Archive for September 2012

Royal Household staff 1526-1924 on FindMyPast UK

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During Family History month, FindMyPast UK launched "Royal Household Staff 1526-1924."

It became my new favourite toy very quickly - had loads of fun using this dataset as part of my demonstration when I was out and about.

You'll find the datasets under "Institutions and Organisations"  -> "Monarchy and Royal Families", and they contain the records of some 75,000 people.

They make fascinating reading!

Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll

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Do you have a Methodist tucked away in your family somewhere quietly frowning on the antics of their descendants?

If you do, have you checked the Wesleyan Methodist Roll? No? Then do we have a resource for you!

The roll has over 1 million names of people who donated a guinea (21 shillings or ₤1 1s) to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund (Jan 1899-Jun 1904).

Richard Ratcliffe has written an informative booklet to the The Wesleyan Methodist historic roll explaining the whys and wherefores etc which is on the shelves at Central Auckland Research Centre at 4 ENG REL MET.

We have a microfiche copy of the volumes which the donations were noted in on microfiche (4 ENG REL MET). Unfortunately, there is no name index; however, there is an index on the Methodist website which gives the Circuit/Mission, Church/Chapel, vol/district, page and fiche number.

Richard’s booklet lists the 50 volumes and which Missions/Chapels are in that volume. By using this I know that Croydon is in volume 6 and the 3rd London District. I should then be able to find the fiche and page numbers by referring to the index on the Methodist website - vol 6 page 3 fiche 1-... (Croydon seems to be missing from this list).

The list gives a name, address or, in the case of donations made in memory of the deceased “In Memorium”

The Roll covers England, Wales, Scotland (not Ireland) and a variety of other countries.

By using this list I have been able to make an educated guess as to which of three families were the initial followers of this faith.

Marie Hickey

The Jennings Family Tree - owner found!


Some of you may have followed the happenings of the Jennings Family Tree in the media or via this blog.

Early July, a family tree was handed into the Waiheke Library. It was beautifully drawn out on A2 draughtsman’s paper, and the Librarians on Waiheke sent it to me, so that we could trace the owner.

The tree dated back 500 years, and was annotated that the original research had been taken from the records of the Drapers’ Company of London from the 15th Century – earliest date marked on it was 1589, although it showed the Jennings line going back some four generations more than that.

It was also annotated that the tree had then been further updated by Mary Adelaide, Lady Jennings, in 1894 and published privately in “A Kentish Country House.”

The tree had again been updated by an F. Keiller in 1969, and showed the Jennings branch of David and Maria Faint (nee TURNER) coming to New Zealand, and settling in Nelson with their 12 children (11 surviving).

Intriguingly, the tree stopped there. It was noted that this page, was page one of two.

The tree also had several photos stuck on to it.

Photos of Nathaniel COLLYER 1620-1700 (from a painting);

Hannah GIBBON 1626-1694 (from a painting);

an earlier Dr David JENNINGS 1692-1762 (from an engraving);

Mary Adelaide, Lady JENNINGS, no dates;


David JENNINGS 1806-1877 and Maria Faint JENNINGS (née TURNER) 1821-1895.

There was also the “Armorial Bearings of Sir John Rogers JENNINGS 1820-1897”.

When it arrived to our Research Centre, it was rolled up in a tube, and a couple of the photos had come unstuck and fallen off. The chart was a bit tatty looking, and I was reluctant to handle it too much, so I sent it up to our preservation unit to be looked at. It spent a few weeks in temperature-controlled surroundings being flattened out; minor repairs were made, and the photos were re-attached. It was then mounted on some card to keep it flat, and put into a protective sleeve.

Photographs were taken of the chart as a whole, and also of sections of the chart. I was reluctant to be handling the original chart too much, as I wanted to ensure that it would not suffer from further damage.

We decided to publicise the find, to see if we could find the original owner. I gave a few newspaper and radio interviews.

We were inundated by phone calls and emails as a result. Some people making contact were genuine descendants of this particular branch of the JENNINGS family, some had copies of the chart themselves. Others had the surname JENNINGS and were just hoping to be connected.

Two JENNINGS descendants that made contact were able to provide considerable information about the family: Dr Peter JENNINGS and Owen JENNINGS. There was a family reunion in 1999, and Owen’s daughter Dianne updated this.

David JENNINGS had been banished to France with his wife Maria and two children (David Horatio and John Henry), by the family. They had another child in France (Mary Elizabeth), The family apparently decided that France wasn’t far enough away, so they were sent on to New Zealand, where another nine children were born (Rev Edward, George Clifford, Louisa Isabel, Rev Charles, Margaret, Nathaniel Lardner, Lancilla Ann, Amelia Adelaide, and an infant that died).

