Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter February 2019

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: “We all carry inside us, people who came before us”.   Liam Callanan


Editorial 2

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?. 2

Regular Contributors. 3

From the Developer 3

The Nash Rambler 4

DNA Testing for Family History. 5

Jan’s Jottings. 6

Wairarapa Wandering. 8

Digging Into Historical Records. 9

Chinese Corner 10

Guest Contributors. 12

Ken Morris. 12

From our Libraries and Museums. 14

Auckland Libraries. 14

HeritageTalks @ Central Library, Auckland. 14

The NZ Antarctic Society and Auckland Libraries presents: 15

2019 Auckland Family History Expo - Tāmaki Huinga Tātai Kōrero. 15

Heritage Talks. 16

KURA – Heritage Collections online at Auckland Libraries. 16

Group News. 17

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 17

Websites worth visiting: 18

Waikanae Family History Group. 18

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 18

News and Views. 19

Various Articles worth reading. 19

How not to bore people with Genealogy. 19

The Future of Online Trees. 19

Back In My Day: Old Genealogy Techniques You Should Be Using Today d Genealogy Techniques You Should Be Using Today. 19

Books, Ownership, and Copyright 20

Genealogy Photos and Copyrights. 20

The Dark side of DNA Testing. 20

12 Weird Things Our Ancestors Did. 23

Australian Newspapers - Trove. 29

How genealogists can make best use of The Gazette. 30

Book Reviews. 32

The Tattooist of Auschwitz. 32

The Circle of Ceridwen Saga. 33

In conclusion. 33

Help wanted. 33

Letters to the Editor 33

Early European Contacts with New Zealand (pre 1846) 34

Advertising with FamNet 34

A Bit of Light Relief 35

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 36


Back to the Top. 17


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

Once again, I have had great pleasure assembling this newsletter.

Golly gosh another year has come. I can remember living my teenage years in the 1960s with never a care in the world. Life was for living and enjoying. When you reached the age of thirty the Zimmer frame awaited you. I got that fact mostly right - the Zimmer frame still awaits me but a fair few years after my 30th birthday.

As part of writing my column below I reviewed my experiences in genealogy research over 2018 with a view to improving my future experiences. I found that I had a great 2018 and am determined to enjoy 2019 both in a genealogy sense and social sense. I hope you all have a brilliant year and enjoy reading this newsletter. If our lives should meet then I will have great pleasure in that meeting so long as a good coffee is produced.

This newsletter is very big but I found quite a few articles that should be read. Most of our regular contributors are still producing interesting articles and the rest are enjoying a break. Please consult the table of contents.

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


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

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Regular Contributors

From the Developer

In November’s newsletter I mentioned that I’d made contact with a first cousin that I last met when we were both 9.  I have only four first cousins still alive, so the relationship is precious.   We were able to meet again after Christmas, when she and one of her grandchildren were in Auckland for a few days.  It was really great to catch up again after all these years:  we were able to swap common memories of our childhood as well as catch up with the last 63 years, and show her a bit of Auckland.  Here’s Mary and I having lunch with Tina in the Wynyard Quarter.

Naturally we talked about our common ancestry, looking up FamNet to see what we knew so far.  We were able to fill in some gaps, with each of us knowing some stories that the other didn’t.  Tina had already sent me some material that I’d added to the record of our grandmother, and before Christmas she’d uploaded her family tree to FamNet, so some of our time together was spent showing her how to navigate around the site, upload scrapbook items, and other things that she may want to do.  I linked her tree to mine:  now if you look at this record of Hannah OLD you’ll see that my record of her father has been replaced by hers, and so we can follow her family from mine just as we already could with the family of another cousin.  This chart shows some of the descendants of our common grandparents: the green records are mine, Pink belong to my cousin Don, and Blue (scroll left as far as possible) are Tina’s.

When viewed on line, either as a chart like this or with one of the other views provided by FamNet, you can click on a person and expand the information to as much detail as you want.  Tina intends to write her equivalent of My Story, and help her brother do the same, so I look forward to learning more about my cousins’ lives.

It’s actually quite easy to link trees once you’ve agreed where the link should be: this page shows you the concepts and how to go about it.  However get in touch with me: I’m quite happy to help you do with your family records what I’m doing with mine.   See the articles below (9, 10, 11) for more about this.

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

Time for Review and New Year's resolutions

Well another year has passed and I'm still breathing. I have been busy as hell and am expecting to get to the old man stage soon. Then I can sit around and be waited on by my adoring family - not possible I'm told by my family.

In the genealogy field I have had a great year. It is a fact that, as you get more years into research, the finds in your tree are rare and far apart in time. In fact, I think that I had no finds at all in my tree but there does seem to have been a brick knocked out in my MURRAY family brick wall albeit by a DNA result (not mine). My postulated descent from the family involved in a murder in Onehunga looks extremely likely due to a GEMMELL DNA result. A cousin is working on that.

But the two greatest pleasures of 1918 have come from my U3A group and my work for friends. I get immense pleasure tutoring a group of researchers and watching their research skills improve month by month. I have had major finds for them in unexpected research repositories which has even amazed me. I enjoy the process of pointing them to something without telling them what so that they can experience the pleasure from a miracle find. Then my pleasure increases as we discuss what their next moves should be. After a few months I then send them what I found in my searches just in case they missed something. But I am aware that it is their research, not mine, and I have no right to spoil their fun.

The other area of research is the pleasure from helping friends and acquaintances in their research. I do the same process - point them in the right direction and then discuss the next steps.

What are my New Year resolutions for 2019? You can well ask but they are much the same as last year. They are:

Continue to help my group and circle of friends with their research. I do not intend to increase the circle and will reserve the right to say no to people asking me to do their research. I spent a few years as a professional researcher but found that to be unsatisfactory because I got no pleasure from my personal pride in my research abilities, the need to produce a result, the need to charge for my time and the sheer volume of work over various countries that I was asked to look into. Genealogy is a pleasure not a career - boy did I learn that lesson in a big way many years ago. Of course I'm still professional now: I expect to be paid in coffees.

Buy some lotto tickets. There are a couple of overseas conferences/genealogy events that I would be very pleased to attend if my finances took a very different turn from their present pathway – i.e. if I won lotto. My wife is not convinced that I need to go to Salt Lake City or London just to mix and mingle with boring genealogists. I'm trying hard but I think my chances are very small.

