Archive for 2016

The best of 2016 - Ireland

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Was 2016 a breakthrough year for you in your research? Did you uncover something of huge interest? We here at Central Research have come up with our own personal family history highlights, and over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing some of them with you.

First up, is Maureen:
Early in 2016 I predicted that Irish genealogy was a case of ‘watch this space’.  And so it proved in September when many of the records that had been promised in the preceding years became available free to the internet – civil registration and land records among them. Now is the time to explore these records, particularly the images of the birth, death and marriage records, which were previously available at a cost of €4 each.  Supplemented by the increasing records available in subscription databases, there has never been a better time to crack some of those brick walls.  For more information please check out the following websites and blogs:

Maureen West - Central Research


Merry Christmas from the Kintalk team

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It's almost Christmas, and as many of us wind down for a few days, we trust that this year has been a most interesting time for you in your family history endeavours ... maybe some of those impenetrable brick walls were finally smashed to pieces... maybe a new lead opened up... maybe it was just pure frustration and you really do need a break before you head back into the agony and the ecstasy that is family history research.
May you all have a lovely time this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas from the Kintalk team.

For more olde Christmas card goodness, here's a link to the Christmas Card exhibition  online. Enjoy.

Travel Tuesday: Come and live and play in New Zealand

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 While we are a small nation of immigrants, its interesting to think about our appeal to the rest of the world, and how we are marketed overseas.

A new book Selling the Dream: Classic New Zealand Tourism Posters based on the Canterbury Museum Exhibition of the same name, showcases the appeal of New Zealand to those who came to visit and - who knows - may well have decided to stay.

The book is made up of 50 tourism posters from the 1920s to 1960s, posters that sought to promote the "glamour of travel and New Zealand's tourism attractions of the day." To use a cliché, the pages are a visual feast of art, arranged according to headings including Maoriland, recreation, landmarks, trains and planes, and scenic wonderland.

The cover image is a poster promoting South Westland that cleverly tapped into the popularity of Western movies of the 1950s with its scenic backdrop and farmer making his way along the river. It was painted by Marcus King (1891-1984), the Tourism and Publicity Department's official artist, who, a recent book on the man himself suggested, was New Zealand's most viewed artist.

And what about this this gorgeous poster from the Tourism Dept (1936) promoting... fishing! It was painted by Railways Department artist, Maurice Poulton (1909-1983). Interestingly, after his retirement in 1955, Poulton developed a very keen interest in fly fishing. (I love that pipe!)

This is a lovely book to browse and admire these wonderful artists and, let's face it, with 'natural' events of late, its always good to remind ourselves just what is good about this truly beautiful, albeit earthquake-prone country. There are several copies of Selling the Dream in Auckland Libraries for you to look at... but I think this is one book that would make a lovely gift for somebody this Christmas.
Joanne - Central Research

Treasure Chest Thursday: A gold mine not to be overlooked

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When sorting through some books that had been donated to us, a while back, I came across a copy of NZ Pioneers’ & Descendants’ Club Inc. Silver Jubilee 1939-1964 booklet of which there are several copies in the libraries’ collection.  This small publication runs to 63 pages and probably would not attract the attention of many if seen on the library’s catalogue or a shelf somewhere.

How wrong we would be to disregard this little gem!  It gives a brief history of the club and why it was set up: “To create the spirit of friendship; To get memories of the early days published in detail…”  The rest of the booklet offers much for those whose forebears either belonged to the club or are the subjects of the histories included.  There is a list of present and past officers, list of current members and date when forebear arrived, ships date of arrival and member’s name, alphabetical list of surnames mentioned in articles followed by many brief details about (mainly grandparent) immigrants who arrived in the 1840s-1870s.

Some entries give a human insight into events such as the Waikato and Taranaki Wars that you don't get from the many history books available to us; while many of the members were living in Auckland their immigrant forebears settled all over New Zealand.

The following is an extract from a typical entry “…The family travelled by bullock waggon along the coast to Bulls, finally settling at York Farm, Marton.  He was hopeless as a farmer, so became a teacher.”  This man was not alone in failing at what he chose to do on arrival in order to put food on the family table.

An interesting read, and pure gold for anyone whose ancestor is listed.

Marie Hickey

Woeful Wednesday: Records for the poor

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The Otago Benevolent Institution Casebooks

During their research, most family historians will find a family who were not only poor but required the assistance of the parish or government in order to make ends meet.  Many of you reading this will be familiar with records available for such circumstances in the UK- but what about New Zealand?

Unfortunately, there aren't many records available in New Zealand relating to those who needed help for short or longer periods.  However, all is not lost.  Archives NZ is the first place to look for such records – the hospital, police and charity record series should be of use, as well as Department of Education, Social Security, Child Welfare and District/Magistrates Courts.  The Appendices of the Journal of the House of Representatives (AJHRs or A to Js) can also be fruitful and these are available on-line, up until 1954 and name searchable.
Outdoor Relief Casebook Nos 1-556

One of the earlier charitable agencies were the Benevolent Societies. The Auckland Benevolent Society is the oldest in New Zealand, and was formed to provide non-institutional aid to women and children through voluntary charitable work with an emphasis on personal visits, providing advice and sympathy as well as support in kind, clothing, food, blankets, rent, fares etc.

