Archive for 2017

Convict Tattoos: Marked Men and Women of Australia

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"For a country devoid of possessions, deprived of family, stripped of identity and sentenced to hard labour in an unfamiliar land, a tattoo provided a link with what had been lost."
Tattoos were once the mark of crims and the navy, and indeed it is interesting to learn that in colonial Australia, convicts viewed their tattoos as a kind of link to their old world.
A new book to come into Auckland Libraries is this intriguing background on the tattoos of convicts in Australia - Convict Tattoos by Simon Barnard.
Many convicts came from the UK tattooed, and these were recorded as they arrived in Australia, as a way of identifying the individual.
Names and dates were popular, but also initials, symbolic images of religious belief and patriotism, along with good old decoration. Both men and women were tattooed and one of the most popular images was the anchor, often used to signify hope, and, with the added cross, hope in salvation.  Convict Sydney Harris had the word 'hope', an anchor, his initials, and the year of his conviction tattooed.
Indeed, those who didn't possess tattoos posed more of a challenge for those in authority, who would list physical details in the register of convicts in the Black Books.
One prisoner, Isaac Comer, had his tattoos written about in The Mercury (Hobart) July 5 1871 as follows:
"Yesterday a prisoner named Isaac Comer, who has a string of convictions against his name quite appalling, but who after a long prison life has been at liberty since 1857, has his body nearly covered with marks indelibly tatooed into the skin. The following almost incredible list of such marks should, we imagine, leave no doubt as to his identity should he at any future time be required; - on his right arm - man smoking a pistol; SC; woman with glass; Jane Bell; woman and man smoking a pipe (etc)
It is possible, according to the author, that once in the colonies, because of the surveillance on the convicts via tattoo, getting tattooed wasn't as popular as it was back home.
This is a fascinating and easy read, and puts a whole new perspective on the significance of tattoos in the past. There are heaps of images, although the images of pieces of tattooed skin may, for the squeamish of us, be best skipped over - especially those pieces not attached to an actual body(!)
Note that there are borrowable copies within Auckland Libraries.
Joanne
Central Research

Not Just Auckland

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Over the years when I've attended conferences and family history fairs, I've been interested to hear how many people associate Auckland Libraries with just having material relating to Auckland, and nowhere else.
We have a range of material in all of our collections that covers other parts of New Zealand, as well as overseas, and by not considering what is on offer, you may miss out on some treasure we have that other libraries do not.
http://discover.elgar.govt.nz/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1808235?lang=eng


For instance, with regard to Otago we have a series of books that were published in the 1980s covering events in Otago 1901-35 titled Otago Cavalcade … The series is divided into approximately five-year sections and are filled with photographs from the Otago Witness and Otago Daily Times newspapers.  While the reproduction of photographs is not always wonderful, they are still worth looking at as they include buildings no longer in existence among other things. The war years naturally cover events occurring at home and overseas.  Other events included that are not Otago-specific, are the funeral of King George V, the Boer War, Napier earthquake, and the return of Scott’s Terra Nova to New Zealand.  However, the majority of images are relevant to Otago, such as schools, churches, celebrations, buildings and homes of note, floods in the region, delegates at conferences, to day-to-day life.
Apart from photographs, there's a short piece on events throughout the year followed by a list of principal events.  Each year is covered individually and photographs are separated into annual divisions accordingly.

http://discover.elgar.govt.nz/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1848173?lang=eng

A great find for those interested in Otago. Check out the catalogue for a complete list of our holdings of the Otago Cavalcade - the good news is there are borrowable copies so you can take home an issue, and have a good read.
Marie
Central Research Centre


What I did on my holidays – stories to consider for future generations

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We’re at that time of year when the children have returned to school and no doubt have been subjected by their teachers to write a story about what they did on their holidays, just as we were at their age.

This got me thinking about the type of holidays I had as a child and how we should write/share these memories with the younger generation.  Yes, they may think how old fashioned we were and roll their eyes at yet another story but if we write the memories down they will be there for the future when they appreciate what we have to share.  Here are some of my memories to give you some ideas.


