Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hungarian refugees

I found this book whilst rummaging around at National Archives today.  This is just a short note to tell you that it exists. Because it still might be sensitive information, I'm not giving you its location but I'm sure if you are determined to look, you will find it.

Inside is the explanation: Following the 1956 uprising in Hungary the  New Zealand government agreed to accept 1000 refugees which increased to 1300. BCAP 1529 49/a

My passengers to NZ

  1. William Booth and his family of Co. Westmeath, Ireland came to Christchurch on the 'Victory' in 1863 via Manchester, England.
  2. Charles Crabb of Somerset and his family came to Wellington on the 'Doric' in 1884 from London.
  3. Sam Draffin of Girvan, Scotland came to Dunedin on the 'James McVicar' in 1861 via Melbourne.
  4. Bridget Dowling of Mallow Co. Cork, came to Auckland on the 'Bosworth' in 1861 from Ireland.
  5. Christina Lockhart of the Isle of Arran and her daughters came to Wellington on the 'Simlah' in 1851 from Scotland.
  6. Thomas Henson of Pottersbury, Northampton came to Wanganui via Australia in c1841.
  7. John Costello and his family of Co. Tipperary, Ireland came to Auckland via Sydney c1856 .
  8. Isabella Lockhart of Glasgow came to Wellington on the 'Bengal Merchant' in 1840 from Scotland.
  9. Thomas Campbell of Brampton Cumberland and his family came to Invercargill c1862 via Melbourne.
  10. Richard Andrew and his family of Gwennap, Cornwall, came to Auckland on the 'Berar' in 1873.
  11. Thomas Hansen and his family of London came to the Bay of Islands on the 'Active' in 1814.
  12. Elizabeth Atkinson Hanson nee Tollis of Melbourne came to the Bay of Islands on the 'Active' in 1817.
  13. Mary Ann Caines came with her family to the Bay of Islands before 1847. 
  14. William Thomas Hall of Ireland came via Australia c 1865.
  15. Thomas Hollingsworth and his family came to the Bay of Islands prior to 1853.
  16. Alfred Atfield of Bega, Australia came to Auckland c1900 
  17. William Harley Dear of Sydney came to Auckland c1900 
  18. Valenza Benyunes Welch of St Neot Cornwall, came on the 'Adamant' in 1873 to Christchurch.
  19. Edward Theodore Erikson of Akra, Norway, came to Christchurch c1887.
  20. William Gear's family came to the Bay of Islands prior to 1853.
  21. Hugh Crabb of Somerset, England came to Wanganui c1880.

A family historian's work is never done!

Log of Logs

Shipping and passenger information is a grey, wind-whipped sea of flotsam and jetsam.  All I can do is tell you about the resources the more experienced researchers use as I learn about them myself.

The one I learned about today is called 'Log of Logs, (Australia and New Zealand).  It's at the Auckland City Library and is a three volume set of books written by an Australian, Ian Nicholson. They were never finished in the sense that family history is never finished and Ian died about 10 years ago.

Still, they are an amazing resource, for Ian sourced diaries and ships logs and all kinds of information to do with sailings. If you have identified the ship a person came on and wish to investigate that particular sailing because you are writing up a family history, then do check to see what Ian found out about it.

Besides the ships sailings, listed alphabetically and not repeated in the next volume (updates are underlined though), he wrote about subject headings such as Warship logs and records, Surveys, Stowaways, Shipping companies, the United States Navy etc.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bibliography of Published NZ Family Histories

Maybe there is something already written on a part of your family and you were not on the family grapevine when that happened. If the author has given a copy to a library, Tony Millet may have included it in his 'Bibliography of Published New Zealand Family Histories'. These are now searchable on the Waikato University website.

The Waikato University say; 
The Library welcomes assistance from users of this bibliography to add to the indexing of records included in the bibliography. These should be sent by email to jrobson@waikato.ac.nz.
So do have a look. If you want to browse, use a generic search term such as 'family' instead of a family name.

Ohinemuri Journal online

This journal is now online, for you people with relatives in the area. Just thought I'd share this quickly with you. I found some new information on my families here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leadership in NZ history

Future historians of recent Chinese descent could be most important for New Zealand history and I would encourage these students to consider the topic to study at University. Why?

Europeans have been predominant in this area and have come from a long background of studying the topic, writing about it and criticising it. Europeans have been the leaders of it for many years. The leaders have been instrumental in forming attitudes in the general population through their choices and opinions.

Maori who have been here longer than us but have had to put up with the European leadership of history because they could not compete with the competency levels needed and the influence of old boy networks.

Even though Maori (I will qualify this group in a minute), are now at the highest echelons in the topic of our history, they are focused on their own history and how the Europeans treated it and them. To me, the subject of history is quite a bit wider.

When speaking about Maori, I'm referring to those who 'group think'. I can't put it into words very well but recognise it when seeing and hearing it. Some very European looking people with Maori ancestors do this automatically. Other people, looking more Maori 'think individually'.  You can't tell by looks. Leadership of the group thinkers is so much more influential than leadership of people who 'think individually'.

This is where I can see Chinese leadership bridging the gap. I think they are more likely to be able to do both or something in between and may breathe fresh air on our history.

Our lethal rivers and seas

I'm sure there were more drownings in New Zealand than any other type of accidental death in our history. Reports of them proliferate. It seems that few knew how to swim, then there the clothes they wore, more of them and a heavier type.

I've got so used to reading about them that it's become a sort of background noise and I'm surprised when I read that people did survive a shipwreck. We didn't hear about the river crossings they survived. It must have been harrowing.

Then there were the wells and mining shafts children drowned in. Anyone who has children will realise the fascination water has for them.  Mothers in those days were fully occupied eighteen hours a day just to provide the basics and didn't have the time to supervise them like we do today.

In my own family history research, being drunk was how two McAllister brothers drowned in the Piako river. They were sailing home from Kopu after being at the pub in 1909. They didn't have drunk in charge of a boat laws in those days.

Another drowning was that of Michael Costello who then had the unfortunate fame of being the subject of the first coroners report in Coromandel.  He was playing in a water hole with some friends.

I have others like a three year old who drowned in a tank of sheep dip and another drunken relative who fell out of a boat. His companions also drunk, couldn't pull him in.  And this chap who married a relative, survived WW1 as a sergeant in the tunnelling division and drowned while crossing a river on a horse.

So you too will probably have these full stops in your family tree. One of the most important tasks as a parent in New Zealand is to have our children taught to swim.

AJHR online

Search the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives.

Copied from the National Library website:
The collection currently covers the years 1862 to 1879. There are some volumes from this period that have yet to be added to the collection. Our first priority is to fill in the missing volumes from 1862-1879; that is, the volumes for 1868, Volume 2 of 1869, 1870, 1872 and Volume 1 A-F of 1878. These should be made available to users before the end of 2010.

About the volumes:
There were different instances of these volumes, published at different times and so your library may have volumes with slightly different information in them. Some volumes had fold-outs contained within them, and a similar one of another bound set will not have these. However, the set which the National Library scanned has not been censored in anyway and is a true representation of the bound set they received.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Missing from their lives

It must have been so hard not to have received news of loved ones. Lloyds set up a 'Missing Friends' register. Acting as a go-between, family and friends in the UK could notify Lloyds and pay for their notice to be included with others. The inquirer's address was kept private by Lloyds. I wonder if Lloyds still have these filed somewhere?

