Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter December 2019

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: I was reading this book today, The History Of Glue and I couldn't put it down - Tim Vine


Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

It’s the stories that matter 1

The Need for Genealogy Societies/Groups. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

The Future worries me. 1

Jan’s Jottings. 1

Wairarapa Wandering. 1

A Mayoral Photograph. 1

Digging Into Historical Records. 1

The 1843 Nelson Census. 1

Chinese Corner 1

A Chinese Pioneer, Mr Chew Chong's Dairying Enterprise. 1

Anne Sherman. 1

Can family history research be free?. 1

Apologies and Clarification. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Ken Morris. 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

HeritageTalks  - Waha pū-taonga. 1

Group News. 1

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 1

Waikanae Family History Group. 1

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles Worth Reading. 1

Did You Get a DNA Test As a Gift? Read This Before You Mail That Sample. 1

Have you used the Family Search Digital Library?. 1

Survey of English Dialects. 1

Changes to our reading room service. 1

Mail-Order Babies: The Bizarre History of Sending Kids in the Mail 1

Book Reviews. 1

Family Secrets - Living with shame from the Victorians to the Present day. 1

In conclusion. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

NZ BDM Website. 1

Ethics. 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

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


Back to the Top. 17


Share this newsletter

FBTweet Email


Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

Last month I wrote my column on the subject of Ethics in Genealogy. Boy did I get some response!!! Of course, it included some very surprised readers who did not associate the word "ethics" with me but at least they were hilarious emails.

The point of this is the response is good.

Some of my regular columnists are getting responses that they enjoy. You see all our correspondents struggle to write a regular monthly column. Sometimes we produce a masterpiece and nobody indicates that it has been read. This gets a little depressing. Yes I flourish on praise, flattery and the other nice words that I receive after each new edition has been issued. Sometimes the bad response is gratefully received. So please continue to respond - I won't be publishing all emails I receive.

Genealogy societies seem to be declining worldwide.  This is a concern, as they provide invaluable services to the family history community.  We’re offering free publicity for any family history group in the hope that this will help to slow or prevent this, at least in New Zealand.

Robert and I hope that you have enjoyed this year's newsletters. We have certainly enjoyed assembling and publishing them. We hope that you all have a pleasant festive season and may next year's research be enjoyable and fruitful.   There won’t be another newsletter until February, we’re taking a break in January.

Anyway, I present another month's offering for your perusal. I spend too much time preparing this because I read everything and wander off on tangents doing my research as a result. I get stimulated by our correspondents.

Peter Nash

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

Back to the Top

Regular Contributors

From the Developer

It’s the stories that matter

I’ve been delighted that one of my daughters has become very interested in our family history.   Using the information in FamNet she has created a picture wall of some of her family’s ancestors, making copies of the pictures, and then using the notes with that person to write their story on the back of the picture.  The pictures, arranged very roughly like an ancestry chart, are held on the wall with Velcro Command Strips so you can take them off to read what is written on the back.  For example, from the photo of the wall you might just be able to make out that the lower-right picture is a picture of a car.  On the back of this picture you’ll read about Ella Eddleston getting her license.

To my daughter Hannah (and to me) it is the stories that matter.  Ancestors that are just names and perhaps dates are boring, but when we know what they looked like, how they lived, they come to life as people.  Not just biographies, we love anecdotes, like the story of Ella Eddleston (Hannah’s grandmother, my mother-in-law) getting her driving licence, and of Dora (Ella’s sister) driving a Model T Ford for a wedding.  Hannah’s children, especially her daughter Georgia who has been enthusiastically helping her create this display, will have a vivid appreciation of their family history, and the way that our lives change with each generation.  Hannah tells me that creating this display makes her feel really connected to her ancestors, and it has motivated her and Georgia to update their FamNet records.  It has also prompted us to look closely at some of the information in FamNet – was my Great Grandmother born in 1815 or 1843?  There is evidence for either, but no proof yet of which is right.  An email discussion involving not just Hannah and I, but genealogists in Taranaki and the U.S.A, is ongoing.    

We’re looking forward to visiting next year and seeing this wall for ourselves.   Perhaps Hannah will be interested in taking even more advantage of FamNet’s possibilities by linking some of the pictures to audio and video, using QR Codes which can be detected and used by their phones.


The Need for Genealogy Societies/Groups

I completely agree with Peter (see article below) that genealogy societies, informal groups, and so on provide invaluable services.  Neither of us want to see the NZSG disappear. 

We can help.   We are more than happy to advertise any meeting or other event of a family history group or society, from the AGM of the NZSG or the Family History Expo, to an informal coffee-bar meeting of a U3A group, and anything in between. It’s free!  All you have to do is to give us the emails of the people that you want to receive our newsletters with this advertisement, and we’ll add them to our email list.  

The benefit for us is obvious – we extend the reach of our newsletter, and some of your members may start to use FamNet. 