This family is well-documented as being early settlers in the Nelson region, and a lot can be found out about them. With so many children, there must be hundreds and hundreds of descendants.

Eventually, contact was made by Elisabeth GAMLEN, the daughter of Margaret (Margot) KEILLER. Margot is a JENNINGS and is the wife of the late F (Dick) Keiller who drew the chart up in 1969. She is the daughter of Laurence Arthur JENNINGS, who was the elder son of Reverend Charles William JENNINGS – David and Maria’s seventh child!

Margot is in her early 90s and lives in Southern Hawke’s Bay now, and I had a very pleasant phone conversation with her. The chart I have, is the original from which many copies were made. She hadn’t seen the chart since her husband had passed away, and its still something of a mystery of what happened to it in the intervening years. She has generously donated the chart to Auckland Libraries, and it will be deposited in the Sir George Grey Special Collections and form part of their manuscript collection.

We had initially been told that it had been found in an attic on Waiheke, but it transpires that it was actually found among some papers donated to the SPCA – and it was assumed that it was someone’s attic clearout.

Having found the descendant, Margot, who owns the chart; and now also the original person who handed the chart in, my job is done.

I would still love a copy of page 2, and also the books created:- the original “A Kentish Country House” would be fascinating, as well as the later book created by Frank KEILLER. It would be good to keep these items with the original tree that we will keep in our Special Collections . . . so if anyone has copies?

Sadly, I will not be able to respond to the hundreds of phone messages and emails that I have had – there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

There is an update in the Aucklander newspaper that you might like to read, which will tell you more about Margot KEILLER and her impressive family tree!

Happy hunting!


Family History Month 2012

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August was a very successful month for Auckland Libraries.
It started out  on August 1, with a joint Auckland Libraries/ NZ Society of Genealogists/ Ancestry panel discussion event on “National Identity and what it means to be a Kiwi today”, hosted at Central City Library, with Brad Argent (Ancestry), and representatives of New Zealand’s multicultural society: writer/film director Roseanne Liang, actor Fasi Amosa, Sandra Metcalffe (NZSG), Margaret Ngaropo and myself.
It got news coverage, including an excerpt on Te Kaea, the Maori Television news and World TV the Chinese channel. This helped set the tone for Family History month.
Marie and I went on to deliver 54 events over 25 different libraries during the course of the month.
Between us, we offered a list of about 14 different subjects for libraries to choose from. In the end the popular subjects chosen were:
·         Auckland Libraries Family History eResources (Seonaid)
·         Beginning Family History (Seonaid)
·         FindMyPast UK (Seonaid or Marie)
·         FindMyPast Ireland (Marie)
·         FindMyPast Australasia (Seonaid)
·         Passenger Lists and Immigration (Marie)
·         Research Your Ancestors with Ancestry (Marie or Seonaid)
·         Research your Scottish Family History (Marie)
·         Treasures of the Central Auckland Research Centre (Seonaid)
·         Using heritage newspapers to enrich your research (Marie)
·         Wills & Probates (Marie)

We even had Maureen, another colleague here in the Research Centre, deliver another two events on her specialist subjects Researching Irish in New Zealand and WWII Prisoners of War; and also Sue Berman, Oral History Librarian based at West Auckland Research Centre, delivering hers on Oral History for Family Historians.
This was twice as many events as last year, so obviously the demand is there from Auckland Libraries customers! Marie and I travelled a lot of miles between Mahurangi in the North, Waiuku and Pukekohe in the South and points east and west  of the Auckland region, attendances were good and altogether we spoke to some 940 people during the course of the month! Phew!

Family History Month is a great opportunity to get the word out about family history, and I’ve been very pleased to see some NZSG members in the audience, but also to see lots of non-members in the audience too.

A delegation from the Far North branch
of the NZSG at the KK Lock-In
 The month ended with the Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-In, where we had 60 people locked in to our Research Centre. That was as successful as always.
Jan Gow gave a wonderful pre-Lock-In presentation on Hatches, Matches and Despatches, which Marie and myself followed up with a tour of the Research Centre.
Sincere thanks to the Central Auckland Research Centre team for getting the Centre ready for the KK Lock-In and also coping so wonderfully well in the absence of myself and Marie!
Many thanks also to the Lock-In team: Research staff - Marie, Joanne, Margaret, Everett and NZSG volunteers - Keith, Viv, Robyn, Lyn Whelan, Lyn McOnie, Geraldene and Jan Gow.

All in all a very successful month for us here at Auckland Libraries, proving the popularity of Family History Month - and indeed the subject of Family History!

The traditional group photo taken every year,  of the guests, staff and volunteers
at the 2012 Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-In