These are just a few I found today.

NLA (National Library Australia)

Brewer, Herbert Molineux, is anxiously inqured for by his parent, who last heard of him about three years ago at Auckland, New Zealand
Church, Isaac and Israel, left Northamptonshire in 1849-50, the former going to Australia and the latter to New Zealand. Their cousin Sarah enquires for them.
Fellowes, George Russell, left Darlington for Auckland, New Zealand, in September 1881. His sister and brother-in-law inquire.
Haster, Mary Ann (since married), who was last heard of in New Zealand, is desired to communicate with ... Sarah.
Beaumont (Newton), Mrs G and Newton, Lizzie, late of Southwick, were last heard of in Union St, Auckland. Sister Eliza.
Crouch, William, left Hackney in the Bungalore in 1851 for Canterbury, New Zealand and has not since been heard of. Brother Joseph's widow asks.
Glover, Emily, Mary Anne and Rose, are sought by their brother John, who in 1861 joined the Cape Mounted Rifles. Emily went to New Zealand in 1867 and in 1869, Mary was at Woolwich and Rose in Manchester.
Greenberg, Alexander, went to Otago, New Zealand about seven years ago, and from thence proceeded to Melbourne.
Lough (Watters), Mrs Henry, was last heard of five years ago at Amberley, New Zealand. Brother Henry.
Patching, William, sailed in the Ferndale for Auckland about fifteen years ago and was last heard of at Canterbury, Brother James.
Potter, Henry William, communicated with his mother, who had not heard from him for seventeen years, through Lloyd's two years ago, and she was to have joined him at Invercargill, NZ. Not having had further news, she begs him to write.
Watters, Richard and Eliza, were last heard of in New Zealand. Brother Henry.
Burton, William late of Monkton Deverill, Wilts,in 1879 wrote from Grey  Vallecy, New Zealand, Sister Elizabeth.
Howell, Richard, left Harrow-on-the-Hill in 1871, and emigrated to New Zealand. His brothers and sisters inquire.
Snelling, John Hudson and Emma, who sailed in the James Nicol Fleming in 1875 for New Zealand are sought by their brother Samuel.
Pratt, William, sailed from London in June 1864, for Dunedin, and settled in Christchurch, where for many years, he was engaged in a drapery; last heard of twenty years ago. Brother George.
Dobell, Albert Francis (Frank), sailed for Auckland on 29th May 1862, in the Matilda Wattenback, and six months after his arrival there proceeded to Bombay India. His mother and brother desire news.
Ham, Robert and Emily of Congresbury, Somersetshire were last heard of in January 1880, at Alambia Rd, Blenheim, New Zealand, Sister Eileen.
Joseph, Stanley Herbert (Schneider), went to Auckland in July 1888 and afterwards lived in Bourke St, Melbourne where he was employed by Mr Bennett, butcher. His mother is anxious.
Robinson (Green), Amelia, is believed to have left London for New Zealand about 1861 and then gone to Melbourne. Brother William.
Barrow, William, left the London docks in a sailing vessel for Hawke's Bay, New Zealand on 25th March 1874, and for some months had his letters addressed "Care of W Marshall, Carswell, Pukititin" Brother Robert.
Boreham, Mrs E Sarah, sailed in the Rimutaka for New Zealand in January 1884 ane when last heard of was at Amberley. Sister Polly.
Hicks, Alfred, accompanied by his wife and family, went to New Zealand about twenty years ago and was last heard of four years later, Sister Jane.
Page, John, left for New Zealand in 1865 and in 1875 wrote from Sydney that he was gold digging. Brother William.

Paperspast (National Library New Zealand)

Connors, Thomas who belongs to a Religious Order in New Zealand, kindly communicate with his nephew Thomas Connors No. 127, 42nd St, Pittsburg, Pa. USA.
Elliott, William, last heard of at Greymouth on the 6th Oct 1869, write immediately to J.G. Elliott, Church St, Richmond, Victoria.
Casey, Ellen, of Sydney, would like to hear of brother Cornelius, whose brother John in dying. Address Redfern P.O.
Beehre, Henry, information wanted (Roman Catholic) who arrived in NZ about 30yrs ago.
Reidy, Martin, native of Listowel, Co Kerry, left home many years ago. Last heard of in Australia, heard of recently as being in South Island NZ, most anxiously sought for by his father.
Leach, John, late of Camp Runanga, Greymouth, labourer deceased. The widow and children of the above named are requested to communicate immediately with Ellison and Hewison, Solicitors, 237 Collins St, Melbourne.
Morgan, Thomas, left London for New Zealand 22yrs ago, Daughter Polly asks.
Wright, William, of Marshchapel left Great Grimsby 37 years back for Australia, supposed to have gone to New Zealand. Sister Eliza asks.
James James, late of Rothersthorpe, Northampton, is believed to be in New Zealand. Brother Benjamin asks.
Clements, David, sailed for New Zealand in 1876, last heard of from Auckland, Sister Jennie asks.
Baker, James, left Gravesend for New Zealand, brother John and father asks.
McEneaney, Arthur was last heard of from Wellington, M Mc'Eneaney asks.
Pratt, Sarah, left Bedworth in 1865, is supposed to be in New Zealand, sister asks.
Osborn, William,left London 40 years back for New Zealand. Sister Sarah has had no news of him in 20 years.
Osborne, Mrs nee Edmonds, left Sussex for New Zealand 27 years ago. Brother John asks.
Ward, Charles H. or Hermon was living at East Oaklands, California in 1887, supposed to have gone to Napier, New Zealand. Niece asks.
Perry, John is sought by his mother, last known address was Doonan Cottage, Clyde St, Dunedin, Otago.
Murray, Horace D was last heard of from Whangarei in 1883, Niece asks.
Sherry, John, of Pendover, Yeovil, sailed to New Zealand with George Napier about 40yrs since. Sister Lucy asks.
Dold, H was last heard of in 1874 when a cab proprietor in Madras St, Christchurch. Daughter Mary asks.
Richards, Charles of Rickerscote, Stafford, went to Christchurch about 40 years ago. Last heard of in 1864. Brother Joseph asks.

Aucklands bluestone curbing

All my life, I've lived with the memory of hand-chipped bluestone curbs thoroughly imprinted in my brain.  It's one of those memories that is so ordinary it does not deserve a mention.

We all look down to check where the curb is before crossing the street, later I had to look for the curbing when parking the car. Then this Auckland icon started being replaced with concrete. At the time, I thought it was an improvement, it was smooth and uniform and modern. The city was growing up!

When, I can't remember, the concrete curbing was being replaced with a look-alike hand-chipped bluestone! Now this got my attention. Why was I disgusted? Our history was being manipulated somehow. For goodness sake, if the original stone curbs had been that important, why not re-use the originals and what had happened to these blocks of history?

The prisoners in Mt Eden Jail chipped the stones by hand but why were they bluestone and not volcanic stone?

And what is the new supercity going to do with the mountains of bluestone curbing they must have stockpiled somewhere?  Anyone know?