The benefit for you is also obvious: you not only remind people on your mailing list about your meeting, you reach several thousand other people who also might be interested.  And your members can participate in the FamNet community through this newsletter, or through the FamNet database.   This is completely optional of course.  Some groups have paid a group subscription: for a discounted rate their members get subscriber-level access to FamNet.  That’s also completely optional. 

If you’re interested in this, please email me or Peter.

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
22.  Publishing Living Family on Family Web Sites 

23.  Have YOU written your family story yet? 

Robert Barnes

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

The Future worries me

A couple of pieces of news this month have set me thinking. Let me give the items of news and then I'll explain my thinking.

Item 1 & 2       A major genealogy society in the USA and another major one in the UK are undergoing a review process in which they are considering folding up.

Item 3              I was talking to an old friend who has been a member of a NZ Society of Genealogists branch for a long, long time. She attended the last monthly meeting and was disappointed to see only nine other members of the group turned up. In the days when I was a big noise in that society it was unusual for a meeting to have less than fifty attendees.


Why does this concern me?

Well I think that genealogy societies are the collective voice of every genealogist in their catchment area. They should be lobbying government for such things as access to material, against strangulation by privacy legislation, cost of BDM certificates, repository digitalisation etc etc etc. They should be campaigning to make research easier. They should be the guardians of research materials, indexes etc. They should be a repository for archival material from deceased researchers' collections and thus avoiding post funeral bonfires. They should be collecting family histories, and (something I think the NZSG does well) collect BDM certificates.

If there are no societies, where does this "stuff" go?  If societies go who is the guardians of research education, indexing, library material? Do you think that, FindmyPast etc will take over that role? No, they are companies which are driven by profit making considerations.

Another problem I have is the general principle that research is easier if you to talk to other researchers. They may have tips to pass on, interpret your results a wee bit differently, propose a repository that you hadn't thought of or heard of, and generally encourage you. Searching alone, in your pyjamas, on the internet can lead to erroneous assumptions. I recently explored a family tree for my Noakes family on and spend a long time laughing. I know my family is very fertile but a woman's having two children in her fifties is not a reasonable conclusion. I know that the researcher needs to check Catholic Church records to get some enlightenment. But it is too late. That mistake appears in three other trees and will grow as time passes. My great, great grandmother's fertility prowess will become entrenched in stone.

Genealogy can only continue to grow as a hobby if fellow amateur addicts regularly meet, whether a formal meeting or just a casual session over a coffee and a scone which I tend to favour. I don't have a problem with branches being a coffee group, as many were ridiculed in my day.

One of my major sermon subjects is this need for informal consultations.  It will continue to be.

What can we do?

Surprisingly I'm not going to blame the societies themselves. They do as well as they can but are handicapped by financial matters, changing patterns of people volunteering and government, or should I say management, by amateurs who do as well as they can.

To me, the basic problem is falling membership and the reaction by the society leaders. To my simplistic mind, more members means more income which means more volunteers, use of library facilities which should result in less membership fees which should mean more members etc. But you could say I am a simple-minded creature. This utopian theory is ruined by amateur administrators with "political ambitions of power".

I may not be a good example. I am not a member of the NZ society for various reasons and if these reasons were addressed, I doubt that I could afford to be a member. So, feel free to abuse me for that but it illustrates the major problem.

I regularly meet with former members who have similar financial constraints and/or have experienced unpleasant treatment by previous administrations. We genealogists never forget a perceived insult.

So, in a do-as-I-say rather than as-I-do attitude, we should all join up and take over. We should then run the finances into the ground, drop subscriptions, become a fun place to do research in, and generally change how the society operates so that people will want to join. So what if a clown or two gets elected onto council - it has happened before and the society has continued to function. Incidentally I hate a library that has a silence policy because, as you probably know well, I'm not a silent person. One of the most enjoyable research sessions I ever had was when I carried a yellow plastic cricket bat in the society library so that I wouldn't get side-tracked - the name I intended to research was CRICKET. Yes, I got side-tracked and had a great time helping another unfortunate researcher who found more than she intended.

To give a simple illustration of what I'm saying: my U3A genealogy group has a waiting list which is growing by the month. The group is free (although you have to be a member) and the group decides the agenda. I used to give a lecture but nowadays we start off talking about somebody's research problem and then descend into a general conversation about things genealogical. Time passes quickly and meetings are well attended.

I also attend the Onehunga Genealogy Group monthly meeting (this is not a branch of NZSG). Since they have changed the meeting venue and it costs nothing to attend, they have a full venue. Please don't all join that group, they will have to change the venue again and probably charge an admission fee. Their meetings are agenda-less, pretty chaotic and loud as various subgroups exchange pleasantries. The chairman has no control. But we all leave the meeting with smiles on our faces and I often learn something despite my inattention at times. It helps that the meeting is held in a cafe and the coffee is very good and has now become a compulsory meeting tool.

