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

East Cape Branch
Chairman’s Report 2005-2006

I have much pleasure in submitting the Annual Report for the East Cape Branch for the year ending 31st December 2005.


Following the pattern over the last few years, our GSSA membership numbers again dropped. During 2005 we had 33 members of whom 4 are honorary octogenarians. Of these members only 13 live in Port Elizabeth and attend meetings with any regularity. Our affiliate membership numbers also dropped by 7 to 22 affiliate members for the year. Newsletter subscribers went from 27 to 21. The average attendance of members at the monthly meetings was ?.
The decrease in membership is of great concern and the incoming Committee will have to try and find means to entice new members to join the Society. With dwindling membership on an ongoing basis it will not be long before the Society will have to consider closing the Branch.

Monthly Meetings

During the course of the year 11 meetings were held.
Speakers and topics for the year were –

February 2005 – Mrs Emily Kovachi spoke on the “ups and Downs in the life of a Lighthouse Keeper’s wife.

March 2005 - The 26th Annual General Meeting of the Branch. Mrs Broadley who had attended the AGM of the GSSA gave a brief report on the AGM.

April 2005 – Mr David Jordaan gave a very interesting talk on “German Settlers in the Eastern Cape”.

May 2005 – Mr Mike Oettle spoke on designing or creating your own “Coat of Arms”

June 2005 - Mr Neil Fulton’s talk “Recalling the Past” brought back memories of Port Elizabeth and South End before the Group Areas Act came into being.

July 2005 – Mrs Rose Trehaeven spoke on the Changing Face of Death and it’s Customs and Traditions.

August 2005 – Mrs Rose Trehaeven continued with her previous month’s talk on the Changing Face of Death and it’s Customs and Traditions this month concentrating on Customs of the Xhosa People and Jonathon Ossher spoke on Jewish Customs at the time of Death.

September 2005 – Mrs Lis Eshmade spoke on “After you’ve passed on”.

October 2005 – As is customary the October meeting was held at the Library. It was attended by 19 members and we appreciate the support of the Library Staff who go to so much trouble to host our meetings.

November 2005 – This was the last meeting of the year and Margaret Harridene gave a fascinating talk on the early days of Port Elizabeth.

January 2006 – We started the year at a new venue. Unfortunately there was a power failure and the meeting started almost an hour late. Warren Morris spoke on the research for his book “The Bay of Lost Cargoes” which has just been published. A lively discussion on how to attract new members and topics for future meetings followed.


We extend our grateful thanks to the Library Staff who oversee the consultations and borrowings by members and who open the Library after hours for our “Workshop evenings”. The inventory of books in the Library needs to be updated and circulated as there have been a few new acquisitions lately.



John Colling organized two trips to Cradock in the middle of winter to record the Cradock Municipal Cemetery. John is still busy with transcribing the data and hopes to have it finished in the not too distant future. He reported as follows –

We have completed recording the headstones in the cemetery, but there are still a number of queries to resolve. These arise from not being able to read the stone or photograph with certainty and from trying to allocate correct plot numbers to the graves we have. The cemetery is totally overgrown with weeds again and it is futile to go up
there until the Municipality have cleared it again. Details of the recording are as follows:

Graves recorded, including where there are no headstones : 7875
Headstone inscriptions recorded 4845


I am recording the Burial register entries from 1936 and have typed up 12641 so far, which takes us to September 2002. I am having all the pages from that date to now photocopied and will continue typing them up. Although GSSA do not want any of these details, they are proving very helpful in recording the Headstones more accurately and postitoning them correctly. Monumental inscriptions done so far as follows :

Graves recorded: 10290
Headstone inscriptions recorded : 8399

In addition approximately 300 have been recorded but not yet typed up
There are approximately a further 3500 graves still to be recorded

Vic Olivier compiled a CD called The Vic Olivier Collection of East Cape Farm and Small Cemeteries No 1. This is available from the Secretary for R 35.00.

Our grateful thanks once again to Alice Mitchell who puts so much time and effort into producing the “Chronicles” every quarter. This publication is eagerly sought after by members of the other branches.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members who contribute to the running of the Branch. The members who do tea duty so cheerfully every meeting, the members who set out the chairs and Val Trevorrow who sits at the door and collects the tea money. Most of all I would like to thank my committee for their support and guidance. We have been without a Secretary/Treasurer for most of the year which has not made the day to day running of the Branch an easy task. The only member of the present Committee standing for re-election is Rose Trehaeven so careful thought must be given to the election of new Office Bearers

Sheila Broadley
Branch Chairman, GSSA February 19, 2006

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