Archive for July 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Alexandrina Idonia C S Peel, St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC333'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Alexandrina Idonia C S Peel in St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera.

The inscription reads: Alexandrina Idonia C S Peel died 27th February 1895 aged 71 years.
Wife of Major R Peel. late of 13th P A Light Infantry.
To Idonia: a true, loving, gentle, affectionate, patient wife, and mother.
This memorial is erected by those who loved and admired her.

Tombstone Tuesday:- Emma Grey Patrick, Mt Victoria Cemetery, Devonport

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC335'

Showing the grave and tombstone of Hugh Patrick in the Wesleyan / Presbyterian section
of the Mount Victoria Cemetery, Devonport.
The inscription reads: Sacred to the memory of Hugh dearly beloved husband of
Emma Grey Patrick who fell asleep in Jesus June 18th 1889 aged 40 years.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Jewish Ancestry?

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Susan Soyinka has written a remarkable book on her search for the survivors of her mother’s family who fled Nazi Germany. A Silence that Speaks: A Family story through and beyond the Holocaust describes her 18-year search for those members of her mother’s extended family who were now scattered around the world.

Ref: Refugees flee as war between Germany and Czechoslovakia appears to be inevitable, 1938, Sir George Grey Special Collections
For someone who is searching for their ancestors, dispersed through war and tragedy, particularly with Czech Jewish ancestry,  Susan’s book is a goldmine with its sources of information and step by step descriptions of her search.

When she gives you her sources, Susan will say how this information was useful to her and with whom she spoke. For example: Czech District and Regional Archives. Research was carried out for me in the Uherske Hradiste and Vsetin District Archives, and in the Moravian Regional Archives in Brno by Martin Kocarik and his wife Sarka Kocarikova. Martin and Sarka work for a private company whose details are available at the Czech Family Tree.

One of Susan’s appendices is a Note on Czech Jewish genealogy, where she explains the network of archives the Czech Republic holds and the different Jewish records held. She has helpfully included a table showing the names of towns and cities in the Czech Republic, with their spelling now, and then, and the German form used during the Habsburg Empire.

Following her own search, the chapter in her book The Nazi machine in Austria contains different sub chapters with one headed Forms and standard letters used during Aryanisation, which explains, as an example, what a Request for approval of sale was. She also lists the Offices, departments and organisations involved in or dealing with Jewish matters, such as,  ‘the Office for the calculation of surcharges, who were charged with the task of working out the fee for the “dejewification” process’.

This book is a family history and a biography,  giving an insight into the workings of the Nazi regime in Austria which may help other historians struggling to piece together their own Jewish story.

For more helpful information on finding your Jewish ancestors, search the Auckland Libraries catalogue by the call number 1 GEN REL JEW for more resources held in the family history collection.



NZ Family History Month at Auckland Libraries

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This is the third year that Auckland Libraries have taken part in NZ Family History month. Each year has been more successful than the last, and this year is no exception.

We have some really fantastic events.

Family history month comprises of several components:
  1. 31 July - NZ Family History Fair launch event -  "A morning with Richard III" in conjunction with the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, NZ Family History Fair, Ancestry 
  2. 31 July - NZ Family History Month launch events:
    12 noon: The Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps with Alan La Roche
    2pm: Using DNA to solve genealogical puzzles with Helen Smith
    3.30pm: Writing family history for magazines and newspapers with Cassie Mercer (Inside History Magazine)

    Events on 31 July are a "taster" and a way of whetting the appetite for the NZ Family History Fair. Of course, we will see you at the Fair too! 
  3. 5 Aug - Find your past: a day with Josh Taylor FindMyPast US - Full day event - 3 seminars and research assistance (additional seminars to what he is delivering at the NZ Family History Fair)
  4. New Zealand Family History Month speaker series 2013.
    Specialist library staff speaking at Auckland Libraries around the region.
    71 events, 31 libraries and 3 research centres, 19 different topics, eight different speakers.
  5. Family history lunchtime series:- weekly instead of fortnightly for the month of August.
    - 7 Aug: Family history sources at Archives New Zealand with Stephanie va Gaalen
    - 14 Aug: Filling the cradles: private residential maternity homes with Lisa Truttman
    - 21 Aug: By sea, by ship: celebrating 20 years of the Voyager Maritime Museum Library
    - 28 Aug 12noon: Introduction to the New Zealand Society of Genealogists with Christine Hurst
    - 28 Aug 1pm: Family archives - prepare and preserve with David Ashman
  6. 30 Aug:- The Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-In - closing Auckland Libraries' NZ Family History month programme
Access more details about all of the above from this page:

