Archive for June 2014

Military Monday: Access to NZ Military Personnel files

No Comments »

Access  New Zealand WWI and WWII military service personnel files.

NZDF Archives no longer hold the service personnel files for WW1. These have been transferred into the permanent care of Archives New Zealand in Wellington.   

In addition, all those who served in WW1 and went on to have post 1920 service, their files are in the process of being transferred to Archives NZ as well. Since the beginning of this year, 13452 files have been processed and there are another 2177 to go, and once completed,  they will start on the Air Force files. So, if you are seeking a WW1/WW2 file, please keep checking the website for when access to the second file is available.

The first place to look for a WW1 Service Personnel File is by doing a search on the Archway database.

Enter the name you are looking for, your search name should appear under the heading Military File.

Archives New Zealand is digitising all the WWI records held by the New Zealand Defence Force, and is publishing them to their website. Around 160,000 files - some of them with more than 600 pages - are being digitised and published. The Defence Force has also recently located a number of additional files, which we will be included in their online publication programme.

More than half of the records supplied so far have been digitised and published both as single-page image  files and  also in PDF,  which is is a widely-convenient and accessible format.

As the NZDF Archives has now transferred over 180,000 files, the file you are after is more than likely at Archives New Zealand. NZDF Archives is still transferring files so if your file does not appear in Archway please try again in a month.  If it does not appear at that time, then apply in writing to NZDF Archives, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt 5140.

The Family History Team

Workday Wednesday: Pipe and Drain Tradies

No Comments »

Are there any plumbers or drainers in your family's history?

There is a quirky gem of a magazine in our heritage serials collection titled NZ Plumbing Heating & Ventilation Review.

In the No 4 April 1964 publication, one of my colleagues spotted an article Old Letter Revealed Merchant Firm's Origin,  the old plumber merchant's letter was actually found hidden in a desk drawer at the premises of George McCaul Limited, whose office was located on Wellesley Street.

For anyone who has visited us at the Central Auckland Research Centre, you will know that we are located at the intersection of Wellesley and Lorne Streets; in fact George McCaul Ltd traded from a building which was demolished in order to make way for Auckland's new library.

There are many articles in the NZ Plumbing Heating & Ventilation Review featuring local companies, their employees and business advertisements. Some of the editions are indexed and searchable through the Index Auckland database.

Plumbing work by journeymen students, 1905.
Sir George Grey Special Collections.
Auckland Council Archives which is also located in the same building as the Research Centre, has an online name searchable database of plumbers and drain-layers. Click this link to access the Auckland City Council License Register of Plumber and Drain Connectors 1904-1921 database.  The record details include the person's qualification, for example journeyman, and whether they held a full or provisional license as a plumber, drainer, or drain connector. 


Those Places Thursday: Voyages from the UK

No Comments »

At the Research Centre we frequently have customers looking for passenger lists for ancestors who travelled from the UK through Australia with their final destination being New Zealand.

Sometimes the journey depends on the strength of the passengers.
Sir George Grey Special  Collections, AWNS-19230816-40-1.
Recently added  new records to their database for New Zealand passenger lists. We were able to  trace the voyage  from London to  New Zealand for Rev Harold James West Knights and his family in 1927.

The Knights depart London aboard Orvieto on 30 April 1927 bound for Australia:

UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 from

Report of arrival passengers on board Orievto into Australia, note there is no date listed.
Fremantle, Western Australia, Passenger Lists, 1897-1963 from

It appears the family may have spent some time in Australia after their journey as their departure from Sydney to Wellington by the S.S. Makura isn't until 20 June 1927.
New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973 from Family Search.
In this way you can pick up multiple journeys and links in the chain from the United Kingdom to New Zealand.

Happy searching!

Karen & Maureen

Friday's Faces from the Past: A new book by Lloyd Jones

No Comments »

I have recently finished reading Lloyd Jones’s book, A History of Silence: A memoir. Lloyd Jones is the author of  the gripping Mister Pip which starred Hugh Laurie in the book’s movie interpretation.

Auckland Libraries collection.
Jones relates the fascinating journey he went on to discover his mother’s family, something she claimed to know nothing about. In his childhood was the shadowy figure of his estranged grandmother, bitterly declaimed by his mother, but there was nothing further. The silence in the title is the layers upon layers of blankness about his family history and the silence he lived in with his working class parents. Theirs was a house with no family photos and no family stories.

The tragedy of the earthquake that struck Christchurch in 2011 lead Lloyd to investigate his own foundations and family past, a search that takes him from Wales to a devastating court transcript.

The book makes compelling reading and is an interesting read for family historians. Click through to reviews in the Telegraph and in Australian Book Review. There are borrowable copies available from Auckland Libraries.