Archive for 2012

Follow Friday: Heritage et AL

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The Central Auckland Research Centre belongs to the Heritage and Research unit within Auckland Libraries.

Followers of this blog, may have noticed that a new blog called Heritage et AL was started back in May of this year. (- A wee play on words on the et al = and Auckland Libraries?)

This blog has loads to contribute in the way of Heritage news, not just about Auckland Libraries' collections, but also news from the Heritage sector, written by heritage specialists from across the Auckland region.

So if you aren't following Heritage et AL yet, I recommend its worth you having a look!

Lots of interesting stuff in there, which may help you with your own family history research!

Happy hunting


Just in time for the holidays . . .

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My two favourite subscriptions websites have just launched some lovely new resources in time for the holidays.

Ancestry invite you to unlock your family secrets this Christmas, and have launched New South Wales Police Gazettes 1854-1930 collection and added 120,000 new records to the New South Wales, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930 collection.

FindMyPast's December newsletter announced the exciting news that they'd added thousands of new British Army and service pension records, which include attestation forms and discharge papers.

So some lovely new resources to get our teeth into!

Don't forget, Auckland Libraries provides free access to all at every one of its 55 libraries and 4 research centres across the Auckland region. If your community library has WiFi, you can also access both websites using your laptop - just ask your friendly librarian!

Happy hunting


Tombstone Tuesday: Richard Leneham, Waikumete Cemetery

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Heritages Images database
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC255
Showing the grave and tombstone of Richard Leneham in the Roman Catholic section of Waikumete Cemetery.

The inscription reads:

Of your charity pray for the repose of the soul of Richard Leneham who departed this life 12th September 1894 aged 56 years

Manuscript Monday: Old Colonials Association Register

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Early this year we blogged about how the Old Colonists Association Register images had been digitised and were now available for viewing online by searching our Manuscripts Online database.

We've now made the images even easier to find by adding them to the entries in Index Auckland. So now, if you find mention of someone in Index Auckland, who belonged to the Old Colonists Association, the image will also be attached there as well!

We have other blogs that tell you more about Index Auckland and our related database the New Zealand Card Index.

Happy hunting


Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, and the United States from FamilySearch

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FamilySearch Adds New Collections from Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, and the United States

Great news from FamilySearch - updates from Canada, Germany, Italy, Peru and the US. For us here in New Zealand, Probate Records have been added!

New Zealand, Probate Records, 1860-1961


Digital images of probate records from the Archives of New Zealand. The records were created by local courts throughout New Zealand regions. An index is available on the Archives of New Zealand website ( which will give the probate file number associated with a name. Some records at the beginning of the file sets are often out of numerical order. This collection is being published as images become available.
So we just search the index on Archway - then find the browsable image on FamilySearch and voila!

Happy hunting


Dare to Explore: Auckland Libraries' summer reading adventure!

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This year the Central Auckland Research Centre is excited to be taking an active part in Auckland Libraries’ Dare to Explore summer reading adventure for 5-13 year olds.

Children on the Dare to Explore programme complete a number of challenges ranging from jandal throwing to fishing for books. Part of the aim is to have children coming into the libraries around the Auckland region to have fun, increase their love of reading and feel comfortable as library users.

There are six lists of challenges. The children need to do their home library challenges but have the option to complete the challenges from the lists of the other five; Geyserland, Wild and Windy; Sunny Sounds, Coast to Coast; and Bottom of the South.

They get a passport that is stamped when a challenge is completed and a party to go to when they have completed their home library’s challenges.

We decided that it would be fun (and appropriate) for us to have the crest making challenge, with inspiration coming from our many books on Heraldry and Crests.

Marie has created a cabinet full of different kinds of crests from people such as Sir Edmund Hillary and Catherine Middleton (now the Duchess of Cambridge) and pictures of Heralds and Knights in full attire, and we plan to have tables with art materials for the children to make their own.

Each branch has to do their own challenge, taken from the lists, and the Central Auckland Research Centre decided to do find out who the NZ Prime Minister was in the year that you were born.

Come in and see the wonderful colourful timeline that Sam has done, with pictures. Staff in the Research Centre plan to put our own names by the Prime Minister in power at the time of our births (due to our demographic, most of us will be down in the first cabinet - not in the second containing Lange up to Key).

Come and see us! We love having children come to visit us in the Research Centre.


