Archive for March 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Granny was a Brothel Keeper

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Book Review: 
Granny was a Brothel Keeper 50 Family History Traps by Kate Broad and Toni Neobard

Available at Auckland Libraries
This title has been added to our collection of family history aid books.  It is very cleanly presented and easy to read sprinkled frequently with humorous cartoons and  quips as well as anecdotes from the authors.  It could be of use to the beginner as well as the more experienced family historian as the authors mention many of the traps it is so easy to fall into.

It is also quick to point out that our relatives and ancestors may not have been as upright as we would like to think they were or have been portrayed as such to us by their children/grandchildren.

The short stories used to illustrate different traps are all true; some are bizarre – like the exploding wheelchair - but all have a touch of humour like the gentleman guilty of bigamy, he married five women in nine months, two within a matter of weeks of each other.  One wonders how long he was able to get away with it.
From page 97.

A companion volume is forecast for publication next year and is sure to be as interesting as this volume.

Books such as this are located in the 1 GEN AID section of the Research Centre.


Military Monday:- 2014 TransTasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge reminder

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We've been very pleased that we've had lots of positive response to this year's ANZAC Blog Challenge.

Alot of activity has been happening with this blog being shared in a variety of ways - Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and through other blogs to name just a few different ways.

The genealogy and military communities both seem to really get behind this. Every year there are different stories to tell, as people continue their research.

Renowned professional genealogist, librarian and archivist, Shauna Hicks contributes every year and if you look at the comments section of the original 2014 Blog Challenge, you will see she has thrown her hat into the ring yet again and has also mentioned it in her blog "Diary of an Australian Genealogist"

You can see Shauna's last submission at her other blog Shauna Hicks History Enterprises (SHHE Genie Rambles) if you feel you need some inspiration to get you kick started.

You still have plenty of time to honour your chosen ancestor. . . deadline is still a little more than a month away - 26 April.

Happy blogging


Treasure Chest Thursday: Stone's Directories

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Stone’s New Zealand directories were compiled from a comprehensive house-to-house canvas of all streets in a district. They included the full name and occupation of the head of the household, as well as male lodgers aged over 18 years (21 years in some cases). However, spouses were excluded (unless he or she owned property on his or her own account), as were children over the age of 15 even if they were in the workforce, and generally people who rented property.

A typical entry in the Street and Country Directory reads as:

Abberley Road
Right side from St Albans lane
6– Rutherford, Mrs Amelia, ladies’ nurse

Stone’s historic books contain detailed sections such as the Alphabetical Directory and a Trades Directory. The Pastoral Directory includes the names and addresses of all holders of 1,000 or more sheep, for example:

Sounds County
1,198 Beauchamp, Mrs. H. Grove.

The Educational and Ecclesiastical Directory lists education boards, schools and colleges. A typical entry being:

Christchurch Girls High School
Opened 13th September 1877
Lady Principal – Miss M.V. Gibson

followed by a list of all of her assistants and subject mistresses, the school’s calendar terms and daily timetable.

All religious denominations, places of worship and ministers are likewise listed; along with many items of useful information such as how to register births, deaths and marriages - and dogs.

Stone’s Directories have a lot more to offer researchers than just their street, alphabetical and trade directories. As well as the information outlined above, there are maps, distances between towns and what rail passages were open for traffic.

Central Auckland Research Centre has a growing collection of Stones Directory’s. At present we offer fully searchable CD-Roms of the following:

Stone’s Otago and Southland Directories, 1884-1933

Stone’s Wellington, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki Directories, 1891-1900

Stone’s Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and Westland, 1902-1914

and Stone’s Nelson, Marlborough and Westland, 1899-1901


Tuesday's Tip: Getting the News


Many of the customers coming to the Research Centres are aware that we hold copies of the New Zealand Herald, Auckland Star and London Times on microfilm but how many of you reading this know that we have Musical Times and Singing Class Circular (June 1844-1926) or the Weekly Graphic and Ladies Journal (31 May 1890-25 June 1913)?