Buy an interesting history book. During my career as a public speaker I always used to suggest strongly that researchers investigate the reasons why their ancestors moved. Why did they come to NZ? Why did they move to London, Birmingham and other cities from the rural villages? I always stress that very few people woke up one morning and decided to move their home to a completely new environment without a reason.  For instance, why did they move to London in the early 1800s - maybe it was the volcanic eruption in Iceland that caused at least one summer to vanish and the shortage of food because crops would not grow. Why did your Lincolnshire ag lab come to NZ in the mid 1800s - was it because of the Farm Labourers Union strike and their union paid their fares  to NZ in a clever attempt to make available workforce much smaller and thus their wages higher. Basic economical thinking by a union! The book is "Surviving Mother Nature's Tests". When I have read it, I will review it.

Stop harassing my Wednesday coffee mate for further research for him. Last year he (and I) made some great advances in solving some of his brick walls. He refuses to tell me what his next target is until he fully finishes research into what we found last year. I wish he would hurry up. My fingers are getting very itchy. We had a major find that required a visit to National Archives but that was on Xmas Eve and he has only recently taken that step.

Plan how to tour Scotland. My father died last year. Apparently I inherit a little, and my sister has decided that she and I (and spouses) will be researching why some of our ancestors imbibed a bit of the Scottish national drink. I am told we are visiting a few distilleries and I have insisted that we start in the Keith - Huntly - Glass area of Aberdeen where my Archibalds and Coutts came from (some were prone to a wee dram). I think that if I start there I can do a wee bit of research into the history, geography, cemeteries etc before the trip descends into a series of samplings. At the moment we are arguing about driving duties because all four of us are lovers of that fine liquid.

Continue to explore the depths of that wonderful website, Familysearch. Not a month goes by without me finding wonderful resources on that website. Even though I rant and rave about how good things were when we read films at LDS centres, I am very ready to wander off to the library and spend so time reading parish records. Gosh some are indexed and even have a button to get to the actual entry.  I am wondering how my computer room can become an official centre for this website so that I can avoid the travel. I would consider letting a few researchers use my computer for a coffee or two.

Continue editing this newsletter. Robert increased my salary again so I agreed to do another few newsletters. Hang on! 20% increase on a base rate of $0 is WHAT???? Maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to agree! Maybe I can convince a few more people to contribute articles. I'm working on it.

Continue to enjoy my hobby and never to forget that it is a hobby and time-wasting occupation.

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. 

33.  …and now for something a little bit technical…GailDNA

Most of the time, I have attempted to keep my articles for this newsletter simplified.  I have not had any complaints so I assume that style has been working.  However, I understand that many of you from all over the world read these articles and that many of you have been loyal readers of Robert’s Famnet for ages, so I found myself wondering if it wasn’t time to get a bit more technical, especially for the STR results that the men order via having their YDNA tested. 

Just to recap.  You know already that there are 111 positions on the Y chromosome that are used for genealogical testing (not paternity testing, which looks at different aspects) and these are broken into panels consisting of 12, 25, 37, 67 and 111 positions.  We now have 500 positions in total but a nice easy tidy way of comparing these has not yet been worked out.  Each of those positions can be seen via a YDNA project – all have names which are visible at the top of the column. Here is an example

Screen Shot 2019-01-18 at 2

Screen Shot 2019-01-18 at 2


The first one is DYS393, followed by DYS390, followed in turn by DYS19 and so on.  DYS is the scientific name for a short tandem repeat (STR) of sequences found on the Y chromosome.  “D” stands for DNA, “Y” stands for Y chromosome and “S” is a segment.

Say you have the result of 13 at DYS393, this means the lab has found your cells carry 13 repeats of a particular sequence of nucleotides at that specific position.  When your results of the remainder of the markers/positions on your Y chromosome are compared with those of another male, the sameness (or difference) indicates whether you could be part of that other man’s family – remembering the haplogroup must also be taken into account by the genetic genealogist.

Here is where the comparisons can get interesting“Genetic Distance” (GD) is a measure of the difference between you and another tester.  If another person’s results were identical to yours GD would be zero, and you’d be certain that you and the other tester were descended from the same male ancestor.  If there were two changes, say DYS393 was 12 and DYS390 was 26, then GD would be 2 and a common male ancestor is still likely, but not as certain. 

When you were conceived, your cells began dividing and copying and duplicating and eventually, you ended up with 46 very special unique chromosomes tucked away in the nucleus of your cells.  But occasionally, one of the processes will hiccup and a space remains blank.  That ‘blankness’ is not usually tolerated by nature, particularly around the palindrome – where the Y chromosome curves.  As a result, nature simply performs a duplication so that the space is filled. 

Look at DYS459 displaying 10-10, then look at DYS454 displaying 15-15-16-16 and CDY 41-41.

On their own, there is nothing spectacular about such a result, but there are three of them!  This is a strong indication that a recLOH event has occurred.  (Genetic Recombinational Loss of Heterozygosity).   All three of these markers are on the same palindrome, where the DNA loops back on itself several times.

But what does this mean for the researcher?

One important outcome is that the genetic distances (GD) between the testers can be other than that which is expected.  If a person has two recLOHs that caused a 3-step change on one marker and a 2-step change on another marker, such as 385=14-14 and CDY=34-34, whereas another match has 385=11-14 and CDY=34-36, then his GD will seem to be 5 but it is really 2. 

It is all about comparisons.  Therefore, when you are looking at your YDNA matches in your FTDNA account, you would be wise to also see what the actual STR values are and do not rely on either the GD or the TIP report.  Although each of them is helpful, they can put you on the wrong track.

To see the STR results of your match, ask him which project he has joined and get his kit number and go look.  With luck, the match will be in the same project as one which you have also joined.  Being in the same project will make it easier for you to compare.  But if not, you may prefer to simply ask for a copy of your match’s STR results.  Then you can simply line these results up against your own.  (Using Excel makes this task easier).  You may even be fortunate enough to have an Administrator of your project who is willing to help you.

There is a great deal of information about recLOH events on the internet, so just google…

Gail Riddell

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Index so far

Jan’s Jottings

We have just had a South Island Tour with Mike Higgins from FamilySearch.  This Tour was a success!!! I think so anyway - would love some feedback from those who could attend.

Here is what happened, so you can watch out in case we can repeat this event next year. Mike was able to take advantage of the Tour to visit Family History Centres and LDS Churches en route. He also called on local Libraries to discuss the question of becoming an Affiliate Library. This procedure is easier now compared to what we had to do some years ago when National Library, Auckland City Library and the NZSG Library became Affiliate Libraries. Now, because the films have been digitized, actual film rolls are no longer posted from Salt Lake City to the Library. So, no storage place needed, no posting of rolls of film, no film readers needed.  Much easier!!  The benefit being that resources that are only able to be read in a Family History Library, mostly can also be read in an Affiliate Library. Wonderful. Check with your local Library just in case they are interested.