Recently the records for the Otago Benevolent Institution Outdoor Relief casebooks 1889-c.1910 were digitised; they can be viewed for FREE through the Archway website  Each volume is indexed although on volume is missing.

As I have family in Dunedin, I decided to have a look “on spec” and was duly rewarded. So what did I learn?  Quite a lot. Such as how much rent was paid, the amount of relief paid and when, where they lived, if anyone in the house was working, what they did, and how much they were paid, and the circumstances of application. For example: “Husband been in the Asylum for the last 14 months. She says she does very little work.” You also get insight into the character of those involved, such as this comment: “There is not a bit of reliance to be placed upon this woman's word.” Other information includes how long they'd been receiving assistance and any extras that were paid for, such as boots.

Outdoor Relief Casebook Nos 4447-5004
This has given me more of a sense of the character of the women involved and an insight into their living conditions. I'm unaware of any other Benevolent Society casebooks having been digitised so you'd probably need to visit Archives NZ to view those for the area of your interest but it will be a worthwhile exercise.

Marie Hickey -  Central Research

Wisdom Wednesday: Researching Chinese laundries in New Zealand

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The Chinese have a rich history in New Zealand and are amongst our earliest settlers - with large numbers arriving in the 1850s for the gold rush.

Unfolding history, evolving identity,
the Chinese in New Zealand

by Manying Ip
There have been some awesome books written about early Chinese. On our Chinese history and family history pages we highlight the famous books Windows on a Chinese Past written by James Ng and Unfolding history, evolving identity, the Chinese in New Zealand by Manying Ip.

However, we also have several books in our collection written by other authors and researchers such as Helen Wong's In the mountain's shadow : a century of Chinese in Taranaki 1870 to 1970 = Zai shan de yin ying : yi ge shi ji han ren Taranaki 1870 dao 1970 and To be Jungseng in New Zealand : descendants of Jungseng villagers who migrated to New Zealand from 1890.

Search in our catalogue using keywords "Chinese" and "New Zealand" for many other titles.

At the Auckland Family History Expo in August, the Chinese community of researchers had their own table, where they displayed many of the books that they had published.

The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust has commissioned a project to research and produce a book about the history of Chinese owned and operated laundries in New Zealand, from the first laundries in the 1890s to the 1960s and 1970s when few remained.

They want to ensure that this significant part of New Zealand's social history is not lost. This project aims to preserve their memories of those times.

So if you know anyone in the Chinese community, or anyone else, who may be willing to share information, photographs or their memories of Chinese laundries, please contact:

Joanna Boileau, phone 09 528 1174 or 0226 710 334, 
or you could email her on

Happy hunting


Mothers' Darlings of the South Pacific

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Two academic staff at the University of Otago, Judith A. Bennett and Angela Wanhalla, have edited this excellent book, Mothers' Darlings of the South Pacific, tracing stories of those children born to Pacific Island women and American servicemen during the Second World War.  Making use of oral histories, the various authors interviewed children of these love affairs: relationships that took place in the South Pacific islands during the war.

There are chapters covering islands from New Caledonia, to Tonga, the Gilbert Islands and the Solomons, but a must-read is the chapter on New Zealand: "I don't like Maori girls going out with Yanks." Between the years 1942 and 1944, 100,000 American soldiers were stationed here, as the February 1942 Battle of Darwin made the threat of invasion frighteningly real. The Kiwi girls were taken with the American men, as Mihipeka Edwards remembered: We (would) gaze at these beautiful specimens of manhood, so handsome. Even the not-so-handsome are tall and beautifully turned out, smartly uniformed and very military in their stance. I am carried away. I forget I am married.

The book is about the children born out of these relationships: some relationships were short lived, while others were true love stories that existed amidst the social climate of the time, the difficulties in dealing with bureaucracy, and the reality of men serving in a world war, men who were always going to leave New Zealand. Some of those babies were raised under the Maori whangai system, with young mothers playing the part of aunt or even a much older sister. There are stories of the men who wanted to stay with their "new" family but were unable to, such as Raymond Gipe who served in the US Navy, fell in love with Vivienne, fathered a son, Leroy, but who had to return home. As his family recalls:
"He loved Vivienne. It was not just a one night stand. He married her. He had his son registered and he was named after his father...  I think he tried on several occasions to get Leroy and Vivienne to come over. We understood that she was fearful of the ugly side of America, being Maori." Raymond provided for Leroy and on his death, left his estate to him.

There are the stories of mothers and families who tried to keep the identity of the father secret, of men who promised to return but couldn't or wouldn't, and stories of those children anxious to learn the truth of their birth parents. In some cases, information was deliberately withheld; for some mothers, there was a fear the children would be sent to America to live. John, for example, went searching for his birth father, Don, but discovered he'd passed away some years before. Yet in finding his American family, he learnt his father had known all about him, that his birth mother had sent photos and news of him to America, that Don had told his wife he had a New Zealand son, and that up to his death, he carried a photo around of John - the son he had never known.
Rusty Floyd (US Navy)
His niece has been searching for her Tongan relative. (p.173)
There are wonderful stories of reunions, although stories of sadness, too, from both sides of the "family." The descendants of Rusty Floyd who served in the US Navy, know he fathered (and abandoned) a child in Tonga but have no idea if the child was male or female, making the search for their relative near impossible. And in the chapter on the Cook Islands, Helen talks about having a pampered childhood as the only American in her family, and treasuring a photo of her USA grandmother that her father, Tom, left for her.  But there was grief for her mother, Ito. "When Tom learned he was being shipped out, he requested an army transport to bring Ito to the base to say goodbye. This request arrived too late, and Ito was so upset she refused to talk about this for many years. Helen believes her mother was traumatised by this experience of being pregnant, and not having the opportunity to say goodbye."
Might pay to grab a tissue for this one, people!
There are borrowable copies on the catalogue but be warned. This is one popular book, and you'll most likely need to place a hold/request, but there's no charge to do this, and you can pick the book up at any of our 55 libraries - whatever is convenient for you.

