Archive for November 2011

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.