In summary: I think that genealogy will not die. It changes year by year as new technology emerges. But the methodology of good research and the survival of good research material need to be retained and this is most easily achieved by formal genealogy groups. Successful research is more easily achieved by social interaction with other addicts.


PS I have not heard that the New Zealand Society of Genealogists are in a similar position as the groups mentioned above but it is a fact that their branches and informal groups are suffering from loss of membership. Please do not read this as an attack on this society.


Peter Nash

Back to the Top

Jan’s Jottings

You will need:
               some 48 hour days to look at this and discover what is helpful for you!!
               your information (or some of it) entered into
               to register and sign on with FamilySearch (is free & useful)
               to be using the Legacy Family Tree genealogy software
               to download the Standard version for free
               to have some data in Legacy - the same family as on FamilySearch.

In Legacy, in FamilyGroup display. Click on Options, then Customise, then General Settings, then 1.8 and tick the box here. This turns on communication between your Legacy data and FamilySearch data.

Look where the children’s names are entered. Run your eye along to the end of this area. You should see two arrow heads - pointing left and right. Cursor over these and click

Then watch as information appears on your screen!!!  You should be able to see what you have and what FamilySearch has to compare. You can share data with FamilySearch. Remember to STOP, LOOK and READ your screen.

Have a play!!!!  Keep track of what you do and what you find

Jan Gow

Wairarapa Wandering

A Mayoral Photograph

After the book launch last year, in Carterton, for "A Colonists Gaze" by John E Martin (Parliamentary historian), I suggested to our Mayor, John Booth, that a copy be sent to  Kendal, where Charles Rooking Carter, the subject of this book, came from. He asked that John come up to Carterton and both would sign a copy and post it over to mayor of Kendal, Westmorland, England… which we did. John was originally going over to England for more research, but as plans often get changed he altered his plans, and thus we posted the copy over. We received a reply that the book had arrived and that they would respond, in writing, later. Later never came.

So a few months back, I asked mayor, John, if I could write a letter to the present mayor, because I discovered that they had changed mayor last May. He agreed so a letter was typed up, and as I went to post it, I thought COURIER it to Kendal, and keep track of it day to day, so I did that at a cost. I followed it in transit, then reached England, then on its way to Kendal, then it was signed for… Great!

An e-mail arrived from Kendal Council Office for me, saying thank you and that they did mean to send a letter thanking you for the book. The writer said that she would get a photograph of the mayor, Alvin Finch, holding the said book, but we would have to wait until he is dressed for Remembrance Day. What I like about the traditions back home in England, is that mayors wear red robes on official business.

I didn’t mind waiting because what came through a few days after 11 November, it was worth waiting for. I immediately thanked them for the lovely photograph, and then forwarded it to ex-mayor, John Booth, and to present mayor of Carterton Greg Lang, so we are all happy now.

But what I want to do now is to have an article in Westmorland Gazette with the photograph. But I wondered if the book is available in England in case anyone wanted to buy a copy. I have since heard from Ian Grant that one can order it through his website,, if one cannot obtain it with their local bookshops. It's also available through Wairarapa Archives. Cost approx. $40.

It's been a pleasure to assist John E Martin from time to time with research about Charles Rooking Carter, but what surprised me the other year was, out of the blue, a lady from Hastings made contact with me at Clareville, saying she was related to Mrs Carter. This was the first time I heard that Mrs Carter had relations in NZ let alone lived in Carterton NZ. So I met this lady when she came down to meet me and showed her all around the area particularly anything to do with Charles Rooking Carter, and asked the Historical Society to meet up with us, and bring the Crawford Bible, because one of the sons of William and Isabelle Crawford married into her ancestors family, Sarah Gardner.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane

Clareville 5713

Back to the Top

Digging Into Historical Records  

 The 1843 Nelson Census

The editorial of the New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser of 14 March 1843 argued that “the best security for a constant supply of emigrant capitalists would be to publish accurate statistics of the Colony.” [1] On the 7th October 1843 the editor of the Nelson Examiner, Francis Jollie, reported that “we therefore purpose to give, at the earliest opportunity, a statistical account of progress, which our friends at home may rely upon.” The “Population and Statistics of the Settlement of Nelson” was taken in the last week of October 1843. [2]

At the time Francis Jollie was receiving a salary from the New Zealand Company for his services as Clerk to the New Zealand Company Agent. [3] This suggests that “we” refers to the New Zealand Company rather than the General Government.

On 01 November 1843 Eugene Bellairs (1824-1911 [4]) received £9 7s 6d to cover the payment of men engaged in collecting statistical information relating to the Settlement of Nelson. [5] He received another payment of £1 5s on 13 November for collecting a statistical account of the population of the district of Waimea West. [6] Eugene, a surveyor and survivor of the Wairau Incident, left soon afterwards and joined his cousin Captain Bull, of the 99th Regiment, in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. [7]

On 04 November 1843 James Magarey (1818-1859 [8]) received £1 5s as payment for five days completing a census of Nelson Town. [9]

James was an agricultural labourer and he arrived at Nelson with his family and a younger brother, Thomas Magarey, on the Fifeshire on 01 Feb 1842. [10] James’ wife Mary and her infant son, Richard, both died on that day and they were buried at the Haven Road Cemetery. [11] James was left with two children under four years of age and they later left for South Australia.

