Ian Neilson Executive Deputy Mayor at the City of Cape Town
I have known Heather MacAlister for a number of years and can testify to her knowledge, interest, and ability with respect to genealogy. She founded the Cape Town Family History Society to promote the study of genealogy in the city. Her energy and drive made it a great success. She has also shown through her work at Ancestry24 a broad grasp of the information required and the means to access it in a way that assists those tracing their family history. The extent of data gathered there in a short period of time is truly outstanding. I would recommend her for any job in the genealogy / local history sector, particularly where accessing and interpreting information is key.
Francois Verster Company Archivist/Historian at Media24
Heather MacAlister has more initiative and tenacity than anyone I know – she will create new opportunities where nobody else sees them and carry it through. her people skills are exceptional and her aptitude for technical aspects of her profession is cutting-edge – this combination is rare: Heather will be an asset to any institution, and I recommend her with pleasure.
Arrie Rossouw CEO at Mobile Potential Inc., Director at Mobile Potential (Pty) Ltd.
Heather MacAlister is one of those professionals that have endless energy and drive to make things work. She was extremely committed to the company and the Ancestry24 project and managed to build a business from scratch with very limited resources. I have the highest regard for her abilities.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M. Tutu
Heather MacAlister has been known to me for some time now. I know of her tenacity to unearth records for all members of our community with ensuring a bonding in the local community. I initially approached Heather to help me obtain a copy of my birth certificate, and the trouble she had in obtaining it, made ME realise how important it is, that every available resource in the country must be harnessed to protect the records of the past because without preserving and revealing past, whatever it may show, there can be no hope of a peaceful future.
Dave Hart Heritage Resources Management at the City of Cape Town
I have worked with Heather MacAlister for many years on issues relating to the history of Cape Town. She has always openly shared her knowledge – not to mention her enthusiasm. She has volunteered help on various projects and assisted generously with networking. The body of heritage knowledge that became publically accessible through her work is in itself a testimony to her achievements.
Jane O’Connor Lawyer, Johannesburg
I can unhesitatingly recommend the services of Heather MacAlister as a genealogical researcher. I am an attorney and notary and my requirements for attention to detail and a sceptical mindset are not negotiable. I was most reluctant to delegate this important research to a third party, but as I cannot attend personally at the various archives around the country I had no option. I was most fortunate in having been referred to Heather. She is knowledgeable and meticulous and her copies are of the highest quality. Her turnaround time is also excellent. In addition to this, she is cheerful and shares in my delight every time I find another brick in my wall. I have been fortunate to have Heather as a partner in my research into what is at the end of the day a highly personal and emotional journey of exploration.
Dr. Katie Mooney Researcher and Heritage Practitioner, Cape Town
Heather MacAlister provided an excellent service when I was drafting my family tree she provided guidance and clear routes in the different branches that comprise the Wilkie-Smith genealogy.
Ron Wakley For the Wakley Family Tree
I came across Heather while searching for an uncle to help complete a family tree, he had gone to live in South Africa. I had very little information, as my last contact was back in 1997. I had been searching for about 3 months when I discovered and contacted Heather. Not only did she find my uncle and family but I actually got to speak to his daughter my cousin who is now back in the UK. I cannot praise and thank her enough her skills are exceptional.
Ron Wakley. For the Wakley Family Tree.
Aubrey Little Canada
Without hesitation, I highly recommend Heather MacAlister as a genealogy researcher. She was diligent and thorough in the research she did for me. I will use her services again and recommend her to anyone who is seeking assistance in tracing genealogical records.
Duncan McGregor Sussex
Heather MacAlister has successfully researched a wide range of biographical data for me. She is a sleuth of note and has been my main source of information for my book about my pioneering family. I have been particularly grateful for Heather’s kind approach and for her unfailing ability to always dig in the right places.
Phil Jennings Bond Lane Research Ltd. UK Specialists in Finding Missing Beneficiaries
I have used Heather MacAlister’s services for the last 4 years, for genealogical research in South Africa. She provides a professional and reliable service and does not leave any stone unturned She always with provides me detailed reports Heather has worked on all my South African cases to date, with great success, and has recently found a long-lost father, in one of my cases. She is highly recommended, and her commitment to detail cannot be questioned.
You have been absolutely fantastic with all the research you have done for which I am truly grateful.
Isebelle Krause Authorised representative for Oral Genealogy and acquisitions at Familysearch.org
Heather MacAlister is one of the most dedicated goal-orientated individuals I have ever come into contact with. She has excellent research abilities and a great sense of tradition and historical facts in South Africa. As a genealogist, she is rated as one of the tops.
