Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter December 2017

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote   "Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking." – Unknown

Editorial 2

Regular Features. 3

From the Developer 3

Linking Trees: Another Rarely-Used FamNet Feature. 3

The Nash Rambler 4

Ancestor Theft 4

Jan’s Jottings. 5

RootsTech. 5

DNA Testing for Family History. 6

24. Genetics and geography. 6

Wairarapa Wandering. 8

Tracey’s Tales. 9

Hanley Hoffmann: 10

Digging Into Historical Records. 11

Chinese Corner 13

A Country Hall 15

From our Libraries and Museums. 16

Auckland Libraries. 16

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council 16

Group News. 17

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 17

Waikanae Family History Group. 17

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 18

News and Views. 18

Who Actually Owns Your Content When You Post It to the Web?. 19

How to Save a Webpage as a PDF File, So You Later Can View It Offline. 19

To Write or Not to Write: Respecting Privacy in Family-History Storytelling. 19

Announcing a Change on FamilySearch: a New Free Sign-in Process Offers Greater Subscriber Experiences and Benefits. 21

50 Free Genealogy Sites to Search Today. 22

From the Editor: Knowing how frustrated and bored you will be over the festive season I have included this article. Maybe you could find something. 22

Book Reviews. 24

Dementia for Dummies. 24

Advertisements. 24

Old Family Reunion, 20th and 21st January 2018 in New Plymouth. 25

Help wanted. 25

Photo Identification. 25

Influenza Victims, Troopship HMNZT 107 “Tahiti” 25

Letters to the Editor 25

Advertising with FamNet 25

In conclusion. 26

A Bit of Light Relief 26

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 26


Back to the Top. 17


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

Another month has flown by. Another newsletter is assembled and another sigh of relief sounded. I don't change that opening because it is how I mostly feel when I get to this section, which is the last bit to write.

2017 has been a very interesting year for me. I have started to take a genealogy class for U3A. I need to keep one step ahead of the "students" and be able to be more knowledgeable in the modern research facilities i.e. the Internet. Every month I have found new sources where documents have been digitised which have sidetracked me into doing my own research. This has led to me breaking a brick wall or two and re-enthused me in matters genealogical. I attended a few (free) genealogy conferences and study days and recovered my enthusiasm for the social side of this great hobby. I have rediscovered the pleasure of the exchange of research ideas and problem solving that takes place at such events. I have discovered how good the website Familysearch has become. I visited National Archives for the first time in about seven years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I am stunned by the amount of NZ research material that is becoming available online. I congratulate National Archives for continuing to release material online.

I just have one "pet" wish that I dream of being freely available in both senses of the word "freely". That is the historical BDMs. I think it is time that NZ joined the countries that have released these at no cost. Maybe next year I should approach "Uncle Winnie" and suggest that the gold card become a method of free access.

Back to reality. I hope that you all have a wonderful festive season. Please don't eat too much.

As always, I am always pleased to receive feedback from our readers. Praise is always welcome but this newsletter cannot increase in value if you do not send me your valid criticisms and suggestions for improvement. An article or two from new contributors would be gratefully received and read by our readership of 6000 worldwide.  Remember this is the only national genealogy monthly "magazine" in NZ and we need your input to keep it relevant.

We’ll be taking a break over Christmas, so the next issue will be in early February.

In this issue:-

·      From the developer.  Linking trees – another obscure FamNet Feature

·      The Nash Rambler: I have recently have become the victim of ancestor theft (alleged).

·      Jan looks forward to an interesting 2018

·         We welcome back Gail Riddell who has travelled the world and moved house. She has written another column on matters DNA related.

·      Adele appears to have solved two historical puzzles at the same time.

·      Tracey Bartlett talks about a Christmas picnic in a cemetery

·         Hanley Hoffmann talks about using photography in your family history.

·      Dawn Chambers talks about the Commissioner of Crown Lands Letter Book she found in National Archives

·      Chinese Corner  Helen Wong, has submitted an article about Chinese shop keepers

·         Avis McDonald has written an article on country halls. Avis, welcome to this newsletter.

·       Auckland Libraries announce their upcoming evening lecture on DNA research

·      I have included an article on who owns your data when you have posted it online

·      I have included an article on how to save a webpage as a PDF file

·      I have included a article on how to respect privacy when writing your family history

·      I have included an article on changes to how we will be using FamilySearch

·      Because it is Xmas & I know you will be bored with socialising, sunshine, relatives etc I have included a list of 50 free genealogy sites.

·         Book reviews.  If you’re struggling with dementia, then Ken Morris’s very personal review could be very relevant.


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

Linking Trees: Another Rarely-Used FamNet Feature

Last month I talked about FamNet’s ability to create QR Codes. Originally this was envisaged for a memorial walkway on North Head, which had funding and was about to be approved but this has also disappeared, a casualty of the “Super City” Auckland amalgamation which, far from increasing efficiency, now requires consultation with so many interested parties that nothing can get done.  I’d hoped that readers might be interested in this as a way to document other memorials, but I guess not.

Another feature of FamNet that could be more widely used is its ability to link trees together.  In the videos and when I give presentations on FamNet, examples from my own tree show how my records are connected to those of others.  The best example is my grandmother, Hannah OLD.   Her parents are not my records, but come from Mirk Smith of Taranaki.  I knew the ancestry, but now my linked tree has many side branches of which I had no knowledge.  Another case: one of Hannah’s sons, George BARNES, is my cousin’s record  (record owner dbarnes),  Following links from here you find records of his wife (Ethel COWIE) and her ancestry. 

This has always seemed to me to be a good idea. For me (and you if you take advantage of this feature) it provides access to much richer information and connections with little effort, and without plagiarism.  For other FamNet users it provides less confusion and better information.  Does the world really need over 30 records of Hannah OLD, most of which are partial copies of obsolete or incorrect information, or would one good record with the best information available be better?   If the records that Peter complains of had been in a linked tree the problem would have been sorted out as the trees were linked.  Yes, FamNet does have ways of handling disputes, and recording alternatives when two genealogists can’t agree.

Tree linking is not automatic: two tree owners have to agree on how to link their trees, and I advise users to get in touch me to help them with the process, but I’ve been surprised that nobody has contacted me about this.  I’m hoping that at the OLD Family Reunion in January there will be some attendees who will talk to me about putting their trees into FamNet and linking them into the combined (Robertb,Mirk562,DBarnes, Tonyc, and others) tree, making it even better.  And if any other FamNet readers think that this is a good idea, look up this Help page and then contact me if you need any help.

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.


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The Nash Rambler

Ancestor Theft

I have sat before this screen for an hour or three deciding what I will write. There is a lot I wanted to comment on. There are many new digital sources and the growth in this area is phenomenal. I have had many great finds this last year. I'm off to sunny England for Christmas with my children who haven't been in the same place together at Christmas for over eight years. Just to add spice to the trip we're going to Iceland to see the Northern Lights - sounded a good idea at the time of planning, but in mid winter with 4 hours daylight, maybe not the best decision I have made or should I say my wife has made. This was going to lead to another column about being a crazy genealogist.

BUT there is one discovery that I recently made that has knocked the stuffing out of me. I keep returning to it time and time again. It has shocked me greatly. It has caused me to abandon any genealogical research and wander around my garden or to my local coffee emporium muttering and mumbling to myself and even uttering a few words that shouldn't be uttered, particularly in front of very young, but very healthy, tomato plants. This language could even stunt the growth of my rampant climbing beans. Diane Wilson please observe how I mentioned my tomato plants - it was a very common subject of news in your regular chats to your team of indexers.

You see I blundered onto the Family Tree section of Stupidly I entered one of my surnames, COUTTS, just for fun, with reference to a particular "few-times-great" grandfather who had a wife with an interesting but uncommon maiden name. Imagine my surprise that couple appeared in only one family tree. Stupidly I opened it. Well "toyota me"!!! Somebody has claimed them. This "questionable" person has attached children to them that are totally different from my collection of children. According to this "researcher" (I must be polite because they may be right), the couple lived in Australia and died there. My "less-times-great" grandfather and great grandfather also lived and died there. Now I have a problem because my grandfather could not have met my grandmother! My mother could not have happened and I am, therefore, an immaculate conception and miracle birth!!!!

