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FamNet eNewsletter December 2018

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote:     If you don’t want your descendants to put a twisted spin on your life story, write it yourself! Anon



Editorial 1

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?. 1

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

The Nash Rambler 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

Jan’s Jottings. 1

Wairarapa Wandering. 1

Digging Into Historical Records. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Avis McDonald. 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

Group News. 1

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 1

12 Free Genealogy Research Sites for Australia and New Zealand. 1

Waikanae Family History Group. 1

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 1

News and Views. 1

Sometimes I dream of the good old days. 1

Foot Shape Ancestry: What your toes can tell you. 1

Guild of One-Name Studies’ marriage locator helps find ancestors’ church in England and Wales. 1

Genealogy Database to Search First! 1

The top free websites for family history! 1

Dads (Not Just Moms) Can Pass on Mitochondrial DNA, According to Provocative New Study. 1

Book Reviews. 1

100 years of College Rifles 1897-1997. 1

Ghost Towns of New Zealand. 1

In conclusion. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 1


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

Once again I have had great pleasure assembling this newsletter.

This month's edition is the last for 2018 - where did the year go? I seem to get busier and busier the older I'm getting or maybe it takes longer to do this than when I was younger.

As the festive season is upon us and knowing how bored we get with family functions etc I have included a couple of articles with many websites for you to lock yourself in the computer room and explore. I enjoy getting "lost" when family functions drag on. The News and Views section has a few thought-provoking articles. Please do not send "abusive" emails about the first article on the suggestive actions for wives. I first thought it was funny then I started to think that this sort of "rubbish" was expected of women.

I thank all our regular contributors and wish them a wonderful festive season and, of course, all our readers world wide.

Please enjoy this month's offering and my fingers are crossed that no communications intimating boredom arise.

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?

This newsletter is free. There are not many free newsletters of this length in New Zealand. I am biased but it should be an interesting read.

To subscribe is easy too. Go onto the FAMNET website - don't misspell it as I have, twice already.

The front page is lovely, but click on [Newsletters].  A page opens showing you a list of all the past newsletters, you can click the link to read one that you’re interested in.

Like the front page, the newsletters page has a place where you can log on or register.   It’s in the top right-hand corner.  Put your email here and click [Continue].   If you aren’t already on our mailing list, there will be a message “Email not in database” and a button [New User] appears.  Click this and follow the dialog to register.  It’s free and easy.  You should receive a copy every month until you unsubscribe.

Robert has assured me that he will not send begging letters to your email - apparently, he has enough money at the moment. You will not have to put in your credit card number. You will not be charged a subscription.

Tell other genealogists so they can enjoy the newsletters too.


Peter Nash

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Regular Contributors

From the Developer

Nothing technical from me this month – but I’ve done a book review.  See below

An unexpected pleasure: a few days ago, I had an email from Tina Belk, who turned out to be my first cousin who I knew as Lillian Barnes.  The last time we met we were both 9 and at primary school, and her family were visiting New Plymouth.  We’ve exchanged contact details and I’ve added her to my family group so that she can see not only our common ancestry but the complete records of my family including all my grandchildren, with pictures, and in some cases videos.  We’re going to meet after Christmas.

And how did this contact come about?   She had attended one of Gail’s talks on DNA, and Gail told her about FamNet, so she was able to click one of the links to contact me.  Now I’m looking forward to meeting her.  We will have changed a lot in the 60+ years, and we’ll have a lot to catch up on.   Already we’re extending the information about our shared ancestry.  Tina has sent me a picture of the fly leaf from the book in which Hannah OLD recorded family births and deaths.   Naturally I’ve uploaded this to FamNet and attached it to the scrapbook of Hannah OLD’s record.

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
15.  Updating General Resource Databases

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

21.  Bulk-uploading Objects.  FamNet resource: Useful Databases.

Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler

The Old man goes researching

I had to get a copy of a marriage entry for a marriage that took place in 1865 in Hull. Looking at the Family Search website I found that it is on a digitized film for one of the parishes in Hull and that the film was available to read (and take a copy from) at the Auckland Public Library.

I started to dribble at the thought of scrolling through a parish record. This brought back fond memories of "the early days of Genealogy" that I tend to go on about when I'm writing and speaking. I remember collecting all entries on a film that had the surnames I was interested in. I would end up with pages of names that many years later would all end up somewhere on my tree because they were all related. I would slowly scroll backwards in time and pick up earlier generations. Because the process was so enjoyable I would have to share my discoveries with the poor sod sitting next to me in the darkened room. I met many other addicts and we all conversed and discussed our research as we wound the films backwards in years (generally). It was never a quiet process much to the disgust of the LDS research centre supervisors. Ah the good old days!

This would take all day. My day would have to be planned. I printed off the details of the marriage I required. I was prepared physically and mentally for the day of pure pleasure that would eventuate. The plan was a few hours researching, a coffee with lunch and more research. What a day I would have. I wouldn't take a packed lunch - that is going too far. I think my pension could stretch to a scone and a coffee.

Because I'm old and a stupid driver - according to my family, I decided to go to the library by a combination of bus and train. So I combed my hair, brushed my teeth, dressed in my better clothes and wandered off to the bus stop to catch the first bus after 9 am. I forgot the aftershave - probably because I don't shave now. I must start early because I couldn't predict how long the film reading would take.

Have you ever noticed that the bus stops have many people waiting for the clock to tick past 9 am? The buses that come past before 9 am are very empty and the first buses after 9 am are very full - of OLD people. Good old Winston Peters and his gold card. He should be knighted because of the mobility he has given oldies (I said knighted not beheaded by a lower swung sword). Similarly with the trains, they are fuller after 9 am - with oldies. I must be patient. They are my age! They are allowed to be confused because I get confused. But not today, I'm a man on a mission of pure pleasure.

After an hour of travel I roll up to the library. I stop for the obligatory gossip session with the library staff who I have known for a long time. Then I sit down at a computer and log in. My pen and paper are ready for any vital thing I will need to record and the film is brought up on screen. I start scrolling. At screen number 115 I'm at the date for my marriage and it isn't there. Toyota!!!!

Something has gone wrong!!!! I redo the search. It's not there! So I go back into Family Search and search for my name in that film. It's there!!!! What's this box on the right hand side of the screen? It said click on it if I wanted to see the entry. I did. It takes me to screen 1117 and I scroll back a page or two and there it is!!! I download the page onto my thumb stick and then scratch my head. That has only taken five minutes! Family Search has robbed me of my pleasure! They have made it too easy!

There are no other entries for my names on this film. I had achieved my target in 5 minutes. Nothing else to do!!! I slowly log off the computer; put my pencil and paper away in my briefcase. There is nothing else for me to do. I had better go home.

Off I toddle to the coffee shop nearby and buy a paper and a long black coffee (remember that for when you next see me, I'll do almost anything, even converse with you, for a good long black). I take an hour to read the paper and do the crosswords. Another hour later I am home. It took a lot longer to drink my coffee than it did to find and copy that entry.

I wish to register a complaint about the LDS website. It makes research too easy. It has taken away the pleasure of the hunt, the pleasure of blind alleys that you wander down and the sheer pleasure of finding a much sort-after family fact. The more I fiddle around on that website the more impressed I am. I learn something most times I use it. When they finish the digitization project it will be a marvelous resource. I recommend that you play around on that website. It's free to use

Regards to all

Peter Nash

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DNA Testing for Family History

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

3GailDNA2.  What does your DNA say about your weaknesses in your genetic make-up

When we are young, we seldom give our health much thought unless we have become unwell or we have pain somewhere.  If you grew up like me – in the middle of rural New Zealand – your mother would do what she could with her home remedies.  Usually things like powder of sulphur or iodine or calamine lotion and lots of soup or jellies and vegetables – the latter all home grown of course.

