Archive for June 2013

Photography Friday

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Last week's family history lunchtime talk on dating photographs with Keith Giles, Auckland Libraries Photographic Collections Librarian was an informative session that looked at 19th century photographs and formats for family historians - it would be a shame not to share the information.

Keith discussed photographic formats that were available throughout the years in New Zealand and has offered this as an excellent clue for determining the date of when a photo was taken. For instance, the deguerreotype format dates to the 1850s and was produced into the next decade; these were very popular overseas, particularly in America. There are very few surviving examples of deguerreotypes in New Zealand. 

Examples of other photography formats:

Ref: 661-39, Stereograph, 1859?, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Ref: 589-27, Carte-de-visite, 1870s, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Keith discussed the introduction of pictorial postcards and their role which he equated to the modern day text message or email for sending short messages to friends. Postcards were also very popular as a collectible item.

The progression of photographic technology changed the size and composition of the photos. The inclusion of backgrounds and props, the ability to photograph large groups of people and capture landscapes -- this is all information that can assist with accurately dating a photo.

Fashion styles can be a definite clue for narrowing down a time period but Keith cautioned it is not as reliable because of the delay in fashion trends from overseas reaching our shores, as was the case in 19th century New Zealand.

A few books were recommended on the topic:

Dating Family Photos 1850-1920 by Lenore Frost

How to get the most from Family Pictures by Jayne Shrimpton

As well a number of titles by Robert Pols

And lastly, if you have an interest in the invention of  photography then you want to add Capturing the Light by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport to your reading list.


Treasure Chest Thursday

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Prudery and prurience – resources held in the Central Auckland Research Centre

Ref: Current display in the Central Auckland Research Centre

The Research Centre has several resources regarding Truth including a microfiche copy of Rebecca Lancashire’s 1986 thesis “Prudery and prurience” which compares images of women in NZ Truth in 1935 with the “cult of domesticity”.

A second microfiche resource is the “Divorce information extracted from NZ Truth newspaper” between 1946-1966. A common reason for divorce at that time was adultery, and co-respondents are named in this record. Other reasons for divorce included desertion; living apart for seven years; or a spouse being convicted of murder.

Ref:  AWNS-19250716-52-6, "I've been married fifteen years, so I think I've well earned a divorce.", 1925, Sir George Grey Special  Collections
The collection holds three books featuring Truth – Redmer Yska’s 2010 history “The Rise and Fall of the People’s Paper”; and Lesley Verry’s 1985 “Seven Days a Week” history of Independent Newspapers Ltd.

The third book is Truth’s 1950 Cookery Book with “600 Specially Selected Prize Recipes” including those for invalids, diabetics and the health conscious.

The newspaper collection has all copies of Truth published between December 2007-2013 and local history articles in these issues have been included in Auckland Libraries digital resource Index Auckland.

Lastly, Papers Past has digitised NZ Truth from 7 July 1906-22 December 1930 and these are also available to view on Auckland Libraries digital library.


Those Places Thursday:- Sydney Harbour Bridge photos on Ancestry

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A treat for your viewing pleasure  on Ancestry is the superb photographic collection of over 2000 photographs documenting the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Work on the bridge began in July 1923 and took nine years.  The images are black and white and were pasted into large albums which now rest with the  Australia state records authority.

The collection on Ancestry documents each part of the process such as the ceremonial turning of the sod by the Minister of Works and opening of the field office, to the completed bridge in March 1932. Along the way we see the excavation and construction,  the horses, carts and motor lorries carting away rubble, the houses at Miller’s Point on the city side and Milson’s Point to the north, trains and even bi-planes and, occasionally, glimpses of the glorious cars and fashion of the time
If you had a relative who worked on the Bridge, you never know, he or she may well be in one of the photographs, along with the thousands of adults and children who walked across the bridge at its opening, to the engineers and officials associated with the iconic “coathanger” over that nine year period.


Tombstone Tuesday:- Thomas John Tyrrell Garner

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 661-107

Showing an ornate tombstone, carved by Donaldson of William Street, Sydney,
commemorating Thomas John Tyrrell Garner, the son of John and Mary Ann Garner,
who died 2 August 1865

Military Monday:- The Baked Bean Poet

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It is always wonderful when a customer comes to the Central Auckland Research Centre with a family history query that results in the staff learning more about the materials held in our collections. Recently, we had a person researching soldiers with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that served in the Pacific Islands. 

Beyond our expanding collection of Pacific Island family history materials, these additional resources were ‘discovered’ within the Research Centre that are noteworthy. 

Ref: AWNS-19431013-22-1, Soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific, 1943, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Pacific Island Monthly, which tends to be referred to as PIM, is held on microfilm in the Research Centre for the period 1936 to1942 but the real gem is the accompanying PIM Cumulative Index,1930-1945. It is in book format and provides coverage for the same dates. The contents are listed by names as well as subject and is divided into sections; a few to note are aircraft, ships, territories, biographical entries. Poems and short stories were even featured in many of the issues. Social events were frequently reported in PIM, and marriage announcements often included a portrait of the newlyweds.
The Pacific Islands Year Books (available for 1932 to 1959)  are a good source of general information about the island groups. The editions, which include a Who's Who section, contain biographical entries of individuals who have contributed to the Pacific communities.

