Monday, September 27, 2010

The Lockhart family to NZ

This family now has its own site with some interesting stories. I have so enjoyed putting it together.

https://sites.google.com/site/lyndear/

I guess its an example of people's ingenuity and energy in immigrating to a new country and building something for the next generations.  So many have done this in New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the US. Maybe they didn't really want to move out of their home districts but faced too much grinding poverty to stay.

Britian before the dawning of the Industrial Revolution was a pitiless place if you weren't in the money class. Some third world countries are still like this in our time. At least immigration can still give the ones with 'the get up and go' the chance to do just that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Passengers New Zealand Melbourne

I was looking for ggrandfather, Sam Draffin today coming into Melbourne in the NLA newspapers but didn't find him, however, I did find the following passengers to and from New Zealand. They are not very well identified and of course, the steerage - need I say more!

If you would like to fix some text, I've created a new tag 'passengers to New Zealand', which you might like to use. 

June 1899
CLEARED OUT - MAY 31 Taluni, ss , 1 370 tons, C Spinks, for New Zealand ports. Passengers - saloon, Mesdames Stewart, Meiklejohn, Godfrey, Mondy and child, Dufaur, Misses Swale and Ayling, Messrs Stewart, Francis, Drummond, A Stewart, Dufaur, Heid: and 10 in the steerage. D Mills, agent.

ARRIVED June 3 Mokoia, ss (Union line), 3,500 tons, W.C. Sinclair, from New Zealand ports. Passengers - saloon: Misses Cowper, Coote, Brettargh, Newton, Matson, Turner, Cope, Hodge, Isdale, Jokeman (two), Ayson, Logan (three), Jerram, Goldsmith (two), Millar, Mesdames Coote, Fisher, Cotton, Munro, Solomon, Gunson, Manifold, Haman, Yule, McDonald, Messrs. Suttle, Gaunt, Henderson, Middleton, Nicol, Fraser, Ralston, Solomon, Ayson, Mackay, Morgan, Baxter, McCallum, Cutclifffe, McNeill, Yule, McNab, Marshall: and 32 in the steerage. Huddart, Parker and Co. Proprietary Limited, agents.
Later it says, The Union Company's ss. Mokoia, Captain W. C. Sinclair, arrived from New Zealand ports at 10am on Saturday. She left Dunedin on 29th ult. and the Bluff on 30th for Melbourne direct.

CLEARED OUT June 6. Mokia SS. 3502 tons W.C. Sinclair for New Zealand ports via Hobart. Passengers- saloon: Mesdames Kelsey and child, Matheson, Beecham, Benjamin, Geddees, Murphy, Crombie, two children and nurse, Jones, Vail and children, Luke, Bigwood, Cantwell, Peacock and two children, Sayer, Amese and two children, Ellingworth, Buckley, Misses Burns, A Burns, Ballantyne, Heays, Swale, Pearce, Benjamin, Hopkins, Eeles, Moore, Robertson, Chambers, Dallimore, Messrs. Hardeman, Bown, Benjamin, Wright, Goodard, Thompson, Kutcherford, McKenzie, Geddes, Murphy, Luke, Ellingworth, Phelon, Smith, Green, Baker, Amess, Shields, Peacock, Gracewood, Langton, Colonel Buckley, J.R. Jones, S Jones and 32 in the steerage.

ARRIVED 15th June Wakatipu ss. (Union line) 2000 tons, R Neville, from New Zealand ports via Hobart, Passengers - Misses Whitmore, Munroe, Fowler, Livingstone, Giles, and Murrell, Mesdames McAlpin, Herbert, and Stewart (two), Messrs. Rawson, White, Lambert, Fuller, Hein, Coliner, Sheetakoff, James, Wischer, Highton, Livingstone, Matson, Rev J Muir, Captain Herbert: and 34 in steerage.

CLEARED OUT 19th June. Wakatipu, ss. 2000 tons, R Neville, for N.Z., ports via Hobart. Passengers- Saloon, Mesdames Lane, Cripps, Marshall, Ewen, Handle and two children, Scott and Infant, Grondona, Murphy, Suffern and two children, Kenworthy and child, Misses Galbraith, White, Whitbourn, Fletcher, Anderson, Girling, Stewart, R Stewart, M.K.J. Ewen, A Ewen, Messrs, Cripps, Marshall, Ewen, Kenworthy, Wertheimer, Rowe, Downie, Nixson, Whitbourn, Summonds, Ovendale, Lawrence, Nightingale, Grace, Smith, Murdock, Swan, Scott, Desailly, Cooper, Rev W Mackay, Blakemore, Lambert, Sargood, Masters D. A Ewen, A Ewan, and16 in steerage.