It is a pity that my lovely mother died a few years ago because I have a few questions that I would pose to her. Hang on a minute - maybe I am adopted to a mother who was a figment of my imagination. Proceeding down this path any further will get very confusing.

Now, being a very intelligent person I have come to the conclusion that there are two possibilities or explanations here. Either this "questionable" researcher is wrong or this highly respected (in my humble opinion) writer is wrong.

To prove it one way or the other I have to go back to my research done many years ago and redo it. I have to check every fact I found. All certificates need to be examined. Every document, obituary, will, family letter, family interview etc needs to be carefully studied. I cannot be that wrong in claiming the wrong person as my "few-times-great" grandfather!!!! Maybe I should contact that researcher?

I don't know whether I want to redo my research just yet. Interestingly enough two of my "few-times-great" grandfather's siblings also came to NZ - one, in fact, being buried in the Hillsborough Cemetery just over the fence from my last house. How can the researcher of the many descendants of a sister be as wrong as I appear to be? Between us we managed quite a large family tree for 3 siblings who somebody has claimed as being Australian. HMMMM!!!!!

But the problem is that it is very easy to dismiss the tree as a typical example of the idiocy you can find on websites that hold family trees. But there is a nagging thought and feeling that I cannot shake - maybe they are right and I am wrong. Do I really want to find out I am wrong? Maybe I'll pretend that I haven't found this tree. I'll keep up a public pretence of being "an expert" But the nagging thoughts continue.

A few of my ancestors came from the Lincolnshire coastline which had a history of invasion by Vikings. Maybe I should forget about this theft of ancestors and take up researching any possibility of Viking ancestry while I am in Iceland - at least the archives and libraries could be centrally heated.

I am very upset about the whole episode of finding a different set of descendants for my ancestors. I am a victim of ancestor theft. This has turned me off continuing any further research and soured the whole pleasure I get from that research.

I shall continue my vocal walking around the garden for a few more weeks before I start to definitely prove that I'm right. Maybe I'll find a garden in Iceland (in mid winter) to continue this walking.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Regards to all

Back to the Top

Jan’s Jottings

2018 ….   Here we come!!!  Wow!!  Looks like it is going to be an interesting year!!  Let’s take a peep at Events in my diary!!


First off, as it was this year, is RootsTech!!  This is just amazing.

Another SLC (Salt Lake City, Utah) Event that words just can’t describe.  26,000 + people were registered for the 2017 Event. Plus thousands more watching live screening or streaming. Plus more thousands watching it sometime later. From 28 Feb - 3 March.

BUT this year we have the AFFHO Congress, starting in Sydney, on 7 March. If I went to RootsTech, I would arrive home one day and need to leave the next day for Sydney and AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations). So, reluctantly, have decided not to attend RT.

There are two interesting pluses to this decision: -

1.      A long-held vision of organising some Events in Auckland, during RootsTech. I am working in with FamilySearch on this. We would hold the Events at the Lunn Avenue Family History (FamilySearch) Centre. The plan would be to listen and watch the keynote speaker for the morning and the afternoon sessions. We would be watching in real time - that is, as it was happening at RT in SLC, we would be watching and listening also. I envisage a 4am start!!!   What fun!!!  Depending on the timetable this year, I would hope we can watch a KeyNote, then have breakfast, then watch another KeyNote speaker.

We might organise another session where we watch in OUR time, a pre-recorded session.

Interested??? Take a moment to send an email, just to give me an idea of those interested.

2.      Once again, I have been appointed an Ambassador for RootsTech. This includes registration and other ‘goodies’. Including ...... (drum roll!!) .... another registration to give away at my discretion!  So, if you are planning to attend RootsTech (even if you have already registered), PLEASE let me know. This is a special offer to subscribers to FamNet Newsletter.

The prize is a 4-day pass.  Attend the keynote addresses.  Speakers such as Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton and “Humans of New York” Brandon Stanton. Google them!!

Choose from over 300 sessions on topics such as traditional research skills, DNA, photos, stories, tech tools, and organizing. Spend hours at the Expo Hall. The big names in genealogy are there! With hundreds of vendors, societies, services.  Got questions? Answers here! See the latest and greatest tools and resources.

Go to the evening events. Accommodation and airfare your expense!!  As are sponsored lunches and computer labs. I might be able to help with accommodation.

Email me,    ASAP!!! Closes 10 Dec (my birthday, so can give or take a day or two). You do need to be planning on being there!!!

I am creating a new advertisement - for the Feb issue of The Genealogist and for a new Aussie magazine called Tracers.  First issue due out next week - in Aussie.  I shall let you know if it is worthwhile to purchase.

I am advertising for next year’s Hooked on Genealogy Tour, leaving 6 May, with 3 weeks in SLC (Believe me, NO ONE wants to leave on our last day!!! They would like at least 4 weeks there!!). You might think that, with so much online, why go to the Family History Library????  Well, I can tell you why in one word - TIME!!! The FHL opens at 8am and closes at 9pm. 13 hours!!  Over the three weeks, we are looking at 200+ hours.

All researching if you wish!!   You could never do this at home. We also have HELP. Not only physical help with Library facilitators (for a whole day if need be), but practical help with free access to many and varied websites.  We have classes just for us also. Then 3 weeks in the UK - London and Edinburgh.  We have three pre-tour seminars and lots of other preparation help.  Email for more info.

What about this!!!  You will have heard of the Unlock the Past genealogy cruise to Alaska, leaving Seattle 7 Sep and back to Seattle 14 Sep.  How about flying to SLC instead of straight home to Auckland????!!!!!! We will have some pre Tour seminars and you can have 1 week or 2 weeks or 3 weeks. Again, if interested email for more info.

Next is the SC2NZ WeekEnd in October - 19-22. This is an attempt to create a little of what it is like in the FHL in SLC, but here in Auckland!! We will have helpful facilitators. We will have free access to many sites. We will look at organising our research. We will learn how to ‘work’ the sites we subscribe to. We will have collaborative research where we all research one family - each person will have a turn. We will have a webinar straight from the FHL just for us. We will have amazing goodie bag prizes - could easily cover your costs for attending.

We will NOT have the 24 hour travel!!

The advert will also mention personal clinics - you could work on research, using the internet, software, organising - or a mixture. 

Remember Beehive Books has been selling genealogy programs since 1989!! 

Think about a Weekend retreat for your FH meetings. Not mentioned in the advert is ... classes. Gone are the days when community education was free!  I have been tutoring since 1985 and still have classes at Selwyn College, Rutherford College and One Tree Hill college. And the NZSG in Panmure.

Am working on a new web site! Could be ready in a few weeks. .

Also working on a form to help keep track of your research on the net.

Making use of those sites that work 24/7/365 checking your data against their data and looking for matches. If you would like to test the new form,  email Also, would you like to listen to this presentation? - happy to be the speaker at your meeting.

Meanwhile - Find out what the weather was like outside the day you were born. and what Day Of the week you were born.

Let’s Research!!!!


Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

24. Genetics and geography

Hello again from Gail.  I am finally returned from my overseas jaunt with many unexpected adventures built into same – the worst of which was spending the remaining fortnight without my suitcase and the subsequent acknowledgement that it has gone forever.


But this is not about those events.  This is about continuing my favourite topic.  Genetic genealogy.


I was so pleased to read Judy Russell’s blog post in the November edition of the FamNet Newsletter.  I do not know just how many times I have said to people that one DNA test alone by just one member of a family will not give the tester the certainty of accurate answers to that which he or she might be seeking.  It is a tool to be used carefully in conjunction with all the other tools at a genealogist’s disposal.  In the same way as you will have surely learned that there are differences between the way New Zealand has recorded its births deaths and marriages and the way England has recorded them.  Even the years concerned in the date of the actual recording plays its part as does the storage of that information.