We organised 12 places for lectures and/or discussion time. Christchurch was first with a Discussion Time With Jan in the afternoon and then Mike spoke about FamilySearch in the evening, giving an update and background info on what is available for free on the internet. Jan gave her Cake Tin and your Places presentation. Good crowd of 50+.

Then to Dunedin where Mike spoke at the LDS Church on Thur and Jan spoke at the Library on Fri night. Good crowds again.

We were going to stop in Gore on the way through, but they were not able to organise a venue. In Invercargill for Saturday night with Mike. Sunday morning Jan had a Discussion Session and a demo of FamilySearch in the Library. Then to Cromwell where a small group joined in with a demo on FamilySearch etc.

Monday we were taken to lunch at Wanaka and then Mike and Jan gave their presentations. Jan flew back to Auckland Monday night and Mike and his wife travelled on the Tue to the West Coast and Mike gave his presentation at Hokitika on Wednesday, then Westport on Friday and Nelson on Saturday.

What a trip!! But well worth it to see the scenery; the way genealogists are working in with their local Libraries; the way they welcomed speakers; the way they appreciated learning more about FamilySearch.

Special thanks to My Heritage who gave a Complete Subscription to those groups hosting a meeting to raffle and cover any venue hire expenses. There were no other expenses. This sub is worth over $300 so was very well received.

When, and if, you think a Tour would be a good idea in your area, let me know!!  

This year we will have some overseas speakers here for our Expo in August - we may be able to organise tours. In 2018 one overseas speaker travelled north of Auckland pre-Expo, to give lectures and another travelled Waikato/Rotorua area post Expo. The host group organised the venue etc. Sometimes a speaker’s fee is needed and something towards travel. Each was $50. What works well is for someone to offer to be the driver!!  They use their car and receive the $50 for petrol etc from each venue. This means the overseas visitor gets a chance to see some of New Zealand (we can plan the sightseeing drive) and transport is straight forward. Of course, this method depends on the length of time available and the route decided on. BUT, if you think there is a chance that you would like to be the driver in your vehicle, please let me know!!! Even if just between A and a close B.  All ideas, suggestions, thoughts welcome!!

If you don't have a group/branch with regular meetings in your area, still let me know your thoughts. Because, and this is something near and dear to my heart, we may be able to work in with your local Library. Some offered accommodation. Some offered a meeting venue. Some offered marketing space - posters etc.

Remember - we can't HUG on the internet!!  And we so need to be able to hug and learn and share with each other.


Here is a fun site to look at

Just one person's research to show 'famous' people.  Charles Darwin is my cousin so he is always a good name to check. click on Erasmus Darwin and you can see the WARING family. Back to Thomas of Lea Hall. It notes that Thomas is Princess Di's 12 x great grandfather. He is also my gg great whatever grandfather!!!  Interesting.  Needs checking, but way down on the todo list!! 

Another interesting site is You can tell I have been checking all sorts of sites over the holiday break!! 

Remember, just because it is on the internet, does not mean it is true!!  Check, check, check.

This year's Hooked on Genealogy Tour leaves 10 May. Our 27th year!!  Oh boy, what changes we have seen. Preparing for the Tour is not so essential - did I say that????!!!!  Not really correct, but the preparation is a little different. So, we have three preparation seminars before the Tour. So that the time we have for preparation is well and constructively used. I remember my first time, in 1981, with NO preparation because I had not really thought about family history - but had won the airfare and was not going to waste that!!  My memories of that visit are of feeling 'sea sick' reading the films, and realising that I had mixed the couples in one family and that I only looked for Macdonald and not McDonalds as well!!  But I came away Hooked on Genealogy for sure!!!  We have three weeks in SLC on our Hooked on Genealogy Tour and NO ONE wants to leave!! Then we have three weeks in the UK.  Just email if you would like more info.

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Wairarapa Wandering

A Colonist’s Gaze by John E Martin

AdeleAfter the book launch in October, at Events Centre Carterton, for the book written by parliamentary historian, John E Martin, I emailed him to suggest that a book be signed by both him and Mayor, John Booth, which would then be sent over to Kendal, where Charles Rooking Carter came from, and whom the book was about. Both men agreed. So, it was left to Adele to organize it. This was easier said than done, but finally it was arranged and John Martin came up to Carterton Council to sign a book for Kendal.    Then I contacted John Banks, ex Carterton resident, living up in Auckland, who said he would love a book and asked where he could buy it. When I had a word with our mayor John, he said no, we will sign another book and send it on to John Banks as he is ex Carterton… so this is still to be done shortly.


The book is most interesting, and very well researched both here and in England not only by John because I assisted him when I went home to England in 2004, I visited Kendal. I even had an article in the local paper a week prior to my visit and had said to the editor, if you print it, I will come in and thank you. This I did, and editor really did not believe that I would keep my word. 


Charles Rooking CARTER came from an area called Stricklandgate, Kendal. He worked with a John BROCKLEBANK.  Pat Brocklebank, a member of NZSG here in NZ, is a descendant of John, and she assisted the author with research in Kendal when he could not visit there.


Talking of contacts, I had several in Derbyshire which were worth their weight in gold as they were near the churchyard that Mrs Rooking Carter was buried in. She died at Buxton, but was buried at Burbage in a lovely churchyard. The time I was there the daffodils were all out and making a lovely scene with old headstones, Jean’s one was 1895. Charles died the following year, but in Wellington, NZ and buried at Clareville. Having been told where she was buried, both John and I were able to find it so quickly.  I know what some churchyards are like, you can search for ages for a headstone.


Then whilst I was in Derbyshire, I did some research on Samuel OATES who came from Codnor and his wife was from Monyash. I even stayed in a B & B near Jane’s old homestead!


The book for Charles is called A Colonist’s Gaze, to me, it's great reading, easy to read.


When it was going to the book launch, I arranged for Geraldine Travers to receive an invitation as well because, surprisingly enough, her ancestor was a witness to the wedding of Jane and Charles at St James. Westminster in 1850 and came to Carterton in 1879.


I just love doing this history. Perhaps if schools changed their attitude to history, more people would enjoy it.  I was always bottom of my class at school with History. I am now doing some history of my old school with a connection to NZ during WW2, and am waiting to hear from them at present.


Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Digging Into Historical Records  

 Northern Steam Ship Company – Opunake Branch


My great-grandfather, Walter Lawrence Frederick Chambers (1867-1932), took over the Opunake agency for this company from David Markham in December 1911. [1] A ledger, kept by him covering the period 1912-1917, has survived within the Chambers family records and has been transcribed. [2] Interpreting the information recorded is problematic as there is nothing in the register to indicate what these are all about.

