Archive for 2010

Guest post: Your story

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

Over the Christmas/New Year break many of you will have spent time with friends and family catching up on all the latest news and/or reminiscing about past events or people no longer with us, etc. Others will have done as I did and gone to visit family graves to give them a bit of a tidy - it was interesting to see how many were at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, on Boxing Day.

As family historians we often become fixated with the past and forget that our lives are of interest to the younger generation; young children often enjoy hearing about the "olden days". We may consider our lives to be ordinary but think of those things we have experienced during our lives that the younger generations will not. For instance, the thrill of the family getting its first television or car, milk being delivered to the house (perhaps you worked on the milk truck/cart). I know that my uncles and aunts sometimes wouldn't tell my grandad when there was a horse out in the street just so they didn't have to shovel the droppings to put on the garden.

It is important to write about our memories as we are the last with a memory of our grandparents or, if you are lucky, great granparents, uncles, aunts, etc, and if the memories of them are not noted then they will become a series of notes in someone's future research without having a personality. Having an idea of someone's personality can help when trying to work out why they took this action or made that decision. Think how pleased you would have been to find such a series of notes or stories when you started your research.

Writing your story need not be a daunting task. You could simply make notes about events and people in your life or you may decide to write a series of short essays. Given the current holiday season, you could write about Christmases past, or summer holidays - remember those essays you used to write when you returned to school, "What I did in the holidays?"

Some things in your life may bring back bad memories but do try to wirte about these as well as it could be healing for you. If you are concerned about the family reading it you could place that story in a sealed envelope with instructions that it is not to be opened until a particular time.

I hope this will encourage you to begin writing something about your own life as you may be surprised what you remember when you get started. If you want to go further with this you may find a course in writing available at your local night school or community centre.

Happy writing, and a Happy New Year!

The Roadshow comes to the new "SuperCity"

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We've breezed through our first month as a Super-Library in a Super-Auckland.

It's been wonderful hearing customers report their excitement at having access to so many more library resources. Not just books, but also eResources in our Digital Library.

A couple of recent additions to the Family History collections (courtesy of the amalgamation), is JSTORs Ireland Collection which has more than 75 journals and 200 books digitised spanning from 1780 to present day; and the 19th Century British Pamphlets with more than 23,000 pamphlets covering political, social, technological and environmental issues.

In our Super-Library system, we've joined with two other research centres. We have South Auckland Research Centre, (currently based in the Manukau Research Centre), and North West Research Centre (covering Waitakere, Rodney and North Shore), currently based in Henderson Libary.
Bridget Simpson, Seonaid Lewis and Marie Hickey at the History and Genealogy Roadshow 2010.
Marie, Bridget and myself represented the newly renamed Central Auckland Research Centre and Auckland Libraries at the Unlock the Past History and Genealogy Roadshow on Monday, November 24.

The Roadshow covered 11 cities over 20 days - eight centres in Australia, and three in New Zealand.

The Roadshow brought international speakers to the family history community: Elaine Collins, FindMyPast UK; Louise St Denis, National Institute of Genealogical Studies; Dan Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree; and eminent Australian family history researchers and consultants Shauna Hicks (Shauna Hicks History Enterprises) andRosemary Kottipke who spoke about FindMyPast AustralasiaGould Genealogy were exhibitors as well as Unlock The Past. Each city also had local guest speakers and exhibitors. Sadly Dan Lynch couldn't make it to the New Zealand leg of the trip, due to other commitments.

The Auckland Roadshow was held in the Ellerslie Events Centre, at the Racecourse. Local exhibitors were the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, the highly esteemed Jan Gow and Beehive Books,National Library and of course, us.

The presentations were all of a very high standard and were very well received. Even the most seasoned family historian would have learned a great deal during the course of the day.

I spoke about "The Treasures of the Central Auckland Research Centre", putting a new spin on the old theme of letting the public and professionals know that there is a lot more to our Library than meets the eye. I introduced the highlights of what we also have available for family historians in the Sir George Grey Special Collections.

I was very excited to see a copy of the new magazine Inside History which was launched at the start of the Roadshow. Its a very good quality magazine, beautifully designed and printed and packed full of fabulous New Zealand and Australian content. We're going to subscribe to it here at the Library, so hopefully it will be available for our customers soon.

Happy hunting all!
Seonaid Lewis

The Rossdhu Book of Hours

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Auckland Libraries is much more than just a regional public library with borrowable books. Our friends will know that we are much more like a national library or even a museum in respect to the quality and quantity of the rare items we hold in our collections. We are a noted heritage and research centre.

The Sir George Grey Special Collections on Level 2 of Central Library, was founded by an initial gift to Auckland City Libraries, from George Grey himself in 1887. Grey was an enthusiastic collector of books and manuscripts, and his collection also contains correspondence and diaries from his time in New Zealand. This collection has been added to over time with many other bequests for other sources.

The Auckland Research Centre (ARC) and the Sir George Grey Special Collections (SGGSC) have a very close relationship with each other within Auckland Libraries. So close, that the collections can be described as either intertwined and/or complementary. Family historians flit across the floor on Level 2 between ARC and SGGSC on a regular basis.