 Kind regards


Thriller Thursday: 'The Cyrus Haley of Otago'

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The name Cyrus Haley won’t be familiar to many today, but back in the late 1800s, Cyrus Haley’s nefarious exploits were well documented in the print media, from his attempts at murder, his fondness for setting fires, right down to his death in 1875 while attempting to escape imprisonment.

So who was the man that caused such speculation in the media of the day?

Cyrus had emigrated from England to New Zealand with his family in 1870 and wasted little time making enemies and enacting his own form of justice. When his wife Emily’s singing performance at the Music Hall was savaged, the hall was mysteriously gutted by fire. More arsons took place and while all these couldn’t be linked to Haley, there was one involving the property of BNZ founder Thomas Russell, also director of a company in which Hailey claimed to have lost ₤3000.

While Thomas Russell himself wasn’t short of enemies, Cyrus’s grudge was so intense, he set about trying to kill him. In December of that year, Haley fired through the windows of the Russell home (the glorious Pah Homestead in Hillsborough Road, Auckland), almost killing one of Russell’s children. Haley also wrote anonymous notes threatening death to Russell.

He was caught and tried, and subsequently convicted of attempted murder, threatening to kill and threatening to destroy property - he had also set fire to hay on the Russell property. His sentence was life imprisonment in the Dunedin gaol.

Ref: Taranaki Herald, 6 October 1875, Papers Past

Haley first attempted to escape the prison in 1873, but in 1875, after receiving disturbing news about his children, he tried to flee a labour gang and was shot by a warder. The inquest following his death concluded it was “justifiable homicide.”

Ref: Taranaki Herald, 9 October 1875, Papers Past

To learn more about this fascinating and disturbed character, you need only check out the Papers Past website where all his activities and accompanying speculation were well documented.

Ref: Daily Southern Cross, 30 January 1872, Papers Past

Indeed, the Daily Southern Cross of January 30 1872 says of the man following his arrest after the Hillsborough house incident, “Various reports respecting Haley are in circulation, one of which is that he is insane, and another that he is feigning insanity. Neither report is correct. Haley's conduct in confinement is perfectly rational, and he is neither apparently nor in reality insane.”


Tombstone Tuesday:- David B Cruickshank, St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera


'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-RIC342'

Showing the grave and tombstone of David B Cruickshank in St Mark's Cemetery, Remuera.
The inscription reads: In fond remembrance of David B Cruickshank who died on the 8th of May 1895 aged 53 years

Military Monday:- H M S Hazard

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 661-17'

Showing a tombstone in the Russell church yard in memory of the crew of H M S Hazard
who fell in the defence of Korororiko [sic].

Treasure Chest Thursday:- Māori Catholic Community

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One of our staff members is adding information to the Index Auckland online database from a Catholic Church periodical called Te waka o Hato Petera = The ship of St. Peter  that we have in our Māori collection in the Research Centre.

Ref: Map of Mill Hill Māori Centres in New Zealand
It captures the ori catholic community of the north of the North Island and is related to the Mill Hill missionaries who first arrived in New Zealand in 1886.

The Hill Mill Missionaries came out from London and were responsible for the revival of Catholic missions in the Auckland Diocese in the late 19th century. These missioner priests identified completely with their  Māori congregations making themselves masters of the ori language.

Ref: Wedding bells in the parishes, Summer 1963 edition.

We have a limited run of these serials but they are a gold mine, chronicling daily events within the community from 1963 to 1967. Included are obituaries, crosswords (English to ori), marriages, and news from the parishes.


Tombstone Tuesday:- Tamati Waka Nene

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'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 661-19'

Showing the tombstone erected to the memory of Tamati Waka Nene in the churchyard at Russell