We have reasonable sized runs for some of the titles held while others may only cover a few issues, months or years such as the Kawhia Settler and Raglan Advertiser (19 July 1902-18 June 1904) and The Mail (Thames) 26 March 1870.

The collection includes the following Māori titles:-

Te Karere o nui tireni (Māori Messenger) Jan 1842-Mar 1844
Te Karere Maori (Māori Messenger) English & Maori (two issues only)
Te Manwhiri Tuarangi and Māori Intelligencer English & Māori (31 May 1860 only)

Many local newspaper titles are held at the Research Centres such as North Shore Times, North Harbour News, South Auckland Courier, Howick Times, Western Leader, West Weekly, East and Bays Courier and Central Leader to name a few and these are generally in “hard copy”.

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, 4-7356
All of the titles held at Auckland Libraries can be found on our catalogue but a member of staff can assist you if you are unable to locate a particular title.

We also have a number of indexes of birth, marriage and death notices for overseas newspapers on the shelves and there are also digitised versions of newspapers available through the Digital Library section of our website; most of which you can view from home (there are only a few titles which you cannot view from home if you are not a member of the Auckland Libraries).

Do have a look as you may be surprised as to what we have in the collections.


Mystery Monday: The Manuel Jose Family

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Sometimes in family history, you come across a story that sounds more like the plot of a sweeping historical saga than a real life event. Such is the case of the story of the Spaniard, Manuel Jose.

Māori Children on a North Island East Coast Farm, 1937
Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19370630-51-3
The story began in 1840 when Manuel - reportedly tall, red-haired, and green-eyed  – settled on the East Coast of the North Island in the Waiapu Valley north of Gisborne – Ngati Porou land.  His background was cloaked in mystery, and still is. He came to New Zealand as a whaler, set up business as a trader, and subsequently married five times –folklore has him as being an attractive man, and liked by women ( probably not liked quite as much by the men!)  All his wives were Māori, and all the marriages resulted in children. You can imagine the descendants of these Spanish-Māori unions now number in their thousands.

We have two books on the family in the Central Auckland Research Centre, both written by Vivienne McConnell, a  Manuel descendant, and her husband, Bob. “Olive Branches” is a meaty history that track’s Manuel’s descendants to the 1980s  with photographs and profiles on family members.

"Ole Jose” chronicles the first ever reunion of the Manual Jose clan, held in 1980. For one weekend in December, descendants converged on Tikitini, on the East Coast for a celebration of their Māori/Spanish heritage.  At that time two of Manuel’s grandchildren were present at the reunion,  including 88-year-old Juliana Rickard, herself the mother of eleven “still living” children, 53 grandchildren, 71 great grandchildren and two great,  great grandchildren.  Subsequent reunions have been held, and even trips to Spain. An article in the publication Te Māori at the time, estimated there were 5000 descendants of this one man. Subsequent estimates put the number at more than twice that today.
Māori home in the Urewera Country, 1909.
Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19091230-10-1
Interestingly, it came to light in recent years that while there had been a rumoured connection of Manuel to the South American Incas, this proved false when the discovery of Manuel’s actual birthplace was announced. Valverde, Spain.

Ole Jose!!

More information is available at


Those Places Thursday: If Only Walls Could Talk - El Rey Country Club

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If you – or your ancestor – was a bright young thing in 1940s Auckland, chances are the name El Rey might ring a few bells.