An example of this, are the manuscripts and letters from the Sir George Grey collections, where a lot of information about New Zealand’s early settlers are found. Another is the Little and Sons' Funeral Directorsorder books, where the card catalogue is held in the Centre, and the original order books are held by Specials. A lot of this information has also been digitised and can be found in our eResources and can also be viewed on our virtual exhibition Shades of Grey.
Illustrated book of hours

One of the real gems of SGGSC holdings, which is currently being exhibited in their exhibition 
room, is a very precious medieval manuscript called 'The Rossdhu Book of Hours', which was commissioned between 1460 and 1470. This manuscript was the first medieval manuscript to
be digitised at Auckland City Libraries and it can be viewed online.

This manuscript is of particular interest to medieval enthusiasts of course. However, family historians would be fascinated by the accounts of the investigations into the provenance of this manuscript. The research that went into this investigation by different people resembles a 
detective story of the most intriguing and cryptic.

Although the fly leaf has long been lost, along with the name of the original owner, the Book of Hours almost certainly belonged to the Colquhoun family of Rossdhu, near Luss in Dunbartonshire. Convincing research done by Anne McKim and published in Migrations: Medieval Manuscripts in New Zealand, pinpoints the original owner to have most probably been Lady Elizabeth Dunbar who married Sir John Colquhoun in 1463.

McKim's research points to the notations made in the manuscript's calendar that had significance to the region around Luss where the Colquhoun's had lands, as well Inverurie where Elizabeth Dunbar had links.

She compares handwriting, often with the use of an ultraviolet light, and traces the pedigrees of the Colquhouns and Elizabeth Dunbar to convincingly argue her point. Signatures of Robert Keyth and William Lovertie in the Book of Hours, dated a century later, strongly indicate that this Book of Hours was passed down through the family as an heirloom.

Sir George Grey purchased the manuscript 'on approval' from W & T Boone in Bond St, London. The historian in me, shudders to think of such a precious item being sent 12,000 miles to New Zealand 'on approval' - an often treacherous journey for humans in the 1860s, never mind books.

Much more recently, the manuscript made its trip home to Luss for a visit, after an absence of at least 400 years. This time much more stringent controls over the travels of the book was made. It was accompanied by Auckland Libraries’ conservator and preservation manager David Ashman, and returned home by the Libraries' manuscripts librarian Kate de Courcy.

If the manuscript could only speak, I wonder at what tales it might tell of its much travelled life?

Those interested in hearing more about the Rossdhu Book of Hours, including its trip to Luss, should come and listen to Kate and David on Thursday, November 18 at 12 noon.

Seonaid Lewis

Guest post: The latest news from Auckland Research Centre

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1911 CensusI subscribe to Who Do You Think You Are? magazine and needed to contact them via their website.

Of great interest is that an agreement between TNA (The National Archives) and Ancestry and The Genealogist has been reached, and these sites can now add the 1911 Census to their databases. 

According to the article, it is expected that the first entries will appear before the end of this year with the project being completed before the end of 2011.  Each company will need to produce their own transcription and index, hence the delay in release.  For additional information see the above-mentioned sites.

FindMyPastAuckland Research Centre will be present at the History and Genealogy Roadshow at the Ellerslie Events Centre at Ellerslie Racecourse, Wednesday 24 November 2010 (noon-9pm). Seonaid Lewis, our family history librarian, will also be presenting there, amongst others including eminent international speakers.

As a result, I was checking out some of our subscription databases to include some information in folders we usually display giving examples of material available at Auckland Research Centre. 

One of the sites I was checking, was FindMyPast (which is available for use in Auckland Research Centre). 

One of the categories is "Specialist records" which includes: 
  • Crew lists 1861-1913
  • Civil Service Evidence of Age 1752-1948
  • GWR Shareholders 1835-1932 and
  • Other records 1320-1996. 
As I am familiar with most of these databases, I decided to have a look at "Other records ..."

I am pleased that I did as this is an amazing set of records and includes of the following -
  • Army deserters 1828-40
  • Bankrupt Directory 1820-43
  • Corfe Castle and district 1790 census
  • Dorset Flax and hemp growers (1783-91)
  • Glamorgan Schools admission registers - covers 18 schools and includes WWII evacuees
  • Lincolnshire settlement certificates
  • Match Workers' Strike 1888
However, it was the Match Workers' Strike 1888, that really caught my eye. 

How fascinating to find if your ancestor participated in the Bryant & May strike led by Annie Besant.  This includes details of 714 people and gives the details such as – name, address, occupation, wages, how much paid by strike fund, marital status and who they lived with.

I couldn't find Annie Besant included in the records, but a fascinating database all the same.

New Series on Sky - Living ChannelOn Saturday evenings and early Sunday mornings the above channel has started showing the acclaimed BBC series Victorian Pharmacy

The first episode went to air on Saturday 6 November 2010.  Catch this if you can as it is supposed to be very interesting; according to TV Guide, it airs before Heir Hunters which I also understand is an interesting series. 

Guest post: What's new in Ancestry?

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey have just added the following databases to their collection over the past few days which may be of interest to some of you.

