Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community


FamNet eNewsletter July 2015

ISSN 2253-4040


Quote:  He who has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family was begot by a flash of lightning – Old English Proverb


Editorial 2

From the Developer 2

Cenotaph Records – the link from Cenotaph to FamNet is now active. 2

Hillsborough Cemetery added to the Burials database. 2

Telling your story.  6.  On Line Editing: More Facts, Family, GDB Links. 3

DNA Testing for Family History. 6

14.  Commonly Asked Questions – Some Basic, Some Advanced. 7

Group News. 10

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 10

Waikanae Family History Group. 10

News and Views. 11

Wairarapa Wandering. 11

John’s Historical Connections. 12

The Ramblings of Peter Nash. 13

Jan’s Jottings. 15

Community. 15

Information Wanted etc. 15

In conclusion. 16

A Bit of Light Relief: Obsessive Genealogy?. 16

Advertising with FamNet 16

To Unsubscribe,  Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 16

Copyright (Waiver) 16



June was a particularly exciting month for me with a trip to Singapore to make a presentation on my main software project, MANASYS-Jazz.  As Mary says, “Be careful what you wish for”: I think that I’m about to become very busy with this project.  The compensation is that I should be paid well.   Not bad for somebody who is supposed to be retired!  A consequence of this has been the skipping of the June newsletter, for which I apologise. 

We welcome a new contributor, Peter Nash, who many of you will remember from his years as the NZSG’s Executive Officer, so that we now have several regular contributors (thank you), but of course we’d like more.  And what would be really great would be to have somebody taking over the editor’s role, doing the job that Sue used to do.  Please contact me if you can help, either as a contributor or as editor.  Until we get another editor this newsletter may have to drop to alternate months.

As well as his newsletter article, Peter has given us a copy of his Hillsborough Cemetery database, so if you look up our Burials table you’ll now see another 17K records.  See “From the Developer” for more information.

For readers in the Wellington Region: I will be giving tutorials on how to use FamNet in Waikenae on September 24th. See Waikanae Family History Group  9 for more information.  Hanley would love to welcome you to these sessions, whether you’re a prospective member of WFHG or not

In this issue: -

In “From the Developer” I continue the series of “Telling your Story” articles, showing you how to use various on line editing pages.

Gail continues her series on DNA Testing for Genealogy by answering some commonly asked questions.

Group News: if you’re from the Wellington Region, note the Waikenae entry in particular.   I will be presenting some FamNet tutorials at Waikenae on September 24th.

In News and Views

            Wairarapa Wandering.  Adele tells of finding a photo album that was nearly buried in a landfill

            The centennial commemorations are particularly personal to John, whose grandfather fought at Chunuk Bair

            Peter’s article echoes my “Tell your story!” theme in his own imitable style.

            Jan’s Jottings: She attended the launch of the National Library of Ireland’s online collection of Catholic Parish Records  

Happy Reading, Robert.

Back to the Top

From the Developer

Cenotaph Records – the link from Cenotaph to FamNet is now active.

In the previous newsletter I reported that my part in the project had been completed, with links from FamNet to Cenotaph implemented.  The Online Cenotaph team have now implemented links in the reverse direction, so that if you open an Online Cenotaph record of a World War 1 soldier there will be a link back to FamNet.   From either direction the initial link is only a crude match by name, so if you have ancestors who fought for New Zealand in World War 1, we need your help to validate the links between the two systems.  In the previous newsletter I described how you can do this . If you’re interested in soldiers in other conflicts, be patient, we’ll get around to these after we’ve reviewed this stage of the project. 

Hillsborough Cemetery added to the Burials database.

Peter Nash has given us a copy of his Hillsborough Cemetery database, containing 17,417 burial records.  I’ve added an entry for Hillsborough in the Cemeteries table, and added the burial records to the Burials table, so that you find it in exactly the same way as you find any other burial record held by FamNet: -

1.                  Click the button [General Resource Databases], and click Open for the “Burials Etc” database (it’s currently the fourth in the top list).

2.                  You will see the first 30 records, but with almost 32,000 records in this table this is only a very small subset.  Click the button [Show Search/Update Panel] to expose controls that allow you to search for names and other criteria.

There is a lot of information that might be recorded with a burial – one cemetery even recorded the name of the horse pulling the hearse!.  Only some of the columns are shown in the grid, so if there are records of interest to you then it’s worth selecting the record, and possibly looking at other columns of that record.  Click the button [Select Columns] to see a list of what is available, and to choose what you want to see.

Telling your story.  6.  On Line Editing: More Facts, Family, GDB Links

So far I’ve covered these topics.