Treasure Chest Thursday: Index Auckland

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In our Digital Library, Index Auckland is a rich resource of history, art, theatre, film and music references sourced from Auckland area newspapers and journal articles.

The music references provide a comprehensive overview of the musical history of New Zealand and include:

  • music in Auckland scrapbooks from 1890 to 1930
  • New Zealand music scrapbooks from 1960 to 1995
  • music programme collection
  • various journal articles, performance reviews, and newspaper clippings from the New Zealand music vertical file. The local history, biography and family history references include:
  • Auckland scrapbooks 1923 to 1994
  • New Zealand scrapbooks 1916 to 1975
  • obituary scrapbooks 1933 to 1941 and 1949 to 1979
  • pioneer women's roll of honour, Auckland province
  • Maori electoral rolls for the North Island, 1919
  • Auckland city area suburban newspapers, particularly from 1996.

Tombstone Tuesday: Reverend James McDonald

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Heritage Images database
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC252'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Reverend James McDonald in St Patrick's Cemetery, Panmure.

The inscription, in English reads: Of your charity pray for the repose of the soul of the Very Reverend James McDonald Vicar General who for 38 years laboured in the Diocese of Auckland and was devoted to the Maoris who raised this monument to his memory.

He died at Purakau Hokianga July 6th 1890 aged 63 years. May he rest in peace.

The inscription in Maori reads:
I runga I ngakau aroha inoi atu ki tu atua kia takoto pai te wairua o Hakopa Meketanara Wikario Henerari 38 nga tau i mahi ai ia i tana mahi karakia i roto i te tiehehi o akarana me tana aroha nui ano hoki ki nga Maori. Na ratou nei tenei kohutu i whakaara hei tohu whakamaharatanga ki a ia. I mate ia ki Purakau i Hokianga i te 6 o nga ra o Hurei 63 o nga tau. Kiaokioki ia i runga i te rangimarie

Shalom! Happy Hanukkah!

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Jewish ancestry?

Why New Zealand? Some had heard of Australia but New Zealand? 
For me it was absolutely the right decision – there was no where further away from Germany...”
- Hansi Silberstein in Promised New Zealand

 The eight-day Jewish holiday, Hanukkah (the festival of lights) is celebrated this week, in commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

This year, Hanukkah runs from Saturday December 8th until sunrise on December 15th and while there has never been a large Jewish population in New Zealand, there are certainly resources to help you start your research if you think you may be able to lay claim to Jewish ancestry.

Gary Mokotoff’s Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy (we have the 2011 edition in our collection) is recommended by New York’s Museum of Jewish heritage (and their website).

Mokotoff shows how you can trace ancestry on line and he describes a search he conducted on a family (going back 200 years) using familiar sites such as with its Ellis Island databases.

While Kiwi Jewish ancestors are less likely to have travelled via Ellis Island, in our collection we do have several books to mull through, such as guides to cemeteries and how to read headstones (in Auckland, both Symonds Street and Waikumete have Jewish sections), and especially relevant to our country, stories of post World War 1 Jewish immigration (such as Freya Klier’s Promised New Zealand.)

Interestingly, a couple of our prime ministers can lay claim to Jewish roots– Sir Julius Vogel was a practicing Jew, and John Key has Jewish ancestry via his mother, an Austrian immigrant.

If you’re looking for aids to begin your research, use the Central Auckland Research Centre call number on the catalogue, which is... 1 GEN REL JEW.

Bring on the potato latkes and Mazel Tov in anticipation of some excellent finds.


FRIDAY SHOWCASE: New Zealand Card Index

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Our Digital Library contains the valuable gem: The New Zealand Card Index which began in the 1950s and closed in 1996. It indexes a range of sources including local and national newspapers, New Zealand periodicals, books and scrapbooks.

The digital version of the New Zealand Card Index provides keyword access to local history, biographical and family history references from sources such as:

  • Auckland scrapbooks (1923 to 1994)
  • New Zealand scrapbooks (1916 to 1975)
  • Obituary scrapbooks (1933 to 1941, 1949 to 1979)
  • the New Zealand Herald
  • the Auckland Star
  • Auckland area suburban newspapers before November 1996.
The main geographical focus is Auckland, but other New Zealand material is also included.