Over and over I come across fellow genetic administrators who insist that all a male needs to test is his Y chromosome to Y37.  This is not true unless the man is merely testing as a favour to another in order to learn if the result has the same Haplogroup as a specific other tester.  In such a case, there is only one firm with whom a male should test.


But what about the other lines that exist within the tester? 


The Y-DNA tests looks only at the direct male paternal line of the tester’s biological father.  Unless this is the ONLY line the male tester is interested in, he also has a female maternal line.  The maternal line will not be considered in a purely Y-DNA test unless the tester selects 23andMe as the testing firm.


Then, there are all those aunties and uncles and all their parents and in turn their spouses offspring – all of whom will also carry genes similar to those of the tester.  Are all these to be ignored?  This is called the autosomal test.


Such genetic tests chosen ought to ALWAYS (without exception) depend on what a tester is seeking.  If the tester is serious, it is best to get advice from someone who knows about these things and knows what each firm will deliver.  The main testing firms are 23andMe, and  (Recently a newer firm has begun to come into the limelight – this is MyHeritage, but I am ignoring this firm for the purpose of this article).


The reason for a tester needing to get advice is whilst all these companies proclaim that testing with them will “find your family”, this is only as true as the size of the data base held of other testers and even more importantly, from which area of the globe are those other testers.


Take 23andMe to begin the following examples.  This firm began primarily as offering “health reports” to testers.  At the same time, it offered an indication of the connection to the tester’s ancestral background – whether ethnic or geographic or both based on the measurable and identifiable genes of the tester.  And since such ethnicity and geography is based on genetic similarity, so too are relationships to other people.  Thus the autosomal test (also known as the “cousin” test).  Because such “health reports” must also take the father line and the mother line into consideration, consideration of a few genes enable the reporting of the main haplogroups of these lines.  Therefore any male taking a test with 23andMe will receive all such reports, that is, the autosomal, the mitochondrial and the paternal reports.  NB: the “health reports” are no longer offered to all testers as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of America has stepped in and some states do not allow such a test.


Now take – which used to offer both the father line and the mother line but now offers only the autosomal test.  In addition, they use a different geographical basis in comparison to 23andMe for indicating from which part of the globe a tester’s ancestors came.  Naturally this creates slightly different results for testers who choose to test with a 2nd firm.


Unfortunately, the PR spin regarding advertising leads a tester to believe that the firm they have chosen gives the complete answer to a question such as “where do I come from”.  Should the tester’s confusion with differing results prompt any questioning of the validity of a result, the phrase “DNA does not lie” is trotted out.  But without the tester knowing against what basis their results are being measured, this answer can lead to naysayers concluding that such testing is a waste of time and money.


Even more importantly, if one sibling tests with one firm but another sibling tests with another firm (or even the same firm), the results may also differ.  Consequently a beginner who has no understanding of how the genes are measured, may get the mistaken idea that they are not, in fact, full siblings.


Just before I move on, allow me to give you an example of ancestral geographcal composition comparison between full siblings and two firms, 23andMe and at FamilyTreeDNA.



Me at 23andMe


Sibling at 23andMe

Sibling at FTDNA






German French














West, Central or South Africa














Nor-western Europe











So!  With this, are we or are we not full siblings?

Both companies state “yes” by the autosomes that we share.  Therefore unless our father impregnated my mother’s sister or our father’s brother impregnated our mother’s sister, the answer has to be yes and we are full siblings. 

To return to where I was, I now turn my attention to FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA).

FTDNA began in 2002 as a result of the sole owner being in search of his genealogy.  From here, the firm developed the ability to test the human genome and became a major genealogical testing firm for serious genetic genealogists.  No, it is not the only testing firm doing this but it has developed to a point now where practically every tool such a genealogist might want is automatically available to the tester.  It offers the father line test both genealogical and ancient; it offers the mother line test both genealogical and ancient; it offers the cousin line test but this can only consider some 4 ++ generations because of the way chromosomes and the sizes are inherited from parents.

Let us say you have chosen an autosomal test with one of these firms (the cousin-line test), but have no further funds available to test elsewhere or test another member of your family, yet you want to take the matter further for whatever reason.  Although this is NOT a testing site, consider

This is a site for comparisons of ONLY autosomal testers and here you can (once you have uploaded your raw results) alter the parameters regarding those with whom you are hoping to match.  It is free, but should you wish to make a small donation, more in-depth tools will be available to you if you wish to use them.

To finish up, I have a number of things to catch up on within the genetic field that have developed over the last few months whilst I have been ‘globe-trotting’.   This will include a study of the chromosomal connections of my family and learn which chromosomes have made the differences in terms of our ancestral compilation and from which ancestor these came.

In the meantime, whether you “believe” in the basis of Christmas or its message or the reason for its existence, I wish you and your loved ones a cheerful and pleasant December, rest and relaxation during the public holidays and that you enter the New Year safely and with optimism for 2018 and all that it holds for you and your families.

Gail Riddell

Index so far

Wairarapa Wandering

 Wairarapa Wanderer strikes LUCK…. Thanks to Famnet.


A previous column was about a postcard, written by Miss Hannah VALLANCE to Kirkcaldie & Stains in the late 1890s, which I purchased on behalf of a friend back in August.  An email arrived yesterday on my other server. from a family member of the extended Vallance/McMaster family about another matter. On another website there is a painting, done in 1800s by Mary McMASTERS, of a house in Tuhituarata near Martinborough.  This painting, small it may be, holds so much history. My friend who owns it often lets me borrow it to try and find more about it. I never expected it to be many years later that I could find some facts about it. Yesterday I went to find family also connected to the post card family of VALLANCE - two in one eh! 

Two spinster sisters, Hannah and Isabella VALLANCE lived at 101 Cole St. Masterton, collectively called THE AUNTS. A lady contacted me from Papakura, saying that her mother is Mary GIDDENS, nee McMASTER, and Hannah and Isabella were her great aunts, being half-sisters to her grandmother, Dolina Catherine McMASTER, nee DRUMMOND.  Her mother often visited the Aunts in Cole Street which backed onto Essex Street - both streets having well-to-do properties, even today. Another grandmother was Mary McKENZIE. She said her mother often walked through the orchard to the other home.  She explained in the email, she is a descendant from the Tuhitarata McMASTERS through her mother's family. It seems I have killed two birds with one stone.

Now the McMASTER’s were down at Martinborough area in the early days, they have their own Cemetery on the land there. When the big house was for sale some years back, cheeky Adele contacted the real estate agent and had permission to view it. I told them why - the truth!! A few years back I experienced another reason for learning the local history, as I was on an outing with our local bus company. We had a meal down there, and the new owner was after the history of the place. I told him what I knew and told him about the painting. He never got to see it in the flesh (so to speak) as he did not answer my message he only saw it when I scanned it.  Now I have the descendant of the family - better still!

The McMASTER picture is on another website, Wellington Regional Heritage Promotion Council, where I used to be the minute secretary prior to 2013 - there is no stopping Adele when research is needed. Perhaps I should find the painting on the computer or borrow it again and do an article with Famnet with it.

Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Tracey’s Tales

A Cemetery Visit on Christmas Day

On Christmas Day last year, my parents, brother and I went to Purewa Cemetery in St Johns, Auckland. My suggestion for a walk in the cemetery was agreed - a place to walk off Christmas lunch in a well-tended, tranquil, green space.  Surprisingly many others had the same idea; to visit a gravesite or simply to meander and observe. One family were seated in fold-out chairs, grouped around a headstone, chatting quietly but happily, while sipping a hot drink and eating lunch from plastic containers.  It looked like a peaceful and relaxing get together. I however, had also arrived with a quest: to find the headstone, just recently discovered online, of Arabella WILLIAMS (nee FLORANCE), a long-departed step-ancestor on my father’s side. I had found her final Will and Testament and Probate on FamilySearch (one of a few fantastic finds through the Probate section I might add). In her Will, Arabella had instructed her oldest son Theodore, (half-sibling to dad’s direct descendent) an executor, that she wanted some of the proceeds of her estate to “…go towards a suitable Head Stone and iron railing fence and burial section…” and this is what we were looking for. Why Arabella is buried in this particular cemetery is unclear; none of her large family are buried there and her husband, James Williams, was buried in the Symonds Street (Grafton) Cemetery. I can only speculate. (Arabella also mentions in her Will a photo of her husband James William, ex carpenter and whale station manager, whose image unfortunately still remains elusive).

