Archive for August 2013

Friday's Faces of the Past: Individual Portraits

No Comments »

As family history month draws to a close so does our photographic feature from the mystery Album #224. If you have not been following this series throughout August then I encourage you to have a  browse of the photographs in the previous Friday blogs and as you never know, you may recognise someone from your family's past.

Charles Henry Manning's photography studio in Christchurch was in operation from 1887 to 1895. So we know where and approximately when the picture was taken and by whom, but it does not get us any closer to discovering who this pleasant-looking young lady was.

C.H. Manning,  Christchurch.
Thomas Edward Price operated his studio T.E. Price in Timaru for only a period of three years from 1875 to 1878 and we believe this is when this photograph was taken.  Price was originally from New South Wales and made the journey to New Zealand in 1863. Towards the end of 1878 he went into partnership with another photographer, Rudolph Haigh, as Price & Haigh in Timaru. His photography business operated in multiple locations around the country until 1895.

T.E. Price photographer.
This woman's photograph was taken by T. Plimmer who established his Belfast studio in 1860, but other than that fact, we know very little about him and we don't have any clues to help identify the woman.

T. Plimmer photograph.
I had another look through the photographs from this album and I noticed that the same person was in at least three of the individual portraits. Each one captures this mystery man at different point in his life and offers a nice glimpse of how he matured throughout the years.

Photographed by Alfred Thomas Robottom, Christchurch, c.1878.
Photographed by William Sherlock, Christchurch, c.1871- c.1890.
Photographer, location and date are all unknown.
If you have any information to share about this last group of photographs, please contact us at the Central Auckland Research Centre on 307 7771 or send us an email at:

If anyone is interested in viewing the original album it is held in Sir George Grey Special Collections and is identified as Album #224.


Tombstone Tuesday:- Robert Clapham Barstow, St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera

No Comments »

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC328'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Robert Clapham Barstow in St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera.
The inscription reads: In loving memory of Robert Clapham Barstow died 28th September 1890 in his 70th year.
Waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Faces from the Past: Group Portraits

No Comments »

Another instalment of the Album #224 mini-series, this week's focus is on group portraits. We are making an assumption that these are couples and family groupings but we are not sure of the relationships. Interestingly, in all of these featured portraits the individuals were captured with neutral facial expressions - at best! When did people actually start smiling for the camera?

This first photograph was taken in Belfast by E.T. Church. He was an active photographer from 1870-1879 throughout Europe and the UK. Husband and wife?

Photograph by E.T. Church.

A young couple? Unfortunately her left hand isn't visible so we can't tell if she is wearing a wedding ring or not. 

Cabinet card photograph by Eden George Co. Ltd., Christchurch, no date.

This photograph has been interpreted as a family portrait, most likely a mother and her daughters? Count the number of young ladies . . . . yes, there are ten!

Another cabinet card by Eden George Co. Ltd., Christchurch, undated.

Probably another family photographed together - a young lady with her parents? The outdoor setting is quite refreshing and perhaps this photograph was taken to commemorate a special occasion? We do not have any additional information regarding the photographer, P. Ginn, but this is the only example of their work mentioned in Auckland Libraries Photographers database.

Portrait by P. Ginn Photography of Linwood, no date.

If you recognise anyone in these photographs we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at the Central Auckland Research Centre on 307 7771 or send us an email at:

Next week is our last instalment.


Tombstone Tuesday:- Thomas Malcolm Banks, Joseph Banks and Walter Mayne, St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera

No Comments »

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC330'

Showing the graves and tombstones of Thomas Malcolm Banks, Joseph Banks and Walter Mayne (obscured, to the right of the Banks' plots) in St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera. The inscriptions read: Sacred to the memory of Thomas Malcolm Banks who died 24th February 1878 aged 31 years. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4c 7v. Joseph Banks aged 49 years. Not gone from memory, not gone from love, but gone to that heavenly home above. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. (Third tombstone in plot obscured by cast ironwork).

Friday's Faces of the Past: Military Men

No Comments »

This is a photograph series of three military men that are featured in our Album #224 display which we had at the New Zealand Family History Fair, 2-4 August. It is now available for viewing in the Central Auckland Research Centre for the remainder of family history month.