1.      Writing your story as notes, or with Word.  Embedding links in Word documents. 

2.      Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.      Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

If there’s anything that you particularly want me to cover next then let me know, otherwise I’ll continue working to this plan: -

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Shared trees – Working With Others


In the fourth article in this series, Saving Scrapbook Items, I introduced you to editing your records on line. Clicking on an Edit button (which you won’t normally see unless this is one of your records) causes a page to be displayed where you can change facts like the subject’s name, dates of birth and death, and other basic facts. 

When we open an Edit page we get several more buttons: [Scrapbook], [More Facts], [Family], [GDB Links], [Permissions], and [Discard].  In the fourth article we focussed on the Scrapbook page.  The other pages provide functions that you only need occasionally and so are rarely used, but they’re worth covering briefly before we move on.  Remember that Help is available just by clicking a link such as “Help for this page” which you’ll find at the bottom of every page.  If you have your own records on FamNet (and if not, why not?), open the corresponding pages with one of your own records as you read this article so that you can see what the pages look like and what you can do with them.

More Facts

The Basic Facts page above covers the things that you will want to record about every person in your database, but what about other facts – Adoption, Alias, Burial, Christening, etc.  This is where you can give this type of information in a structure way, instead of just recording it in a note.  Open this page and you see something like this: -

Click on an existing fact to edit it.  Select a fact type from the combo box to add a new fact.  All the individual fact types defined in the GEDCOM standard are listed, plus a few extra fact types added to support DNA recording, or because I’ve seen them used with particular genealogy programs.

Note that I wrote “individual fact types”.  The list does not include Marriage, Divorce, etc.  These are not individual facts, these relate to a relationship.  We’ll find these in the Family page.


We do not record family relationships on this page, this is done with the Tree page if we’re creating the tree on line, or in our genealogy program (Legacy etc) if we’re creating our records locally.  We use this page to record relationship facts (dates of marriage for example), and to repair relationship errors. 

How can we get relationship errors?   Very easily.  Suppose that you use FamNet online editing to add a child: he/she will be assumed to be the child of both the subject and their partner, and while there is a message recording the assumption that’s been made (and a dialog to allow you to choose a partner if there are several), if this is not a child of the primary relationship then chances are that FamNet has linked it to the wrong other person.  You can use this page to delete the incorrect links, and then go back to the tree page to create the correct links.

If you are recording/editing relationship facts and there are several partners then click Select to ensure that the selected partner is the relevant one.

GDB Links

A GDB Link is a link between two FamNet records that is not a standard family relationship.  This FamNet feature is unique (as far as I know) among genealogy web sites.  By far the most common type of GDB link is Duplicate: this is where FamNet has detected that two records are of the same person.  This is very common: many of us have overlapping family trees, with our ancestors and cousins recorded in the records of many other genealogists.  Duplicate links provide an easy way for you to locate these duplicate records, and compare what others have to say with what is recorded in your own data.

Less commonly, GDB links can be used for other purposes.  Among other things, they solve the problem of adoptive relationships.  Beatrice GOULD was my “Aunty Beat”: she was brought up as my father’s sister when, aged 3, her mother (my grandmother’s sister) died.  So how does one record this?  If I list her as a child of Hannah OLD and John BARNES then I deny her birth.  If I list her as a child of Christiana OLD and John GOULD then I deny the nurturing relationship.  Both relationships are important, but many systems don’t provide a good way of handling these links.  FamNet’s solution is to record her in one family and use a GDB link to record her in the other.  We have chosen to put her in her birth family, and use a GDB link as “Adoptive Child” to record her place in my father’s family.  I have seen other records in FamNet where family relationships puts a child in his/her adoptive family, and GDB links are used to record the birth parents.  It’s your choice which way you do it. 

Another way that I’ve used GDB links: somebody (Tony Cairns) found somebody called “Elsie Fordell BARNES” in a U.K. Census who was born in New Zealand in 1889.  Is she a relative?  Perhaps, although probably not.  I certainly don’t want to add her as a child of one of my BARNES ancestors without a lot more evidence, but what do I do with her?  My solution: I created a record for her in FamNet giving all the information that we had (which wasn’t much) and the correspondence with my brother and cousin, and I linked her as a Possible Child to one of my ancestors.  Perhaps someday we’ll find out who she is and delete this link, or make it a proper family link.

FamNet currently provides these relationship types: -


It would be easy to add more if FamNet users want them.  By the way, recording “No Relationship” is not stupid.  Sometimes you think somebody is a relative but, after a significant amount of research, you find that they’re not.  This is a good way of recording these situations.

Permissions, Discard

I’ll deal with these later when I cover the topic “Shared trees – Working With Others”.

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

© Gail Riddell 2014

Just click the link to go back to a previous article in this series. 

