Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter April 2018

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote    "If you think your family is normal, then you are probably not a genealogist"  Unknown

Editorial 2

Regular Features. 2

From the Developer 2

Uploading Objects to your Database. 2

The Nash Rambler 4

Jan’s Jottings. 5

DNA Testing for Family History. 7

27.  Social Network discussions. 7

Wairarapa Wandering. 8

Hanley Hoffmann: 9

Digging Into Historical Records. 10

Chinese Corner 13

Lawrence Chinese Camp. 13

Book Launch. 14

Beaton family in NZ. 15

From our Libraries and Museums. 16

Auckland Libraries. 16

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council 16

Special event for Anzac Day – Jason Reeve, Ancestry. 17

Group News. 18

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 18

Waikanae Family History Group. 18

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 19

News and Views. 19

Irish Records Online. 19

23 Non-Genealogy Websites That Genealogists Really Should Use. 21

Book Reviews. 26

The Guns of August 26

Advertisements. 27

Help wanted. 27

Letters to the Editor 27

Advertising with FamNet 27

In conclusion. 28

A Bit of Light Relief 28

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 29


Back to the Top. 17


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

This past month I have been using old resources and research methods in an attempt to refresh my data and memory so that I can finally break my last brick wall. This has resulted in me reading Anne Bromell's book, consulting old photocopies I have on some resources, reading help files on websites etc etc. I have revisited Archives NZ. I will revisit the Library, the Museum Library etc. I must admit to having a lot of fun doing this and have ditched a lot of paperwork that is no longer worthy of the storage space it occupied. I ditched most of my old speech notes and found all sorts of precious documents I thought I had lost in house removals but had, in fact, used them as examples in the various speeches and forgot to restore them to their allotted files.

I have even given my first speech in about five years. I was more nervous about where I had safely stored the speech notes in my downsized abode. All this has reminded me that even though computers now dominate research methods the old resources still give a lot of pleasure.

I have also been investigating DNA testing as a method of sorting out all sorts of theories for my Wednesday morning coffee mate. It has made me very aware that DNA testing is becoming more and more the way to go in solving "brick wall" scenarios. A cousin had her DNA tested. She got confusing results and consulted me for a little elucidation. You see she had some matches that did not make sense to her. It cost her the price of a good coffee but I had to explain a theory or two I had in my last "brick wall". Her test results seemed to prove that my theories were right. That has resulted in my redoing my research and trying a few other options. I have to try and get the paper proof. I was always a little anti DNA testing but am now more positively disposed to it.

This month's newsletter has an article by a guest writer, John Beaton. He contacted us and we suggested he write an article. It is a good example of the sort of article that any reader can submit. Why don't you try?

I hope you enjoy this issue

In this issue:-

·       From the Developer:  Uploading photos (etc) to your family tree

·      The Nash Rambler: I started off raving against the computer but, after a wee thought, have recognised its value

·      Jan's Jottings talks about the AFFHO conference

·      Gail Riddell  has written another column on matters DNA related:  Social Network Discussions.

·      Adele talks about old friends

·      Hanley Hoffmann talks about photographs

·      Dawn Chambers talks about the Cape Egmont lighthouse

·      Chinese Corner: Helen Wong, talks about the Lawrence Chinese Camp

·       Auckland Libraries:  Heritage Talks for April and May, plus a special event for Anzac Day

·      News and Views: I have included an article on doing Irish research, and an article about non-genealogy web sites that genealogists will find useful.

·         Book Review: The Guns of August


Hopefully you will find something of interest among all that. I have enjoyed assembling this month's newsletter.



Peter Nash

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Regular Features

From the Developer

Uploading Objects to your Database

In last month’s article I described how you could upload a GEDCOM file into FamNet.  It’s easy, and I hope many of you who hadn’t already done so have now uploaded your database to FamNet where you can share it with your family and other family historians.  Depending on the database you had created whatever genealogy software you are using, your database may be anything from just records of a few people recording a few bare facts, or extensive records of hundreds of people with many facts and extensive notes about each.  Wherever your database fits between these two extremes, you will have uploaded all the data that can be written into a GEDCOM by your software. 

But this isn’t everything!   When the LDS conceived the GEDCOM standard as a way of sharing data most genealogists were recording their family trees on paper, using binders to store photos and documents, and so the software developers producing Family Tree Maker, Legacy etc had no guidance about how to store “scrapbook” objects – photos, documents, etc – related to the people in their databases.   Naturally they all did it differently, so that while users of Family Tree Maker (FTM) can easily share their database with a Legacy user, this sharing does not include the objects in the scrapbook.   A complete FTM database including scrapbook can only be shared with another FTM user or a web site ( that can communicate directly with FTM software.  

Legacy and many other systems store scrapbook information as a link to a file on your computer, and include this link information in the GEDCOM, but this isn’t any use when the GEDCOM is shared.  For example, I have a picture of my father-in-law saved on my computer as
            C:\Users\Advanced Computers\Documents\FamNet\FamilyDocs\FamilyPhotos\JA Pym About 1916.jpg

If I was looking at a Legacy record in my database(1) I’d be able to click on a scrapbook link to see this picture, but if I shared my GEDCOM (or Legacy database) with you the link wouldn’t work.  You can’t read information from the C: drive of my computer, even when my computer is running and I’m on line.  For you to see scrapbook objects they have to be uploaded to FamNet.  There are two ways of doing this: the flexible way, and bulk uploading.

The flexible way is to upload scrapbook objects individually.  I’ve already covered this in a previous article: please go back and read the article Saving Scrapbook Items.   One advantage of this is that you can save a wide variety of objects – not just pictures (.jpg, .png, etc) , but also documents (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt), audio (.mp3), video(.mp4), and web links (.htm etc).   Another is that you can upload an object and then link it to several other people: this is especially useful when you have a group photo, which you can upload once and then create links to the other people in the photo.  It is especially quick if the other people are family members: there’s a special dialog that lists the parents, partner, siblings, and children of the subject and you simply click on the people in the list that are also in the picture.  And a third advantage is that you can upload objects at any time, from any folder: they do not have to be already in the scrapbook of your personal genealogy database.

There is a potential error, fortunately rare, with this method of uploading.  If you see an error, “Server error in ‘/’ Application” like this, don’t panic, it applies only to the current upload, and you haven’t broken FamNet!: -

This problem occurs when you’ve copy/pasted part of a web page into the notes of your subject – the clue is the appearance of text like <p> in the error message.  If you’re a techo like me and what to know what this is really about, follow up the link  For the saner rest, this is just FamNet protecting itself, and all you need to know is that you can correct the problem by editing the record to which you’re trying to upload the object.  Open the record for editing and look at the Notes field.  Remove any html text: text starting with “<” and ending with “>”, such as “<p>”.

I’ve tried to fix this without removing the essential protection but this proved more difficult than I’d expected and I ran out of time (Sorry Rod).   It’s still on my to-do list.

In next month’s newsletter I’ll talk about bulk uploading.  This is only possible if you are using a personal genealogy database like Legacy that saves scrapbook items as links to files somewhere on your computer, and bulk uploading is not provided for systems like Family Tree Maker that store scrapbook within their database.

(1)        I’ve used “Legacy” and “Family Tree Maker” as representative names of genealogy software, but I use neither of them.

Telling your story: Index

1.    Writing your story as notes, or with Word.  

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

6.    On Line Editing: More Facts, Family, GDB Links

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

10.  Merging Trees.  Part 2:  Adding Records On-Line

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

14.  FamNet’s General Resource Databases
Updating General Resource Databases

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler

Police Gazettes

A couple of weeks ago I took my U3A group to National Archives Auckland for a tour and their first session of research there. We were shown around the facilities and were given instructions on how to use the finding aids. If you ever get a chance to go on a tour through this facility do not turn it down. It is well worth doing.

While my group were ordering material or looking through the indexes I wandered off and found the Police Gazettes on a shelf. Before telephones, mobile phones, computers, faxes etc the Police Gazettes were the regular magazine that was circulated to all the police stations throughout New Zealand. It was a way of informing the local police of matters criminal and publicising the managerial movements of staff.