My mother, brother and I formed a little search party and headed off to the appropriate section, leaving my Dad to happily clean the headstone of his gr-grandparents; they immigrated from England as a 19-year-old (BROWN) and from Norway as a 13-year-old (MORK-JANSEN), just a year apart. From very different backgrounds and in very different circumstances, their paths crossed ‘down the line’ and together they went on to create a shared history in the Big Smoke of Auckland. As my Dad went about his task, we heard later, he started chatting with a passer-by.  Despite being complete strangers, the younger man shared Text Box:  a little of his life, relating to why he was at the cemetery that day. My dad is like that, he likes to chat to people and they often open up to him. I recall when he and my mother came to visit me in London, many years ago now, they stayed where I had previously boarded with my landlady. He told Mrs Fallon that he had enjoyed talking to her neighbour, a retired woman across the road. Mrs Fallon was part of Hampstead itself, having lived ‘downstairs’ in the same house for the same family, ‘upstairs,’ for forty years. When my father told her of his chat with her neighbour, she exclaimed that in all the years she had been living there, she had never spoken to the woman that my dad got to know within a week. 

In the meantime, my mother, brother and I had split up to walk down different rows, looking for Arabella.  After some time looking however, we had no success. Mystified, I said I thought Arabella would have had a decent headstone and it should be apparent; upon which my brother said “Oh, Arabella?! I thought we were looking for someone else; I passed her back there.” (His mind was on other things it seems.) The headstone was difficult to miss; her son Theodore had honoured her with a grand marble monument that still looks new. My father was surprised and impressed. Photos were taken and sent onto his cousin. We meandered further, up a slope with Sky Tower visible in the background, and saw evidence of a lot of visitors earlier that day or not so long ago, with mementos and flowers left at various plots. It seems that for many, regardless of belief, Christmas is not just about presents and ‘keeping up with the Jones,’ but an opportunity to spend time with family members, a time to appreciate the here and now, and a time to reflect and to remember.

I will be spending Christmas Day with my parents again this year, just a few weeks away. Weather permitting, we might forego the dishes and cutlery and head to a park with a few goodies in containers, deckchairs, sunscreen and hats. If the clouds open up however, we will stay indoors and head out when we can. That is the joy of living in New Zealand, we are never far from a green, tranquil space in whatever form that takes.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Tracey Bartlett

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Hanley Hoffmann:  


Some would say I am very fixed in my ways and value my system of setting up that hard copy family history.  I have done three family histories using A4 x  4 ring binders, something like 120 copies over all and I have developed a way or principle of using real photos instead of pictures/shots copied onto white pages.

I have written a booklet on using my system with some good examples of what I do and I just think that colour photographs on white paper are mushy and fuzzy. In this technological age with pics from cellphones and expensive cameras producing good images, why should we down grade them with photocopying.

More importantly I have distributed my family histories to family I have known for our lifetimes and I would want them to have a book which has first class photos which will give them a buzz when they turn to a family in Section 4 of the family history.  I have also passed these books on to new found families as well, and I would hope that they beam at those photos. I smiled the other day when I showed off my pic from 1960 in which all my siblings bar one figure, and as quick as a flash he said “no trouble finding you, and you had a nun in the family!”  And I thought I had aged!

I talk about this photograph often because it was taken by me in 1960 with a good SLR camera (Voigtlander) and a fairly bulky flashlight mounted on a tripod and using delayed action so that I could duck in behind my parents and be in the picture.  This was a slide as well because much of colour photography at that time was on slides, film by Kodak, although as time went on I used a European brand called Perutz.

I had only been doing photography for little more than a year when this incident was filmed, with three generations of family on show, and it also demonstrated that (our family farmhouse was divided into two) there was room to bed down 20 people.  There were 19 in this pic and it brought back memories of the family gatherings we hosted on special occasions, and I sometimes blanch at the thought of how some visitors viewed the primitive bathroom facilities and the long drop down the orchard! There certainly wasn’t any hot running water.

One can also weave a whole story just around the 19 in the picture, because as recent as 2016 the 13th person from that picture died, and since my siblings are all younger than I am there is often a feeling of great grief because some were taken young.   

Back to my practice of using real photos in your family history.  I use the old measure for pics 5x7 because that size means your photo has been blown up a little, and that size fits the A4 page with a reasonable margin. It also enhances any black and white photos, in fact it will improve old b&w shots.  I get the camera shop to sell me a quantity – it should mean that the more you order the cheaper each photo, and you can haggle with the camera shop over the price. You will be much surprised by the quality of the old b&w shot when it is digitally copied and reproduced on photographic paper.

Fixing of photos in your family history can be easily done using just one photo split and your camera shop should have these for sale. These double sided sticky patches are extremely effective at holding your photo in place, but I should warn you, only use one in the middle of the back of any photo you are attaching. To make your photo fit in place on your page you could buy some photo corners and fit those after you have positioned your photo with a photo split.

To learn more about my system of putting together my family history my book is available for a modest sum of $15 plus packing and postage.

“Filing Your Family History” is the title of my booklet and before you rush off to order one you might find your Family History Group has one in its library.  However I am not here touting for sales, I want  people to use a very flexible system for doing their family history, and this is one very good inexpensive way, and it is also very satisfying when you have done it.  It is a self publishing system.                          

A New Zealand resident, born in Young, NSW.

Now Waikanae FHG Newsletter Editor

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Digging Into Historical Records  

Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington (Francis Dillon Bell) - Outwards Letterbook 1855-1856 Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19497 LS-W8/1 Partial inventory at

This volume reflects communications with the Colonial Secretary, Provincial Government, Surveyors, other Land Commissioners and members of the public. References to at least some of the letters sent to the Colonial Secretary in Auckland can be found in Archway (IA1) - so that in effect they 'doubly' survive in the form of the original and the copy. For letters to other correspondents the outwards letter book may be the only record of same. Letters sent by Bell in reply often include a summary of the 'inwards' letter and this is useful if the inwards letter doesn't survive. There is also quite a lot of detail contained within the correspondence between officials. Although they are usually about obtaining authorities to undertake actions, the passing on of regulatory information or providing reports, a lot of background information detailing circumstances was often included.

1.      Regulations and documents

In early January 1855 new instructions were issued by General Government with regard to keeping records of payments for land and these were passed on, by Bell, to the Commissioner of Crown Lands at Wanganui, David Stark Durie. They reveal that two documents were to be created for the purpose - an official receipt to be given to purchasers for every payment for land and a copy of the receipt, "certified by the parties at the time of handing the original to them", to be kept for Audit purposes. The latter may have the signature of the purchaser if it survives.

2.      Earthquake repairs

The severe earthquake, of 23 January 1855, caused havoc for officials and the Wellington Independent of 10 February reported that the Provincial Government Offices, with the Council Chamber, were destroyed. On 22 February Bell provided more detailed information to the Colonial Secretary. He wrote that the earthquake "destroyed all the brickwork in my Office, including the safe in which the various deeds and other valuable documents connected with the Claims to Land in this Province were kept... which I estimate to exceed 2000 in number..." He also requested approval to have a new safe "constructed if possible of Iron, a brick safe, being no longer secure."

John McLaggan, a carpenter residing at Wellington Terrace, submitted a tender of £56 on 19 February 1855 "for the repairs to be executed in the Crown Lands & Survey Department." Bell sent a letter of acceptance on the 2nd of March - "upon the condition that the work be commenced at once and proceeded with without delay."