A day at the beach involved taking some old bath towels (we didn’t have beach towels until later), perhaps a picnic lunch (remember the sand in your sandwiches?), some sunscreen that probably did no good at all - the preferred brand being Coppertone and the toys of the day.  By toys I mean polysterene kickboards and later a longer “surfboard”, perhaps plastic flippers and goggles, frisbee, metal bucket and spade later made of plastic and maybe a ball – some kids had inflatable beach balls.


Our beach-wear would usually be cotton tops and shorts with bare feet or jandals perhaps sandals for the adults.  Swimming togs/costume in the late 1950s-1960s may have been something of cotton and later thickish bri-nylon (probably not too far removed from the knitted costumes of the 1920s for thickness); which by the 1970s became skimpy bikinis or budgie smugglers for men.  I remember having to wear a sunhat and women usually also wore a rubber swimming cap into the water to keep their hair dry.  These were rather tight and it often hurt when you tried to get your hair forced under this ugly headpiece – some had a lighter rubber cap similar to what professional swimmers use today.


Trips to the farm would involve old clothing and gumboots.  I remember being taught to milk by hand but later a machine came into use.  Going around on the back of the tractor to feed hay to the cows; making mash to feed the hens and collecting the eggs and “helping” to bring the cows in for milking.  I say “helping” as I’m sure that when we were quite young we were more of a hindrance than a help.

Staying with relatives often involved a long car journey as cars travelled more slowly and roads were not what they are today; many being unsealed and windy.  You would fill the car up with comics and books – for a while there were small comics you could buy at the petrol station and it wouldn’t be a real trip unless you got caught with a farmer moving his flock of sheep or herd of cattle.  Then you would get stuck behind a caravan (they were towed by cars) that was either plodding down the road or being driven so fast that the caravan was swaying all over the road.


Auckland Libraries have a wide range of books full of illustrations of clothing, past-times, scenes (don’t forget that our surroundings have changed as well), household implements etc and of course, there is the internet as well – maybe there are clips of old favourite TV programmes just warn the children that there is nothing wrong with the computer, the world was black and white in the “olden days”.  Something fun you could try is putting together a zine (like a mini magazine of just a few pages) and perhaps the children could help you.

Marie

Captain Swing and his riots in 1830s England

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If you had an ancestor who was working on the land in the 1830s in England there is a chance that they were involved in the Swing Riots.  These started in the Elham Valley in Kent and quickly spread amongst the rural workers of the south and East Anglia.  The unrest was caused by a number of reasons – machinery taking jobs from men, farmers offering lower wages, payment of tithes to the Church of England whether or not you were a member.  Threatening letters were sent to those who were considered in a position to resolve the situation signed by “Captain Swing” who was fictitious.  If the warning was ignored it was followed by destruction of threshing machines, their engines, attacks on workhouses and tithe barns and later turned to burning hay ricks and other arsonist attacks.


If caught, the rioters faced imprisonment, transportation or execution.  Of the 2000 (approx.) rioters who were caught 252 were sentenced to death (only 19 were hanged), 644 imprisoned and 481 transported.


There is a brief article on-line about the riots at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_Riots
or http://www.historyhome.co.uk/peel/ruralife/swing.htm

In the 1990s Jill Chambers wrote a series of books about the Swing Riots looking at individual counties and how the riots effected the population of that particular county etc.  These books are well researched including information on all aspects of the “riots” for instance each person charged is listed with the charge, age, sentence and 1841 census transcription (if found).  Events in the county are diarised, trial transcripts, claims for rewards and so it goes on.

Auckland Libraries holds Jill’s books for Kent, Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Hampshire as well as Michael Holland’s book Swing Unmasked: the agricultural riots of 1830 to 1832 and their wider implications which is available in print (reference copy and one borrowable copy) and CD.

You may find a family member who was involved in this important event in English history but even if they were not caught they may have participated and these books give you an insight into life for rural workers at a tumultuous time in history.

