Archive for May 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Team sports

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Centenary photographs from Auckland Libraries Heritage Images

Kings College football team.
Auckland Libraries, 31-WP7720.

Members of the Kiwi basketball team.
Auckland Libraries, 31-WP7723.

Ponsonby 5th grade football team.
Auckland Libraries, 31-WP7559. 

Motivation Monday: Irish place names with Geraldene O'Reilly webinar online now!

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Great news!

Our next family history talk is available online!

"Ireland1898Administrative" by XrysD-
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
Geraldene O'Reilly, convener of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Irish Interest Group gave us a talk about Irish townloads at our fortnightly Family History Lunchtime series event on Wednesday, 1 April.

Irish place names with Geraldene O'Reilly

The majority of Irish genealogy records are arranged by locality and most people within them are identified by the place name where they lived. The townland is the most fundamental land division in Ireland, the basic address for a rural family. 

Listen to Geraldene O'Reilly's talk to help you investigate Irish townlands and other place names.

We hope that this gives you the motivation to start your Irish family history research!

Happy hunting


Book Review: The Secret World of the Victorian Lodging House

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If your British rellies were crims, drifters, homeless, immigrants, hookers, abandoned kids, a family on hard times, artisans, beggars, thieves … in other words, the underclass, then you will be fascinated by this social history of life in that underbelly of Victorian life – the lodging house. The Secret World of the Victorian Lodging House (Joseph O’Neill) is written by someone who grew up in a lodging house in the 1950s and developed an intense curiosity into not only the history but to the people who ended up living this way. Turns out not a lot of study had been conducted into this layer of society – but what an intriguing piece of research it is.

In Victorian Britain, lodging houses were crucial to help people make the transition to industrial city life as more folk moved into the cities to secure work and accommodation. Not all houses were the same, however. An intriguing court trial addresses the fact that in a room of seven beds sleeping seventeen men, a man’s body lay decomposing for days before anyone thought it odd.  The mind boggles, as indeed it did back then to those who couldn’t believe such things actually took place in their respectable cities.

Equally as absorbing is the chapter on beggars and tramps which claims the more shocking a beggar’s disfigurement, the more successful the beggar. Gross wounds, it appears, enhanced greater sympathy from the public when it came to parting with their pennies. There was even a social divide amongst the lower classes. Beggars, for example, seldom mixed with burglars and might even look down on those who actually worked for a living. 

This is well worth a read as the nights get colder and longer, and curling up with a book just might be the definition of bliss!

There are several copies to borrow within the system, click here to find an available copy.

 - Joanne Graves, Auckland Research Centre.

Sentimental Sunday: Mother's Day

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Auckland Libraries,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 31-68043.
A brief history of Mother's Day

Today is a special day to recognise and celebrate the women who raised us. Many countries around the world, including New Zealand, have adopted the Mother's Day celebration based on the North American origin of the holiday, with roots in the American civil war.

There are two histories associated with the origin of celebrating mothers, despite occurring several decades apart, both were in response to conditions resulting from war. The origin of Mother's day stemmed as a anti-war movement, and its reason for existence was commemorative rather than celebratory. 
Auckland Libraries,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 31,73400.

Social activist Julia Ward Howe arranged special services and rallies for women to unite against war, in 1870 she wrote a proclamation and tried to get formal recognition for a Mother's Day of Peace. At the same time, Ann Reeves Jarvis was also involved in the women's movement attempting to improve sanitation conditions for women and lower infant mortality by fighting disease during the US Civil War from 1861-1865.

It was the actions of Ann's daughter, Anna, who several years later organised a special church service on 10 May 1908, to mark the third anniversary of her own mother's death. The intention of the service was to honour all mothers, both those who were living and those who had passed away.

It remained very popular over the years and evolved into an annual celebration -- Anna campaigned to make the day a national holiday. In 1914 it was official, the second Sunday in May - Mother's Day.