On 21 June Bell requested the Colonial Secretary to authorise him to "complete the fencing of the acre on which this Office is built." At the same time he mentioned the "necessity for the erection of a safe... There are upwards of three thousand deeds and documents connected with Titles to Land in this Province in my custody as Commissioner under the Ordinance Session II No.15." He also submitted that "I ought to be protected as far as possible against any loss of my Books and the documents referred to, from fire."

3.      Disruption of services

On 08 February 1855 Bell advised John Hughes on 08 February that "in consequence of the confusion caused by the earthquakes it has been impossible to examine your Survey yet; but it will be done at the earliest moment." Hughes was also mentioned in one of three letters that Bell sent to the Colonial Secretary dated 12 March. Archway describes an 'inwards' letter of that date as Bell asking the Colonial Secretary "for authority to incur expenses consequent on injury done to his office by the Earthquake." [1] Bell also wrote to Hughes on 12 March about the road from Greytown to Masterton.

4.      Wellington wind

Also in February 1855, Bell explained the circumstances regarding a "valuable transit theodolite", the private property of Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Surveyor. "I was out myself with Mr Fitzgerald on the occasion surveying a section; and while we were chaining a line, the instrument was thrown down some distance from us by a violent gust of wind. I authorised the repair being done at Sydney, but the instrument has come back in an imperfect state, and being worth about £60 – the loss would be a great one. The survey was an official one, on service." Bell wrote again on 01 March for authority to have the theodolite repaired and on 05 March the Colonial Secretary replied with authorisation for the repair expenses "except those incurred at Sydney." [2] On 06 July Fitzgerald forwarded a letter from the Colonial Treasurer to Bell on the subject [3] then followed up with another letter to the Colonial Secretary on 31 July [4]. On 04 September the Colonial Secretary agreed to pay expenses "in London or Sydney but not at both places." [5]

5.      Missing documents

In June 1855 Bell asked David Stark Durie for copies of two applications made by Richard Thomas Shields for land. One on the 28th March was for 200 acres and the other on the 1st July for 300 acres. "The Earthquake having disarranged our papers" the "applications are missing, apologising for this trouble."

The applications referred to are listed in a "Register of Applications for land made to the Lands & Survey Office, Wellington."

No.571 Thomas Shields 08 Jul 1854 300 acres

No.736 Thomas Shields 02 Apr 1855 200 acres and also No.758 Richard Thomas Shield 28 May 1855 300 acres

Perhaps the slightly later dates reflect receipt of the applications at Wellington? For each entry in this register a description of the land and the method of payment is recorded. [6] Further details, contained in the original applications, include the name, residence and occupation of the applicant. [7]


Correspondence records that link with this particular outward letter book are:

Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington - Inward letters

- Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 (item listing in Archway)

Lands & Survey Napier - Registry Papers (assumed to be correspondence)

- Archives NZ Reference ADZG 18236 LS-NA1/1 (1855-1856)

Lands & Survey New Plymouth - Inward letters

- Archives NZ Reference ADZE 18256 LS-NP1/14/13 (1851-1860)

- Archives NZ Reference ADZE 18256 LS-NP1/15/16 (Mar 1852 to Jul 1864)

Wellington Provincial Government - Inward letters

- Archives NZ Reference ACIA 16195 WP3 (1856)

Colonial Secretary - Inward letters

- Archives NZ Reference ACGO 8333 IA1 (item listing in Archway)

Colonial Treasurer - Inwards Correspondence

- Archives NZ Reference ADRK 17391 T1


[1] Archway: Colonial Secretary's Inwards Correspondence (Letter IA1 1855/848) within a correspondence bundle with reference ACGO 8333 IA1 152/ 1855/2082

[2] Archway: Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington Inwards Correspondence - Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 4/ 1855/127

[3] Archway: Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington Inwards Correspondence - Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 4/ 1855/277

[4] Archway: Colonial Secretary's Inwards Correspondence (Letter IA1 1855/2392) within a correspondence bundle with reference ACGO 8333 IA1 153/ 1855/2384

[5] Archway: Commissioner of Crown Lands Wellington Inwards Correspondence - Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 4/ 1855/354

[6] Register of Applications for land made to the Lands & Survey Office, Wellington - Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19505 LS-W16/1

- Partial transcript at

[7] Lands & Survey Wellington: Applications for land Nos 1 to 18717 - Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19506 LS-W15 series



[A] John McLaggan (1803-1886), builder of Old St Paul's, "first appears in records in 1855, making an unsuccessful tender to carry out work on the Lands and Survey Office in Wellington." Website: Old St Paul's Wellington -

The tender "for repairs at Land and Survey Offices, Wellington" survives at Archives NZ - Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 1855/94

[B] John Hughes and Michael Fitzgerald See: The Pioneer Land Surveyors of New Zealand - Website: (Two PDFs)


Dawn Chambers

Chinese Corner 

Chinese Store Keepers

There has been little research on the Chinese store keepers in New Zealand. These stores started in Otago, during the gold rush era, to support the miners out in the field. They later moved to various part of New Zealand, after the gold mining days were over.

On October 19, 1871, the total number of Chinese in New Zealand was 4,215, distributed as follows (by provinces) viz : — Canterbury, 9 ; Wellington, 17 ; Nelson, 3 ; Marlborough, 3 ; Auckland, 2 ; Westland, 24; Otago, 4,159. Of the whole number, 5 are set down as carpenters, 3,570 as miners, 103 as store-keepers, 1 as a hotelkeeper, 49 as gardeners, 3 as agents, 3 as cooks, 12 as laborers, 12 as hawkers, 6 as cabinetmakers, and 415 occupations not stated, the bulk of these last being new arrivals, and probably bound for the goldfields.


NEWTON KING Has received instructions from Mr. Wong WAH, who is giving up his shop, to sell by auction on the premises, adjoining Mr. B. Cunningham - HIS STOCK-IN-TRADE of Groceries and Fancy Goods, consisting of — Tea in packets and half-chest, Coffee, Cocoa, Jam, Candles, Soap, Tinned Fish, Pickles, Sauces, Starch, toys, Glass how cases, Lollies, Fancy Goods, etc WITHOUT RESERVE. Sale at 2 o'clock. 


TARANAKI HERALD 14 OCTOBER 1887 Page 3 Advertisements



     Clutha Leader 20 April 1876 Page 2                               ALEXANDRA HERALD AND CENTRAL OTAGO GAZETTE 20 MARCH 1907 Page 8

CHINESE STOREKEEPERS DEFENDANTS FINED. Sgt. Bowden, Inspector of Factories, at the Feilding Magistrate's Court this morning, proceeded against three local Chinese storekeepers, Chew Lee, Sing Lum Kee, and Wong Kum and Co., for selling groceries after 9 p.m. on Saturday, 9th March. A second information charged the Chinese with a similar offence on 1th March; Mr Carty appeared for the defendants Sgt. Sowden, in opening the case, said those storekeepers sold fruit and groceries, and he quoted several cases in Wellington to show that by selling groceries after the statutory hour of closing they committed a breach of the Act. Sergt. Bowden deposed: I visited the defendants' shops on the dates I mentioned in the information, and found they had large stocks of groceries, and also fruit; it was, about 10 when I visited these shops, and I saw people there buying groceries; the shops were lit up, and the front door open. Mr Carty: Sing Lum Kee has a large shop window, mostly stocked with fruit; I have seen customers in these Chinese shops; they all carry large stocks of groceries. Constable Sweeney deposed: I went with Sergt. Bowden. He considered the value of groceries would exceed the value of fruit stocked. He saw two bottles of sauce sold. Mr Carty contended that the defendants were essentially fruiterers. Three-fourths of their customers call for fruit alone. The question was not one of degree, but one of principle. Sergt. Bowden further deposed that he had seen large basketfuls of groceries being put into a cart, and he had seen the cart subsequently stop at private houses. To Mr Carty: Would swear that it was groceries; Chew Loo deposed that he sometimes delivered groceries by basket, never by cart. Cross examined by Srgt. Bowden: Witness said sometimes he put a basket of groceries into a cart for delivery to his customers. The Magistrate, in delivering his decision, stated to defence was that the information was ineffective, and that the defendants were primarily fruiterers. He had during the interval, seen the shops in question, and was satisfied the Chinese were grocers, and came within the requisition. On the first information, each defendant was fined £1 and costs 7s. and on the second information they were convicted and discharged 


Feilding Star 20 March 1907, Page 2

It was generally suspected that the Chinese storekeeper who died recently at Rahotu had a hoard of money on the premises, and accordingly close watch was kept on the premises after his death until such time as it was possible to have a search among his belongings (says a North Island paper). This search, it is reported, resulted, in the sum of £2SO being discovered m deceased's bedroom behind a box. The money, which comprised five-pound and pound notes sovereigns (35), silver and copper, was nil neatly and methodically arranged, each denomination being carefully placed in separate envelopes.