If it is assumed that the information, as presented, takes the standard form of a ledger then it records purchases made by people and businesses from Auroa, Awatuna, Eltham, Hawera, Kaponga, Kaupokonui, Manaia, New Plymouth, Oaonui, Oeo, Opunake, Otakeho, Pihama, Puniho, Rahotu, and Te Kiri. These are recorded on the left-hand side of the page and the payments made for the same, often at a later date, are recorded on the right.

Although the volume is rich with dates, names and figures there is little else to be gleaned other than a timeline that can be superimposed on what may already be known. If the Company’s Opunake Branch Journal (or daily transaction diary) survived it would reveal the nature of the transactions.

William Kingston Connell (1852-1930), the proprietor of Middleton’s Hotel, had an account recorded in the ledger. Most of the entries are in keeping with ownership of the hotel up to mid-November 1912. George Gibbs advertised on 29 November 1912 that he had purchased Middleton’s Hotel from Connell. [3]

Another account in the ledger is titled “K. Connell” and the first and last entries are 18 April 1912 and 23 May 1917 respectively. This doesn’t obviously fit with it being William Kingston Connell as he, with his wife Hannah and six of their 10 living children, had moved to Wellington by July 1914. His eldest son, John Connell, became the new proprietor of the Royal Hotel on Lambton Quay. [4,5]

For the period of interest, no evidence has been found of another Connell family in Opunake. Perhaps this account was William Kingston’s family account and it had remained open for the benefit of his newly married second son, Charles Connell, who remained at Opunake after his parents left?

The first block of entries finish in mid-November 1912 and then recommence in April 1913. Charles Connell married Minnie Josephine Murphy at the Roman Catholic Church, Opunake on 04 June 1913. [6] The following year Charles was listed as an assistant hotelkeeper. [7]

The Connell and Murphy families were particularly afflicted by War and Influenza and further details are recorded in a “1918 Census” of Opunake Influenza victims [8] and an article titled “When Influenza came to Coastal Taranaki” published in the Opunake & Coastal News on 20 December 2018. By 1920 William Kingston and Hannah Connell had lost five of their children and at least one grand-child.

On the 4th May 1913 George Gibbs (1849-1926) applied for a Publican’s License for Middleton’s Hotel, containing 28 rooms, exclusive of those required for the use of the family, and of which I am the owner. [10] His account in the ledger commenced in March 1913 and ended in November 1913. There was also a single entry for his son William George Gibbs (1889-1984) for a purchase(s) made on 04 May 1913 valued at £1 7s 11d. This was paid by cash on 30 Jun 1913.

On 01 July 1914 George Gibbs applied to transfer the Publican’s License to Albert Edward Brunette (1861-1938), who had purchased the said house and premises. [11] Brunette’s account commenced on 19 May 1914 and the last entry was dated 30 November 1917. Kate Mickelson included a biographical entry about the Brunette family in her book “The Clearing – A History of Opunake” (1989).

For Walter Lawrence Frederick Chambers, he had his own account, as a carter, for the period January 1912 to September 1913. From April to June 1913 he references himself in the accounts of the Opunake Town Board, hotelkeeper Thomas Knowles, blacksmith John William Eversfield and W. G. Emery. For 1914, 1915 and 1917 he appears in sections of the ledger labelled “Sundry account” or “Sundries.” These are small amounts with often unclear purchase dates. Payment dates are not always shown either. In August, October and November 1917 the purchases were for the same amount – 2s 6d – and only the November entry is recorded as being paid for. Working out what all this means will require a future research mission.


[1] Opunake Times 20 and 23 Dec 1911 Northern Steam Ship Company Advertisements

[2] Northern Steamship Company Ledger – Opunake Branch 1912-1917

[3] Opunake Times 29 Nov 1912

[4] Evening Post 08 Jul 1914 Advertisement – John Connell, new proprietor, Royal Hotel

[5] Wellington North Electoral Roll 1914

[6] Opunake Times 10 Jun 1913 Wedding Bells Connell-Murphy

[7] Egmont Electoral Roll 07 Oct 1914

[8] Opunake Influenza Deaths 1918-1919

[9] Opunake & Coastal News -


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

 A Hargee Villager Who Produced some World Class Winemakers. tiny Hargee village is situated on a small island in Southern China, just a few hours north of Hong Kong. Small may be the number of local families there, but their surname, Chan, was for ages proudly the world’s biggest.


One local Chan family, headed by Chan Ming Fun, aka Chang Shing Lee, had seven sons and 1 daughter. From a Chinese perspective, this combination is extremely auspicious. It was often admired as “seven stars accompany the moon”. This fortunate omen and his name foretold how he contributed to the world.  His name Shing Lee, in Chinese, means to be victorious. He was highly respected (nothing to do with his ability to beget sons!) due to his skills and knowledge of herbal medicines. Apart from saving the life of several local villagers he soon was fondly called Chan Gu – because of his reputation of being a trained Kung Fu Master.


In the training of Martial Arts, the mandatory skills in treating serious injuries are paramount. How would pupils survive if master lacked the knowledge? The use of herbal medicines was the key to treat all types of injuries. To utilise some herbs in various secret formulas, the use of several forms of alcohol was essential. This would entail pupils to learn the art of fermenting rice into rice wine, ending with its natural final alcoholic strength. This then required the wine to be distilled into a really fiery spirit. No doubt Ching Shing Lee was an ardent student, and absorbed it all.  It is no surprise to learn that another discovery by ancient China was the art of distillation. In fact, a model of a model of a distilling system is displayed in a British Museum, featuring Chinese inventions.


The Chinese words for alcoholic spirit are aptly named “burn wine”, which it is. Even before recorded times alcohol and the Chinese population were never strangers. The sheer size and environmental factors endowed China with more edible plants and fruit than most countries. Even the insects have a liking for wines made by mother nature. Have you ever seen drunken insects staggering around fermenting fruits, but unable to fly?


Although a Kung Fu Master, Chan Shing Lee started a business making rice wines and rice spirits. This occupation would naturally attract those with a discerning palate. It was this one attribute that would later prove to be his greatest gift to his descendants. It was this special gene that enabled his third son Stanley and his grandsons Kenneth, Gilbert, David and Albert; and great grandson Benjamin Chan, to all become winemakers and liqueurists. So sharp is this inherited ability to blend and harmonise flavours in the wines and liqueurs, that Kenneth was able to make Totara Vineyards in Thames known internationally.


