Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter December 2016

ISSN 2253-4040

Quote. The thing that interests me most about family history is the gap between the things we think we know about our families and the realities – Jeremy Hardy.


Editorial 1

Sponsored Content 2

RestorePICS - Professional Photo Restoration. 2

Regular Features. 4

From the Developer 4

Have you told your story?. 4

Is this Newsletter Spam to you?. 4

Telling your story.    Index. 4

The Nash Rambler 4

DNA Testing for Family History. 6

21.  DNA Testing – Going over some frequently asked questions, plus, plus…... 6

Previous articles in the series are: 9

Wairarapa Wandering. 10

From our Libraries and Museums. 10

Auckland Libraries. 10

Group News. 12

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 12

Waikanae Family History Group. 12

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 13

News and Views. 13

Genealogy Changed Dramatically in 2016. I Can Prove It. 13

Book Reviews. 17

In conclusion. 17

A Bit of Light Relief 17

Advertising with FamNet 17

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 17

Back to the Top. 17


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Well another month has disappeared. Another newsletter has been written. I hope it is a well received as the last. I had a lot of positive response from the last and I thank you for your encouraging remarks.

This newsletter is noteworthy for the lack of articles from blogs - the reason will become obvious once you have read my column.

I wish to extend seasonal greetings to you and your families. May Xmas 2016 be a happy occasion with many useful gifts being acquired.



In this issue: -

·                     From The Developer: the “Telling your Story” series is finished for now.  Have you told yours?   And please, if you don’t want this newsletter, turn it off, don’t just report it as spam.

·                     The Nash Rambler: My plans are in disarray thanks to the efforts of a very good friend

·                     DNA testing for Family History: Gail answers FAQ on the subject of DNA testing

·                     Adele talks about the Sullivan name and talks about the value of an old photograph album

·                     Auckland Library Events: Next year's Lectures in the lunchtime series

·                     Hanley Hoffmann has written about the adventures he has with the spelling of his surname

·                     An article on the new class of genealogists - the ultimate fishers


With any luck this will get you thinking.  Hopefully about sending some contributions to this newsletter.  Surely Robert and I aren’t the only people who read books that might be of interest to others! 



Peter Nash

Sponsored Content

This issue, for the first time, we have some sponsored content.  Of course this helps us pay our bills, but the services advertised should be interesting to many of you.

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A digital copy of your restored image(s) will be emailed through to you upon completion. Print options available nationwide through Warehouse Stationery.


Back to the Top

Regular Features

From the Developer

Firstly, an apology.  In the production of this newsletter Peter pulls it all together and then hands it over to me.  The final stages – putting it on to the web site, actually emailing it out – haven’t yet been set up so that he can do them.  Peter did his bit in early December, and had this newsletter handed over to me well over a week ago, but it’s taken me until now to be able to do my part.  I’m sorry.  As Jazz, my major software project, is starting to be used by real users my life has become VERY busy as I have to respond to problems and fix and enhance the software.  So much for the relaxed life of a retiree.  I wanted the software to be used, but as Mary says, “Be careful what you wish for”.  I must admit however that most of the time I’m enjoying it, I’d much rather be too busy than not busy enough, but the last two weeks have been very intense.   Fortunately things have slackened off a little and I’m able to catch up with other things.   Like this.

Have you told your story?

I’ve finished – for now at least – the series of “Telling your Story” articles.  The complete list is below.  Let me know if there are any other topics that you’d like me to cover.  I hope that I’ve shown you how easy it is to add pictures, documents, even audio and video, to your family history on FamNet.  And remember, your family don’t want your research, they want your stories.  Particularly your own, and the ancestors that you knew.  So have you started doing this yet?   Why not?  If all you have is a GEDCOM then it’s pretty boring for everybody, even you.

Is this Newsletter Spam to you?