Newspapers/periodicalsLyson's Magna Britannia (Bedfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire - 1806-22) [to quote Wikipedia "a concise topographical account of the several counties of Great Britain (to give its full title) was an ambitious topographical and historical survey."]
Illustrated London News (selected years) - this is also available through the Digital Library part of the library website for the years 1842-2003.
Penny Magazine 1832-44 - this was published with the working man in mind and covered a wide range of subjects of general interest and everyday matters.
Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser (1848-62) - a window into the life of the market town of Ulverston, Cumbria
Tewkesbury Yearly Register and Magazine (1830-50) - an anecdotal history includes - marriage and death notices of those born in Tewkesbury but since moved from the area; a list of those who died in a cholera outbreak with details of the way they died, their address and occupation.

LondonLondon Poor Law records has been updated
London Parishes (post 1813 [Births, Christenings, Deaths and Burials], post 1784 [Marriages] - more records have been added.
London Parishes (pre 1813 registers) has had more parishes added.

MiscellaneousFife voters lists (1832-94) - full name, abode, occupation
Queensland Govt Gazettes (1903-10) - we have CDs of these in ARC for 1859-1905
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Notes & Queries (1893-98) - many articles on buildings, local history, general interest, flora and fauna
Lancashire & Cheshire Historical & Genealogical Notes (1878-83) [from the title page - "comprises unpublished items of local and family history, church notes, abstracts of charters, deeds, wills etc, folk lore, legends traditions etc"]

All the above are name/place searchable.

Another new addition is the selection of postcards for Canada, UK & Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Germany & Austria and Australia.

In case you missed them last month or have not read about them in family history magazines -
Prison Hulk registers and letter books (1802-49)
Licences of parole for female convicts (1853-71 & 1883-87)
Canadian soldiers - selected service records WWI
Canadian war dead - selected service records WWII
California - 1852 census

This should give those who are interested, plenty to play around with.  Check out other new additions by clicking on "recent" in the lower right-hand corner of the home page.

Have fun and hopefully some of those brick wall may come tumbling down or you will learn something further about your family.

The Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-In

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We had our annual lock-in on Friday 17 September.

The Lock-in is an annual event at the Auckland Research Centre, that allows family historians the opportunity to be locked into our research centre overnight to do their family history research, while being supported and assisted by staff and volunteers from the NZSG.
It was my first one and I have to say it was AWESOME! I got such a buzz out of it, and am buzzing still!
All-up, we had 60 people, including volunteers. We had researchers from all over the country: Wellington, Taupo, Northland, Tauranga etc.
We started with a welcome from team leader and local historian David Verran, who also remembered and paid tribute to my predecessor Karen Kalopulu, before handing over to me. I took care of the housekeeping, order of business and introduced our NZSG volunteers before handing over to my colleague Anahera Sadler. Anahera did a fabulous short mihi maioha after which I introduced our other staff members, lock-in veterans Bridget Simpson and Marie Hickey.
We had the traditional “Lock-In Class Photo” taken with staff, volunteers and researchers, with quite a few people wearing the new rebranded “Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-in” T-shirts with pride.
Helping out this year were Geraldene O’Reilly, Robyn Williams, Malcolm McDonald, Viv Parker, Keith Vautier and Owen Ormsby.
It was the first time for Malcolm and Owen, but Geraldene’s sixth time, and staff and volunteers were all kept really busy throughout the night.
In a small departure from previous years, we had a one hour workshop on offer to those of Irish heritage, with Malcolm McDonald explaining and demonstrating how to use the Lands and Grantors Indexes to the Register of Deeds.
We have recently acquired these films on indefinite loan from the LDS, and Auckland Research Centre staff have already been through a training programme with Malcolm, so that we can assist researchers when they visit us.
There were numerous success stories through the evening, but two notable ones were of a 30-year genealogical brickwall that came tumbling down; and a young man new to family history research, who was assisted in tracing his family back to England 1841 via census records. Hopefully, he’ll now go off and use the clues the censuses give him, to verify births, deaths and marriages!
We had snacks and refreshments to keep us sustained, along with pizza at midnight, and quite a few people made it through to the end at 8am on Saturday morning.
Having had my first taste of a lock-in, I now can’t wait till next year’s!
Happy hunting all

Was your ancestor one of "Massey's Cossacks"?

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"Massey's Cossacks" (many of them farmers or farm workers) were sworn in as "special constables" during the 1913 General Strike.
The New Zealand Government under Prime Minister William Massey used them (mounted on horseback and armed with batons) to protect strikebreakers working on the wharves at Auckland and Wellington.

Manukau Library has an interesting section on its website "Massey's South Auckland Cossacks".

In addition, Auckland City Libraries', "Index Auckland" which indexes material from a wide range of sources, includes the names of those serving in Auckland, which were listed in the "Camp Gazette" publication, giving name, initials and the district from which they came. 

The constables were not just from the Auckland region, as the places mentioned are from as far away as the Waikato and Northland.

Janelle Penney

Make the Library Homepage your own

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As some of you will have noticed the home page of the library website has changed recently. This is to allow customers to focus on their chosen areas of interest. The idea is that by creating a web account, you can personalise the home page of the website with the links that you use most frequently. You can also contribute to the blogs and discussion groups with ease and access your library account information all at the same time!

There's a great wee tutorial that only takes a few minutes to watch that explains how to set up the account - having just done it I can vouch that it's very easy – it’ll only take you a few seconds.

After creating an account you can then use the tools or widgets - to personalise the home page. Do this by clicking on the wee spanner symbols on the grey boxes and where you can personalise you will see lists of possible options that you can select to have on the home page.