Over the years he created the world’s first kiwifruit liqueur; pioneered the first NZ wine to Ohio, USA; exported the first NZ wine to Montreal, Canada; won top award for a coffee liqueur exported to USA by container loads; won every gold medal, excepting one, for pure grape juices.  In 1966, they were one of the first NZ wineries to enter international competitions; winning Gold and Silver awards for Wines and Liqueurs.


The Chan family at Totara Vineyards put Thames on NZ’s map for producing premium wines. The total awards won over the years for the wines, liqueurs, and grape juices, would be about 500.


Meanwhile, youngest brother Albert in Australia emphatically proved how sharp was his inherited gift of discernment. His talent was quickly noticed by the Australian wine export board. They invited him to be a member. The board checks all the wines before they allowed it to be exported. He became the youngest member, and also a Chinese Kiwi, to sit on the board.


Even when Albert was studying at Roseworthy College, his Professor advised Lindeman’s talent scout that Albert had the best palate for judging wines. Lindemans was Australia’s biggest wine company, and they promptly signed him up just before he graduated. After a short time, he rose to be the time winemaker for Lindemans. This role made him supervise 17 others under him, and he often flew all over Australia to help them plan their work.


Another honoured place Albert was invited into was to serve as a wine judge at National wine competitions. During the years at Lindenmans, Albert successfully secured the majority of the wine trophies for the company in the Australian wine competitions.


From 1950 to perhaps 2000, Totara Vineyards was the only Chinese family in Australasia that operated a commercial wine company. The world’s wine lovers would surely drink a toast to Ching Shing Lee for his evergreen gift of talent to enable his family group from Hargee Village  to produce trophy wines for all to enjoy.


(Ken Chan Auckland 8/1/14) 


Totara Vineyards is located in Waikato, which sits on the western side of the North Island of New Zealand. Established over 50 years by Stanley Young Chan, it is named after a native, and very tall, New Zealand tree. Totara does not have much in the way of vineyards itself, so the fruit is sourced from various regions in New Zealand, such as Marlborough, Nelson, Hawkes Bay and Central Otago. The Wines Stanley Young Chan’s son, Gilbert Chan, is the winemaker at Totara. The fruit and wines all undergo extensive sorting and assemblage in the winery to ensure that the wines are of the highest quality possible, and show their true varietal character. The aim is for the wines, made from varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, to have a point of difference, and be food-friendly.


The history of the Vineyards, begins many years ago, with Grandfather Chan Ming Fun. 


Helen Wong

Guest Contributors

Ken Morris

From the Editor: Our regular occasional contributor Ken Morris cannot concentrate enough to write a contribution this month. It seems that he is on his way to Antarctica next month and cannot focus on anything else. I hope that he records any monumental inscriptions he may find down there.

But he has submitted the following for your pleasure:



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

Heritage Talks

I’m pleased to say that we are getting into a rhythm now with our recording and uploading our HeritageTalks (where we have the speakers’ permissions).

Lisa Truttman is a regular on our programme and gave an awesome talk for our 2017 Auckland Heritage Festival about Te Wai Horotiu and amassed a huge amount of research. Enough to come back in 2018 and do a Part 2!

A lot of people came to the 2018 talk, and wished they’d come to the one in 2017!

I’m sure you all find Lisa a knowledgeable and entertaining speaker, as I do.

Here are direct links to both talks for your listening pleasure

Lisa Truttman - Wai Horotiu: Queen Street's Hidden Stream

Lisa Truttman - The People of Wai Horotiu

You may want to subscribe to our Soundcloud channel so you are alerted to other recordings coming online as they happen:

KURA – Heritage Collections online at Auckland Libraries

I'd like to introduce you to "Kura" our Heritage Collections Online portal. Kura means treasured or valued possessions.

The amalgamation of our various libraries in 2010 when Auckland Council was created, meant we had a large number of databases in various different formats. Even just the old Auckland City databases were themselves all in different database formats.

The last couple of years our IS and Digital Services people, in conjunction with our Heritage teams have been working away to adapt a CMS (content management system) to pull all our databases over into one place, so people no longer have to search individual databases and can now do one search across multiple collections.

Around 650,000 existing digitised records have been brought into Kura from our other databases, with approximately 1.8 million existing records  still to go. Alot of images have been rescanned to take advantage of the better technology available today, and meta data has been tidied up to make searching easier.

A bunch of new never-before-digitised and / or published online records have also been added to Kura such as:

We will be continuously bringing over our existing collections, and adding new ones. So keep an eye out. Those that haven't moved over yet are still available in their old places, in their databases.

In the meantime, have a look at our library website - -  you can access Kura from either the banner at the top (which is there temporarily) or from Heritage Collections, which is their permanent place.

Don't forget the golden rule of using new websites/databases - check out the help pages to make sure you are getting the most out of your experience:

And it’s totally FREE for all to access, and no membership to Auckland Libraries is required!

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


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.


 Websites worth visiting:

England Websites Wiki – you may be familiar with most of this, but is worth another read and it is quite interesting.

Here is another site to look at after you have looked at the other one.





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


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:

How not to bore people with Genealogy

The Future of Online Trees                           

Back In My Day: Old Genealogy Techniques You Should Be Using Today d Genealogy Techniques You Should Be Using Today

Books, Ownership, and Copyright

Genealogy Photos and Copyrights

The Dark side of DNA Testing

By  Paul Lungen, Staff Reporter published in The Canadian Jewish News  -



Gail (our DNA expert) comments: Unfortunately, not a balanced article, nevertheless the points raised are valid. testing and tracing one’s family roots are pretty popular endeavours these days, but they’re also big business, and one with a potentially dark side, according to Julia Creet, a professor of English who has a longstanding interest in family heritage matters.

There are questions of privacy and of the lack of compensation given to people who provide these companies with their valuable DNA, said Creet.

“People don’t realize that the DNA they’re giving to see if they’re 50 per cent this or 23 per cent that, that information you’re giving to a genealogical company is much more valuable than what you get in return,” she said.

In 2017, Creet produced a documentary on the subject called Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family. She will present the film and lead a discussion about its findings at an event sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto on Jan. 27 at the Shaarei Shomayim synagogue.

The discussion will focus on the question of who owns the DNA you entrust to a DNA company and what uses it can be put to.

Creet said her research showed that the DNA people willingly provide to companies has tremendous financial value.

“All the information is being sold to the pharmaceutical industry,” she said. “They want it for research. If you know the disease profile and you know the genealogy, you can start to trace disease patterns through a family.”

Creet doesn’t believe that pharmaceutical companies are using the DNA for nefarious purposes, saying that, “They want to develop pharmaceuticals to help.”