When it came to broken bones or succumbing to some disease or other, it was a long trip in whatever transport was available to take her children to the nearest doctor.  Note I am not talking about things like TB or polio or diphtheria.

If it was some type of allergy, a child would sometimes grow out of it.  But then again, sometimes not. 

Not that I was ever interested back then, but when I started to become involved in DNA testing, I began being interested in what my genes held.  As it turned out, the very first test I took was with 23andMe which not only gave me genealogical matches and information which was why I tested with them in the first place, it also gave me my health report.  The health report I received specifically mentioned certain medications to which I am insensitive or overly sensitive.  (I have found that invaluable).

It could not be called a medical report because it was not – it was numerous results of scientific findings of the genetic weaknesses I had inherited from my parents who, in turn, had inherited from their ancestors.  I had not bothered giving much thought to what I could find within it, until the results arrived and the first thing I saw was ‘do not open if…’.

I ignored the ‘…if…’ and chose to open. 

Last week whilst I was giving a class a chat about DNA, I mentioned health reports and it was interesting that probably quarter of the attendees immediately began to write notes with the remainder either keeping a neutral face or specifically shaking their heads negatively.

As far as I am concerned, my children had the right to be told what medical degradation their mother’s mind and/or her body might suffer (or might escape) as she continued to meander into her twilight years.  Apart from falling off a ladder whilst changing a light bulb or tripping over her shadow at the supermarket, I mean.

Notice I say “might suffer” or “might escape”. 

There is no guarantee.

Therefore, if you are interested, you too can have such a report.  If you have already taken an autosomal test with a firm, it will cost you US$5.00 and take just a few minutes to generate after you have completed uploading.  All you need to do is go to and agree to the statements asked of you.  Assuming you agree with the statements, you will be given the appropriate instructions to transfer your autosomal results.

There are sample reports for you to read before making your decision, so don’t let the scientific words put you off.  Use Google if you do not know the names.

If you are on medication and wondering why you are putting on (or losing) weight, check these out too – on the right hand side of the resultant report.  There are numerous categories from which you are able to select. 

Above all, use the report as a tool.  It is not predictive, it is an indication of the strengths and weaknesses science has thus far found in your genetic make-up. 

Happily, it seems I will probably not be going bald…

Gail Riddell

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Index so far

Jan’s Jottings

Nothing from Jan this month.




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Wairarapa Wandering

A Colonist’s Gaze by John E Martin

AdeleReading the latest book about Charles Rooking Carter, named A Colonist’s Gaze by John E Martin, I turned to the index and saw mention of Sir Henry TATE. Oh boy did that start my brain working, as my family lived in Streatham, South London, and our lovely home backed onto the property of the late Sir Henry TATE. It was a mansion in its own right then but today is now in apartments.

Sir Henry TATE is buried at West Norwood Cemetery, which is the same cemetery where James BUSBY is also buried.

Sir Henry TATE, was in the sugar industry - Tate and Lyle sugar refinery in London. In the grounds of Streatham Common was The White House which I believe was also associated with Sir Henry Tate. I spent hours there as a teenager exercising my poodle, taking lovely walks to the Rookery etc.

We lived in Belltrees Grove. The land at the bottom of this road was, back in 1960, possibly the last surviving farm in Streatham.  It was, then, part of the convent, known as St Michaels and had cows, and we were able to wander around there.

It's surprising to pick up a book and something reminds us of our childhood. We lived in Streatham during WW2, Dad being in both RAF and RCAF. He survived the war, but the memories are coming back today reading Sir Henry Tate’s name!

The book, is wonderful and well worth owning. My copy is signed by John E Martin, because guess who assisted him over the last five years when he needed to know anything - Adele at the ready!!  Especially when he was going to Kendal and couldn’t get there from some reason, I said don’t worry, Pat is over there at present and she can possibly assist you. She did, luckily. I knew she was a descendant of the John BROCKLEBANK that Charles Rooking CARTER had worked with before marrying and coming to New Zealand!!

Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Digging Into Historical Records  

 The Explosives Act 1882 – where are the records?

The Hon. Richard Oliver (1830-1910), Member of the Legislative Council, introduced the Explosives Bill in response to the fact that there was no legal power for regulating the making and safe keeping of blasting and sporting powder. The intention was to regulate the issue of licenses for the manufacture and storage and safe custody of explosives. [1] Licenses to make gunpowder and for keeping and using magazines for storage of explosives would be issued by the Commissioner of Trade and Customs. [2]

The New Zealand Constabulary reported the apprehension of six people for offenses against the Explosives Act in 1883. Three were summarily convicted and three were discharged. [3] No references to these have been found in the New Zealand Police Gazette indexes.

It was alleged that Joseph Saunders, contractor, stored blasting powder on the 23rd and 29th of April 1883 in an unlicensed magazine at Kaiwarra. Proceedings were brought against him due to a recent accident by which a little boy was injured through meddling with powder belonging to Mr Saunders. [4] William Wiggins, aged 10yrs, in company with another boy (Slater) went to Kaiwarra and got about a cupful of powder. This exploded and burnt Slater. Daniel Dee, who was in the employ of Saunders, was in charge of the powder which was received from the Government magazine. William Thompson Glasgow, chief clerk in the Customs office, gave evidence to the effect that Mr Saunders had no license. The Resident Magistrate found that a certificate should have been held by Saunders and as it was a mere technical breach of the Explosives Act, the defendant was fined 5s. Saunders pleaded guilty to the second charge and was fined a further 5s. [5] No evidence has been found, as yet, of any licensing records.

In 1897 the Explosives Act was amended so as to vest the administration in the Minister of Defence and to give the His Excellency the Governor power to issue regulations. [6, 7] Two inspectors were appointed on 18 July 1898 – Thomas Hopper Hustwick of Wellington for the South Island and Alexander Ramsay Carnie for the North Island. [8] The application of Archibald Glen Kidston-Hunter, an analytical chemist from Dunedin, for the South Island inspectorship in May 1899, was unsuccessful. [9] In 1907 Hustwick and Carnie were employed by the Head Office of the Police Department with salaries of £58 and £50 respectively. [10]

Hustwick continued to work as Inspector of Explosives until his retirement at the end of March 1909. [11] He passed away at Wellington on 23 December 1916 aged 80 years and was buried at Karori. He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. [12]

In 1910, despite a delegation urging the retention of Carnie as inspector of explosives at Auckland, the Hon. David Buddo replied that there was no longer a need for such an officer in Auckland and that he would be transferred to another department. [13]

In 1915 Carnie’s wife, Rosetta Nugent nee Martin, applied for £31 10s that remained in the Government Office for Carnie’s services as inspector of explosives. Carnie, on twenty four hours’ notice, had left his wife and gone to England, leaving her with three children. He had written twice, but had not stated where he was, and for the last nine months or so, neither money nor letter had been received from him. [14] Carnie died at Islington in 1936 aged 61 years. [15] Rosetta and the children remained in New Zealand.

This article is the result of an effort to test the strength of online resources to see if an entire suite of particular references could be accessed and used in combination. These are Parliamentary Debates, Statutes, New Zealand Gazette, and Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives, New Zealand Case Law, Newspapers and Manuscripts.