ARRIVED June 22. Monowai, ss. 2137 tons, H.W.H. Chatfield, from New Zealand via Hobert. Passengers - saloon, Messrs. Jas. Mills, Fraser, Wise, Dalrymple, Weaver, Cope, J.A. Booth, Stewart, W Deeking, McNab, J. Fuller, W. Fuller, J. Fuller, J. N. Hahn, Instone, H Bastings, Grove (two), J.W. Belstead, Masters Allan (two), Mesdames Pyke, Gourlay, R.W. Tate, Gieseking and child, J Mills, Weaver, Dallyn, Gray, Watosn, Dalrymple, Instone, Franklyn and child, Misses Mills, Excell, H Fuller, May Fuller, Mitchell, Instone, Harris, Pretyman (two), and Nurse Erp; and 26 in steerage.

CLEARED OUT June 27, Monowai ss. 3000 tons H.W.H. Chatfield, for New Zealand, via Hobart. Passengers, saloon, Messrs Maude, Inglis, Turall, Herbert, Dugdall, Gibb, Belstead, Forsythe, McNeil, Robertson, Stoneham, Brown, Pennington, Hynon, Forsyth, Mackay, Phillips, Levy, Page, Hardie, Squire, Kennon, Macfarlan, Williams, Barton, Cooke, Booth, Mesdames Maude, Bond, Herbert, Dugdall, Evans, Brown, Booth, Misses Greig, Mose, Gordon, Gordon,. North, Cuddon, Miller, Midwood, Farr, Upham; and 40 in steerage.

Proctor Library

The Proctor Library, named after an old couple who bequeathed $250,000 to get it started, has a new archive project to gather in all the old photos, letters and documents to do with the Far North.

It's the brain child of Florence Annison, local history buff and its been adopted by the Far North District Council.

It will be housed on the mezzanine floor of the library, so if you are going north and need a history fix, drop by or better still, donate something to the collection.
Archive wants your old documents. (2010, July 10). The Northern Advocate,A.14. Retrieved September 21, 2010, from ProQuest ANZ Newsstand. (Document ID: 2077327781).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recent probates

There are some pretty good reasons why we might like to see a recent probate at times. These reasons might have nothing to do with family history in the wider sense but everything to do with more recent family history.

There have been a few tears amongst my family and friends when one of the parents has died and the other parent has married again but did not outlive the new spouse. The children of the first marriage have found themselves cut out of any inheritance which was built up in their parents time. I'm sure this wasn't envisaged when the laws changed some years back.

I read an article whilst waiting in a hospital waiting room some months back, explaining the new laws and their pitfalls. I didn't have time to re-read it but I'm sure everyone knows someone who's been affected by this strange and unjust transfer of wealth.

If the probate you are looking for is a comparatively recent will then it is held at the Court of Record for a period of 12 years or thereabouts before being transferred to National Archives. Certainly that is the case for the Auckland High Court. It also depends on the amount of storage a court has before it transfers it to archives as well. So the local High Court is the best place to try if the death has occurred in the last 12 years.
Thanks to Stuart for this information.

Porirua Lunatic Asylum records

From the Poriura District Council website :- Wellington area mental health patients were first housed at a wooden building next to the goal from 1844. This was followed by a facility in Karori which was in turn replaced by a facility at the Basin Reserve named Mount View Asylum. In 1887 patients went to the new Porirua facility which closed for good in 1970. 

Before you are put off by the process of gaining access to the records, be assured that lots of people are successful in doing this. Archives NZ holds the registers and the Poriura Hospital registers are at the Wellington branch. 



To get permission to view the registers or to have someone in Wellington view it for you, write to The Ministry of Health, The Mental Health Section, PO Box 5013, Wellington. 

Kenepuru Hospital records department hold the patient files and permission I'm told, needs to be obtained through the Official Information Act. 

If you are like me and have missing people, especially if you have a birth certificate but no further information, this avenue would be good advice. Children were taken in as mental defectives and never heard from again. Their death certificates will turn up in the usual way or not maybe, I'm not sure.

Karitane Hospital records

A decrepit old book
Where you a plunket baby?  Plunket began in 1907. The records of this organisation are at the Hocken Library in Dunedin.

It is a large collection of approx 150 metres and the only use it might have for you and me is if our ancestors or ourselves were admitted to a Karitane Hospital.  Otherwise  the records consist of administration, research or staff training records and nurses employed.

All medical and staff records are restricted and permission to view these has to be obtained from the Plunket Society through the Hocken Library. There are no plans to make them freely available.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NZ BDM death records

I posted an explanation of these records back in July. I didn't realise then that when searching for deaths, if a person was 80yrs or older when they died then we get their birth date as well, rather than their age if they died after 1972.

This has been a great help to me lately. Some of the deaths I've been looking for were only a few years ago and I was delighted to get the extra information.

Sunnyside Hospital Christchurch records

Christchurch Public Library has an article on the history of this mental asylum and says:-
Sunnyside Hospital, Christchurch’s first mental asylum, was opened in 1863. It was built to house those who were considered insane, until then held at Lyttelton jail. 
Archives New Zealand in Christchurch holds registers of admission, death registers, casebooks from 1854-1956. Patients sometimes had a page of information to view in the casebooks.

The patients have been indexed to around the 1920's at the archives, but there is a 100yr restriction on viewing these records so even if your person has been indexed, you may have to wait awhile or write to Canterbury District Health Board's solicitor for permission outside of the restriction.

