Archive for 2011

Sir George Grey Special Collections: Scrapbooking exhibition

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"Saved memories: scrapbooks 1570-2011"

Scrapbooking is often a hobby that goes hand in hand with family history research.

As family history researchers, we collect the information to do with our families and individuals within our families.

Instead of sticking these items into files and leaving them in boxes or filing cabinets, what better way than scrapbooking to display them?

Items suitable for scrapbooking, typically, are photos of course, copies of certificates, census records and momentoes. Annotate them with the stories of the individuals as you go along. Its a wonderful way of preserving and passing along your research in a creative way.

Sir George Grey Special Collections on Level 2 (the Heritage floor) of the Central City Library in Lorne Street, is holding a fabulous exhibition "Saved memories: scrapbooks 1570-2011" which began today.

Kate de Courcy, Sir George Grey Special Collections librarian and exhibition curator, says the word "scrap-book" first appeared in the English language in 1825 but books with similar characteristics have been made since the 15th century.
"It is fascinating to see how the practice of preparing scrapbooks has changed through the years," she says.

"What hasn't changed over 500 years though, is that people have continued to collect and display things that are precious to them.

Scrapbooks are compiled for different reasons: from the simplest expression of fancy or taste, to telling an individual’s life story or focussing on a particular area of interest."

The display also highlights a variety of materials used for pages such as paper, cloth and vellum (animal skin prepared for writing or printing) and items added to scrapbooks include photos, paintings, magazine items, feathers, tickets, newspaper clippings, professional scrapbooking items, scraps and cartoons.

The fact that the library holds scrapbooks in the collection from as far back as 1570, is testament that your story could possibly survive way, way into the future by design (if preserved carefully) or even luck and good fortune.

The exhibition runs from 1 December 2011 to 3 March 2012 on level 2 of the Central City Library on Lorne St.

Guided ToursThere are free guided tours on Wednesdays at 12-1pm (until Wednesday 28 February 2012), led by Kate de Courcy.

Viewing times Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am - 4pm


Unlock the Past post-seminar report

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Key speaker: Chris Paton
Recently we were fortunate to host Unlock the Past and their speakers, prior to them setting sail on their Scottish/Irish History and Genealogy Cruise aboard the Holland America's line ship "Volendam".

Saturday's programme was a full day seminar event, and well-worth the $35 entry that UnlockthePast were asking for. Altogether there were five seminars, and each one was well polished and really informative.

Chris Paton was the main speaker and he gave three talks. His talk on Irish Family History Resources Online, just touched the tip of the iceberg of what is available and is described in more detail in his new book of the same title (on order at the Research Centre). Chris has a list of these online resources with a brief explanation on his website, but I recommend that you read his book, to gain an understanding of where to start or go to next for your own family research.

Chris' other talks covered Scottish Land Records and Scottish Church Records. Both entailed quite a history lesson in order to provide the background to where to find records and how to use them. Chris explained the changes in the Scottish Church very clearly and concisely, and in a very entertaining way also. The Scottish land system was distinctly different to the English one, and required quite a bit of explanation also. Again this was fascinating. Chris has a book out "Discover Scottish Church Records" and I'm not the first one to say he should write one about the Scottish Land System!

Rosemary Kopittke gave us a summary of what you can find online in the three FindMyPast websites - Australasia, UK, and Ireland. We haveFindMyPast UK available now through all 55 of our libraries which is proving very popular - but we don't yet have the Australasia or Ireland versions of the site unfortunately. More and more is being added to these sites all the time, an astonishing 56 million more records will be added in February/March 2012 which will double the current content!

Shauna Hicks gave us a very informative and clear "Google Your Family Tree: Tips and Tricks". Her talk was based on Dan Lynch's bookGoogle Your Family Tree and his presentation of the same name. However, Shauna had used her own examples to illustrate features, updated it to reflect the considerable changes to Google since Dan wrote his book, and made it her own. Her style of presenting this reminded me that she had been a librarian - especially when she was describing search techniques.

Shauna wrote a blog about the day on her website. Shauna also writes another more informal blog "Diary of an Australian Genealogist" where she is also currently writing about her experiences on board the cruise.

Monday's programme was a free library event, and just a short half day, as the speakers had to board their cruise ship just after lunch.

Our programme started with an optional tour of the Research Centre, where there were enough people to necessitate splitting into two groups - I took one, and Marie Hickey took the other round.

At 10.30am Dr Perry McIntyre gave us an overview of how to begin researching your Irish family history. She gave us an Australian view on the subject which was refreshing as it enabled us to think laterally about our Irish ancestors who might have previous gone to Australia, before coming to New Zealand.

At 12 noon, Dr Richard Reid gave us a talk about Irish immigration to Australia and New Zealand. Richard's presentation was based on his published thesis "Farewell my Children - the Irish Emigrant Journey to Australia" (on order for the Research Centre), which he had expanded a little to include New Zealand.

I've been given a lot of new knowledge and a whole lot of information to follow up and research. I left feeling energised and motivated and can't wait for some spare time! The cruise ship is stopping at ports all round New Zealand, and there will be shore based seminars at each stop (organised by the NZSG). The audience at each stop will be in for a rare treat!

We've been very lucky to have had the calibre of speakers presenting for us this year - and the UnlockthePast speakers have definitely been the icing on the top for us!