Subject-wise, the database focuses on people, places and organisations. The index includes references to information on Auckland buildings, businesses and places, plus references to obituaries, death notices and marriage notices for 1877 to 1886. 

See also the related database Index Auckland.

FRIDAY SHOWCASE: The Bush Index, Auckland City Council History Index

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If you have someone in your family who was a Mayor or Councillor or senior official in Auckland City between 1870 and the 1970s, then The Bush Index is for you. 

 It provides references to newspaper articles, mostly the NZ Herald, and to Auckland City Council Minute Books

This database can also assist with information about local parks and other public services. 

Note that this only covers the old Auckland City boundaries, that is just the north eastern, central business district and north western pieces of the Auckland isthmus. 

The southern pieces only became part of the new Auckland City Council from 1989.

David Verran

Church histories as family history resources

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The local church has been a feature of the New Zealand landscape for decades but that landscape is changing as dwindling congregations are forcing churches to reconsider the practicality of staying viable.

A church in point was the recent  sale of Castor Bay Presbyterian on Auckland’s North Shore .  The ageing membership combined with decreasing numbers meant the congregation had to make the decision that it could no longer stay open. 

The process of selling the church was in this case simplified by there being no graves on site, nor historical/heritage classifications on the buildings.

While the parish itself may no longer exist,  there are, fortunately for the family history researcher, memories that have been compiled by parishioners over the years. Castor Bay Presbyterian is one such church. 

In 1983 it published a brief history, “Fifty Years in Good Soil” which related the history of the church up until that point, while harking back to the 1930s when the Rev Morgan Richards, a retired Presbyterian minister began an unofficial ministry to the residents.

Christ Church, Russell, the oldest church in New Zealand with
gravestones and monument to Tamati Waka Nene.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-6159

While your ancestors may have had no devout affiliation with a denomination that you are aware of, it is possible they may have had a connection to the local church, given it was such a social as well as spiritual focus of the time. So don’t discount church publications when you’re trying to track down family.

These histories are often written by the parishioners of the time,  and can include a wealth of local information on dates and events within that community.

Here in the Central Auckland Research Centre, we have a good selection of church histories shelved in the 285s on the open shelves. Just ask us at the desk if you're not sure where to look.


New Zealand Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary 1863 to 1871


In 2006, Auckland Libraries launched the Armed Constabulary of New Zealand 1867 – 1877 database on its website
This identified 3,281 members of the Constabulary from 1867 to 1871, including the Native (Maori) Constabulary, and was researched over many years by John Binsley. 

John has now expanded his research to identify 12,710 men who served in the Militia or Volunteers. 

Not every Militia member is covered, as the capitation rolls are incomplete, and those rolls contain only those who attended quarterly parades and other related events. 

In fact, it is impossible to determine how many Militia members there were, let alone all their names.

Auckland Libraries has now added the Militia and Volunteers details to the Armed Constabulary database, for a combined total of near 16,000 names for the period 1863 to 1871; - creating a new database called New Zealand Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary 1863 to 1871 note that some served in both the Militia or Volunteers and the Armed Constabulary.

Militias included those formed at Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki, while Corps included those of local Artillery Volunteers, Cavalry Volunteers. Engineer Volunteers, Naval Volunteers, Rifle Volunteers, Light Horse, Forest or Bush Rangers and Military Settlers. Some also served in the Commissariat Transport Corps.

The old Armed Constabulary database allowed searches by surname, first name, previous U.K. regimental or corps or police service, where served, as well as any notes – the latter included the facility to specifically identify all Maori constables. There was also a facility to keyword search. These have all been retained in the new combined database and there is now the ability to search for 'Subsequent service', as well as the ability to identify all Maori members of the Native (Maori) Contingent and the Arawa Flying Column (use Maori in the keyword search). Searching can also be restricted to just 'Militia and Volunteers' or 'Armed Constabulary'. 

Additional information and corrections are welcome.

When Militia members were called out, there was a compulsory register of all able-bodied Pakeha males aged between 18 and 65 years. Members had to be available for training 28 days a year. The “Native (Maori) Contingent” were officered by Pakeha.

Each battalion was divided into three classes: first class for single men between 16 and 40 years of age, second class for married men between 16 and 40 with children, and the third all those between 40 and 55 – known as “the Reserve men”. 