On 11 November 1843 Thomas M. Hugh received £1 being further remuneration in full for collecting statistical information. [12] As no further information has been found for this gentleman a transcription error seems likely. Other names found within the same source include Thomas Hughes, Thomas McGui, and Thomas McGhee. Another possibility came up in PapersPast – Thomas McHugh.

The last person to be paid was William G. Figgis. On 18 November 1843 he received 30s having been employed six days in taking the census at Motuaka. [13]

William arrived at Port Nicholson on the Mandarin on 21 December 1841 [14] and signed a memorial of thanks to Captain A. Yuile. [15]  Also on board were Henry Augustus Thompson (1804-1843) and his wife Elizabeth Urquhart nee Brown. [16] Thompson, who was appointed Chief Police Magistrate and Postmaster for Nelson on 02 February 1842 [17], sailed for Nelson Haven on the Brougham  on 02 March 1842. [18]

Thompson heard his first case in Captain Wakefield's tent on 19 March 1842. He convicted three men from the ship Lord Auckland for stealing wearing apparel and sentenced them to three months imprisonment. As "there was only one room in the raupo gaol and only one policeman, W. Figgis," the prisoners resided with the constable. [19] William Figgis was still the constable in June 1842 when his request for assistance to arrest a man for drunkenness was declined. [20]

William was also an artist [21] and there is a file under his name at Auckland Art Gallery. [22] A digital version of his coloured painting of Bridge Street, Nelson can also be viewed on The Fletcher Trust Collection website. [23]

On Christmas Eve 1842 William took over the business of supplying bricks from William Jones at the Brickfield, Hardy Street. [24] He then advertised regularly for about three months before his last advertisement on 25 March 1843. [25] Sometime after the census payment in October William died. He is listed on the Halloway Cemetery signboard as Nelson’s first policeman and was buried in the Catholic section.

The census results for the white population were provided by a correspondent and published on 16 December 1843. The number of aborigines and half-castes had not yet been satisfactorily obtained. [26] A summary of the information has been created in a more visual form. [27] A couple of highlights – three sets of twins were born in 1843 and there were more pigs than sheep. This information was deduced from the Statistics of New Munster and compiled in 1849 by Alfred Domett, the late Colonial Secretary.  [28]

Given that the census was taken by the New Zealand Company there may be more references and possibly original documents to be found either within the locally held papers or in those held in the UK National Archives. The search of the haystack will continue...


[1] New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser 14 Mar 1843

[2] Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle 16 Dec 1843

[3] NZ Company Voucher 1446 (Nelson) Archives NZ Reference AAYZ NZC 232/8/8/2 (R15386170)

[4] FamilySearch Family Tree for Eugene Bellairs (1824-1911) 

[5] NZ Company Voucher 1121 (Nelson) Archives NZ Reference AAYZ NZC 232/8/8/2 (R15386170)

[6] NZ Company Voucher 1218 (Nelson) Archives NZ Reference AAYZ NZC 232/8/8/2 (R15386170)

[7] Jerome Nicholas Vlieland Blog - Entry titled Eugene Bellairs dated 13 August 2011 

[8] FamilySearch Family Tree for James Magarey (1818-1859) 

[9] NZ Company Voucher 1157 (Nelson) Archives NZ Reference AAYZ NZC 232/8/8/2 (R15386170)

[10] Nelson Provincial Museum Early Settlers Database 

[11] Ancestry – New Zealand Cemetery Records – Early Deaths in Nelson – (Image 1194)

[12] NZ Company Voucher 1197 (Nelson) Archives NZ Reference AAYZ NZC 232/8/8/2 (R15386170)

[13] NZ Company Voucher 1257 (Nelson) Archives NZ Reference AAYZ NZC 232/8/8/2 (R15386170)

[14] New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator 22 Dec 1841 Shipping Intelligence - Arrived

[15] New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator 12 Jan 1842

[16] FamilySearch Family Tree for Henry Augustus Thompson (1804-1843) 

[17] Blue Book of Statistics 1843 Archives NZ Reference ACGO 8344 IA12/5 (Record online)

[18] New Zealand Spectator and Wellington Spectator 05 Mar 1842 Shipping Intelligence - Sailed

[19] The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892 Chapter III

[20] The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892 Chapter IV

[21] Find New Zealand Artists: a database of names

[22] William Figgis file at Auckland Art Gallery (not online) 

[23] Painting of Bridge Street, Nelson  

[24] Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle 24 Dec 1842 W. Figgis (First advertisement)

[25] Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle 25 Mar 1843 W. Figgis (Last advertisement)

[26] Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle 16 Dec 1843

[27] The 1843 Nelson Census – A Summary 

[28] Statistics of Nelson, New Zealand, from 1843 to 1854


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

Back to the Top

Chinese Corner 

A Chinese Pioneer, Mr Chew Chong's Dairying Enterprise

A writer in the Hawera Star has some good words to say of Mr Chew Chong, of New Plymouth, the "father" of the dairy industry in Taranaki. 