The patient's names will not be listed on Archway, but you can search for what National Archives holds on Archway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Public Trust mystery

The following extract from the Evening Post in 1924 explains a strange occurrence of missing but lucky Walter Neilson who after abandoning his family in New Zealand and roaming the world on ships and after being sunk four times in WW1 was found in England by a relative and inherited money to live out the rest of his life on.

But what is even more strange is that when I went looking for Catherine (Katherine) Lockhart Neilson's probate, it could not be found. Surely you must agree that it must exist somewhere? I have had a good look, have even phoned Public Trust in Wellington. Another researcher had a look as well but no record can be found. I think Public Trust are delinquent with our National Heritage. Please make me eat my words!

Evening Post 31/3/1924 CLAIM FOR INHERITANCE. That truth sometimes is indeed stranger than fiction was proven to a certain extent at the Supreme Court' on Saturday before his Honour the Chief Justice, Sir Robert Stout, when Walter Neilson, a seaman, Who has been absent from the Dominion for almost sixty years, applied to have revoked an order that had been made declaring him to be dead. This course was necessary to enable the applicant to claim an inheritance consisting of cash amounting to £4402 4s 2d in the common fund of the Public Trust Office and bearing interest at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum.

The applicant was represented by Mr G. G. (i. Watson, Mr. E. P. Hay appeared for Neilson's wife and family, and C. G. Rose watched proceedings on behalf of the Public Trust Trustee.

According to Mr. Rose, Catherine Lockart Neilson, of Wanganui, died on 12th June, 1905, and by her will she bequeathed the residue of her estate upon trust to pay the income to her four children, Christina Carey, Janet Hunter, Walter Neilson, and Bella Hall, in equal shares, provision being made for the children of any deceased child taking their parents' share-of the income. One of the children of the testatrix, named Walter Neilson, had at the. date of the will been absent from New Zealand for several years, and his whereabouts was unknown to the testatrix. He had left New Zealand for Melbourne, but thereafter could not be traced. 

He was a married, man, and had four children, who remained in New Zealand, and were now of full age. He was separated from his wife, and had never communicated with her or the children since leaving New Zealand in 1888. A sister had received letters from him up to October, 1855. Under these circumstances, the testatrix made special provision for her son, to the effect that if he had not communicated with her trustees within two years from her death, the son's share should be paid to two other daughters. 

In 1909, the trustees, not having heard from Walter Neilson, approached the Supreme Court for an interpretation" of the will, and as to whether they were to presume that he had died before the testatrix. On 24th April, 1909, the Court made an order that the death of Walter Neilson must be presumed from the expiration of seven years from the date he was lastheard of, and that he therefore must he presumed to have pre-deceased the testatrix. After this order was made, the Public Trustee became trustee of the estate. In 1918, however, a sister received a letter purporting to be from Walter Neilson, her brother, and recognised his handwriting. 

The discovery was somewhat novel in that a nephew named Walter Hunter, while on active service, met a man in England who claimed to be his uncle, and turned out to be Walter Neilson. Neilson had produced evidence as to his identity, and the Public Trustee was satisfied that a strong case was made out. The man was now a ship's cook in South Shields, Durham, England, and had not sufficient means to enable him to come out to New Zealand. In 1921, the Public Trustee approached the Court for directions as to whether he was justified in treating Neilson as being alive, and treating as cancelled'the order made in 1909 presuming him to be dead. The wife and children of the man would not admit the identity. 

On 12th April, 1921, an order was made authorising the Public Trustee, pending further order, to retain the share of the income which would belong to Walter Neilson if alive, and not to pay it to his'children. The Court also ordered that notice be sent to Neilson in England that if he wished to prosecute his claim and have the order made in 1909 presuming his death cancelled, he must instruct some person to take proceedings in the Supreme. Court. 

In 1922 a Westport solicitor who was in England interested himself, in the matter, and the present application before the Court was the result. By affidavit, Neilson had sworn in England, said Mr. Watson, that he was the son of the testatrix, being born at Wanganui in October, 1856. He was married at the Registry Office, Wanganui, and had four children, all residing in New Zealand. In 1887 he left New Zealand for Melbourne, then joined different boats trading on the Australian coast, then to Mexico and San Francisco. At the latter port he met a schoolmate of Wanganui, who had been informed that his people understood that Neilson was going to New Zealand. He left the vessel and worked ashore it Oakland for twelve months, after which he joined a sailing ship bound to France. He then followed a general seafaring life, touching at ports all over the world.

 From 1903 to 1910 he was on no fewer than 13 ships, and from that date until 1919 he served on 18 vessels. He had remarkable luck during the war in being survivor of four wrecks, namely, Rosalie (Sunk 12th August, 1915), Wilston (sunk 15th February, 1916), Hindustan (sunk 21st March, 1917), Annie Sofie (sunk 23rd July, 1918). In the affidavit Neilson described how he was eventually identified by his nephew while in hospital in England during the war. His Honour granted an order revoking the previous order of the Court presuming the man to be dead.