Unlock the Past sets sail from Central City Library

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Unlock the Past logoUnlockThePast have chosen Central City Library, Auckland, to launch their History and Genealogy Cruise November 2011 - Scottish & Irish Theme that sets sail from Auckland to Sydney for 14 nights.

The pre-cruise one-day seminar is being held in the Whare Wananga, Level 2 of Central City Library on Saturday, 19 November, and is aimed at people who are unable to take part in the cruise.

We are very privileged to have Chris Paton as our guest keynote speaker on this day, and he will be giving three different presentations:
  • Irish Resources Online,
  • Discover Scottish Church Records, and
  • Discover Scottish Land Records.
Chris is an eminent professional genealogist, specializing in Scottish and Irish history, and author of books such as Discover Scottish Church Records  ; Researching Scottish family history and Tracing your family history on the Internet : a guide for family historians.

Chris is also a regular contributor to family history magazines such asYour Family HistoryPractical Family HistoryFamily History Monthly andDiscover my Past Scotland.  

Formerly a BBC television producer, Chris holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies and runs the Scotland's Greatest Story ancestral research service. He also teaches online Scottish courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd .

Our other two speakers on the day are Shauna Hicks, of Shauna Hicks History Enterprises who will speaking on Googling your Family Tree and Rosemary Kopittke, who will be talking to us about FindMyPast.

Both Shauna and Rosemary are highly-regarded Australian family historians and authors, and are very popular on the speaking circuit in Australia, and have also spoken to appreciative audiences here in New Zealand.

Saturday’s event starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm, and also offers the opportunity of a tour of the Central Auckland Research Centre at 12 noon.

Places for this one-day event cost $35, and bookings for this event can be made at UnlockthePast’s website .

Don't miss out on this fabulous opportunity! Hope to see you there!

Other shore-based seminars are being hosted by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) branches and interest groups around New Zealand during the History and Genealogy Cruise, so check them out too 

Kindest regards

Fabulous new Pacific Island resources: featuring Fiji and Tahiti

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This year we have been expanding our Pacific Islands collections.

Recently we acquired birth, death and marriage (BDM) microfilms for Fiji. These include registers for Fijians, Indians and those from other nationalities.

The date range varies but the earliest is from 1871, up until 1989. Search in our classic catalogue using 3 FIJ BDM via the CALL NO field for more comprehensive details.

We also have the British Consul for Fiji and Tonga : BMD index, 1858-1873 in book form as well as Christine Liava'a's Persons born in the Pacific region included in the 1881 British census.

Another new purchase are Punaauia (Tahiti). Officier de l'etat civil 1852-1952 and Punaauia (Tahiti). Officier de l'etat civil 1898-1999 . These are the Civil registrations (births, acknowledgements of children, marriages, deaths) for Punaauia (Tahiti), French Polynesia, on microfilm from the 1850s to 1999.

For Niue, we have the register of baptisms from 1926-July 1947 and the register of church members, 1872-1912 (with additions 1928 & 1945).  We are also lucky enough to have a record of Niuean genealogies, which were created to establish claims of citizenship, land or property rights. There are lists of emigration and of European immigration. Try searching call no 3 NIU for more detail.

We also have BDMs for the Cook Islands from 1849 to 1975 (dependant on area of course) - search our catalogue under call no 3 COO BDM for more details - and for Tonga from the 1830s to the 1980s, including Enemy Aliens in Tonga 1916 (call no 3 TON BDM).

Our Samoan records include BDMs from the 1870s to 1993, European births from 1920 to 1962 and for about the same period Probates (call no 3 SAM BDM).

For more general family history information, try using call no 3 PAC to see what else we hold in our research centre for Pacific Island family history.

Guest post: Index Auckland and the NZ Card Index as sources for family historians

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Guest contributor: Janelle Penney

Index Auckland came into being in the mid-1990s as the online version of an indexing effort that had been ongoing at the Auckland Library since the 1950s. Before Index Auckland there was the NZ Card Index, which as its name implies, consisted of tens of thousands of cards hand-written by librarians, pointing to useful references in a wide range of NZ magazines, newspapers and books. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, the images of those cards and the transcription of their contents, are now also available online, just like Index Auckland, through the Digital Library part of the Auckland Library's website.
Yeah, ok, I hear you ask. So where's the family history in all that? Well, I can assure you, that both those resources are worth checking for your family history research, and not just if you have Auckland family. Although there is a strong Auckland 'flavour' to the contents, there are references to people there from other parts of the country and for both the 19th and 20th century. To misquote Forrest Gump, the indexes are a bit like a box of chocolates - you never know what you'll get.
I would suggest a simple keyword search for checking the NZ Card IndexIndex Auckland can be searched the same way but as you will see from the search panel, it offers other choices, too.
If you want to browse your family names of interest, go to the 'Subject' search box and click the 'Browse' button. In the lower middle part of the view that opens you will see the choices 'Terms list' and 'Words list' with the default choice given as 'Words'. Change that by clicking the 'Terms' button, then put your family surname of interest in the 'Find' box at the top and click 'Find'.
You will be presented with a shopping list of all the entries, in alphabetical order by personal name, of all the people with your family surname who have a descriptor entry in the index. You can browse up and down the list to look for possible hits. Selection is easy - just click to highlight the entry of interest, click 'Add' and then 'Close'. You will arrive back at the 'Search' box with your person's name neatly filed in the subject search field and all ready for you to click 'Search'. Good hunting!