So for all of you family historians you may wish to add Kintalk as your blog of interest and start adding some comments! You can then adjust the Quick Links for your liking for example Family History eResources and Family History collections may be two you could consider adding. You may also want to add Heritage Special Collections eResources and Heritage Services and Collections as quick links. Others I'd recommend adding include Local History eResources, Local History Research and of course News and Newspapers allowing you quick access to  Papers Past, Australian Historic Newspapers and Nuipepa - Historic Maori newspapers.

You can also use the new titles function to see new books for any particular collection for example Family History - meaning you'll be kept up to date with new items in the collection as they arrive.

If the page is too busy for you, you can of course delete some of the widgets that you don't wish to use.

All of this will only take a few minutes to set up but once it's done it makes life lots easier and gives you access to the collections and items that you use most often from our website ultimately saving you lots of time!

And when you get fed up with the look of your web page you can go back and change the features making sure it always personal and relevant to you.

What a great new cool tool that will undoubtedly save you time and effort in searching for the things you love to use most frequently, leaving all the more time to track these elusive ancestors!

New Zealand Family History Fair, Hamilton July 16 to 18, 2010

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NZSGOn Thursday July 15, 2010, Marie Hickey and myself, attended the first NZ Family History Fair in Hamilton, representing the Auckland Research Centre, Auckland City Libraries as exhibitors. It was organised by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, who the Auckland Research Centre has a close relationship with.

We left about lunchtime so that we could get to Hamilton early enough to do some professional visits to Waikato University and the LDS Family History Research Centre.

Waikato University have some lovelyinhouse databases, of interest to the family or local historian - many of which can be accessed only onsite. Its worth remembering, that you don't have to be a student at the University to access their library.

On Friday morning, we visited Hamilton Public Library, who have a very good Waikato focussed family history collection. One of the things we were surprised and happy about, was the fact that they had Intentions to Marry 1880 to 1956 for the Hamilton district available. Well worth the visit if you have Waikato ancestors.

The Fair started on Saturday morning with seminars being run throughout the day over both days of the weekend. Marie and I alternated between looking after the stand and attending seminars.

We had probably the best position right at the entrance to the exhibition hall and right next door to the main NZSG stand; which meant we attracted a lot of exhibitors.

Our stand was decorated with posters and flyers of our Family History events, and leaflets promoting our Family History collections, as well as a few promoting the Governor Grey Special Collection and the Library as a whole. We had a Powerpoint presentation running on loop on the datashow, which showed off our digital library and what sort of information could be found within, and again, slides of our posters about our FH events.

The datashow proved very successful at pulling people into the stand, and allowed us the opportunity of being able to do live demonstrations on the other laptop of how to search on our digital library. On Saturday morning alone, I managed to find a total of SIX ancestors for researchers - immensely satisfying!

The NZSG seminars were of good quality - they covered all different topics and were relevant for the beginner right through to the more experienced researcher. As I often present to the public these days, it was of interest to me to watch the different presenting styles. Of value, too, was getting insight and inspiration of what might prove useful for future family history lunchtime sessions.

For me, personally, the most useful tip I learned was to use a different colour folder, box etc, for each branch of my family tree, and to start a new folder for each member of the family once they got married. That way you can tell at a glance which branch they belong to. Useful, as my personal research has got so large, its become quite hard to manage and so a major re-filing event is a head for me, when I get a chance.

The Fair closed at 5pm on Sunday - and was extremely successful. Well in excess of 1000 people visited the Fair over the two days, and its hoped that it will be held again in two to three years time.

Can't wait for the next one!

Happy hunting

Are you a genealogist or a family historian?

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People often don't realise that there is a difference between genealogists and family historians.

In the simplest terms, genealogists collect names and dates for a family tree and family historians flesh out the family trees, adding leaves and flowers by researching information about individuals on the family tree.

Like most people I started out as a genealogist, collecting names and dates until I started to hit brickwalls. Once the adrenalin rush, of discovering new ancestors started to calm down a bit - I started to become curious about them.

What did they do for a living? Alot of occupations don't exist today. Improvements in technology has meant that seventy per cent of jobs that existed 50 years ago no longer exist today.

Gorgeous books like Mastercrafts and The River Hobbler's Apprentice: Memories of Working the Severn and Wye, can give you an excellent insight into what your ancestors did for a living.

Books like the "Tracing Your" series can give you clues to finding more information out about your RailwayPauperLabour Movement,Criminal and Air Force Ancestors.

Those researching ancestors around the 1830s period could look for their ancestors in the Machine Breakers series of books. Machine Breakers were "Luddites", who's protests about the mechanisation of their jobs in the textile industry culminated in their breaking up of machines during the 1830s riots.

These "Machine Breakers" are well documented in books by county, with names and often family details, of those that were arrested, tried and often transported. Newly arrived we have:
What was life like for them? Invaluable books that can tell you about historical events like the newly arrived On the Home Front: Melbourne in Wartime: 1939-1945 and The Great War Handbook.From East End to Land's End will tell you about the evacuation of Jews' Free School, London, to Mousehole, Cornwall during World War Two. There is even a list of the children's names in the book.
The Auckland Research Centre has many such books purchased specifically to assist you in putting the leaves on the trees. Online indexes and databases, CD-Roms, microfiche and microfilms are excellent resources for dates and names - they provide the branches and twigs.
But don't forget the books . . . they are your leaves and flowers.