And in the Truth Newspaper

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The American Gate

When A. H. Spicer wrote to his mother from Coromandel in 1858, he mentioned an intriguing thing. He said,
Soon after we passed through a gigantic gate hung on a pivot on the top of a strong post. The pivot ran through the top rail of the gate which extended double the length of the under rails and was of massive timber. This extension caused the gate although so heavy to be easily moved as the height of the gate was counter balanced by the propelling beam of the upper rail on the opposite side of the pivot. This is an American notion of the proprietor a man named Paget and although clumsy looking, is very simple and effective and where timber is so plentiful and cheap enough. No hinges would probably be strong enough to support so massive a gate.
I pondered this for awhile, trying to imagine what it might have looked like. One day, I mentioned it to my son who after reading the passage drew the following illustration:

 You always wanted to know that, didn't you!

Book: Sailors and Settlers

Review in the Rural News
I haven't seen this book, another person told me about it. However, it will be a great addition to your NZ history book shelf. It's written by John McLean.
This definitive and detailed history traces the migration of clansfolk from the Highlands of Scotland to Nova Scotia and then on to New Zealand in the mid ninetheenth century.
Speaking their native Gaelic language, they settled at Waipu in the northern part of New Zealand; by the twenty-first century their descendants numbered more than 70,000.
The Christian settlement that they established at Saint Ann's on Cape Breton Osland, in 1820 moved en masse to New Zealand in the 1850s, thereby making Waipu Scots New Zealand's oldest continuing European community.
In addition to their six ships the authur also writes about seven other vessels that brought settlers to New Zealand at the same time from Prince Edward Island and other parts of British North America, thus creating the only real demographic link between the sister dominions of Canada and New Zealand.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Research organisation

Lately, I've been researching a family down from an 1851 immigrant, Christina Lockhart. She had nine children and most of them came to New Zealand.

Originally, as always advised, I started with myself and worked up to this ancestor, then I concentrated in finding her story in Scotland. That was quite a few years ago.

Now that I'm going back down the family in New Zealand, I'm finding that it is a most interesting one and I am enjoying the time spent with them in the records. Then I found as the family widens over the years, its difficult to keep track of who's who and have it all to hand when I visit a library or such. And its so easy to look for them these days, even when I'm in my pyjamas. Below is my attempt to keep track of all 109 of them and growing by the day.

Peter's divorce

When two young people get married, the possibilities for success are endless, so are the failures. But when two people in their forties get married you might think the outcome would be more guaranteed, they've had time to gather wisdom. Peter, a farmer and a farmer's son, married Margaret, a townie photographer.

Read what his explanation to the court was after his wife left him. She said the place was unhealthy but she was probably just bored silly. Ah, life in the records! National Archives have the early divorce papers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Passengers leaving Victoria

The PROV (Public Record Office Victoria) is another good resource for finding your passengers to New Zealand.

So this morning I set off to find my Thomas Campbell who left the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria for Otago between the end of 1862 and the beginning of 1865, with his wife Elizabeth nee Bratton and his two small sons, born 1861 and August 1862. Thomas and his brother Henry had arrived at the goldfields in 1851 so they had been there for some years.

Thomas and Elizabeth's oldest child, Hannah, born in 1858, died of diphtheria in1861 and together with a greedy local government and a court case they may have felt quite unhappy. Their next child was born in Invercargill in 1865.

Henry stayed on and died childless in Victoria in 1922.

But the family does not miraculously appear on my search. I found that searching year by year returns better results and I do this but did not find them. They could have taken another route, perhaps through Sydney or they may have returned to the UK for a time. I hope you have better luck than I did.




Thursday, September 9, 2010

Researching at Wanganui

The Wanganui Heritage library has been a godsend with information on part of my family. This library is very well organised with a wonderful up-to-date film reader which was donated to them. Their biographical card index means that a walk-in researcher can get to the right data quickly.

They are not up-to-date digitally, nor is their photograph collection, I've no doubt they have one, but its well hidden. You can contact them by email but again, its not a strong point with them and in this way, they are behind the times which can be frustrating. A physical visit is your best bet or send a letter. Their research cost is reasonable. 8 out of 10.

Wanganui also has a local museum, again, not up to date in modern methods of communication, expect frustration either by email or by a visit. Snail mail they know and it might work more consistently. 7 out of 10.

Wanganui has two cemeteries, Head Rd and Aramoho. Head Rd is right in town and is closed for burials. Aramoho is a large cemetery a 15 - 20 minute drive, less if you know where you are going! The New Zealand society of Genealogists have the index which is part of the cemeteries index on fiche and available at most large libraries. The Aramoho cemetery is contactable by email for lookups but the index is not online.

Hospital Records

These records at National Archives can sort out a few research problems. They were important enough to index onto card files for casual people turning up at Auckland archives expecting some quick results. I think they are especially important for those family members who are 'background people' who don't figure much in other records. Hospitals recorded varying amounts of information. This probably had to do with funding, which hospital board was going to pay up for whom, but that's just a personal theory.