Guest post: NZSG Family history fair in Hamilton

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Guest contributor: Marie Hickey

It seems as if we are currently working from one event to another; in June it was the NZSG Conference, August - Family History Month which has had Seonaid on the road most days and last weekend (26-27th August), the second NZSG Family History Fair was held at Claudelands in Hamilton. Auckland Libraries had a stand which was staffed by Seonaid Lewis, Karen Samsom and myself. There were 52 exhibitors (including us), 40 seminars and 16 workshops; the subjects covered websites, computer programs, research in New Zealand and overseas and specific types of records.
Seonaid and I presented seminars and workshops.  All three of us were kept on the go the whole time between trying to attend some seminars ourselves, giving our talks and staffing our stand. We were lucky to have our stand right by the entrance doors so we got to speak to many visitors as they arrived; many returned later in the day after having been around the other stands. I spoke to a number of people from Matamata; and am convinced that my relatives were the only ones left in town as the rest were at the Fair.
The weekend was very successful for us as we got to speak to many people from different localities and were able to show the extent of our resources and how they can assist with their research - one couple had travelled from Australia especially for the Fair! From the buzz in the hall I think that everyone enjoyed themselves and went away having gained something from the experience.
One of the seminars I was able to attend was Brad Argent's talk on "How we do what we do" (he was This was fascinating as he spoke of how records often have to be conserved before filming can begin, how they do their filming etc. One example he gave was of a sheet from the 1861 census for Manchester that had taken a conservator four hours to unfurl so it could be filmed.
Judy Jones from FamilySearch was the keynote speaker on Friday evening and Sir John Trimmer on Saturday evening. We have been fortunate that Judy, Mark Bayley ( and Carole Riley have made time in their schedules to speak at Central Auckland Research Centre and I am sure that those who attended these presentations learned something to help in their research.
Overall, it was a great weekend and hopefully we will be back again next year. Next event - the Karen Kalopulu Lock-in!

Guest post: What was your ancestor's voyage to New Zealand like for them?

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Guest contributor: Janelle Penney

So, you've tracked down the passenger list of the ship your ancestor arrived in NZ aboard and perhaps you've even managed to find a picture of the vessel, but you still want to know more - what was it like to travel aboard that ship?

Some of us are lucky - our ancestor left behind a letter or a diary which tells the story of their experiences in their own words - but for most of us, there is only silence from our forbears. We have to find what we can about that voyage as seen through others' eyes, and work out from that what the experience of our own ancestor was probably like.

HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS are a common source of voyage descriptions. Many NZ newspapers of the 19th and early 20th century, in addition to publishing the names of passengers who arrived at the local port, would also list cargo brought aboard the vessel and give some description of the voyage itself, based on information provided by those operating the ship. Sometimes passengers who had died or given birth might be named, but the weather encountered en route, voyage duration, the 'healthfulness' (or not) of the voyage, are the kinds of topics that crop up most frequently. To look for voyage descriptions, try the Papers Past website of digitised NZ newspapers.

Of course, not all papers are to be found on the website, though it is gradually growing over time. Compilations of newspaper accounts, (supplemented with some useful photos) such as "White Wings", are still of value in tracking down information. "White Wing" by Sir Henry Brett, covers passenger ships in the NZ trade 1840 to 1885. There are reference copies of the original two-volume edition available in the Central Auckland Research Centre and loan copies of a 1976 reprinttwo-volume edition available in the library system. There is also a condensed version, but I personally prefer the two volume original.

Newspapers on microfilm are also a source but may require either a visit to the library concerned or sending a request to staff of the relevant institution. The Central Auckland Research Centre, for instance, holds the NZ Herald from November 1863 on microfilm.

VOYAGE ACCOUNTS by crew members or by passengers, are even more desirable research material than the newspapers. Your own ancestor may not have been a diarist or left a letter about the voyage, but maybe one of their fellow-travellers did? Some shipboard diaries have been published and many more exist in manuscript form and are held in archives, libraries, museums and private family collections. An invaluable source to track down this material has been published by the NZ Society of Genealogists "A guide to firsthand shipboard accounts for voyages to New Zealand, 1840-1900" by Martha Donaldson.
Checking the ship name and date of voyage will tell you if someone produced something about your ancestor's voyage. There is always the faint hope that such a diary or shipboard account might even name your ancestor, if he/she was an acquaintance onboard of the person doing the writing. For a lucky few, the hope may even be fulfilled, but a word of warning - most diarists were people travelling in the better class cabins who had more free time (and perhaps education) for such pursuits. The bulk of people who travelled to NZ as immigrants travelled in steerage, and lived both at a physical and social distance from the cabin passengers during the trip. Having said that, there is still much valuable insight to be gathered from such diaries, for many of the experiences of shipboard life were common to all.

Now that the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives have been digitised up to 1906, official reports made about the voyages from people like ship's doctors, or government inquiries that were mounted about particularly-problem filled voyages, can be accessed online.

Another source of shipboard accounts is Ian Nicholson's remarkable"Log of logs : a catalogue of logs, journals, shipboard diaries, letters and all forms of voyage narratives, 1788 to 1993, for Australian and New Zealand and surrounding oceans."
Note that each volume should be checked in turn, as each is a separate listing and may contain different entries for the same ship and voyage.

