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FamNet eNewsletter January 2014

ISSN 2253-4040


Quote: "There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his." -- Helen Keller


Editorial 1

Editors Request 1

From the Developer 2

QR Codes - More. 2

FamNet proves its value – as a backup. 2

Useful Websites. 3

From Wayne. 3

From Sue. 4

Group News. 5

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 5

News and Views. 5

News from.. 7

Global RootsTech Conference Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule. 7

Book Review.. 9

Community. 10

Advertising with FamNet 10

Ask an Expert 11

Help Offered. 11

Information Wanted etc. 11

Have Your Say – Letters to the Editor 11

In conclusion. 11

A Bit of Light Relief 11

To Unsubscribe. 12

Copyright (Waiver) 12



From Sue Greene

Editors Request

Due to juggling my time between family, FamNet, and Kapiti branch, etc. this newsletter is about a week late. My apologies for this, but unfortunately I cannot guarantee that we’ll do better in the future unless somebody puts their hand up and offers to help. I am putting out a request to members who would be willing to help me with the newsletter. I don’t want to give it up completely but if I don’t get some help I may have to. The job would entail gathering information, sorting it out, putting it into a word document, then the two of us working together to get a final draft ready for sending. It would also require subscribing to other newsletters from which we can use items and contacting places like Archives NZ and other repositories for articles for our newsletter. It is not an onerous job, and on average it would take up to a couple of days per month, but you can spread the work over the whole month between newsletters getting each one ready. Up to you on how you do it. You don’t need to be in Otaki: we’ll use Skype, email, etc to communicate, as Robert and I do now.


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From the Developer

image004From Robert Barnes

QR Codes - More

Last month I introduced the subject of QR Codes, those patterns that are popping up in publications and signs that give anybody with a smartphone easy access to Internet information and services.


FamNet has taken another step in offering this service to its users. You’ll see in the left-hand column there is now another link, “Create QR Code”. Navigate to a page in FamNet and then click this link and you’ll open a page with the QR Code displayed, and buttons that include [Order Plaque with QR Code]. Click this button and you’re sending an email to TimeSigns (a division of Metal Images) and you can start discussing your requirements with them. The email will include a .jpg of the QR Code, and there is an opportunity to add further graphics, and text describing what you want.


One of its early uses will be to create a plaque for my father-in-law’s rugby caps, which are on display in the Barbarians’ club rooms at Mt Eden. We will provide a small plaque with his name and a code linking to a page about him from FamNet. In this way anybody at the clubrooms who wonders “Who was J.A.Pym? and has a smartphone can find out. We plan to update this FamNet page with more information about his rugby playing, including copies of some scrapbook (the real kind) clippings that we have of his games when he played for England in 1912.


Are you interested in using this facility? Let us know and we’ll help. The QR Code page includes facilities to create codes from any Internet page, not just pages from FamNet, so feel free to use this facility not just for family history, but to create plaques for your garden or anything else that you want to document in this way.

FamNet proves its value – as a backup

Recently I was contacted by a user who, in setting up a new computer, had managed to lose his data. He wrote

… What went wrong I do not know, however I did remember producing GEDCOM files a couple of years back and uploaded them into FAMNET. […] Can I upload the GEDCOM data files back from the FAMNET files onto my computer? If this is possible, how do I go about achieving this?


There is currently no way for users to download their FamNet data as a GEDCOM, but it is very easy for me to locate the originally uploaded file and email this back. So if you need to recover your data, just email me and I’ll send it back to you. This will not include any on-line updates, what you get will be the original GEDCOM without any change. I can also include scrapbook objects if you want them.


Over the life of FamNet I’ve had requests like this about three times, so it’s not common and I haven’t felt that I needed to program an automated solution. I’m quite happy to keep doing this: an important part of the value of FamNet is that it provides another repository for your data, just in case.


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Useful Websites

If you know of websites that you think may be helpful to others please either add them yourself, or email Janice or Sue at –

Janice Cornwell or Sue Greene


To find FamNet’s Useful Websites page: either

· Click the [Community] tab on FamNet’s home page. Click the button [Useful Web Sites]. Or

· Click the [General Resource Databases] tab on FamNet’s home page. Locate “Useful Web Sites” in the list of “Other Tables” and click this link.

From Wayne

Irish National War Memorial “The Committee of the Irish National War Memorial recorded some 49,000 names to be published in 1923. Alphabetically listed in eight leather bound volumes, the register was beautifully illustrated by the Irish artist Harry Clarke. The Ypres copy and its original made to measure cabinet are on permanent display in the In Flanders Fields Museum.” Search Ireland’s Memorial Records, by name or military unit, by place of birth (Ireland and UK), by place of burial or commemoration (Belgium).