It was hoped that the partial coverage of the New Zealand Gazette, which records the minutiae of Government proceedings, would be represented in this article but turned out not to be. [16] New Zealand Case Law is online under the New Zealand Law Institute and no early references to the Explosives Act were found.

The question remaining is where are the manuscript records relating to the Explosives Act 1882 and in particular with regard to licensing? It appears that the following agencies were involved: Customs Department (1882-1897), Defence Department and Governor (1897-1906), and Head Office of the Police Department (1907-). The next amendment to the Explosives Act was in 1958.

The surprise of this exercise was the discovery of a link between the Hon Richard Oliver and the Chambers family via Richard’s business partner Thomas Birt Ulph (1834-1871). John Howard Keep the son of Ulph’s sister, Elizabeth Bishop Keep, married Rosa Agnes Chambers, the daughter of John Chambers in 1884. [17]

The 1881 document recorded in Archway is for a Power of Attorney – Frederick Keep to Richard Oliver and in the additional description “Includes No. 1391 Deed of Substitution under powers contained in Power of Attorney from Frederick Keep - The Honorable R. [Richard] Oliver to J.H. [John Howard] Keep.” [18]




[1] NZ Parliamentary Debates 1882 page 490 Explosives Bill – Hathi Trust Digital Library

[2] Explosives Act 1882 – NZ Legal Information Institute

[3] AJHR 1884 H1 Annual Report of the New Zealand Constabulary – Return showing the number of offences reported for the years 1882 and 1883.

[4] Evening Post 07 May 1883 Sir George Grey and the Legislative Council

[5] Evening Post 10 July 1883 Magistrate’s Court

[6] Auckland Star 07 November 1897 The House of Representatives

[7] New Zealand Times 20 November 1897 Explosives Amendment Act

[8] New Zealand Herald 25 August 1899

[9] Archives NZ Reference AAYS 8638 AD1/333/ar D1899/2276 (Defence Dept Inwards Letters)

[10] AJHR 1907 H5 Nominal Roll of persons employed

[11] Evening Post 04 Mar 1909

[12] Evening Post 26 Dec 1916 Personal Matters

[13] Auckland Star 09 Jul 1910 Inspector of Explosives

[14] Thames Star 02 Sep 1915 Local and General

[15] Free BMD – Death Alexander R. Carnie, Mar Qt 1936, aged 61yrs

[16] Online NZ Gazettes at Ancestry 1860, 1870, 1871, 1873, 1882-1888, 1890-1894 and Findmypast 1876-1878, 1880-1883, 1886

[17] Family Group Sheet for Joseph Scrivener KEEP (1820-1907) and his wife Elizabeth Bishop ULPH (1831-1901) –

[18] Archives NZ Reference AAAR 24723 W3558 227 1390, 1391 (R24008446) Multiple number subject files, Department of Justice



Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

The Beginning of Chinese Families in New Zealand. the Japanese War with China, the Chinese in New Zealand were sojourners. Men who travelled back and forward to China – with no family here.

With the help of the Chinese Association throughout New Zealand, they contributed thousands of pounds towards the war effort.

In 1939 wives and children of Chinese men in New Zealand were allowed temporary entry as refugees from war-torn China. They paid a 200-pound bond and any child born in New Zealand would have had to return to China – with no right on re-entry.


Nationals Abroad. N.Z. Fund Of £10,000. Appeal Launched.

Ten thousand pounds has been contributed by Chinese in New Zealand towards a fund to support China in the event of war. Money is being contributed by Chinese people in all parts of the world. The fund, which has been launched through the Chinese Association, Incorporated, did not start in Auckland until Monday, but already the local Chinese population, numbering about 500, has responded splendidly. It is unlikely that volunteers will be sought outside China, "It would be a poor thing if Chinese settled in other lands did nothing to assist their countrymen prepared to give up their lives for China's cause." said Mr. Andrew Chong, secretary of the Auckland Chinese Association, yesterday. "Japan's attitude is more than ever like kicking a man when he is down. Whenever aggression has come from China it has been at a time when China was in the throes of floods or famine. Our people are not convinced that war is imminent, but" we are preparing for it." Mr. Chong said he failed to see how Communism in China could ever interfere with Japan. Apparently, it was being used as a feeble excuse by Japan to justify her action. From recent reports, however, it appeared that the rest of the world would more or less reject such excuses as improper. Territorial designs on China constituted the sole aim of Japan. China had never been an aggressor. She wanted to be left alone to develop her own resources. China was marching toward greater nationalisation, said Mr. Chong, and in another year would prove a much stronger force to attack. Japan seemed to realise this. America and Great Britain could not afford to sit back too long; they both had interests in China. There are between 2500 and 3000 Chinese in New Zealand.  Auckland Star, 11 August 1937, Page 5


Clothing Appeal. China War Refugees

With the approach of midwinter in China, urgent need has arisen for supplies of warm clothing for war refugees, many of whom have been compelled to shelter in open spaces. The New Zealand Chinese Association is making a strong appeal in this respect for castoff clothing of all descriptions. The Australian Oriental Line has offered to carry supplies of clothing from Sydney free of freight charges. Donations of footwear will be welcomed, but the greatest need is for serviceable clothing, which may be deposited, states Mr. Andrew Chong, secretary of the Auckland branch of the association, at any Chinese shop in Auckland, or will be called for on ringing one of the telephone number advertised to-day.  Auckland Star, 9 November 1937, Page 8


Chinese Give £100 Towards National Funds.

As a result of a collection taken in conjunction with the day of semi-fasting conducted among Chinese residents in New Zealand to commemorate the conclusion of the first year of the war with Japan, Chinese residents of Auckland city subscribed over £100. This is only a provisional figure, as it is expected that it will be greatly increased when the suburban and country collections are received by the organisers.

Local Chinese are contributing a weekly levy from their earnings, and the money is being forwarded with other collection funds to China to be used for various relief measures. In the collection taken last Thursday it is reported that 100 Chinese residents in Otago and Southland contributed £37 4/6. The Auckland Chinese Association has 600 members.  Auckland Star, 11 July 1938, Page 10


Stricken Chinese Auckland Relatives. 

Anxious to send help to who lost homes and possessions in the destruction of Canton, Chinese in Auckland find themselves blocked by the new regulations restricting the transfer of money overseas. Here, in Wellington, most of the Chinese community comes from Canton, and the Government's licensing scheme is for them the latest of a series of disasters. Mr. Andrew Chong, secretary of the Auckland Chinese Association, said that cables for assistance were being received regularly from dependents who had found refuge under British protection in Hongkong. Previously they had required little assistance, but now those who had found safety were left destitute. Efforts had been made to obtain drafts from Auckland banks to send them help, but these had been restricted to £8 in English currency, which was of little use to large families who had lost everything. To obtain more, application had to be made for a special permit from the Government, but so far none had been obtained. In any case, said Mr. Chong, many of the Auckland Chinese could speak little English and could not understand how to go about the business of applying for permission. It was only because of the urgency of the situation that more money was required, he said, as normally they do not send away half the amount that has been going to China from Auckland since the fall of Canton. Previously their dependents in Canton, most of them farming their own plot of land, could supply most of their own needs. The position was changed when the hostilities moved south and their homes and crops were destroyed. This is not the greatest of their troubles, for many have lost their families as well as homes. For weeks after the fall of Canton the Auckland Chinese, while going about their business in their usual imperturbable style, knew nothing, of the fate of their people. Then numbers of cables came from those who had reached the safety of Hongkong, and later letters telling of the horrors of the assault and capture of their home city. Numbers are still anxiously waiting for news of wives and children, who have either lost their lives or taken refuge in the interior.  Auckland Star, Volume LXIX, Issue 308, 30 December 1938, Page 9


For Auckland - Chinese Refugees.  Women and Children

Women and children left destitute by the destruction of their homes and loss of property in the fall of Canton will be brought to Auckland if their relatives here can obtain the necessary permission from the Government.