We get it that not everybody wants this newsletter.  But if this is you, all you have to do is click this link (or the one as the bottom of every newsletter) and enter your email and you’ll stop getting them.  Some people seem to be reacting to an unexpected bit of email by reporting it as spam – they presumably didn’t notice that when they subscribed to FamNet they were told that they’d be getting newsletters and how to stop them if they weren’t wanted.  Each such spam report is reported by our mail server (Amazon Web Services) and we treat them seriously, but it takes a 14 click dialog to turn off emails from the newsletter involved.  Sometimes we can’t – we’re sending email to an address that forwards it somewhere else, and of course the complaining email is not on our system.  We can no more fix this than we can change your email without knowing your old one.  So please, if you don’t want this email, please stop it yourself!  Don’t just hit the “Spam” button in your email software.

This is all from me this month.  Blame my Jazz project for the fact that I haven’t written more!

Telling your story.    Index

So far I’ve covered these topics.

1.  Writing your story as notes, or with Word.  Embedding links in Word documents. 

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

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

I have recently downsized my house and very recently retired.

In my old home I had an office with filing cabinets and a logical (to me but nobody else) filing system so that I could instantly lay my hands on anything that was needed. In the process of moving, the filing system was put into cartons - many, many cartons. At my new abode these cartons are being stored in a shed which is packed to the ceiling with them. This makes them almost inaccessible and many valuable heirlooms are in that pile and are not stored in the best of circumstances for their survival. To get at something particular takes some hours and involves much heavy lifting. Murphy's Law says that the carton I want is at the back, on the bottom of the heap and this has been proven time after time.

I have been researching for well over twenty years - even before photocopiers and definitely before computers were readily available with ample storage capacity. Therefore I have stacks of hand written notes and photocopies. Of course one of my retirement jobs is to make sense of this material, scan what's scannable and enter the data onto my computer etc. BUT NOT YET!!!

My new home had no gardens. We had a blank canvas.  We have spent a lot of time, effort and money into the formation of the gardens. I have built raised beds for my vegetable garden. I don't wish to skite but boy I have a great (potential) crop of tomatoes and will flood the neighbourhood with my bumper crop of beans. My dahlias have to be seen to be believed. My gladioli are looking like they will be a sight.  But my family are less convinced by my ability in gardening - their catchphrase is "anybody can grow things in potting mix". Everything is looking good and takes a lot of time in watering, weeding (they're as good at growing as the vegetables) and general pampering including much talking to them.

Together with my gardening, my addiction to cemetery records and their collation into one correct database is taking much of my time - up to three hours per day. In short I am a very busy man at the moment and do not need any sidetracking into tasks other than the garden and cemeteries. I'm even too busy to do housework and cooking. My extensive backlog of reading is not going down. I'm struggling to do the crosswords in the morning paper. My nana naps have disappeared.

Enter Stage Left-  my caring friend who I shall call Marlene in an effort to not draw attention to this lovely lady who means well.

If you know me and heard my various attempts at public speaking you will be aware of my brick wall - that involving Joseph Nash. He is either a drunken seaman or a drunken deserter from the British Army. I don't know which but I do know that he was a drunk and that he had a history of very little association with the truth. Using his given birthplace over a lot of official documents it appears that he was born in either Derbyshire or Staffordshire and probably near Uttoxeter in 1840 plus or minus 10 years. Over time I have collected and examined every Joseph Nash birth in that area and time period and have reasons for discarding most of the alternatives. I have nothing positive to directly connect to any option other than one or two cannot be found in census records after 1851. I recently found Joseph the Army deserter in camp in the 1861 census but, you guessed it, no place of birth.