I haven't got an example of Thames Hospital records which I should have got to show you, because they are quite comprehensive, however, I have a list of some of the patients on my Coromandel site.

Coromandel Hospital record sample.
Auckland Hospital record sample.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Anatomy of Waikato Hospital

ZABW 5112 1/a is a letter book of correspondence from the Waikato Hospital to patients, staff, builders, banks and job applicants. Those were days when letters were still hand-written and copies of these were saved on carbon paper. (Who would remember carbon paper these days?). Some of the correspondence is about social relief and which hospital board was responsible for it. Money must have been very tight. This record is at Auckland National Archives.

This example is in a book dated April 1899 to August 1902 and is indexed in the front.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Record clues

Paperspast articles sometimes give clues of records which might still exist if I was clever or lucky enough to find them.

The following article has a few such clues:
Poverty Bay Herald 23rd October 1897. A young man, 21 years of age, almost bootless, hair unkempt and tattered clothes, appeared before the Wellington Benevolent Institution Trustees on Tuesday, says the N.Z. Times. The young fellow had walked from Auckland to Gisborne, and from the latter place, through the agency of some kind people, a passage to Wellington by steamer had been obtained for him. When a boy he had been sent to an industrial school, and had been hired out by a man whom he said had ill-treated him, one day striking him so severely on the head that deafness followed. To make him understand the Trustees had almost to yell at him. The boy had come to Wellington to see the Public Trustee. A brother had died, leaving a sum of over £200 to go to the next of kin. The father received the money, and the deaf son wanted the Trustees to compel the father to hand a portion of the money over to him. For the past few nights the boy had been living at the Ohiro Home, but as he had no claim on the local Board, the Trustees decided to grant him a passage back to Gisborne.
What National Archives says about the Ohiro Home
The Ohiro Benevolent Home, also known as the Central Park Hospital or the Central Park Old People's Home, was established in 1893 as a home for the elderly who were unable to care for themselves. It was closed down in June 1975, and remaining patients were transferred to Wellington Public Hospital.
But there is also a note on Archives files saying that the Wellington Benevolent Institution which ran the Ohiro Home, was proposed back in 1867.  WP. Series 3.box 22, record 335. I can't see any records on their system until 1945.

About the Industrial schools which in 1880 became the responsibility of the new Education Dept, they were previously under the Justice Dept. These files were then given to Social Welfare which has forbidden our use of them at all. Such a draconian dept with far too much power. Fancy not being able to see files relating to people who have been dead for a century!

The Public Trust's files are well hidden but when I'm next in Wellington, I will try to follow up a few clues. I wasn't surprised that the boy got no-where near them.

Non-Government Archives - there is one!

There I was again, bleating on to David Verran at the Auckland City Library family history section about the lack of resources for the preservation of history of clubs and societies when he said, have you pointed people to the Community Archive?

This is a site I've come across before without really appreciating it. The site says it is an electronic redevelopment of NRAM (National Register of  Archives and Manuscripts) and it was initially set up with a grant by the Lotteries Grants Board NZ.

It accepts material from individuals and organizations such as

  • Personal and institutional records, including correspondence, diaries, oral history records, photographs and albums, minutes of meetings and other files
  • Diaries
  • Oral history recordings
  • Literary manuscripts and typescripts
  • Commissions
  • Immigration records, including ships' registers, log books, passenger lists
  • Financial records, for example account books
  • Land information, including deeds, maps
  • Personal identity records, including Wills, birth, death and marriage certificates and registers
It can advise organisations about how to preserve what they have, maybe by digitising it and possible ways to get the funding to do this. I'm very impressed and relieved that this exists. All we need now is a way to publicise this widely and get all the records before they go to the tip.

A survey of Auckland slums 1951

The health department became concerned at the state of houses in Freemans Bay and surrounds in 1951 when disease broke out and some children were turning up at school in a poor condition. Families were living in one room. Bathroom facilities were limited, there were open drains and rat infested rubbish.

For more information see BAAK A431/7b at Auckland National Archives.

The back view of 215 Hobson St.

Monday, September 6, 2010

News for Emigrants Friends

This sub-heading in Lloyds Weekly Newspaper, (London, England) appears to have begun Sunday, April 1, 1849 in issue 332 and is available at the Gale Newspaper site for a fee. The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have this online for members only.

The column has good information about the movement of ships and promotional articles on the various colonies. Some letters and accounts of voyages are displayed as well. Most of the articles I've read so far are to the Australian ports and nothing substantial about New Zealand.

