Archive for May 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Treasury, Thames

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Recently, Marie and I travelled down to Thames for the biennial Thames Family History Expo.

When we travel away like this, we usually try to make best use of time and visit other libraries, museums or archives to see what they have.

The Treasury, The Coromandel Heritage Trust

What a great opportunity for us then, to go and visit The Treasury?

The Coromandel Heritage Trust was founded in 2003 to establish the Treasury. In 2004 The Treasury was opened in the old Carnegie Free Library.

In March 2014, a new extension was built adjacent - and the new archive was opened. 

We were very fortunate to be given a guided tour of the both interconnected buildings, and their resources.

The Treasury Archives

The archive building is fitted out with shelving, gas fire suppression system and temperature controlled rooms. There are loads of manuscripts and photographs and other treasures stored and awaiting for the Trust to catalogue and put away in their new archive facilities.

Time capsule in the Archive Room
There is also a "time capsule" waiting to be opened in 100 years time.

In the Reading Room, there were many shelves filled with resources and research related to people from Thames and surrounding districts.

Some of the resources on the
Reading Room shelves at the Treasury

If you have links to the Thames or Coromandel region, or even New Zealand mining links, I would definitely recommend a visit down there to make use of their research facilities.

Happy hunting



Talented Tuesday: NZ Music Month #4

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This is the last week of New Zealand Music Month and the final post in this series on resources to help you find out more about your musical ancestors.

Numerous heritage collections focus on New Zealand music including the Music Programme Collection, Music in Auckland scrapbooks (1890-1930), and the New Zealand Music scrapbooks (1960-1995). All of the materials are held at Sir George Grey Special Collections located at the Central Library.

To find information held in these music scrapbooks, use the Index Auckland database doing a keyword and/or name search. Each record provides you with a description of the folder's contents and the reference number for locating the item at Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Alfred Francis Hill (1870-1960), a gifted violinst ... is also acknowledged as "the first fully professional New Zealand composer" according to the Oxford History of New Zealand Music.

Mr Alfred Hill, composer. 1905.
Sir George Grey Special Collections
One of Hill's most important works is Hinemoa (1896), which was based on a traditional Maori legend. 

Music in Auckland Scrapbook, v.2, 1890-1930.
Sir George Grey Special Collections.

"It was the first European work to set Māori melodies on a traditional western harmonic context." The piece was given positive praise in both the music and Māori communities.

By searching Index Auckland with Alfred Hill's name, a performance review on of The Exhibition Orchestra and a 1904 review of the first concert by "the recently formed" Auckland Orchestral Society were found.

Index Auckland, Record ID 69996.
Index Auckland, Record ID 69886.

Another excellent database that has material  from Special Collections is the Ephemera Index. For those of you not familiar with the word ephemera,  it is a term for printed material originally intended to have a limited life-span, such as programmes,  posters, tickets, flyers and cards - which are essentially the typical items that are associated with musical events.

A quick keyword search for Hinemoa brought up a record for a "Grand Miscellaneous Programme", the folder contents state it includes the cantata Hinemoa by Alfred Hill.

For more information on the heritage music collection as well as all the unique material held in the Sir George Grey Special Collections, click here.

Good luck with finding your family's musicians.


Motivation Monday: Talofa lava - Samoan Family History Resources

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This week is Samoan language week and the theme for 2014 is Taofi mau i au measina: Hold fast to your treasures.

Here in the Central Auckland Research Centre, we do indeed hold fast to our treasures and what better motivation can you have to begin researching your Samoan family history research?

If you search our classic catalogue using the "call number" 3 SAM you will see have a large Samoan family history collection, consisting largely of microfilm - filled with information for the researcher.

Our resources for Samoa include what was formerly Western Samoa and also American Samoa.

The microfilms contain registers starting from around1852 and some going right up till 1993, with titles such as:

As well as births, deaths and marriages the records also cover wills and probates, genealogies and pedigrees, immigration records, and published family histories.

The records also cover Europeans as well as Samoans - and cover periods of German and British occupation, as well as New Zealand and American.

So please look at our catalogue - "call number" 3 SAM - to see what we have, or else pop in and see our friendly research librarians on the second floor of Central Library.