Some Answers:

The bluestone was quarried at Mt Eden and at two sites in Mt Wellington, one near the Panmure-Ellerslie Highway and one nearer the mountain. The council re-uses most of the bluestone curbs but has to keep them in a secure lockup because they were often being stolen. It is much more expensive to use these curbs because of the hands-on nature of re-laying them.  If the roads in an area are being re-organised the council often replaces the curbs with concrete as a temporary measure if they are planning on further remedial work, the concrete being easier to lay and dispose of later.
Pitch stones which are a different shape but still bluestone are not being recycled on the roads. These stones were used as channels and leaked water, so concrete is used now days. These are being stock-piled and their future use is still unknown, they make good stone-walls. If you have a community project which might use these, talk to the city council. And if you do these, record the source in your records so Auckland knows the historical nature of it.
From my talk with the manager of transport services at the council today.

Dalmations in NZ

Everybody has a subject which, despite their best efforts, always confuses them. For me, unfortunately, its understanding the Balkans and the people that inhabit them. The confusion for me is who are Croatians, Dalmatians and Serbs etc, and how Yugoslavia fits into them or they fit into it.

Andrew D Trlin wasn't a bit confused when he wrote the book 'Now Respected, Once Despised'. I spotted this on the shelves today. Published in 1979, it can be forgiven for looking very care-worn and well-thumbed.

In the introduction, Andrew explains the unfortunate and superficial view of Yugoslavians brought about by early accounts of their character and behaviour by Lochore (1951) and Wilson (1966) when Wilson was writing for the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

He shoots holes in previous suppositions, talks about the location of Dalmations in New Zealand, what occupied them and their social conditions.

In the back is a list of family names of the pioneers and Dalmation settlers.

He explains about conditions in the home country which was a province of Austria at the time and the sources of ill-feelings.

It's not a light read but obviously needed to be written.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tale from the 60's

My mother always said, 'sharing brings luck'. She would play the horses faithfully every Saturday sometimes even getting us children to stick a pin in a line-up of horses and putting some money on it.

Every now and then, she would strike gold. Actually, it happened three times that I can remember. New carpet, alterations for the house or a holiday ensued. We lived extremely cheaply, one present at Xmas and for a birthday, home-made clothes, bottled fruit and veg every summer etc., so these interludes were a very welcome break in the monotony.

But winnings were on the basis of easy come, easy go and she made a beautiful habit of sharing it. I had trouble sharing and would sometimes eat a whole bar of chocolate on my way home from school so I didn't have to do it. However, early childhood training seems to run deep and I did learn to share and learned to like it and I do think she was right about the luck. You know the bible story about the loaves and fishes?

The last big win prompted the idea of a new car. In the 1950's - 60's, imported goods were rare and expensive. Tariffs kept them away from most folk's pockets. Mum had to put down a deposit and wait and wait on the Peugeot car she had chosen. We never did get it, instead, she brought home a Datsun Bluebird,  "what's that" we all cried, never heard of it, "Japanese, you must be joking, I thought they lost the war?"

Tararu Old Folks Home

Tararu is near Thames and I've already posted a list of overseas residents of this home on my Coromandel site. However, looking again at the register at National Archives last week, I was struck the quality of information that was recorded. The Coromandel site does not include all the residents and only some of the available information.

This register is at Auckland National Archives and its reference No. is YCAH 14073 Ref 1. Marriage information is comprehensive as well. The example below is for a single man.

Name, Charles Schultz;
Date of Admission 15th January 1909;
Last Address, Shortland, Thames ;
Occupation, Fisherman;
Age, 76;
Date of Birth 4th July 1833;
Place of birth, Hanover, Germany;
Religion, Lutheran;
State of Health when admitted, Fairly good;
In receipt of an Old Age Pension, No;
Whether in Receipt of an Imperial Pension, No;
Whether in Receipt of Allowance from a Friendly Society, No;
Any money or possessions, None;
How long in NZ, about 40 years;
Where did you come from to New Zealand? Australia;
Date of Arrival in NZ, 1869;
Previous Place of Residence in the Colony, Dunedin;
Whether single, married or widowed, Single;
Name of Father, Carl Schultze;
Name and Surname of Mother, Anne Luk;
Rank or Calling of Father, Miller;
Date of Discharge, 10th Feb 1909.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photographs at Auckland Library SC

SC meaning Special Collections. Sometimes I wonder if all I'm doing here is making a list for myself to remember. For instance, I've been told where to find this resource before but I forgot, its not where you think it might be. I asked again today.

It's called the Heritage images online.
-On the main library page, click the Digital Library.
--Then the A-Z list of resources.
---Chose H for Heritage.
----Scroll down for Heritage images online.

For those who just want a link, here it is. But by doing the above, you may come across something else of interest for a rainy afternoon.

Today I asked about their unidentified photographs, yes, they do have these, probably lots. Just ask at the desk and they might bring you enough to last all of a rainy Auckland afternoon.

The New Zealand Farmer Stock & Station Journal

The MOTAT Walsh Memorial Library has this Journal from 1903 through to 2001 when it ceased. It would make a great indexing project, material to do with farms, farmers, breeds and social history etc. It contains;

  • Land transactions and values. ( Sample is displayed here).
  • Horse showing and breeding.
  • Dog showing and breeding.
  • Poultry showing and breeding.
  • Home housewife supplement.
  • Cooking, fashion and advice.
  • Childrens post office.
  • Cousins page for older children.
  • Buster Brown cartoons.
  • Cattle breeding and showing.
  • Pig breeding and showing.
  • Reports of the AMP shows.
  • Shire horses showing and breeding.
  • New tools.
  • Pasture management.
  • Wheat growing
  • Wool and sheep breeding.
  • Australian news.
  • Horticulture and fruit growing.
  • Veterinary articles.
  • Farmers help column.
  • Real Estate.
  • The markets.

The Walsh Memorial Library

This library's collections focus is on technology, aircraft, tools, photography, trains and trams etc. Subjects such as these are often necessary when rounding out a family history. If you want to do some good browsing, phone the librarian in advance.
The library is at MOTAT in Mt Albert, Auckland. Parking can be found in Motions Rd which has just been upgraded or the big carpark in where their aircraft museum is in Meola Rd, trams run frequently. If you just want to visit the library, talk to the assistant on the entrance desk and you will get a badge and not have to pay. The library caters well for children.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NZ history in Photographs

I've just been reading 'How to do local history' by Gavin McLean 2007 Otago University Press. He has a chapter on visual documents and illustrations, page 47.

Did you realise that New Zealand has grown up with photography? Gavin says 'the first New Zealand Company immigrants left Britain for Port Nicholson just a month after the invention of photography was announced in Paris.'

I never knew that. The photographs which have survived are mostly hidden in filing cabinets and drawers. You have to know where to look and my history of looking hasn't found me much. They were then wrapped up in a sort of  'beware of using for publication' language which put a barrier between me and them. Even at National Archives which I believe have thousands of photos - I've never seen one and I go often. Seems such a shame.

Gavin has written of the links he knew of in 2007 which I will look at, since that year, more has come online. But this must be only a fraction of what it available still.