Says he: —"Mr Chong was not only a pushing merchant, importer and storekeeper, having a business at New Plymouth as well as at Eltham,  but showed his great faith in the dairying business by putting a lot of money into it, and offering to lend suppliers the cash to buy cows with. At this particular time there was considerable bad feeling (I think it was really race hatred) around this new Eltham factory of Mr Chong'. Some sneaky person or persons (I don't think they were any of Mr (Chong's countrymen though) thought to damage his factory, reputation and business, by working up a trumpery case of alleged fake weights at the factory.

The outcome of the Inspector's visit was that Mr Chong came out with flying colours; he was actually cheating himself and paying out more than he ought to his milk suppliers—the farmers. Milk was purchased by weight in those days.

The informers were sadder men, anyway; perhaps sorry financially they made a complaint. I always regarded Mr Chew Chong as a splendid business man, a good pioneer, and a gentleman.

Gladstone's statement contained a lot of truth in it when he once remarked that the "colonials disliked the Chinaman more for his virtues than his vices." I don't, know if Mr Chew Chong is still alive or not, but I beg to offer one suggestion: it would only be an act of British fair play and long-delayed courtesy to tender Mr Chew Chong some practical appreciation of his pioneering services to the dairying industry—say, at the coming Winter Show at Hawera."' MANAWATU STANDARD, VOLUME XLI, ISSUE 9509, 4 JUNE 1913


An interesting career was terminated on Thursday last by the death at New Plymouth of Mr Chew Chong, at the age of 102.

He arrived in Melbourne in 1855 and after a stay of eleven years removed to New Zealand. He travelled all over the country buying up old metal, which he sent to China, and discovering edible fungus during these travels, he began in 1868 the buying of fungus.

Many settlers in New Zealand received quite considerable assistance through the purchases made by Mr Chong, and it is worthy of note that from 1872 to 1904 the value of fungus exported from New Zealand was declared to be £305,995.

Mr Chong established his store-keeping business in New Plymouth in 1870, and continued it until 1890. During this period, he became interested in dairying, and in 1887 established the Jubilee Factory at Eltham.

In 1889 he was awarded a silver cup at the exhibition in Dunedin for the best half-ton of butter suitable for export.

The older residents of Taranaki can relate some interesting stories regarding Mr Chong and his fungus-buying when he appeared first in New Plymouth. The purchase of dried fungus was something of a mystery to farmers, who, however, were quite willing to sell it at 4d per lb. When about thirty bales of fungus had been collected Mr Chong left the country, but left a sum of money with Mr Cottier, of the Masonic Hotel, instructing him to purchase fungus. Mr Chong, not returning, he began to feel uneasy, but eventually Mr Chong did return and Mr Cottier was given an exact settlement.

A similar standard of strict integrity marked all Mr Chong’s dealings. Later, Mr Chong lost the monopoly in the fungus business, other firms starting to operate, and tons of fungus were brought to New Plymouth and disposed of to Mr Chong and storekeepers.

In his association with the establishment of the dairying industry and butter-making in Taranaki the late Mr Chong took a prominent part in all those movements which had for their object the development of the industry. His own factory at Eltham had eventually to give place to factories established on the co-operative system, but he took a prominent part in all negotiation carried on for the progress of the industry, and was frequently a member of deputations to the Government asking for assistance in carrying on the industry. 




Helen Wong

Anne Sherman

Can family history research be free?

When I first started to research my family history over 30 years ago, I was told it was a very expensive hobby as you had to purchase many birth, marriage and death certificates and you MUST go to London to do it properly.  Well I did not do any of that, so it only cost me the relatively small amount for the certificates I actually needed to progress my research.


Today there is, in my opinion, an over reliance on the Ancestry website, which proves how good their advertising is. Such subscription websites are also quite expensive for many, but can you research your family history without it costing a small fortune? 


In many cases the answer is yes, you can do your research without buying a subscription. Undoubtedly these sites do have a very important role to play especially as they start to include more images of parish registers and other documents, but what should be remembered is that your local library and archive centre are likely to have the Ancestry Library Edition (which covers worldwide), and/or Find My Past (especially in Yorkshire as they have been working with the Yorkshire Digitization Consortium to digitalised many of their parish registers), and some may even have access to The Genealogist website.