Some really bad reports of immigrants experiences going to the US make soulful reading, but other advice is a laugh:
Intoxication drinks are very cheap in America and there, as elsewhere, are the greatest curse to the labouring man, and the main obstacle in the way of his bettering his condition. Emigrants would do well to take the pledge before sailing. As no liquors are to be to got on the voyage, they will then have a beautiful opportunity of breaking themseleves into total abstinance.
The colonies were in competition for labour. A letter from Canada said;
It is worthy of remark by those who look on assisted emigration as a means of bettering the condition of the unemployed industrious poor, that while the lowest expense of passage of one person only to Australia is 15l., six persons can be sent for less than that sum to North America and again ; that while the one in Australia will be earning the means of sending for one relation, the six in America can earn enough to send for thirty-six of their relations; and more, for they will lose five months less time in their own voyage out, and the voyage home of their money letters. 
It's no wonder New Zealand nearly had to beg for immigrants!

The 'Simlah' voyage to NZ 1851

The Simlah left Gravesend on the 23rd of April 1851 bound for New Zealand. The vessel replaced the 'Thames' which was to sail on the 15th of April. (The 'Thames' left on the 5th of May). On board were 30 cabin passengers and a 151 persons in steerage plus crew according to the Hobarton Guardian (Tasmania, Australia).

The ship put into Hobart to refresh on the 14th of August with a harrowing tale of insubordination of a group of the crew members who plundered the stores, got drunk and threatened the rest of the crew and passengers in the middle of July. Consequently, the passengers formed a watch for their own safety and helped run the ship. The Captain, Charles Robertson, doesn't appear to have had the situation under control until berthing in Hobart.

At Hobart, the crew members involved were arrested and sentenced to 3 months hard labour and 1 month forfeiture of wages. The ship then left Hobart on the 19th of August for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The passenger list.
A transcription of the passenger list from the "New Zealander" arriving in Auckland Saturday, 3th September, 1851 had 113 of the passengers listed on Ancestry.com.
Did 38 passengers decide to stay in Tasmania? The Daily Southern Cross newspaper thought about 120 passengers were on board and said this on the 2nd of September 1851 and by this date, hadn't read the newspapers from Hobart and didn't know that the vessel was to arrive the following day.
The "New Zealand" newspaper has 114 passengers listed and I know which one is missing from the above transcription, Isabella (Ferrier) Lockhart.

The Spicer's disembarked at Auckland.

On October the 1st, the 'Simlah' left Auckland for Otago via New Plymouth and Wellington. It sailed up the east coast of the North Island, called into Wangarei and went around the top and down to New Plymouth.

According to the online diary of the trip by John Blackett, the boat arrived at New Plymouth on the 11th of October. He notes a couple of births on board. There are letters by Hugh Ronald about the voyage at Puke Ariki, (New Plymouth District Council). This site says 45 passengers were for New Plymouth.  A letter by Henry Halse in Ngamotu to Sir Donald McLean at the Alexander Turnbull Library says "The passenger by "Simlah" are a desirable addition in every way but it is said some contemplate leaving owing to the difficulty of getting land." John and Mary Crisp may have got off at New Plymouth.

The ship arrived in Otago on the on the 23rd of November where 33 people disembarked. Robert Thomson wrote letters about the voyage, these are at National Library Australia.

Another discrepancy shows up. The previous passenger lists have 4 in the Todd family, but 5 disembarked at Otago. Same for the Aitken family. Perhaps they have not counted the very young children and babies?  So there does not appear to be an accurate account of the passengers on board and it points to never believing everything one reads on the Internet.

Index New Zealand

National Librarys INNZ is a searchable database of articles from newspapers, serials and magazines 1978 to the present day. This database is updated daily.

I used 'Great Barrier Island' as my search term to try it out. 200 results were returned of which 10 were links to online articles. I suspect results are limited to 200 so by limiting the search and doing multiple searches, there may be more to see.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

From the records, a happy ending

Isabella McGregor took in two of her nieces after their mother, Ferrier Fowler, died in Auckland. Isabella and Ferrier were two of nine children born to James Lockhart and Christina McKelvie at Ayrshire, Scotland. Their Aunt Isabella was no shrinking violet as they were about to find out.

One of the nieces married Henry Soufflot and they had two children after which their marriage broke up. Isabella Soufflot nee Fowler moved back into town (Wanganui) and into her Aunt Isabella's house with the children.

Henry who had lost his job and now his wife and children, lost his mind as well. He burst into the house in Wanganui, threatened everyone and had a knife. Isabella McGregor ordered him out and hid his family with a neighbour. Henry went around the neighbours, knocking on doors, seeking his family but none of the neighbours would let him in.

Henry then went home and tried to commit suicide unsuccessfully and was arrested instead. Besides coming up before a judge, his wife took him to court to get a divorce. It's all in paperspast.

Imagine my surprise when the Wanganui Heritage Library sent me the following information. What on earth was the middle part of this story? Will I ever know?

National Archives availability timetable

The archives have many restrictions on their records, 100yrs, 75yrs, 60yrs etc. It is frustrating when I see a record set which contains information relating to pre-1900 events but also holds records of the early 1900's that hold up the release of the earlier records.

The other frustrating thing is that records must be coming available every year but unless you are lucky enough to stumble across them, you'd never know. Perhaps in the interests of researchers who aren't professional enough to have this information, Archives could put out a monthly newsletter or such. They must know what changes their records have or are going to have soon.