What you have done is very quickly, and intelligently, grasped the complexity of my request;
Appreciated the vast distance between us, namely: Australia vs South Africa, and that I would need extra guidance along the way;
Provided advice that went far beyond what one would normally expect;
Taken an interest in the inevitable twists and turns of the search;
Taken me along a pathway that revealed far more than one would expect.
In a nutshell, I feel that I haven’t had “just a genealogist” but rather “a very knowledgeable friend who knows all the back roads of getting family information”.Your grasp of the South African milieu is remarkable and I doubt you would have an equal in your trade. If anyone ever wants to contact me about Heather’s services please do not hesitate to contact me.
Candy B. Client, South Africa
For as long as I have known my Gran, she has held a secret very close to her heart – she was adopted in the 1920s. She has always felt less than her worth and always questioned why her mother abandoned her. My Grandfather passed away 10 years ago and as time has gone by I have seen my now 87-year-old Gran slowly start to give up on life, but still holding onto the mystery of her Biological Mom and family. I stumbled by chance onto Heather’s website and reach out to her to help me solve my Grans mystery. I braced myself for a long haul struggle and disappointment, BUT Heather MacAlister with her clear understanding of my situation, her experience and her knowledge made the process remarkably easy and gave us valuable family history tracing back 5 generations of my Gran’s biological family, the information answered so many questions and has honestly given my Gran a new lease on life – it is like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. Heather words cannot tell you how grateful I am for how you have helped my Gran and the family. You do your research with such passion, dedication, and compassion – you are truly an Angel! Thank You!
Judy Redelinghuys Upington, South Africa
I would, with absolute sincerity, recommend the services of Heather MacAlister as a genealogical researcher. She obviously has a passion for and dedication to her work. Her turnaround time was far beyond what I expected it to be. Her well-presented reports backed up with verifying documentation were clear and easy to follow. She was a very easy and pleasant person to communicate with, always responding promptly. I am amazed at the emotions Heather’s findings gave rise to in me. What was mere curiosity on my part has created a warm feeling of being a link in an unbroken chain and something to pass on to my descendants. Thank you, Heather, from a delighted client.
Derek & Sandra Berning Australia
Over many years I have struggled to unlock the secrets and exciting history which emerged from the magnificent research undertaken by Heather MacAlister.
Working tirelessly and without any needless prompting from me, she far exceeded my expectations. Detailed and precise information was given timeously, and on many occasions can only be described as “service above and beyond “from that which one anticipates. Save yourself the angst and bother, by drawing on Heather’s huge bank of knowledge and expertise ”
Jean Camlis Canada
Living so far away (Canada) I was sceptical about hiring anyone to locate a long-lost family member. Heather MacAlister came highly regarded by a member of a genealogical group I belong to so thought I’d give you a try. And I’m so glad I did!!!!
With very limited information to go by you had all the answers within 24 hours complete with documentation to support the data. Your fast and efficient service was very much appreciated and I will most certainly pass your name along to others who are doubtful when hiring out-of-country researchers.
I can never thank you enough for finding my great uncle who seemed to have left the face of the earth over 100 years ago. My father had spent countless years trying to find his Uncle John. Long before the invention of modern technology. If only he was alive today to share this information. He would be so pleased.
I can’t thank Heather MacAlister enough for solving our family puzzle and helping to find the missing pieces we’ve been trying to find for so many years.
Richard United Kingdom
As a military history researcher, I was finding it virtually impossible to access the personnel records relating to a member of the South African Air Force whose WW2 service I was examining. Heather MacAlister was able to give me a realistic assessment as to which records may still exist together with a timescale to complete the necessary inquiries and an accurate breakdown of costs. Within a week of my initial contact, I had high-resolution colour copies of the subject’s full-service record – an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. Throughout the process, Heather has kept me fully updated and her charges for this service have been very modest. She will be my first point of call for all future South African research projects and I would have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending her services to others.
Fay Silverstone London, United Kingdom
I was given Heather’s details by the Kaplan Centre in the hope that we could access some old family papers in the South African State Archives. I was getting nowhere on my own. Heather was incredibly efficient at replying to me and subsequently accessing and sending a link to see the papers. This led to further assistance from Heather which resulted in finding my mother’s first cousin in South Africa whom she has never met (but will now do so).
Heather has at all times been incredibly easy to deal with and responded quickly to emails of varying degrees of questions.
Without Heather’s help, we would never have been able to put the pieces together of our South African family. We are incredibly grateful to her.
Mike Fowler Australia
The best compliment that I can pay Heather MacAlister is to say that she listens and is immediately interested.
