Archive for July 2012

Launching Family History Month @ Auckland Libraries

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On Wednesday, August 1, Family History Month begins here in New Zealand.

Auckland Libraries has a series of fabulous events across the region on a wide variety of topics nearly 50 events across 25 libraries - from Mahurangi in the North to Massey in the West and Pukekohe and Waiuku in the South! There is even an "overseas" visit to Waiheke Island.
Full details of the month can be reviewed here, and include links to the different events happening at the different libraries, speakers' profiles, and abstracts of the talks! These talks can be booked through the host library.

Launching Family History Month - 3 events on one day 

To kick off this exciting month, Auckland Libraries has THREE events in one day at Central City Library in Lorne Street.

Brad Argent is going to be very busy in New Zealand - as he will be doing a few different events for both Auckland Libraries and the New Zealand Society of Genealogists in celebration of Family History Month.

As well as speaking on "Getting More from Ancestry " f
or us on Sunday, Aug 5, Brad will also be with us on Wednesday morning, along with other special guests

Brad Argent,

Wednesday, August 1 - 11am

Challenging our national identity
What does it mean to be a Kiwi today?

August is Family History Month at Auckland Libraries. To kick off the month there will be a healthy discussion with a panel of experts on Identity and what it means to be a Kiwi in today’s society.

Join a free event featuring leading family history experts.
  • Genealogist: Sandra Metcalfe, New Zealand Society of Genealogists
  • Pacific Perspective: Fasitua Amosa
  • Tangata Whenua Perspective: Margaret Ngaropo
  • Chinese Perspective: Roseanne Liang
  • International Family History Expert: Brad Argent,
Facilitated by Family History Librarian: Seonaid Lewis, Auckland Libraries

11am, Wednesday 1 August
Whare Wānanga, opposite the Central Auckland Research Centre
L2, Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street, Auckland

To book your place, phone (09) 307 7771.

Genealogy in the Pacific Islands with Christine Liava’a

Wednesday 1 August, noon

Do you have ancestors, of any ethnicity, who lived or worked in the Pacific Islands? Polynesians, Melanesians, Europeans, Chinese, Indians, or other? Traders, Government officials, whalers, seamen, planters, soldiers, labourers?

Christine Liava’a, of the Pacific Islands Interests group, will speak on what sources for Pacific Island Genealogy are available and where to find them, particularly in Auckland.

To book your place, phone (09) 307 7771 or book online

WORKSHOP: Auckland Libraries’ Family History eResources with Seonaid Lewis
Wednesday 1 August, 2pm - 3pm

‘Akozone’ computer suite, Level 1
Central City Library, Lorne St

To book your place, phone (09) 307 7771 or book online

Children as family history detectives

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We've recently purchased a series of educational resources for children, called Branching Out.

They are US produced lessons plans by Jennifer Holik, broken into books with ages groups:
Branching out : genealogy for 1st-3rd grade studentsBranching out : genealogy for 4th-8th grade students ; and Branching out : genealogy for high school students.

Each age group contains 30 lesson plans; and works through the mechanics of step-by-step how to research your family history in an age appropriate way.

This is an exciting new addition to the Central Auckland Research Centre.

We often get children and teens on school visits come into the Research Centre. Family history is often introduced to children via the school curriculum in Year 4 and then later around Year 10; although some schools also do it in other years.

 Getting children interested in family history has fantastic results in terms of teaching them the concept of "history" and also teaching them how to research. It allows them to identify with history in a highly personal way, through their own families.

They learn valuable information seeking skills, how to use different resources, and how to cite their sources.

When they come into our Research Centre, they don't just learn to use our online databases and subscription websites. They learn about microfiche and microfilm; heritage newspapers; and using books and CD-Roms.

We have many other resources to help as well.

We try to teach them to think laterally.

Some of these schools treat family history as a year long project, with a fantastic scrapbook at the end of it.

My plan is to take these resources and adapt them for New Zealand.

I'd love to work more collaboratively with schools, raising awareness of how much we can help them.

And I am also considering developing a school holiday programme.

I think using Family History is a great way to teaching kids how to research and how to use their Library.

If you think your school would be interested, let them know and tell them to give me a call! The best way for us to help classes, if they ring and arrange a suitable time to come in.

Meanwhile, have a look at the photos on our Facebook page. Our wonderful displays team has created a display for Family History Month (August) called Family History for Teens and Children.


Evaluating digitisation of Auckland Star & NZ Herald


Auckland Libraries has worked in partnership with the National Library to digitise the major New Zealand newspapers Auckland Star 1870-1945; & New Zealand Herald 1863-1884 for the PapersPast heritage newspapers website. 

The project is complete now for the Auckland Star, but we want to know what you think of it. Has it helped you much with your research?
What was the value to you of putting the New Zealand Herald online? 

Please give us some feedback in the comments below (anonymously if you wish). 

Tell us which publications out of the two, you have used PapersPast for (either or both), how useful it was for your research - and maybe share anecdotes about what you found (if you wish).

Do you think these projects were worthwhile, and do you think that we should continue with the New Zealand Herald maybe up to 1945 as we have with the Star?



 PS We've been receiving wonderful feedback about PapersPast, but we are actually asking for specific feedback about the digitisation done to date of the Auckland Star and the New Zealand Herald.

Many thanks

Some recommended social histories

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We are regularly adding to our stock family and local history books in the Central Auckland Research Centre.