Most of the Chinese in Auckland come from the war zone, and many of them have dependents among the refugees. Seeking to bring wives and children out of danger and give them a temporary refuge hero, some have already applied for permission to the Minister of Customs. According to Mr. Andrew Chong. secretary of the Auckland Chinese Association, a favourable reply has been received.

One applicant has been notified that under certain conditions his request to be allowed to bring his wife into New Zealand for a period of two years will be considered. The conditions include the signing of a £500 bond, and if permission is allowed, the payment £200 deposit to be forfeit in the event of the conditions being broken One of the conditions is that any children born to his wife while she is in New Zealand will be taken out of the country on the expiry of the two years allowed. Sorry Plight. "Refugees from Canton are in a sorry plight," said Mr. Chong, "even the more fortunate ones who have been able to reach safety in Hongkong. Some of the Chinese living in Auckland who had dependants in Canton have had no news of wives or children since the fall of the city last year, and a few have gone home to China to search for them." Mr. Chong said that the exchange control under the import licensing scheme had far, prevented Auckland Chinese from sending money to assist refugees, where they could be located. Licenses were allowed for the first six months of the year to obtain drafts, the amount varying according to the number of dependants. With the tightening of control by the banks in the past few weeks, however, drafts had been refused in some cases, even although licenses were held. Applicants have been informed that the funds were not available.

According to Mr. Chong, the Chinese community is well satisfied with the consideration shown by the Government in their difficult time. Only a few have returned to China this year, and they have been allowed to take out of the country a sum of money not exceeding £200 Auckland Star, 1 June 1939, Page 13


Tribute to Dead. War in Far East. Chinese Meet in City. Second Year of Conflict.

With upraised and clenched fists, urging defiance of the Japanese invaders of their homeland, members of the Chinese community of Auckland paid tribute to the fallen dead when they observed the second anniversary of the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese conflict to-day. Shortly before 10 o'clock the upstairs room of the Chinese Masonic Society in Grey's Avenue was crowded by Chinese, young and old. It. was an impressive spectacle, the room being decorated with long white streamers painted with the black, brush-swept characters of the Chinese language, urging continued resistance and paying tributes to the soldiers who had been killed fighting for China.

At one end of the room was set an altar of honour on which lay wreaths sent from various Chinese societies and individuals. Over these, on the wall, hung a large picture of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, "Father of the Chinese Revolution," and Chinese cabalistic characters in a plaque decorated with violets set out that honour was to be done to the fallen defenders of the nation.

Many Wreaths. Wreaths were received from the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association, the Chinese Church in Auckland, the Kuomintang and the Chinese Masonic Society, among others. Mr. Ng Fong presided over the gathering.

As various members of the Chinese community arrived, they were presented with black arm-bands as a sign of mourning. Proceedings opened with the singing of the Chinese National Anthem and then followed the reading of the last declaration of the welder of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Representatives of the various societies which had presented wreaths laid their symbols of remembrance on the altar of honour, at the same time making an obeisance. Each in turn made a brief, though impassioned speech, in Chinese.

Particularly impressive was the complete three-minute silence which was observed at exactly 10 o'clock. With bowed heads, those in the gathering sent their thought across the world to their native land—and to those who had died in its defence.

The Rev. Y. S. Chau, minister of the Chinese Church- in Auckland, addressed the meeting at some length, detailing the events that had led up to the outbreak of war and the heroic acts of the Chinese. Finally, with upraised hands, the audience vowed fealty to the ideals of the new China and to the need for continued resistance, and kowtowed to the altar of honour on which lay the wreaths.   Auckland Star, 7 July 1939, Page 8



 Kenneth Chan, the little boy in the front centre of the iconic Chinese Refugee photo, passed away in Auckland on 2 November 2018. He was interviewed in the NZ Herald 28 Jan, 2014

Chinese businessman who arrived as a boy in 1939 can look back on 75 years of fruitful life in NZ as a proud Kiwi.

Sometimes the picture tells the story. Other times, the story is in the picture. In this Herald photo of Chinese war refugees taken 75 years ago on their arrival in Auckland, both of those things are true.

Ken Chan, the boy with clasped hands in the photo, is now 81.

He's lived a full life, learning his impeccable English at Gladstone Rd School; furthering his education as Avondale College's first Chinese pupil; working in the family's Mt Albert greengrocery; and eventually playing a pioneering role in the wine and liqueur industry at the Chans' Totara Vineyard near Thames.

Ken produced the first kiwifruit liqueur, and his Totara Cafe coffee liqueur was once recognised as the world's finest. New Zealand has been good to the Chan family, and Ken feels their successes represent a bit of a payback.

"From a refugee's point of view, I think I've repaid my debt," he said. "I'm proud of the fact I am a Kiwi."

Ken's journey to Auckland began with a week-long walk along the train tracks from his village of Har Gee in Guangdong province to Hong Kong.

At 7 he was old enough to remember heading for the hills when the Japanese began bombing nearby.

Ken's father, Stan, was already living in New Zealand. So too his grandfather, who had been running a shop in Dannevirke since 1905. As the Japanese threatened to over-run Canton, the New Zealand Government granted permission for Chinese Kiwis to bring over their families.

"The members of the [30-strong] party appeared cheerful and showed no signs of the privation which attended their departure from China shortly before the fall of Canton," the Herald reported at the time. That, says Ken, is because an uncle had taken them shopping on a Sydney stopover.

"Look at my mother. In 1939 she would have looked like a model. We were better dressed than even the Aucklanders at that time." 

Helen Wong

Guest Contributors

Avis McDonald

The 1918 Influenza Epidemic In Gore Eastern Southland


More people died in the world of the flu than in the World War 1. Gore hospital created a temporary tent annex in the Gore racing course grandstand which must have been bleak in the November weather.

130 patients were treated in the Gore racecourse hospital and the matron organized the care and food with temporary staff.  

Neighbours helped each other as much as possible.

Patients were charged 6 shillings (60c) for each night they were in either hospital.

The hospitals called for persons (women) willing to nurse the ill, hot water bottles which would have been stone, and blankets.

The Gore Genealogy Branch indexed the registers from the court house in 1992 of eastern District including Tapanui. This was before they were put into cold storage. This index of deaths from November lists ages which died in Gore hospital or the temporary annex.

Bates John      38

Meechang Richard 35

Burgess Timothy 37

Middlemiss Myrtle 16

Cameron Hugh

Neill Helen 38

Cooper Florence 13 

Neill James 51

Drain J

Neill Margaret 54

Ferguson Robert

Pringle Robert 23

Flanaghan Thomas 17

Simmonds Alice 23

Green Thomas 79

Smaill Jane

Gutschlag Frances 24

Smith Arthur

Hastie Janet

Smith Charlotte 57

Hodge Daisy 21

Stewart Helen 68

Kirk Mervyn 25

Tucker Henry 46

Matthews Alex Dr 45

Walker Peter

McKay Gordon 31

Woodhouse J.

