Archive for August 2012

PapersPast: Top tip, latest news & lunchtime session

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Latest newspapers added

Latest additions to PapersPast (August 2012):

Do you want better search results when using PapersPast?

Here are a few tips from an expert on PapersPast:

Emerson Vandy of the National Library recommends using the more search options feature rather than basic search on the homepage and specify a few of the settings under the optional filters. By doing so, you can get more relevant search results and increase your ability to scan through them more effectively.

Two easy changes to make are:
  • Increase the number of results per page from the default of 10 to 100
  • Tick the box show preview images, this allows you to visually preview some of the content for each result
To be more specific, make these two additional changes: 
  • Set a date range to search, for example, January 01, 1900 to December 31, 1910 
  • Choose one or more newspapers to search by using the computer keyboard’s “Ctrl” key, hold it down while you highlight a title from the list rather than every newspaper in the database.  

Family History Lunchtime event:- PapersPast

If you want to learn more about PapersPast, come along to Emerson Vandy’s Family History Lunchtime session on Wednesday, September 5th.

Book online or phone 09 307 7771.

Kind regards


The Jennings Family Tree found on Waiheke

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Just a wee while ago, Di and Fiona, librarians from Waiheke Library rang to ask me if I was interested in a family tree that a customer of theirs had found in their attic. They thought we might be able to find the family it belonged to, and if not, maybe it would be of interest to keep in our  Sir George Grey Special Collections manuscript collection at Central City Library.

When I received it here in the Central Auckland Research Centre, it was rolled up in a tube - and had obviously been rolled up for some time. The photos attached were curled up, and a couple fell off when I removed it from its tube.

As a family historian, this tree excited me. It is A2 in size, and the first date on the tree was 1620, so the research had gone back for more than 500 years. It has been meticulously drawn out - and was beautiful in its own right. The family had taken care to record its genealogy in 1894 - courtesy of Mary Adelaide, Lady Jennings.

A branch of the Jennings had emigrated to New Zealand in 1849 with three children, and settled in Nelson; where they went on to have 11 surviving children altogether. This genealogy was then updated in 1969 by an F(?) Keiller. The document states that this it is page 1 of a 2 page document, and that the second page contains the genealogy of the New Zealand line and is accompanied by a book!

The family tree contains photos of key individuals, a drawing of the ancestral home "Hall House, North Side", and the Armorial Bearings of Sir John Roger Jennings.

As a researcher, I was keen to get to and conduct the detective work, and try and find the Jennings descendent who had left the chart behind on Waiheke Island. However, as a librarian with some archival training, the initial focus for me had to be on conservation and preservation.

We have a specialist conservation team here at the library, and it took them some three weeks to flatten the document and the photographs. The photos that had come adrift had to be reattached, and minor repairs had to be made to the document itself. Its now sitting flat in a protective sleeve. 

Copies were made so that I didn't have to work on the original document. I felt confident that a family who were so keen in preserving their genealogy would be fairly easy to find. The difficulty would be finding the correct branch that left the document behind on Waiheke!

I am also extremely keen to review the second page of the tree, and also the book that I didn't have.

We decided that the first step in our quest to reunite the document with its owner, was to publicise the find. It would be good timing, as it now coincided with Family History Month, so the focus would already be on family history.

I was interviewed by Jim Mora on his afternoon show on National Radio, and you can listen to the interview here:

Jim Mora in the Afternoon - Ancient Family Tree

and I was also interviewed for NewstalkZB, so there is quite a bit of excitement out there about the find.

You can also read an article about the find in the Aucklander, and the Nelson Mail has also published a story as this is where the Jennings family settled on arrival in New Zealand.

So far I have had numerous emails and phone messages about this story, which is very exciting. So the publicity is certainly getting the word out for us! A few of them definitely seem to be direct descendents, but no lead as yet on the Waiheke descendent, but it is early days!

A Jennings descendent that has been in contact, has advised me that this genealogy was updated in 1999 for a family reunion - exciting stuff.

Anyway, that's the update for now - more later, I will keep you posted - I have some Jennings descendents to contact!

Happy hunting!


Symonds St Cemetery to get a clean-up!

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August is Family History Month, as those of you who follow this Blog will know.

It is very fitting therefore that Symonds St Cemetery has been getting quite a bit of press lately! We have a database of known names of people in our Digital Library that are buried there, and its one of our most popular databases for those people researching their early Auckland ancestors.

This article in The Aucklander spoke of Symonds St Cemetery's disrepair and plans for restoration. This is extremely good news for this important part of Auckland (and New Zealand's) early history.
David Verran, local historian and team leader of the Central Auckland Research Centre, was interviewed on August 15 by Lisa Thompson for Radio New Zealand. David took Lisa on a tour of the cemetery, and spoke about the history and also about his enthusiasm for the restoration work.
David Verran frequently takes public groups on tours of the Symond St Cemetery, sometimes by request, but also always during the Auckland Heritage Festival, which is being held in the first two weeks of October this year.

However, if you want to take a tour of the cemetery by yourself, there is a handy sound file that you can download on our website so you can do your own guided self-tour!

Photographer James D Richardson. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC277

Showing the grave and tombstone of Johanna Stone, John Thomas Stone, Philip Henry Hackett, and Henry John Hackett in Symonds Street Cemetery. The inscriptions read: In affectionate remembrance of our loving mother Johanna Stone who died August 25th 1889 aged 60 years. Also in the glory of our beloved father John Thomas Stone who died March 12th 187? aged 43 years. (The rest of this inscription is obscured.)
Sacred to the memory of Philip Henry Hackett native County Tipperary Ireland who departed this life 24th February 1877 aged 34 years. Erected by his beloved wife. also of Henry John Hackett infant son of the above who departed this life 13th March 1873 aged 1 year and 6 months.
May their souls rest in peace.

Happy hunting


Central Auckland Research Centre's family histories database

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We have over a thousand family histories in our collection donated to the library’s research centre over the years.

The family histories are housed in their own bay of shelves in Central Auckland Research Centre's family history collection under the call number 2 NZL FAM

Each book can be searched for, and found in our normal library catalogue. However, these books contain many more surnames than is able to be included in a catalogue entry.

With the help of our volunteers and casual staff we have been able to make this collection more accessible to our customers by creating a name searchable database. Because of the number of names involved within a family, we have limited the inputted names to five generations only.

At this stage you will need to ask staff at the desk to search the database for you, but it is well worthwhile. A single name search can show the interconnections of New Zealand families with one family name sometimes appearing in half a dozen other families’ histories.

The example below shows some of the results from a search on the family name Williams. It can be found in more than 45 other named family history books, all of them on our shelves.

Eventually, we hope to be able to make the database available in our eResources, so that everyone can search for themselves.

The Central Auckland Research Centre in Auckland’s Central Library is open until 8pm on weekdays and until 4pm on the weekends. Access is free and membership is not required to browse our collections.