The ones below are of an unidentified school and they are never far from my mind, especially when I survey the latest listings of postcards of New Zealand cities on Trademe. I'm always looking for a clue. Trademe being more use than the repositories which probably have millions of photographs.

Salvation Army Archives

Did your relative wear the Bonnet or the Cap? If yes, then their publication 'War Cry' might contain information. And accounts of their missions to towns around New Zealand might also contain information on the people they encountered. War Cry began in 1883 and has been indexed 1883 - 1919.

Lady Barker's book mentioned that at Ohau near Palmerston North, the Army Mission converted all the families except for one stubborn Catholic family. I took note because it was probably my Catholic family.

Did you have a relative in one of their Children's Homes? Residents have been recorded but the records only start at 1915 although the Homes began in 1900.

They also ran homes such as Hodderville Home near Waotu, Putaruru. A farm of 2350ac where boys 12-19 came as assisted immigrants in the 1920's. (see The War Cry 27th Jan 1934). Another was the Public Schoolboys Scheme.

You can contact them to search these records @$40. Write to 202 Cuba St, Wellington. The Archives is shifting to their Training College Facility in December. The new address will be 20 William Booth Grove, Upper Hutt. Please make an appointment. Or you can contact them by email at the Salvation archives.

No plans are in the air for putting their records online yet but they may do in the future.

Bethany Home. Who remembers this maternity home or others they ran? The nation wide Salvation Army maternity records can be accessed by writing to the Bethany Centre 35 Dryden St, Grey Lynn, Auckland.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why did they come to NZ?

New Zealand is an immigrant country. It helps to remember there was no-one here in the not too distant past.

Reasons they may have left their home countries.

  • Over-population and narrowing resources.
  • Being at odds with the politics.
  • Escaping increasing violence.
  • Escaping religious persecution.
  • Escaping personal problems (geographical cure).
  • Having done something their community did not like and would punish them for.
  • To join others who had left.
  • Just feeling adventuresome.
  • Being sent here.

One of my grandfathers, Hugh Crabb, (I've four of them being adopted), came in 1880 for two of the above reasons. His wife had died in 1879 and the following year he accidentally shot an eleven year old and killed him instantly while at a shooting party. His sister and her family were already here in New Zealand and had arrived in 1876. Source: Gale Searchable Newspapers online (New Zealand Society of Genealogists).

Another came as crew and jumped ship, Edward Theodore Erikson from Norway, and it seems he was the black sheep in the family. His brother was already here. Source: Naturalisation papers, Wellington National Archives.

Another, Douglas William Stitt Hannah, came because the economic outlook in Scotland for his class was looking bleak and it may have been because of a little religious persecution as well. He was a carpenter and they settled in Opotiki. Source: Another family researcher.

Poverty. Samuel Draffin. His family had persuaded the Australian government to pay for a group of poverty-stricken weavers in Girvan Scotland to emigrate and Samuel arrived in Tasmania in 1855 with his family. They became gold-miners in Victoria. Samuel then moved with the gold-rushes around the globe before settling back here in New Zealand to raise a family. Source: National Library of Australia,

Finding out why they came will take some detective work, reading time and a bit of luck.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Swedish research in NZ

When Ingela was leaving Sweden for New Zealand a relative gave her a copy of a book called Svenskarna i Nya Zeeland to help her with settling in. She was amazed to find such a book in Sweden.

There is a copy of this book at the Panmure LDS research library and one at the Auckland Council Library. It was written up by a Swedish Consular in New Zealand. The first part is in Swedish but the lists of Swedish New Zealanders who settled here and their information is in English.

She told me that Scandinavians became assisted immigrants to tame the forests in the southern part of the North Island because they were already skilled in forestry.

I met Ingela the other day, she is a helper at the Takapuna LDS on Tuesdays between 12 - 2.pm and was at the launch of the Maritime Shipping Index.

I was amazed to hear about how research in Sweden was done. Household surveys by a Lutheran Priest were done every year. In the survey, the priest would list the fathers name, the mother by her maiden name and all the children in the household, the parish they resided in. If they had moved since the previous time he had visited, the place they went to was recorded. Then next place they resided would record all their important information. This system started in the early 1600's and was for taxation purposes.

How about that! All a Swedish person needs to do, is to locate the parish their ancestors resided in and follow it back in time. Locating that parish might be a long search if it's not known, and some priests writing is difficult to read and of course, its all in Swedish. You can subscribe to genline.se which has scanned all these records. Ancestory.se had recently purchased this company.

Also, Ingela will help you if you are in Auckland and she also a link to the Swedish Association.

Disguised as a boy

Jane Wilkson aka Jane New

Was Jane our first woman's libber?

Jane was a convict who was facing the death penalty when she escaped Australia on the 'Emma Kemp' in 1829 disguised as a boy. She is quite famous in Australian history. She must have made a welcome addition to the community of traders and timber-men at the Hokianga.

In 'Over the Trackless Sea' by Megan Hutching, published by HarperCollins publishers 2008, Eliza White, wife of Rev William White, said in her diary that Jane was fond of male company. She could not really say much more than that, the journal she was writing was meant for her parents to read, and they, like Eliza, were very strict Christians.

Her early story is here. Carol Baxter, An Irresistable Temptation: the true story of Jane New and a colonial scandal, published by Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2006

Eliza White Journals, 16 Sept 1829 - 28 April 1836 MET 011, Series 2, Items 1,2,3,4 Kinder Library Theological College, Auckland.

Maritime records and the LDS

I attended the launch of the Maritime records housed at Archives New Zealand, Wellington and recently filmed and indexed by Familysearch.org.
About the records.
Search engine for the records.

Only a fraction of the records are online yet. Familysearch.org is also implementing a whole new scheme at the moment which will include a family tree online building facility. NZ Probates is their next local project.

Gathering at the Mormon Church,
Mairangi Bay, Auckland
Mayor Williams receiving a gift
from Mr Higgins.

LDS research 
Their online library allows New Zealanders to order films directly by creating a logon and a profile and stating which branch is the preferred one. When the film arrives, the researcher has 3 months to use the film which allows multiple viewings at the researchers convenience. 

Any ordered in fiche are kept in New Zealand because they are copies of the originals and this means many of the LDS branch libraries have some very useful material at hand.

Find your nearest LDS branch library and their opening times and contact phone numbers. There were 41 centres in NZ when I counted today.

The branches are staffed by volunteers, many of whom are very experienced researchers themselves.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Photographs of soldiers WW1

The Christchurch Press today have let us have a look at some wonderful photographs of soldiers in New Zealand leaving for WW1.  Just in case you missed it;


The glass plate negatives are being given to the National Army Museum at Waiouru.

The photographs are very clear and wonderful.

Mad things we genealogists do

The Armchair Genealogist posted Monday Madness - The Craziest Thing You've Done in the Name of Genealogy?

Thinking about it, I've done a few mad things too. On a trip with a relative in her 80's to Wellington a few years ago, we went past a fruit and vegetable sign on the side of the road called by the family name I'm researching. On a mad impulse, I screeched to a halt, turned the car around and searched for the shop. It turned out to be a farmlet and the lady (our family) was so helpful, we got afternoon tea too. My relative still reminds me about it regularly, it was quite an adventure.