The first call was for volunteers, then the first class, then the second, and then the third to make up the numbers required. If not all within a class were required then there would be a ballot, and those balloted could provide a substitute if they paid 10 Pounds – there were 108 substitutions in the Auckland Province in February 1864, along with 238 medical exemptions for 1863/1864. Service was extremely unpopular because of poor pay, disruption to business and farming, and was a strain on colonial finances.

In Auckland, the local Militia was called out in June 1863 when three Militia battalions were formed, along with Corps for artillery, engineer, cavalry, rifle and naval volunteers. Militia members were limited to garrison duties in the South Auckland area, although a few were involved in minor skirmishes. Some instead formed local Volunteer Corps, which were self-governing with their own officers, regulations and uniforms.

The best description of the various campaigns is still James Cowan’s classic “The New Zealand wars”. The bulk of the fighting was in the Waikato, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Whanganui areas, and fell to British regular troops, Military Settlers and local Volunteer Corps, rather than the Militias. There were also Volunteer Corps formed in Thames and Wellington, some members of which moved to the fighting areas and joined local Corps.

One feature is to be able to identify some of the Land Grant numbers for Militia and Corps members in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Whanganui areas.

Auckland Libraries has the Land Grant map for Hamilton West (Survey Office map 378 A1 & A2), while Hamilton Public Library, as an example, has a map for Hamilton East as well.

There have been some scholarly works on the military settlements in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, along with more popular level publications by John Cresswell and Jeffrey Hopkins-Weise. In particular, Hopkins-Weise’s “ Blood brothers; the ANZAC genesis” is the best source for the Australian connection, following on from Barton.

Most Militia were wound up around 1865, but some of the Volunteer Corps carried on into the 1870s and later – after the end of John Binsley’s research. The Armed Constabulary was dissolved in 1877 and replaced by the Police.

David Verran

David is the Team Leader in the Central Auckland Research Centre at Auckland Libraries –

Photos: “Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries,
4-1336 and AWNS – 19140402-52-4”

Further reading:

Barton, Leonard L. Australians in the Waikato War, 1863-1864. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1979.

Binsley, John and David Verran. “Armed Constabulary feature of new database”, New Zealand Genealogist, November/December 2006, pages 385 to 387.

Cowan, James. The New Zealand wars; a history of the Maori campaigns and the pioneering period. Wellington, Government Printer, 1922-1923 (and subsequent editions).

Cresswell, John C.M. The Bay of Plenty Volunteer Cavalry. Paradise Point (Qld), PCS Publications, 1991.

Hamilton, Ross B. Military vision and economic reality: the failure of the military settlement scheme in the Waikato, 1863-1880 (thesis). Auckland, University of Auckland, 1968.

Hill, Richard S. The history of policing in New Zealand, Volume Two, the colonial frontier tamed; New Zealand policing in transition. Wellington, Historical Branch Department of Internal Affairs, 1989 (particularly Section One on the Armed Constabulary).

Hopkins, Weise, Jeffrey. Blood brothers; the ANZAC genesis. Sydney, Penguin, 2009.

Hopkins-Weise, Jeffrey. A brief history of the Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, Tauranga Cavalry Volunteers & the Opotiki Rangers Volunteers. ‘The Volunteers; the journal of the New Zealand Military Historical Society’, Volume 28 Number 1, July 2002, pages 66-70.

Palmer, Jeni. Nominal and descriptive rolls of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Waikato Regiments 1863-1867. Tauranga, Gencentre, c2007.

Spyve, Paul Joseph. The First Waikato Regiment and the settlement process of the Bay of Plenty 1864-1874 (thesis). Hamilton, University of Waikato, 1981.

Verran, David. “Researching militia members”, New Zealand Genealogist, January / February 2001, page 38.

The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj

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I highly recommend this book, and it would be of particular interest to anyone with ties to the Raj in India. Its a really fascinating account of the time.

We have several borrowable copies throughout our 55 libraries, and several on order due to its popularity!

