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

Durban & Coastal Branch Report 2005


We began the year as usual with our AGM on 15th January 2005 when a review of 2004 took place. We had in previous years always visited the Pietermaritzburg Archives in August but as interest in this event had waned it was decided by a unanimous show of hands that we would no longer continue to keep this as part of our Diary of Events. Individual members would be able to pursue this research facility privately. Our accounts were discussed and our financial statement was available for inspection. Our usual thanks were extended to all concerned. The entire committee of 2004 was available for 2005 and as there were no other nominations all were re-elected as follows


Chairman – Nigel McFerran

Vice Chairman and Information Technology – Jaq Benadie

Treasurer – Joan Rachmann

Secretary – Cynthia McFerran

Librarian – Anne O’Brien

Preservations/Archives – Paul du Plessis


A personal research meeting was held on 12th February. As mentioned in previous Branch reports we are indeed fortunate that our meetings are held at the Family History Centre where we have full use of their facilities. Members are able to review films etc. that they may have ordered and enjoy the additional opportunity to use the material during this time instead of only being restricted to the normal opening times of the Family History Centre.


In March we had a talk/presentation by Caro Walker of “Magic Memories” on heritage scrapbooking techniques etc. Our lady members obviously mainly enjoyed this. Although we may produce a book on our family history, we still have all the original documents that can be artistically presented in a scrapbook.


On 9th April and 14th May we had the usual personal research meetings.


On 11th June we had a historical talk by David Hughes on the “Days of Union Castle Mail Ships and Sea Travel to South Africa”. David is the local Chairman of the South African National Society and Chairman of the Port Natal Branch of WSS (World Ship Society) and as such was extremely informative.


On 9th July, 13th August and 10th September personal research meetings were held.


On 8th October we had a talk/presentation by Jenny Harries who is the local Director of the Family History Centre in Durban. Jenny was able to guide our members on the role and usage of the Centre and in particular informed us of the extensive material readily available there as well as being available for purchase or order. This was certainly an ‘eye opener’ for many.


On 12th November we had the normal personal research meeting. This was followed by our Ancestral Tea (social event) on the 10th December. The idea of the Ancestral Tea is to bring something that our grandmother would have typically baked.


The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the Family History Fair held on Heritage Day the 24th September 2005. This inaugural event was organised by the Family History Centre. We had a stand that was manned by our members during the course of the day. Some of our members were also involved in other stands of their own i.e. “Families of Mauritius” in which Judy Letard and Joan Rachmann have done extensive research. Some of our members were also involved in the planning and setting up of the Fair prior to the day. This was a most enjoyable and successful event and our branch generated a lot of interest. A CD was available for sale, with a substantial amount of data, that was produced by our member Jaq Benadie and Colin Jermy who is a family historian and lecturer at Natal University.


During the year the Chairman and Secretary produced four newsletters for our members interest.


One of our members, Adrian Rowe, has kindly undertaken to lead projects that are ongoing and in conjunction with the Family History Centre and these are

UK General Records Office (BMD Indexes) and

Natal Marriages Indexing.

In addition, we as a Branch decided as a ‘thank you’ to the Family History Centre to undertake a “Resources Indexing Project” on their behalf where all stock items are to be indexed under certain headings. This commenced in October and is still ongoing. The team involved in this is, Nigel and Cynthia McFerran, Brian and Shirley Richardson, Matthys and Dawn van Niekerk, Lynn Paul and Joan Rachmann. The project leaders from this Branch are Jaq Benadie and Judy Letard.


Our member Jaq Benadie is the local leader for the Death Notice Transcription Project


We had a number of books etc. generously donated to our local library and these were all documented and listed in or newsletters.


Our meetings were generally well attended.


In summary we had twelve meetings as follows


Speakers - 3

Personal Research Meetings - 7

Ancestral Tea


Nigel McFerran

Chairman 2005.

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