But the information they are getting – DNA, family histories – has financial value, which is not being realized by the people who send their saliva samples to the big genetic testing companies, she said. “You’re giving away your most private information to get back a report on your blood lines.”

The pharmaceutical companies that obtain the genetic material are not bound by privacy issues that constrain the DNA companies, she warned.

“Everybody says that DNA is the Wild West of privacy now. Companies are making big money by using your DNA and we don’t know how this information will be used in the future. Who will get access to this information in the end? Insurance companies? It’s a gold mine for them if they get hold of it.”

DNA has been used in other ways not contemplated by those who provided it, she continued. In the United States, police used a DNA database to help solve a murder cold case that had been inactive for 40 years. They had collected a DNA sample from the crime scene, but could find no match. They created a fake profile and sent the sample to a company that collects DNA and matches people with their relatives. Police received two matches of distant relatives of the killer. They then located relatives of the people who had provided their DNA to the company and made an arrest.

DNA tests have helped people piece together their family trees. (Shutterstock photo)

While DNA was used for a laudable purpose in that case, the way it was used is problematic, Creet suggested.

“Regardless of whether we think it’s a good thing, the flip side of it is that now there are estimates that 60 per cent of white Americans can be identified, whether they gave DNA or not,” she said.

“My goal is to get people to think what it means to submit a DNA sample. It’s not a benign enterprise. You’re not being compensated and you have very little control over the DNA you give.

“We lose control of our most private information when we send it to these companies. There is less control over DNA privacy than Facebook privacy. It’s really quite frightening how little government oversight there is over the industry.” 

12 Weird Things Our Ancestors Did

If you believe that people were less eccentric in the past than they are today, think of their fashions and traditions. Maybe you’ll change your opinion.

Bright Side has gathered a few things that our ancestors thought normal. We found out we’re not so odd after all.


12. First and second sleep

Europeans who lived in the Middle Ages practiced what we now call biphasic sleep. The first sleep started at sunset and lasted until about midnight; then people would wake up and stay awake for 2-3 hours. Some used that time to pray or read, and some spent it with their family or neighbors. Then came the time of the second sleep, which lasted until sunrise.


11. Live alarm clocks

A knocker-upper was a profession that existed from the mid-18th century until the 1950s. Their job was to wake people who had to get up early. They knocked on their clients’ windows with sticks or shot at them with peashooters. It’s unclear who woke up the knocker-uppers, but there’s a version that they didn’t go to bed before work at all.


10. Dresses for boys

From the 16th century and until around 1920, it was customary for little boys up until a certain age (4-8 years) to wear dresses. The main reason was perhaps the high cost of clothing: dresses were easier to make "to grow into." The tradition didn’t bypass even royal families: this photo depicts Alexei, the son of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II, in a dress similar to those worn by his sisters.


9. Chopines

Chopines, also known as zoccoli or pianelle, are a kind of platform shoe up to 50 cm (20 in) high. Small wonder that those who wore them required the help of servants in order not to literally fall victim to fashion. Admittedly, chopines were worn not just out of style consciousness but also so as not to stain the wearer’s clothes in street mud.


8. Bloodletting against all diseases

This treatment mode was popular for 2,000 years up until the early 20th century. Bloodletting was practiced to treat any ailment and often did more harm than good, weakening the patient even further.



7. Poor hygiene

In some medieval countries, people believed that water only brought illness to man, and lice were called “the pearls of God.“ These beliefs were shared even by monarchs. Isabella I of Castille was proud of the fact that she only washed twice in her life: at birth and before her wedding. According to one testimony, a cavalier once made a comment upon her dirty hands and nails, to which the Queen replied, ”Oh, if only you could see my feet!"



6. Post-mortem photos

Another custom that today seems very bizarre. However, in the 19th century, it was a way to preserve the memory of deceased loved ones. As a rule, the dead bodies were fashioned to appear alive in the photograph: they were seated in natural poses, and eyes were drawn on their closed eyelids, as in the image above.



5. Radioactive beauty products

In the early 20th century, radiation was perceived exclusively as a positive phenomenon, which swindlers didn’t fail to take advantage of: you could buy cosmetics, food, and drinks enriched with radium and thorium, radioactive souvenirs, and even devices for saturating water with radioactive elements.


Sadly, there were casualties. Athlete Eben Byers drank huge doses of the radium-based medicine Radithor, which led to his death. The Wall Street Journal reacted to this sad incident with a headline reading "The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off."


4. Heroin as a cough remedy

Surprisingly, 100 years ago, heroin was considered a harmless alternative to morphine and was sold in pharmacies as a cough medicine. It was even recommended for children. It was later discovered that heroin turns into morphine in the liver, and in 1924 its use was prohibited. In Germany, however, it was only outlawed in 1971.


3. Smoking onboard planes

As recently as 50 or 60 years ago, smoking wasn’t regarded as that bad a habit. People didn’t deny themselves this dubious pleasure even during flights, regardless of the presence of other passengers. Today smoking in planes is prohibited, but in a number of countries (such as in Iran) the ban hasn’t been implemented.


2. Bathing machines

Unlike us, people in the 18th and 19th centuries couldn’t just go into the water on the beach. They had to use bathing machines: special carts that looked like beach huts. The carts were driven into the water so that bathers could swim without any prying eyes watching them. Furthermore, women’s bathing machines were set some distance away from men’s.



1. Rocks as toilet paper

The list of things people used before the invention of toilet paper could go on and on. It includes plant leaves, corn cobs, coconut shells, sheep wool and cloth (for those who could afford them), sponge on a stick, or just water. But the Ancient Greeks surprised us the most: for certain hygienic purposes, they used rocks, pebbles, or shards of pottery.

Preview photo credit Museum of Fine Arts Boston 





Family Tree

Australian Newspapers - Trove


Australia-sewing machine 1938Using newspapers is very valuable resource in doing family history. Using Trove (National Library of Australia), will assist those who had ancestors living, visiting or working in Australia. However, just like all newspapers, they also carried news events / happenings in other countries. So any unusual or special events in the United States or England could very well have an article in any of the Australian newspapers.

This site, which is updated monthly, has 19,611,574 pages consisting of 191,179,129 articles available to search. The years covered range from the 1820s, all Australia-Kershaw-1896through the 19th century and into the 20th century into the 1980s.

Finding about weddings and death notices can be of great value. Use the search box at the top to place a surname. If you find an article of interest in the list after the search, click on it to bring up the article. The best part, there will also to the left be a transcription of the newspapers article for easier reading and to copy / paste the contents. If there is a photo with a specific article, then that image is enlarged for you.