Joanne - Central Research

Saturday settlers: Settling New Zealand

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With the tens of thousands of refugees seeking safety in countries other than their own, we might reflect on the European settlers of NZ in the 1800s and their (comparatively) less traumatic but often torrid, journeys to this land of hope.

There are a number of books written on the subject. Some describe the voyage over of these immigrants and the lives they'd led in their lands of birth but also how they settled into this new country.

No Simple Passage : The journey of the London to New Zealand, 1849 – a ship of hope  describes the London’s journey to New Zealand in 1849. The author has created a diary of the trip her ancestor, Rebecca Remington, and fellow migrants made using, among other sources, the journals of the ship’s captain and that of a cabin passenger. She describes the England they escaped, the perils of the trip and follows the lives of the families on-board when they are in New Zealand.

The immigrants : The great migration from Britain to New Zealand, 1830-1890, is a scholarly read, describing the journeys of more than four million people who left the British Isles for New Zealand.  Tony Simpson looks at the reasons people left Britain, why they chose New Zealand, the schemes and incentives encouraging them to come here, their expectations, and how they found it when they arrived. Charlotte Godley wrote to a friend from Riccarton in 1852:

‘I am a little afraid of being alone. There are a number of somewhat disreputable people among our neighbours in the bush, some thirty or forty men, I should think, living [in] it for the present, to cut timber, and whose songs and jollifications at their evening tea parties, we can hear till late at night.’

On another level, but giving a compelling picture all the same, Mrs Shirley Kendall transcribed the Medical and Surgical Journal of the freight ship “Sir Robert Sale” 10th of June to 22nd of November 1847 by John James Lancaster, Surgeon Superintendent, M.D. from the original document held at the Public Record Office, Kew.

Divided into different sections we have Dr Lancaster’s Daily Sick List:

with another section on particular case studies

and a nice extra;  brief family histories of those London immigrants.

The above resources are just tasters of what we have in our collections at Auckland Libraries. They tell the stories of these hardy travellers who sought refuge for whatever reason in an unknown country, millions of miles from their own.


Family history Friday:- Free genealogy app for children

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Sharing family stories with your children is a great way of connecting with them, and also connecting them with their past. Often it sparks an interest in history as children begin to understand the context of the times that these family members lived in.

Children are very adept at technology, and frequently learn about the cool apps before the adults do. Many games and educational tools are developed for them, with some taking off and becoming a craze.

A new app out, is Little Family Tree which is designed to help teach younger kids about their family relationships and personal heritage using photos, games and activities pitched at their level.

It requires log-ons to connect to a family tree in FamilySearch or PhpGedView and offers five games for free, with an additional five games for $US3.99.

Great fun!

Read Thomas MacEntee review on Geneapress for a broader perspective.

Happy hunting


Special event: Family History & DNA - the Science of Identity

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Bridging the tension between cultural and genetic histories
with Ancestry's Brad Argent and Dr Carla Houkamau, University of Auckland

A sense of identity is usually formed over time by memetic (or cultural) history, while revelations of genetic identity often happen in an instant. DNA tests can reveal multiple stories at play, creating a dichotomy where cultural histories conflict with genetic background.

Dr Carla Houkamau from the University of Auckland (Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou) and family historian as well as Ancestry international spokesperson Brad Argent will explore the concept of identity today, and what it means to be a contemporary New Zealander in an increasingly multicultural society.

When: 6:30pm Tuesday 11 October (refreshments begin at 5:30pm)
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Auckland Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street, Auckland
Booking: Free event - Booking recommended

When it comes to identity, many of us have grown up thinking we’re a part of a singular story, yet our identity is informed by many factors, including culture, community and oral traditions, as well as family history informed by lineage and records.

Memetic (cultural) as well as genetic (DNA) histories can play a role in the formation of identity. With the rise of products such as AncestryDNA, discovering one’s ethnic background and finding people with whom you share a common ancestor have become increasingly more accessible. In addition, as databases have grown to more than two million people globally, that information is becoming more accurate and comprehensive.

In this seminar, University of Auckland senior lecturer Dr Carla Houkamau will discuss the diversity evident in Māori society today in terms of cultural, social as well as political differences, and how identifying as Māori can be shaped by socialisation and family relationships.

Ancestry’s international spokesperson, Brad Argent, will explore how ethnicity identified through DNA tests can confirm or disrupt a person's notion of identity. In some cases, the genetic and memetic dichotomy can see them reassessing who they really are.

Seminar speakers:
Dr Carla Houkamau,
Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland
Dr Carla Houkamau is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland, where she specialises in the areas of personal identity, inter-cultural communication and diversity management.