GAINING INSIGHT. You may not have the good fortune to find a voyage account that relates to your ancestor's ship, but there are still resources available that will enable you to gain some understanding of what they experienced. Indeed, I would recommend the following two things to anyone with immigrant ancestors of the 19th century, no matter how well-informed you may be about their personal experience. The two things are: a splendid book about the experience of immigrants aboard ship, which is a distillation of ten years of study by the author of shipboard accounts ("Over the mountains of the sea : life on the migrant ships 1870-1885"); and a visit to the immigration exhibition at the Voyager Maritime Museum.

The Voyager Maritime Museum is located at the Viaduct Harbour down on Quay Street. (You really can't miss it - it's the only building with a large yacht parked outside on the street!). It contains much of interest to family historians and in particular a replica of a 19th century vessel's immigrants' quarters, in steerage, complete with a mechanised floor that replicates the swaying feeling of being aboard ship. If you want to experience a little of the dark, cramped, creaking and swaying world your ancestors' survived during their voyage, this offers you a unique opportunity. Only the rats, cockroaches, damp, and smell of bodily wastes are lacking. Believe me, when you are standing in the middle of that exhibition space, they are easy to imagine.

And one last note about the museum - if you have the good fortune to be a JAFA (a resident of Auckland), it is free. (See the website for details).

Guest post: New Zealand Mariners #1

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Ever read a really good book that gets largely overlooked by others and you wish more people knew of it? I have just such a book I want to tell you about. It deserves to be better known amongst family historians who have NZ merchant sailors in their family trees. It is called Crew culture and provides a detailed examination of the working conditions and lifestyle of NZ merchant seamen in the days of sail and steam. There are loan copies available in the Auckland Libraries collection.
And why am I particulary keen on this book? - Many of us with NZ merchant seamen ancestors struggle to piece together a picture of their working lives because so many of our maritime records have been lost. The sad truth is, that we may never be in a position to name all the vessels on which our ancestor served, or fully document their career at sea. However, with some effort and a bit of luck, it may be possible to glean information about one or two of their vessels, and at least get some idea of their experiences. This makes a book like Crew culturesuch a valuable resource - it makes a major contribution to our understanding of our sea-going ancestors' working lives, even if we don't have all of their precise details.

And on the subject of gleaning details of ships that ancestors served on - there is an excellent Australian website called Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters (though properly speaking it is based on Sydney, NSW. records). It is a growing index. Coverage is currently from 1845 up to the 1890s (with some gaps) and some years from the early 20th century. (It will eventually go to 1922). It includes a scan of each original record as well. There is some variation in the information given on crew members, but many entries include the age, rank or job, and palce (often just the country) of birth. Researching the vessel will indicate a great deal about the working and living conditions your ancestor would have experienced. But the researching of ships is a topic for another day...

Guest post: Fireworks in North America!

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Guest contributor: Karen

North Americans have just had two big days of celebrations.

Canada Day often recognized as Canada’s birthday is July 1st   as on that date in 1867 it became a country in its own right. The colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined what are now known as Ontario and Quebec - previously these two provinces were jointly identified as the province of Canada. 

In the United States, Americans celebrate Independence Day on what is often referred to as the 4th of July and it commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776.

It seemed like a great time to make everyone aware of our updated"Americas" Family History leaflet. It is a listing of the information and resources available at the Central Auckland Research Centre that may assist you when researching your ancestors that spent time in North America.  In addition to our library resources, has an extensive collection of North American records and it is free to access within all 55 of the Auckland Libraries and you can even use your own laptop with our WiFi connection.

Heritage Images is a rich collection that even includes photos taken in Canada and just to give you a small sample of the variety of pictures available in the Digital Library. The first image depicts Canada’s Parliament Hill where King George celebrated his birthday in 1939 and this is also the focal point for the nation when celebrating Canada Day.  The subsequent images are of New Zealand airmen that were undergoing training in Canada during the 1940s and enjoying a bit of leisure time too.
Photographer: Auckland Weekly News
Date: 1 December 1943
Click for more detail: AWNS-19431201-18-1


Photographer: Auckland Weekly News
Date: 26 August 1942
Click for more detail: AWNS-19420826-19-4


Photographer: Auckland Wekly News
Date: 1 December 1943
Click for more detail: AWNS-19431201-18-1

There are a number of photos of on the database that can located by keyword searching 'Canada &New Zealand” for military photographs or "Canada" to browse  the collection as there is always the possibility of recognizing a relative!

Seonaid recently shared a list of new books for the Family History collection and here are a few more titles that we have acquired to help you  with researching your USA and Canadian family connections:


A Golden Opportunity

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The New Zealand Society of Genealogists
Annual Conference 2011
John McGlashan College, Maori Hill, Dunedin,
Queen's Birthday Weekend, June 3 - 6, 2011

Seonaid's perspective:
Marie Hickey and I had the privilege of attending the 2011 NZSG Annual Conference in Dunedin over the recent Queen's Birthday weekend.

The theme for this year’s conference was “A Golden Opportunity”, a reference to the Otago goldfields of which the area was originally founded on, and the fact that it was 150 years since gold had been discovered in the area. At the time Dunedin was the second largest city in New Zealand.

There were so many good quality subjects in the programme, I had difficulty choosing which ones to attend.