I last looked at these over 25 years ago. They were "a state of the art" then and were a resource that researchers went especially to archives to pore over. Now they are no longer kept out the back but stored on a lonely shelf above that other old resource in Archives, the files of index cards - remember them?  I pulled a volume down and browsed through it. What a wonderful resource. I spent a lovely thirty minutes just reading random entries and going through the lists of prisoners recently released from jail. I re-found the entries of my wayward ancestors. I had meticulously transcribed these all those years ago and even used them as the basis of a speech I gave all over New Zealand. I basked in the pleasure I got then and really enjoyed the time.

I showed the group the books and explained their importance.

I went home and had a coffee and contemplated how fast things have changed in genealogy. I got all nostalgic and remembered all the other resources that have gone like the ark, the horse and cart, pencils etc. Remember LDS films, remember family group sheets etc etc....

I then wandered off into the computer room. I opened my emails and found one from a friend who was raving about the Police Gazettes on So, on to Ancestry I went and eventually found them. They are searchable!!!! That was an improvement on the non-searchable version on Archway. Well Toyota me!!! I entered my names and within ten minutes I had found and, using snipping tool, saved all my entries. They look better than my transcribed copies. I didn't find any that I had missed all those years ago.

I shut the computer down and made another coffee. I again contemplated the advance of technology and its effect on my beloved time-wasting hobby. Technology has taken away the "time wasting" factor and even the other factors that make this hobby so addictive. I recall all these - the pleasure of not knowing where to look, the pleasure of talking to strangers about my research, the travelling to far-flung repositories, the smell of old dusty documents, the pleasure of finding facts, the skiting about my findings at society meetings, listening to boring speakers at meetings and conferences, etc etc. There was now no need to leave my beloved computer room. All I need now is a person to regularly fill my coffee cup and remind me to take a walk every now and again to try and stop the advancing size of my derriere. This has all happened in about twenty years and before I have fully descended into that la la land of dementia.

We no longer need Archives, Libraries and Genealogy Societies. We can close them all down and think of the savings. The government could move these savings into increasing pensions so that I can have more funds to buy new computer gear to keep up with this march of technology. I'll need more funds to pay for the increase in coffee consumption and furniture replacement i.e. chairs.

Having got to this position in my thoughts I then recalled how I broke a brick wall of some 25 years researching i.e. Caroline Redburn. How did I find her birth date and birth place? Mmmmmm!!!! It was on in the London Poor Law Records. Before I found that data I would have had to go to London to search that resource and that presupposes that I had worked out that that was what I needed to look at and had worked out where it was held.

In this case the computer was a positive method of research for me.

Damn, I’ve I spoilt the rant and rave in this column that I was planning! Maybe I better have ten bob each way and use the old methods and resources and the computer. I had better enjoy the dusty documents when I can but also buy a new pair of pyjamas so that I look respectable late at night in my computer room.

Regards to all

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Jan’s Jottings

A wonderful two weeks! I just want to share with you 14 amazing days for a genealogist!!   Also for an oldie going to her home country. Also for meeting DNA family!!!

7 August I flew to Sydney, where I’d arranged to stay with a primary school friend ☺. We’d shared Infants, Primary, and Intermediate years when we were at school, so I’m talking about a school friend from 68 years ago!! That is pretty special. We went to see another school friend from the same years. Had a great time. The next day I was to meet with a newly found DNA 1st cousin once removed ☺. Lots to talk about, and again, a great time.

Then the start of the AFFHO Congress. I was on the committee to organise the one we held in New Zealand in 2009. Thrilled to see, a couple of people, with the wonderful Conference Bags we had then, still in use!!

AFFHO was great ☺. This Congress is held every three years and AFFHO is Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations. Over 600 attended and the Congress was held at the International Convention centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney. I had an hour’s train ride each way each day. I remembered how, in 2009, we held the Congress in a boarding school and so we had live-in accommodation. This is ideal, but is not always possible.   This link will take you to the programme so you can see the wide variety of topics and speakers. Friday was a special ‘Family Finder Day’ day aimed at Beginners and those not attending the whole Congress. So was great to wander around and get a feel for where to go and what to see; wander through the two areas for the Trade Tables; check out where to find food; and especially to see old friends.

The Welcome Function and Opening Ceremony was from 3.30-5.30pm on Friday. By 8.45 next morning we were ready and waiting for the Opening Session!!  And so it was for Sat, Sun and Monday. ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺!!!!!!  Nearly 60 lectures! Very interesting overseas speakers. Easy to find lecture theatres - all very professional and most enjoyable and worthwhile.

Did I come away with lots of new thoughts?  YES.

I want to spend some time with “Quickly capture what's on your mind and share those thoughts with friends and family.  Get a reminder later at the right place or time. Speak a voice memo on the go and have it automatically transcribed. Grab a photo of a poster, receipt or document and easily organize or find it later in search. Capture what's on your mind • Add notes, lists and photos to Google Keep”.   Google Keep makes it easy to capture a thought or list for yourself, and share.

Interesting???  ☺☺☺

And what about MyActivity???

View & control activity on your account You can find and see your searches, browsing history, and other activity that's saved to your Google Account in My Activity. You're in control of what's saved there, and you can delete past activity from your account.

What My Activity is: My Activity is a central place to view and manage activity like searches you've done, websites you've visited, and videos you've watched.

How activity works: When you use certain Google services, like Search, YouTube, or Chrome, your activity can be saved as data to your account. This activity helps make your experience on Google faster and more useful.

The kinds of activity that show up in My Activity depend on which Google products you use and which Activity controls are turned on.

Interesting !!☺☺ Thanks to Lisa Louise Cook for mentioning these sites. Here is a link to her site to l Genealogy Gems Premium Membership at Includes videos: • How to Organize Your Research with Evernote • Ultimate Google Search Strategies • Genealogy on the Go with the iPad • Hard Drive Organization

A fun thing that we could try is to ask FamilySearch to check on everyone within 100 feet to see if we have some relatives in the audience!! Needs some back ground preparation, but is fun to see!!

Tuesday was Cousin’s Lunch - we usually have 3 or 4 of these per year ☺☺☺. Always at the same place. So was lovely to see my cousins (my mother’s interesting family) and to catch up with their news, especially those who had their DNA results.

Friday I caught a bus, down the South Coast to overnight with a cousin there. Catching the bus back to Loftus on Saturday. Sunday I flew to Melbourne to stay with my 1st cousin once removed and to meet my 1st cousin - from the new, DNA discovered, family ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺!!! I just felt so at home with the new cousins. We did some research together; we looked at family photo albums; we looked at the documents collected over the years;  we worked on tracking living family. We poured over the charts I had printed. And added lots more names. Names to be researched and checked to see if they do fit in the ‘family tree’.

So I met my new 1st cousin, and her son and two daughters.

What an amazing hobby this is!!!  ☺☺☺☺☺   Pretty special isn’t it?

This year's Hooked on Genealogy Tours leaves 6 May. There is still time to come with us!!  Less preparation needed now with the way the records are organised in the FHL in SLC.

"There is just one word to describe the benefit of being on Tour!! In Salt Lake City. That is TIME.  Then comes FOCUS and IMMEDIACY and ACCESS!!!  GUIDANCE!! HELP!!

It is being able to be in the Library from 8am to 9pm - so you can FOCUS and IMMEDIATELY ACCESS the billions of records available - with GUIDANCE and HELP.

To get the best results you can, you need the PREPARATION. To get the Pre Tour preparation and Guidance and Help - you need a HOG Tour!!!

Especially when a HOG Tour has you at the Library, in Salt Lake City, for three weeks!!  (though you can come for less!)" . Have a new web page in preparation. Should be ready soon. .

2018 Hooked on Genealogy Tour commences 6 May 2018.

Let me know if you are interested in coming to SLC after the UTP Alaska Cruise.  We would fly to SLC when the cruise finishes.  You can have one two or three weeks there. 

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DNA Testing for Family History

27.  Social Network discussions

At various intervals on social networking pages (eg. Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, Rootsweb, NZSG Memlist etc.) discussions occur on “just how much personal information you provide”.  Some of these exchanges get quite heated – they can do so especially on the ‘In-house Forums’ of my genetic genealogy pages in the projects I administer.  The general rules include banning topics such as “mention of a name of a living person” or “creation versus evolution”, “politics” and never to use bad language or to start a ‘flaming’ episode.

These are genealogy forums, right? 

Yes, usually but not always.  Today many of us use genetics for a variety of reasons in our genealogical research as this can be an incredibly helpful method.  Depending on your motivation for taking advantage of this method, it can also be incredibly worrying.  Who wants to find out that they are not who they think they are?