Happy hunting


Church Record Sunday: Celebrating Samoa

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This week Auckland Libraries is celebrating Samoan Language Week starting today through to 1 June 2014. The nationwide theme is ‘Taofimau i au measina’ or ‘Hold fast to your cultural treasures’. We have found some Samoan family history treasure!

Many of you reading this will use the subscription database, on a fairly regular basis but how many of you ever refer to the card catalogue?

There are probably quite a number of records “hidden” away treasures that we are unaware of, and an example of this is some select records of baptisms (1805-1910) and burials (1895-1970) for Samoa. To access these, click on “card catalog” which is in the lower left-hand side of the Home Page.  Enter Samoa as a keyword and you will have a selection of record sets including these select baptism and burial records.

The entries on Ancestry are only transcripts but do give a (FamilySearch) film number and are included in the catalogue entries for films held at the Central Auckland Research Centre - the desk staff are always available if you require any assistance.

The database it is accessible through Auckland Libraries Digital Library from within any of the 55 libraries for free.

Marie Hickey

Treasure Chest Thursday: 100 record sets in 100 days!

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     New records added to

If you have not looked at the website, findmypast recently, you may be unaware of their current scheme to add 100 record sets in 100 days.  This will cover parish registers,  military records, death and marriage notices from newspapers.  New record sets from around the world will be released weekly.

Image from website

To date, the following records have been added:

New York City marriage and death notices 1835-80
[USA] Civil War – soldiers, sailors, prisoners, medals of honour 1861-65
pre 1901 Irish census (some counties only)
Shropshire parish registers 1538-1900, Banns 1760-1900

Malayan Emergency  - Commonwealth Deaths 1948-60
Welsh Guards 1914-18
Palestine Conflict British deaths 1945-48
Cyprus Emergency deaths 1955-60
Royal Artillery other ranks casualty cards 1939-47
Royal Artillery attestations 1883-1942
Australian Imperial Force – embarkation roll & nominal roll 1914-18
Royal Navy seamen & officers 1899-1919
Royal Marines 1899-1920
Royal Fusiliers – Stockbrokers Battalion 1914-18 & 23rd Battalion (1st Sportsman’s Battalion) 1914-18
South Down Battalions (11th, 12th & 13th Royal Sussex)
Salford Pals (15th, 16th, 19th & 20th Lancashire Fusiliers)
Liverpool Pals (17th, 18th, 19th & 20th King’s Liverpool Regt)
Glasgow Pals 1914-18
Edinburgh Pals 1914-18 (15th & 16th Royal Scots Regt)
1st Bradford Pals (16th West Yorkshire Regt)
Birmingham Employers’ Roll of Honour 1914-18
Birmingham Pals 1914-18

Sailors from the German naval ship Alexandrine which visited New Zealand in 1891.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 4-RIC176.
This looks as if it is going to be a very interesting and useful collection of records when the project is completed -- well worth checking on for new additions.

Next time you visit your local library, findmypast is accessible from the Family History eResources & databases in the  Digital Library.

Marie Hickey

Talented Tuesday: NZ Music Month #3

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May is New Zealand Music Month!

One of New Zealand's most prominent musical family's is the Eady family. Entrepreneurs, musicians, businessmen, instrument makers and supporters of the arts and culture - this year marks the 130th birthday of Lewis Eady Ltd.

Heritage Images contains a wide selection of over 100,000 digitised images from Sir George Grey Special Collections and includes photographs of shops run by Lewis R. Eady & Son Ltd. as well as their rival, brother and uncle - Arthur Eady Limited.

The future premises of Lewis R Eady & Son Ltd, 1927.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 4-454.

Arthur Eady Limited music store, 1938.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 4-2530
Subsequent generations of the Eady family have been involved in the music business since the brothers, Lewis R. and Arthur opened their respective shops.  Lewis's sons (Lewis "Alfred", Ernest, Cecil, Raymond and Sydney) worked for a time in the business and some of their children have also pursued careers related to music.

A keyword search of "Eady family" in the New Zealand Card Index returned several results including  the card below about Lewis Alfred Eady (1891-1965) which mentions that in 1926 ". . . the family presented a music section to the Public Library". 

New Zealand Card Index, NZCI000109317.
Another index entry is of Sydney's son Bruce, who manufactured and sold New Zealand's first guitar called The Jensen during the 1950's and 1960's. The index directs you to the information source, an article published in the July 1993 edition of North & South magazine.