Marie
Central Research Centre

Back in the day: The ways we died

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This was an interesting post from a few years back that we thought you'd enjoy again.

An interesting little read on our shelves is the book 'Til death us do part : causes of death 1300-1948.

As the author Janet Few says in the introduction, “One thing that all but our most recent ancestors have in common is that they are dead.”

This small but fulsome book discusses the many possibilities of our ancestor’s deaths. The cancers and heart disease that end our lives today were much more difficult to diagnose until the twentieth century and the lifestyles of our ancestors made them less prone to contacting them. Instead, they could look forward to famines, epidemics and infectious diseases.

http://www.traveldarkly.com/plague-pits-london/

Few describes the different kinds of plague that could be experienced and their symptoms’…hard dry boils, particularly in the groin or armpits and it normally took three days to die.’ A range of preventatives included what was known as a ‘tuzzy muzzy’ , a bunch of herbs to warn off the bad smells, and urinating on a mixture of yarrow, tansy and feverfew, and then drinking the strained liquid.

The Seventeenth century plague doctor www.medievalists.net

Work related diseases led to the demise of many of our ancestors. Tuberculosis, also referred to as consumption, phthisis, decline or the white plague, was a product of urban poverty, poor nutrition, and work conditions. It was very infectious, with late teenagers often the victims.

Occupations determined certain ailments in their workers. Examples are: knife grinder’s asthma, Mad hatters’ disease (mercury poisoning, which was often contracted by those working in the hat industry), and fossy jaw (caused from ingesting phosphorous; the disease of the match girls).

The names of these diseases are intriguing in themselves. Summer madness, also known as St Anthony’s fire, Sacred fire or Invisible fire, because the skin turned black as if burnt, was common in times of bad harvest when poorer quality crops were eaten.

The green disease, or chlorosis, also known as the virgin’s disease as it was prevalent in teenage girls, was blamed on tight corsets and studying too hard with matrimony frequently prescribed as a cure.

War was responsible for the deaths of many of our ancestors, with the armed forces far more likely to die of disease than in combat. In the Crimean War only one in six casualties died in battle.

www.medievalists.net

Being a wife was a dangerous profession with between five and ten percent of all mothers dying in childbirth until the mid-nineteenth century. The list of options was grim: childbed fever, blood loss, and toxemia. Abortions were illegal and therefore dangerous.

In the days before Health & Safety, our ancestors drowned in wells, were burnt by open fires, fell off horses and ladders and suffered frequent bouts of food poisoning caused by a lack of refrigeration and the foraging for food in woods and hedgerows.  Although our health is better and we are vaccinated against the very things that blighted our ancestor’s lives, we do manage to die in ways they could never imagine.

Bridget Simpson

“ ’ello, ‘ello, ‘ello” - NZ Police Gazettes

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The NZ Police Gazettes (Wellington series) have now been digitised and are available for viewing on the Archway website.  While these are the National Headquarters (Wellington) set, they include occurrences from all over New Zealand.


In order to access these files type New Zealand Police Gazettes into the search box on Archway’s home page and click “search”
2. Now click on the “go” button to the right of the 909 line
3. At the results page at the bottom of the screen are the number of pages.  Change the number 1 to 7 and then click the >> button
4. Scroll down and you will see the gazettes 1878 (vol 2) onwards to 1945 have “view or download digitised record” beneath each record – click on this for whichever year you wish to view.
5. Then click on “New Zealand Police Gazette … vol…
6. Click on view or download digitised record

To view 1877 vol.1 you need to do the following –
Step 1 as above
2. click “go” to right of 23 ….. series of records
3. Scroll down to Police gazettes [record group] (17653) 1861-1930
4. Click Go to associated records
5. Scroll down to New Zealand Police Gazette vol.1
6. Click on view or download digitised record
NOTE: you will see volumes for Otago above the Wellington vol.1 but there is currently no index for these.

Each volume is indexed but a word of caution: there is a general index which is then followed by Discharged Prisoners, Index convicted prisoners later became Persons summarily convicted (1903 onward), and index to prisoner's photographs (1908 onward) – photographs may be separate from main section.  If you are looking for someone who was in the police force, then look under “Police” in the general index not the person’s name. 