Carla is of Pākehā and Māori descent, specifically Ngāti Kahungunu (Ngāti Kere) and Ngāti Porou (Whanau o Tu-Whakairiora), and has special interest in psychological (particularly social psychological) understandings of identity, particularly with regard to contemporary Māori identity.

Brad Argent,
Family Historian &
International Spokesperson,

Brad Argent is a family historian and international spokesperson for Ancestry, as well as expert on the AncestryDNA product.

Based in Europe, Brad has recently been featured in a video series created by international travel search site Momondo, which showed how we are more genetically connected than we might at first assume.

The clips have been viewed more than 100 million times on a number of social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.

The DNA Journey with Momondo and Ancestry

On-line magazine goodness

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The joy of going on-line to read, is the instant access to so many great publications via Auckland Library e-resources such as Press Reader. Press Reader, available on our digital library (but also on your own device at home if you’re a library member) is a way to look through not only hundreds of local and international current newspapers, but dozens of magazines. For those of you keen on family history, there are several of interest.
If you're all about things Scots, take a look at Scots Heritage.  It’s a quarterly publication, the ‘official magazine of the Standing Council of Scottish Clan Chiefs,” and it runs regular features on the clans, genealogy, Scottish history, and culture. The current issue has a feature on the reformer, John Knox, and a fascinating true life story about a Scots girl, shipwrecked off the Queensland coast, who was found living with an Aboriginal tribe. 
Then there’s Canada’s History (formerly titled The Beaver) which has a history just of itself.  Back in the 1990s,  the Hudson's Bay Company donated their corporate archives and museum collection to public institutions for research. The Hudson's Bay Company History Foundation was formed and provides funding for the Canada's History magazine. The latest issue includes a feature on the Ottawa Trek of the Great Depression, and takes a look at the author John Buchan, not only the author of The 39 Steps but also Governor-General to Canada.
There are a couple of British history magazines - History Revealed, with lots of pictures and trivia, and the BBC History Magazine - apparently  one of Britain's biggest selling history magazines. And of course, there's a family history title, Your Family History, a monthly UK genealogy magazine. In the August issue, there's a nice story on seaside resorts and their popularity back in the day as the "medical tourism industry," along with an article on the Lancashire famine. Lancashire had been the leading producer of cotton goods in the world but a blockade on cotton coming out of  America in 1861, saw extreme poverty and starvation strike the area as jobs dried up. Twelve months later, an estimated half a million people were starving.
You need your library membership to access Press Reader if you’re not in the library – but well worth signing up, Aucklanders, for that alone!
Joanne - Central Research

BREAKING NEWS Irish research

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 If you have Irish ancestry then you will be interested in this.  On the 8th of September 2016 (probably Northern hemisphere time, so 9th September 2016 NZ time) the historic birth, marriage and death certificates will become available to view on the website and information to hand would indicate that these will be FREE. 

They are subject to closure limitations and further information is given on the following website:
As with any launch, like this promises to be, it is possible that the site will be busy at the time of launch and we just have to hope that it is substantial enough not to crash.  I know that several of us on the Central Research Centre staff will be looking for that elusive ancestor, what about you?


Motivation Monday: 2016 Auckland Family History Expo

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The hero of the Auckland Libraries' New Zealand Family History Month programme this year, was the Auckland Family History Expo, that was held at the Fickling Convention Centre, Three Kings Friday, 12 to Sunday, 14  August.

The Expo was organised as a community partnership with members of the Genealogical Computing Group (GCG), an interest group of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG), who sponsored our international keynote speakers, Dick Eastman and Shauna Hicks.

The theme for this year's Expo was "The Melting Pot" to signify Auckland's wide diversity of cultures.

There were 130 people at the Friday night opening event, to listen attentively to Dick Eastman's The family history world in 10-years' time and Shauna Hicks' DNA: sex, love and damn lies. Both talks were so entertaining and informative.

Dick Eastman, US
Expo keynote speaker

Dick's talks reminded us of where genealogy had started from, and its steps along the way to where we are today - with an introduction to Cloud. Dick said that the genealogy community was getting younger - driven by technology and media. He predicted that future researchers won't be interested so much in pedigrees, but will be interested in the stories. With global immigration, our collections will need to be broader and more inclusive of non-white ethnicities.

I was pleased to be able to tell Dick, that we've already tried to make a very good start with this. We have active Maori and Pasifika researchers, and hold terrific genealogy and family history resources for them at Auckland Libraries. We support the Chinese community on the Chinese Digital Community website and there are many authors and historians in the local Chinese community. And we purchase their books as they come out.

Smita Biswas from the West Auckland Research Centre is in the midst of an awesome project with the Indian community, helping with collecting genealogies and family histories.

Shauna Hicks talked about her DNA experience, and how she came to discover a lie in her family's history which meant that some of her research based on the paper trail was incorrect. The story was quite a poignant one, but delivered in a humorous, informative way.

Shauna Hicks, Australia,
Expo keynote speaker
You can read Dick Eastman's account of the Expo here. You can also read an account about the Expo on Shauna Hicks's blog here.

On Saturday and Sunday, we were kept very busy. It was hard to accurately count how many people came through. Some people stayed all day, others came for a while - there was a constant turnover of people.

Saturday was our busiest day, we counted 350 people (in the two seminar rooms and the exhibition hall) at around lunchtime, when the crowds had thinned out a little. From the sale of the USBs with speakers notes, we estimate we could have had as many as 500 people through. We had a lot of people through who were completely new to genealogy and family history.