McKeagg David 31



Charles SMITH, Wigan Street, lost his wife Charlotte, a son Arthur, married daughter Jane SMAILL, mother of 3 month baby.

A page of deaths is on the board…

James NEIL died in the temporary hospital, followed a week later by his sisters Helen 38, Margaret 54.

John Dewar CAIRNS, 38 years, the editor of Ensign died from the flu in October. 

Boy Scouts were invaluable delivering medicine to the race course hospital, and homes.

Mataura was particularly hard hit, with 60 severe cases, but Nightcaps population of 718 was decimated with 33 influenza deaths It was the highest European death rate in Southland. I dislike percentages but this is 45.9% 

Thanks to the Parata Rest home Manager Shirley TURNBULL, all their residents memories were recorded in albums in 2000.

One lady Florence‘s memories:

She was the eldest of 3 children, who all enjoyed a happy life until she was 5 when they lost their mother from the flu epidemic. She was prevented from entering her mother’s room, and didn’t know why the door was locked. Her mother was dead and they were not allowed to see her.

Their grandmother, uncle and aunt were down from Christchurch arranging the funeral because their father was ill in hospital. He survived but they didn’t see him for a year.

The children were taken back to Christchurch on the train and her memories of the train trip were of stacks of coffins being unloaded at each station, and piled on platforms. They were well cared for, but this changed when their grandparents died, and they came to live with an aunt and uncle at Colac Bay. Cutting ragwort, gathering driftwood and picking wild berries was a very different life situation.

Her father remarried and the children came back to live in Charlton where she finished her schooling. . At the age of 14 she became a domestic for a Waimumu family. She learned to milk, churn butter and clean the house for the princely amount of 10 shillings a week.


Avis McDonald

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 @ Central Library, Auckland

Are you interested in family and local history? The history of New Zealand, 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.

These talks are given by experts in their field and can provide valuable insight into our histories.

HeritageTalks take place every second Wednesday at 12 noon in the Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Auckland unless otherwise stated. Booking is recommended but not essential.

Phone Central Auckland Research Centre 09 890 2412 to book, or book online:



Taonga Māori with Robert Eruera, Auckland Libraries
Wednesday 13 February, 12pm -1pm

The significance of what one considers to be a treasure is definitely a personal measure, and said to be ‘in the eye of the beholder.’  Come and share the experience of being introduced to a selection of taonga Māori from the Heritage Collection at Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero - Central City Library, with Robert Eruera.

SWIM: A year of outdoor swimming in New Zealand with Annette Lees

Wednesday 20 February, 12pm -1pm

During a year of swimming every day, Annette Lees discovered that New Zealanders have a happy passion for outdoor swimming. In her book Swim, Annette has collected our stories of taking a dip -  of urban swims, famous swims, forbidden swims, lost swims, the endurance swimmers of the Depression, and the swimming ANZACs.  Annette will present her discoveries from across New Zealand, with illustrations.


Have you ever wished that you could come to one of our events? Have you ever emailed me asking if the event was being recorded.

Well, click the link below and read the blog!

HeritageTalks go live!


Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero | Central City Library is pleased to announce that our popular Heritage Talks programme will now be available as part of Auckland Libraries’ content on SoundCloud<>

and YouTube<>.


Heritage Talks are a regular event run by Research Central<> and focus on topics of interest in the areas of local, family and world history. Talks are presented by a range of researchers and historians whose enthusiasm for their subjects is contagious. And now you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to share in the stories. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and relax!


The NZ Antarctic Society and Auckland Libraries presents:

‘The History and Politics of Antarctica’

Professor Anne-Marie Brady from Canterbury University

Tuesday, 12 February at 6pm

Whare Wananga, L2 Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland



Professor Anne-Marie Brady from Canterbury University, her last two books are on politics in Antarctica and the role of China in polar regions.


links to her two Antarctic books

The Emerging Politics of Antarctica (Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics)


China as a Polar Great Power


Booking preferred but not essential. Please phone Research Centre on 09 8902412 or email to be sure of a seat



2019 Auckland Family History Expo - Tāmaki Huinga Tātai Kōrero

Many thanks to those who supported the Auckland Family History Expo this year. We are now seeking sponsorship for next year’s Expo. Sponsorship can be financial and/or items or services for raffle prizes. 

We received many wonderful pieces of feedback about the quality of the exhibitors and speakers; and many said that the 2018 Expo was the best yet! And those that attended contributed to that!

This year we estimate that we had about 900 people attending over the 2.5 days that the Expo was held – the attendees were estimated thanks to a door counter, and giving out name labels, and Expo bags when people arrived.

We run the Expo on a limited budget – it costs us approximately $16,000 to which is spent on catering for the opening night, travel, accommodation and expenses for the overseas speakers (we usually try and get three – one each from the UK, US and Australia), small gifts for the local speakers, marketing, advertising and print.

We have a commitment to keeping the Expo free to attend for the general public. We feel that we are more likely to get the curious, or new or casual genealogists in the door.

We charge exhibitors for tables ($25 each), $15 per person towards catering costs for the Friday night opening event, and we sell raffle tickets for prizes that have been gifted for the Expo from wonderful individuals and organisations. We’re also very lucky to have awesome sponsors to help pay towards the costs – although we usually do have a short fall.

Next year, we are would like to break even. We are hoping to have sponsors confirmed and signed up before we start spending money or committing to international speakers.

We hope to hold next year’s Expo Friday 9 August till Sunday 11 August. We have a few new ideas, and are really motivated to make it happen again!

We are very keen to have you involved and we are seeking sponsorship for next year. In previous years, sponsorship has been $1000 plus products for raffle prizes. We are also very happy to negotiate sponsorship deals for those interested in smaller or larger contributions.

We feel it’s an awesome marketing, and a fabulous way to support the genealogy and family history community!

If you are interested in next year’s Expo, could you please indicate how you would like to support us?

For example:


Please indicate all that apply:

Exhibiting          Speaking          Raffle prizes



$500                 $1000               $2000               Other $___________


Many thanks and kind regards –

Seonaid Lewis and Jan Gow, Auckland Family History Expo committee


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central A uckland 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.


 12 Free Genealogy Research Sites for Australia and New Zealand

“Australia and New Zealand have long and complicated pasts, with Australia’s history dating as far back as 70,000 years when the ancestors of its Indigenous peoples first settled the region. European exploration began in the early 1600s, opening the door to centuries of immigration that started after Captain James Cook claimed parts of the region for Great Britain in the late 18th century.

Although stories of forced transportation and convict ancestry are familiar to most of us, the truth of Australia and New Zealand’s settlements are incredibly diverse and complex. And each family represents a unique part of this history.”


 The Legal Genealogist

About“My name is Judy Russell. I’m a genealogist with a law degree, and my purpose here at The Legal Genealogist is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history. Without understanding the context in which events took place and records were created, we miss so much of both the significance and the flavour of what happened.”




5 Weird Facts About Leap Years

We owe leap years to Julius Caesar, but also to his successor, the Emperor Augustus.

“The Ancient Romans used to follow a calendar that had 355 days a year, but it eventually grew hopelessly out of sync with the seasons, making it difficult to celebrate festivals at the same time each year. So in 45 BC, Julius Caesar decreed that a new, reformed calendar would be adopted that had 365 days a year, with an extra day every "leap year" in order to keep the seasons and calendar properly in sync.”

