Archive for February 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Edward Rickerby, Symonds Street Cemetery

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Heritage Images database
 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC282'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Edward Rickerby in Symonds Street Cemetery.

The tombstone reads:

In memory of Edward Rickerby who died at New Plymouth 23rd Jan 1897 aged 61 years.

Mark the perfect man and behold him upright, for the end of that man is peace

Tombstone Tuesday: Charles William Selwyn, St John's Theological College Chapel

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Heritage Images database
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC278'

Looking from the church yard towards the apse of St John's Theological College Chapel, showing the grave and tombstone of Charles William Selwyn.

The inscription reads:

In memory of Charles William Selwyn, late Captain Royal Horse Guards and MP for Wisbech. Born 7th March 1858 died 1st March 1893.

'What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter'

Book Review: Surnames, DNA, and family history

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Surnames, DNA, and family history by George Redmonds, Turi King, and David Hey

This title is a cross-disciplinary exploration of the links between surnames, DNA and family history, and also includes linguistics (for the history of surnames).

The majority of the book is dedicated to the history of surnames: their origins, distribution, linguistic changes, etc. There follows a comparatively smaller section exploring the ways DNA can contribute to surname and family history. A fascinating discussion on the derivation and meaning of some surnames is included, in some cases, taking issue with some traditional interpretations. (Well, fascinating for the person interested in etymology.)

When reading such a book, I always wonder whether there will be anything directly related to my family history. And, there on page 80, is my biological maternal grandfather’s surname! Alas, it is not one of the names studied in more depth, but it’s there nonetheless. It also quite thrilling to see references to names of people you know. Most of the names looked at in the book are considered uncommon, so it was surprising to have links to people you know, and not just famous people. Scanning down the surnames and by-names index, just in the first column, I personally know an Agnew, an Alfrey, an Allen, an Anderson, an Arnold, a Bathgate…

Some of the factors that influence the link between surname and DNA resonated with my family history. There are adoptions within (and without) my family. My step-grandfather was illegitimate and, to his dying day in his 90th year, always wanted to know who his father was. (This impacted on my uncles, too, as there was some fluidity between my grandfather’s legal name, and the one we all used, and he signed most legal documents under.) My maternal great-great-grandmother was nearly nine months pregnant on her wedding day, so it is possible that she did not marry the biological father. (My paternal side, which is of most relevance to my surname, obviously, is much less involved. So, I wouldn’t expect too many surprises if there was DNA testing of my brother and his male descendants.)

This is quite an academic read, meant for serious genealogists - for me, who is a dabbler, it was eye-opening. However, it did make me very grateful for the eclectic mix of subjects I studied at university, the most relevant to this book are: genetics, Middle English, linguistics, history, Latin. Thankful, also, for my interest in etymology. So, you have been given fair warning – this is not a light read for the weekend. It is, however, fascinating and absorbing.

Annie, Central City Library

Tombstone Tuesday: Johanna Stone, John Thomas Stone, Philip Henry Hackett, and Henry John Hackett in Symonds Street Cemetery

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Heritage Images database
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC277'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Johanna Stone, John Thomas Stone, Philip Henry Hackett, and Henry John Hackett in Symonds Street Cemetery.

The inscriptions read:

In affectionate remembrance of our loving mother Johanna Stone who died August 25th 1889 aged 60 years.

Also in the glory of our beloved father John Thomas Stone who died March 12th 187? aged 43 years. (The rest of this inscription is obscured.)

Sacred to the memory of Philip Henry Hackett native County Tipperary Ireland who departed this life 24th February 1877 aged 34 years. Erected by his beloved wife.

Also of Henry John Hackett infant son of the above who departed this life 13th March 1873 aged 1 year and 6 months.

May their souls rest in peace

A Successful Family History Club @ Auckland Libraries

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On Sunday, we had the first ever Family History Club at Central Library.

It was very well attended, with approximately 25 people - about six of whom were newcomers to family history.

The day included a tour of the Central Auckland Research Centre, and "clinics" with our experts from Auckland Libraries and The New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

Alot of very useful research was accomplished and people are on their way to being acquainted with their ancestors!

"Experts" on the day included Viv, Gay, Robyn and Ray of the NZSG; and Marie, Maureen, Karen, Everett, Angeline, Wynne and myself from Heritage and Research @ Auckland Libraries.

We're all looking forward to the next Family History Club on May 5!

Don't forget to look for our other Family History events on our website!

Happy hunting


Tombstone Tuesday: Charles Sutton and Ann Jackson, St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera

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Heritage Images database
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC276

Showing the grave and tombstone of Charles Sutton and Ann Jackson in St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera.

The inscription reads:

In loving memory of Charles Sutton died 12th August 1896 aged 66 years.

The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Ann Jackson died 6th June 1877 aged 78. Not thy will, but thine be done