I long remember the days when Rootsweb administrators totally banned any such genetic discussion.  Their attitude usually stemmed from the rule that there was to be no “selling” or “hawking” of any products.  It always seemed to depend on just what was being discussed and how informative the writer was being.  Stating of financial costs was not considered informative.

On the matter of privacy, have you noticed how much information is often given out about a living relative?  This information can be used to identify that relative.  And once it is “out there”, it will remain out there.  I got involved with the web social networking 20 years ago and I am appalled at my naivety of those days – yes, my writing is still out there. 

Why do we feel compelled to respond publicly? 

Obviously, the rules are in place because certain people have flouted general social politeness.  But are these rules being taken to the extreme because some are passionate about certain topics?

Take the “Out of Africa” theory.  This is often discussed and depending on how objective the writers and the responders are being, such discussions can be of much interest.  Yet, it remains a theory and with recent scientific discoveries, it is beginning to look as though the Jean M. Auel ‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ series of books set in the steppes of Russia wrote with more accuracy than she was given credit for in the 1980s.  Admittedly it was set some 30,000 years ago, but with at least one testing firm considering how much ‘Neanderthal’ a tester might have within their genetic make-up, obviously, the matter is being taken seriously. 

So if these are genealogy forums and since genealogy has to include Family History and since all such topics are those that are likely to involve our families, then what could the problem be?

I suspect part of the problem on these troublesome topics is that we (who are passionate about certain things) pontificate and insist our view is the correct one – which naturally will get someone else’s ‘back up’ particularly if that ‘someone else’ is also someone who likes to thrust a different opinion into the arena.  Not to mention grabbing onto a simple phrase used and totally de-railing the topic.

Another problem which has come to light in the last few weeks is the subliminal advertising and the ‘data-mining’ that has been occurring in a popular social network.  For those who have not caught up with what it means to us, have a look at 

Here is the tiny URL

The question therefore becomes “how do I share my knowledge without upsetting another person”?

Take me and my voluntary involvement with DNA for genealogical purposes.  If I am sharing factual knowledge, such is usually welcomed.  But what happens if a reader just takes what I say (or write) and does not stop to think about the repercussions of blithely following a procedure about which I write.  After all, I have not walked in that other person’s shoes and nor do I often get told what the motivation on the part of the questioner is.  Writing or saying a sentence such as “testing your DNA can be risky”, whilst accurate, does not give the questioner very much information.

Risky?  In what way?  The answer can be as simple as “you will be drawn into social networking” or that you will learn that “your grandfather is not your biological grandfather” or some variation. 

Did you read the item publicised in Stuff last week?  It was incredibly biased in my opinion, especially because the particular firm mentioned in that article does not offer the type of test to reach the conclusion it did by just one member of that family testing.  In other words, the journalist had little idea of how DNA works.

I shall now stop my own pontificating and let you get on to making a cuppa…

As always, please contact me if you have a question that has not been answered in any of the previous articles I have supplied to Famnet.

Gail Riddell

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From the editor: Gail has written quite a series on DNA Testing. You will see them all on the FAMNET website and they are a must read, particularly if you are considering or have had a test done. They are easy to read and not too technical.

Gail has run out of ideas for further matter to be covered in future columns and I think it is too important a subject to let her stop writing about it. Therefore send some questions or suggestions for articles to her or me. Maybe she can write something pertinent to your situation?

Index so far

Wairarapa Wandering


After being back in my home country for five years, my New Zealand husband and I decided to return to make a fresh beginning in New Zealand where we had been some years earlier.  At that time, I had been working at the James Smith Department store in Cuba St Wellington, but I had been promised by the managing director back then that if I ever returned and wanted to work for the store again, I would be made welcome.


So, in 1976, after we arrived again in New Zealand (Wellington) I arranged a meeting with Douglas Smith who requested I visit when possible.  October that year saw me again in my old position and it was wonderful to meet up with all my old friends who had remained there whilst I was in the United Kingdom.  Just as wonderful was my pleasure at again meeting up with two other young ladies – Anne and Marie – they had worked in my department after school and during their school holidays when I was there five years earlier.


Right from the beginning, we had become friends which had lasted through 42 years.  For my 75th birthday, both Anne (now also living in Carterton) and Marie (who had made a three hour trip both ways from Napier) joined me at the Gladstone pub.  (Marie is descended from many of the early Carterton Settlers for example, Haxton, Challis, Anderson and Mckenzie.)


These ‘girls’ have been so special to me – they are my daughter’s god-parents and through thick and thin, they are there for me if I need them and in fact I see more of them these days than when we were all living in Wellington.


How many of us can say that they have friends who have been in their lives for over 40 years?


Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Hanley Hoffmann:  


Photos are the highlights of any family history especially if you have all the persons identified. The type of photo is important and the original should have been digitally copied, preferably by the local camera shop, especially if you have one like Waikanae’s Fujifilm shop where there are two very expert photo “manipulators”.

That is my term for them because over the years they have produced several hundred copies for me, all now happily embellishing my family histories. Now why so many? Because of the three family histories I have produced there are several photos, and in my own Hoffmann O’Reilly one there are least four pics, I have produced 30+ copies of the history, so there is 120 copies.  In all of these instances I have preserved the original, just like that 6x4 of my family.  Not something I would have wasted money doing. Photos need to be preserved just like your original certificates.

Digital copies of your photos are generally better and clearer than your original – so ensure that you have at least one spare copy to go with that original, when it comes to showing it off, you can demonstrate to others the benefits of digital copies.

I must create a warning here though because in front of me I have a photo of the whole of my family, five fellows lined up behind mum and dad and sister Lorna, all three seated, and this pic would have been taken in 1995 at my mother’s 80th birthday. Hey, but my father died in 1970.  My sister in law, Elizabeth who resides in Yass NSW thought it would be a good idea to put dad in this picture to complete the family – all done by the local camera shop expert and the seamless fit is very neatly done.

At the time this was done I was not impressed but avoided upsetting Elizabeth because she could not see the folly of doing this.  If this photo surfaces in my grand nieces and nephews time 20 years hence no one can deny that it is not original, so how come Bernard Thomas is in there?  Had he been installed as an inset as in my 1960’s family group that makes more sense, but to fit him digitally into this setting is stupid and inept!  So someone is going to waste time and prove a fatal flaw by showing Bernard Thomas present at his wife’s 80th!  Not something I would have wasted money having created, for what purpose. Here is the offending photo.

Good photos help to make our family history productions more attractive and with the cell phones and tablets and cameras these days it can’t be too difficult to create or snap a family gathering or you could be like me and have thousands of slides, negatives and photos to choose from.

Now view the template and the 1960’s photo taken from a slide and included in my family history. I have every reason to treasure this pic for many reasons, I had only started photography a year earlier and here is this shot using delayed action on the camera and a large flashlight which beautifully filled in on an otherwise dull Australian day.  See how I produced the template and the schedule of names, leaving you in no doubt as to who the family members are. 

You can even see that my brother Don (no 19, bottom right) smoked cigarettes at age 18. So much could be written about this photo with four generations present, and most of the family were smiling at the “camera man” who had already found his spot between mum and dad.  We all know the pressure on participants to smile at the right time.


1     *Bernard Lawrence  (Ben) Hoffman

2     John Lewis Hoffmann

3     Leo John Packer

4     Sister Patricia  (Bertha Hilda Hoffmann)

5     *Sylvia Hazel Hoffman (Nee Parker)

6     Henry Hanley Hoffmann

7     Heather Amelia Hoffman

8     Kathleen Mary Packer (Nee Hoffmann, O’Reilly)

9     Bernard Thomas Hoffmann

10  Frances Annie Hoffmann

11  William Lawrence   Hoffmann

12  Constance Amelia Hoffman  (Nee O’Reilly)

13  Helen Jane Hoffman

14  Albert Edward Hoffmann

15  Ian John Packer

16  Lorna Rose Ann Hoffmann

17  Lawrence Thomas Packer

18  Thomas John Hoffmann

19  Donald James Hoffmann

Absent: Bernard Francis Hoffmann (Now see the insert)

*Note:  Spelling of Ben  & Sylvia Hoffman with one n.

So take note, every good picture tells a story.