Hope to see some of you at the Family History fair in Hamilton this weekend:

Using Facebook to unite your family

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I have had a number of enquiries about my previous blog, where I have mentioned what a boon Facebook has been to me, in uniting me with lost or unknown family members, and assisting me in my own family history research.
So this is a brief tutorial on how to get your family interest group page started.
  • Sign yourself up for a Facebook account if you haven't done so already, and sign into your account.
  • You will see a link for "Groups" on the left hand side of your page.
  • Click "Groups". Then on the right hand side of the screen, click the button that says "Create a Group".
  • This takes you to another page, "STEP ONE" with a series of boxes that you need to fill in.
  • The first box is your Groups name.
  • Call it Genealogy - <name of people researching>
I have called mine for example:
Genealogy: Alexander McKENZIE (b Feb 1865) m Georgina SWANSON (b Apr 1869): ABERDEEN 
  • In the description field, type as much about your research interest as you can. Include full names, dates etc.
  • I also include a disclaimer stating that the group is open only to descendants/relatives and that if they request an invitation to join the group, they should state where they think they may be connected. It is important that your family feel that you are keeping their privacy safe.
  • I select "Common Interest" and "Families" in the group type scroll down menus.
  • The box "recent news", I reserve for my most up-to-date research breakthroughs, and try to keep updated.
  • I leave "office:" box blank, but I fill in my email address, so that I can be contacted.
  • If you have a family history website, then put the website address in the website box. I leave street address blank, but I do put my city in the town/city box.
  • Click "CREATE GROUP" at the bottom, which then takes you to "STEP TWO"
  • A series of options have been pre-selected. Read them carefully, but I leave them all as they are, EXCEPT the bottom subheading which says "ACCESS". I choose "this group is closed" for this option.
This means that your group will be able to be found by someone doing a search, but they won't be able to view anything other than brief details about the group, and they won't be able to post. If they want to join then they will have to request an invite.
  • Click SAVE, and it will ask you if you want to post the new group profile to your Facebook profile wall. I would say "Yes".
  • Lastly, you get the opportunity to invite people who are already your Facebook friends, and also to invite people via email, who aren't on Facebook list.
  • Keep your Facebook group up to date, with news. Use "Wall posts" to communicate with your family. Encourage them to post family pictures and anecdotes.
I hope people find this useful. If there is enough interest in this subject, I may hold a workgroup in the near future.

Good luck, and have fun!


Family Reunions

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It's my experience that family history brings families together. Not just with the ones that have passed away, but also with the ones still very much alive. Its also a great way of meeting new family members too! 

Years ago, when I first started my family history, I was introduced to new family members in person - who then gave me information about their branch or twig. 

A wee bit later, I progressed to posting queries on RootsWeb message boards, and was tickled pink to get email responses from other people who were also tracing their family tree, and had found we had relatives in common. 

Eventually, closer relatives that I had never met also got in touch. I have spread my net wide, and have posted my "interests" as we family historians call it, on various genealogy websites. I am always excited and amazed when I get a response from a posting that I made 10 years ago. 

I thank goodness that I chose and maintain a webmail address, so that I would always be found, no matter what country I live in, and no matter who my Internet Service Provider is. 

In more recent years, I have made great use of Facebook. I started genealogy interest group pages in the names of the four main branches of my father's family, and the four main branches of my mother's family. Just this year, so far, I have "met" six new family members, and in turn, been introduced to their immediate families. 

Like so many families today, our geographic spread is far and wide: UK (Scot-Eng-Ire-Wales), Spain, South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

But the internet brings closer together and makes us neighbours . . . 

Also, a heads up to let you all know that the 1901 Census for Ireland is due to be launched on 3 June 2010 (UK time) and will be free. The site is fully searchable . 

Along with the 1911, this is the only fully surviving pre-independence census for Ireland so is quite important for those with family in Ireland at the time.

Happy hunting to you all . . .

Guest post: Boards of Guardians records & other bits and bobs

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

When looking at some documents among the Newgate Gate Gaol Delivery Books (1785-1834) on microfilm at the Auckland Research Centre recently we found some records relating to Boards of Guardians that we had not realised we had. This is particulalry exciting given the recent apology of former British prime minister Gordon Brown to children who were sent overseas under the child migration scheme.

The records are for the areas covered by the Boards of Guardians for Brentford, Hampstead and Lambeth as well as minutes of the Central Unemployed Body for London (1905-11), all relating to emigration of children and families.

Some of the records of the Boards of Guardians relate to children who had been placed in schools having come from the workhouse eg Chase Farm School (run by the Edmonton Board Guardians). There are lists of children proposed for emigration to Canada and New Zealand (1891-1926), emigration consents and refusals (1925), and contracts and agreements to send children or families to Australia (c.1852-c.1855). Most of the material is unindexed but is quite legible and apart from names can include information such as: address sent to in the new country, school sent from, cost of emigration, date of emigration, and port of arrival.

Amongst the records is a booklet relating to the settlement of boys to Australia and a Handbook on the Dominion of New Zealand: containing information regarding openings for settlers, wages and hours of labour, cost of living, assisted passages, fares, etc (1925).

On another note, those who enjoy reading the Ancestors magazinepublished by TNA (the National Archives, UK) will be disappointed to learn that this has now ceased publication. It is envisaged that a different magazine will be produced, possibly later in the year.