Her vast knowledge of her field of expertise must surely be second to none but it is her personal attention to those in need of assistance that sets her apart.
Her warmth and her genuine understanding of the emotions triggered by familial discoveries have compelled me to unhesitatingly want to recommend her to any family or individual requiring genealogical guidance.
You will not regret Heather’s involvement on your voyage of discovery!
Maarten Semmelink Australia
I engaged Heather to help in my search for my biological father, and can’t speak highly enough of her professionalism and integrity. I have no hesitation in recommending her services. Thank you, Heather, for your help.
Lizelle Hugo Centurion, Suid Afrika
Ek het per ongeluk afgekom op Heather se webblad na weke se soek na antwoorde oor my biologiese oupa. My pa was gebore in Windhoek en aangeneem deur sy ma se suster. Ek het altyd gewonder wat van my biologiese oupa geword het en ‘n paar maande terug besluit om daadwerklik te begin soek. Ek is so dankbaar dat ek kontak gemaak het met Heather, want binne ‘n kwessie van 2 weke het sy soveel inligting van my oupa aan my gestuur dat ek uitgevind het my pa het ‘n half-broer en suster wat nog lewe. Ek het kontak gemaak met my nuwe half-tannie, gaan haar ontmoet en alles hoor van my oupa wat ek graag wou weet, asook fotos van hom sien! As dit nie vir Heather se werk was nie, sou dit nie moontlik gewees het nie, ek sal haar ewig dankbaar bly en aanbeveel aan enige iemand wat navorsing wil doen oor hul familie/herkoms.
Jonty Winch and I have spent several years working on alternative histories of South African cricket and their implications for society culminating in Too Black to Wear Whites: The Remarkable Story of Krom Hendricks, a Cricket Hero who was rejected by Cecil John Rhodes’s Empire published by Penguin in 2020. Finding the man behind the name was a complex undertaking and we relied heavily on Heather McAlister’s skills as South Africa’s foremost genealogist to find a needle in the haystack of history and establish the life story of the real Krom Hendricks. Heather’s skills and contacts are second to none but equally, importantly her commitment, energy, and enthusiasm for unlocking past secrets were hugely influential in ensuring the successful production of this book. Her skilled archive work and a detective’s nose for following up on leads have provided a significant ingredient in enabling South Africans to understand their history. We are very grateful.
I worked with Heather MacAlister in the course of a publication, ‘Too Black to Wear Whites’ (Penguin, 2020), which I co-authored with Richard Parry. It is the story of Krom Hendricks, who was in the late nineteenth century the first sportsman to be formally barred from representing South Africa based on race. Very little was known about Hendricks when we first embarked on the project and when we realized that we needed professional assistance, we contacted Heather in the hope that she could help us. She became a very important part of the project in establishing details of Hendricks’s family and in locating his descendants. She is an outstanding genealogical researcher and we are most grateful for the significant discoveries she made, invariably providing us with information that we would not otherwise have gathered. Her expertise and experience are such that she is always prompt and meticulous in answering requests. We, in turn, soon appreciated her friendly ways and always felt confident that Heather would make the right choice when following a particular line of research. We thank her most sincerely and will certainly recommend her services to others.
Senior Joy, England
Thank you, Heather, for finding the family I never knew I had in South Africa. I thought she might find distant relatives but never in my wildest dreams did I expect her to find an Uncle, Aunt, and cousins they never knew existed, or they me. I’m now in touch daily and I’m off to South Africa next April. Thank you so much!
Deon and Brenda Van der Berg England
Heather MacAlister is truly a master at her job of finding the impossible. I live in the UK and with just a Birth Certificate I contacted Heather to try and find my husband’s father and his 4 sons from a previous marriage, who would be my husband’s half-brothers. I was completely gobsmacked when Heather returned information about who the brothers were and had a contact number for me. This was amazing, to find, after 55 years of wondering. We have made contact with the family and we are amazed at the love and involvement the long-lost family has shown.
Heather MacAlister made it possible and for that, we will always be thankful to her.
Joan Reeve England
As the widow of a WW2 serving volunteer in North Africa, I was surrounded by a brick wall when trying to access his Military Records, as his Service Number and medals had been lost over the years. As a last resort my son, having been born in South Africa, suggested I ask Heather MacAlister at “Ancestors Research South Africa” for help. The result was mind-boggling in speed and efficiency! Within 2 weeks I had his complete military file including notice of medals awarded.
I thank Heather profusely, there are no words to describe her interest, care, and communication to ensure I had what I requested. Many thanks again to Heather, I will not hesitate to support her further with recommendations to others.