Hanley Hoffmann

A New Zealand resident, born in Young, NSW.

Now Waikanae FHG Newsletter Editor

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Digging Into Historical Records  

 Cape Egmont Lighthouse - a beacon to more than ships


Like chain migration the visitor books are redolent with members of family networks returning to this iconic site over and over again across generations. People from far flung places are often linked to those who live locally. Others are part of the ever moving lighthouse-keeping community. Notably members of the Parihaka community feature consistently throughout the years, and it seems reasonable to assume that they too reflect comparative linkages.


In addition to politicians, government officials and tourists the visitor book may be one of the few places where the presence of young children are recorded and possibly wrote their own names. Last but not least groups of people visiting on the same day are very likely to be linked to each other via kin, social community events or for professional reasons. Discerning these relationships can reveal linkages that have been lost from community and family memories over time. The following example aims to illustrate some of the points mentioned above.


Acting Sergeant-Major William White (1849-1928), of the Armed Constabulary stationed at Pungarehu, was the first to sign the lightbouse visitor book on 07 August 1881. He arrived at Auckland on the ship 'Claramont' from London on 25 March 1863 with his parents, William and Thirza nee Rowett and three siblings, John, Bertha and Blanche. [1] The family were from the small fishing port of East Looe, Cornwall where William was a malster and Thirza a dressmaker. [2]


William White (1824-1887) joined the 4th Waikato Militia Regiment at Sydney, commenced his service on 16 February 1864 and received a land grant for 'Hamilton East 110'. [3] His two daughters married in 1871 - Bertha to William Tynan Powell, and Blanche to Frederick Abraham Wild (1846-1925). Their older brother, John (1851-1935), moved to Sydney where he married Isabella Garrick MacRitchie in 1874 [4] and became Mayor of Paddington Municipality in 1892. [12]


When Thirza White died at 1 a.m. on 04 September 1881, aged 60 years, at the residence of Mr Frederick Wild in Hamilton “all her children were with her at the last.” She “was highly respected by all who knew her, and her death is much deplored by her numerous friends and relations. Her funeral was attended by a large number of settlers and townsfolk.” [5]


The first relative of Sergeant-Major White to sign the lighthouse visitor book was Captain William Tynan Powell (1838-1903) of Pungarehu on 12 Nov 1882. He was one of a group of men who were Sub-Inspectors in the Armed Constabulary that were officially appointed as Captains in the New Zealand Militia on 04 November 1881. [6] Shortly afterwards he was photographed with some of these men at Parihaka. [7] In January 1883, when his wife, Bertha (1856-1916), and their two sons, William Eyre Powell (11yrs) and John Edwin Powell (9yrs) signed the visitor book, they gave their residence as New Plymouth. Captain Powell was appointed to the Torpedo Corps of the Permanent Militia in January 1887 [8] and based his family at Devonport.


On 08 June 1887 Sergeant-Major William White married Fanny Wagstaff, daughter of Joseph and Lucy Emma nee Edwards, at Opunake. “Both parties are well-known and highly respected, and they receive the good wishes of the community.” [22]


Fanny's older brother, Private William Wagstaff of the Waimea Rifles, was present at Parihaka in November 1881. [9] The Wagstaff family arrived at Patea from Nelson on the ss 'Patea' on 03 February 1882 with four horses, two carts and three tons of luggage. [10] They had purchased Mr Breach's flax mill at Opunake and the party of two couples, eight children and a son-in-law were likened to "one of those emigrant parties which are constantly making their way west over the prairies of the States.” The Messrs Wagstaff had been connected with the flax industry from its foundation in Nelson and brought their equipment with them. [11] They established a rope and twine factory at Opunake and the quality of their products were highly spoken of. In 1883 the binding twine was first used in a reaper and binder operated by Mr J. Rotheray. [13]


Five children of Joseph and Lucy Emma Wagstaff signed the lighthouse visitor book on 22 April 1883 - Mary Maude (26yrs), William (23yrs), Kate (21yrs), James Thomas (19yrs) and Fanny (15yrs). The eldest was the wife of William Fowler (1851-1903) and her son, Edmund Murray Fowler (2yrs), was also recorded in the book. Another ‘Opunake’ visitor on the day was Amelia Violet (Minnie) Edmunds (20yrs), daughter of Robert and Frances nee Brock of Allington, Waimea, Nelson.


On 06 February 1894 William Edwin White (1876-1911) of Sydney, the nephew of Sergeant-Major William White, signed the visitor book along with two others. One was "White of Rahotu" and the other Kate Cassidy (1862-1937) of Ngariki. Kate Wagstaff married William Loftus Cassidy, an Opunake constable, at Hawera on 22 January 1884. [4, 14, 15] Maybe the third visitor was Kate's sister, Fanny White.


Two families from Ngariki Road, Rahotu visited the lighthouse on 25 May 1896. Maybe on this occasion not everyone signed the visitor book. Fanny White and her oldest daughters were there - Thirza Lucy (8yrs), Gwynneth Frances (7yrs), and May Marguerite (6yrs). There were no entries for Sergeant-Major William White and the youngest daughter, Vera Blanche (3yrs). Fanny White’s sister, Kate Cassidy and her daughter Alice Beryl Cassidy (11yrs) were there. William Loftus Cassidy was probably in Otago. When he volunteered for the Boer War in 1900, he stated on the attestation form that he had been a private with the Otago Hussars for five years. [16]


The second family was that of Thomas John Billing (1846-1923) and his wife Emma Jane nee McCoy (1861-1914) with two of their children - Thomas Leonard (15yrs) and Charles Lewis (12yrs). There were also two others who signed the book on the day - A. E. McCoy and Mary Jane Blane.


On 09 April 1884 Fanny White's older brother, William Wagstaff (1860-1891) married Edith Caroline Goodman (1861-1939). [4] When Edith Caroline signed the visitor book on 15 September 1897 she was of Rahotu. On a second visit on 15 October 1898 she was with her daughter, Mabel Edith Wagstaff (10yrs), and their address was Cape Road. Also with them that day was Willie Crockett (10yrs) of Carrington Road, New Plymouth. His parents, John and Eliza nee Ovenden, were married at Hawera on 09 April 1883.


When the daughters of William and Fanny White visited the lighthouse again in August and October 1908 they were living at Kina Road, Oaonui. By 1911 the White family had moved south to Rama Road, Kaupokonui. [17] In 1915 two daughters married - Thirza Lucy to John Thomas Reardon (1888-1968) at Otakeho on 03 February [18] and Gwynneth Frances to James Laurence Hornby (1890-1973) at Manaia on 16 June. [19]


In February 1918 the White family were based at Sutherland Road, Manaia. They also had a herd of 75 cows and machines were used to milk them. [20] William White appealed to the Military Service Board for an exemption for his employee, James Jones, until the end of the milking season. William said that he "was unable to do any heavy work now". The Board granted Jones leave until the end of June. [21]


Up to the end of 1925 no further visits to the lighthouse by members of this family have been found. William, Fanny, their four daughters and their husbands are all interred at Manaia Cemetery. Their grand-daughter, Thirza Vere Houghton nee Reardon is also there with her husband Raymond John. [24]


As the second volume of the visitor book continues into the 1950s [25] it is possible that Thirza Lucy Reardon (1880-1940), her children and grand-children, may also be recorded. If so they would be the third to fifth generations to do so.


[1] New Zealand Herald 26 Mar 1863 Arrival of the Claramont, Captain Mackintosh, from London

[2] 1851 Census and 1928 New Zealand Probate record for William White Jnr

[3] Auckland City Libraries Armed Constabulary Database

[4] NZ & NSW BDMs online indexes

[5] Waikato Times 06 Sep 1881 Obituary

[6] Taranaki Herald 04 Nov 1881 Militia and Volunteer Appointments

[7] William Andrews Collis Glass Plate Negative - Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: 10x8-1070-G Officers of the New Zealand Militia at Parihaka. Captains W E Gudgeon, H Morrison, Gordon, Taylor, Powell, Fortescue, S Newall, Baker, Anderson, Gilbert Mair, Henry William Northcroft, W B Messenger; Majors A Tuke and F Y Goring and Lieutenant-Colonel John Mackintosh Roberts.