I read in a Family Tree magazine of a new database, available on Ancestry, of service records of the British Army which come from a source in Canada. I do not subscribe to Ancestry so I rang Marlene to get her to look at this database for me to see if my Joseph was there. She asked me why and I stupidly explained the whole sorry saga of my brick wall which she probably knew about anyway. She produced the expected negative result but, as an aside, mentioned that he appeared in a number of trees in the Ancestry collection. Of course I had to have a look.  Blow me down (spell-check wants me to put blow I down) there are four or more that give a set of parents - the same set of parents. I had to contact them all didn't I? Three were working off my research and were related to me distantly and the fourth didn't reply - of course. When I asked how they found Joseph's parents they basically said they guessed and felt confident in that guess. When I consider the family of these parents I can see many reasons why they would make an excellent fit.  Unfortunately I had dismissed that option but I cannot tell why. The answer is, of course, it is in a carton somewhere. ********, ********, ******* and *******.  I HAVE GOT TO UNEARTH THE WORK I HAVE DONE MANY YEARS AGO. I have to dig in the shed!

Now Marlene is a good friend BUT she has now destroyed a planned retirement routine. Something has to give way - housework and cooking has already gone. Garden or cemeteries? One has to fade into the background a little. HMMMM! I don't think it is fair that an old man is exposed to such serious decision making. I am a Libran anyway - cannot make a serious decision.

Regards to all

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

21.  DNA Testing – Going over some frequently asked questions, plus, plus…

Greetings from Gail – freshly back from Houston, Texas, US where I have mixed and mingled with the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) team along with other project Administrators.  Although FTDNA does not supply any recompense or perks for volunteering to manage a project, they nevertheless put on a fantastic annual conference for its administrators (for those who can attend).  I was determined to do so this year, and as soon as Air New Zealand announced its direct flights to Houston (not for the faint hearted, I add, as you are in position for 14 – 15 hours for the flight), I immediately found when it would take place and booked.

I travelled alone, but my seat companions there and back were most pleasant, although I cannot say the same for navigating my way through the Houston Airport.  However, all was well thanks to a kind stranger who patiently guided me and after arriving at the conference hotel and unpacking, all started to become my 2nd home for a week.

I managed to get access to most of my usual emails and forums whilst away and it dawned on me that people continued to ask the same questions, albeit with a personal flavour.  It mattered not whether they were in a project and using the project’s in-house forum or they were in one of the numerous Facebook DNA forums or even in the NZ DNA Rootsweb list or the NZSG ‘Memlist’.

These questions usually include (in no particular order) the following to which I respond in this missive further below, but in the same number order:

1)      I wish to test my DNA, but I do not know with which firm I should order.  Which is “better”?

2)      Why is my sister (or brother) showing a different ethnicity result to mine?

3)      If I go with FTDNA, which test should I take?

4)      I think I will use Ancestry because that is where my tree is.  Is this a good choice?

5)      I think I will use 23andMe.  Is this a good choice?

6)      Can I transfer my Ancestry results to another data base?

7)      Can I transfer my 23andMe results to another data base?

8)      What is Gedmatch – do I test there?

9)      I have all European ancestors, which firm should I use for DNA testing?

10)  Can I order some test kits to have on hand for my upcoming family reunion?

11)  What is an FTDNA ‘project’ and how will it help me?

12)  Are there central receiving agencies for YDNA and mtDNA results for comparison with testers who have used other firms?

13)  I tested my YDNA at Ancestry before they scrapped that product – can this be transferred to FTDNA?

14)  Because I want my ‘health results’, and because 23andMe are no longer offering this in the same way they used to, is there another way I can get these?


1)         I wish to test my DNA, but I do not know with which firm I should order.  Which is “better”?

There are three main testing firms for genealogical purposes, but not all firms are equal and not all offer the same tests, nor offer the tools for further examination of your results or those of your matches and not all have the same ethnicities in their data base of testers.  You need to define what you want from such a test, and decide whether you wish to just accept what you are given or whether you want to actually learn about the results of your investment.

·         For instance, Ancestry offers only one test and this is the autosomal test (chromosomes 1-22), but Ancestry has the most wonderful repository of research materials, especially if you have a World-wide sub. 

·         It has a very wide US database of testers and is making strong inroads into Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

·         This a saliva based test and the elderly often find this difficult to manage, but like all things, a way can be found to encourage the saliva flow.