Sunday was less busy, and alot of people that came, had also come on Saturday. Our estimate for that day was between 200 and 300 people.

We had 24 exhibitors, two-streams of 30 lectures, four computer workshops (held in the Mt Roskill Library above the Convention Centre) and 12 "ask an expert" workshops. The exhibitors were kept very busy helping people with their research. The Auckland Libraries stand dealt with 152 reference queries on Saturday, and 53 reference queries on Sunday!

On Sunday, during Emerson Vandy's talk about the new PapersPast, and Shauna Hicks It's not all online - where else can I look? an alarm went off so we conducted an emergency evacuation of the Fickling Convention Centre, just in case it was a fire. In the end, it turned out to be a faulty security alarm, which was rectified after an hour. Being made of stern stuff, once no danger was apparent, our people simply re-entered the building and continued where we left off.

I was most impressed firstly, by the awesome demonstration we all showed in how to evacuate a large crowd from a building, and secondly by the determination and patience of everyone there to endure such a dreadful noise for an hour!

You can view photographs from the event on Auckland Research Centres' Facebook page. Further details and more photographs available on the NZ Society of Genealogists news page - just scroll down till you reach 12 and 13th August..

We're very grateful to our sponsors who contributed with financial sponsorship:
Auckland Council Libraries, Genealogical Computing Group of the NZ Society of Genealogists, Findmypast, Ancestry, and the NZ Society of Genealogists.

Additionally, we also had 72 raffle prizes donated by sponsors valued at over $6300 in total.

Winners of the raffles were as follows:

● World Heritage subscription and DNA pack (5)
Debbie Stanford
Daphne Ellis
Joy Todd
B Fletcher
Glenda Jamieson

Auckland Libraries 
● Auckland Libraries Heritage Pack (4)
Bruce Ralston
Valerie Price
Jean Philpotts

Eastman’s Newsletter
● Annual Newsletter Subscriptions (2)
Joan McCracken
Raewyn Nevin

Family Historian
● Family History V6 (2)
Ron Jackson
Tony Christianson

● Pen and pencil set (1)
Coral Shearer

● Famnet Annual subscription (10)
Anne Megget
Bruce Ralston
Alan Brierley
Kathy Hill
Leslie Cornwall
Roy Clements
I Whetton
Wendy Fitzpatrick
Myrine McMahon
Jan White

● Findmypast World Subscriptions (5)
Shauna Hicks
Daphne Ellis
Clyde Downes
Karen Bruford

Family Tree Maker
● FTM v14.1 program (3)
Bronwyn Bernard
Rosalie Bromwich
G Gibson

● Legacy 8 program (2)
Debbie Archer
Nancy Buckman

Let’s Research (Beehive Books)
● Two hours research with Jan Gow (2)
Claire Becker
Bev Thomson
● Skeleton Travel Mug
Robyn Johnson
● Sail Away 3D pencil tin
Tony Christiansen

Memories in Time (Fiona Brooker)
● Family History Research
Reiana Tema
● Made for you
Fredda Martin

My Heritage 
● My Heritage subscription (2)
J Ryde
Margaret Diggelman

NZ Society of Genealogists
● NZSG Family Historian Vol 1
Daphne Ellis
● NZSG Family Historian Vol 2
Paul Carter
● NZSG Passenger Lists CD        
Lynden Ansell
● NZSG Naval Chronology
Robery Finlay
● NZSG NZ Cemetery Records
Alex Robinson

Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel
● Five nights accommodation

● Charting Companion 1
Melanie Middleton
● Genelines
Delma Moore
● Map my family tree
Barbara Jessiman

Roots Magic
● RootsMagic v7 program (2)
Graham Wilson
Rex Wood

Simon Fowler (author and genealogist)
● Branching out  and Ancestors in Army (10)
Colleen Moore
Christina Mac
Glenda Bennett
Pam Shoebridge
Christine Woods
Brian Jones
Lyn Tocher
Jill Earley
Cathy Owens
● Tracing Naval & Tracing Army (5)
Liam Garrity
Christine Briely
Roger Williams
I Whetton
G Gibson

The Genealogist
● The Genealogist Diamond Personal Premium subscription (2)
Sue Crookston
Dennis Hildreth
● Treeview program (2)
June Castle
Kathy Hill

Thank you again to all our wonderful sponsors. We couldn't do this without you!

Our exhibitors were:
● Ancestry ● ArchivesNZ ● Auckland Libraries ● Auckland War Memorial Museum ● Beehive Books ● Chinese genealogy community ● FamilySearch ● FamNet/Jazz Software ● FindMyPast ● Guild of One Name Studies ● Indian genealogy/West Research Centre, Auckland Libraries ● Mt Roskill-Puketapapa Historical Society ● National Library of New Zealand and PapersPast ● New Zealand Fencible Society Inc
● New Zealand Society of Genealogists Head Office and Interest Groups:
▪ Cornish, ▪ European, ▪ Greater London, ▪ Irish, ▪ Maori, ▪ Midlands & Northern England, ▪ Pacific Island, ▪ Scottish, ▪ South England & East Anglia

Thanks also to all the awesome speakers, exhibitors, volunteers and Auckland Libraries staff, who supported this event.