In the end, I chose:
  • Christine Hurst, Librarian, NZSG Family Research Centre, Panmure
  • Gold in Otago by Professor Tom Brooking (Otago University)
  • Freemasons in the Goldfields by Hugh Montgomery, Librarian of the Research Lodge of Otago
  • The Making of a City by Dr Jim McAloon (Victoria University)
  • Miners by Dr Terry Hearn, lecturer, historian and researcher
  • by Christine Clement
  • Early shipping by historian and archivist Ian Church
  • Otago Settlers Museum by archivist Jill Haley
  • Maori-European intermarriage in 19th century New Zealand by Dr Angela Wanhalla
  • Heritage Room by heritage collections librarian Lorraine Johnston
  • Hocken Collections by reference librarian Anne Jackman
  • Finding and Telling, the “Ted Gilbert Literary Trust Plenary” by Ros Henry

All were extremely interesting presentations!

Angela Wanhalla's research on the intermarriage of Maori with European settlers was fascinating. She discussed individual couples, and the fact that marriage (whether under European law or Maori tradition) was actively encouraged in their early days by both sides. Mainly European men marrying Maori women and from all stations in life. It was seen by the powers of the day, as a good way of encouraging men to stay and of integrating Maori into European life. From the Maori perspective, it was seen as politically advantageous by the majority.

Later there were concerns about the children of these unions - getting recognition for them under British law.

Angela speculated whether the New Zealand wars were the reason for the downturn of inter-racial marriages, and the change in social attitudes.
The highlights for me, were listening to the historians. As a family historian, putting your ancestors into context is an important part of your research – a collection of names and dates are not much fun on their own, and are just the beginning!

I was very interested to hear the historians paying tribute to the quality of research undertaken by family historians and the contribution family historians had made to their research and understanding of early New Zealand.
Although I don’t have any New Zealand ancestors, learning more about New Zealand history was excellent, and it has already reaped benefits in allowing me to assist customers here in Auckland.

Happy hunting everyone
Marie's perspective:On Queen's Birthday weekend Seonaid (Family History Librarian) and I attended the NZSG conference in Dunedin titled 'A Golden Opportunity'.  The committee are to be congratulated on such a well run conference, the exceedingly high calibre of speakers and wide range of topics offered – there was something for everyone.  The committee and helpers dealt with questions and problems with a friendly smile and appeared to be unfazed no matter what they were faced with.

I think everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and learned at least one new thing; made new friends and caught with old ones, which is partly what these events are all about. 

We flew down on Thursday morning as we had arranged to have "behind the scenes" tours of Hocken (Otago University) and Dunedin City libraries and Archives NZ (Dunedin).  I always find these interesting as you see items which you may not notice on a catalogue.  (Of course, having Dunedin connections myself, I was itching to rifle through the boxes in search of family members).  Speakers from each of these depositories also spoke at the conference as did representatives from the Settlers Museum (closed until about Nov. 2012) and Dunedin City Council Archives.  Unfortunately, there is no script for these particular talks included in the proceedings (available from NZSG); however, all of these depositories have websites with links to their catalogues - where available.

Christine Hurst (NZSG Library Supervisor) gave a talk on the opening night about the NZSG catalogue and how to use it which was very clear and easy to follow - I'm sure the Mr Bean clip at the end was enjoyed by everyone (You Tube - enter Mr Bean library).

Over the rest of the week-end I attended talks about the Otago goldfields (from a social history and international perspective), education, Freemasons, Prisoners, Irish migration, the early days of Dunedin, several other talks and panel discussions.

Dorothy Page described the struggle to get schools built due to lack of interest by some parties and infighting amongst other factions.  She described how hard it was for staff to exist on their often meagre wages and how much was expected of them.  This is a very enlightening paper as similar circumstances must have been experienced throughout the rest of the country. 

Kathleen Stringer gave a humorous talk on prisoners using her ancestor's experience as an example of the types of
records which are available.  This involved someone who was supposed to have jumped ship and changed his name to
avoid capture by the authorities – turns out that he was imprisoned for theft but I will leave the rest for you to
read in the proceedings.

Sean Brosnahan gave us all food for thought with his talk on Irish migration.  He told us of how the bulk of Irish migrants arrived over a period of about 40 years, that they came from specific areas in Ireland and how the religious
make-up was 60% Roman Catholic and 40% Protestant.  Sèan also stressed that if you make a presumption without definite documentary proof to state how you came to the conclusion and the resources used to base this on.

I found Hugh Montgomery's talk on Freemasonry enlightening as not only did he show us some different types of regalia and explain the differences but also gave an explanation of the different branches of freemasonry ie temperance, masonic, benevolent etc and some of the associated records. 

Guest post: So, what did your ancestor's passenger ship look like, then?

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Guest contributor: Janelle

Once we have discovered which ship our ancestor came to New Zealand on, for most of us, the next question is "Where can I can get a picture of that ship?" And, just like passenger lists which are scattered in many places, so too are images of ships. Here are some of the search strategies and sources for ships pictures that I know about. I suspect that there are others out there that have escaped my notice, so please don't take this as an exhaustive guide!
A logical place to start the search for a picture is any museum or library you can find at or near the port where your ancestor arrived. If the ship was using that port, then a local photographer may have taken a photo and that image may now be housed in a local collection. If you have no luck with that port, check other NZ ports, to see if the same vessel ever put in there and if it did, check those institutions in turn.