·         You will find that if you select to join, it is actually cheaper for New Zealand testers to get the annual subscription (which you will need in order to take advantage of being able to make contact with your matches) to join the UK site, than it is to join 

·         However, my main complaint is that Ancestry dishes the results up to you on a plate, whereas the other two firms offer various tools to do things for yourself.  If you are familiar with ‘My Food Bag’, the outcome is similar in that you can experiment with the other two firms as opposed to testing with Ancestry.

·         There is a central receiving agency for autosomal testers which is - no subscription but monthly donations will get you ‘extras’ and Ancestry testers are transferring their results in large numbers to this site.

23andMe is another firm, but this also gives you a very limited health report and many decide the extra dollars is not worthwhile and may choose to opt only for the cheaper genealogical test.  Like Ancestry, you will receive match notifications and like Ancestry, it is an internal email system for your anonymity, but there is no subscription needed. 

·         For New Zealand testers, the shipping is “door-to-door” by DHL couriers – this is not cheap, but the firm offers great tools for you to learn and to “play”.  Some say it has the best ethnicity results, but I have not found this to be the case.

·         Its data base of testers is extensive in the US and now building momentum in the UK, Canada and Australia.  Yes, there are some New Zealanders also.

·         Like the Ancestry autosomal testers, 23andMe offers only one test (autosomal DNA, but it will also state a male’s YDNA Haplogroup (his genetic paternal male family lineage) and any tester’s mitochondrial Haplogroup (his or her genetic maternal female family lineage).

·         A major criticism of this site is that many matches to yourself, will not answer your request to make contact.  In other words, they tested only to learn of their health results and have no interest in genealogy.

·         Like the Ancestry autosomal testers, the results can be transferred to 

·         This also is a saliva based test.

FamilyTreeDNA  (FTDNA) is the final firm in this line-up – this firm offers every genealogical DNA test currently available (excluding paternity etc which are specialist tests).  In addition, FTDNA stores your sample and so if you wish to start with a cheaper test and work your way up, this is easily accommodated, although be aware the sample has to be a good one, meaning no short-cuts and after some 5 years, the sample will begin to deteriorate.

·         There are YDNA tests (solely for males) which will give the direct male paternal line and can be both STR tests (short random repeats of the nucleotides at up to 111 positions on the Y chromosome) as well as SNP tests (single nucleotide polymorphism results on millions of positions on the Y chromosome) but you need to do some learning in order to understand these outcomes.

·         There are mitochondrial tests which are available for both male and female testers and gives the direct female maternal line plus the mutations within that female maternal lineage.  (This is not to be confused with the X chromosome).

·         There is also the autosomal test which covers chromosomes 1-22 plus the X chromosome.

·         All testers receive a personal Home page on which they can place their family tree and make notes in terms of who they have contacted and the outcomes of that contact – memory joggers.

·         All testers receive their ethnicity results for the test they have selected to purchase and for the autosomal testers, they also receive two separate reports covering their ethnicity in the last couple of thousand years as well as their ancient ethnicity.

·         If a tester places their family tree into FTDNA, along with the names of two persons who have also tested (one from their mother’s close family side if their mother has passed on and another from their father’s close family if their father has passed on), then all matches to abut the 2nd or 3rd generation will be designated maternal or paternal.  But the cousin (or parent) names need to match that of the tester.

·         The FTDNA autosomal results can be transferred to the central receiving agency as for the other two firms mentioned above.

·         FTDNA tests are cheek swabs.

2)         Why is my sister (or brother) showing a different ethnicity result to mine?

·         Each child receives 50% of their autosomes from their parents, but we have no way of knowing just how large each segment is that is received.  For example, two siblings may have inherited ancestry from say 6 generations, but the other sibling may have only inherited from 4. 