Happy hunting


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Family Tree Fiction

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Ah, winter. Lovely, lovely winter.

It's almost at an end which is such a shame, because how perfect is winter and a book? Some would say the beach and a book but there is so much potential for disaster there. What if you get wet, and then get covered in sand, and get all this sandy, gritty mess all over the pages, or drop the book in the water-filled moat the kids have made in the sand, or even worse, what if you drop the Kindle? And then the sun glares off the pages, causing huge blind spots in your vision, or you have to wear non-prescription sunglasses and can't see, or you've got sunscreen all over your hands and you touch the pages, and its a library book! Or you spill your vanilla milkshake all over it... No. Too much can go wrong at the beach, way too much. But winter? Winter is perfect for reading on the couch or in bed, on the bus ride home, or at a café with a coffee. Fictional bliss!

On to the family history fiction.

You would not be wrong in assuming from the title "Kissing Mr Wrong" that this is one for those who like romantic comedy in the chick-lit vein. It is indeed. Yet besides the romantic angst and confusion, there is a lovely family history thread running through it with associated mystery to solve.

Set in England, Lu is a 30-something children's book illustrator whose beloved grandmother, Delia, has asked her to find out who her birth parents are. Delia knows she was adopted, she has her father's name and some documentation, and figures all Lu has to do is go on the internet, like they do on the TV shows.

Lu has never been interested in her family history, but as she embarks on a mission to find out who her real great-grandparents are, she finds herself becoming hooked on the research, and the war becomes more and more real to her.

If you're a long-time family historian and know a lot about the First World War, the information may be a bit basic for you, with scenes like the "Mr Wrong" of the story, Nick, teaching Lu how to find the information, and Lu learning details about the war, when she hasn't been all that interested before. But it's such a fun read, as you would expect a romantic-comedy to be. Like the scene where worried grandma Delia, concerned over having to be put under for dental surgery, says to Lu: "It'll be like Death Row, the lethal injection. I'm ninety-two, you know, no good to anyone, I've had my time. They'll want to put me down, save me being a drain on resources." She sighed. "It's probably for the best."

The story is of course all about the budding romance with the confusion, conflict, why Nick is the wrong one for Lu, domestic dramas and happy-ever-after, but the family history thread running through it is most enjoyable. I loved this story.

There are large-print versions floating around the library system, as well as an audio book version.

Family History month continues...

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We're right in the middle of Family History Month here at Auckland Libraries and there are plenty of terrific things going on for a few more weeks yet. Our librarians are still in recuperation mode following the hugely successful and fabulous Family History Expo last weekend (which we'll blog on soon.)
Presentations continue to take place at libraries across Auckland, so check out the library website to see what's on at a place near you.
This weekend Smita Biswas, Team Leader of the West Auckland Research Centre, will be on the Hindi radio station Humm FM (106.2FM) fielding your calls, so check it out on Saturday August 20th where Smita will discuss the value of family history research. Go to the station website for more info.
And this Wednesday August 24th at 12 noon, our lunchtime series features Keith Giles of Sir George Grey Special Collections. Keith will speak on the Carte-de-Visite in New Zealand: a photographic format that dominated family albums in the 1800s. You can book for this, and any other of our upcoming lunchtime talks, on our website here.
Enjoy the rest of family history month, everyone!
Joanne - Central Research

Do Over Your Genealogy

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The Genealogy Do-Over workbook: Get your genealogy and family history research back on track and still have fun! by Thomas MacEntee UNLOCK the past, South Australia, 2016

When placing books on display or returning them to the shelves, you sometimes come across a title that intrigues you, and this is one such booklet. The author decided to put aside all his family history research and start afresh, using material previously unavailable in a variety of formats. He acknowledges that not all readers may want to do this, so he also addresses the person who wants to re-examine their research methods.

Each month is devoted to a particular task. For instance, month one is setting all previous research aside and preparing to do the research, while month five is citing sources and building a research toolbox - and so on. The author takes you through a variety of steps: he provides website addresses and ideas on how to progress your research, questions to ask yourself along the way, and he illustrates these with examples of pitfalls and successes.

Even if you've been researching for a number of years, this book is well worth reading as it shows methods we should be using for our research. We may have fallen into bad habits and aren't necessarily getting the quantity and quality of results that we would be – if we'd employed better habits! The book is easy to read and I'm sure everyone will get something from it – so give it a try. 

Check out the entry on our library catalogue here.

Marie Hickey Central Research Centre

Those Places Thursday: Norsewood - A special settlement

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A few months back, on a day trip around the Hawke's Bay, I happened upon Norsewood, just north of Dannevirke. Norsewood was famous for that line of outdoor clothing Norsewear and appropriately the day I passed through, I could have done with some Norsewear. Wild weather was bashing the North Island, and by the time we left Norsewood it had begun to get dark and the passengers were starting to get a little nervous. We were about to head through the Manawatu Gorge. At night.

The home of Ole Lund and family
Secretly, I thought the advantage of driving through the Manawatu Gorge in the dark was that you couldn't see how far down you'd fall if the car went off the road. It's quite a drop. The other plus was that we were on the side farthest from potential doom, although with the tendency for the gorge to suffer slips, I would never be bold enough to assume I'd get through in one piece, even in daylight.

