The Genealogical Society of South Africa 
eGSSA branch 
  Annual General Meeting of the Genealogical Society of South Africa
Port Elizabeth Women’s Club, Summer Strand, 25th February 2006


I doubt whether our members were really aware of the dire straights the Genealogical Society of South Africa found itself in a year ago. Though none of the new committee can be considered ‘rookies’, it was only André Heydenrych who represented stability and continuity from the previous committee. The new committee ‘hit the ground running’ and for that I must thank each and every one, André included. As I said at the time, we, as the new committee, had a daunting task ahead of us trying to follow in the footsteps of the previous one.

We inherited challenges such as the struggling Johannesburg branch and the non- functional Free State branch. Another continual problem was the poor communication between the branch committees and the National Executive Committee. This was in spite of the positive attitude shown at the previous AGM towards trying to address the communication problems. Though I still think that there is much we can do to raise the communication to an acceptable level. Fortunately, we have the opportunity again this year of building on the progress made during 2005.

We had four NEC meetings during the year, and although most of the points on the agendas concerned us trying to find our feet, we had good participation from at least half the branches. This, I feel, is a positive step. An aspect requiring further attention, is the necessity of organizing a mid-year Strategic Planning Session.

Various initiatives were undertaken to build the GSSA. These included the production of the Member CD; the GSSA Reference Guide; the centralised member Database; regular Webpage updates; and initiative towards reaching out to other cultural organizations through radio talks, various visits and the Aardklop funding.

One of the problems we consider to be solved, was the allocation of members. I am confident that the branches were kept informed with the results of NEC meetings and the points under discussion.

Other major efforts, all to the benefit of the GSSA, also took place. Isabel was continuously busy with outreach activities such as radio talks; visiting and making contact with cultural institutions and visiting branches. André was ever present attending to finances; maintaining contact with the branches and ensuring our financial soundness. Petro was ever alert, ‘picking up the slack’ and ensuring optimum functioning of the NEC team. Without Marilyn’s help with documentation, life could have been a great deal more difficult.

Richard and his team’s work can never be fully appreciated for its entire worth to the GSSA. Daan was always present collating Omnibus and the setting up of the Genealogical Reference Guide. Paul’s expertise sorted out the Website and kept it updated despite continuous changes from all the branches. Errol, Peter, Beverley and Adelbert continued their hard work culminating in the timely release of the latest Cemetery CD.

Challenges that lie ahead for the new committee are:

  1. - communication
  2. - the participation of the branches
  3. - establishing a working forum between the GSSA and other cultural organisations
  4. - getting genealogy to the broader public
  5. - taking genealogy to the genealogist of the future

I wish to end by thanking the team that I had the honour of working with as well as all the branch committees. The work and effort that each and every one of you has put in during the past year has kept the GSSA well on track. I am fully confident that the GSSA has a great 2006 ahead. Thank you.

Johann Janse van Rensburg
National President

Genealogiese Genootskap van SA, Suite 143, Postmet X2600, HOUGHTON, 2041
Genealogical Society of SA, Suite 143, Postmet X2600, HOUGHTON, 2041


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