Who do you think we are?  series 2 (Australia) UKTV Mondays 7.30pm. 
UKTV on Sky is currently repeating this series, if you missed it the first time around you may want to catch it this time. Auckland City Libraries has series 1 & 2 for the Australian Who do you think you are? and series1-4 for the UK version.

The Australian series is similar to the UK one but includes much more social history and perhaps slightly more insight into different records available in Australia. I really enjoyed this series and found it interesting as well as informative as the format follows the lines of how a family historian would work. Nick Barratt makes an appearance towards the end of the Ben Mendolssohn episode explaining how the ancestor probably came to be in the workhouse.

Also, we are now subscribing to the Who do you think you are? magazine and currently have the March and April 2010 editions available in the Auckland Research Centre.


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 Seonaid (Shona) Lewis, the new Family History Librarian at the Auckland Research Centre in Auckland City Library. 

I am delighted to be given this opportunity to introduce myself to the New Zealand genealogy community and look forward to meeting and working with you in the forthcoming weeks.

I have always had a love for history, starting with sneaking historical novels off my parents’ bookshelf when I was about nine years old – getting lost in the world of Tudor Kings and Queens.

I can also thank my parents for my passion for family history. My Scottish mother is a fabulous storyteller and she entertained me with stories of her family and what she knew of her ancestors. I would hang on her every word. Her mother was descended from McKenzie of Applecross, who reputedly sheltered Bonnie Prince Charlie when he came over from Skye prior to Culloden. My Scottish ancestry has always meant a lot to me.

My English father, on the other hand, knew very little about his father’s family. He was the youngest of a large Catholic family, his mother died of TB when he was about four months old, and his father, being a Merchant Seaman, was away at sea all the time. My father was fostered out and brought up by neighbours.

All we really knew about his father’s family was that his father had left Newfoundland for England at a young age during the First World War, and lied about his age to get into the Merchant Navy.

When I was living in London, my father asked me to look into some details for him. And before long, I was hooked and had completely caught the genealogy-bug! Currently I have hit the proverbial brick wall at around 1800 where both my father’s maternal and paternal lines lead back to Ireland. Nevertheless, my father now knows about his grandparents and his uncles and aunts and has connected with cousins he never knew before.

I have had much more luck with my mother’s line, tracing both branches back to the 17th Century. I have still to corroborate the McKenzie of Applecross story though . . .

When in London, I was a frequent visitor to the Public Records Office (as it was known then) and loved looking up the original indices. Since returning to New Zealand, I was a frequent visitor initially to Auckland Library, then also the LDS Family History Centre in Takapuna.

The advent of the internet has made researching family history a lot more accessible to the general public. My favourite online tools have been Ancestry, the Origins network, FindMyPast and RootsWeb. Being an “Apple Mac” person, my genealogy software tool is Reunion for Mac.

I have been very excited to find and be found by relatives when we’ve discovered each other on genealogy forums. Its been a delight to connect with a fellow family historian who is related to me, and we’ve been able to help each other with our brick walls.

Latterly Facebook has been a real boon for me. I started Facebook genealogy groups in the names of the four branches of my family trees, and relatives are now finding me all the time.

I come from North Shore Libraries, where I had been working as a general Librarian with duties as a trainer, also working with the Oral History team, assisting with workshops and training people how to use digital technology. I’d also been converting tape cassettes over to digital format to ensure their continued preservation.

So through these important tasks, I have also discovered a passion for Oral History and love listening to the older folk describe their earlier life experiences.

Formerly, I had worked for 26 years’ in design and publishing for both print and web! After starting my working life as an apprentice Typographer, I became heavily involved in management and IT. 

Once I had had my family, I decided I needed to have a change of career. After weighing up my options, it made sense for me to choose librarianship and so I left my career to study and work my way up through the library system, with the idea that some day somehow I could become a family historian.

In the four years since making that decision I have gained my library qualifications, and my professional library registration and I am intending continue my studies towards a degree in history.

Library work seemed the perfect way of bringing together my love of history and books. I have also been very pleased to help others with their family history – so this is my dream job, doing what I love! Family history research and helping people! 

I intend on carrying on Karen’s legacy and will develop some new ideas and services in the future.

Meanwhile, I look forward to meeting with you all in the near future…

Guest post: Researching family in the UK

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

As Autumn approaches some of you will be looking forward to an overseas trip to the Northern hemisphere during their warmer months. For those who may be, including the Merseyside and Manchester areas, you may be interested in the following:

The People's History Museum at Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER. Admission is free and it is open Monday to Sunday.
Ancestor's Arms, Wallasey, Merseyside, is the first family history themed pub to open in the UK. Newton & Ridley (the well-known Coronation Street brewers) are said to be brewing two special ales for sale at the pub.

If you are intending to visit the Somerset Record Office records on micofiche and micofilm only will be available for consultation 6 April to 5th July. After this period the centre will be closed for at least two months while records are moved to the new Somerset Heritage Centre which is envisaged to open 6 September 2010. Further information can be found on their website.

Want to experience what a Family History Fair in the UK can be like? Then you may wish to attend one on 11 September 2010 at Newcastle Central Premier Inn, Newbridge Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Check the website for further information.
Of course the 'big one' - Who do you think you are? LIVE- is now being held in London at the end of February. Check the Society of Genealogists' website for further information closer to the time.