Taking my husband to Kuaotuna cemetery about ten years ago while we were holidaying in the area was an adventure, the graves were scattered in the bush, I'm sure we didn't find many of them. He was not impressed.

I've sometimes taken to white pages to look for clues and phoning odd people. To date, the response has been very good. But I have refined my sales pitch to lessen the chance of being a nuisance. I guess my call might be a welcome change from tele-marketers!

What a shame some people leave such a sour taste in one's mouth that the memory hangs around far longer than is warranted. One lady I phoned who was a family member and had a portrait hanging in her home of our ggrandmother but was in another city, said in a snooty voice. "Oh no, I can't have strangers in myyy home photographing myyy relatives!" I hope you haven't one of these in your tree. I've been trying to find someone in the family who is farther up the food chain to get a pic for me without success so far.

Overall, I would recommend being a bit adventuresome laced with respect for other's privacy of course.

Auckland Provincial History Index

This index was compliled in the 1950's by Gertrude Terry, a very able librarian who worked at the Auckland Council Library. The reason for the index was to write a book about the 1840's - 1850's  for a centennial Auckland history but this never eventuated. The index is a valuable source for this period. It is on microfilm at the Auckland library and the source materials are mostly at hand.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Having our ancestors picked up by the police is a veritable treasure for us. Sure, I guess, we'd rather they had stayed on the right side of the law but since they didn't, the police collected a lot of information on them.

And if your relative was a victim, that's even better, there is more information in High Court records about them than the criminals. High Court criminal cases are closed to the public for 100yrs. If the case is about you and you prove who you are, then Archives NZ will show you the record. The rest of us have to wait!

But today I'm going to show you the police gazettes. (Click on image to be able to read it.) These are closed for 60 years. In the recent past, there was a bit of controversy about the time these were closed but it's now been clarified to the 60yrs by the Police Commissioner.

These invaluable registers are at National Archives. You will see by the photographs, that the information collected was of a wider interest than just felons.

Each year is indexed at the front of the gazette and you may have to read through many years to find that person if you don't know when he came before the judge.

The information is not on Archway. It's definitely worth the trip to archives just to see if the gazettes contain your people.

Remember paperspast, which details what the public were told about the criminal cases.

Mug shots are fabulous and were added to the later years than I'm showing you today. The Police Museum has a few of these online.

Make it Digital, has the Police Museums' mugshot collection and the police gazettes listed for you to vote for if you like.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Brick Wall

Robert Campbell was born in 1730 maybe in Scotland although he never said so. It's just that he fought on Bonnie Prince Charlie's side in 1745 and came to Brampton Cumberland with the army. The Campbell Clan as a whole, except for a few miscreants like my Robert, fought that little skirmish on the side of the English. Robert was 16yrs, old enough to fight in those days.

Prince Charlie's army lost and the rabble was rounded up but Robert escaped this roundup. He was still in Brampton having somehow received absolution from his sins. He attended the hangings at the Capon Tree as the only mourner.

Some time after, he was in the English army fighting around the globe, he went to the West Indies and then to Quebec under General Wolfe (1759) and had lots of adventures. He learned to be a blacksmith somewhere along the line and returned to Brampton to live out his days. He married in 1791 (very late) to Margaret Thompson and they had at least three children. Although Margaret was much younger (born 1764), she died before him in 1822. Robert died in 1839 aged 109yrs old.

There is quite a bit coming online now about the Campbell Clan. I was interested to read about the Keithock Campbells who might have been rebels. And then there were some strange references in letters written by John Campbell of Barcaldine about family loyalties which were embarrassing to him. His wife could have been a Keithock Campbell. John was quite influential and could have kept a quiet eye on his in-laws activities.

Lots of people would be very happy to just get their research back to this time period and I am too. Would you give up at this stage or keep going? I feel I need the advice of someone who has studied this period of history. I've looked at various regiments and can't quite place one particular one which Robert might have stayed in, of course he may have moved between two or three. And how come he survived being a rebel so easily? And which branch of the Campbell Clan did he belong to.  Perhaps I'll never know.

Feilding Public Library

I visited this excellent Library a couple of years ago when on a field trip. My ancestors came to the Manchester Block in the early 1880's and settled first at Halcombe. The library has a room where researchers can read the local papers on film and they have drawers of photographs.

I didn't have a photograph of my grandfather and boy was I delighted to find a named photograph of him in one of the drawers. Following on from this wonderful event and knowing what his son-in-law looked like, I came across an unidentified group photograph with the two of them in it. The other members of the group were quickly identified. Such a valuable find.

The Feilding library doesn't appear to have all their photographs online, so I would recommend that if you are passing, do a physical search. However, they appear to be adding to their online collection at times. I've just checked back and found another one belonging to my family which I will order.
They say on their site:
Our online photograph collection is still under development. The photograph collection and index card to the Feilding Star will soon be searchable separately.

Feilding Public Library gets 10 out of 10 in my book. I must check back regularly.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sam Draffin on Facebook

Geneabloggers posted an article on using facebook to highlight an ancestor called,
Have you created a Facebook page for your ancestor? Here's how.

So I thought I'd try it out today. I'm not very good with facebook yet and I find that it's not intuitive. In fact, photoshop is easier to learn I reckon. The result is not at all like she suggested it might be and I could not even find the correct feed for the page to share with you here.

Have you ever felt like such a dummie? I like the idea though and persisted with it. Any help would be much appreciated. The information is there, the photos are there but how on earth can I configure the page to add a map or make it more attractive?

Deposited Documents

At the Auckland National Archives, I looked at the Deposited Documents in the blue folders in the reading room and selected one file to show you. It's one I've been meaning to have a look at for some time anyway and as it turned out, it's not very interesting, but this group of documents might be just what you need.

Inside the blue folders are alphabetical lists of the Land & Deed documents 1841 -1943.

The one I choose to have a look at was John Costello's Kihikihi grant. I need the reference on the left:  BCAT = Agency Code, A1009 = Series, 49 = box, 1L = record No.  I would then go to the computers in the reading room and enter in my username and password, order the item..

With permission to photograph documents, I can take a camera into the reading room. There is a sloped light enhanced table with optional weights for photographing documents. However, I usually do it at the reading table. No flash, handshake on, macro on and take a deep breath.

I feel honoured handling these old documents. Who else has, and what's the story behind it? In this case, John fought in the 1860's war as a forest ranger and it seems that it is a coincidence that he is in the same place as my Julia Patton nee Costello (see Public Trust Records).  I suspect he sold this allotment and lived in Mt Eden, Auckland.

In the above list, the name Edward Costley is an interesting one. Wasn't he the very humble batchelor who lived in basic lodgings and was very good at making money. When he died he bequeathed it all to the City of Auckland for various uses like the Costley Block at the Hospital?

There is a reference No on the back of each document which is needed if you intend to follow it up at Land Information New Zealand.

Facebook and Genealogy

Social networking is all the thing these days. Our children and grandchildren do it with ease. One told me, it's all about promoting yourself, don't bother! I have to admit, I don't want to promote myself but I do want to promote the history of New Zealand and the genealogy records using all the latest tools.

So, I've been learning about facebook. The first thing I realised is that it's not easy to find the tools for configuring it. The how-to pages refer to tools I don't have available. But since I'm new to it, I'm just going to overlook these occurrences and trust that things will get clearer in time.