[8] New Zealand Times 14 Jan 1887 Permanent Militia Appointments

[9] Nelson Contingent at Parihaka November 1881 - Archives NZ Reference AD1 158d M&V 1881/1528

[10] Patea Mail 03 Feb 1882 Port of Patea

[11] Hawera & Normanby Star 06 Feb 1882 News and Notes

[12] Sydney's Alderman: John White (1851-1935) webpage includes a portrait -

[13] Opunake - Historical notes collection - Taranaki Research Centre, Puke Ariki vertical file "Opunake" folder


[14] Auckland Weekly News Royal Humane Society Awards 1915-1918 William Loftus Cassidy (1862-1938) -

[15] Online Cenotaph - William Loftus Cassidy (1862-1938) -

[16] Archives NZ South Africa War File - William Cassidy SA5307, 521 - Army

[17] 1911 Egmont Electoral Roll

[18] Hawera and Normanby Star 19 Feb 1915 Marriage

[19] Hawera and Normanby Star 29 Jun 1915 Marriage

[20] Hawera & Normanby Star 07 Feb 1918 Wanteds

[21] Hawera & Normanby Star 13 Feb 1918 Military Service Board - Exemption appeals

[22] Taranaki Herald 10 Jun 1887 Opunake

[23] Taranaki Herald 04 May 1883 Marriage – John Crockett to Eliza Ovenden

[24] South Taranaki District Council Cemeteries database -

[25] Cape Egmont Lighthouse Visitor Books 1881-1904 and 1905-1960 Archives NZ References ADOS 17057 ML-CapeEgmont6/1 and 6/2 and


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

Lawrence Chinese Camp

On my first trip to the gold mining regions of the South Island, I visited Lawrence Museum. Within 20 minutes of our arrival, local Chinese resident, Anne Cheng, called by. She kindly offered to take us to the Chinese camp which we had passed by on our journey from Cromwell. She apologised that it was not well sign posted, but they were working on it.

As the notice board at the camp(1) said: -

Chinese Goldminers settled in the area around the late 1870s. The Chinese built their houses, stores, butcher, and Poon Fah Joss House, built roads, and wells, where the camp is today.

In 1883 the council sold the camp titles to the land for 50 pounds. There were up to 40 families living in the camp, including half cast children.

The children were educated at the Lawrence school until age 11. Then they went out to work. Today there are many descendant families, with surnames such as Wong, Mong, Seque, Tie, Tye and Shimm (1)

The site also housed the old stables, and the Chinese Empire Hotel. There is also a pig oven in the fields.  In December 2016, the Joss House was relocated at the camp.

One of the initial tasks will be uncovering the original colour.

According to Chinese tradition, it may have been painted red, the colour of good fortune, or perhaps even a dignified yellow. It's unlikely that it was painted white, the Chinese colour of mourning, as it is now.


Ng said he had seen other Joss Houses on Australian gold field towns, which were more prominent, and with Chinese features, because of the large number of Chinese miners who were lured by gold.

"But here there was a much smaller population [of Chinese people] so it would make sense to make their Joss House as unobtrusive as possible."

Such was the anti-Chinese sentiment of the time that people were banished to Lawrence's outskirts, where they prospered, with a population of 100 at the camp's height towards the end of the gold rush.

Generally, Joss Houses, like most Chinese dwellings, were built facing the sun.

The trust also wants to ascertain whether or not the building was actually the first Joss House, or a second built on the same site. (2)


The recently appointed Lawrence Chinese Camp Charitable Trust chairperson Adrienne Shaw is determined that the project, which commemorates the role of Chinese in the settlement of Lawrence by restoring the camp they lived in on the town's outskirts, will forge ahead to the next stage this year

The Geraldine-based farmer, who has close cultural ties to the camp, took over as chairperson from the founder-chairman James Ng, of Dunedin, late last year.

Shaw is descended from a Chinese butcher Chow Tie, who married Scottish-born barmaid Grace Kerr at the Chinese Empire Hotel, once a focal point of the camp, and is earmarked to undergo an extensive restoration.

Shaw is writing a book about them called The Butcher and the Barmaid

They married in 1885 and lived at the camp.

"This is my ancestral home - I feel that. (3)

(1)   Learn More About the Camp – Adrienne Shaw (Notice Board on site)



Book Launch

The Fruits of Our Labours: Chinese Fruit Shops in New Zealand book launches have been held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Christchurch

On 27 February 2018, the authors were invited to the New Zealand Parliamentary Chinese New Year event, in Wellington, for an official launch. 

The Fruits of Our Labours: Chinese Fruit Shops in New Zealand - Authors at the New Zealand Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebrations, 27 February 2018  

Helen Wong

Beaton family in NZ

From the editor: This is an article I received from a reader. I have great pleasure in putting it here for your reading pleasure. Maybe you can help the author?

I have not been able to find when or how my ancestor, John BEATON, arrived in NZ but he married in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Auckland on 23 May 1843, only four months after the little wooden church was blessed and opened. John BEATON was a native of the Isle of Mull, Scotland and I have found his baptism on 12 March 1815 in the old parochial registers of the Parish of Kilninian and Kilmore.

John married Mary Ann MORGAN, the seventeen year old daughter of a widow from Cork who arrived on the ‘Westminster’ on 1 April 1843. As this arrival was only seven weeks before the marriage it would not be unreasonable to question whether John was also on the ‘Westminster’, however he was certainly not on the passenger list and I have not been able to find any evidence that he was part of the crew. Nevertheless I cannot get out of my head the fact that seven weeks seems a remarkably short time to commit to marriage unless the couple knew each other beforehand. This seems unlikely given that he was from Isle of Mull and she from Cork.

After their marriage John and Mary Ann lived initially at Mechanic’s Bay close to Central Auckland and can be found in the Auckland Police Census for 1843 and again for 1844. Living right next door was Mary Ann’s mother Ann MORGAN and six buildings further along was Alexander McARTHUR who had recently married Mary Ann’s sister Margaret.

Over the next eight years John and Mary Ann had four children but the eldest died at seventeen months. The baptisms and burial can be found in the registers of St Patrick’s Cathedral but only the third and fourth births are captured by civil registration which did not start till 1848. In September 1851 John moved to NSW, possibly attracted by the discovery of gold in the area north of Bathurst, while Mary Ann and the young family followed in May 1852.  Over the next eleven years they had a further four children in NSW then returned to New Zealand in mid to late 1863 before having an ninth child in Auckland in 1866.

There are a number of references to a John BEATON in NZ records of this period but whether they are my John or a different family is hard to determine. The NZ Government Gazette Vol 4 of 1851 includes John BEATON, Labourer of Mungamungaroa in a list of men within the Town and District of Auckland liable to serve on Juries for the year 1851-2. The same gazette includes the name J. BEATON of Mungaroa in a list of Timber Licenses issued from the Colonial Treasury at Auckland for the year 1851.

In the following decade John BEATON appears in the West Auckland Electoral Roll for 1865 and also on the Auckland Provincial Highway Rolls 1863-70. There is also a John BEATON (with the notation ‘absentee’) on the 1882 Freeholders list owning land in Auckland with a value of 235 Pounds.

Despite these references it is apparent the family split basically along male/female lines with John and the two eldest sons moving to NSW while Mary Ann, her five daughters and youngest son stayed in New Zealand.

Mary Ann BEATON died in Auckland on 11 Feb 1890 and a coroner’s inquest was held the following day. Her daughter, Annie, gave sworn testimony that Mary Ann lived in a house off Victoria St with her and her brother, John who was a seaman. The evidence showed that death was the result of a ruptured aneurism of the aorta. She was buried in Waikumete Cemetery.

A summary of the family who remained in NZ is as follows.

The eldest daughter, Mary (born 1849), seems to have disappeared from sight and there was a family anecdote that she may have gone to England but I have found no evidence of her in records there.

The second daughter, Sarah (born 1851), married James EGGENTON in Auckland in 1874 and they had six children. She died in 1892 at only forty years of age and is buried in Waikumete Cemetery.