You will find information about victims, men absconding and not paying maintenance for wives and children, perpetrators of crime (broken down into types of crime), deserters (military), missing friends, and rewards offered.  My grandfather had his bicycle stolen in Christchurch in 1930 and the gazette gives a very full description of the cycle down to the type of pedals; I don’t think he got it back though.  Descriptions of criminals give height, hair and eye colour, complexion, nose chin, mouth and remarks such as previous convictions, tattoos, scars etc.

Just a word of warning though, you may find family members accused of crimes you would rather not know about – entries still have the power to shock and disgust even from the distance of time.


Archives New Zealand have an information sheet about these books at
http://archives.govt.nz/sites/default/files/Police_Gazettes.pdf
Here is a blog on the subject
The New Zealand Genealogist magazine has articles in Nov/Dec 2008, Nov/Dec 2010 and Jan/Feb 2011 issues

Marie
Central Research Centre

86th anniversary - Napier earthquake

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Eighty-six years ago today on the 3rd of February 1931 at 10.47 am, New Zealand’s deadliest earthquake struck the Hawkes Bay. Centered 15kms north of Napier, it lasted for two and a half minutes and measured magnitude 7.8. Napier was levelled and at least 258 people were killed.

Showing central Napier in ruins after the 1931 earthquake 
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 248-11

Thirteen-year-old Cecil O’Halloran and her sister Joy lived with their parents, Ivy and Kevin, on the Napier hills, in Brewster Street. Their house was built by Ivy’s builder father, Thomas Bailey, as a wedding present for his daughter.

When the earthquake struck, Ivy was at home. It was fortunate she'd just left the laundry for the kitchen as the only damage to the house was from the chimney crumbling down on to it.
Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Special Collections has digitised a view of the city taken before and after the earthquake. The house that Thomas built for Ivy and Kevin is in the foreground, second house from the right in the photos below. In the first one you can see it has a chimney, which has gone in the second photo.

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19310311-49-1
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19310311-49-2

Meanwhile, Cecil and Joy were at school. At 13, Cecil was a bit too old to be on a see-saw but she was playing that game where you try to bounce the other girl off. To her indignation, Cecil was roughly thrown to the ground, soon realising that it wasn’t her playmate’s doing as the ground undulated beneath her. Her convent school survived pretty much intact but the nuns were sure it was more than an earthquake when they raced to the convent’s graveyard crying, 'Armageddon'! The girls had to camp overnight at school and it wasn’t until the next day, when her parents came to collect her, that Cecil realised that they too were okay.

Cecil eventually died in her eighties from Alzheimer’s but the Napier earthquake was one memory that lasted with her, almost to the end.

Bridget

Wednesday's Child: Those beloved childhood books

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Over the holiday period many of you will have been catching up with family and friends, talking about old times etc or you may have been doing some family history research on the rainy days.

I was researching a branch of my family when I found an artist of some renown who produced
humorous illustrations of animals which reminded me of the pictures in books I read as a young child.  Consequently, this got me thinking about the type of books I read that children probably don’t read these days and how these and the household goods we had would be completely foreign to children now so we should be including these in anything we write about our past.
Therefore, I’m going to indulge myself and here are some of the books I read (4-7 years)–some you may know but I hope it reminds you of some of your favourite books from childhood. 
Books by Willy Schermelé. In fact, a search on the internet shows that I had several books by this author–Teddy Tar in Fairyland, Tubby and Tootsie, Winkie and Brownie Bright Eyes, Winkie and Wolly Wopsie.  Turns out that these are now all collectible so must check the condition of my copies.


I also enjoyed the Angus series about a Scottish terrier

Another favourite about a dog was Harry who destroyed a jersey with roses on it in one book and turned from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots in Harry the Dirty Dog. I also enjoyed the Orlando series. Several French books I loved were the Jeanne-Marie series, the Happy Lion, series and who could forget Madeline?