G.M. Croft Australia
Heather MacAlister delivers a surprisingly quick, efficient, and reliable ancestry research service. After several futile years of trying to obtain the Military Service Records of an ancestor, I came across Heather’s details and contacted her. She replied immediately and after providing her with what information we already had, she set to work. Within days, we had the much sought-after records arriving in our Dropbox, and what a treasure trove of information they contained! It is so exciting to break through a family history research ”brick wall”. Based on my personal experience, I can unreservedly recommend Heather’s services and would confidently engage her services again in the future.
S. Manson Japan
Heather MacAlister offers an exceptionally professional research service. Over the last few months, she was able to assist me with various matters and offer alternatives for delicate matters, too. Her response time was timeous and the turn-around time was always faster than anticipated. I’m really glad to have been assisted by someone whose passion, knowledge, and experience show through her work. Thanks to Heather MacAlister, my family and I have been connected to a family history that was once lost to time. 10/10 service!
Tracey Gomes Portugal
Heather MacAlister, what’s in a name?
A special person, with mounds of patience, knowledge, and understanding…
Thank you for all your advice, tips, and help. I am very happy to have found you.
You have proved to be invaluable, helping me in so many ways. I am super excited to know that I can contact you and you will respond within no time.
I, recommend Heather to anyone with an interest in their Heritage and Ancestry, she will make a difference. I have absolute faith in Heather’s abilities, and her service has been exceptional.
Quite the career path you have chosen Heather, and I can understand why you did.
I look forward to many, many more liaisons.
You are the BEST.
Thank you, I am grateful.
Patricia W South Africa
Many of us find ourselves in a situation with not knowing our past as a result of a lack of living family members who can assist in filling in the gaps. Heather went beyond the line of assistance in reconstructing both sides of my family through sheer determination and tenacity as the information I was able to provide was indeed scarce and exceedingly limited. I received a staggering number of documents verifying the information as well as organograms which she had painstakingly compiled to link both sides of my family trees. What a pleasure and gift it was to be able to have this extended history now revealed to me which can in turn be passed down to other family members for posterity. Anyone who is fortunate enough to avail themselves of Heather’s services will come away with a sense of wonderment in what she manages to discover and hours of pleasure and enjoyment in discovering family roots and relationships.
Adam Ferrington Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
I am a British motor racing historian and a relatively new user of Heather’s services.
So far I have had three separate research queries, all of which have been answered very promptly and professionally, and at a very acceptable price.
Two of the queries were relatively simple, relating to a record of birth and death. However, the third was more complex, relating to an individual’s time in South Africa where all I had was a name and a date of birth. On this query, Heather has certainly ‘come up trumps’ in terms of what she has found.
I have no hesitation in recommending Heather to anybody looking for genealogical services in South Africa
A few years ago when I found myself out of my depth trying to research a South African aspect to my family history, a friend suggested I contact Heather. It turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice ever!
Not only is Heather MacAlister unbelievably knowledgeable, she also approaches every request with a dedication that only comes from absolutely loving what she does, treating every request as if she were searching for herself. I cannot speak too highly of Heather; her charges are reasonable and the turnaround speed still amazes me.
I continue to use Heather’s services and would urge anyone who needs the best help available to mail her.
Erin Wiesner South Africa
It is with a huge sense of gratitude that our entire family would like to thank and praise Heather McAlister for all her efforts and hard work researching the history of the family which resulted successfully in the miraculous issuing of 18 German passports for the entire family! No request was too much effort for her. Archived documents that she retrieved included birth, marriage, christening, and death certificates dating back to 1920. The prisoner of war file she retrieved was what finally enabled the application to cross the winning line! Our eternal gratitude for the prompt, professional, and reasonably priced research service we received from her for the full duration of the 3-year application process which ended so successfully through her endeavors and hard work! Thank you from the entire grateful Wiesner clan!
Don MacAlister South Africa
So around the age of six, in 1960 my mom explained to me that I was adopted & what it meant – little did I know then what a journey the rest of my life would become. In 1966 my mom & I arrived on holiday in South Africa to spend time with my father who was based in Cape Town as a ship’s Captain. We liked it & stayed.
I met Heather in 1977 & we married in 1979, in 1997 my mom died & for the first time in 43 years, I was comfortable to find out more about my birth mother, a subject I had shied away from while my adopted mom was alive. By this stage, Heather’s love of Genealogy had been blossoming for at least 7 years and she was taking her first tentative steps into starting her own business, she was already involved in helping people find out more about their families, it was a passion that her family history had ignited as she is one of eight children. Read more here.