Rather than paying for access see if you can get it for free first. In addition some subscription sites also have free access to certain records, such as the 1881 census and the GRO indexes supplied by the FreeBMD website. Find My Past also gives free access to the newspaper indexes, but not the images. To access these all you need to do is register.  Watch out for free weekend offers, especially over bank holiday weekends.


Besides the better known subscription sites, there is also a large range of free websites you can use.  One of these is the FreeBMD website which is transcribing the birth, marriage and death indexes in England and Wales from the start of civil registration in 1837 and currently covers up to the mid 1970’s. This site is important if you wish to order a certificate from the General Register Office (GRO) as it gives the reference numbers you need to place the order.  The indexes from 1911 onwards are especially useful as they list the mother’s maiden name on the birth indexes, so it is possible to search for any children with a specific surname and their mother’s maiden name.  Please note these are indexes only, if you require more information you may need to purchase the certificate.


The sister sites to FreeBMD are FreeCen and FreeReg.  Also run by volunteers these sites are transcribing the census returns, and Parish Registers for England, Scotland and Wales.  FreeReg also covers the neighbouring Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.  Although images are not included on these sites, most of the information is transcribed such as witnesses and parents details on parish registers etc.  These three sites are regularly updated and transcribed by volunteers and are not complete, so please read their coverage pages if you cannot find who you are looking for.


In addition to the FreeBMD website, the UKBMD group are transcribing the civil registrations indexes on a county basis.  Although not all counties are included, and some have their own independent projects, these can give you more information than the FreeBMD site as marriages can also show in which church/venue the marriage took place. 


Another locally based project is the Online Parish Clerks (OPC), which is another group of volunteers who are recording the parish register entries for their area.  You may need to register with each site, but registration and access is free.


The FamilySearch website is run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, who have recorded a range of free indexes mainly based on census records and parish registers. This site covers different parts of the world, so could be useful if your ancestors migrated elsewhere. In many cases these are just indexes but they do hold a number of images of parish registers that have not been indexed but which you can browse through them yourself. Those with a camera symbol identify images attached, but be aware than some images are on subscription websites such as Find My Past and will need a subscriptions to access. Look for the camera images without the square background for those that are available on this site.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (CWGC) gives details of not only British servicemen who were killed during WW1 and WW2, but also members of the Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, South African and non-commonwealth forces that fought with us.  The site also records details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died "as a result of enemy action" in WW2.


Another free but perhaps lesser known website is a project started by the University of Leicester, which has digitalised many Post Office and Trade Directories in England and Wales. These have not been indexed but can be searched using a system called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This is not always accurate, however you can manually search through each book, as you would in a library, and you may find the address or occupation of your ancestor. 


Searching the internet for free websites, or just the name you are researching, may assist you in your research and should always be recommended. The sites mention above are just a small selection of what is freely available online. 


At some stage we all need to pay something for our research whether it is buying certificates, paying for a subscription website or using a professional researcher to help with those dead ends in your research.


If you would like more information on specific free website please contact me and I will try to help, in the meantime please like my Facebook page to receive updates of some of these websites and more.

Apologies and Clarification

My post last month on brick walls was originally written and published on my own website in 2016.   At that point the only online GRO index was on the FreeBMD website ( , and it needed no other explanation.  Since then the GRO have created their own online database which is more restrictive when searching and does not allow searching without a surname. I apologise for not ensuring this post made that clear.


Anne Sherman

Guest Contributors 

Ken Morris

From the Editor: Ken sends me some interesting articles from his local newspapers. I have included a couple for your pleasure.


From our Libraries and Museums

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 makes 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

DNA Masters Series

Auckland edition

Put these dates in your diary! Details to be confirmed in January

Monday, 16 March, 1-3pm Blaine Bettinger

Friday, 3 April 7.30pm-9pm Jonny Perl Monday,

6 April 1-3pm Angie Bush

HeritageTalks  - Waha -taonga

February 2020

Are you interested in family and local history; the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific, and beyond?

Then why not come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks - Waha -taonga 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.


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

To ensure your place, please contact Research Central on 09 890 2412, or book online at 




Kick-start your family history research with Michelle Patient

Wednesday 29 January 12noon-1pm

Reviewing your research with fresh eyes might just get you past your family tree brick walls and barriers.  Join Michelle Patient as she discusses why you should take a fresh look at research you’ve put to one side, from resources you may have missed, to new records.  As we learn more about genealogy research, DNA testing, and how to access data, leads can open up to help us move around or even break through those roadblocks. Michelle will also provide a checklist to help navigate new evidence and where it might be available.



Māori accounts of disaster recovery
with Xavier Forsman, Auckland Libraries

Wednesday 5 February 12pm – 1pm

While Hawke’s Bay can be said to owe much of its present-day character to the development following the 1931 earthquake, little is documented on how Māori communities of the region fared. Join Xavier Forsman as he explores this area by drawing on field work undertaken as part of his Master's thesis. He reflects on the experiences of interviewing Māori elders and the insights gained from them, and incorporates how the unpredictable nature of research led him to the region's freezing works closures, disasters in their own right.