Finally, a couple of stories set in China that I enjoyed were -



I hope this may have triggered memories of books read to you, or by you, as a young child.

Marie
Central Research Centre

The Best of 2016 - the new PapersPast

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Bridget tells us one of her highlights for 2016 - the new format for that indispensible family history aid, Papers Past.

One of the highlights for me was the new format for PapersPast that was introduced by the National Library.
PapersPast has always been intuitive to use but the way it's set up now makes it even more so. Also, the loveliest thing is having on the same site access to the databases Magazines and Journals, Letters and Diaries and the Parliamentary Papers. The way it has been formatted makes it easier to see more of the Māori content in newspapers and magazines. It also means that if you were unaware of these other resources, they are there on the home page, easy to click on and explore.
Te Ao Hou/The New World, Maori Affairs Department, 1952-1975
The Newspaper section contains digitised NZ and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries. If you are wishing to make a specific search, you will have a more rewarding experience if you use Search Articles using the different sections to limit your search.

The Magazines and Journals section contains digitised New Zealand journal publications. Each magazine and journal has its own page containing information about the publication, including the date range available online. Well worth exploring if you haven't visited lately.

Bridget - Central Research

The Best of 2016 - Brad Argent, DNA and Identity

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Brad Argent (Ancestry) gave a talk in October at the Central Library on DNA.  The talk came after the Family History Expo in Auckland, and was focused on the science of identity. As Brad said, DNA testing is no longer "just" a tool to help you work out your family history. It is so much more than that and it brings with it potential issues.
He posed some thought-provoking questions:
Does the absence of something in you change who you are, and how you see yourself? For example, if you grew up in a Maori community, and saw yourself as Maori, then get a genetic result back that says you're not Maori... do you stop being Maori overnight? He talked about the memetic self  - that is, the part of you made up of those "things" passed down to you through your culture, your family, and the family stories.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6DmJLdvDeE&feature=youtu.be
What, he asked, happens when you've grown up hearing stories but learn you are not biologically connected to them? Do they just go away?
Likewise, if you learn you're adopted and want to find out who your parents are, does that then negate all the family stories your adoptive parents gave you, that you grew up with, that have shaped who you are?
Someone raised the point in the talk about the security of your DNA with the firms that test it. Brad asked the question: what is your responsibility with your DNA and the information contained in it, that could affect a whole lot of people?
I could go on and on, but take a listen (or a re-listen) to this fascinating talk yourself on YouTube.
The talk is captioned, and you can check out other speakers from the Auckland Libraries Lunchtime series on our website here.
DNA is an incredible new tool but also with an unknown future. Brad made the point that we no longer build up our identity over years and years of painstaking research, microfiche-by-microfiche, card-by-card, record-by-record. Now we spit in a tube, six or eight weeks later click on a button, and suddenly we are, potentially, someone else. A lot to think about in the amazing world of family history research.


Joanne - Central Research

The Best of 2016 - He manu hou ahau, he pi ka rere

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Continuing our series on Family History - The Best of 2016. Here's Maata, our Maori Reference Librarian, with her "best of."
He manu hou ahau, he pi ka rere – I am a chick just learning to fly
The above Maori proverb describes my recent experience as a new staff member at Te Kohinga Rangahau o Tamaki Makaurau - Auckland Research Centre, aptly. Albeit perplexing at times, my seven months navigation of the research centre and its environs, the nearby stacks, the library basement and the Sir George Grey Special Collections has been very rewarding. Also discovering the depth and breadth of the cultural and historical material within the numerous collections held on the Heritage floor has been inspiring. As an unwitting fledgling, now airborne, I feel very honoured to be a kaitiaki/guardian of this extremely important environment that is rich with the cultural heritage of Aotearoa-New Zealand, the Pacific and Great Britain. I would like to share some of the highlights of this wonderful journey.
Hinemihi: Firstly, locating information about the Whare tipuna Hinemihi of Te Arawa was emotive but enormously worthwhile. This treasured Whare Tipuna was uprooted from Aotearoa/NZ and relocated to England by William Hillier, 4th Earl of Onslow, a colonial Governor of New Zealand during the late 1800s. He purchased the meeting house as fond memorabilia of Aotearoa, to take back to his family home in England. There are many books in Auckland Libraries on Hinemihi, along with a blog post from Heritage et Al.