The El Rey Country Club was a nightclub operated out of an Arts and Crafts style house on Hillsborough Road in what was then still farmland. The location was panoramic, set amidst acres of bush and with gorgeous views out across the Manukau Harbour to South Auckland. Equally as panoramic, it might be said, were the goings on in the El Rey itself. It came under the eye of the law for illegally serving liquour several times, and regularly featured in the Auckland Star’s Lost and Found column:

“Topaz ring in the vicinity of the El Ray, substantial reward.”
“Watch, gold, ladies between El Rey and Devonport.”
“A five pound reward for the return of a diamante evening bag and contents, lost or taken by mistake at the El Rey.”
“A raincoat, marine officer’s, between Farmers and the El Rey night club. Reward”
“Watch, wrist, chromium with brilliants, El Rey Saturday night. Reward.”
“Fur cape, brown velvet, New Year’s Eve between Grand Hotel and El Rey.”
 (All from Papers Past)

Visiting American soldiers, aka “bedroom commandos,” also added glamour to the scene. As noted in The Encyclopedia of New Zealand Te Ara, they flocked to the El Rey and other clubs “where they could dine on steak and drink whisky as a swing band played the latest hits of Glenn Miller.”  If you did fancy dance music and couldn’t make the trek out to Mt Roskill on a Saturday night, 1YA would relay the dance music on the wireless.

Interestingly, Te Ara also reports that the El Rey was a favourite club of the intrepid Admiral Richard E Byrd who used NZ as a base for his Antarctic explorations.

Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19400410-41-1
The El Rey ran from 1934 to 1944. In 1944 the Americans had gone back home, and the house and land was subsequently sold with plans to use it as a rest home. But only six years later, the land was subdivided and the house sold again. This time to the Presbyterians who planted a new church - St David’s in the Fields. The congregation soon built a hall alongside the house, with plans to one day knock down the old den of iniquity, turn-of-the-century house, and erect a brand new church. That never eventuated, and so, the former El Rey nightclub lived on– albeit these days as a church office and Sunday school rooms.


Military Monday:- 2014 Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge


2014 is a significant year, with August being the 100th anniversary of beginning of WWI.

Countries around the world are preparing to take part and contribute to commemorations. Many institutions have instigated projects to record memories and consolidate resources, particular online.

Have a look at what Heritage and Research at Auckland Libraries "Our boys, their families" has developed to assist you! Feel free to download to your computer.

ANZAC Day is the day that is a national day of remembrance for Australian and New Zealanders who died during armed conflict.

This is the fourth year that Auckland Libraries and the Kintalk blog have issued a Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.

Do you have a story to share about an ANZAC? 

Stories we'd like to hear about could be about their sacrifice, or the way it shaped or impacted on their family history. Maybe you want to blog from the perspective of those that were left behind?

Your story doesn't have to involve a serviceperson who lost their lives - during times of war, all sorts of loss unfortunately are experienced. 

And you can write about those who also served in other wars, as all who served in Australia and New Zealand are recognised as ANZACs.

Maybe you have written about your ANZAC before, and have more research to add to the story?

To participate:
  • Write a blog post about an Australian or New Zealander serviceman or woman's family, and the impact war had on their family history
  • Post a comment with the URL to your blog on the comments section of this post.
    Or if you don't have a blog then email us your story at
  • Publish your post by 26 April 2015.

After ANZAC Day, all submissions will be listed in a summary posting on Auckland Libraries' Kintalk blog.

Just to get you started, see recommended resources for New Zealand and Australian research, within the Auckland Libraries Digital Resources. 

Access great online resources: 
Coming Home virtual exhibition 
The virtual exhibition consists of "albums" containing photos/images and documents. Virtual albums entitled "Gallipoli", "Lest We Forget", "New Zealand Maori Battalion", "Peace", "Postcards" and "Returned Services Association". Also has a portal for searching content nationwide from organizations such as libraries, archives, museums and galleries, including Auckland Libraries. Courtesy DigitalNZ. 

Index Auckland and New Zealand Card Index 
For references to articles and other resources regarding WWI and WWII. 

Manuscripts Online 
For diaries, letters, postcards and albums

And Papers Past and Trove for newspapers of the time.

Within the library catalogue: Auckland Libraries, search using World War, 1914-1918 or World War, 1939-1945 to find suitable resources. 