Researching your property – panel discussion

Wednesday 12 February 12pm – 1pm

Would you like to learn some tips and tools for researching your property? If so, join us to hear representatives from Auckland Council’s Heritage Unit, Archives, the Auckland Libraries’ Research Central and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga discuss tips and tools of the trade. Each speaker will provide an overview of the resources available from their respective areas and there will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.


Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland's past
with Auckland History Initiative Summer Scholars

Wednesday 19 February 12pm – 1pm

The Auckland History Initiative (AHI), a research collaboration at the University of Auckland, presents a series of research projects from the 2020 Summer Scholars, exploring aspects of Auckland's history. These students have spent 12 weeks over the summer break researching in the varied and rich archives around Auckland under the supervision of Professor Linda Bryder. The AHI views the Summer Research Scholarships as an integral way to engage students in Auckland history and to strengthen relationships with the Auckland GLAMR (Galleries, libraries, archives, museums and records) sector.


In search of Scandinavian ancestors with Seonaid Lewis

Wednesday 26 February 12pm – 1pm

Viking, mariner, whaler, trader, forester, gum digger – if tales of these occupations lurk in your background, then your ancestors might be Scandinavian!

Scandinavians had a big impact on the settlement and development of New Zealand. Come along and learn how to find out more about them, and where to look.


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


Back to the Top

Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


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

email, if you need directions.

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

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






Waikanae Family History Group

 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



Back to the Top

News and Views



Various Articles Worth Reading

From the Editor: Because of space restrictions and copyright issues I cannot put the complete articles in this newsletter so here are some URLs that are worth looking at:

 Did You Get a DNA Test As a Gift? Read This Before You Mail That Sample




Have you used the Family Search Digital Library?


Survey of English Dialects

Number of items in collection: 287

Recordings in this collection can be played by anyone.

The Survey of English Dialects (SED) was a ground-breaking nationwide survey of the vernacular speech of England, undertaken by researchers based at the University of Leeds under the direction of Harold Orton. From 1950 to 1961 a team of fieldworkers collected data in a network of 313 localities across England, initially in the form of transcribed responses to a questionnaire containing over 1300 items. The informants were mostly farm labourers, predominantly male and generally over 65 years old as the aim of the survey was to capture the most conservative forms of folk-speech. Almost all the sites visited by the researchers were rural locations, as it was felt that traditional dialect was best preserved in isolated areas. It was initially the intention to include urban areas at a later date, but this plan had to be abandoned on economic grounds.




Changes to our reading room service


Tēnā koe Peter

You may be aware that here at Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, we’ve been working to turn our Archives 2057 strategy into a reality. We are now into year three of our transformation and over the past couple of years, we’ve achieved a great deal and are beginning to experience some of the rewards of that hard work.

From Monday 2 March 2020, the opening hours for our reading rooms across the country will change. Our new hours will be 9am – 1pm for our Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin reading rooms. This change does not impact on our remote research services.

I want to signal this change now, so those who travel from across New Zealand, and from overseas to carry out their research in our reading rooms, can plan their research trips accordingly.

To help make research time more efficient, we will be halving the retrieval time to a 30-minute turnaround in Wellington, to align with our regional offices.

We’re making these changes to support the demand for our services. Over the last 10 years we have seen a steady decrease in the number of people visiting our reading rooms. This correlates with an increase in the number of customers we are serving online.

Our vision to be a vibrant, trusted, national archive is seated in our ability to provide a modern service that meets our customer’s needs.

Reducing reading room hours allows us to put our energy into digitising records and making them available online. This provides better access for a greater number of users. We are well underway with providing these with the June 2019 launch of our new website and the work of our Digitisation Programme, now in its third year of operation. Since 2017, we’ve made available over 385,000 digitised items, comprised of over 6 million images.

I understand that this announcement will be disappointing to some of our supporters. This has been a hard decision to make but one that will support long-term benefits for all our valued users.

Further information about this change can be found on our website. To learn more about our direction for the future of Archives take a look at our 2057 strategy.

Nāku noa,

Richard Foy

Chief Archivist

    Image may contain: text    


Mail-Order Babies: The Bizarre History of Sending Kids in the Mail


  Image may contain: 1 person   Image may contain: 1 person

Book Reviews

Family Secrets - Living with shame from the Victorians to the Present day, by Deborah Cohen, published by Viking, 2013, ISBN 978-0-670-91766-2

Lately I have been very interested in the history of adoptions and how the present system was developed. I found this book in the Public Library system.

The table of contents are:
            Introduction --

            Part one: Telling secrets 

1. The Nabob's secrets 

                        2. Revelation in the Divorce Court

            Part two: Shame and guilt, nature and nurture

3. Children who disappeared

                 4. Other people's bastards

                 5. Bachelor uncles

             Part three: Secret no more?

6. Talking it out

7. The repressive family

            Epilogue: Genealogy and confessional culture.