Hinemihi meeting house at Te Wairoa. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 8. Ref: PAColl-6075-19. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22821942


Piuipiu:  I also responded to an international enquiry from Utah regarding the current status of the Piupiu in Aotearoa. The art of piupiu making is thriving in Aotearoa and is being upheld by custodians such as Hetet whanau, Christina Wirihana and many others. Traditional and contemporary piupiu making techniques are currently used, and a number of Maori Art and Craft training providers throughout Aotearoa provide piupiu making as a part of their curriculum. Furthermore, piupiu are worn at the official Matatini Kapa Haka Festival which is a major New Zealand event 
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 471-9724' 




Waihorotiu: An enquiry by a local artist concerning Te Waihorotiu revealed some very interesting information about this tipuna arawai/ancestral waterway of Ngati Whatua, now known as the Ligar canal. This, too, was an emotive research experience and one I aim to explore further in 2017. Check out the following online links from Auckland Libraries' digital database for more information about this historic Auckland waterway.


'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-400



Awheto: An Iwi based research enquiry regarding Awheto or the Vegetable Caterpillar fungus was also fascinating. The numerous Maori names given to it (awato, awheto, hawato, hawhato, horuhoru, hotete, ngutara, and nutara) certainly add to the mystery of this most unusual fungus. Unfortunately the Porina moth is prey to this unforgiving species. 
Transactions New Zealand Institute, Vol. XXVII, Pl. VIII



Maata - Central Research





The Best of 2016 - Arctic Discoveries and NZ Connections

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Here's another Family History Best of 2016, this time from Marie:


One of the highlights of 2016 for me was the discovery of HMS Terror in the Arctic.  The Terror was sister ship to HMS Erebus and both sank in the 1840s while on an exploration voyage to find the North-west passage.  While it is thought that they came close to discovering the passage, it was the subsequent voyages that went in search of the lost ships that mapped much of Upper Canada and the Arctic Circle.
"Erebus" and "Terror" in New Zealand, August 1841, by John Wilson Carmichael (Public domain)
Erebus is, of course well-known to New Zealanders as being the site of the largest airline fatality in New Zealand and at the time it was said that everyone either knew someone on the flight or knew of someone who had a direct link.  For me, I had distant relatives and a friend’s brother who lost their lives but my link also goes back to the original ships as my three times great-grandmother’s brother served on both ships – Erebus on her voyage of discovery to the Antarctic with Sir James Clark Ross’ expedition when the mountains were named, and Terror where he served on board as cook.  His name is immortalised along with others from the latter expedition on the Franklin memorial at Waterloo Place, London (near St James’ Park).Some may not realise but the ships also called in to New Zealand on their way to the Antarctic in 1841.

The loss of these ships has generated many theories as to what happened to the crews, and as a consequence, a number of books have been written theorising what may or may not have happened. Erebus was discovered on 2 September 2014 and Terror was found two years later on 12 September 2016.  This year, 2016, there was also some talk about having a national memorial for those who lost their lives on the fated Air New Zealand flight as 28 November 2019 will mark 40 years since that fateful flight. Here are some links with video of the ships underwater and books held at Auckland Libraries if you are interested in learning more about the ships and their fated voyage.

Parks Canada website for HMS Erebus (includes video)

Independent newspaper – discovery of HMS Terror (includes video)

Books:
Franklin's lost ship: the historic discovery of HMS Erebus by John Geiger and Alanna
Harper Collins Publishers Ltd 2015 

Frozen in time: the fate of the Franklin expedition by Owen Beattie & John Geiger
Greystone Books 2014

Franklin: tragic hero of polar navigation by Andrew Lambert; Faber, 2009






Marie Hickey - Central Research