Searching using WWI or WWII etc will return you wonderful results of holdings throughout the whole of Auckland Libraries, which you can narrow down by location by using the "select location" dropdown menu on the right of screen. For example, available in all four Research Centres:- CentralSouth (Manukau) and West (Waitakere) and North (Takapuna) are gems such as:

Try searching our library catalogue, using call number: 2 NZL MIL for more

You'll also find Australian resources in the Central Auckland Research Centre; for example:

For other sites, look at:

Helen Vail's blog 100 NZ WW1 Memorials 1914-2014 is a mine of information about WW1 memorials, and individuals that she has researched. Helen's goal is to personally visit and collate information from 100 New Zealand World War One Memorials throughout New Zealand by August 2014 to commemorate the 100 year Anniversary of the start of World War One and to honour those who paid the ultimate price.

Here are contributions from the three earlier years:

Have a look at Auckland War Memorial Museum's Armoury Resources page, and search the Cenotaph database.

Hopefully this will inspire you and provide you with some assistance in writing your blog!

The centenary of the First World War - 2014-2018
While thinking about your blog, remember that  2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. 
The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is developing projects to assist with commemorations, WW100 is providing a portal for New Zealanders who want to be involved in the commemorations, and NZ History Online provides a place for our school children to go to for homework and study assistance.
You may already have read about the launch of New Zealand's WW100 on our sister blog Heritage et AL .

Its worth considering how else you might want to contribute to commemorating, and ensuring that your stories are collected.

Each country will have its own WW100 commemorations, so if your ancestor was involved serving for another country, see what you can find out about that that country is doing.

Have a look at Britain Remembers, and the Imperial War Memorial Museum's Lives of the First World War and also look at what's going on in UK public libraries.

FindMyPastAU and Inside History magazine have a joint initiative to create an ANZAC Memory Bank  and invite people to contribute.

Blog away

Treasure Chest Thursday: Shining the light on Scotland

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For those of you with an interest in Scotland, you may have noticed in recent months an increase in material appearing on the shelves in the family history section at Central Auckland Research Centre. However, those of you who may not visit the Research Centre as frequently or the check the catalogue regularly from afar will have missed what we have been adding to the collection.

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, 601-2835A.
A number of local histories have been added to the collection which range from picture books to stories about a street in a town, a guide to closes, squares, lanes etc in old Dundee and a small work on the Kirk Yetholm gypsies are among the works added to local histories.

We have also purchased transcripts of parish registers, amongst which is the Lady Glenorchy Free Church baptisms 1843-1856; monumental inscriptions (gravestones), several family histories, items relating to occupations such as two on fishing in Fife.  There is also the Records of Glenprosen [Glenprossan], Angus which includes christening extracts, monumental inscriptions, entries for marriages and deaths, communion rolls and a list of subscribers to the library from 1841.  Not to be outdone, there is also the two volume work of Scottish Studio Photographers to 1914 which gives details not only of different addresses the photographers worked from but potted biographies that can include other members of the family, census returns and value of estate on death.

So if it has been a while since you checked out our Scottish collections (call number - 4 SCT) take a little time to do so and you may be lucky and find that entry that has been eluding you.


Tuesday's Tip: The Royal Society of New Zealand

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The Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand (1868-1961) is one of the New Zealand's most important research publications, particularly for science.

It is another rich resource for historians that can now be accessed online. The database is browsable by topics, images and includes an A-Z list of authors. The coverage is beyond the science world as  it event contains obituaries of individuals who have contributed to the New Zealand scientific community.

As an example of the content in these volumes read the descriptions given by clicking these links to the Old Redoubts, Blockhouses, and Stockades of the Wellington District or about the weather for 1896 or Notes on the Derelict Ship in Facile Harbour, Dusky Bay by T.M. Hocken.

Murchison Glacier in the Southern Alps, 1901
Auckland Libraries AWNS-19011107-9-2

The Hon J.B.A. Acland and Messrs C.G. Tripp and Charles Harper climbed the Rangitata (and Murchison) glaciers in the Southern Alps in 1860.  G. E. Mannering's article provides a historical account of the time but it also of relevance to those individuals wishing to fill out the stories of their ancestors and provide context to their adventures.