Waikanae Family History Group

WFHG Contacts: Email:

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



President:- Rona Hooson 

Vice President:- Doree Smith

Secretary:- Trish Smart

Treasurer:- Marilyn O’Lander


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News and Views 


Sometimes I dream of the good old days


From the editor: I'm being provocative by including this from a Woman's magazine on 1955. I must admit that when I showed my wife this article she responded in a most unladylike manner. I do not for one minute expect such "devotion" from a wife. But it makes me think about the social conditions my mother lived in.   


Foot Shape Ancestry: What your toes can tell you

From the editor: I don't fit the theory of this article because both my feet are different. So I'm half Greek and half Egyptian. This conjures up all thoughts of theories.

By GenealogyBank November 15, 2018

Tracing your family history has become easier with digitized records, including immigration documents, newspaper articles, passenger lists, and more. But have clues to your ancestry been hiding under your socks this whole time? As a premise, it seems far-fetched – but some believe the outline of your feet can help you trace your family heritage.

What can the shape of your foot or the length of your toes say about your ancestry? Is there a fundamental truth in phalanges? Let’s have a look.

The Premise of Foot Shape Ancestry

Foot and toe ancestry suggest that by looking at the shape of your feet, you can make an educated guess about the origins of your ancestors. This theory says there are essentially five major foot shapes: Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Germanic, and Celtic feet. Each group has a particular outline and arrangement of toe lengths, which hint at the population origin.

Illustratiion: examples of foot shape ancestrySource: Pinterest

Celtic Feet

According to feet ancestry, Celtic feet have the most complex shape, with a large but short first toe, an exceptionally long second toe, and the remaining toes tapering to a small pinky. Celtic feet appear to be something of a combination of the Germanic and the Greek toe shapes, sharing the larger first toe of the German with the variety of lengths (especially in the case of the second toe) of the Greek.

Compare your toes to Celtic feet. Maybe you’ve got the luck of the Irish in you. Or maybe on closer inspection you’ve got a long first toe with all the others tapering down from there? In that case, you may have the so-called Egyptian foot.

But, can these archetypal shapes really tell us anything about our ancestry? What does science have to say about this idea?

Photo: x-ray of a human footPhoto: x-ray of a human foot. Credit: University of Toronto; Internet Archive.

Problems with Foot Shape Ancestry

It’s important to note that there is no scientific evidence that our feet conform to archetypal shapes, or that foot shape ancestry is an accurate way to trace your heritage. Data collected on multiple populations show a trend of their second toe being the longest (as seen with the Greek foot). For example, the Ainu people, an indigenous community in Japan, exhibit the second toe as the longest in 90% of individuals (an extreme example). However, it would be bizarre to think that the Ainu originated in Greece.

If we consider the claims of toe ancestry as a potential way to categorize an actual genetic group, then we need to look critically at the words used to describe the foot shapes. Why Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Germanic, and Celtic feet?

Illustration: toesIllustration: toes. Credit: Library of Congress; Internet Archive.

Where These Shapes Came From

Speaking primarily of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman feet ancestry shapes, these are the idealized foot form in their respective culture’s art. For example, the Greek foot is one you can see on the statues that adorn the Acropolis (also the Statue of Liberty as it happens). While this may indicate that a majority of Greeks of that period had a foot shape like that one, it is much more likely that that was simply the standard of beauty at the time.

The Myth of “Original” Populations

Many modern ideas surrounding the concepts of “Germanness” and “Egyptianness” are just that: modern. The idea of an “ethnic German” was one essentially constructed in the 19th century when that area of Europe — traditionally divided into multiple different regions such as Prussia, Saxony, and Bavaria – was unified as the State of Germany. The “Germans” as the Romans knew them were a diverse mix of people and cultures. Romans called this group Germans because Rome saw them as barbarians and didn’t care to learn more about them.

The idea of foot shape ancestry and toe shape ancestry is rooted in a similar misconception that populations were ever made up entirely of one group. Human populations have migrated, fought, mixed and mingled throughout time. The idea that there was ever a monolithic population with Celtic feet is rooted in a grossly oversimplified version of how and where humanity has lived.

So, can you learn about your family origins from your foot shape? Possibly not. However, it is fun to have a look – and this idea could help inspire younger generations to learn more about their ancestors.

Image result for family history cartoons         Image result for family history cartoons

Guild of One-Name Studies’ marriage locator helps find ancestors’ church in England and Wales

Posted on  by Gail Dever

Warning: Before you read this blog post, make sure you have done your chores, run errands, prepared dinner, and taken the kids to wherever they need to go. What you are going to learn may be addictive, causing you to forget everything, but genealogy.


If you have a General Register Office reference for a marriage registration in England or Wales, the Guild of One-Name Studies’ Marriage Locator may help you determine the name of the church where the couple married.

To use the Marriage Locator, you need the year, quarter, volume, and page number for the registration.

Finding the GRO reference
To find this information, search for a marriage registration on 
FreeBMD (Free Births, Marriages, Deaths) by entering one or both of the bridal couple’s names.

You will then see the year, quarter, volume, and page number for the marriage registration index. (If not sure the George Jones you found is your George, click on the index page number to see the names of two or three other grooms and brides. If your bride is there, you’ve likely found your George.)

Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in England and Wales started in 1837. You will not find marriages that took place before 1837 in the Marriage Locator.

The transcribing of the registrations is carried out by FreeBMD volunteers, and they are transcribing index information from 1837 to 1992. FreeBMD is an ongoing project. Not all of the registrations have been transcribed, but most marriages up to 1983 are there.

Church images
Once you’ve found the name of the church and its location, you can search for it on Google to possibly find photos, YouTube videos, and more information.

For example, I discovered on the Marriage Locator that my great-grandparents were married at St. Botolph Church in Northfleet, Kent in 1886. A search on Google quickly produced a video about the history of the church and images of the exterior and interior, including the cemetery.

St. Botolph’s Church, Northfleet, Kent, England. Photo: Clem Rutter. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Note that the Marriage Locator is still a work in progress, and not all the data needed for all marriages is yet available.

3 Responses to Guild of One-Name Studies’ marriage locator helps find ancestors’ church in England and Wales

1. Shepheard says:

October 31, 2018 at 9:15 am


I have to comment on the idea that churches can be found using only the data from the GRO record. There are many parishes, and their associated churches, that are located within the same Registration District. The indexed quarter, volume and page numbers only normally get you to the RD.

For example, a search of the marriage of one of my 2nd great-grandparents in Devon, England, on the GOONS marriage index resulted in a comment, “Sorry, we cannot locate the church for this marriage. The entry is located between entries for Plymouth St James the Great (RD: Stoke Damerel) and Hatherleigh (RD: Okehampton).” They were married in Stoke Damerel. (And the index has the spelling of great-grandfather’s name wrong – but that is another story.) Another search for one of my great-grandparents, who married in Ellacombe Parish, Tormoham, Devon, got this comment, “The entry is located between entries for Exeter St Petrock (RD: Exeter) and Wolborough St Mary (RD: Newton Abbot).”

As an Online Parish Clerk for four Devon parishes, I run into this problem all the time. Researchers find the location of a birth, marriage or death as Plympton St. Mary and mistake it as being the parish rather than the RD of the same name. In many cases the actual locality of the event is in one of the 24 parishes within that particular RD.

The GOONS Marriage Locator site actually recommends that researchers contact an Online Parish Clerk, if there is one, to assist in finding the particular church. Or purchase the certificate which will show where the marriage was solemnized. It may not have always been a church.