STAR 18 DECEMBER 1918 Page 5

The shutters are closing on a spice-scented Chinese shop that has been trading in Christchurch for nearly a century.

Hop Yick owners Michael and Marisa Yeung blame the closure of the Welles St Asian import business, near South City Mall, on earthquake disruptions and their son's disinterest in the family business. "And it is time for a change. We have been doing it for a long time," Marisa Yeung said.
The couple's 29-year-old son, a computer technician, did not want to take over the shop. "He said: ‘I can speak [Mandarin], but I cannot read it. It is too hard for me'. He is not interested in the business."

The late George Wong, who came to New Zealand in 1927, bought Hop Yick Cheong off another Chinese family in the 1950s. Wong died in 1984 and Michael Yeung - his grandson - moved with Marisa from Hong Kong to take over the shop two years later.

The Yeungs believe Hop Yick, which sells imported Chinese items such as spices, canned food, paper lanterns, and cane ware, first opened on Madras St in 1918 - or was at least trading by then.

Michael Yeung said his grandfather was a workaholic who "loved his business" and worked 24-7 until the day he died.


Jim Ng, a community historian and author of Chinese descent, said Hop Yick played an important role a century ago. It served a community of Chinese immigrants, who first came to New Zealand during the Otago gold rush in the 1860s. About 100 to 150 Chinese workers found themselves in Christchurch after the depletion of Dunedin and West Coast goldfields. "It [Christchurch] supported only a very small group of Chinese, and they were mainly in market gardening. They kept to Chinese food."

Ng, who grew up in Ashburton, remembers visiting Hop Yick on Madras St as a child, and the "shoddy old house" next door. "It served as a lodging house for Chinese. I went in there when I was a kid and saw these two opium smokers. "They were quite sleepy. They just looked at me, and I looked at them, and I bowed my way out."

Customer Rangi Downes, 72, said the shop used to sell ceramic pots so big, "you could hide your mother in one of them". He first went there as a newly-married man in the early 1960s to buy Chinese kimonos for his wife. "In those days people had never seen that sort of stuff. It was totally different to anything in Christchurch. It [the shop] had that dark appeal; you wondered what you were going to find."

ANNA PEARSON 16/09/2013

A Country Hall

From the Editor: I am always encouraging people to write an article for this newsletter. It doesn't have to be long - about 1,000 words and doesn't have to be strictly genealogical or grammatically correct. Many of us are trying to write our own family history. Others have written a small article or two about some memory or two. This newsletter is an avenue for getting them published. If you have one send it to me. I'll look at it and encourage you. Maybe I'll put it in a future newsletter. You do not have to put yourself under the stress of a monthly column - an occasional one is good for you and our readers.

Avis McDonald is a very dear long time friend of mine. We have spent many an hour touring the back blocks of Southland and Otago on our way to a speaking engagement. We ended up in many a pickle due to her or my stupidity. I managed to get her to produce the following article. 

A Country Hall

Image result for country halls NZ 1940sHave you ever thought or written about the fun and entertainment country folk organised for their little isolated communities, such as Glenham, or Redan and Mokoreta. They were twenty or thirty miles from the nearest town, and vehicles which were often only good for the fortnightly or monthly shopping trip to town of Wyndham.

There was no TV or local movie theatre to frequent, but there was a dance hall. There was also the annual sports day held in a farmer's paddock, Mokoreta Redan Hunt Club, but in the course of a year in any country district there needed to be more than just annual affairs. We had a district hall which was called Mokoreta Redan Hall, built of mainly pine timber weatherboards, lined inside, with corrugated iron roof, and a very steep incline from the road to the car park.

The hall had a performing stage at one end, some three feet above the dance floor. It probably measured about twenty feet wide and about 60 feet long. Down one side of the hall was a lean-to structure which held the ladies ante-room with toilets, men’s ante-room, which held the beer keg and a kitchen complete with wood copper for hot water for tea at supper.  

Admission was (Ladies a Plate, males 2/6 = 25 cents)

The floor was sprinkled with ballroom powder to facilitate a smooth dancing surface. This appealed to small children who loved running down the length, dropping down on their bottoms or knees and sliding rapidly to the far wall.  As the evening progressed and small children became tired, they were wrapped in a blanket and slept blissfully on the stage, with the musicians playing a few feet away.

Seating around the walls was occupied by married ladies and matrons on one side, single girls/ladies on the opposite, and males congregated in a bunch at the end near the one and only outside door. The matrons watched the younger generation with an eagle eye, and woe betides any girl's reputation if she went outside for any reason. Males were not even missed when they disappeared for a quick drink. This was illegal, and the constable occasionally made a surprise raid.

At the end of evening, the supper tables were placed in the middle of the dance floor The walls were lined, but a mite chilly on winter nights. It did have electricity, wired in conduit, and later there were heaters placed up high on the walls.

Numerous events were organised and held in this venue; newly married couples welcomed to the district, concerts,  25th wedding anniversaries, farewells, rifle shooting,  table tennis nights, indoor bowls, weekly dressmaking classes, and church services on Sunday.

With better roads, fast cars and constant moving population, these halls have mostly fallen into disuse. The Mokoreta - Redan hall was rebuilt, and opened in 1960. It is presently used as Pre School Centre.   

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 09 307 7771, or complete our online booking form.

Genetic Genealogy and DNA - what to consider before diving in – with Michelle Patient, genetic genealogist, and Brad Argent, Ancestry

Wednesday 6 December, 6pm to 7.30pm

Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library


Please join us for light refreshments from 5pm.


Michelle Patient, genetic genealogist and Guild of One Name Studies
Brad Argent, AncestryDNA specialist, Ancestry


Join us to learn more about Genetic Genealogy and DNA in the Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library on Wednesday 6 December, 6pm-7.30pm.

Please join us for light refreshments from 5pm.


This will be a popular event so booking is essential.

Phone 09 890 2412 or email

Facebook:  Auckland Research Centres  
Twitter: @Kintalk 


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.

The Secret Spitfires

The story of hundreds of women, girls and a handful of men who built Spitfires in secret during WW2

Spitfires were the nemesis of the Luftwaffe and the instrument which halted Hitler’s plans for invasion. After relentless bombing of the Spitfire factories in Southampton, the Germans were convinced they had halted the production of the Spitfires for good. However, the British had a secret plan…”


Do you have ancestors who were involved in the manufacture of Spitfires but never revealed this incredible story until now. This could be a new chapter to your family history. I asked a former RAF friend of mine if he knew anything of this story, he knew nothing. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.


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                


Who Actually Owns Your Content When You Post It to the Web?

Over the years, I have heard or read many comments from genealogists about who owns information posted to the World Wide Web. In fact, many people are reluctant to post their family trees online because “someone might steal the information.” A short article published in the Web site uses non-lawyer English to explain several of the issues concerning legal “ownership” of information posted online.

If you have concerns about ownership of online information, you might want to read Who Actually Owns Your Content When You Post It to the Web by David Nield at

I will offer one thought to keep in mind: names of people, along with dates and places of birth, marriage, death, military service, and similar facts of interest to genealogists are just that: facts. As stated in the article by David Nield, “You can’t copyright facts, or ideas, or systems…” While you might be in possession of certain facts about your ancestors, that doesn’t mean that you OWN the information. No one person “owns” facts within the U.S., according to copyright law.