The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj / Anne de Courcy.
"From the late 19th century, when the Raj was at its height, many of Britain's best and brightest young men went out to India to work as administrators, soldiers and businessmen.
With the advent of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, countless young women, suffering at the lack of eligible men in Britain, followed in their wake.
This amorphous band was composed of daughters returning after their English education, girls invited to stay with married sisters or friends, and yet others whose declared or undeclared goal was simply to find a husband.
They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, hitherto untold.
For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a rollicking good time.
By the early twentieth century, a hectic social scene was in place, with dances, parties, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas, gymkhanas with perhaps a tiger shoot and a glittering dinner at a raja's palace thrown in. And, with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one, romances were conducted at alarming speed and marriages were frequent.
But after the honeymoon life often changed dramatically: whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company and where constant vigilance was required to guard against disease, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival.
Anne de Courcy's sparkling narrative is enriched by a wealth of first-hand sources - unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries rescued from attics - which bring this forgotten era vividly to life."--


The AtoJs Online

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The AtoJs are a wonderful resource which should not be ignored by family historians interested in their New Zealand history.

These have been digitised and put online by the National Library of New Zealand, who describe the AtoJs:

AtoJs Online contains a collection of digitised volumes of the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives and the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives. The collection currently covers the years 1854 to 1930.

There are two main ways to find information in AtoJs Online: searching and browsing. Searching lets you enter a query term and retrieves reports that contain that term. Browsing lets you look at all the reports, starting with a session, a volume or a section. All the reports on the site can be searched and browsed.
I found gems of information on Fencibles putting their cases in front of a committee formed to consider Pensioners' Petitions.

First up was John Hoop who was unable to attend a Sunday Parade in Otahuhu because of gout. As a consequence he had his cottage with its acre taken from him. In his petition John Hoop talks about being discharged in 1843 and soon after running a public house in Liverpool for 12 months, he then travelled to Ireland where he set up a shoemaking shop in Belfast. It was after that he joined the Fencibles, coming out to New Zealand with his wife.

He joined the Fencibles with the promise of being given a cottage with an acre of land but when he arrived he found one hadn’t been assigned to him in Otahuhu where he was meant to live. As he had not been given the promised cottage he decided to live in Queen Street, in central Auckland, and carry on his shoemaking business there. He was still expected to attend the Sunday Parade in Otahuhu, a walk of 14 miles all up. By not attending he lost any rights he had as a Fencible.

John Bolton was another Fencible who never got his promised cottage. He arrived in New Zealand in 1852 with his wife and three children. On arrival he was informed that those who had a trade could live in town but would still be entitled to their promised cottage and acre. Unfortunately, by not drawing for one of the settlements he forfeited his right to the land.

Joseph Symes had been in the 2nd Dragoons. After he was discharged he worked as a tailor in Limerick before joining the local force. He came to New Zealand as a Fencible on the promise of a cottage and an acre. When he arrived there was no cottage for him, his wife and their six children. They had to ‘lie on ferns or under a wooden shed.’ He was to be sent to Howick but to make ends meet he applied to stay in the city of Auckland so he could work as a Tailor. The expectation was that he would still have to attend Sunday Parades in Howick, otherwise he would be dismissed from the Fencibles and lose any privileges. The walk to Howick was that of 15 miles and involved crossing a river which, as the petitioner said, with his constitution and at his age was not possible.

There is a complete set of printed bound versions of the AtoJs from 1858 through to 2011 at the Central Auckland Research Centre, and almost complete sets at North Auckland Research Centre and West Auckland Research Centre. Please ring each Research Centre to check for your required year.


SLC 2 NZ research weekend

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Jan Gow regularly takes tour groups of people to Salt Lake City, to research in FamilySearch's Family History Centre - the biggest family history library in the world.

Its a wonderful opportunity for people to make full use of the plentitude of resources in Salt Lake City, but also to research collaboratively in a group.

She decided to try and recreate the experience in New Zealand over the long Labour Weekend, called it SLC 2 NZ (Salt Lake City to New Zealand) and invited myself and Marie to take part as "experts", although Marie wasn't able to join us till Saturday evening due to work commitments. Lyn McOnie and Lyn Whelan were two other "experts" that joined us for the weekend.

On the Friday, we arrived at about 1.30pm and after the introductions, the experts held reference interviews with the guests and examining their pedigree charts to suggest where to look next.

Lyn McOnie gave a lecture on research methodology and how to keep a research log; and Jan gave a talk on how to use Treepad and other useful tools.

On Saturday, we were all up bright and early, as we needed to be in the conference room for a live webinar starting at 8am, from Salt Lake City by Phillip Dunn of FamilySearch.