An example: Death notice of Abraham Kershaw, in the newspaper Australian Town and Country Journal – Sydney for May 2, 1896. There is a full obituary write-up and a photo of the deceased. It tells of his arrival in Sydney on Christmas Day 1837 on a ship bring English convicts to the Australian colony.

A reminder in your search, if you are using two or more words, such a person’s full name or a hometown, do place quote marks around the words. It helps narrow down the results.

Looking up the types of merchandise, cars, foods available to families in a specific time period can be found using the newspapers also. Select a location and a time range then scan over the papers.

There is lots to view with Trove since there are so many different newspapers over a wide range of dates.

Photos: Abraham Kershaw 1896 (a portion of the death notice) and 1938 foot operated sewing machine in Sydney.

How genealogists can make best use of The Gazette

Else Churchill explains how to bolster your research using The Gazette and the Society of Genealogist's rich (and varied) resources.

old photos

Genealogists have long made extensive use of The Gazette, well before its digitisation.

Rich in names, The London Gazette – as the official organ of state, containing court and government announcements since 1665 – has been a fantastic source for family historians eager to add to the basic knowledge of the name, dates of birth, marriage and death on their pedigrees.

In many cases, we may not know exactly when or where an ancestor was born, or who they married or when they died, but by getting a glimpse of what they did, or what happened to them on a particular day, we can use the term used by many early genealogists – that our ancestor was ‘flourishing’ at that time or that place.

How is The Gazette a useful resource for genealogists?

The official notices are wide-ranging and cover many different strata of society. You will find notice of appointments and promotions to the church and for officers in the armed forces and militia; grants of peerages; medal awards of gallantry and citations; and of course, it’s the first place to look if you have an ancestor in the forces who was mentioned in despatches.

You can find your ancestors changing their name or being naturalised as a British subject (from 1886) (Gazette 25622). And there are innumerable references to ancestors being declared bankrupt, dissolving business partnerships or liquidating companies. Creditors petitioned the lord chancellor, who issued a commission of bankruptcy requiring the debtor to surrender themselves and their property to a commissioner – with the commission published in The Gazette.

Mark Herber, in his invaluable guide ‘Ancestral Trails’, shows typical examples from a London Gazette of 26 January 1788, reporting the appointments of Thomas Keates as the Queen’s surgeon; the Revd James Jones as archdeacon of Hereford; and William Stapleton as cornet in the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons (Gazette issue 12958). There are also several announcements of bankruptcy, including Michael Hubert, a dealer and chapman of Liverpool, and Mark Allegre Bennett, a merchant dealer and chapman of Great Russel Street, Bloomsbury.

Clearly, 1788 wasn’t a good year to be a chapman or general shopkeeper. Creditors of John Johnson of Newton cum Larton, Cheshire and of William Dymock of Oxford Street, London were requested to present proof of debts that were due to them. There is also an advertisement seeking Abraham Green (a son of Abraham Green of Ipswich, peruke (wig) maker) which if he makes himself known ‘will hear something to his advantage’. The partnership of Andrew Primrose and John Manhull, linen draper of Putney in Surrey, was dissolved. 

The London Gazette of Tuesday 4 November 1941 states that Maud Louisa Law, ‘spinster’ of Clapton in London, intends henceforth to be known as Maud Louisa Francis, while Harry Weightman of Sutton in Ashfield abandoned the surname of Weightman and adopted the surname of Waring (Gazette issue 35335).

Many appointments of prominent people who held public or royal office are recorded, without omitting to mention that George Ernest Tertious Swinfield was appointed (without competition) a postman in Leicester in 1958 (Gazette issue 41478).

The research of Ralph Hall

Many genealogists have trawled through London, Belfast and Edinburgh Gazettes to discover useful information. Ralph Hall, a member of the Society of Genealogists from 1956 until his death in 1998, was an indefatigable indexer and transcriber. One of his great labours of love was to make extracts (in pre-computer days) from The London Gazette and other 17th-century sources.

These extracts were carefully compiled on his manual typewriter, in the days before The Gazette was digitised, to create a street by street listing of Londoners. He created not only name-rich genealogical resources for family historians to draw upon, but also an insight into London life and trade in the 17th century. His labours have created some 20,000 names, which are now online for members to view on the SoG database.

While the Little London Directory of 1677 was the first and oldest published list of merchants and bankers of London, Ralph Hall pored over numerous entries from The London Gazette to create, in effect, a directory for the City of London from 1665 to 1700. He included extensive research on London booksellers, printers and signboards, and added to Gazette entries extracts from the historical survey of London, which was initiated by the then London County Council, now under the auspices of English Heritage and the Centre for Metropolitan History (with the volumes available online on the British History Online website).

There are many references to state papers domestic from The National Archives during the reigns of Charles II, James II and William and Mary (calendars can be found on British History Online) and on the State Papers Online website (institutional subscription required). Having found Mr Hall’s brief indexed entry from The London Gazette on the Society of Genealogists’ database, one can see the full, digitised entry free on website. Thus we can find entries to Mr Pinder, ‘Coffee-man’ at the Guildhall Coffee House on King Street near the Guildhall in the 1680s (Gazette issue 2095).

Unclaimed estates and missing heirs

Innumerable publications drew on the lists of unclaimed estates in The Gazette, publishing the names that may be the missing heirs. The separate appendices in the printed Gazettes listing dormant funds in court were the source of many people thinking they might have ‘money in chancery’, as these lists were widely republished in the many directories looking for next of kin, such as that published by F. Dougal & Co, ‘Index Register of Next of Kin Notices […] who have been advertised for or are entitled to vast sums of money and property in Great Britain and the colonies since 1685’. 

The republished notices are uninformative, giving little more than a surname, but they certainly encouraged many in the misguided belief that they might be heirs to fortunes. Copies of these and other such ‘next of kin’ directories are to be found at the Society of Genealogists.

The London Gazette provided many example of searches for next of kin or missing persons. In 1712, the family of Richard Horniblow were concerned. ‘Aged 22 and of a dark complection, his hair black and thin, and something distracted, he went away from his parents living at Crowle near Worcester about 22 May last, in a brown Coat and Hurden Frock. If he will return to his Parents he shall be kindly received: And if any person will give notice to Mr Matthew Worton, Bookseller at the Three Daggers near the Inner Temple Gates in Fleet Street, where the said Richard Horniblow may be spoken with, he shall have 10sh reward and reasonable Charges’ (Gazette issue 5803).