How to Save a Webpage as a PDF File, So You Later Can View It Offline

Ever find a web page that you want to save, perhaps as a PDF file? (I do that frequently.) An article by Tyler Lacoma in the Digital Trends web site tells exactly how to do that in a variety of different web browsers on Windows, Macintosh, Android, and Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch). If you have an interest, you can find the instructions at:

To Write or Not to Write: Respecting Privacy in Family-History Storytelling

Allison Dolan July 25, 2016

From the editor: I found this article on the Familytree magazine website (the USA version) you start writing your life’s stories, you may wonder what to put in and what to leave out. Should you mention that time you got arrested, or when your best friend betrayed you? What about your difficult relationship with your dad? What if telling your stories will reveal...

When you start writing your life’s stories, you may wonder what to put in and what to leave out. Should you mention that time you got arrested, or when your best friend betrayed you? What about your difficult relationship with your dad? What if telling your stories will reveal someone else’s secrets?

Writing your life story can raise questions about how to be fair and honest, and what stories of your life should keep private. Story of My Life workbook author and guest blogger Sunny Morton has three quick things to consider when you start writing your family history:


·       Everyone has a right to privacy. Writing about your life doesn’t obligate you to share all your stories. Chances are there are some events, relationships, failures or disappointments in your past you’d rather not write about.

While you should consider acknowledging all life-changing events (even if you choose not to dwell on details), you don’t have to write about everything. For painful events that prompted major changes in your relationships, career, living circumstances or way of life, a passing mention—along with the results—may be sufficient: “After my divorce, I moved to Seattle, where my sister lived. I wanted to leave painful memories behind.”

·       Honesty is key. You don’t need to tell everything—but everything you tell should be true. Of course, you won’t intend to write falsehoods, but it can be tempting to downplay your role in a big family argument or skip over the nice things your “worthless” baby brother actually has done for you. Nobody is all good or all bad, including yourself. Try to write about everyone fairly. In doing so, you may discover some new truths in the process of writing: how you felt about someone, what you learned from a situation, how you feel now.

Consider including at least some of these insights in your life-story writings. You may think it’s obvious what the past taught you or how you might feel, but that may not be the case. And your insights or life lessons may turn out to be the most valuable part of sharing your memories (for you and others).

·       Think twice before revealing someone else’s secrets. Many who write their life stories have to decide whether to divulge confidential or sensitive information about someone else. Should you write about a relative’s addiction, debts, temper or marital problems? Consider the answers to three questions:

o        First, is this your story to tell? If it didn’t significantly affect your life, it doesn’t really belong in your life story.

o        Second, what are your motives? Revenge, or an unfortunate but real need to set the record straight?

o        Finally, who may be hurt by your revelation? Even if the person with the secret is dead, that person may have living loved ones who may suffer.

After considering these questions, you may still see the need to reveal confidences, but you may approach it more sensitively.                                 



Announcing a Change on FamilySearch: a New Free Sign-in Process Offers Greater Subscriber Experiences and Benefits

The following announcement was written by the folks at: FamilySearch Lake City, Utah (16 November 2017), Beginning December 13, 2017, patrons visiting will see a prompt to register for a free FamilySearch account or sign in to their existing account to continue enjoying all the free expanded benefits FamilySearch has to offer. Since its launch in 1999, FamilySearch has added millions of users, billions of various historical records, and many fun, new features like Family Tree, Memories, mobile apps, digital books, and dynamic help. In order to accommodate continued growth of these and future free services, FamilySearch must assure all its partners that its content is offered in a safe and secure online environment. Patrons creating a free account and signing in fulfills that need.

Patron sign in will also enable FamilySearch to satisfy the ongoing need for user authentication. This authentication can deliver rich, personalized discovery, collaboration, and help experiences. Simply put, signed-in visitors can access more searchable content and enjoy more personalized services.

“A large percentage of our current site visitors are not benefiting from much of what FamilySearch has to offer because they don’t realize the need to simply sign in with their free account to do so,” said Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO. “They are basically arriving in the parking lot but not coming inside for the main event,” he said about website visitors who do not sign in.

FamilySearch is committed to patron privacy and does not share personal account information with any third party without a patron’s consent.

See Registering to use for information about creating a free account.


1. Do I have to pay for a FamilySearch account? 

No. Your FamilySearch account is, and always will be, free.

2. How do I create a free FamilySearch account?  

See Registering to use The only information you will need is your first and last name, a username, a password, and an email or mobile phone number.

3. What if I have forgotten my username or password? 

·         See Recovering a forgotten username for signing in to

·         See Recovering a forgotten password for signing in to

4. Will you sell my information?  

FamilySearch does not share your personal account information with any third party without your consent.

5. How will my experience be enhanced?  

FamilySearch offers many services and experiences that are free but that require you to sign in as a subscriber to fully use. In addition to historical records and Family Tree access, signed-in subscribers receive personalized experiences, notifications, and other features (see above).

6. Why do users need to log in to perform searches or to create a family tree?  

FamilySearch wants to provide you more access to records and a rich, personalized experience with more successful discoveries. By signing in, you allow the FamilySearch system to customize and deliver its best services to you.

7. How will my contact information be used?  

·         Your information is used in the FamilySearch system to facilitate collaboration between users (you control how much information is shared).

·         The Family Tree and Memories features display your username and any other contact information you approve when using select features.

·         Your information allows you to send in-system messages to other users without revealing your personal identity or email address.

·         FamilySearch will send you email and newsletters to keep you informed. You can specify how much email, if any, you receive.

·         Your contact information is accessed when you contact the support group for help.

8. Is there anything I can do without signing in?

Absolutely. There are still a number of things you can do on FamilySearch without signing in. You can search the catalog, digitized booksgenealogies, the Wiki, and the learning center. You can also view user-contributed photos and stories.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

50 Free Genealogy Sites to Search Today


From the Editor: Knowing how frustrated and bored you will be over the festive season I have included this article. Maybe you could find something.

Looking for a list of free genealogy sites to search? Here are 50 no-cost family history resources where you will find birth, marriage and death records, obituaries, cemetery listings, newspaper articles, biographies, research tips and so much more.

We had a lot of fun compiling this list of excellent websites. Remember, most free genealogy sites have been made available by the hard work and dedication of many volunteers! Don’t forget to thank them and give back when you can. Enjoy the search!

1. FamilySearch: largest collection of free genealogical records in the world

2. WikiTree: enormous collaborative family tree

3. Fulton History: historical newspapers from the US and Canada

4. Find a Grave: locate your ancestors in cemeteries across the globe

5. Google News Archive: millions of archived newspaper pages

6. US National Archives: official US National Archives site, many free genealogy databases and resources

7. Automated Genealogy: indexes of the Canadian census

8. FreeBMD: civil registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales

9. USGenWeb Project: massive free genealogy resource directory by US state and county

10. WorldGenWeb Project: genealogy resources by country and region, not to miss

11. Cyndi’s List: highly respected directory of free genealogy resources and databases online

12. Library and Archives Canada: official archives of Canada, census records and more

13. Ellis Island: immigration records, free indexes and original records, fee to download copies

14. FreeReg: baptism, marriage, and burial records from parish registers of the UK

15. Crestleaf: various genealogy records

16. RootsWeb: world’s largest genealogy community, huge amount of free information

17. Castle Garden: immigration records, pre Ellis Island

18. Chronicling America: giant database of archived US newspapers from the Library of Congress

19. Dead Fred: genealogy photo archive

20. African Heritage Project: records on former slaves, freedpersons and their descendants

21. Immigrant Ancestors Project: emigration registers for locating birthplaces of immigrants in their native countries

22. Daughters of the American Revolution: military service records and more

23. JewishGen: Jewish ancestry research

24. FreeCEN: transcribed census records from the UK

25. Access Genealogy: vast family history directories and more, good Native American resources

26. British Library, India Office: records on British and European people in India pre 1950

27. Guild of One-Name Studies: extensive surname research site

28. Geneabloggers: massive directory of genealogy related blogs with a huge amount of free information

29. NativeWeb Genealogy: list of Native American genealogy resources and searchable databases

30. Viximus: member submitted biographical information

31. WieWasWie: for researching ancestors from the Netherlands (in Dutch)

32. UK National Archives: official National Archives of the UK

33. The National Archives of Ireland: official National Archives of Ireland

34. GENUKI: reference library of genealogical resources for the UK and Ireland

35. German Genealogy Server: German ancestry research (many sections in German)

36. Preserve the Pensions: War of 1812 pension records access

37. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System: Civil War records from the National Park Service