You may find a list of NZ museums here and a directory of NZ libraries here.

A helpful source in determining which ports a particular vessel visited is "Shipping to New Zealand 1839-1889" popularly called the Comber Index after its compiler. The Comber Index doesn't contain passenger information or references to pictures, but it does give the departure dates, brief voyage details, and arrival ports and dates of immigrant ships to NZ. 

The Central Auckland Research Centre holds a copy of the Comber Index on microfiche.

Although the idea of checking libraries, archives and museums seems very straightforward (though time-consuming), there are a couple of other important points to keep in mind.

Firstly, the bulk of photo collections are not yet digitised, so even if the library or museum of the port of interest to you has an online digital archive, do not assume that the lack of a hit on that database indicates that no image is held. What is available in digital form may well be only a selection from the total collection of photos owned, so enquire specifically about your vessel of interest to the relevant institution.

The Heritage Images Online collection held at the Auckland Library is an example of the sort of situation I am talking about. The online collection of images is over 40,000 (not just ships, of course!), but the total collection is over half a million. 

If local collections at ports of interest don't yield an image, try Matapihi - a site that lists amongst other things, pictures contributed from a range of large national collections such as Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, which holds material reflecting the entire country, not just one region.

If a ship also visited Australian ports, a picture may be held in that country, if not here. Try the National Library of Australia's Picture Australia website that works in a similar way, reporting the holdings of many Australian contributing collections.

Secondly, you need to be careful to identify your vessel correctly. If you are lucky there will be enough information accompanying the image in the collection to be sure that you have the correct ship, but this is not guaranteed. If the relevant details are lacking then you need to be wary. Not only might there be two vessels afloat at the same time using the same name, but many shipping companies 'recycled' ship names, renaming new vessels with traditional company names as they took them into their fleet and disposed of the old vessel of that name.

So, (hypothetical example here),if you know that your ancestor's ship was the SEAHORSE owned by the J.J. Bloggs Shipping Company and arrived in 1874, check that photo you find of the SEAHORSE owned by J.J. Bloggs Shipping but dated 1885 very carefully. Is it the same vessel or the replacement? You may have to do some research on the history of the 1874 SEAHORSE to see if it was still afloat and owned by the same company. You could discover that it was wrecked in 1878, or that it was sold to another shipping company and sailing under adifferent name by 1885! (Which of course means you have to search for pictures under that alternative name, as well.)

Historical newspapers, encyclopaedias of shipwrecks, shipping company histories, and maritime sources such as Lloyds Register of Shipping, are some of the things that may be checked if you need to ensure that you have the correct ship. For information on Lloyds Register and associated sources, see the website of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich in the UK.

The National Maritime Museum also holds a large collection of ship pictures. Another helpful website is The Ships List. Also try the New Zealand Maritime Index (vessel search) to identify pictures of ships that have been published in books relevant to NZ.

The Central Auckland Research Centre holds on CD-Rom an index listing the location of more than 11,000 ship pictures held in the State Library of New South Wales
Master index to ships pictures in the Mitchell Library: Sydney, Australia (1500-1991)
The above is not an exhaustive list of sources, but I hope it gives some ideas about where to start looking. If your search for a picture seems to hit a brick wall, don't give up. You never know what will turn up eventually and where you will stumble over the vessel you want.

For instance, if anybody is interested in the ship CITY OF AUCKLAND which brought out immigrants to New Zealand during the 1870s, there is a rather nice model of it in a glass case, sitting on display against the far back wall of the Central Auckland Research Centre, Level 2, in the Auckland Central Library, Lorne Street.


The growing Canadian family history collection

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I've been in this position for just over a year, and am starting to get to know this huge collection reasonably well now. However, nearly every question I am asked still brings me a new opportunity to discover a new resource, which I've previously not used.

Other staff members that have been here a few years tell me that they still find the same . . . Often you don't know the answer to the question until you've been asked. Luckily, as librarians, we're trained to find out for you, or at least point you in the right direction.

Our areas of excellence of course are New Zealand, Australia, the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), and Eire.

We have much smaller collections that cover USA, Canada, South Africa, Pacific Islands and Europe etc. So I've identified that these need building up.

We've made some really useful purchases recently for Canada for example. A few are specifically for Newfoundland, which only joined Canada in 1949.

Recent CD purchases for the area include:
A history of Newfoundland 1895 by D W Prowse

The gazetteer & classified business directory of Canada including Newfoundland, 1930 

Births, deaths & marriages in Newfoundland newspapers, 1810-1890 / compiled by Gertrude Crosbie ; produced and edited by the Maritime History Archive

Lovell's Canadian Dominion directory, 1871

Ships and seafarers of Atlantic Canada  / 
the Atlantic Canada Shipping Project

You can find a complete list if you search on our library catalogue under "call number" for 6 CAN. This will show what resources we have available for Canada. (nb country key = 2 AUS = Australia; 2 NZL = New Zealand; 4 SCOT = Scotland; 4 IRL = Ireland; 4 ENG = England; 4 WLS = Wales; 5 EUR = Europe; 6 USA = The States; 7 RSA = South Africa).

Subject key:AID = Finding Aids/How to books
BDM = Births, deaths and marriages
CEN = Census
DIR = Directories
FAM = Family histories
IMM = Immigration
MAP = Maps an atlases
OCC = Occupations
REL = Religion
SHI = Shipping

Kind regards to you all

Guest post: Passenger Lists - Where Did My Ancestor Come From?