·         Once the segment size is too small to be accurately compared with others in the data base, the indication is that the two people are not related.  This is not accurate.  If at least three siblings are tested autosomally, then all three (assuming they have the same biological parents) will give a much better outcome than just one sibling.  An example of this is that neither my sister or brother match with a distant cousin, yet I do, so if I had not tested, they would never have known.  Even more interestingly, my son matches that distant cousin – simply because of the way the segments of our ancestors mix and mingle at random at each generation.

·         Sometimes one or more generation are missed out altogether.

3)         If I go with FTDNA, which test should I take?

·         The test taken will depend on what is hoping to be learned.  If it is just an experiment to learn who might be “out there” in the very large DNA pond, then start with the autosomal test (marketed as Family Finder).

·         If it is to learn of your male paternal line, then a male must take a YDNA test;  if it is to learn of the female maternal line, then both men and women can test mtDNA.

·         The more expensive the test, the better the results – a little like purchasing a car – to tow a caravan, you would not want say a 1000 cc vehicle.  So be as clear as you can as to what is wanted out of a test.

4)         I think I will use Ancestry because that is where my tree is.  Is this a good choice?

·         Some people really like Ancestry, so they will say “good choice”.  I say otherwise – see the first set of explanations.

·         The Ancestry tree can easily be turned into a gedcom for uploading into another data base (assuming you do not have your own genealogy software on your own computer).  The instructions to extract the Ancestry tree are found at

5)         I think I will use 23andMe.  Is this a good choice?

·         Please see the first set of explanations.

6)         Can I transfer my Ancestry results to another data base?

·         If you tested with Ancestry before mid May 2016, then these can be transferred to FTDNA.  If taken at a later time, then at present, the answer is “no”, although this is due to change within a few months.

·         You can transfer to

7)         Can I transfer my 23andMe results to another data base?

·         If you tested with 23andMe between December 2010 and December 2013, then these can be transferred to FTDNA.  If taken at another time, the answer is “no”.

·         You can transfer to

8)         What is Gedmatch – do I test there?

·         Gedmatch is a central receiving private non profit operation for autosomal results only.  There are no tests done.

9)         I have all European ancestors, which firm should I use for DNA testing?

·         FTDNA.  This is because they are in partnership with European testing firms.

10)       Can I order some test kits to have on hand for my upcoming family reunion?

·         FTDNA enables this.  For detailed instructions please contact me at

11)       What is an FTDNA ‘project’ and how will it help me?

·         FTDNA enables projects to be set up for a wide variety of topics – these include Surnames; Geographical places; YDNA Haplogroups;  mtDNA Haplogroups and atDNA (Family Finder).  Each project is managed and overseen by a volunteer administrator and none of whom receive any recompense or perquisites from FTDNA.  Such administrators dedicate their time and energy to a particular interest in their project and generally these are the first people with whom you should make contact.

·         In addition, many projects also offer in-house forums (this is up to the administrator) and some are private to only project members whereas some are open to the public.  It operates a little like Facebook, but without you continuously being emailed by people who have nothing to do with genetics or genealogy. 

·         Such projects will help you understand your results, but you need to make email contact with the administrator in the first place to ask the question to which you are seeking an answer.   (The surname projects also include those which are members of the ‘Guild of One Name Studies’).  There is no cost to join any FTDNA project.

12)       Are there central receiving agencies for testers who have taken the YDNA test and/or the mtDNA test?

·         Yes.  The YDNA testers can upload their YDNA results to Ysearch by looking on their FTDNA YDNA matches page and clicking on the option.

·         Yes the mtDNA testers can upload to Mitosearch by looking on their FTDNA mtDNA matches page and clicking on the option.

·         If you have old Ancestry YDNA results, you will need to manually input these to, but take care with this because some adjustments to four marker values will be required.  See this conversion chart

13)       I tested my YDNA at Ancestry before they scrapped that product – can this be transferred to FTDNA?

·         Yes.  The Ancestry YDNA testers need to go to this site and read the directions. Be aware that unless you select the US$58.00 option, then you will not get the full benefit of that transfer.