38. LitvakSIG: Lithuanian-Jewish genealogy databases and resources

39. Italian Genealogical Group: Italian American genealogy resources and databases

40. Internet Archive: a large amount of information useful to genealogists, but you’ll need to do some digging

41. Billion Graves: headstone records

42. Open Library: good place to find family history books, search for surnames or locations

43. GenDisasters: for researching disasters and other events your ancestors might have been involved in

44. RomanyGenes: Romanichal ancestry research

45. Patriot and Grave Index: revolutionary war graves registry and patriot index from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

46. Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection: vast number of archived US newspapers

47. Seventh-day Adventist Obituary Database: hundreds of thousands of obituary entries

48. Släktdata: genealogy records for Sweden (in Swedish)

49. Hispanic Genealogy: wonderful list of resources for researching Hispanic ancestry

50: Free Genealogy Search Engine: search hundreds of free genealogy resources at one time on Family History Daily

There are many more free genealogy sites online. Since we can’t possibly list them all in one article, please share your favorite in the comments if you don’t see it here.


Intelligence Test:

From the Editor: Another small diversion - see if you can answer these. To avoid frustration I have put the answers far to the right.

What kind of tree can you carry in your hand?

A Palm

What invention lets you look right through a wall?

A Window

Which word in the dictionary is spelled incorrectly?

incorrectly (sorry!)

A girl who was just learning to drive went down a one-way street in the wrong direction but didn’t break the law. How is that possible?

She was walking

What is always coming but never arrives?

Tomorrow – so better do it today!

Tom’s height is six feet, he’s an assistant at a butcher’s shop, and wears size 9 shoes. What does he weigh?



From Memory Foundation

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Book Reviews   

From the Editor: For some strange reason I have been reading only travel books - must be going somewhere. We would welcome any contributions from readers for this section.

Dementia for Dummies

by Simon Atkins (a GP & freelance medical journalist)

UK Edition 2015 ISBN 978-1-118-92469-3 $AU29.75 Booktopia (& is available as an eBook)

Reviewed by Ken Morris

The title could be considered “a bit on the nose” but I find the “Dummies” books to be well written and in a format easy to follow & it was useful to be able to check on particular aspects applicable to different times in a person’s condition on the dementia journey.

It took me some time to read the book, not a subject for easy reading especially when reading to understand dementia in relation to a family member. One can skip to various parts of the book as needs apply and my book is liberally highlighted/tagged and noted for re-reads as time goes by.  The book is written for UK conditions, but I found that it was easy to apply to Australia & would be similar for NZ.

I read the book to help me understand what was happening to my wife of 53 years in whom I had noticed changes in when she was ~ 74, about 2 ½ years ago and to help me to plan ahead. My 1st realisation was that I want being told to do things, and that “old rules of 53 years” in many cases no longer applied. We have consulted dementia professionals with limited success.

The book sets out the various stages a person might go through on the dementia journey but it’s not possible to put stages in neat pigeonholes as a person may have attributes, some ahead and some behind “the line” at any point, but I was able to use the book and try to be prepared for the changes and to try to be as positive as possible.  My wife has a general state of apathy, making it hard for me to generate her interest in anything. There is no anger or frustration as to what is happening and even where repeated instructions are given, or if I ask “Why” about something, “I have no idea” is the standard response. It didn’t used to be like this, especially if I asked more than once!  Active volunteer work, Mah Jong sessions with friends, telephone calls and emails have all ceased, and as to reference to “the line” above, this is well ahead of the line

As in other books & publications, there are extensive references to ensuring the carer’s good health & wellbeing, and to seek help & to get some respite. Easier said than done, but practical options are given and with the Dummy books the important things are summarised in “The Parts of 10’s” for easy reference.

Details of the ACE III Exam (Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Exam III) are included; it was interesting in my wife’s medical consultation that only some simple parts of the test were done, and no definitive scoring exercise done. For driving, a “bad back” and heavy painkillers meant my wife was able to accept that driving was no longer an option, albeit we did have an off road assessment done and my wife’s car was sold at a time of her choosing.

I apologise if the book review has become a bit personal, but I think this shows how the book can be used as a practical quick reference guide as further changes in persons’ demeaner occur and then be able to change course if needs be.

As in most countries there are organisations to help both the sufferer and the carer, and as the author and aging professionals we deal with say, “use them”.

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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.

Old Family Reunion, 20th and 21st January 2018 in New Plymouth

This reunion will mark the 175th anniversary of the arrival of Richard and Jane Old and their 9 children and 1 grandchild, on board the “Essex”.

To express your interest please email Christine McDonagh on and / or visit the Facebook Page 

Old Family Reunion January 2018

Help wanted

Photo Identification

The Chinese Genealogy Group has asked if anybody can help with identifying these photos.  They’re mostly Wellington based.  Email H Wong if you can help.

Influenza Victims, Troopship HMNZT 107 “Tahiti

Julie Buist writes

I would like to reach out to the FamNet community for information for some research I am doing. 

Last year I completed a dissertation for some postgrad study I was doing through Strathclyde University.  The topic of my dissertation related to finding out who the victims of the influenza pandemic on board the troopship HMNZT 107 "Tahiti" and what the records could tell us about their deaths.  

I would like to take that research further and really bring these victims back to life - tell their story.  I'm not sure yet whether I will publish a book or booklet but I want to include biographies of the victims and details of the voyage.  So I'm seeking information from relatives/descendants of the victims but also those that survived as they are the one's that tended to have diaries and letters.  I have accessed some through the Waiouru Military Museum and the Alexander Turnball Library.

I (Robert) have set up a table of Julie’s list of victims in the table “Names in Lists” in the General Database Section.  (Ignore the four records with group “Test” – they’re just my test data).  If you can help Julie with any information about these people, please email her.

Letters to the Editor

Hi Peter,

I have paid membership in and free in My Heritage.  My gripe is, a lot of people do not reply to requests for information.

A simple reply, e.g. "I'm sorry, I do not see any connection between your ancestors and mine" would be polite.  A lot of people want to troll family trees and don't have the courtesy to engage the family tree managers.

I sent brief details of my Magill ancestry in Belfast and Carrickfergus to the 'Belfast Forum' - from NZ.  Within an hour one of the forum helpers sent details of Magill ancestors I never knew existed.  I'm also looking for Baxter ancestors in Dundee, circa 1800.

I have helped a friends wife trace her Dornan ancestors from a 'Bride Ship' in 1919 to Northland (near Dargiville) in the 1950s.  It is satisfying to help others.


Bill Baxter

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

One day, while strolling down the boardwalk, John bumped into an old friend of his, Rob, from high school. “You look great John, how do you stay looking so young? Why you must be 60 already but you don’t look a day over 40!” Rob exclaimed.

“I feel like I’m 40 too!” replied John.

“That’s incredible” exclaimed Rob, “Does it run in the family? How old was your dad when he passed?”

“Did I say he was dead?” asked John. “He’s 81 and is more active than ever. He just joined the neighborhood basketball team!” responded John.

“Whoa! Well how old was your Grandfather when he died?”

“Did I say he died” asked John. Rob was amazed. “He just had his 105th birthday and plays golf and goes swimming each day! He’s actually getting married this week!”

“Getting married?!” Rob asked. If he’s 105, why on earth does he want to get married?!

John looked at Rob and replied, “Did I say he wanted to?”

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