Australian Genealogy.  Must see free websites for Australian genealogy. They’re listed in no particular order other than alphabetical. But in I think they’re ALL worth at least a look if you haven’t visited them, or a revisit if you haven’t visited them recently.

Australian Cemeteries  This website contains the largest collection of Australian cemeteries together on a single site. Firstly divided into state, then alphabetically each cemetery advises if it is online data, a Look-up, a transcripts, and has headstone photos.

Australian Newspapers  Many thousands of Australian newspapers (old and current) have been digitised, and can be viewed and searched online through the National Library of Australia’s website.

Australian War Memorial  The War Memorial’s collections contain a wealth of material relating to the military service of individuals as well as units. If you are trying to track down information about relatives who served in any of the conflicts in which Australia has been involved since the 1860s, you can search their collections. The photograph collection includes individual and group portraits of military and support personnel, allied and enemy soldiers and local civilians, and scenes of the Australian homefront. The private records collection includes private papers, letters, and diaries of non-government organisations and individuals. And the film, sound, art, heraldry, and technology collections are also useful sources to check.

Convicts to Australia  While not everyone in Australia is descended from a convict, many are, and the “Convicts to Australia” site is a great place to start your search. This website is intended as a guide to inform those just starting as well as the more experienced researcher. Being a ‘work in progress’, the site is being added to regularly.

CORAWEB  While this is not a website that contains records as such, Cora’s website is an Australian genealogy gateway site, a place to find other sites to go to. This site has 1,650+links arranged in 48+ categories all to do with Australian genealogy.

Heritage Australia  Heritage Australia is created to celebrate Australia’s history and heritage. You will find a feast of articles on an ever-increasing range of topics and themes, as well as an enormous amount of information on historic places, events, news and book releases, as well as a directory listing societies, groups, museums etc.

National archives of Australia  The National Archives of Australia holds many millions records in which you might find information about your ancestors. This is the place to come if your family members served in the Australian armed forces or if they migrated to Australia during the 20th century, you may also find business records.

Picture Australia  On Picture Australia, galleries, archives, museums and libraries across Australia and overseas combine to provide access to over 1.8 million images, all fully referenced and all fully searchable by name, topic, collection or other criteria.

Ryerson Index  The Ryerson Index is a website which has indexed over 2,800,000 death, funeral, probate and obituary notices from Australian newspapers.

The Ships List  The Ships List website will help you find your ancestors on ships’ passenger lists. They also have immigration reports, newspaper records, shipwreck information, ship pictures, ship descriptions, shipping-line fleet lists and more; as well as hundreds of passenger lists to Canada, USA, Australia and even some for South Africa. 

From Sue

An assortment of sites.

Operation War Diary  The story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War is waiting to be discovered in 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries. We need your help to reveal the stories of those who fought in the global conflict that shaped the world we live in today.


Welcome to the Isle of Gigha  Welcome to the community-owned Isle of Gigha, the most southerly and one of the most beautiful of the Hebridean Islands. Seven miles long by a mile and a half wide, Gigha is situated three miles west of the Kintyre peninsular, less than three hours drive from the City of Glasgow. Gigha is breathtaking - sandy beaches, clear green seas, a host of wildlife. There are also Achamore Gardens to explore. This website can only be an introduction to Gigha - you have to visit to appreciate its beauty and tranquillity. Also has a very good genealogy page.


Italian Genealogy  Welcome to ItalianGenealogy.com, the leading resource for those who undertake research into their Italian Genealogy At ItalianGenealogy.com your research is free, you can find answers regarding Italian Genealogy and ask your questions in order to help you along your search. Our philosophy is to provide the very best resources to assist genealogists to achieve their goal of mapping their Italian family history and allowing them to help each other with their research as well.


French Genealogy & Family History. Search for your French and French-Canadian ancestors in this collection of genealogy and family history databases and resources for France. Includes tutorials for researching French ancestors, suggestions for writing to France and translating French records, and information on civil records, parish registers and other French genealogical records.

Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group

image001 Contacts: 

 Gloria: (022) 635 4161 barryandgloria33@gmail.com

 Wayne: (09) 437 2881 wayne@bydand.co.nz

 Pat: (09) 437 0692 whangareifamilyhistorygroup@gmail.com



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

email me at Whangareifamilyhistorygroup@gmail.com, if you need directions. **NB new Thursday venue


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 til finished before 1.30pm.