Wayne Shepheard
OPC for Cornwood, Harford, Plympton St. Mary and Plympton St. Maurice, Devon, England


2. says:

November 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Interesting insight, Wayne… When I have time, I’m going to test it out for myself, using marriages where I already know the church. Should be interesting.

Thanks for the info, Gail 🙂


3. Goucher says:

November 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm

I wrote about this in the November issue of Family Tree Magazine (UK). Often, several churches shared a Registration district & that causes problems.



Genealogy Database to Search First!

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Arlene Eakle

On the FamilySearch Home Page you can click on the Genealogies TAB and gain access to the International Genealogical Index. This database was frozen a number of years ago and moved around a lot. It is one of my Go-To databases because of its make-up:

1.    Mega-millions of entries with 80% of the total carefully controlled extraction by trained extractors and 20% submitted by Family History Library patrons, most of them members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2.    Majority of entries are from the British Isles–52% extractions from parish registers and other churchbooks, mostly Church of England records. Entries also include Non-conformist records and sources.

3.    Other entries include 15% from the Scandinavian countries–Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Isles of the Sea.

4.    12% from the states of North America including Canada.

These percentiles roughly coincide with the overall membership concentrations of ancestry of the Church.

What is often overlooked with these concentrations is that they are not selective. The records extracted include all of the entries from the sources used. As a result, this database represents the ancestors for everyone. I recommend that you search this database first, before any other record. And read down through the entries, screen by screen. Use the filters that provide powerful search engines to comb the data for entries that match what you know about your ancestors.

You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that close relatives who lived in the same places as known ancestors can also be found in these entries. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle 

PS Stay tuned. I have some more information about this remarkable database and how to use it to best advantage.

© 1999-2015 Arlene Eakle. All Rights Reserved. Blog information may be used in other blogs and printed works without written permission. Please acknowledge with “© Arlene H. Eakle, PO Box 129, Tremonton UT 84337”


Image result for genealogy comic

The top free websites for family history!

Expert genealogist Chris Paton picks out some of the key free genealogy workhorse websites available online for those tracing ancestors in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Get searching today and see your online genealogy research flourish without parting with a penny...


Family history is an exciting hobby, but one which can be expensive if you don’t know the lie of land in terms of where to look for key resources. Here we are going to a look at some of the resources that cheer genealogists up the most – those that cost nothing to access! You’ll find some of the most useful free resources online, and discover how they can help with your research. Here are some of the best examples for research across the British Isles...



If you are starting out with your research for the first time, then FamilySearch is a site that you should bookmark from the outset, for this site is packed with parish records, censuses, and many other crucial resources. 

Created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) to help its members fulfil a religious requirement to research their ancestry, the site is open to everyone to access, and hosts a range of digitised records and indexes from across the world.

In addition there is a free wiki site with lots of useful background information, free tutorial resources, a family tree hosting program, digitised ebooks, and just so much more. While most of its materials can be viewed at home, some can only be accessed at a local family history centre run by the church, but a visit there will also provide you with free access to subscription sites such as Findmypast and Ancestry.

• You might also be interested in this video blog: How to use wildcards on the FamilySearch genealogy website 



Possibly the most important genealogical crowdsourcing endeavour in British history, the FreeBMD project was one of the first to ask volunteers to help make accessible the very indexes needed to order up civil birth, marriage and death certificates in England and Wales. With its sister projects FreeCEN, which aims to transcribe British censuses from 1841-1891, and FreeREG, for parish register transcriptions, it has also been one of the most meticulous projects in terms of the high standards set for the volunteer transcribing community.

FreeBMD not only provides fully searchable index transcriptions, it also allows you to see the original images from the register indexes as well. For English and Welsh researchers, this is perhaps the most important free-to-access workhorse for family history research, and well worth a bookmark on your browser!

• You might also be interested in this article: FreeReg genealogy website – find your ancestors for free



The UK and Ireland Genealogy gateway site GENUKI provides a vast portal into a variety of resources for researchers across the British Isles. Essentially a giant online encyclopaedia, it allows you to burrow down by both geographic location and subject to access a variety of sources. Some of these are transcribed and hosted on the site itself, while others are provided in the form of links that can be clicked on, leading to various dedicated pages on other sites.

Established as a charitable trust, the site’s strength comes from the dedicated efforts of its many volunteers, each of whom has a detailed knowledge of the areas of the site for which they act as administrators. In addition to the main GENUKI site, a parallel calendar project called GENEVA (GENealogical EVents and Activities) identifies forthcoming talks, fairs and conferences that may be of interest.


National Archives of Ireland: Genealogy

The National Archives of Ireland provides a range of free resources for the Emerald Isle through its dedicated records platform. By far the most useful are the 1901 and 1911 Censuses for the whole island of Ireland, as well as the census fragments that have survived from 1821 to 1851, but in addition there are census extracts from 1841 and 1851 used to support Old Age Pension applications after 1908, soldiers’ wills from 1914 to 1918, tithe applotment books from 1823 to 1937, and wills calendars summarising grants of probate and admons from 1858 to 1922.

Don’t forget to check out the archive’s main website for useful information guides and an online catalogue for further holdings in Dublin.

• You might also be interested in this: Top 3 free websites for researching your Irish family history


Historical Directories of England and Wales

Previously hosted on the now defunct website, the University of Leicester’s Special Collections Online page carries the wonderfully useful collection of historic directories dating from the 1760s to the 1920s for counties across England and Wales. The site offers both an interactive map and a list that allows you to select the relevant county, for which a list of publications is then presented, with some counties better represented than others.

The resulting directories can be searched by keyword, and can be viewed on the site or downloaded in a PDF format to your own computer. The site offers an important resource for tracing the movements of many in society both as a pre-1841 Census substitute, and for the intervening years between the 1841-1911 decennial censuses.



The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is the dedicated national archive for Ulster. Following a recent reorganisation of Government departments in Northern Ireland, PRONI’s web presence has now been relaunched on the NI Direct platform, but continues to offer the same remarkable resources for ancestral research. As well as a range of handy user guides on various Irish-based topics, the institution continues to offer a vast range of free-to-access family history records on the new website. These include wills calendars from 1858 to 1965, the 1912 Ulster Covenant, freeholders’ records, valuation revision books from 1864 to 1933, 19th-century street directories from the north of Ireland, and much more. The archive will soon also be launching a major new tool providing access to historic Ordnance Survey maps.

Note that PRONI has a dedicated YouTube channel which carries recordings of many great lectures on ancestral themes.


National Library of Scotland

The Edinburgh-based National Library of Scotland intends to digitise a third of its holdings by 2025, and to make its content easily accessible via its main website. A wealth of material is already available there for free, including more than 700 Post Office directories, 140,000 maps of Scotland and the UK from the 16th century onwards, the Scottish Screen film and video archive and much more.

In addition, if you have a Scottish-based address, you can subscribe to its licensed digital collections and gain free access to historic editions of The Scotsman and The Times newspapers, the British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection, Who’s Who, and the House of Commons Parliamentary papers, among other collections.


The National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales, acting as both a national library and a national archive dedicated to the history of Wales, has an equally well-developed online presence with many useful catalogues and digitised collections available. Presented in both English and Welsh, its free online offerings include digitised copies of wills proved in the pre-1858 Welsh ecclesiastical courts, testimonies recorded in cases of 17th-century witchcraft, the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, the Cymru 1914 First World War platform, the National Screen and Sound Archives of Wales, and considerably more. The library’s Welsh Newspapers Online site also offers access to some 15 million articles in Welsh titles from 1804-1919, all free of charge, while its photographs and maps collections also provide much needed context to the family history narrative. The site is very user friendly, and has its own dedicated blog.