14)       Because I want my ‘health results’, and because 23andMe are no longer offering this in the same way they used to, is there another way I can get these?

·         Yes, you can upload your autosomal results from FTDNA to another site but it will cost you a further US$5.00.

Previous articles in the series are:

1. What is Molecular Genealogy?

2. Where would I begin?

3. What test should I take?

4. What DNA will NOT tell you and the risks involved.

5. Direct paternal line (men only).

6. Direct maternal line (men and women).

7. All the lineages including maternal and paternal (men and women).

8. Understanding direct paternal results.

9. Understanding direct maternal line results.

10. Understanding your Autosomal ("cousin") results.

11. Understanding the X Chromosome.

12. Bits ‘n Bobs: DNA Testing Companies, Glossary.

13. DNA Websites, Blogs, and Forums

14. Commonly Asked Questions – Some Basic, Some Advanced

15. DNA – Something a little different…

16. Current Pricings for the Three Main Genealogical Testing Firms

17. DNA Testing for Family History

18. Starting a new series on Y DNA Testing

19. DNA Testing – Getting into SNP testing on the Y chromosome to enhance your Family History
20. DNA Testing – Getting into SNP testing on the Y chromosome to enhance your Family History (Contd) 

Gail Riddell 

Wairarapa Wandering.


Some years ago now, I was contacted by a good friend in Normandale who informed me that there is a photograph album coming up for auction in Lower Hutt. She gave some of the names knowing that a name I was researching in Carterton was SULLIVAN. Needless to say, I had asked her please attend the auction and make sure she won the treasure. Sure enough, a later email confirmed my purchase, and I rang around and emailed the Sullivan, Mc Partland, Lindop and Rains family and they all said to keep it for Carterton please.

The photographs, now in my tender care, are lovely and I will eventually pass the album over to local Museum in Carterton. It is worth its weight in gold seeing what the children were like in the late 1880s.

 Ann SULLIVAN had come out from Ireland to meet up with her brother in Carterton, and later married George McPARTLAND, whose first wife, Eliza had died in 1860. Their marriage certificate showed that George and Eliza had married near Plymouth (Devon).

One of the SULLIVAN daughters married into the KEMPTON family, a well known family in early Greytown. 

Through my contacts I have since found out that the SULLIVAN family were living in London prior to coming to New Zealand to settle.

Up at Clareville Cemetery, we have several Sullivan graves, together with the Lindop and Mc Partland graves. The Rains family (there were two Rains family in Carterton, not related) have a grave over at Pahiatua where they lived. In the album there is a photograph of the original headstone which is for a wee lad who died suddenly, but now, it's broken.

I have also been to Pahiatua museum to learn more on the family there, and to surprise them of proof of an early photographer who was in the area because one of the prints has his name on. So they were shown the complete album - sharing history is an enjoyable pastime.  When I first received the album, I took it up to Masterton Archives for Gareth to view and copy for his records.

I hated the thought of this album going out of the family which happens a lot. The album was found at Wellington Tip, which is down Owhiro Road from Brooklyn. This Council Tip has a recycle area and this is where someone spied the album, and put it into the auction in Lower Hutt. Thank goodness my friend found it there and told me about it

I used to live a mile up from the tip 25 years ago, but much prefer living here at Clareville in the historic 1882 cottage. I have its history but this is for another day.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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 2017 

When: Fortnightly on Wednesdays from February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2,
Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland
Cost: Free
Booking: All welcome.

To ensure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 8902412, or complete our online booking form.

Interested in family and local history? The history of this country, as well as the rest of the world?

Then why not come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks and hear more about both our personal and our shared heritage.

Coming up in HeritageTalks:    


Exodus to the Southern Seas with Michelle Patient

Wednesday 8 February, 12pm -1pm

Aotearoa is not only the land of the long white cloud, but a land peopled by immigrants. Join us at our first Lunchtime Lecture for 2017 to hear researcher Michelle Patient discuss various waves of migration to New Zealand, particularly from Britain, and touch on the who, what, when, where and why they came.