I created a group page where discussions, events, photos etc can be shared. It's global at the moment which means anyone can use it. If it gets spammed or such, we can change the setting to invitations only.

So please join and see what it evolves into. Lets see if social networking can work for grandma's and grandpa's. If you know any other facebook groups which promote the same subject, please let me know.

Just click the link at the top right hand side on this blog. It will prompt you for your facebook user name and password. Join if you don't have one yet.
  • For those who are passionate about New Zealand history. 
  • All sorts of records and where to find them.
  • The people who lived here and their footprints in those records.
  • Famous New Zealanders and what they did.
  • New Zealand disasters and shipwrecks.
  • Funny story's about old New Zealanders.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southdown Freezing Works

Who remembers this monstrous, smelly and economically important plant belonging to AFFCO in Penrose Auckland?

I worked there in the 1970's in the laboratory and the plant closed down in the early 1980's. It stood defunct until it was burnt down a few weeks ago. A ghostly rabbit warren of dangerous rooms, I'm sure the site is of more value now its buildings are gone.

A Selwyn College 7th form project group filmed a small documentary on the plant in 2008 but I don't know what happened to it, I was asked to participate.

But its history, its records, were of concern to me and I'm happy to report that the staff of Southdown the head office kept these safe. The records are, according to Bill Ralph, Company Secretary, who contracted John McCrystal to write the 2004 book  'A long season : the centennial history of AFFCO New Zealand', housed at the Hamilton Library. They include minute books, personal memoirs and photographs back to the early 1900's.

Bill says finding an archives that would take the records was a problem. Thanks Hamilton Library for your agreement to look after them.

I hope other industries big and small have had the same good sense!

A Sense of Place Conference

This conference will take place at the State Library of NSW, Sydney on the 6th of March 2011. They are calling  for 30 minute papers, particularly from New Zealanders about local study collections and initiatives.

It is about encouraging local communities to be engaged with local history and develop a sense of identity and the ways it might be done better.

This blog is my contribution.  We do need to foster our sense of history better here in New Zealand. The political initiative during the past 15 years has been to engage school children and public servants with the Treaty of Waitangi. This has been done well in some areas and very poorly in others.

But its also had the effect of '"switching off'" minds to other areas of our history as people gasped under the deluge of politically correct speech and written works. So in a lot of minds, history is garbage now.

Thanks to Infolass via twitter for this link.

1935 Electoral Roll

Volumes 1 - 20 is on sale at Gould Genealogy & History for A129.50 at the moment. I just checked the currency exchange and its NZ$165.09.  Not bad!

I'm tempted but since I've effectively finished my New Zealand trees, it would be a bit silly for me to buy it.

1935 was part of the depression years when there was a lot of movement of people as they desperately tried to survive, there were work camps and swaggers and families moving in together, or moving to the cities.

Gould Genealogy has other electoral years for sale as well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wellington Mounted Rifles

Magpie Collection is a beautiful blog, though not a genealogy one. We learnt that we shared a thing in common, our ancestor's who both served in WW1 with the Wellington Mounted Rifles. Marilyn doesn't have many photos of this time and I have a few, so here they are Marilyn. Poor quality faded pics.  Perhaps you might spot your man?  My father is fourth from the left.

Research Lesson

GenealogicalNew sent this link via Twitter this morning.  
Randy Seaver shares his errors in research with us. His experiences are a warning to us of the danger of excepting other people's research as our own, even when wrapped up in a glossy published package.

Randy says;
Most "genealogists" start out as name collectors and fact collectors, and eventually understand that they need to fact check the information they enthusiastically gleaned from published books and periodicals, online genealogy databases and online family trees. 
I'm embarrassed by my lack of scholarship in this specific instance, and I know that there are hundreds of other ancestral families that feature the same lack of scholarship in my database.
I admire Randy's honesty and hope that he gets his vast database corrected, no easy task. It should be just a few clicks after finding the correct information in the archives, but it's never that easy with our genealogy programs.

It's better to start a family database slowly, fact by proven fact!

Owen Family Letters

At the Auckland Museum Library. Manuscript 1164
Twelve families came from Prince Edward Island to New Zealand on the 14th of May 1859 seeking the Britain of the South and fleeing the brief summers and long winters. What a journey!

George W Owen wrote to his father of his experiences in the new colony.


Queen St, 1860 from book
decently and in order
The steam engine is yet unsold and has cost me a good deal of money, and the trade here altho greater is far more cut up than in Charlotte Town. Had I a stack of stationery, I would do well, but the meagre lot I have, not half the things enquired for operated against me, and again having to contend against old hands in the business.  Auckland is unlike Charlotte Town which is supported by a back country with a population 10x greater than the town. The city of Auckland is as populous as the country around it and is more supported by the natives than the white people.

Again the emigrants arrivng here finding all the accessable land in the hands of land jobbers and the difficulties almost impossibilities of going into the north to settle away from roads and settlers, are many of them compelled to open small shops and to eke out a living.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Memorandum of Transfer example

I suspect that research on farm estates will become of more interest as time goes by. It is made easier now by our access to the old newspapers online. There must be a lot of interesting private papers on land ownership and development around as well.

I'm not sure of the official paper trails of land ownership in New Zealand. I haven't had much experience of searching the history of land but what I have done in this area has shown me that a whole lot of new skills are required.

A couple of years ago I asked LandinfoNet to do some research for me on land owned by Julia Patton nee Costello after her arguments with the Public Trust (see post; Public Trust Records) over her late husbands estate. A land transmission reference from the NZSG Index 5 CD (see post;  NZSG's Index version) was the starting point.

LandinfoNet emailed a pdf file to me of Julia's sale of land to the Baptist Church in Te Awamutu, part of the Teasdale Settlement. There were other papers with it as well that I could not readily understand. However, the land researcher went to some trouble to try to explain. So, I will keep trying because the subject of land ownership and transfers is interesting.

The example below does tell me a bit more about Julia, she was illiterate but still, she managed to get something of what she wanted. More on this subject later.

Book: The Kainui Story

Browsing the local history section of the library, I came across this book comprising of collected family stories, compiled by Russell Clarke of Hamilton self-published in 2006. ISBN 0 473 116227.

I often drive through the area to visit my sister and had no idea that this little place even existed. The area is a Y shape including the greater part of Driver Rd and Kainui Rd, just south of Taupiri and north of Ngaruawahia.

The settlement began with an auction in 1911 of he Kainui Estate consisting of between 25-30 farms and the compiler used entries from 1930's and 1940's of the families in residence then.  You get a feeling when reading this book that people just got on with it without complaint in those hard years. At least they had decent food and home-made entertainment, not like the swaggers passing through who really had it tough.

The book is a good read, well written. No index or bibliography.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Hauraki Militia

From the Auckland Museum Library.

The Auckland Museum Library strength is in their manuscripts collection.