Phillip gave us useful tips like:

  • How to search FamilySearch by either first name or surname
  • That you can do up to three wildcards for one name
  • Can also do wildcard prefix or suffix on names
  • To do a parent search - find a family of children: - Leave main name boxes empty- Fill birthplace, year ranges- Check parents, fill in parent boxes (just mother's first name, not mother’s surname)
And to do out of wedlock searches do the parent search as above, but type Mother’s full name (but leave father's blank).

In the afternoon, we had a collaborative research session. We picked someone's "brick wall", and everything that was known about that family was written up on one white board.

Next we were all assigned a website to search and different bits of information to search for. When we found something, we called it out, and the information was added to the whiteboard.

We had a fab time, finding births, deaths and marriages for various family members; finding census records. It was huge fun! We found out quite a bit about the family in the end!

The rest of the weekend, we all did a mixture of individual research, one-on-one research between guests and "experts", and more presentations and shared learning experiences.

Other speakers and presentations over the weekend:

The days were long days - starting about 9am and not finishing till about 8.30pm - but they were hugely enjoyable.

We were privileged to be part of this, and really hope that this event is repeated again and that we are invited back!

Happy hunting


. . . handbags, hosiery, handkerchiefs, gloves, haberdashery, needleworkers’ needs, stationery . . .


Seven department stores feature in CARC’s new Atrium display “The heyday of Auckland’s department stores”.

Irish-born sisters Mary Jane and Charlotte Milne established the first of these stores in 1867, aiming to supply “the women of Auckland with High Class Millinery and Mantles”. When Charlotte married, her husband Henry Charles Choyce also became a partner and Milne & Choyce was born.

Court brothers George and Fred opened Karangahape Road drapery store The Beehive in 1886 after arriving from Birmingham. A third brother - John - soon joined them and Fred retired. After their sons entered the business in 1902, George and John established separate firms.

In 1924 George Court’s Big Store opened in K’Road boasting “electric lifts with inlaid wooden interiors and uniformed attendants delivering customers to each floor.” A 350-seat rooftop tearooms opened in 1934 - “a happy combination of restfulness and dignity but with an entire absence of pretentious ornament.”

Meanwhile, John Court Limited’s building on Queen Street quickly grew to eight storeys, dominating the skyline and becoming Auckland icon – the J.C.L. corner. It, too, had rooftop tearooms but male patrons were also offered an adjacent smoking lounge with furniture in “two shades of dark brown.”

John and Emily Rendell established their department store in 1882. Rendell’s stayed open until 11.00 p.m. on Saturday nights and all six of their daughters worked in the store. “On more than one occasion after 17 hours on the job, there would be a slim, childish figure draped over a sample box, with dozens of men’s stiff collars, ladies’ kid gloves and scarves of all shapes and sizes surrounding her.”

Australian John McKenzie opened his first fancy goods store in New Zealand in 1910. By the time McKenzie’s was sold 60 years later, the business had grown to include 70 stores and 1,800 staff.

Marianne Smith opened a small drapery shop in 1880, she was soon joined by her husband William and brother Andrew Caughey, and the shop became Smith & Caughey. The company still operates from its Art Deco Queen Street premises designed by architect Roy A. Lippincott and completed in 1929.

Farmers, established in 1909, features in the display with photographs of company mascot Hector the parrot (who died in 1971 aged 131 and was later stuffed and put on display); the children’s rooftop playground; the Santa parade; and the Farmers free bus service first offered to customers in 1922.

References, and also for further information please see the following books at Central Auckland Research Centre:

An Auckland network by Angela Caughey

Family History Expo Christchurch, 13-14 October 2012

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Many of you may be unaware that this event was held recently in Christchurch as part of the rebuild Christchurch programme.  It was hosted by the Family History Society of New Zealand which is a group of about 100 members nationally, with it’s base in Christchurch.

What had started as a small group of libraries, archives and museums getting together to promote their sectors of the community quickly grew and by Saturday 13 October there were 53 exhibitors; including the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Archives New Zealand, National Library, Find My Past, and Auckland Libraries.  A string of talks were given by different people over the two days covering a variety of subjects from beginning family history to using websites.

Joanne Graves and I attended representing Auckland Libraries.  We really enjoyed ourselves; it was great to see such a range of community archives together in one place.  I was entranced by the young girl in Edwardian costume playing with the games of the period.  There was a group of exhibitors who wore Victorian/Edwardian costume all week-end and by the end on Sunday they were stifling – how did our ancestors cope?