As any family history detective would do, we scrutinized the uniform details of these men to find clues that would help us to identify their rank and regiment. So please take a look at the photographers as we are hoping members of the public will be able to provide us with the most important information about them, their names.

Soldier #1
The uniform's sleeve chevrons denote a rank of Sergeant, and the cap style headgear has a badge insignia which dates this after 1840, as prior to this time there were only numerical cap badges. The tunic style jacket replaced waist-length coats circa 1855, so gives another indicator for determining the time period. Another subtle clue relates to his facial hair, as it can provide supporting evidence for dating a military photograph according to Robert Pols, the author of Dating Old Army Photographs. Beards and side whiskers were often worn by soldiers in the 1850s, 1860s but were less prevalent by the late 1870s.

Portrait was taken in a Dunedin studio, date unknown.

Unfortunately, this photo has not given us enough information to draw any definitive conclusions. We suspect he was a soldier with a New Zealand Volunteer regiment. Possibly the New Zealand Militia or even the Otago Constabulary?

Read more » |

Tombstone Tuesday: Isabella Mackellar and Walter John Mackellar, Purewa Cemetery

1 Comment »

 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC331'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Isabella Mackellar and Walter John Mackellar in Purewa Cemetery.
The inscription reads: In loving memory of Isabella Mackellar who died 30th June 1889.
Also Walter John Mackellar who died 4th March 1891

Friday's Faces from the Past: Littlies

No Comments »

This week's photographs from our mystery Album 224 feature gorgeous portraits of children. To find out more about how we acquired this collection of images please read the blog post from last week.

For this first photograph we don't have any clues except for a lovely smiling face.

Portrait of a boy, date unknown.

Another lovely image for you, a young lad with very stylish hair! Perhaps he is posing with his younger sister?

Eden George cabinet card, Christchurch, date unknown.

A cute babe with sun-kissed arms seated on a fur skin. On the reverse side of this tot's portrait someone has written 'Aunt Libby', not much of a clue but it may have meaning for some one's family?
Photographer: Packer &  Co., date unknown.

If any of these little faces are familiar to your family's history, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at the Central Auckland Research Centre on 307 7771 or send us an email at:


Tombstone Tuesday: Christina McGregor and family, Symonds Street Cemetery

No Comments »

'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC332'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Christina McGregor, her daughters Christina McGregor and Elizabeth McGregor, and Alexander McGregor in Presbyterian section of Symonds Street Cemetery.
The inscription reads: Erected in memory of Christina, the beloved wife of Donald McGregor
who died 11 February 1891 aged 38 years. Also their children Christina died 7th January 1880 aged 9 months
and Elizabeth who died 17th March 1887 aged 7 months.
Also Alexander McGregor, late of Caithness, Scotland, died 3rd January 1866 aged 47 years.


Friday's Faces from the Past: The Introduction of Album #224

No Comments »

Remember the Jennings Family Tree mystery last year? Well, another mystery has come our way at the Central Auckland Research Centre!

A photograph album was handed into a librarian in Pukekohe, it was found in someone’s flat and rescued before it was put into a skip. It was given to the family history team for identification and preservation.  The album is now kept in Sir George Grey Special Collections and is identified as Album #224. 

Cover of the photograph album.
 The album is a collection of professional photographs, circa 1870 and  taken at various studios throughout the world including New Zealand, Barcelona, San Francisco and several in the UK. Interestingly, apart from the photographers names, the only names that seem to be associated with the album are:

                                                    Mr and Mrs Walter Johnson
                                                      Mildred Dunn
                                                       Mrs Curlett
                                                       Aunt Libby

Since August is family history month and we are celebrating families, this seemed to be a great opportunity to share images from this album. We hope that you might be able to help us identify some of the individuals in these portraits.

Loose newspaper clipping included in the album, Mr & Mrs Walter Johnson celebrating their golden wedding anniversary, date and newspaper unknown.

Portrait of Mildred Dunn, aged 3 years. On the reverse side of this image is written the name 'Mrs Curlett', Date and photographer unknown.
If you are able to help us identify these family portraits please post a comment on the Kintalk blog or email us at

Selected photographs from this album with be posted as a blog mini series 'Friday's Faces from the Past' throughout the month of August.