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Guest contributor: Janelle Penney

When we start out researching our family tree, one of the first things we want to know is how did our first New Zealand ancestors get to this country?

For many of us, that means looking for passenger lists of the 19th or early 20th centuries. The problem for the new researcher (and sometimes the more experienced with a brick wall) is that there is no one-stop shop for this information - it is scattered amongst a range of sources, some on the Internet and some not; some in NZ and some overseas; some in published hard copy, but most not. Knowing where to look, and what to look for, is quite a task. So today I want to discuss some of the best resources that I know of as a librarian, in the hopes that they may help someone make that new discovery or breakthrough.

Firstly, a little history about immigration to NZ. There were different immigration schemes that operated at different times and places, and the kinds of records that they left behind vary greatly. Schemes were run by private immigration (land) companies, by provincial governments, by central government and by private groups based on religious or ethnic affiliation. (And of course, some people paid their own passage here, seeking their fortune on the land, in business or on the goldfields.)

A list of sources on this complex situation, can be found amongst the research guides available on the website of Archives New Zealand.

On a first look-through, the list of possible sources seems a bit overwhelming, particularly if you only have a vague idea of when and where your family first showed up in New Zealand. So, the key is to work on that question of "when and where" till you have as accurate an idea as you can of the answer.

Look at electoral rolls, post office directories, and records of birth, death and marriage, to establish a timeline and location. Once you know that, check to see what resources exist for the nearest port, in the time period they first appear. As a rule of thumb, it is best to assume that people settled somewhere in the vicinity of their port of first entrance to NZ. This of course was not always the case, but it happened frequently, so start with that assumption till proven otherwise.

Many libraries or museums around NZ have worked to develop indexes of passenger arrivals based on their local port. For many, the records available for the purpose were mostly the passenger lists published regularly in the local paper as ships arrived in the port, supplemented with any official sources they have been able to access. Some of these indexes are now available online.


WARNING. It is always tempting to just jump in when searching a newly-found database, but you are not helping your research efforts at all if you don't also read about what it contains  (or doesn't!) and how it is arranged. You may be missing some vital piece of information and not getting a hit on your search because you didn't know some fact that was explained in the introduction to that database which you skipped in your excitement. BE SMART AND READ THE NOTES.

Many official passenger lists are held by the government department called Archives New Zealand. Previously only accessible through (Wellington-based) card indexes, these are now being digitised in a joint project with the Latter Day Saints' This is an ongoing project so you may need to keep checking for your family names till you get a hit, but when you do, you will be able to obtain (without charge) an image of the original passenger list. See a similar joint project that operates between The National Archives UK and the commercial site Findmypast is 'Ancestorsonboard' which traces passengers leaving UK ports for all destinations (NZ included) from 1890 to 1960. It can be searched for free on the Internet but copies of the transcribed results or images of the original passenger lists must be purchased.

The Central Auckland Research Centre has a subscription to this database which visitors may book and use to either do a search from scratch, or, if they already have done the free part of the search online, to obtain the image of the passenger list via our subscription access without further charge, if a memory stick is used, or standard photocopying costs if a paper printout is made. (Note, the colour versions although a dollar for an A4 page, often look much better than the cheaper black and white). Bookings for access to this are required as the number of people who can use the subscription at one time is limited.

Not all websites offering passenger lists are run by government departments or institutions. There are also many individuals out there who run free websites where they offer transcriptions of passenger lists as a goodwill contribution to the family history research community. There are too many to give an exhaustive list here, but a few of my favourites are Denise and Peter's Our Stuff ; New Zealand Yesteryearsand New Zealand Bound

Last word. If you still can't find that elusive record, do not despair. More and more material is being made available on the Internet as time goes by. That breakthrough may be just around the corner!

Review of the TransTasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge

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anzac_poppies.jpgAnother Anzac Day has been and gone, and our desire to remember our people who served in the Wars doesn't seem to be waning.

With much pride, I watched my 10-year old twin daughters parade with their Cub Scout Pack at the citizens Anzac commemoration in Browns Bay. It was a cold wet morning, and despite this, there were just as many people of all ages this year, as there have been in previous years' when it was fine and dry.

At the end of March, Twigs of Yore blogger, Shelley, and myself, issued a TransTasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge to get people to share their stories of their loved ones and their sacrifices.

Like the Anzac Day parade, I was humbled to see how many people wanted to pay tribute and remember their family members. Naturally, most bloggers were Aussies or Kiwis, but we also had bloggers from UK and the US, sharing their family stories of their own Anzacs.

Not all the stories are of Kiwis or Aussies who died during one of the Wars. Some of the stories are of survivors - but bloggers felt that they wanted to honour the courage and the sacrifice and share their families' stories.

Death during war, is the "ultimate sacrifice" for your country. But all those who served made huge sacrifices. They returned completely different people from the ones that left, lives altered forever. The families that had been left behind also sacrificed much.
Participants in our blog challenge were to:
Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family, and the impact war had on their family history.