New Zealand Card Index, NZCI000109308.
Another database to search is Index Auckland. This database focuses on history, art, theatre, film and music. Many of the reference sources are from Auckland area newspapers and journal articles. This database continues to have content added to it, so it is an ideal resource for contemporary artists.

Index Auckland has nine records for the Eady family. One of the records is an  article "Music in family" that highlights the family's history and their musical past, published in the Auckland Star on 24 November 1965.

Excerpt from article in the Auckland Star, 24 November 1965.
These Auckland eResources and databases are accessible to everyone through the Digital Library page of the Auckland Libraries website, click here to start searching for your musical ancestors!


Those Places Thursday: On the road to Thames!

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The family history team at Auckland Libraries is hitting the road this week to attend the Thames Family History Research Expo 2014!

Country travelling on the Thames-Coromandel Road, 1907.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19070725-13-2

The Thames Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists is hosting this biennial event and everyone is invited.

So if you are looking for something to do this Saturday, get a hold of some of your fellow genealogists and make a day of it.

Have fun.


Talented Tuesday: NZ Music Month #2

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May is New Zealand Music Month!

Accessible through Papers Past and the Digital Library early New Zealand newspapers are great for finding advertisements of musical engagements, performance reviews and are an excellent way of tracing the development of a musician's career.

Geraldine May (Ina) Bosworth (1894 -1975), a Chamber Music pioneer of New Zealand. Ina started her musical  training at an early age, initially instructed on violin by her father, a conductor of one of Auckland's first choirs, the Liedertafel. Here is a glimpse into Ina's impressive musical career as captured in the newspapers.

A review of her concert prior to departing overseas as reported in the Auckland Star, Friday 11 April 1913:
Auckland Star, Friday 11 April 1913

Ina spent 14 years in London studying violin and during that time she also "entertained troops on the battlefields of France, playing chamber music just behind the lines, and once, near Verdun, on a stage built of bully beef tins." - New Zealand Herald, 8 February 1975.

Upon returning to New Zealand her personal life was also captured in the newspapers, including her engagement to Arthur William McNeish, it was announced in the "Social Jottings" column.

Auckland Star on 14 November 1924.

After her marriage to Captain A.W. McNeish, she continued  her musical career giving concerts and broadcasts while raising their two children, Jill and James. Ina was also an advocate for establishing a professional orchestra for Auckland. By 1965 she had her own group - the Ina Bosworth Quartet, and had led six orchestras including the Mozart Players. 

Mrs McNeish (on the left) at a rehearsal with the Mozart Players, 1965.

Auckland Star, 21 June 1965.

According to her obituary published in the New Zealand Herald on 8 February 1975 she celebrated her 80th birthday [in 1974] by "driving to Hamilton and performing a Bach unaccompanied sonata."

Ina embodied the spirit of a true musician throughout her life.

Death notice & obituary from the New Zealand Herald,
8 February 1975.

For more about the Bosworth-McNeish family, her son James McNeish has recently published Touchstones:  Memories of People and Placeborrowable copies are available from the library. There is a lovely photograph of his mother in her youth on page 184.

If you would like to listen to live music for free, there is a Thursday Lunchtime Concert Series at the Central Library during autumn. "This year’s concerts will bring together solo instrumentalists and vocalists, chamber ensembles and choirs from around the Auckland region, as well as showcasing the brilliant musical talent from the University of Auckland School of Music and selected secondary schools."

For more information on who is performing, click here.


Treasure Chest Thursday: More local history online

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A while ago I wrote about re-visiting old family history magazines; today I would like to bring your attention to a couple of local history magazine collections we have on our shelves n the Research Centre. They were published by the Auckland Historical Society which later became the Auckland – Waikato Historical Society and the Ohinemuri Regional History Journal.

If you have connections to Auckland, Waikato or the Thames, Wahi, Paeroa areas these will be of interest to you. The journals include articles about early days in the district, maps, many high quality photographs, lists of different historical society members with their addresses, material relating to both Maori and Europeans, early settlers etc.

For those of you unable to travel to Auckland you will be please to know that the Ohinemuri Regional History Journal has been digitised and is available on-line free of charge at and extends from 1964-2012.

