Archive for December 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Family Histories Collection

No Comments »

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 inputting 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.

In her forward, the author Virginia 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.”

As shown on page 244.

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.


Military Monday: Hospital Ships for NZ during WWI

1 Comment »

With the ever rapidly approach of 2014 and the start of the WWI commemoration events it is perhaps timely that a book recently received in Auckland should be about New Zealand’s hospital ships.  It is titled The White Ships: New Zealand’s First World War Hospital Ships by Gavin McLean.  There is a reference copy in the Central Auckland Research Centre but there are borrowable copies throughout Auckland Libraries.

This book is very well presented with many photos of ships, crew and some records.  There is a list of their movements 1915-19 as well as what happened to them after the war.

Image from color plate, page c.4.

While I have not read this yet myself, I think that anyone with a connection with these ships will find it invaluable as a matter of interest or to add to their research.

Marie Hickey

Treasure Chest Thursday: Auckland Area Passenger Arrivals (Part 1)

No Comments »

Do you know what the source was for the Auckland area passenger arrivals database?

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19100217-1-2 

Some of us have been lucky enough to get hits on our ancestors' names in the Auckland Libraries' online index of passenger arrivals for the years 1828-1889, 1909-1921.

However, many of us have had no luck. The index was based on newspaper lists, signatories to a book celebrating Sir George Grey's birthday in 1886, and a few records obtained from Archives New Zealand. All of these sources have gaps in the information they offer, and for a long time, there was little else available in the way of online sources for Auckland. But things have changed.

The website Papers Past offers an online and keyword searchable versions of historic NZ newspapers, including the Auckland Star 1870 to 1945 and the NZ Herald 1863 to 1924 – which will also eventually go up to 1945. Papers Past is a free website run by the National Library in Wellington. These two Auckland papers offer hope to people whose family names never appeared in the Auckland Area Passenger Arrivals Index. Many people who 'hopped across the ditch', were not indexed in the original project but their names, regularly published in the port news of the Auckland papers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, are now available amongst the lists of passenger arrivals from Australia.  Of course, those of you familiar with the way the newspapers of the day published the lists, are aware that often only family names were published e.g. Messrs Smith, Brown, Jones.... This can make identification difficult if you don't have a distinctive name to search for, so it is not necessarily a 'magic fix' to your research problem.

For additional information about Auckland and New Zealand passenger and immigration lists, consider looking at the resources section on Auckland Libraries Heritage et AL blog.


P.S. Check back soon for Part 2 about other sources for NZ passenger arrivals.

Book Review: Family Secrets

No Comments »

This book on the “What’s new?” shelf  at the Central Auckland Research Centre caught my eye the other day  –  “Family Secrets: Living with shame from the Victorians to the Present Day” by Deborah Cohen.

The issues covered – divorce, illegitimacy, homosexuality, adoption, interracial children - barely raise an eyebrow today but they have been huge causes of distress in the past.

It’s a fascinating book to dip in to as it traces real people and gives an understanding as to why they did what they did – why adoptee parents feared their children finding out they were adopted,  the stories behind the “bachelor uncle”, the stigma of being a “bastard” child. A fascinating chapter is devoted to the children who disappeared – mentally disabled institutionalised boys and girls and how attitudes differed Victorian to early 20th century times.

The author concludes the book by discussing how getting all these “shameful” secrets out in the open has become something of a badge of honour, with the growing popularity of celebrity-featured entertainment shows like “Who Do You Think You Are?”  This is a book that may well provide breakthroughs for the family historian in the brick walls of their sleuthing - well worth a dip in to. "Family Secrets” is in the Research Centre under 4 GBR FAM but there are borrowable copies in the Auckland Libraries collection.


Workday Wednesday: Old Occupations

No Comments »

Last month I wrote a blog post about revisiting old copies of family history magazines as articles which may not have had relevance at the time could be the very thing you are needing now. This got me thinking about a series of articles which were published in Family Tree Magazine 1987-1994 about old occupations.  

How often do you wonder exactly what a strange occupation on the census or certificate involved?

Of course, there are a number of books which describe different trades and occupations but these usually only give a short explanation. For example, a Cheirothecarius is a glove maker, and most records would use that term, however, the articles give more detail as to what was involved with a particular occupation.

One of life's more perilous occupations.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19290814-37-2 

Each article is a minimum of one page and some are split into 3-4 parts over several issues.  The occupations covered are varied, there are the usual suspects of agricultural labourer, nurse, shoemaker, midwife, etc but also include: lace cleaning, pugilist, cider maker, Proctor, Chapman, fuller, Mersey Flatmen, and English merchants in Aleppo to name a few.

Have a look at these articles as you never know what you will find and it may be that the mystery which has been put aside may just be solved. 

Do check our catalogue as well as we have a growing collection of books concerning specific occupations.

Marie Hickey