Call No. MS 96/70 By Alistair Isdale,
  • The first Thames equivalents of our armed Constabulary were Maori.
  • A later formation 1875 was a body of Native Volunteers, under Captain Taipari, but there was a change here from the earlier bodies of heavily armed Maoris with only two or three police for the Europeans to keep order among themselves.
  • Joshua Clifton Firth who had been a friend of the dead Wiremu Temehana, 'the King Maker', and who was laying the foundation of his great Matamata Estate, went out with a couple of Maoris to meet Te Kooti.
  • Even in Thames, the Maoris would not allow any improvement to the road up the Kaeuranga.
  • Meanwhile both sides of the Maoris were making it clear their quarrel was one they wished the Europeans to keep clear of.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pacific Manuscripts Bureau

This resource is at the Auckland University Library and is a wonderful effort mainly from the Australian National Library but with input from a few New Zealanders. This organisation seeks to preserve historical Pacific content from degredation in tropical climates in the South Pacific and comes largely from private collections. Well done.

It can be a bit intimidating to visit a university library if you are not used to it, crowds of students and no parking places but it is worth the effort. To find the Special Collections Library, go in the main doors of the Library and head towards the stairs then veer left before stepping up.

The index of what is available is in blue folders if you haven't already identified which microfilms have your area of interest on them by accessing the online catalogue.

I did a search on Niue, there were 39 results.
Another search on New Bedford ( USA  + Pacific whaling ) brought back 25 results, most of which are very interesting.

I can see myself spending some time at the microfilm machine soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Zealand Heritage Library

We don't have one.

What might the purpose be of having one?

  • It would be a repository for information about people living in the last 100 years. 
  • It could be designed like Archives New Zealand is now but for records held by private individuals and organisations apart from Government records.
  • If we don't have one, most of this information goes to the furnace or the tip. 
  • We are tied up with privacy laws now so any private individual or organisation cannot display or use in any way, information they have gathered on us, and it frightens them.
  • Storage costs money and it is unlikely that this historical information would be conserved.
  • We have just come out of the 'age of paper', Paper records still fill drawers, warehouses, shelves and cupboards, but soon, people, organisations and businesses are going to make decisions on what to do with it.
  • Not all this information will be immediately interesting anyway.
  • People next century are likely to find it very interesting.
  • New Zealand needs to look after its history better, this is one very positive move we could make.
  • There are many gaps already in the history of this country.

Thinking about the organisations which I've been involved with which have required me to register in some way and participate, I can imagine that they have erased my footprints already. Maybe not. They probably would not have if they had somewhere safe to put it.

This is not my original idea. Others are concerned, mainly in the conservation of records area. I've just been talking about it with them lately because I've become concerned.

Auckland City Council Archives

This Auckland City Council records archive is next to the Auckland City Council main library in Lorne St in the city. It's down stairs and you can miss the entrance easily. Just aim for the the Academy Cinema. It is open 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

On passing one day recently, I called in to see if there was anything new. First of all there was a very helpful archivist and she reminded me about their online search facility.

To try it out, the archivist let me see the Valuation Field Sheets 1912 to 1990 for Ponsonby after I spotted one or two relatives in that area.

No. 46 Franklin Rd was examined (as an example). It was a wooden house owned by Miss Maggie Ann Burnett Farquhar in 1912. Then it belonged to Maggie Ann Burnett Newill, wife of Charles Herbert and they rented it out whilst living at Great South Rd, Otahuhu. They erected a new garage in 1930 (plans for this are likely to be available) and then moved in. They lived there until 1958 and the property changed hands a few times, Fennell to Driesewerd to Manuella before the Auckland City Council purchased it and leased it to Maori Affairs.

The archivist explained that it is possible to go back year by year in the rates books to find out when it was built.

In 1957, a field survey estimated the house was then about 65yrs old. I went online to Google Maps New Zealand and could see what the house looks like now. Many of the old houses in Ponsonby have been extensively renovated and are worth millions and some people like to know the history of these houses.

This is the Mount Eden Borough MBE 155/13, Council Valuation Roll, 1st April 1922 for Dexter Avenue, Mt Eden. Some of the books have indexes at the back, this one didn't, but its not a big book to look through.

To begin a history of your home, the first document needed is a title. You can buy this inexpensive document online at LANDinfoNET.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Purpose of Copyright

HicksShauna tweeted the link to this article on copyright to us all today and it's a goody. I visited two repositories today and both told me they were so concerned with copyright that they curtailed my use of historic records. 

In the article by Open Spaces Quartley by Lydia Pallas Loren, Lydia talks about the original purpose of copyright, the history of it and what it has evolved to today. Her article is an easy read and I recommend it.

My purpose when bringing the subject to your attention is that New Zealand is a young country with nearly 200 yrs of recorded history and a lot of it has been lost already, never to be recovered. The country has concentrated on providing its residents with an up-to-the-minute modern society which has been largely achieved I think.  

But by limiting use of our sparse historic recordings, we are limiting the extension and interest in our history. Sometimes, people in charge don't really understand copyright (and who can blame them), and over-compensate by being so careful that decisions over use have to be put before a committee. Is this what we really want?

I think we need a revival in the uses our history can be put to for cultural and national identity. Free it up, don't lock it away, wrap it in lawyer talk and frighten people into leaving the whole subject alone.

Womans Weekly Magazine

Today I looked at the edition 21st June 1956, hard copy at the Auckland Museum Library.
I'm sorry to report that my excitment at the prospect of reviewing this copy was sadly misplaced. Instead of New Zealand articles, there was mainly English and American content of a vapid nature, not really of much use to anyone.

A little spark of interest was an article entitled “An Old Industry has New Methods”, about the whaling being revivied at Whangaparapara on Great Barrier Island. The article mentioned that the only other whaling station still operating in New Zealand was in the Tory Channel.

It brought back to me that New Zealand is/was trying to be a copy of England and succeeding. I hope this country grows up soon. Our own history is being lost piece by precious piece.

As compensation, I copied a promising recipe for ;

Walnut Date Scones.
2tbsp butter, 2tbsp sugar, 1 egg, 2oz crushed walnuts, 2oz chopped dates, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp Baking Powder, ½ cup milk, 3tsp coffee esence, pinch of salt. Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix well. Add coffee esence, dates and walnuts. Lastly, fold in flour, salt and PB alternatively with milk. Knead lightly and pat into ½ inch thickness, cut into shapes and bake on a floured tray in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

Searching NZETC

If anyone knows the best way of getting to the right data on the NZETC site, please let me know. Google search tends to take me straight to it but going anywhere else on the site is a problem.

To demonstrate what happens, I found the wonderful resource New Zealand Cyclopedia published in six volumes between 1897 and 1908 by the Cyclopedia Company Ltd and put online last year.

My person of interest, John Henson, is in it. However, having the resource on the screen on the left and using the search engine on the right, Henson doesn't appear. What does appear is another list of choices.

The choices highlight the publications online in which the name appears and the Cyclopedia is in the list. Ok, so I click on this publication and up pops another few bits of odd text. So, I'm no closer to seeing the actual entry yet. This could be one of those merry-go-rounds.

We live in an 'instant' society now and at this point I'm trying not to act like a spoilt brat. But wait, the last time I clicked on the item on the list, I used the top link which brought me to the odd text which merely tells me a more about the publication. Using the next link down (Farmers, Old Settlers), takes me to the actual document. From there I scroll down to find the entry. I suppose I could just just Control-F to let the browser take me down as well.

