington

Collection of Cemetery Project information


  • dr Shelagh O'Brien Spencer

Publication: British Settlers in Natal. A Biographical Register, 1824-1857.
She also obtained the highest educational qualification in the field of genealogy.

Honorary Membership:

  • Isabel Groesbeek

She received the award for many years' faithful service as a member of GSSA's management.

Genealogist of the Year:


  • Diwwie and Jaleen de Beer

This year the award was made jointly to this brother and sister in law for their research on the de Beer family. Their research of almost forty years eventually resulted in the publication 'Die DE BEER-FAMILIE: Drie eeue in Suid-Afrika. Vierde uitgawe 2010'.

After all the awards were handed out, enough time was available to serve desert. By about 21:00 guests went home after a most enjoyable and relaxing evening.

The trip on the boat on the Vaal River was something out of the ordinary and will be cherished by all who attended.