The third daughter, Catherine (born 1857 in NSW), married Charles BUCHANAN in Auckland in 1878 and they had three children. For some unknown reason the family moved from Auckland to Newcastle, NSW for the birth of their first child then returned to Auckland for their second before returning to Newcastle for their third. It is not known what prompted this attraction to Newcastle and no family or business reason has been found. This birth is the last record that has been found for Catherine BUCHANAN despite extensive searching in both NSW and NZ. It seems the couple separated because Charles’ will, made in 1916, directed that all his possessions be left to his eldest daughter ‘in consideration of her care of me during my life, and of this her work, in the interests of other members of my family.’ Since no death, divorce or re-marriage has been found we can speculate that Catherine may have gone to England to join her sister, Mary. Bizarrely, Charles BUCHANAN’s death certificate states that he had a fourth child – a 34 year old male. The informant would have been the eldest daughter, who surely would have known whether or not she had a 34 year old brother, however no record of this birth can be found in either NSW or NZ.

The fourth daughter, Janet (born 1863 in NSW), married Charles POLLARD in Auckland in 1881 and they had seven children. She died in Auckland in 1937 and is buried in Waikumete Cemetery.

The fifth daughter, Annie (born 1866), married Albert BRANDON-CREMER in Kumara in 1893 and they had three children. She was a talented actress, singer and dancer who appeared in probably more than a thousand productions across the country under the stage name Annie Wyniard. She died in Melbourne, Victoria in 1929.

The youngest son, John (born 1860 in NSW), married Emma Jane PRATT in Auckland in 1897 however Emma remarried in 1907 when she is recorded as a widow whose husband had died in April 1900. While there are a number of John BEATON deaths in the index, none of them are a match for John Jr so this is a complete mystery.

Despite many years of research I have not been able to solve the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of Mary BEATON, Catherine BUCHANAN nee BEATON and John BEATON Jr.

I would love to hear from anyone with a connection to this BEATON family including the wider EGGENTON, POLLARD, BUCHANAN or BRANDON-CREMER families.

John Beaton

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From our Libraries and Museums

Triggered by an email from Seonaid (Shona) Lewis, we are offering a forum to our libraries and museums to publicise their events, and to contribute articles to this newsletter that may be of interest to our readers. Auckland Libraries is starting to make good use of this free service, let’s see if other libraries and museums take up this offer.

For readers of this newsletter: please bring this to the attention of your local libraries etc, and encourage them to participate.

Auckland Libraries

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council

Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland with some marked exceptions

Cost: Free

Booking: Not always essential but to secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 890 2412, or complete our online booking form.

Are you interested in family and local history? Or about the history of New Zealand? Then come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks<>. Experts in specialised fields deliver these talks and provide insight into our histories.

HeritageTalks take place at Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, unless otherwise stated. Booking is recommended.

Booking recommended, phone Central Auckland Research Centre 09 890 2412 or book online:


Auckland women overseas in the First World War with Jane Tolerton

Wednesday 11 April, 12pm -1pm

Jane Tolerton, author of Make Her Praises Heard Afar: New Zealand women overseas in World War One, talks about Auckland women who worked in the war effort in Egypt, Britain and France, and whose fascinating stories have been hidden in history. Born in Auckland, Jane is a best-selling and award-winning author on women and war.

Special event for Anzac Day – Jason Reeve, Ancestry

Insights into our World War One fighting men; what their service records tell us

Thursday 19 April, 6pm to 7.30pm (join us from 5pm for tea and coffee)
Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library

Join us from 5pm for tea and coffee, then hear Jason Reeve, Ancestry, recount what the service records tell us from 6pm.

The 'New Zealand World War I Service Records, 1914-1920' contain more than 200,000 records with almost 4 million images. 

These poignant multiple page accounts of each soldier's personnel record contain all the official paperwork from their time in the military.

They include: 

·         medical certificates

·         correspondence

·         recommendations for commendations

·         reports from battles

·         information about how and where they died. 

About Jason Reeve

Jason Reeve is Content Manager for Ancestry in New Zealand and Australia. A passionate advocate for all things history, Jason works closely with a range of archives, registries, historical and genealogical societies to uncover new record collections and share them with the Ancestry community.

The AncestryDNA network continues to grow with more than seven million people having taken an AncestryDNA test. As the world’s largest consumer DNA database, AncestryDNA provides customers the opportunity to discover unexpected connections to new relatives, with more than 37 million third cousin or closer relative matches provided across the network. 

More information at

To book email Research Central or phone (09) 890 2412.


Exploring the Bill Laxon Maritime Library with Danielle Carter

Wednesday 9 May, 12pm -1pm

The Bill Laxon Maritime Library at the New Zealand Maritime Museum focuses on our seafaring heritage, offering resources from books and serials to vessel plans and registers. These unique resources include Auckland Harbour Board and Northern Steam Ship Company archives, shipboard diaries, and photographic collections. Come and find out about the special resources available to researchers at this reference-only library.

Establishment of the Chelsea Sugar Works; Impact on the local community with Brian Potter

Wednesday 23 May, 12pm -1pm

While the opening of the Harbour Bridge impacted North Shore communities, 70 years earlier the building and opening of the Chelsea Sugar Works significantly affected the fledgling Birkenhead community. Join Brian Potter, a local historian from the Birkenhead Heritage Society, as he discusses how the sugar works attracted new settlers, provided employment and enhanced the skill of the community.

Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

Ph 09 890 2411| Extn (46) 2411 | Fax 09 307 7741

Auckland Libraries, Level 2, Central City Library, 44 - 46 Lorne Street, Auckland

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


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Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


Thursday evening venue is 6 Augusta Place, Whau Valley. Call Wayne or Pat or;

email, if you need directions.

 Saturday meetings are held in the SeniorNet rooms in James Street.

The rooms are upstairs in the Arcade leading to Orr’s Pharmacy and Tiffany’s Café, Start time 9.30 till finished before 1.30pm.


 Some interesting sites for wet weekends


Little Ice Age, Big Consequences

Your ancestors & the Little Ice Age

Overall the harsh conditions of the Little Ice Age altered lives and livelihoods, disrupted normal activities and, in many instances, forced people to change their way of life or move. Some of the most important records we find were created during the time of the Little Ice Age – but what is this, when did it occur, and what were the specific consequences on our ancestors’ lives?

A weather eye on the past


Man buys ENTIRE graveyard to stop anyone building on top of his ancestors

AN ABANDONED graveyard has been bought by a man who wants to protect the graves of his ancestors. Richard Hopkins purchased the former Babell Chapel cemetery in Cwmbwrla for £6,000.





Waikanae Family History Group


Email: Phone (04) 904 3276, (Hanley Hoffmann)

Venue: Meets every 4th Thursday morning at the Waikanae Chartered Club, 8 Elizabeth Street Waikanae, just over the Railway Crossing from 9.30am to 12 -12.30pm, every month from January to November.

                                                    Research days: at the Waikanae Public Library, 10am to 12 noon on second Wednesday of each month.

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

The contact details of this group are:

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

Rose Cottage 33 Memorial Place


Tel: 06 – 754 – 3212

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News and Views               



Family Tree

Irish Records Online


Irish CottageIrish Cottage

The Irish immigrants make up a large percentage of people’s heritage in America. Usually, people may have at least one ancestor on their tree who originated in Ireland.

The IrishGenealogy IE web site has now made available, online and free, a searchable database of Irish church and civil (General Register Office) records covering baptisms, marriages and burials. Many date back to 1864. There are approximately 2.5 million images and indexes available from GRO and millions from many churches from Counties Cork, Kerry and Dublin. The births range from 1864 to 1915, marriages from 1882 to 1940 and deaths from 1891 to 1965. These records will have additional information besides the direct ancestor and a date. True, some of your ancestors may not fall within those ranges, but maybe an uncle, cousin or aunt does.





Scroll down on the main page to ‘Search Online Records’ filling in what information you do know. Not all spaces have to be filled. You will see a list of the databases that have records based on the name and location you placed. Click on one, such as civil records to view what is available. Sign in to view the records.

When you find that might fit, click on that name. An index of some of the information will appear. Then below is the word ‘image’ – click on it, it will be saved and downloaded to your computer as a PDF document so you can view the scanned digital document.



irish-births-1896For a marriage record you view the bride and groom, date of marriage, their occupation, their ages, if they were single or widowed, where they lived, the fathers’ names for each, their signature, and the names of the witnesses (who might be a relative).

With births; the child’s name, location of birth, parents’ names, parents’ occupation, date of birth, and date of register.

For church records, the same thing, place a name in the search box, a listing will appear, click on a name and the basis information appears. Then click on ‘view church record’ to download the PDF of the scanned church record. For baptism, the child’s name is provided, the date of birth, the date of baptism, parents’ names, address of home, occupation of the father and who performed the baptism.




irish-1915-marriages-belfastEven if you only locate one vital record, civil or church, you will have more information that preciously held. Do download the digital copy and keep with other records. You can print the record also for your files.