While we were in Christchurch we were lucky enough to be shown around the new Library in Peterborough Street and Archives opposite.  These tours gave us an appreciation of the collections in both places which we were able to use when advising customers over the week-end and also how badly damaged some of the buildings are.  Many of those we spoke to at the Expo had not yet ventured into the new libraries (the main library is split over two sites, the second in Tuam Street) as the on-going shakes have really taken their toll.

Overall, I think that this was a wonderful event, with a great atmosphere - we were pleased to meet so many of you.  Joanne and I are pleased that we were able to attend to support Christchurch and this event.  You can see some more of the photos of the week-end on Auckland Research Centre’s Facebook page.

Bryant and May matchgirls' strike June/July 1888

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Many of those who did history at secondary school in New Zealand in the 1970s will recall learning about the Bryant and May matchgirl strike and the part that Annie Besant played in this. 

Not only did those working in the factory strike but they were also supported by many of the outworkers who made the matchboxes and is recognised as the first strike by unorganised workers to gain national publicity and was a key to the founding of unions nationwide.

In late June / early July 1888, some 1400 workers from the Bryant and May match factory in the East End of London went on strike against their working conditions and unfair practices imposed on them by the management.  The strike lasted a little over two weeks but during that time the girls came to the notice of the national press and as a consequence some very public and powerful people.  Some supported the girls in their attempts while others were equally loud in their opposition.

Unfortunately, few records about those who participated in the strike survive.  However, a strike fund was set up to assist the strikers and a register kept recording payments to the women.  The details in this register form a database of 714 names and can be viewed on FindMyPast UK website (available free of charge in Auckland Libraries), in the database Matchworkers Strike, Bow, 1888. 

Details given on the database are:- name, address, occupation, wages, how much paid by the strike fund, marital status and who they lived with. 

The register represents only about 50% of those involved in the strike but what a find if one is an ancestor as these women have otherwise faded from history as individuals participating in a major event in British history.

If you want to know more about the strike, read:

Articles were published in newspapers at the time and some can be viewed through the Digital Library on the libraries’ website – particularly the Times and Guardian and Observer.

Procession of matchworkers to Westminster July 1888
(held by TUC Library collections, London Metropolitan University)

Marie Hickey

Royal Household staff 1526-1924 on FindMyPast UK

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During Family History month, FindMyPast UK launched "Royal Household Staff 1526-1924."

It became my new favourite toy very quickly - had loads of fun using this dataset as part of my demonstration when I was out and about.

You'll find the datasets under "Institutions and Organisations"  -> "Monarchy and Royal Families", and they contain the records of some 75,000 people.

They make fascinating reading!

Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll

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Do you have a Methodist tucked away in your family somewhere quietly frowning on the antics of their descendants?

If you do, have you checked the Wesleyan Methodist Roll? No? Then do we have a resource for you!

The roll has over 1 million names of people who donated a guinea (21 shillings or ₤1 1s) to the Wesleyan Methodist Million Guinea Fund (Jan 1899-Jun 1904).

Richard Ratcliffe has written an informative booklet to the The Wesleyan Methodist historic roll explaining the whys and wherefores etc which is on the shelves at Central Auckland Research Centre at 4 ENG REL MET.

We have a microfiche copy of the volumes which the donations were noted in on microfiche (4 ENG REL MET). Unfortunately, there is no name index; however, there is an index on the Methodist website which gives the Circuit/Mission, Church/Chapel, vol/district, page and fiche number.

Richard’s booklet lists the 50 volumes and which Missions/Chapels are in that volume. By using this I know that Croydon is in volume 6 and the 3rd London District. I should then be able to find the fiche and page numbers by referring to the index on the Methodist website - vol 6 page 3 fiche 1-... (Croydon seems to be missing from this list).

The list gives a name, address or, in the case of donations made in memory of the deceased “In Memorium”

The Roll covers England, Wales, Scotland (not Ireland) and a variety of other countries.

By using this list I have been able to make an educated guess as to which of three families were the initial followers of this faith.

Marie Hickey

The Jennings Family Tree - owner found!


Some of you may have followed the happenings of the Jennings Family Tree in the media or via this blog.

Early July, a family tree was handed into the Waiheke Library. It was beautifully drawn out on A2 draughtsman’s paper, and the Librarians on Waiheke sent it to me, so that we could trace the owner.