If you are one of those lucky people travelling abroad and planning to do some research do go prepared (do you need identification? what are the opening hours & regulations?), your time will be more productive and more enjoyable.

Finally, those who enjoy reading the Ancestors magazine published by TNA (the National Archives, UK) will be disappointed to learn that this has now ceased publication. It is envisaged that a different magazine will be produced possibly later in the year.

Guest post: What's new in the world of family history

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

Those of you who enjoy reading Ancestor magazine published by The National Archives will be sorry to learn that the April 2010 issue is to be the last in the current format.  A new magazine is apparantly envisaged but as yet no details are available. For all those with London connections, the February 2010 issue is completely devoted to this City.

New databases are coming available all the time and it is hard to keep up with them all. Some recently added databases of interest are: -

New additions from findmypast:
Approximately 20,000 entries have been added to Essex Memorial Inscriptions bringing the total number of entries to 170,875 convering the years 1100-2007.

St John Wapping records for 1655-1707 and 1734-1780 have been added to the Docklands Christening records. Other areas included (but not necessarily comprehensively) are: Bermondsley, Isle of Dogs, Limehouse, Mile End, Millwall, Newington, Poplar, Ratcliff, Shadwell, Spitalfields, Stepney and Whitechapel. Unfortunately date range and parishes covered is not given.

Chelsea Pensioner Records: soldier's documents (W097) 1760-1913 and Militia Attestation Papers (WO96) 1806-1915 are being digitised and added to this site. The project is due to be completed in 2011. See findmypast for the proposed release dates. The first section to be released covers WO97/2172-4231 (1883-1900).

Ancestry has added Famine Relief Commission Papers (1844-47). These cover letters, minutes etc sent to the Royal Commission mainly from local relief committees, local clergy, lieutenants and concerned citizens from Cork, Galway, Clare, Mayo and Limerick counties. They are name searchable and provide good back ground knowledge of what conditions were like and steps taken to provide relief. The National Archives of Ireland website explains these papers.

Last but not least, for those of you who have not heard, the cost of certificates from the General Register Office (England and Wales) will increased on the 6th of April 2010 from 7.00 to 9.25. This fee is the same whether or not you quote the volume and page number reference or place your order online.

Newspapers online

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Historical Australian newspapers from every Australian state have been digitised, some more than others. Some of the 30 plus newspapers are the Sydney Morning Herald, from 1842 to1954, the Melbourne Argus, from 1848 to1954, Tasmania's the Mercury, from1860 to1954, the Brisbane Courier, from 1864 to1933, and the Northern Territory Times and Gazette, from 1873 to1927. Going on to About Us from the home page shows you a list of the newspapers and the years covered. You can browse these newspapers by title, search by state or click on to Advanced Search to limit your search to specific newspapers and a range of years.

Papers Past, the National Library of New Zealand's initiative, is also a work in progress and added to on a regular basis. New to the website is the Thames Star, from 1874 to 1900 (although in May they will be covering up to 1920), the Ashburton Guardian, from 1890 to 1920 (with some gaps), and the recently added colourful NZ Truth, from 1903 to 1930. The Manawatu papers are to be added this month, from1877 to 1886, as are the Waipu Church Times and Waipu Church Gazette, between them covering the years 1907 to 1920. The Lyttleton Times is to be introduced in May and issues of the Evening Post will carry on to 1920. In June the Otago Daily Times is to be launched, starting from 1861 with its period of coverage yet to be confirmed. The newspapers can be searched by title, region and year. Clicking on More search options though will allow a more specific search.

Historical newspapers are full of gems for genealogists with, for example, family notices, passenger lists, reports of accidents and lists of school prize winners.

Guest post: Our digitised New Zealand Card Index

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Contributor: David Verran

We are thrilled to be able to announce the digitisation of our unique card index, known as the New Zealand Card Index and housed in the Auckland Research Centre. What is of particular interest to family historians is that this resource is available online through our website. 

The digital version of the New Zealand Card Index provides vastly improved keyword access to local history, biographical and family history references from sources such as: Auckland scrapbooks 1923 to 1994, New Zealand scrapbooks 1916 to 1975, Obituary scrapbooks 1933 to 1941 and 1949 to 1979, and the New Zealand herald, the Auckland star and Auckland area suburban newspapers before November 1996. Note that music references were at that time included in a different card index, which has now been entered onto Index Auckland.

Material was selected for inclusion in the scrapbooks because of its historical, or potentially historical, value. For the Auckland scrapbooks, this included the opening, demolition or history of any buildings, history or description of industries, suburbs, etc., new subdivisions and articles giving the origin of the name of a suburb or street. The articles selected were comprehensive rather than exhaustive. Those for the New Zealand scrapbooks were more of general historical interest regarding New Zealand as a whole. The Obituary scrapbooks covered any major obituaries from either the New Zealand herald or Auckland star, as well as some death notices which were not indexed.

The availability of microfilm reader printers from the mid 1970s allowed direct reference to issues of the New Zealand herald and the Auckland star and accordingly the various scrapbooks began to cease. The advent of Newsindex in 1979 and Index New Zealand in 1987 led to further refining of what was and wasn't indexed. Further, indexing from the non-Auckland City Council area suburban newspapers ceased from November 1989, the Auckland star ceased 31 July 1991 and increasingly the New Zealand herald left the local stories to the suburban newspapers. Nevertheless, as of November 1996 the New Zealand herald and Auckland City area suburban newspapers were still being comprehensively indexed. 