  Investigate the IrishGenealogy IE web site to see what you can discover.

Photos: Irish cottage; Irish Baptisms 1869; Irish Births 1896; and Irish Marriages in 1915 in Belfast.                                               

 23 Non-Genealogy Websites That Genealogists Really Should Use

Lisa A. AlzoFebruary 19, 2016

Reap the rewards of expanding your online family history research to these 23 not-just-for-genealogy websites.

When it comes to online genealogy research, it’s easy to become a creature of habit. You may find yourself—every time you start a new research session—making a beeline for your favorite websites, such as FamilySearchAncestry.comMyHeritage or Findmypast.

But plenty of other websites that aren’t necessarily designed for genealogists can nonetheless prove useful. Maybe you’re puzzling over the boundaries of a county or the most common migration route from Point A to Point B during a certain timeframe. Perhaps an elusive ancestor has you digging for original church records. A pension record may be making you wish you better understood an obscure Civil War skirmish. And what if you could find an old artifact—a postcard or piece of coal scrip—to illustrate your family history book or liven up a wall display?

To help you break the habit of sticking with the same sites, we’ve come up with a list of 23 “nongenealogy” websites that can help you solve genealogy research problems, find valuable new resources and connect with cousins. Which ones should be next on your list?

1. ArchiveGrid


This website boasts a collection of more than 2 million archival items in collections held by thousands of libraries, museums, historical societies and archives. Search detailed finding aids that identify specific, original historical documents: birth and death records; ship passenger manifests; cemetery records; personal papers, letters and diaries; records of schools, businesses and churches; family histories and other archival materials. ArchiveGrid also provides contact information for the institutions where the collections are kept. 

2. David Rumsey Map Collection

Maps help us trace our ancestors’ footsteps. The 64,000-plus maps and other cartographic images on this site focus on rare 18th- and 19th-century North American and South American materials. Historic maps of the world, Europe, Asia and Africa are also represented, as well as atlases. View maps, compare them side-by-side and download high-resolution files. A georeferencing tool even allows you to overlay historic maps on modern maps or other historic maps, useful for viewing an ancestor’s neighborhood and how it has changed over time.

3. Digital Public Library

This ever-expanding website draws on the resources of some of the nation’s leading repositories. Explore more than 11 million digitized items from libraries, archives and museums across the country in this online repository. Search the whole collection with a single click, or narrow your search to a place or time period for photographs, books, audio and video files, maps (including the full David Rumsey Historical Map Collection) and more. Catalog listings link to digitized items on the holding library website. For fun and historical context, browse exhibits on topics such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Civil War maps and the Gold Rush.

4. eBay

You wouldn’t think this online auction site would be the place to go for genealogy, but the truth is you can find family trees, books, photo albums, old postcards, family Bibles and much more. Some genealogists even scour eBay to rescue orphan heirlooms they can return to family members. Typically, items are listed in the Everything Else>Genealogy category. But check other categories such as books, collectibles, antiques and jewelry. In your eBay profile, you can follow Favorite Searches (this feature used to be called Saved Searches) and get email alerts and updates in your eBay feed. For example, I follow Duquesne, Pennsylvania high school yearbooks.

Create searches like Smithson family Bible or Riser geneology (sometimes sellers misspell “genealogy”).

5. EasyBib

Proper source citations are a must for genealogists. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills is the source citation bible for genealogy, but there are times when you may wish to streamline the process a bit first. EasyBib is a free tool that helps you generate source citations in MLA, APA, Chicago and other formats. Choose the type of source (such as website, book or newspaper) and enter the URL or title. EasyBib shows you basic information—for a book, the full title, author and publication details. You can edit it and add a page number and other specifics, then click to create a formatted citation. The ad-free Pro version ($4.99 per month or $59.88 per year) offers unlimited cloud backup for your citations and 7,000 additional citation templates.

6. Facebook


Where else can you keep in touch with your grandma, your niece and your “geneapeeps” all in one place? As the most popular social network worldwide, Facebook has more than 1.5 billion monthly active users. Not only can you use Facebook to connect with cousins, but it is a great forum for asking genealogy-related questions, finding other researchers working on the same surname or ancestral lines or requesting help with foreign record translations. Search for pages or groups for your ancestors’ hometowns and even their ancestral villages. You also can download the Genealogy on Facebook list, a 173-page PDF file containing 5,700-plus links, published by Katherine R. Willson. A Canadian version by Gail Dever includes French-speaking groups and pages.

7. Flickr offers 1TB of free photo storage via its Flickr photo-sharing site. Options include the ability to maintain public or private online albums, edit and share photos with others. Uploaded photo files are saved at full resolution and can be downloaded again with no loss of quality. Viewable and sharable images on the site are compressed to a smaller size and therefore lower quality. One caveat: If you’re going to include others’ Flickr images on your blog, check the permissions/creative commons license to make sure it is available for use. See Family Tree Magazine readers’ ancestral photos and share your own.

8. Google

By now, most genealogists are used to running Google searches on surnames, ancestral locations and other topics of interest. But Google is so much more than a search engine, and so many of its other free products can be used for furthering family history research. Google Photos’ facial recognition software, ability to make quick videos and unlimited storage make it a great tool for any genealogist. Or tap into the power of Google Maps or Google Earth, where amazing detailed satellite views and street maps can help you zoom in on even the tiniest towns or villages. Google Books content is just staggering: It is the “world’s most comprehensive index of full-text books.”

Need a quick translation? Google Translator can help. Create a family history blog in minutes with Blogger, watch and post videos to YouTube, connect with family via Hangouts and create, save and share files for free with Google Drive. Think of Google as a one-stop shop for genealogy tasks. Also, check out Family Tree University courses The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke or Family Tree University’s Google for Genealogy online course.

9. HathiTrust

HathiTrust is an online library of millions of titles digitized from academic and research institutions around the world. From the home page, you can search the catalog for descriptive terms about an item (like a title or author) or run a full-text search that includes words within the digitized book or other item (like a name, place, citation or favorite quote). Advanced search options are available, too. Use quotes to search an exact phrase (such as “The Great Depression”) or use wildcards (* or ?) to search for alternate forms of a word (wom?n will find woman and women).


Historical events influenced where your ancestors lived and worked, where they worshipped and how they made life-altering decisions. Learning history helps you put their experiences in historical context and flesh out a timeline when writing their stories. On this website, you can explore what happened on a certain day in an ancestor’s life; listen to famous speeches and other audio that reflects the news of your ancestors’ times; and read lists of little-known facts about historically significant events such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (You can even get answers to those questions you always wanted to ask, such as “Was Dracula a real person?” or “Did Shakespeare really write his own plays?”) 

11. HistoryPin

This UK-based site boasts more than 400,000 member submissions of old photos, each plotted on Google Maps. Use this site to compare images of the past against a modern street view and better understand your ancestral neighborhoods, identify old family homes or businesses, and see what historical properties remain today that may be worth visiting. You can contribute your own photos to this collaborative effort, too, with a free registration.

12. Instagram

Instagram is an online photo- and video-sharing site that lets users take pictures and videos, style them with digital filters and share via Facebook (which owns Instagram), TwitterTumblr and Flickr. Photos are presented in a square format, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images. Instagram photos are perfect for blog posts and visual storytelling (think Grandma’s wedding, honoring a veteran, etc.) or for building an online brand for your genealogical or historical society. The National Archives is on Instagram, and so are and a host of other genealogists and genealogy companies. Use #genealogy to search or tag family history images, then post across social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Instagram also lets you record and share short videos (up to 15 seconds).

Find an overview video on Instagram for genealogy on DearMyrtle’s blog. As with any site to which you upload content, read the terms of service (see what the Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, has to say on this subject).

13. Internet Archive

The nonprofit digital library known as Internet Archive, launched in 1996 by Brewster Kahle, offers free public access to millions of public domain books, along with music, film, photographs and other archived historical records. The site’s ever-expanding collection of genealogy resources includes items from the Allen County Public Library, the Brigham Young University Library, among others. Search by collection, title or series, or use Google to run a search like Henry Hoffner Clinton Iowa, which will look for results only in the Internet Archive. One of my favorite Internet Archive finds is Praktiný slovensko-anglický tluma (The Practical Slovak American Interpreter).