The Colonial Probates Act 1892 (royal assent, Gazette issue 26290) ensured that notice was given of the estates of British people who died abroad. As a result, many next of kin notices appear in other newspapers as well as the Gazette, commonly the Times, Telegraph and News of the World. A directory of such notices published in the News of the Worldbetween about 1906 and 1911, known as ‘Missing Heirs and Next of Kin was published in 1918, and a copy can be found at the Society of Genealogists. A typical notice might read ‘GRAY (William) last heard of Quay Street, Sydney, in 1879. He or his heirs may benefit by communicating with B. Prendergast, 41 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia’. There were certainly enough missing persons being sought so they could learn something to their advantage.

And I think that any genealogist who uses The Gazette will learn something to their advantage.

About the author

Else Churchill is a genealogist at the Society of Genealogists.

The Society of Genealogists is the UK’s national family history centre. Its library in Clerkenwell holds copies of family and local history sources, finding aids, indexes, unique research notes, pedigrees and special archive collections. The library also has free onsite internet access to major genealogical databases, and many of the society’s unique collections are digitised and made available for members on the society’s website.

Genealogy help and support is offered onsite, online and via a telephone advice line and the society runs an extensive education programme. For more information see

Book Reviews

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

I bought this book for our Kindles, and I read it over Christmas.  The Amazon page for this book does a good job of reviewing it, so I won’t repeat what you can read there, but just add that this a book that I couldn’t put down:  I ended up reading until 4:00AM to finish it.  Mary too is now completely immersed in it, getting up at night to read more.  It’s a book that will stay with us, an incredible story of love and survival in the most appalling conditions.

Heather Morris, a Kiwi living in Australia, was invited by Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov to tell this story:  Lale wanted someone to write his story that would just tell it so that ‘It would never happen again’, someone who would not bring their own baggage to his story.   She has done a superb job.  You should read not only the story itself, but the Author’s Note, and the note from Lale’s son Gary.

Robert Barnes

The Circle of Ceridwen Saga

Readers of this newsletter will know that I love historical novels.   This is the first time that I’d delved into British history before 1066 (one of British history’s two memorable dates).  As above, we purchased these for our Kindles from Amazon.

It is the ninth century, Vikings are conquering the western kingdoms of Britain, and by 871 five of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms have fallen. Ceridwen, to escape the options of unwanted marriage or convent life, joins a caravan on its way to deliver tribute to the Vikings to buy peace.  The first four novels of this saga follow her story, first at Four Stones, the Viking stronghold where she first meets Sidroc, then Kilton in Wessex, and ending up in the Hall of Tyr in Gotland, an island in the Baltic close to the Land of the Svear (Sweden).   In this fourth novel a significant character is Tindr, a mute boy who lives with Ceridwen and Sidroc.  The fifth book tells his story, while the sixth returns to Sidroc and Britain.  The last book, Sidroc the Dane, is a prequel: chronologically the first although written last, this tells the story of Sidroc growing up in Dane-mark, becoming a Viking raider, and ending with his meeting Ceridwen at Four Stones.  I read it last, it might be better to read it first or second.

Obviously, Mary and I loved these books, why else would we have bought more than one, and now be looking forward to the promised 7th saga novel, due later this year?   The books give an authentic picture of the period, but the events, people, and places portrayed are fictional, so just enjoy them as stories.  If you want actual history you can research this through the web: I used Google to research Wessex, Mercia, and some of the history and the places mentioned.  The author’s web site will welcome you, give you some background, and offer you a free copy of the first book.  Also, on offer is a free booklet of 10 medieval recipes: we’ve tried 3 so far.

Randolph writes using archaic words and forms that might take a while to get used to.  Modern English would be easier to read but wouldn’t evoke the historical period, while authentic language of the period would be unintelligible.  Randolph’s compromise works, but it took us a few chapters to become accustomed to it.

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:

Early European Contacts with New Zealand (pre 1846)

For many years I have been collecting data on early European individuals and families who settled or visited New Zealand.

As a project I have developed a genealogical database to try and capture every known instance of Early European contact with New Zealand (starting with the speculative arrival of the Portugese explorer Christopher MENDONCA in 1521! ) and including information through to the end of 1845 when New Zealand had a European population of around 7,000 people.  The database now has around 35,000 names. Where known the database includes genealogical data such as parents, spouses, siblings, children, immigration details etc.

I maintain the database as a genealogical database on Brother’s Keeper but periodically upload the database via gedcom to Famnet and to Rootsweb World Connect (Ancestry) as well as to my own website . This website provides a brief overview of early European history from the time of the first explorers, sealers, whalers, missionaries and so on through to the organised settlement programs of the NZ Company. The website has an associated database of names for look up.

Some of the key sources of information have been:

·         Shipping passenger lists

·         Early Settler’s Roll (Auckland and regions)

·         Jury lists

·         censuses

·         BDMs e.g. Bay of Island’s Anglican church records

·         Newspapers Past

·         The Dictionary of NZ Biography

·         Settler’s databases in local libraries/museums (Petone, Otago, Nelson etc)

·         Hundreds of books. (NZGS FRC in Panmure a good source)

·         Personal communications with hundreds of researchers.

I have previously believed that the database contains in excess of 90% of the potential names but I continually find further information to add to the database or to enable further details to be added and corrections to be made. I now believe that it will be another year or two before I am confident that the database contains in excess of 95% of the potential names.

I would appreciate corresponding with any other researchers who may be able to supply or correct information or who may wish me to provide information by "look up'' from the database.

I would also be interested in collaboration with anyone else who may be interested in further developing these databases.

As a by-product of the above I have also collated a Shipping Arrivals and Departures list for shipping in and around NZ up to the end of 1845. I am happy to make this available to anyone requesting it. (excel format).

I am grateful for all of the information that has already been gathered and which is available on a number of excellent web sites. Sources are available for all information.

Tony Christiansen,

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

Judy Rudd, an amateur genealogy researcher in south east Queensland , was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's great-great uncle, Remus Rudd, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Melbourne in 1889.

Both Judy and Kevin Rudd share this common ancestor.
The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows at the Melbourne Jail.  
On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription:
'Remus Rudd horse thief, sent to Melbourne Jail 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Melbourne-Geelong train six times.
Caught by Victoria Police Force, convicted and hanged in 1889.'

So Judy e-mailed ex-Prime Minister Rudd for information about their great-great uncle, Remus Rudd.
Believe it or not, Kevin Rudd's staff sent back the following for her genealogy research:
"Remus Rudd was famous in Victoria during the mid to late 1800s.

His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Melbourne-Geelong Railroad..
Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.
In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the Victoria Police Force.

In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honour when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."


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