Recording Family History for People of Chinese Origin with Annie Chui

Wednesday 22 February, 12pm-1pm


Chinese genealogy


Let’s look at the new ScotlandsPeople with Jan Gow

Wednesday 8 March, 12pm -1.30pm

What is new and what is different and what is, thankfully, still the same . . . We have a chance to find our family from 1500s through almost to date! Pretty much from womb to tomb!! Find a marriage in the Parish Register or Civil Registration; then look for the babies; then for their marriages; and then for deaths - and wills!! (

Selwyn Stories with Christopher Paxton

Wednesday 22 March, 12pm -1.00pm

Late last year The Church on the Corner: a history of Selwyn Church Mangere East, 1863-2012 was published. Author Christopher Paxton tells the general history of Selwyn Church, but also looks at some of the back-stories behind Selwyn, some of the social issues that affected the church during its 150-year history and some interesting sidelights that popped up during his research.

All welcome.

To ensure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 8902412, or complete our online booking form.

The staff at the Central Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Hope you all have a lovely holiday break. See you in 2017.

Ngā 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

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.

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 planned for either 2nd or 3rd Thursdays at 9.30am approximately four times a year.



In the last issue I dealt with just the spelling of Hoffmann, and in looking back on some old emails from South Australia – as a member of SAGHS my membership entitles me to two hours free research at SAGHS Library in Adelaide.  Beryl Schahinger urged me to get a copy of my grandfather’s death certificate and just last week I did it and spent AUD$30 ordering one by email.

Now I had some apprehension about seeing it and my fears were well founded – when I was searching for it on line I already knew that it had only one N on Hoffmann, so there were no less than 6 errors because my father’s older brother was the informant and a proponent of spelling the name with one N.

We are always reminded to check and check again and my great grandmother’s maiden name was Kirchner but pronounced Kirkner, so my uncle in his ignorance used the phonetic spelling. And then it came to the children of the marriage and he only listed himself and my father, but they had an adopted sister, Kathleen, whom I am sure he was legally bound to list, albeit with a notation of the adoption.

Then he spelled his mother’s first name Rosanna instead of Roseanna.

So again what is in a name and if I had taken my uncle’s version as gospel that Kirkner clue would have led me up the garden path.  So how many times have you heard someone say you have to check and check again and prove what you have is correct, and in this case a death certificate is not the answer.  And it gets even worse when my father dies in 1970 his death registration is with one N!!!!.  I was not there and I do not know who the informant was! Maybe that means another $30.

Hanley Hoffmann                  

Waikanae Family History Group

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

Genealogy Changed Dramatically in 2016. I Can Prove It.

You know how I got into genealogy? By voice mail.

It was the early 1990s, and I had just moved to Milwaukee. I didn’t know anyone there, I’d never been there, and I had no connection to the state of Wisconsin. I got a job, and the job came with a (corded, landline) phone, and the phone had voice mail. It was very fancy.

I had an elderly relative send me a letter saying that I did have a connection to Wisconsin. She said my third great-grandparents were buried in West Bend (an hour or so north of Milwaukee). Then she died, so I couldn’t ask her more. I found West Bend on a (paper) map, then drove up there. I didn’t find the cemetery, but a nice lady at the McDonald’s told me there was this thing called a historical society. I was 21, so the existence of historical societies was not really on my radar screen. I got their number (from a paper phone book), I called them, and they called back. They left a voice mail.

The voice mail told me where my grandparents were buried. Then, this: “We have a lot of other stuff on your family too. There’s a big thick file. You should come up here and take a look.”

They did, and I did, and…well, here I am. I did research for a few years, and then they invented the internet, and I did research for a lot more years. I’m on the tail end of the generation of genealogists who started out using paper and microfilm and Soundex. My timing was perfect, because I got that experience, and then I got the internet. I have lots of friends who came after the internet, and in some ways I envy them. They have no idea how hard we used to have to work. Mostly, though, I’m glad I got the olden days experience.