Internet Archive also archives entire websites (over 452 billion pages) through its Wayback Machine, which allows you to search the web as it was from late 1996 to today—handy for when you find out one of your favorite web pages is no longer available.


JSTOR (or Journal Storage) is an online collection of more than 7 million articles in 2,000-plus academic journals, including many covering history or published in the United States before 1923 and in other countries before 1870. You can search JSTOR for free and check with libraries for copies of journals or try the free Register & Read plan, which lets you read up to three articles every two weeks. Frequent users should consider the JPASS, which provides access to about 1,500 of the journals (one month for $19.50 includes 10 article downloads; a year for $199 includes 120 downloads). Both plans allow unlimited access to read articles without downloading. JPASS makes it easier to use JSTOR, especially if your library doesn’t offer the service. See the May/June 2014 Family Tree Magazine for a JSTOR tutorial 

15. Library of Congress

This site helps you access many of the riches of the nation’s library. From here, you can search the main library catalog and the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC). The American Memorycollection digitizes everything from maps to old advertising circulars, even audio and video recordings. The Chronicling America newspaper collection now tops 10 million pages from the country’s past, spanning 1836 to 1922. There’s a web portal to the library’s Local History and Genealogy Reference Center, where you’ll learn helpful tips and search among more than 50,000 compiled family histories and 100,000 local histories. You can’t borrow most of these titles from the Library of Congress, but at least you can learn about them and then use WorldCat to find copies at your library or through interlibrary loan.

16. Pinterest

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where you can “pin” articles and images you find online or that you upload from your computer. Use it as a place to curate content about an ancestor, collect family recipes or keep a list of your favorite resources on a specific topic (for example World War II history, or female ancestors). Use Pinterest to create family timelines and memorials by pinning captioned images important to a person’s life. You can then use your pinned information as a storyboard for writing a profile or family history. Look for new tips and tricks on boards such as Geneabloggers’ Genealogy Tip Jar and Family Tree Magazine’s Genealogy Tips & Tricks. Before you pin, read the terms of service so you can respect others’ copyright when “repinning” and know what you’re agreeing to when you pin your own images.

17. Trello

Ever wished for a whiteboard in the cloud? Say “hello” to Trello. Trello is a free, web-based tool for organizing your projects. If you like to use index cards to organize, Trello may appeal to you. Sign up for a free Trello account or sign up using your existing Gmail account (but read the terms of service, because you’ll be asked to allow Trello to view your email address, basic Google profile info and more). It’s easy to use and flexible: You choose how much detail to enter, and set up boards with collections of customizable lists. The lists contain cards. A good genealogy setup might be a board for each surname you’re researching, another for a family history book project, and one for each genealogy conference or online class you attend. You can put your cards into lists to track progress or categorize tasks. You also can add members if you’re working on group projects and get notifications of changes made to the lists. Trello works with Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers, and has an app for most devices.

18. Twitter


This social media giant had more than 320 million users at the end of last year. Despite the 140-character limit for each message or “tweet” users can send, genealogists can use Twitter to locate new resources for research; follow genealogy companies, websites and blogs; get advice on software and technology; learn to write source citations and publicize conferences and events. 

19. WolframAlpha

Need to know the weather for a specific date? What about calculating a birth date based on a death date from a gravestone? WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge base that accesses more than 10,000 databases to return information based on your calculation requests. Find tips in Guide to WolframAlpha for Genealogy and Family History by Thomas MacEntee (self-published). For example, type in grandmother’s aunt and a family tree will appear along with other data, including a blood fraction percentage.

20. WorldCat

WorldCat connects you with the collections of 10,000 libraries around the world, including the Family History Library (FHL). You can search catalog information about more than 2 billion books, newspapers, images, sound files, microfilmed and downloadable materials and more. Once you’ve found promising titles, WorldCat will help you locate them in libraries you can visit or borrow from via interlibrary loan for a small fee. You could use WorldCat to locate microfilm of an old newspaper or a circulating copy of a book listed in the Library of Congress or FHL catalog. A variety of widgets and apps makes it even easier to search the world’s libraries from this central location.

21. WhatWasThere

Whether you have old snapshots from a family album or a library of archived images, pinning them to What­WasThere helps in the company’s collective effort to “build a photographic history of the world.” Pin images by uploading them—tagged with a year and a street-address based location—to a map driven by Google Maps. Or search for images others have uploaded by city and then click on the orange map indicators to view images. For example, a search for Pueblo, Colorado brings up images of local businesses and homes dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s and the aftermath of a 1921 flood. Free registration is required to add images, but not to view or search.

22. YouTube

Learn about your ancestors’ world, get fascinating insight into their lives and explore ancestral locations all from the comfort of your couch via YouTube. I was thrilled when I discovered several YouTube videos that made up a walking tour of my grandfather’s birthplace, Osturna, Slovakia. You can also watch instructional videos on just about any genealogy subject posted by individual researchers and companies such as Check out Family Tree Magazine’s YouTube channel.

23. Zillow

Most users visit this online real estate site to browse for-sale and rental listings, but genealogists can use the site or its app to search for the address of an ancestor’s residence. View current value and other information, and use the Bird’s Eye View tool to get a closer look at what the house looks like now and to view the neighborhood.   


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Book Reviews   

From the editor: I want to comment on the feedback from the last few I put in the March newsletter. My comments in the review of the Donald Trump book drew all comments to the editor. I won't include any in this newsletter but I will say that if Donald Trump had stood in our recent elections he would have won every electorate etc. It appears that his rhetoric appeals to a lot of New Zealanders. I shall go away and take the advice of the this cartoon.

The Guns of August

by Barbara Tuchman.  

Purchased from

This book, her fourth, won the first of her two Pulitzer Prizes, and established her reputation as respected historian writing books with huge popular appeal.  The book deals with the lead up to the war, and the war’s first month, ending with the First Battle of the Marne when the Germans came within a whisker of victory. The short war that everybody expected, and nobody except the Germans wanted, was over, from there the war was the stalemate of trench warfare until one side exhausted the other.

The book opens with the funeral of King Edward VII in 1910, and in the first part she paints a vivid picture of pre-war Europe.  She memorably captures events and people with exactly the right words: one becomes involved in events of 100 years ago as though they’re current, exasperated at the idiocy of some, the arrogance of others.  I could hardly put this book down, her writing skill made me want to know what happened next even though this is 100 year old history and we all know what happened next.  I simply had not understood how close the allies came to disaster, with German defeat averted only because Kluck advanced too far, exposing the German flank, believing the French beaten (and the British nowhere to be seen).

Reviewed by Robert Barnes



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From the Editor: Every now and then we get requests to put an advertisement in the newsletter. I have therefore created a new section which will appear from time to time. Advertisements will be included only at the Editor's discretion and will be of a genealogical nature.

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Advertising with FamNet

If your organisation is not a group subscriber then there will be a charge for advertising events and services, which must be paid for before publication. Charges start at $NZ25 for a basic flier, and increase for more elaborate presentations. Like everyone else we need funds to help keep FamNet going. Fees are very minimal. If your organisation paid a yearly subscription you can have all the advertising you want all year round in the Group News section. Your group could be anywhere in the world, not just in New Zealand. The editor will continue to exercise discretion for free events.

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In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief


A woman was out golfing one day when she hit the ball into the woods.

She went into the woods to look for it and found a frog in a trap.

The frog said to her, “If you release me from this trap, I will grant you three wishes.”

The woman freed the frog, and the frog said, “Thank you, but I failed to mention that there was a condition to your wishes. Whatever you wish for, your husband will get times ten!”

The woman said, “That’s okay.”

For her first wish, she wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

The frog warned her, “You do realize that this wish will also make your husband the most handsome man in the world, an Adonis whom women will flock to”.

The woman replied, “That’s okay, because I will be the most beautiful woman and he will have eyes only for me.”

So, KAZAM-she’s the most beautiful woman in the world!

For her second wish, she wanted to be the richest woman in the world.

The frog said, “That will make your husband the richest man in the world. And he will be ten times richer than you.”

The woman said, “That’s okay, because what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine.”

So, KAZAM-she’s the richest woman in the world!

The frog then inquired about her third wish, and she answered, “I’d like a mild heart attack.”

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