One of the photographs that caught my imagination is of the Waihi Golf Club members at Hollis Bush about 1913.

Image courtesy of the Ohinemuri Regional History Journal
Journal 10, October 1968
Each person is named, including the boy milking the goat but what amused me was  the reference to No.1, “Cranwell’s Setter Dog.  (Had a gold tooth fitted by Mr. Cranwell, Dentist)…” 
Drawing identifying those photographed in the above image.
This brought to mind an image of the dog swanking it about town showing off his tooth or, alternatively, the modern incarnation of having attitude and going about nefarious deeds with his bling on display.

The Auckland – Waikato Historical Society Journal also covers a wide range of topics in its articles; some are about prominent people in the community, schools and places but there are also the more unusual.  There is a short article in issue 9, October 1966 about the Great Maori Bank; another in issue 6, April 1965 about a bed of 13,701 pieces that was given to Auckland Museum. One issue, No. 68 October/November 1996 is entirely devoted to St Stephens graveyard at Parnell.

If you have never used these journals, they are well worth considering.  You never know, the gem that breaks down the brick wall could be amongst the articles published within.

Marie Hickey

Talented Tuesday: NZ Music Month #1

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May is New Zealand Music Month!

This is part one of  a series of blog posts during May to celebrate New Zealand Music Month. Each week it will highlight Auckland Libraries heritage resources relating to New Zealand music, and its talented musicians, across all genres. So, if you have a "muso" in your family's history and are looking for information on them, these resources might just help you with your search.

Gareeb Stephen Shalfoon (1904-1953), "Epi"- a nickname from his family, was a jazzer who initially played piano but he taught himself how to play clarinet and saxophone  because he said at that time it was easier to hire a pianist than horn players. In 1924 he put together a band called the Melody Boys who went on to make New Zealand's first jazz recording. It eventually became a family affair - his daughter Reo, a very talented and popular singer in her own right, frequently performed with the band.

Epi Shalfoon and the Melody Boys, Filmcraft, 1930.
Image from the Film Archive.

Sadly, Epi died at the young age of 48. He collapsed while dancing with his daughter at his favourite music venue, the Crystal Palace Ballroom.

Auckland Star, 26 September 1942, page 9.

The New Zealand Music Index is a wonderful source of information relating to New Zealand soloists, groups, ensembles and concerts. It is in card format as it has yet to be digitised, but the staff at the Research Centre are able to check the index for a name on your behalf.

This is a typical  index card and this entry for Epi Shalfoon recommends two resources. First, there is a reference to the New Zealand Music Scrapbook (NZMSB) and secondly, an article written by his daughter, Reo Sheirtcliff (nee Shalfoon), 'Dancing in the dark: a memoir of Epi Shalfoon', published in Music in New Zealand, No 10 (Spring 1990): 40--45.

New Zealand Music Index card, Auckland Libraries

Are there any musical performers in your family tree that you may have overlooked? Next time you are in the Central Auckland Research Centre ask us about the Music Index.


Book Review: Pills & Potions

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Quackery Prevention
Pills & Potions at the Cotter Medical History Trust
By Claire Le Couteur
Otago University Press, 2014

This recent addition to the Central Auckland Research Centre's collection shares some of the bizarre and miraculous-sounding medicines sold in New Zealand before the 1942 Medical Advertisements Act restricted excessive advertising and false testimonials.
Medicine time in the Kindergarten, 1938
 Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19381116-53-3. 

Rather than gain a patent, manufacturers of the time trademarked their products in order to conceal their ingredients and method of production from competitors. When the 1904 government tried to curb their extravagant claims they were defeated by both the manufacturers and newspaper owners – who would have lost advertising revenue as a result.

Advertisement for Dr Ensor's Tamer Juice
New Zealand Herald, 6 July 1911

Auckland Star, 1 April 1938

Wanganui Chronicle, 16 January 1907

Although the 1908 Quackery Prevention Act tried to restrict advertising, it too failed. It wasn’t until the 1942 Act that excessive claims had to be proved before being advertised, and fictitious endorsements ceased. Consequently, many remedies were taken off the market.

Fortunately, The Cotter Trust in Christchurch has a collection of these remedies whose history has been beautifully documented in this book.