Ref: Front cover of the first edition, 1932, Auckland Libraries.
 The Unofficial Histories of the Third Division, 2nd NZEF IP are the "series of  thirteen unofficial narratives detailing the activities of the units of the Third New Zealand Division and its base organisation during their service in the Pacific theatre of war from 1940. . . . until 1944, when the division was disbanded."  Some of the titles within the series are Pacific Pioneers, Pacific Service and Shovel, Sword and Scalpel. They contain fabulous content such as this entertaining entry from Pacific Kiwis, Chapter 9, written by Joe Grindlay, a regular contributor to the Koumac Kronicle, the battalion news sheet.  Joe’s civilian profession before and after the war was as a school teacher.

     As a Kiwi who has never visited the States
     I have often tried to visualise its scenes,
     And judging by the rations that we find upon our plates,
     The only crop they grow there must be beans.

     We have beans cooked with bacon, and have beans dished up with hash,
     How I often wish we had a change of greens,
     Or perhaps a large and tasty dish of sausages and mash
     As a change from endless dixies full of beans and beans and beans.

                                                                  ~ Pte. Douglas Joseph "Deejay" Grindlay
If you are unable to come into the Central Auckland Research Centre, this series is also available for reading online through the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection (NZETC) along with many other war histories.  The appendix to the Pacific Kiwis includes the 30th Battalion Roll of soldiers who sailed on the Rangatira.

My colleague recommends a very useful feature when using the NZETC, which is the ability to do a name search in 'this document' or 'this corpus' for more precise search results.

Kind regards

Tombstone Tuesday:- Sarah Bostock and son Clement Thomas Bostock

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 534-9544

Stereoscopic view showing the tombstone of Sarah Bostock, died 17 April 1910, aged 82
and her son, Clement Thomas Bostock died 5 Nov 1945 aged 85 years

Amanuensis Monday:- the family history of the Waghorns of Canterbury


We have a lot of delicious family histories that have been donated to us, or purchased by us, in our collection. They come in every shape, size and format.
When we receive a new family history we pop the details of it into our family history database. In this database we input the family names of generations of a family. It’s a wonderful tool for searching for a surname that may be found in someone else’s family history - that also happens to be yours!

At the moment I am indexing a “door stopper” of a family history called
From River Thames, England to Peninsula waters, Canterbury, New Zealand : the story and history of Arthur and Louisa Waghorn, 1850-2000 onwards by Virgina Mayo.

In her forward, the author Virgina Mayo writes, “I make no apology for mistakes and the lack of much background history – our elder generations did not keep diaries and so the recording of their lives and the early happenings are lost – we can only piece together with a lot of guess work their early days and times in New Zealand.”

At 690 pages there has been a lot more than guess work in this family history. Full of clear illustrations, maps, genealogical trees, portraits, memorabilia (including autograph books and a photo of Louisa Waghorn’s best black satin hat) the book is much more than the history of a family.

Kind regards


Family Recipe Friday:- Kiwi style

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With New Zealand Book month now behind us, it behooves us to read something Kiwi, and what could be better than reading about food and how our ancestors cooked back in the day.

At the Central Auckland Research Centre we have a selection of books that are a delightful blast from our culinary past; some more recent, and others harking back to the 19th century.

Ladies, A Plate  is one of the most recently well known (there is also second volume.)   The author Alexa Johnson has searched for recipes in the collections of friends and family and it is a, pardon the expression, ‘who’s who’ of Kiwi baking. 

Delights like Neenish Tarts from Mosgiel Methodist Church’s Home on the Range cookbook; Louise cake from the St Paul’s Presbyterian church in Pahiatua cookbook; a “pound ginger cake” from Marianne Williams, who arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1823 with her missionary husband, Henry. It really makes you want to rush home and bake something now.

A different book to browse is  Cooking Times by Kate Fraser, described as a “culinary journey through Kiwi kitchens from the 1930s to the present day.”   It includes not only recipes but memories from the kitchens of folk from the 20th century, starting with the depression years up to the 1980s. As the 1950s chapter recalls “No one bought recipe books or kitchen gadgets, but, as most girls cooked the food their mother’s did, recipes were learnt, not read.  There was only Whitcombe’s Everyday Cookery or the Edmonds Cookbook to buy anyway.”

Tony Simpson’s A Distant Feast heads back further in our past to chart the origins of our cuisine and how our migrant forebears adapted their recipes to this new antipodean environment.  As Simpson says, “Over a period of about 150 years from 1820, New Zealand was the subject of a major cultural invasion.”   There is even a recipe for herb beer made with thyme, parsley and the likes. The photos and illustrations are a fascinating journey through our foodie and even social history.

There are plenty more such books on our cooking history –  but make sure you eat before you visit or you will be seriously salivating. And as an aside, did you know that the third (1914) edition of the Edmonds cookbook has been digitised so you can read it for free, on line at the Electronic Text Centre . . .    


Military Monday:- H M S Encounter

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Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19070926-10-3


Tombstone Tuesday: Hoki Karaka Tawhiti

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1142-D203'

Unveiling (Hura kohatu) of Hori Karaka Tawhiti's tombstone at Pikiparia cemetery, Hokianga

Military Monday:- Trooper G. V. Burlinson

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Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19150506-41-2