So John, I found you. It still beats going to the library for it I suppose, but the exercise might be good for me. My stress level is a bit high at the moment after negotiating this convoluted site. What makes it worse, is that this site has such good quality data in it and such a lot of it that I have to use it. Maybe one day, a more ordinary brain might re-organize it, someone who doesn't belong to Mensa.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sensory Records

What a pity we can't record these more thoroughly.

We can record what we hear. When my sister-in-law was killed in 2006, I remember thinking of her voice and her voice brought back her expressions and the expressions brought back context. Memories are made from these precious bits. I didn't have a recording of her voice but I found that the school she worked at had a recording of her taking a class. They kindly gave me a copy and I treasure it.

We can't record what we smell. My best smell memory is of the corner grocery store where mum would send me on errands. This was before the advent of supermarkets and being a child, my sense of smell was acute. This store was on the corner of Kings Rd and Dominion Rd in Mt Roskill, run by a family called Watkins. It's been a lawn-mower shop for many years since the supermarkets took over the trade. The smell was of freshly ground coffee and ripe cheese and fresh bread and it was glorious.

We can record what we see. Some people are better at this than I am. The photos I take are poor, hard things. Videos are better. I don't have many but I'm using this media more these days.

We can't record what we touch. I have lost most of these memories. Watching my new grandson use his hands to explore brings it back somewhat.

We can record what we feel. Are people losing their ability to write and express themselves well? When I'm at the record repositories and reading what others wrote way back, I'm often struck by the force of their writing, even when they were recording everyday things.

Electronic Records

Trying to find pre 1900 records which give insight into the lives of my relatives, I was struck by the thought, what will my greats be able to find out about me?  If the planet still exists in a 150 years time, someone might like to look. What will they find?

And the government is recording more and more detail about my life so it should be easy right? I worked on one of their data sets for a few years, just as a data entry operator. The amount of data recorded was astonishing. Now, I believe, those data sets will be reconfigured so that they can be matched, no mean feat in the data world.

If any of the thousands of government clerks around the country wanted to, they could already find out a whole lot about me. I don't know them and I have to trust some that the design of the privacy and security systems work. Somehow that seems a bit far-fetched.

But will the government build in a component which will allow access to them for future historians? What's your thoughts on it?
Another thought for tonight. Has all this data recording actually improved life for us?

Kaitangata Coal Mining disaster

On the 21st of February 1879, there was a loud explosion in the coal mine at Kaitangata and 35 people lost their lives.

There was an outpouring of grief and an inquiry. New Zealanders rushed to contribute money to the relief effort. Hundreds of pounds appears to have been raised in all the towns of New Zealand. The money raised exceeded the amount necessary for relief. A few years later a bit of the growing money tree was used for the Bulli Relief fund.

On the 2nd of March 1893 the Kaitangata Relief fund was given to the Public Trust to look after, use.

It's not looking good for the Public Trust at the moment, it seems they had been given free reign to hoard, over-charge and hide money. Their records have been destroyed, so the only method of checking up on them is through the newspaper reports.

But there is a real danger in using only the newspapers as a source but what else can researchers do?

A bit of better news is that the Kaitangata Coal Mine reopened in 1902.

School Records

NZ School unknown
Since we do not have census data available in New Zealand, school rolls are a valuable source of material for locating families. Children started school on the day they turned 5yrs, with this date you can calculate their dates of births.

Photos like the one displayed here are rarely annotated with the names, but it does happen occasionally. These photos are sometimes found in school history books or local museums.

National Archives is the repository for school rolls. I looked at the Auckland Provincial School Inspector reports. The Schools have been listed in blue folders on the shelves in the reading room and I ordered YCAF 4135/25a, 1879-1900, (there are other years).

The register which arrived on the desk had the school reports bound (reasonable to delicate condition), with the schools listed alphabetically. Here is an example from Karangahake School which in December 1890 had 43 pupils.

The heads of schools often kept the rolls at home and some may still be found today amongst personal effects after deaths but ownership of them belongs to the Education Dept. So if you know of any, please contact Archives New Zealand.

The New Zealand Society of Genealogists indexing volunteers have been busy over the years compiling these rolls.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The History of Radio in NZ

My better half sent me a link this evening to a New Zealand Radio History page he found. The family is really getting on board the history express tonight.

One of my far flung relatives had a hand in this. Ambrose Reeves Harris who worked alongside Thomas Edison 1910 -1913 and returned home to help build the Lake Coleridge power station near Christchurch, but who also set up the RBC (Radio Broadcasting Company) Christchurch in 1925.

Submit a Story of Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough

My sister sent a link to me tonight of a novel way of garnering interest in local history. I'm so impressed, what a great idea. She loved the The Wairau Bar skull story.

I liked the story about Nelson's orphanages and children's homes. Great pictures too.

Well done. The Prow is a collaborative venture between the Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District Libraries, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and The Nelson Provincial Museum.

Public Trust Records

Playing detective is second nature to family historians and mysteries are attractive. So when I phoned Public Trust in Wellington this morning, imagine my surprise when the phone call turned to more unanswerable questions by the person on the other end when I'd expected the call to be fairly dry and boring. What I got was a person both defensive and indignant that I should be asking questions (of a general nature) at all.

A bit of background:
1st case: In 1910, Justice Sim, ruling over the bitterly contested will of John (Jock) McGregor, of Cherrybank, Wanganui, who had died October 1882, effectively upheld the 1876 will which in the meantime had cost £12,000 in legal fees and incalcuable emotional toll. The Public Trust managed the estate 1909 - 1935, by mortgaging it and letting it run to ruin, the house was occupied by possums and rats, the fences fell, the gorse bloomed, sheep shat on the rosewood staircase, tenants came and went in cottages built by the estate, some paying, some not.

2nd case: Julia Patton nee Costello born (but not registered in bdm) to a government shy Irish family who lived in the Maori Pah up the back of Coromandel township in the 1850's. They were all timber workers. She said on her son's birth certificates that she and her husband, William, were married at the Auckland Registrars Office on the 3rd of April 1885. They lived at Kihikihi and then Te Awamutu. William was a coach driver. In the late 1920's a relative who is still alive, visited the family with her mother and sister, and recalls Julia's agitation over the fight she was having with Public Trust which was saying that because she couldn't prove she was married, her late husbands estate was not hers. Much correspondence - but where is it? Julia was a strong-minded woman who spoke fluent Maori and felt more at home with Maori than with government officials.

So I will pursue this question of the Public Trust records. Records which must give a very valuable insight into the personal, social and financial history of New Zealanders.

See former posts:
Estate Management
History of the Public Trust 1872 - 1895

Australian historic newspapers online

The National Library of Australia has announced that as of the 3rd of August 2010, there are  2,197,113 pages consisting of 23,128,582 articles available to search.

This site has been going since July 2008 and relies on you and me to correct scanned text so that it is easier to search. I've done a few columns myself - have you? They say the public have corrected 12.5 million lines of newspaper text so far. So if you have some spare time and like history, you won't be bored by it.

They hope to complete their program by the middle of next year.(1800's to mid 1950's). I've found a lot of early passengers to New Zealand before the 1840's and do searches for people who have come through Australia to New Zealand with success.

Because the text has not been fully corrected yet, it pays to be creative with your search keywords.