Some books you look at the title and think "not my area of interest/thing"; while others just seem to leap off the shelf at you. Two such books arrived recently which I found to be very interesting and thought they may be of interest to some of you.

Ragged London: the life of London's poor

by Michael Fitzgerald
(The History Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2011)
Call number: 4 ENG LOC LON

I found Ragged London enlightening as it is easy to view London's landscape as it is today and forget that it wasn't always that way - many houses in inner London were demolished in the Vistorian era for the building of railways and the underground system. Until the latter part of the century, there was no onus on the developers to provide substitute housing for those who were displaced as it was also seen as a way of clearing the slums. St Giles-in-the-Fields is used as an example in many instances, but the circumstances could easily apply to rookeries elsewhere in London. A wide range of subjects are covered such as food and drink, love and marriage, home life, work and employment, philanthropy etc. Much of the detail given could probably also apply to any other over crowded sections of other cities in Great Britain and it is therefore worthwhile having a look at this fascinating book.


by Jennifer Newby
(Pen & Sword, Barnsley, Sth Yorkshire, 2011)
Call number: 4 GBR OCC

This book relates to resources to be found in the UK.  It covers domestic service, factory workers, land work, criminals, middle class and aristocracy so virtually all forms of employment for women are covered.  Each chapter gives brief details of the type of work which may be involved and end with sources of relevance to that subject.  There is a good bibliography and a timeline of key events effecting women at the back of the book.  If you are researching any aspect of the life of one of your female ancestors or women in general then this book is well worth reading.

Another title which is borrowable through the library system is:

by Maureen Waller
(Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2000)
Call number: 942.106 WAL

While this relates to London many of the subjects discussed could apply to people anywhere (especially those living in cities) eg childbirth, death, disease, the home, fashion to name a few.
If you have an interest in London, there are a number of borrowable books available through the library. 

A couple which come to mind are written by Jerry White titled: London in the eighteenth century and also London in the nineteenth century.

I could go on but do have a look at the catalogue as you never know what treasures are lurking there.


Additions to the South African family history collection

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The Central Auckland Research Centre has 13 new family history eBooks on CD-Rom about South Africa including:

Brothel, lunatic house and slave lodge – the building at the top of Cape Town’s Adderley Street’s many functions under British and Dutch rule are explored in this eBook. It also includes the register of the slave lodge census of 1714, and the death register of lodge slaves spanning 60 years.
Tristan da Cunha, a tiny island in the mid-Atlantic - the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world - was annexed by the British Empire in 1816. This eBook gives an account of life on Tristan da Cunha written by the wife of Missionary Priest Henry Martyn Rogers who landed there in 1922.

This eBook documents British pioneers who made the Cape their home during the first British occupation 1795-1803, and the second occupation beginning in 1806 - after which the country remained a British Colony until the Union of South Africa came into being in 1910.
This first South African Jewish Year Book includes over 700 biographies as well as documenting many aspects of Jewish life such as The Jewish Gold Pioneers, United Hebrew schools, Jews of Griqualand West and Bloemfontein Jewry.

The beauty of such eBooks, is that they are keyword searchable, so you can search for names and places.

These eBooks come from online publishers Ancestry24, (no connection to Ancestrydotcom) who also have a very large amount of online South African genealogical records.


Family History Month @ Auckland Libraries

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Family history month at Auckland Libraries is shaping up wonderfully.

At Central, we have weekly lunchtime sessions each Wednesday, instead of the usual fortnightly ones.  We're hopeful that we have something for everyone:

  • Genealogy in the Pacific Islands with Christine Liava’a, 
  • Introduction to the New Zealand Society of Genealogists with Christine Hurst, 
  • Local Knowledge with Lisa Truttman, 
  • Researching the NZ Land Wars with John Binsley, 
  • Anō te rakau manga rau / A heavily branched tree provides shelter with Margaret Ngaropo

We also have hands on workshops in the Akozone Learning Centre on Level 1, on Wednesdays, from 2-3pm - so you have time to listen to a lunchtime session, grab some lunch or do some research; then attend one of our workshops.

These sessions are designed to help you get the best out of our online resources and subscription websites:

  • Using Auckland Libraries eResources with Seonaid Lewis
  • Using Ancestry at Auckland Libraries with Marie Hickey
  • Using FindMyPast UK with Seonaid Lewis
  • Using FindMyPast Ireland with Marie Hickey
  • Using FindMyPast Australasia with Seonaid Lewis
Places are limited for these workshops, so you need to book quick to make sure you can get a seat!

We're currently putting the finishing touches to our family history programme that we are delivering out at our other research centres and community libraries in the Auckland Libraries group - so keep an eye out on our website, or ask your local library.


Do you have an English mariner or lighthouse keeper in your family tree?

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Image from FindMyPast UK

If so, the TRINITY HOUSE PETITIONS may be a useful source for you. We hold on microfilm the years 1787 to 1854. Trinity House Corporation, in addition to being responsible for lighthouses around England, acted as a charitable body for mariners and their families. Those applying for aid had to give a detailed account of their circumstances and the records of those petitions provide a wealth of family information.

The Society of Genealogists [in London] produced “Trinity House petitions; a calendar of the records…” which provides a name index of those listed on the microfilms. It is available in the Central Auckland Research Centre ( 4 GBR OCC) and may be found on top of the cabinets containing the films of the petitions themselves.

As well as being available on microfilm in the Research Centre, the Trinity House calendars, petitions etc are also name searchable on FindMyPast UK's website - which is available to use for free in any of the 55 Auckland Libraries.