We had stopped at Norsewood in the freezing, violent wind, to take photos, but  not of anything Norwegian. It was Massey graduation week, and we were having a bit of fun taking pictures wearing graduation robes. It was a quite brilliant idea that had struck me with amazing clarity the day before. Since we were heading up for a tiki tour of Hawke's Bay, why not, I suggested, take our wizard robes and caps, stop off heaps along the way and take pics. It was a great plan until we hit Norsewood. At that point, wrecked by the wind, we lasted about ten seconds standing in front of the Jail sign at the Pioneer Museum before we threw ourselves back in the car, wondering if we'd make it through the Gorge in one piece while dreaming about the fish and chips we were going to have when we got home. Fish is a very Scandinavian thing, although probably more preserved herring than, say, deep fried snapper in batter.

Well. You can imagine how intrigued I was, some weeks later, to be back at the library and to find a book all about Norsewood and its settlers. Quite the co-incidence. Not that I have any claim to Scandinavian ancestry, but if you do, or just have an interest in that part of New Zealand, you'll find heaps to keep you occupied while flipping through the pages of  Norsewood: A Special Settlement by Diane and Terry Kitt.

It's a comprehensive history of the area and the (predominantly) Norwegian and Danish settlers, and it has so much detail. It began as a project by the authors who realised there was a lot of incorrect information on the pioneers, and that they needed to go back to the primary sources to figure out what was the truth. Much of their research relates to the land allotments of the special settlement from 1872 up until around 1930 in the area known as the Seventy Mile Bush.  The 'special settlement' was a government system "whereby immigrant men with families should take up the land, finding part-time employment at road making to tide them over the difficult period until their holdings became productive." Thus the aim was to provide labour to build roads and to settle the bush lands.

The book covers detail not only about the land allotments, but about this new tough life, from the jobs (such as saw milling), the hotels and establishments, the churches, notable identities, to building the railway.  At one point in the 1880s, after nearly a decade of hard work, some settlers had apparently had enough and were planning to abandon the settlement, charter a couple of ships and head to America. You'll also find photos, information sourced from newspapers, and listssuch as a list of all the resident doctors over the decades.

Kudos to the authors for the meticulous work that must have gone into producing all 500 odd pages of the book. Note that their research includes items from the Bush Advocate, the local paper of the time, and that the Bush Advocate can be accessed via Papers Past. I am so going back to Norsewood again to take a better look, and this time, not just to perch outside the old jail for a few gratuitous pics.

Joanne - Central Research Centre.

Motivation Monday: NZ Family History Month at Auckland Libraries

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August is New Zealand Family History Month!

It is an opportunity for us all to celebrate and commemorate our ancestors. To focus on learning and perhaps contributing to the knowledge that helps us to find out more about our personal heritage.

Libraries, archives, museums, heritage/historical societies and genealogy/family history societies around New Zealand are holding tours, events, lectures and workshops.

Auckland Libraries is no exception. Throughout August, there is a programme of events held at about 20 different Auckland Libraries' venues, From family history storytimes for children, to beginners' classes for new researchers, through to advanced classes for those who may have been researching family and/or local history most of their lives.

As well as the different events held in libraries throughout the Auckland region, there is also the Auckland Family History Expo, that Auckland Libraries and the Genealogical Computing Group of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists have organised for the weekend of Friday, 12 August to Sunday, 14 August.

After the Expo, we have another exciting event at Central Library, on Monday, 15 August. Another opportunity to hear our Expo keynote speakers, Dick Eastman and Shauna Hicks, speak on additional topics. Dick on "Genealogy searches on Google" and Shauna on "Skeletons in the Family: Looking at asylum and prison records."

Some researchers may also be interested in events and tutorials our friends at the NZ Society of Genealogists are holding during Family History Months.

August will be a fun-filled, information packed month for keen researchers!

Happy hunting


The wedding church

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I recently heard someone refer to St George’s Anglican Church in Auckland, as being the ‘wedding’ church. I’d been to a funeral once there, a few years back, and thought it was a
pretty amazing historic building with all the wood and the stained glass windows and the old fashioned pews. But I'd never thought of it as a wedding church, and in fact had never realised there was such a thing. Granted, the person who told me this was of an age where she had seen her children married in the kind of weddings that require a PhD in Organisation along with a serious talk with someone at the bank. Barefoot on a beach with a single daisy was never going to cut it with those girls. But for there to be such a thing as a wedding church? My ignorance on such matrimonial matters is clearly appalling.
Thus it was quite a co-incidence when I was checking out the new books here at the Central Research Centre this week, that I saw a copy of  a book celebrating the centenary of St George’s Church in Epsom. Surely this was a sign that I should write about the wedding church. Plus we are still in June, and June is the month of weddings (Juno being the Roman goddess of marriage). I've no doubt the wedding churches of the world are overflowing with marital loveliness right now.

Back to the book. Besides general information on the church and its history (although previous histories were written at the 50th and the 75th anniversaries) for the family historian, the gems lie in the accompanying disc. It lists office holders from 1914-2015 so if you wondered if your Anglican ancestors were on the parish council, then he or she will be named.  It doesn’t provide much more information than names but its a good start or confirmation of info you might have.
The other nice touch, though, is the pdf of the 1953 St George’s Messenger, a charming little publication that gives heaps of parish info for the year. The parish had benefitted from the estate of the late Mr H. Butler to a hundred pounds, and Mrs Partridge was much appreciated for playing the organ and managing the Sunday School. A Coronation
Dance was being planned in June to celebrate Her Majesty's coronation the month before, and a nice tribute was paid to Mr G. Chevis who had 'the remarkable record of over 50 years of continuous choir work, many of which have been spent at St. George's. His choir service has been an inspiration, as there have been few Sundays on which he has not been present twice a day. We offer him our heartfelt sympathy in his illness..." So there are lots of little gems like that within its pages about parishioners.