Then they came up with DNA testing. I first tested at 23andMe in April 2010, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I love working with DNA. When I started using it, though, I already had nearly 20 years of genealogical experience.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but that’s no longer a thing. If you’re wondering why most of your DNA matches don’t have trees or a list of surnames or any of the other standard genealogical icebreakers, I have the answer. It’s because they did DNA first. The fastest DNA growth is at AncestryDNA, and most people who test at AncestryDNA are not genealogists (yet). 

Don’t believe me? Here’s how I know.

I review every single one of my new AncestryDNA matches. That site is by far the most active site for me in terms of new cousins, so every day, I eat lunch at my desk and check out my new matches. (Side note: I don’t recommend this. It trains you to be hungry whenever you see the AncestryDNA match page. I’m like Pavlov’s dogs. It’s ridiculous.)

It seemed like more and more of my new cousins were new to, and I wanted to get a sense of whether that was really the case. In September and October 2016, I kept track of each new match’s “member since” date. You’ll see this when you click on your match, right below her username. It’ll say “Member since [year], last logged in [date].”

I had new 645 matches on AncestryDNA during this two-month period. That, by itself, blows my mind. I’m not a Southerner, I have very few known colonial US roots, and I’m not a member of any other endogamous populations. 645 new matches in two months! It’s wild.

But the real news was this: 60% of those new matches joined in 2016.

Here’s the complete breakdown:

Here’s what it looks like in pie chart form:

That’s a lot of red. That’s a lot of new people who don’t have a tree because duh, they’re brand new.

I think this means we’re going to see a huge shift in genealogy-land. Those of us who write and teach are going to have to adjust our approach in a big way, because our students started with a swab, not a stack of papers. They’re coming from a completely different direction, and there are a lot of them. This crowd is way too big to ignore. They also represent a huge opportunity, if we’re smart enough to figure out how to approach it.

Family historians at all levels are going to have to get over the concept that you need a tree to be able to figure out the match. If that’s your only way of getting started, you’re not going to get very far, because the majority of new matches are too new to have a tree. It’s just not realistic. If they do have one, it’s probably full of errors, just like ours were when we’d been at this for only a few months. If you can’t figure out how to google the username, look ’em up on Facebook, compare to other matches, or stack ’em up in a chromosome browser, you’re stuck. Genealogy is about building the tree, not having the tree handed to you. That part isn’t even new; it’s always been that way. It’s nice when there’s a tree, but there isn’t, find a way to move forward. Trust me, it’s not that hard. You can do this.

We also need to make sure we’re treating these newbies in such a way that they don’t log off and leave us in the dust. Being friendly, approachable and gentle with new matches can go a long way toward turning these people into genealogists, not just people who took a DNA test once. We have the opportunity to pull them in, but we also have the power to push them away. Let’s recognize that, and make good choices.

I’m really excited about this. I had a sense that there were a lot of new people, but I didn’t realize the scale of the shift until I started tracking it. I think this is at least as big as the time when we all started moving online, and I feel very fortunate to get to be here for another huge change in genealogy. It’s like being part of the Oregon Trail era, but way more inclusive. Plus, no dysentery. Yay!

Note: I have no connection to, other than as customer since 1997, which apparently makes me a little old lady now. I do, however, have a connection to Family Tree University’s Virtual Conference, where I’ll be presenting on how to deal with those no-tree DNA matches who turn out to be adoptees and others with unknown parentage. It can be done, and I’ll show you how. You can get $40 off registration by using code EARLYVCWINTER. I’ve been at this conference since 2011, and it’s awesome, because you don’t have to leave your house. You should go. 

From by Kerry Scott

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Book Reviews

We’re pretty light on book reviews this month: neither Peter nor I have had time for much reading.  How about some of you contributing a review?

In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief

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