The Internet Archive

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive is the final resting place for websites that have become obsolete or ceased to exist. Through its dedicated WayBack Machine facility you can type in the address of a genealogy website that no longer exists (or which has changed substantially) and retrieve a ‘cached’ version of it from various moments of time in the past. If you host your own website, you can ask the library to take regular snapshots of it to preserve your hard-earned work should something disastrous happen in due course. In terms of its additional digitised content, many archive institutions from around the world now have dedicated platforms on the site also, providing a range of free digitised resources such as ebooks, video clips and sound recordings.


The Statistical Accounts of Scotland

In the 1790s and the 1830s/1840s, two remarkable exercises were carried out by ministers of the established Church of Scotland to record in detail the make up of each parish within Scotland. These ‘statistical accounts’ record the religious adherences of members within each parish, and include the names of the key landowners, the predominant industries, and the characteristics of the local population. Importantly, by focusing on the same areas across time, they also help to reveal the massive changes that took place in Scotland throughout the industrial and agricultural revolutions, often helping to explain why people moved to and from various towns and villages across the country, as industries came and went.

While many record sets will tell you who your ancestors were and where they lived, these contemporary first-hand accounts provide a crucial canvas against which you can paint their lives more fully.


About the author

Chris Paton runs the Scotland’s Greatest Story research service, lectures and teaches online courses through Pharos Tutors. A published author on genealogical topics, he writes regularly for Family Tree magazine and blogs at The GENES Blog.


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Dads (Not Just Moms) Can Pass on Mitochondrial DNA, According to Provocative New Study

From the Editor: Just when I am beginning to gain a little understanding of DNA and its use I find this article that seems to complicate things. I'm now scratching my head again.

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Book Reviews

100 years of College Rifles 1897-1997

by Paul Neazor Published 1997 ISBN 0-9583644-0-0 224 pages

This is a history of a volunteer Rifle Corps, founded by Charles Thomas Major, who also helped establish Kings College. Formed in 1897, The Corps was for “Old Boys of the Secondary Schools of the Colony” and the coat of arms contained a Maltese Cross featuring the Lion of Auckland Grammar, the crown of Kings College and the three stars of St Johns College being the colleges existing in Auckland at that time.

The actual Rifles military “Corps” had many changes over the years and how it fitted int the overall military capability of the Colony/Dominion is well documented with references to the training locations around Auckland.

The formation of the College Rifles Rugby Union Football Club followed within a few weeks the “Corps” making “Rifles” one of the oldest rugby union clubs.

The record completed by Paul Neazor contains the history of the formation of the original volunteers, the reason for their formation and the military actions they participated in: Boer War 1899-1902, WWI & WWII, it also covers the formation and history of the club to becoming a multi-sport club over its 1st 100 Years.

From a genealogical perspective it contains a wealth of names of those involved, it has some source data references but unfortunately doesn’t have an index of names and the like. I played senior rugby for the club 1961-64, and albeit I knew the basic Club history, the published history came out in 1997, I’d left Auckland 20 years previous, so my first read was more to see if my name was in it.

 My reread for this review was more detailed and the recalled memory of the people and the life of a football club in the 60’s flooded back, in those days the field used to be pretty boggy, now they have a world standard artificial surface. From a family history/genealogy aspect, the lack of a name index (and albeit an updated version of the book may be produced for the 125th Anniversary (plan to attend) and likely contain an index), I made a list of names as I went thru and have come up with Index of 700+ names. This index is still WIP (bigger job than I expected, but satisfying), the file is linked and if anyone would like a look up please contact me on . Secondhand copies of book are still available. The chapters have a variety of content format covering events, time periods, the exploits of particular club members for their rugby exploits as well as military and community activities. The book has many photos of teams and club activities. By necessity major identities, events and accomplishments are main features, but the efforts and contribution of all club members is recorded and applauded and I can attest to the great feeling of being part of “Rifles”.

Members of “Rifles” were well represented in the NZ contingents that fought: 33 to Boer War, 3 killed in action, 330 to WWI, 54 killed and 10 wounded (and Cyril Bassett was first NZ recipient of Victoria Cross for this war), 303 served in WWII and 37 killed. Military awards for Boer and WWI are recorded but records for WWII has not been established.

A great club stalwart Stan Kirk maintained contact with the club members (303) serving in WWII sending some 3,000 letters. Stan received some 2,000 replies, these were later copied, sorted and bound into four volumes, one set retained by Kirk family, one by the club and another passed on to Auckland Museum. A truly great source of personal information. This act of letter writing had a very positive effect on reestablishing the club after the war.

Ken Morris

Ghost Towns of New Zealand

Author David McGill.  Published by AH & AW Reed, 1980.   ISBN 0 589 01269 X  248 pages

I acquired this book when Ted and I cleaned out our parents’ house, and it had sat unread on a bookshelf since then when, at a loss for something to read, I picked it up.  I found it fascinating!  McGill has travelled the length of New Zealand hunting down the traces of towns that have disappeared, sometimes completely. Chronologically organized, we start with whalers, then 16 chapters take us through the gold rushes.  For me a particular interest was Chapter 2 on the Tuapeka goldfields as I have great grandparents who had a store at Evans Flat.  The book carries the same picture of the store as is in FamNet, linked to the record of my Great Grandmother , so it was particularly interesting for me to learn more about their place and time.  After the other Otago fields the gold focus moves to the West Coast then moves north, and ends with the Coromandel.  The end of the gold rushes is not end of ghost towns: chapters on the gum diggers and kauri millers of the north follow, and there are chapters about the Main Trunk Line, the coal towns, and the flax boom before the book concludes with a few miscellaneous chapters, dealing with ghost towns that don’t fit into the earlier categories.

If you’re interested in the history of New Zealand from the earliest European settlers, and particularly if you have ancestors who might have spent time in these now-disappeared communities, then this book will fill in some of the background of the of the type of lives that they would have led.  McGill writes well.  This is not a dry academic tome written by some disembodied and emotionless spirit: bits of the author’s personality come through from time to time, not only in the last chapter “Hometown ghosts” where he describes his own life in Matata, now an almost-ghost town.

If you want to read this book then you’ll probably have to go to your library, as I imagine that it’s out of print (and I’ve promised to lend my copy to Peter).

Robert Barnes

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In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Keep emailing me. I don't print many of the emails I receive, but it helps the contributors and your harassed editor when we receive a compliment or a reaction to our attempts at "good writing".


To the Editor:


I am wanting to do research into my family but am now living in Australia, and am wondering if I am able to use your services.

My grandfather’s family emigrated to N.Z I would imagine in the late 1800’s. 




We’d be delighted if you were to use FamNet.  Like most web sites it’s available anywhere in the world, all you need it to know how to find it.

You will be able to simply click on the URL and then register.  This will allow you to register on the site – registration is free – and you will start getting our newsletters, and also you’ll be able to log on to FamNet and search our free databases, and look up the main genealogy database (GDB).  However if you find a record that interests you in the GDB you’ll need a subscription to open it to see its detail.  You can get a free subscription if you upload your own family tree to the GDB.


Let me know if you have any difficulty.  It should be relatively simple, and there is a Help link at the bottom of every page that will tell you more about how to use the site.


Robert Barnes

Advertising with FamNet

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.

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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A Bit of Light Relief

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