During the last weekend, On Anniversary weekend, many members of WFHCG attended a special display by Jennifer Wilson Stewart at Matapouri, that included the unveiling of a new memorial plaque for WWI Servicemen, on beautifully worked Macrocarpa; with room to add the WWII list. The display consisted of long lost records of the soldiers, their play in the Matapouri Community, genealogical and local history records. A moving opening, with a lone Piper, RSA Members and a rather large number of locals as well. Jennifer is planning the next display; but the big job will be making this available for future generations; that will be up to Jennifer.


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News and Views

We invite contributions from FamNet members for this section: please email me (Sue) if you have any material. 


Red Cross to digitize Great War volunteer records

Almost a quarter of a million people volunteered for the Red Cross during the 1914-18 war, and plans are in hand to digitise all of the index cards held at the organisation's London headquarters, with the first batch becoming available online by August. Appropriately, the Red Cross is recruiting 100 volunteers to help with the project, which is being supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


There are some well-known names amongst the volunteers including Vera Brittain, whose autobiographical book Testament of Youth was memorably turned into a BBC series starring Cheryl Campbell Agatha Miller was another writer who signed up as a volunteer, though you'd undoubtedly be more likely to recognise her under her married surname of Christie. It was during the Great War that she began to write detective stories, to relieve the monotony of working in the dispensary at the Red Cross Hospital in Torquay - no wonder so many of her murder victims were poisoned!


You can read more about the digitisation plans in this article from the London Evening Standard.


Irish Probate Records Free Online

For some time the National Archives of Ireland has had online images and transcriptions of the 1901 and 1911 Censuses of Ireland (remember, you can enter relatives from the 1911 Census on your My Ancestors page), but not everybody is aware that there are several other key datasets available online, including probate calendars. These cover the whole of Ireland from 1858-1920, and the Republic of Ireland from 1923-1982. It's not quite as easy to search the later records - see this online guide for step by step instructions - and you'll need to download a large PDF file of the records for the year. The PDFs aren't searchable, but the records are in alphabetical order by surname of the deceased.


The NAI site also has soldiers' wills, mostly from World War 1, but there are also some from the Boer Wars covering the period 1899-1902 (wills from 1918-22 are due to be added in early 2014). These wills are available free online.


Probate calendars for Northern Ireland (including the District Probate Registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry) are searchable here, at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland website. The calendars currently cover the periods from 1858-1919 and 1922-1943 (the 1920-21 records will be added soon - part of 1921 is already included). There are also over 93,000 images of copy wills for the period 1858-1900 which can be viewed free online.


Scotlands People

Release of the New Year's images on ScotlandsPeople – birth images for 1913, marriage images for 1938 and death images for 1963. The arrival of 2014 also means that the New Year's images will be made available on the ScotlandsPeople website. So just after you've seen in the bells at midnight on the 1st of January, you'll be able to view the images of the statutory records for births in 1913, marriages in 1938 and deaths in 1963.


The total number of BMD images that will be released on the website on 1 January is 94,537, comprising 46,109 birth images, 23,310 marriage images and 25,118 death images. We've been looking at some of the BMD records that will be published on New Year's Day, and have uncovered some terrific personal stories behind the documents. Some highlights - and some fascinating statistics - from the New Year images will be featured in our January 2014 newsletter.


Announcement from My Heritage


A vast number of Nordic records have been made available to search online.

Genealogy website MyHeritage has added millions of digitised records from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland to its collections, enabling family historians with roots in each of the four countries to trace their ancestors back to the early-17th century. Fully searchable, the release comprises 90 million names and includes birth, marriage and death records, as well as datasets such as the 1875 Norwegian census. This complements more than 730,000 family trees and 70 million ‘ancestor profiles’ already created by users of the website with Nordic roots. Crucially, both the records and public profiles can be picked up by MyHeritage’s Record Matching technology, which automatically researches members' family trees and notifies them whenever a relevant record has been found.


The new releases mark the start of a major MyHeritage campaign to promote its services and increase membership figures across the region. In order to achieve its goal, the Israel-based company has signed a series of agreements with Nordic content providers to ensure that further historic records are uploaded over the coming years.


The New findmypast is Coming Soon...

There will be some changes that will be happening on findmypast and how they will affect you. There will be fresh features including a new and improved family tree, easier ways to search the records and new ways to bring each of your ancestors’ profiles to life.