The tree dated back 500 years, and was annotated that the original research had been taken from the records of the Drapers’ Company of London from the 15th Century – earliest date marked on it was 1589, although it showed the Jennings line going back some four generations more than that.

It was also annotated that the tree had then been further updated by Mary Adelaide, Lady Jennings, in 1894 and published privately in “A Kentish Country House.”

The tree had again been updated by an F. Keiller in 1969, and showed the Jennings branch of David and Maria Faint (nee TURNER) coming to New Zealand, and settling in Nelson with their 12 children (11 surviving).

Intriguingly, the tree stopped there. It was noted that this page, was page one of two.

The tree also had several photos stuck on to it.

Photos of Nathaniel COLLYER 1620-1700 (from a painting);

Hannah GIBBON 1626-1694 (from a painting);

an earlier Dr David JENNINGS 1692-1762 (from an engraving);

Mary Adelaide, Lady JENNINGS, no dates;


David JENNINGS 1806-1877 and Maria Faint JENNINGS (née TURNER) 1821-1895.

There was also the “Armorial Bearings of Sir John Rogers JENNINGS 1820-1897”.

When it arrived to our Research Centre, it was rolled up in a tube, and a couple of the photos had come unstuck and fallen off. The chart was a bit tatty looking, and I was reluctant to handle it too much, so I sent it up to our preservation unit to be looked at. It spent a few weeks in temperature-controlled surroundings being flattened out; minor repairs were made, and the photos were re-attached. It was then mounted on some card to keep it flat, and put into a protective sleeve.

Photographs were taken of the chart as a whole, and also of sections of the chart. I was reluctant to be handling the original chart too much, as I wanted to ensure that it would not suffer from further damage.

We decided to publicise the find, to see if we could find the original owner. I gave a few newspaper and radio interviews.

We were inundated by phone calls and emails as a result. Some people making contact were genuine descendants of this particular branch of the JENNINGS family, some had copies of the chart themselves. Others had the surname JENNINGS and were just hoping to be connected.

Two JENNINGS descendants that made contact were able to provide considerable information about the family: Dr Peter JENNINGS and Owen JENNINGS. There was a family reunion in 1999, and Owen’s daughter Dianne updated this.

David JENNINGS had been banished to France with his wife Maria and two children (David Horatio and John Henry), by the family. They had another child in France (Mary Elizabeth), The family apparently decided that France wasn’t far enough away, so they were sent on to New Zealand, where another nine children were born (Rev Edward, George Clifford, Louisa Isabel, Rev Charles, Margaret, Nathaniel Lardner, Lancilla Ann, Amelia Adelaide, and an infant that died).

This family is well-documented as being early settlers in the Nelson region, and a lot can be found out about them. With so many children, there must be hundreds and hundreds of descendants.

Eventually, contact was made by Elisabeth GAMLEN, the daughter of Margaret (Margot) KEILLER. Margot is a JENNINGS and is the wife of the late F (Dick) Keiller who drew the chart up in 1969. She is the daughter of Laurence Arthur JENNINGS, who was the elder son of Reverend Charles William JENNINGS – David and Maria’s seventh child!

Margot is in her early 90s and lives in Southern Hawke’s Bay now, and I had a very pleasant phone conversation with her. The chart I have, is the original from which many copies were made. She hadn’t seen the chart since her husband had passed away, and its still something of a mystery of what happened to it in the intervening years. She has generously donated the chart to Auckland Libraries, and it will be deposited in the Sir George Grey Special Collections and form part of their manuscript collection.

We had initially been told that it had been found in an attic on Waiheke, but it transpires that it was actually found among some papers donated to the SPCA – and it was assumed that it was someone’s attic clearout.

Having found the descendant, Margot, who owns the chart; and now also the original person who handed the chart in, my job is done.

I would still love a copy of page 2, and also the books created:- the original “A Kentish Country House” would be fascinating, as well as the later book created by Frank KEILLER. It would be good to keep these items with the original tree that we will keep in our Special Collections . . . so if anyone has copies?

Sadly, I will not be able to respond to the hundreds of phone messages and emails that I have had – there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

There is an update in the Aucklander newspaper that you might like to read, which will tell you more about Margot KEILLER and her impressive family tree!

Happy hunting!