Motivation Monday: The records of the English parish church with Viv Parker now online

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For approximately 10 years, the Central Auckland Research Centre has run a fortnightly family history lunchtime series lectures from February through to November at Central Library.

They are a diverse range of lectures, covering many subjects related to family and/or local history, New Zealand and world history.

These popular talks are well-attended, but typically there are always people who are unable to make them largely due to geographic distance. I've frequently had calls and emails from people all over New Zealand and overseas - from as far away as the UK asking if we were going to be able to make the presentations available online.

This year, we have been able to record some of our lunchtime talks as part of a pilot study.

We were able to record most of the New Zealand Cemeteries Heritage Week events held at Central Library, and those proved very popular. We do captioning which means transcribing the whole presentation, to make each one accessible for the hearing-impaired.

Online now, is "The records of the English parish church" with Viv Parker.

 Vivienne Parker, researcher & speaker,
member of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists
a former editor of 
The NZ Genealogist and the GRINZ Yearbook,
and the compiler of
 Forty years on: The development
of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists
"The records of English parish churches recount the day-to-day running of the parish, including not only baptisms, marriages and burials but also a wealth of information about our ancestors. Their findings also uncover the roles of the vestry and church wardens, who held the responsibility for raising funds, appointing people to various jobs, maintaining roads and bridges in the parish, the care of the elderly, dealing with miscreants and illegitimacies, as well as ensuring the removal of those who had no right to remain in the parish."

About 40 people attended this lecture that Viv did for us on Wednesday, 4 March.

Viv is a member of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists and frequently runs workshops and tutorials out at their centre in Panmure.

She is also a regular speaker for Auckland Libraries and helps out with other events such as the Karen Kalopulu Family History Lock-In (28 August this year) and the Sunday Family History Club sessions (next one on June 21) that are held around three times a year.

I hope you enjoy watching  "The records of the English parish church" with Viv Parker.

Happy hunting


Treasure Chest Thursday: Artefact Digitisation Unit - for your Anzac!

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The wonderful people from the Auckland War Memorial Museum delivered an Artefact Digitisation Unit (ADU) to the Central Auckland Research Centre.

A what? I hear you say . . . .

Artefact Digitisation Unit (ADU) from Auckland War Memorial Museum
Artefact Digitisation Unit (ADU)
from Auckland War Memorial Museum
It is an awesome piece of technology that looks kind of like an ATM machine - a kiosk with a computer, touchscreen monitor and a camera.

With its connectivity to the internet, it has direct access to the new Online Cenotaph

People can use the ADU to search the Online Cenotaph direct from the Research Centre, and contribute information about the person they are researching - this includes the ability to photograph documents and objects to upload to a subjects record.

The Online Cenotaph itself has been completed re-designed and had been re-launched in January.

There are more than 140,000 service personnel listed, and alots of new content has been added:

  • approximately 2,000 new images from Auckland Libraries’ Schmidt Collection of portraits
  • direct links with servicemen’s sketches, poems and writing held in the Troopship magazines, which the Museum has now digitised
  • around 2,000 additional records of New Zealand servicemen who served in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) – purchased for Online Cenotaph by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage
  • linking of of 437 records from the Māori Pioneer Battalion with a digital image of their signatures on the Pioneer Scroll, on display in the Scars I gallery
  • digitising of the Mickle Album, including the 60 photographs of friends from Birkenhead who volunteered and left New Zealand to fight in WWI

Sapper Bertram Charles ROBINSON Reg No 1207
3/4 portrait of Sapper Bertram Charles Robinson, Reg No 12074, of the New Zealand Engineers,
No. 2 Field Company. Killed in action in France on 15 November 1916.
(Photographer: Herman Schmidt, 1916).
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-R984.
No known copyright

One of the biggest improvements is that family and researchers are encouraged to add content or images to the records of service personnel, which can be done on your own computer - or on the ADU available at the Central Auckland Research Centre and other destinations around the Auckland region.

Happy hunting