Index Auckland and the digitised New Zealand Card Index are available through the Digital library (the latter from the first quarter of the new year) on our website


Guest post: Online images from the British Museum

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Guest contributor: Anahera Sadler

The British Museum online photographic collection, which now includes thousands of Pacific (including Maori) images that have just been scanned as part of a long-term research project undertaken by the institution. The database is huge. From my quick search, the Pacific collection appears to be twice as large (3000+ images) than that offered on Matapihi (the NZ archived image database).

There are about 1850 Maori images (there are 11,500 on Matapihi). Many of the images are also available from NZ archives, but some of the British Museum copies are apparantly of a higher quality and there are many images that are not available here. Access to these photographs would once have been through browsing reference images over many days in a large set of ring-binders in the research library of the Museum. This is so much more user-friendly, faster and cheaper, although the larger issues of open access to indigenous images remains a tricky question!

Guest post: Old Colonist membership roll

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

A gem of a resource with a remarks column that could have in it:
...first baker to bake bread for sale in Auckland
...born on the night of the High Street fire
...went to Tauranga & was there at the time of the Te Kooti scare
...father living in Sydney aged 85 years

This membership book covers the period 10 October 1919 to 16 November 1934.

It contains the following information:
Date of enrolment, badge no., address at time of enrolment, when & where born, date of arrival in NZ, name of ship, and miscellaneous remarks (examples of which were given above).

Membership was not limited to those who had immigrated as a number of members had been born in New Zealand but to either immigrant parents or grandparents.

All entries in this roll are indexed on to Index Auckland (accessible through our website in the Digital library) and the volume is held in Auckland City Libraries Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Guest post: Military and Irish records online

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

Now that the Christmas/New Year break is over many of you will have been visiting/visited by relatives and caught up on all the latest family news, exchanged family info etc and may now have new avenues of research to follow up on.
Here are some records which have recently come available on the internet which may be of use with your research.

 Digitised records of about 100,000 RAF officers serving in WWI (killed or discharged before 1920) from series AIR 76 at TNA (the National Archives) are now available through the Documents Online service.
 Another site for those with military links/interests is the aerial reconnaissance photographs for WWII.  The first instalment of 4,000 photographs may be viewed at
 For those of you who may have links with the East India Company and therefore have someone who served in the Bombay Army 1795-1862 may find the databases  on The Families in British India Society useful although, do bear in mind that this is only a selection of records but still of value.
Twenty nine directories for Belfast and nearby towns 1819-1900 have been digitised are available at
The National Library of Ireland have produced a free sources database cataloguing over 180,000 Irish manuscripts and articles from over 150 publications up to 1969

Over 280,000 images from glassplates taken from three major collections held by the National Library of Ireland have also been digitised and can be viewed at:

Happy searching!

Guest post: Tamaki Makaurau Marae Directory

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Guest contributor: Anahera Sadler, Pou Kohinga Matua (Maori Reference Librarian)


If you are looking to connect or reconnect with your whanau, hapu or iwi and think you are from the region of Tamaki Makaurau then this website is definitely worth a look in.

The Tamaki Makaurau Marae Directory is an initiative sponsored and maintained by Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development). The directory provides a listing of all marae in the greater Auckland region, enabling the local community, tangata whenua and visitors to easily find and visit local marae.

The website encompasses 75 marae from Warkworth in the north through to Pukekohe in the South. It is searchable either by name of marae or by region (North, East, West or South). A picture of the marae is viewable, a pepeha (a way to introduce yourself in a Maori context - waka, maunga, awa, iwi, hapu, marae) are recorded, contact details and google maps with driving directions are also listed to further aid the researcher to identify where the marae are and how to get there.

So, make the most of this resource...reunite with your whanau, strengthen your links, delve into these sacred places steeped in whakapapa, stories of days gone by, and learn about their relevance today!

Guest post: Government gazettes

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Guest contributor: Bridget

The historic Victoria Government Gazette's from 1851 to 1997 are available online

Searches can be done by keyword or by page and years can be browsed.

As far as family historians are concerned government gazettes are a primary resource which has been largely overlooked by researchers. To appreciate the gems in the gazettes think laterally. For example, your ancestor farmed and may have needed to brand his stock; brands were registered and the public advised via the government gazette. An ancestor may have deserted ship or escaped custody, or left his wife; detailed descriptions are given. Licences were needed to run a pub, practice medicine, own a ship; all of which were gazetted. Also included are details of land grants, transfers and leases; shipping and emigration notices; appointments to public office or employees of the government.

Auckland City Libraries has the Government and Police Gazettes for the states of Australia on CD-Rom. A search of our catalogue on our website will show the wide ranging dates covered in our collection.
Along with the hard copies of the New Zealand Government Gazettes Auckland City Libraries has the LexisNexis New Zealand Gazette Archive, PDF copies of the New Zealand Gazette, the official newspaper of the government. As with the Australian Government Gazettes our New Zealand ones are another under used resource for family historians. Again, you can find lists of people; teachers, electricians, doctors and plumbers,for example.

The gazettes are resources well worth keen family historians investing some time in.