The AtoJs Online

The AtoJs are a wonderful resource which should not be ignored by family historians interested in their New Zealand history.

These have been digitised and put online by the National Library of New Zealand, who describe the AtoJs:

AtoJs Online contains a collection of digitised volumes of the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives and the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives. The collection currently covers the years 1854 to 1930.

There are two main ways to find information in AtoJs Online: searching and browsing. Searching lets you enter a query term and retrieves reports that contain that term. Browsing lets you look at all the reports, starting with a session, a volume or a section. All the reports on the site can be searched and browsed.
I found gems of information on Fencibles putting their cases in front of a committee formed to consider Pensioners' Petitions.

First up was John Hoop who was unable to attend a Sunday Parade in Otahuhu because of gout. As a consequence he had his cottage with its acre taken from him. In his petition John Hoop talks about being discharged in 1843 and soon after running a public house in Liverpool for 12 months, he then travelled to Ireland where he set up a shoemaking shop in Belfast. It was after that he joined the Fencibles, coming out to New Zealand with his wife.

He joined the Fencibles with the promise of being given a cottage with an acre of land but when he arrived he found one hadn’t been assigned to him in Otahuhu where he was meant to live. As he had not been given the promised cottage he decided to live in Queen Street, in central Auckland, and carry on his shoemaking business there. He was still expected to attend the Sunday Parade in Otahuhu, a walk of 14 miles all up. By not attending he lost any rights he had as a Fencible.

John Bolton was another Fencible who never got his promised cottage. He arrived in New Zealand in 1852 with his wife and three children. On arrival he was informed that those who had a trade could live in town but would still be entitled to their promised cottage and acre. Unfortunately, by not drawing for one of the settlements he forfeited his right to the land.

Joseph Symes had been in the 2nd Dragoons. After he was discharged he worked as a tailor in Limerick before joining the local force. He came to New Zealand as a Fencible on the promise of a cottage and an acre. When he arrived there was no cottage for him, his wife and their six children. They had to ‘lie on ferns or under a wooden shed.’ He was to be sent to Howick but to make ends meet he applied to stay in the city of Auckland so he could work as a Tailor. The expectation was that he would still have to attend Sunday Parades in Howick, otherwise he would be dismissed from the Fencibles and lose any privileges. The walk to Howick was that of 15 miles and involved crossing a river which, as the petitioner said, with his constitution and at his age was not possible.

There is a complete set of printed bound versions of the AtoJs from 1858 through to 2011 at the Central Auckland Research Centre, and almost complete sets at North Auckland Research Centre and West Auckland Research Centre. Please ring each Research Centre to check for your required year.


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