You will start to notice some changes over the next few weeks and they will continue to make improvements in the coming months. They will be on hand to offer any help you might need at every stage. You can find out more about the changes we are making and why on their Learn More page


News from Jan 
It is time for RootsTech again, but I won't be there this year: I will be lecturing on the “UnLock the  Past” cruise. BUT we can all share in RootsTech because of the lectures that are available for free to watch and listen. At the time they are being presented, or at your leisure.

Because of the time difference, the first lecture, set for 10.30am Thu 6 Feb, will be 6.30am Fri morning here. They are 4 hours ahead of us, but yesterday. So 1pm on Thu will be 9am Fri. Here is the link: https://familysearch.org/node/2519 - this takes you to the site pasted below.

Global RootsTech Conference Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule

SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 6-8, 2014, announced today that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in-person worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The fourth-year conference has attracted over 10,000 registered attendees in-person, and leaders expect over 20,000 additional viewers online.

The streamed sessions include a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in mountain standard time (MST):

Thursday, February 6

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Top 10 Things I Learned About My Family from My Couch by Tammy Hepps

1 p.m. to 2 p.m., FamilySearch Family Tree: What's New and What's Next by Ron Tanner

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Intro to DNA for Genealogists by James Rader

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Genealogy in the Cloud by Randy Hoffman

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sharing Your Family with Multimedia by Michael LeClerc


Friday, February 7

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Storytelling Super Powers: How to Come Off as Your Family's Genealogy Hero by David Adelman

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Tweets, Links, Pins, and Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media by Lisa Alzo

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.comby Crista Cowen

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Finding Family and Ancestors Outside the USA with New Technologies by Daniel Horowitz

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Do It Yourself Photo Restoration by Ancestry Insider


Saturday, February 8

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Become an iPad Power User by Lisa Louise Cooke

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results by D. Josh Taylor

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., A Beginner’s Guide to Going Paperless by Randy Whited

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., How to Interview Yourself for a Personal History by Tom Taylor

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Five Ways to Do Genealogy in Your Sleep by Deborah Gamble

About RootsTech

RootsTech is a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning. Content is geared to young and old, beginner to advanced levels.


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Book Review




Book Review By Sue Greene


North to the Apricots: 


The escape stories of Sergeant Bruce Crowley DCM

New Zealand prisoner of war in Greece & Germany 1941-1943

as told to Julia Millen


ISBN 9780473214166 (pbk)


Sergeant Bruce Crowley, A section 4RMT of the NZ Army Service Corps, was the first New Zealand POW to make a successful escape from Germany back to Britain in World War II. Captured during the Allied withdrawal from Greece in April 1941, en route to a German POW camp he jumped from the train and for several months lived among Greek villagers. Re-captured he was sent to the infamous Stalag VIIIB in southeastern Europe.

In July 1943 Crowley scaled a wall and escaped from a working party at Breslau. Disguised as a civilian he made his way by train to a Baltic port where he planned to stowaway on a ship to Sweden. 

Read about Bruce Crowley’s remarkable escapades on the run from the Germans in this new book recorded by the old soldier himself.

This is well worth reading gives an insight as to the conditions he and others went through.


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Advertising with FamNet

As of January 2014 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 $NZ20 for a basic flier, and increase for more elaborate presentations. FamNet is a charitable organisation and 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 her discretion for free events.

Ask an Expert

Help Offered

Do you own reference books at home and would be happy to do lookups for members? Or are you willing to visit cemeteries, archives, etc. for others? Simply click here and add a record into the “Information Offered” table: we’ll put a note in the next newsletter, and at any time FamNet users can look up this table and make contact with you.


Like “Useful Web Sites”, we believe that a combination newsletter/table approach is needed. The newsletter can give you an instant “aha” and if it happens to coincide with your need it’s perfect, but you also need the table so that you can look up the list later long after you’ve forgotten which newsletter mentioned the subject that you needed help with.

Information Wanted etc.

Remember that you can post photos for identification, and information wanted requests:-

Click here to post a photo

Click here to request help with some information

We’ll post the photos and information requests in the next newsletter, and they’ll remain on display for at least a year.


There were no new photos at the time of sending the newsletter.

Have Your Say – Letters to the Editor

Just click here and then click the [Letters to the editor] button, then follow the on-screen instructions.


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In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief



To Unsubscribe

If you don’t want to receive any more FamNet Newsletters, to unsubscribe click here and then click [About you], or just let us know and we’ll take you off the list.

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 a FamNet URL, www.famnet.org.nz


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