I came across this record today but we will have to wait until 2014. It's the New Plymouth Prison Punishment records 1865 -1914.

Funeral Records

These are an alternative source of vital records. On the following example, the funeral director has probably filled out the death certificate for the General Registry from the information he received from the relatives of the deceased. This resource is at Auckland City Library.

C Little and Sons Ltd is an Auckland Funeral Director and have donated their order books to the Auckland City Library. They still do funerals. Their earliest funeral was in May 1875 but they lost the early records in a fire in 1888. The North Shore branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists indexed from Volume 1, May 1901 to Volume 59  December 1936. Missing - May to November 1921. Some grave receipts and certificates of purchase are available from earlier times.
Card Index example

The card index is at the back of the family history library. Take down the Volume No. and page No. and ask at the Special Collections Library on the same floor to see the originals. No photocopying is allowed, a camera is allowed.
Card Index example


So do check out what might be available to you in the area where your people died.



Original at the Special Collections Library Auckland.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Mail-Coach

This newsletter is one I haven't seen before. They were brought to a meeting I attended today of the Papatoetoe Genealogy Group. They contain postal history and were very good to read considering I have no real interest in the subject.  I quickly spotted two articles which could be more widely appreciated.

I wonder where these are being archived?

Air Travel records for future historians

New Zealand has had an international air service since the 30th of April 1940 when TEAL flew 10 passengers to Sydney, the journey taking 7 hrs and 30 minutes. This was a privately owned airline until 1953 when the Australian and New Zealand governments purchased it 50/50.

Since then millions of people have flown in and out of New Zealand. But it appears that records of them have not been retained until fairly recently.  If anyone has some information to the contrary, we'd all be pleased to know about it.

Arrival and Departure forms
Every time an international passenger arrives and departs, a form is filled out by them stating their name, their address, where they are going etc. I can't remember all the details. These records are sent to the airport customs personal who gather them together in flight lots and send them to Statistics in Wellington.

Statistics people scan the slips, gather all the non-identifying information and publish this data regularly.

The forms which are owned by the Dept of Labour and then go to Christchurch to the immigration office where they are kept for nine months and then destroyed. The scans that the Dept of Statistics took are also deleted.

Passport information gathered
Since about the 1980's, this information has been kept electronically together with the relevant flight information.

NAC records
At Wellington National Archives, there is quite a lot saved about this company but I could not spot anything on the passengers except that NAC created a time capsule with some ticket information in it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Deserving people in our history

Two come to my mind immediately.

Homman Falk aka Peter Tapsell, born 1777, Died August 9th 1873. This remarkable man who came to New Zealand pre-treaty and lived as a trader among the Maori, adapted himself to his conditions without losing sight of his own value system. Time and time again he demonstrated that he could live in both worlds.

Reading about his life in a book written by a descendant, his luck in surviving ordeals didn't extend to commercial success and he had to rely on his children in his old age. Some of his poverty was caused by using his money and goods to buy the lives of other people in danger of being killed.

When he heard that the Duke of Edinburgh was coming to New Zealand he walked from Whakatane to Maketu, forty miles along the coast at aged 90yrs. The Duke had changed his travel plans and Peter walked in vain. I often think of this feat when I'm in danger of feeling sorry for myself.

Edward Costley in Paperspast (There are quite a few articles, I've picked one of them, Edward made his money in Real Estate and lived humbly as a boarder.).

Some of the public institutions and charities have had a lucky windfall though the death of Mr Edward Costley, who died on Wednesday morning, leaving upwards of £100,000 to be divided among the Auckland Hospital, Old Men's Home.Parnell Orphan Home, Auckland Institute, Auckland Free Public Library, Sailors Home, and the Training School at Kohimarama. 

The deceased gentleman showed excellent judgment in the choice of institutions to be benefited by his magnifieient bequests, as they are all well worthy of support. Considering his great wealth, it is almost surprising that so few people knew Mr Costley, even by sight. The old identities were quite familiar with his personal appearance, but few of those who have arrived in Auckland of late years knew that the old man with his bent figure, who was seen occasionally in Queen Street or in the Bank of New Zealand, was a man worth upwards of £l00,000. Certainly no one would have guessed the fact from his appearance, as he wore an old suit not much better than that of the notorious 'scraps,' who has been twice incarcerated in Mount Eden Gaol for vagrancy. 

Though penurious in his habits, Mr Costley was honourable in his dealings. When the block of buildings in Queen-street, below the Savings Bank was burned down about two years ago he was among those whose properties were destroyed, Mr Cole, the basket-maker, having been his tenant. After the fire Mr Cole waited on him, and asked him for a new lease. He agreed to give it to him, specifying the rent, but giving no written agreement. After he had done so, another applicant for the lease waited on him, and offered him, a very much larger rental than Mr Cole was to give, pointing out that as he had given no written agreement he was not legally bound. Mr Costley promptly ordered the man to leave his presence, saying that his word was as good as his bond, and instructed his solicitors to prepare Mr Coles lease in the terms of his rental agreement. 