Publish their post by 25 April 2011

Post a comment with the URL on this blog, or under discussions on the 
Auckland Research Centre's Facebook page

Shelley and I received 22 wonderful family stories between us. These then are the stories
Sarndra Wilson:- Private William PERREAU 40633 - returned serviceman and Leonard Edward MOSS - plane was shot down in World War II on 28 August 1942

Wallace James Kirkpatrick:- Many KIRKPATRICK family members lost

Shauna Hicks:- Charles Douglas SPENCER - returned serviceman

Merron Riddiford:- Arthur Leonard HOLMES - killed in France in 1918

Sharon Brennan:- Alan Seabrook MITCHELL - killed over Munich on 2 October 1943

Michelle Patient:- Eric Hugh BARKER - killed at Messines Ridge, on the 7th June 1917

Anne Coppell:- A family changed by war

Helen Violet Smith:- George Howard BUSBY - returned serviceman

Julie Groucher:- Edward ELLIS - returned serviceman

Aillin O'Brien:- George Brown FULLERTON, DCM - died on 12 June 1917 from wounds received during the Battle of Messines and Harold Heathcote Hayes CHAMBERS - died at Gallipoli of wounds received between 25 and 28 April 1915 and Stanley CHAMBERS - killed in action, on September 23, at the Dardanelles

Margaret GaffneyPeter Michael GAFFANAY - died 5 April 1918 from shell wounds to face and neck

Jill Ball:- John Bertram CHATFIELD - died 3 May 1917 Battlefield at Bullecourt

Alison:- Hugh O'BRIEN - killed in action 23 July 1916

Rosemary:- Reginald Sydney MERRETT - killed in action 9 April 1917

Cassmob:- William Rudolph KUNKEL - wounded and missing in action, presumed dead (Korea), on 16 November 1952

Shelley:- Aircraftman Leonard John Couper LEE - returned WWII serviceman (Japanese POW)

Tanya Honey:- James (Milton) SIMMONS - killed in action at Pozieres 29 July 1916

Vicky Kingdom:- Ernest Henry Noy and Leslie Cyril Noy - both died Battle of Bullecourt on 11th April 1917

Noleen Sutton:- George Ogden - invalided home in 1917 and died in 1919

You can read their blogs on our Facebook discussion page.

A special mention needs to go to Helen Vail, for her "100 NZ WW1 Memorials 1914-2014" blogsite. Helen's goal is to personally visit and collate information from 100 New Zealand World War One Memorials throughout New Zealand by August 2014 to commemorate the 100 year Anniversary of the start of World War One and to honour those who paid the ultimate price. My thanks for Shauna Hicks for sharing this blog with us via Twitter. We wish Helen well on her personal challenge.

Thanks also to the National Archives of Australia, who left their link to information about their Shellshocked Exhibition and some of the personal stories that they have collected.

Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their family's stories with us.

Thank you all for participating by reading their stories.


For the FallenThey shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. 
Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge

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Anzac poppiesIt started with Shelley from Twigs of Yoreissuing a blog challenge for Australian researchers in celebration of Australia Day.

Here at the Central Auckland Research Centre at Auckland Libraries, we loved the idea and thought that we could be just as successful with a blog challenge for Waitangi Day. We had loads of international response, with people blogging about their New Zealand early settler ancestor from as far away as UK and the US and as close as NZ and Australia!

This time, it is a joint challenge with our Digger mates from across the Ditch.

Australians and New Zealanders know 
ANZAC Day – 25 April – as a national day of remembrance for Australian and New Zealanders who died at war.

Do you have an Australian or New Zealander in your family tree who was killed in military operations? We’d like to hear about not only their sacrifice, but the way their loss shaped their family history.

To participate:

  • Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman’s family, and the impact war had on their family history
  • Post a comment with the URL on the Auckland Research Centre’s Facebook page under discussions or on the relevant post on the Twigs of Yore blog.
  • Publish your post by 25 April 2011.

After Anzac Day, all submissions will be listed in a summary posting onAuckland Libraries’ Kintalk blog and also Twigs of Yore blog.

Just to get you started, recommended resources for New Zealand and Australian research, see the Auckland Libraries Digital Resources.

Access great online resources:

Coming Home virtual exhibition
The virtual exhibition consists of "albums" containing photos/images and documents. Virtual albums entitled "Gallipoli", "Lest We Forget", "New Zealand Maori Battalion", "Peace", "Postcards" and "Returned Services Association". Also has a portal for searching content nationwide from organizations such as libraries, archives, museums and galleries, including Auckland Libraries. Courtesy DigitalNZ.
Index Auckland and New Zealand Card Index
For references to articles and other resources regarding WWI and WWII.

Manuscripts Online
For diaries, letters, postcards and albums

And Papers Past

Within the library catalogue: Auckland Libraries

Searching using WWI or WWII etc will return you wonderful results of holdings throughout the whole of Auckland Libraries, which you can narrow down by location by using the "select location" dropdown menu on the right of screen.

For example, available in all three Research Centres:- Central, South (Manukau) and North-West (Waitakere) are gems such as:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force casualties, WWI. Books I to XIV, 15 Aug. 1914 to 6 Jan. 1919
and you’ll also find Australian resources in the Central Auckland Research Centre; for example:
Book of remembrance of the University of Sydney in the Great War 1914-1918
Index to news items and obituaries of WWI servicemen and women in the Tasmanian weekly magazines
For other sites, try looking at the Auckland War Memorial Museum ; the
Australian War Memorial site and the National Archives of Australia, or look further using the resources listed on Cora Num’s website