So it can be seen that the book covered the hiding of family secrets such as mixed race children, divorce, handicapped children, illegitimate children and homosexuality. The story of how the Victorians "coped" with these shames and the development of the present-day treatment of the same "shames".

I learned a lot. My family has handled similar "shames" and I gained a little understanding. Of course, the NZ scenario is a little different in that we didn't have the class system Britain had but the attitudes are somewhat similar.

This book well worth reading in order to gain a feeling for the British way of dealing with these sorts of embarrassments.


Peter Nash

In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

NZ BDM Website

Hi Peter.
You may care to use this in your next newsletter.
I was recently retracing my great grandmother's death.

This all happened in NZ.
Martha Maclintock Burgess married John Gordon in 1895.
John died in 1908 and Martha then married Matthew Hopkins in 1918.
Martha died in 1952 in Christchurch.

Trying to find her in the online NZBDM index returns no results.
Martha Hopkins, Martha Gordon and Martha Burgess all return - there are no records that match your query terms. As you cannot use wildcards, you need to search for Martha Hopkins CKA Gordon.CKA stands for Commonly Known As. How ridiculous is that?

Reg no. 1952/26017, I had obtained the image in 1987 and wanted to include the current link in an email.

I tried to get the index changed without success. Good luck to any future searchers trying to find her.

Kind regards.
Ralph Smith


I am working on the Waikaraka Cemetery records which appear on the internet in various guises. There are 20,000 burials and I am correcting them. I am also adding the monumental inscriptions and burial records to the database and correcting any errors I find in the database and additional (MI's and burial records).

I am finding up to 50% error rate in some time periods. I am using the BDM website as a "proof" even though the accuracy of this website is debatable. My logic is that researchers may want to get the death certificate so I use it as a comparison. 

I am finding that what you describe is a very common phenomenon - ie it is impossible to find the death references due to the "CKA factor". I use Findmypast which has a NZ death database. Here you can search in many ways. I tend to search on year of death, given names and no surname and work my way through the options.

I have already done this for the Hillsborough cemetery. This work keeps me off the streets until 10 am every morning when I wander off to my favourite coffee spot to read the paper.



Peter Nash



Dear Peter,

For years I have been a distinctly inactive member of FamNet, always planning to use it for building a family tree and carrying out research but never quite getting there.  Likewise with writing articles or letters to the editor.

Finally I have been stirred into action by your comment on "Ethics" in "The Nash Rambler":

             "To be very honest I don't want to know of any "unexpected result" in my immediate family. I don't want to be contacted > by a person claiming to be my close relative as a result of a "meeting" of a couple outside the bounds of marriage." 

Thankfully the family members in this category that I have met or/and communicated with did not feel that way!

Think of the trepidation adoptees feel when they approach someone who seems to be related to them.  And there are a lot of adoptees in our population.  How else are we supposed to make contact with those who are blood relations and therefore an important part of our genealogy? 

Adoptees do have the bonus of double families.  I believe they must be allowed to learn their genetic roots, despite other people's sensibilities.  These sensibilities are considered carefully.   However, no matter how well someone fits in their adoptive/nurturing family, everyone has the right to know about their natural family, surely.

There is nothing quite like being at a family reunion and being told not to stand up as one of that family because you were adopted.  (At that point in time that was the only family I knew!!)  There's nothing quite like being deprived of information about your genetic roots.  How we develop depends on a combination of genetics and epigenetics, or nature and nurture / response to environment.  Why should only those born in wedlock be allowed to learn about the influences of nature and nurture in their development?

Now that I have aired my views on that subject, congratulations on a regular newsletter that covers so many subjects so well.  I might even finally get into gear and do more research and family tree building through FamNet now.



A Reader



Thanks for your letter.


Your comments are very valid. In my column I was trying to voice a "not provoking the caged bear with a stick" scenario. I don't want to go hunting "unexpected results" but if one approached me I would deal with it when it arises.


I am the family historian for my rather large extended family. I have been approached by adopted out children, or children reared by other family members and also illegitimate children. I look at their evidence and, if satisfied, give them anything they are asking for. It is not my place to judge the actions of family members but I accept the "need to know" of family members searching for their natural family. I believe that my family research belongs to the family. In fact recently I had a great meeting with a person from Australia who is descended from a branch of my family that was "mistreated" by a male NASH with a history of wandering from bed to bed.


I like your letter. Can I publish it in the next newsletter (without your surname and contact details) and my response?

Peter Nash

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.

Back to the Top

A Bit of Light Relief


    No photo description available.                      Image may contain: outdoor and nature           No photo description available.



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

If you have problems with this page you can email us directly, but the page should be self-explanatory.

Copyright (Waiver)

Feel free to redistribute this newsletter. If you publish a newsletter yourself you may include material from this newsletter in yours provided that you acknowledge its source and include the FamNet URL.

Back to the Top