It is very satisfactory that he has made so good a disposal of his wealth, and my only regret is that he did not see his way to consider me a deserving public institution, and put me down for a share of his £100,000.

Sampling the Auckland Court records (part 4)

Another list of Court records today.

BADW 5989/10 Auckland Magistrates Criminal Depositions Book 1845 -1855. The two examples here show a ship's deserter, Alexander McCullough and Ellen Sullivan claiming George Beeson is the father of her child. These have been indexed by Suzanne Hamilton and are in the blue folders in the reading room.

BBAE 4980/1/a Auckland Miscellaneous Register. 1858-1897. Two samples here, a trustee and a company.


BADW 5989 16/9 Auckland Residents Magistrate Book. 1858-1859. More examples of the sort of information contained in this series (5989). Margaret and James Maguire as witnesses to a crime and Charles Marks as a victim of crime.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Legacy of the Babyboomers?

Today I was reading an essay by Geoff McKay featured in the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Journal, May/June issue 1995.  This essay won the best essay competition for students of the Massey University's course in family history.
Geoff discussed the four main changes to Pakeha New Zealand families during the past century.
  • Changes in the numbers of the sexes.
  • Changes in the numbers of young in society.
  • Decline in fertility (except for after WW2 - the baby-boomers).
  • Female participation in the labour force.
Couples, are spending longer together without children and this period may be more than half their married lives. The bulk of the baby-boomers are retiring now or will be soon, many of them in average to good health. What comes next?

It may well be that this group is well placed to extend, conserve, research and document the past 200 years of New Zealand history and that if they do so, it could be the biggest contribution to history that any group of the population ever makes.

South Auckland photograph database

Footprints is a photographic database of Manukau and South Auckland. Its quite new, range 1870's to the present day. Its another wonderful resource for us. Well done.
Here is one of my own South Auckland images from a house we lived in at the corner of Hunua and Gellings (1980's).

Sampling the Auckland Court records (part 3)

 Remember to click on the image to read.

BADW 10650/1/a  Howick and Panmure Civil Depositions Book (1848 - 1849).

BADW 10479/1a  Auckland District Minute Books (1873 - 1888)

BADW 10477/1a Auckland District Pliant Book (1859 - 1868)

Archway record explanation

The links of the 'Sampling of the Court Records' don't take you to the page I wanted to display, the explanations of the records. Here is how to find that page through Archway the long way for BBAE 5635 2/a on today's post.

  • On the entrance page are two search possibilities, simple and advanced. Choose advanced.
  • Under find records are two choices, click 'Find out about the series in which the records are organised.'
  • Enter 5635 into the area for 'code' and click 'search' at the bottom of the dialogue box.
  • Then click on the file number.

  • Then click on 'More information and index'.


  • You will then be at the explanation page.

Sampling the Auckland Court records (part 2)

See the previous post. I really enjoyed getting to see these registers, some are very delicate. Click on image to read.

BBAE 5635 2/a (1856 - 1866) Auckland Supreme Court Civil Minute Book.
BBAE 1588/1/a  Auckland Register of Administration showing death dates. This register is in two parts. The list and the letters.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

UK Incoming passengers

This is an Ancestry.com search which is free. Passenger lists into the UK 1878 - 1960. It does not appear to have captured all the incoming passengers for I know of two people who left for London in 1905 and they are not on the list. However, it is a good source of birth dates, if you are lucky enough to have travellers in the later time frame. You can choose New Zealand as a departure port but I guess some passengers would be listed via Australian ports as well. Perhaps that's where mine are.
Just sign into Ancestry.com with you free account no.

Internet content for preservation

Thinking about modern methods of communication this morning, I wondered what would be of use to future family and local historians and thought maybe I am too close in age to their beginnings to be objective in assessing them. Distance brings things into perspective, the dross is easily identified and the nuggets stand out.

The National Library is leaps ahead of me though. They have two methods of preserving the now for later. They select sites and content for preservation and also engage a US firm to troll the Internet for .nz sites and sites that are hosted on NZ computers. This latest content is 6.1 terabytes of data, done in May this year and will be securely held at National Library.

Everything we do has a cost involved and preserving and retrieving information is no exception. The country can't really afford to preserve everything, but digital preservation at least cuts down the cost of physical storage needs and allows the retrieval of information to be comprehensive and accurate. I have a bit of envy for those future historians.

Sampling the Auckland Court records (part 1)

Don't forget, Auckland National Archives is changing their system in a few days time. They will issue us a new reader number which will be valid for New Zealand. Their old ordering program in dos is redundant and we will use Archway to order files from home and at the branch. We will get 10 files at a time instead of 4.

Most of these registers are indexed at the front. These names won't be on Archway.
Click on the images to get a readable version.


BADW 10238/1/1a  (1926)  Auckland Childrens Court orders.
BBAE 5635 /10/a  Auckland Civil Minute Book (1876 -1903)
BBAE 5635/78/a  Record 6 Auckland Civil Minute Book (In chambers) (1889 - 1893)