What caught my eye as I flicked through, though, was the following comment on page seven, about purchasing the property next door.  "In addition to the many present advantages, the parish now has adequate land for a rebuilding scheme, when the time comes in the far distant future for our wooden buildings to  be replaced." The church as we know it was built in 1926. No doubt there are a good number of brides and grooms eternally grateful that the old wooden building wasn't knocked down and replaced.
We have a selection of church histories of all denominations in the research centre, including the St George's Church Golden Jubilee book from 1965. There is so much information in these books, they're worth a browse for any gems you might find, if not for a look at an aspect of New Zealand culture in the early parts of the last century. You can do a search on our catalogue. Just typing in the name of the church in the catalogue will do the trick.

Joanne - Central Research Centre

Tombstone Tuesday: Finding out more about ‘stories on stone’.

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As part of Auckland Libraries’ Family History Lunchtime Series I was able to hear Lyn Whelan speaking on ‘Stories on Stone'. This talk on monumental inscriptions provided a wealth of information about the purposes of the inscriptions, what can be found, and tips for using these in our family history research.

Reynolds Family grave, photographed by James D. Richardson
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC284
Monumental inscriptions have the ability to tell as more about the lives of those they memorialise. For family historians the information to be found can range from names, relatives and dates, to unique historical events and clues to the history of the community. Clues are important; they may not provide us any answers but they can point us in the right direction, towards our next step or to new information on family we already knew about.

Inspired by Lyn’s talk I spent time looking into monumental inscriptions of my own family.

Using the Auckland Council page of cemetery databases as a starting point for those who I knew lived in Auckland proved fruitful, as did more specific searches for relatives where I knew the name of the cemetery.

Auckland Libraries has a wealth of information about cemeteries in Auckland, and further afield. Coming into one of our Research Centres opens the door to a wide range of resources and indexes of cemeteries, as well as the help of our knowledgeable staff when your search hits a wall.

My journey into discovering more about my relatives leads me to the next step of visiting their final resting places in Pukekohe. I am lucky enough to still live in Auckland where many of my relatives are buried. Those who would have to travel further afield may find that the wealth of headstone transcriptions and photos now online and in the library provide them with a similar experience. For everyone monumental inscriptions provide us with the ability to use the information we find as the next clues for discovering more about our families and the world they lived in.

The Close Family, photographed by James D. Richardson, 1890-1899
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC334
Monumental inscriptions for Symonds St Cemetery can be found in our Family History eResources and Databases.

Some photographs of headstones can be found in our Heritage Images database, and there are other photographs that haven't been digitised yet, that can be ordered from Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Central Auckland Research Centre has a large number of monumental inscription and tombstone transcription books available for a wide range of countries.

For those that missed out on Lyn’s talk, or who want to look further, can also find videos of a number of talks that took place during New Zealand Cemeteries' Heritage Week on our website.

Be sure to come along to the Family History Lunchtime Series for 2016 at Central City Library: more information about the talks and booking your place can be found at the link.

Happy researching


Carrying on at the homefront

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As the introduction to this lovely little book says, the history of the Second World war continues to horrify and fascinate us, and often leaves us wondering - how would I have coped? What would I have done?
The British Home Front Pocket-book is a mix of official documentation from the second world war that covers aspects of life from rationing, to how to build an air raid shelter, conscription, the uses of radio and TV, to how to deal with an incendiary bomb in the street. 
On the latter, the advice if the bomb has landed in an unsafe place is to pick up a sandbag (placed in doorways and at lamp posts for just this sort of thing), approach the bomb, place the sandbag on it (don't throw it, whatever you do), then run!

The author has taken leaflets and official publications such as The Evacuation Leaflet, Public Information Leaflet No. 3 issued in July 1939:
There are still a number of people who ask "What is the need for all this business about evacuation? Surely if war comes it would be better for families to stick together and not go breaking up their homes?"...If we were involved in war, our big cities might be subjected to determined attacks from the air-at any rate in the early stages-and although our defences are strong and are rapidly growing stronger, some bombers would undoubtedly get through.... one of the first measures we can take to prevent this is the removal of the children from the more dangerous areas.

On the chapter covering Air Raids: "Your Home as an air raid shelter" (Issued by the Ministry of Home Security, 1940) offers practical suggestions:
"There are three ways in which you can provide your household with shelter. First, you can buy a ready-made shelter to bury or erect in the garden. Secondly, you can have a shelter of brick and concrete built into or attached to the house. Thirdly, you can improve the natural protection given by your house by forming a "refuge room."  The first two of these generally give better protection against bomb splinters than the third but cost more."

From "The British Home Front Pocket-Book 1940-1942"
This is a fascinating little book to have a browse through. There is only one copy on Auckland Libraries catalogue, and it's a reference only copy at the Central Research Centre. You'll find it on the shelf along with plenty of books that detail this period of England's history, memories that still live on with some of our families today.