1.      What is Molecular Genealogy?

2.      Where would I begin?  

3.      What test should I take?

4.      What DNA will NOT tell you and the risks involved.

5.      Direct paternal line (men only).

6.      Direct maternal line (men and women).

7.      All the lineages including maternal and paternal (men and women).

8.      Understanding direct paternal results.

9.      Understanding direct maternal line results.

10.   Understanding your Autosomal ("cousin") results.

11.   Understanding the X Chromosome.

12.   Bits ‘n Bobs:  DNA Testing Companies, Glossary.

13.  DNA Websites, Blogs, and Forums

14.  Commonly Asked Questions – Some Basic, Some Advanced

This is a further article by Gail Riddell on the subject of DNA testing for genealogy purposes.  For further information, please contact her directly at

1.  What relationships can I be sure of if I take a Family Finder test with FTDNA?

If someone in your family has tested and if your relationship is within recent generations (2nd cousins or more recent relatives), Family Finder is almost sure to detect your relationship. Testing will also detect many 3rd cousins and about half of your 4th cousins. It will detect a small percentage of 5th and more distant cousins.

Chances of finding a match:

Relationship Match


2nd cousins or closer


3rd cousin


4th cousin


5th cousin


6th cousin and more distant to Remote

typically < 2%


For example, if you have 100 of your 3rd cousins test, Family Finder will detect about 90 of them as your 3rd cousins. It will not detect the other 10.

Family Finder only detects a small percentage of 5th cousins and relatives that are more distant.  However, the number of such cousins in the population increases exponentially with each generation. This means that if 1,000 of your distant cousins test, you can expect to see a few of them in the Speculative Relative category.

2.  Once FTDNA receives my kit, what sort of time will it take before I receive results

The received kits are usually batched on a Wednesday evening (Houston, Texas time) and sent to the lab on the Thursday.  So if your kit arrives there on a Friday, it sits and waits for a few days.  As at 11 March 2015, current test times are estimated to be:

Family Finder – 4 to 5 weeks
mtDNA – 7 to 9 weeks
Y-DNA – 10 to 12 weeks
Big Y – 6 to 8 weeks
SNPs – 8 to 10 weeks

The estimated time can go wrong because, until the lab begins the actual process, they will not know whether or not the sample is contaminated.  The estimated time is a target time and not an exact time.

3.  What does the Y-DNA test results genetic distance show?

Generally, this means there are differences in the actual markers tested.  But this is far from the end of the story.  You will be well advised to join the New Zealand Project and ask me the same question – this will enable me to actually see the markers for which you differ because anything else is based on “averages”.  (Mind you, you and your match need to be in the SAME project to enable that detailed comparison).  This is because some markers duck back and forth whereas others are very slow moving. 

The expected relationship between you and your Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) match is dependent on both the number of markers you have tested and the genetic distance. The chart below shows the interpretation of your relationship at each testing level (Y-DNA12, Y-DNA37, etc.) for relevant genetic distances.

For example, if you and your match have both tested at the Y-DNA37 level and are a 36/37 match this is a genetic distance of one. You are then considered tightly related.  But this is NOT the end of the matter. 

In some Haplogroups (especially I and R, these will fall away once tested at a higher level.  This is because these are the most common European haplogroups and much more information is available at a higher level.









Very Tightly Related






Your exact match means your relatedness is extremely close. Few people achieve this close level of a match. All confidence levels are well within the time frame that surnames were adopted in Western Europe.

Tightly Related






Few people achieve this close level of a match. All confidence levels are well within the time frame that surnames were adopted in Western Europe.







Your degree of matching is within the range of most well-established surname lineages in Western Europe. If you have tested with the Y-DNA12 or Y-DNA25 test, you should consider upgrading to additional STR markers. Doing so will improve your time to common ancestor calculations.

Probably Related






Without additional evidence, it is unlikely that you share a common ancestor in recent genealogical times (1 to 6 generations). You may have a connection in more distant genealogical times (less than 15 generations). If you have traditional genealogy records that indicate a relationship, then by testing additional individuals you will either prove or disprove the connection.

Only Possibly Related






It is unlikely that you share a common ancestor in genealogical times (1 to 15 generations). Should you have traditional genealogy records that indicate a relationship, then by testing additional individuals you will either prove or disprove the connection. A careful review of your genealogical records is also recommended.

Not Related






You are not related on your Y-chromosome lineage within recent or distant genealogical times (1 to 15 generations).


4.  What does the mtDNA test results genetic distance show?

The closeness of a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) match depends on the matching level. Matches at higher levels are more likely to be recent. The table below shows the expected time to a common ancestor with your exact matches. This time-span should be used alongside relevant genealogical information such as a known pedigree on the direct maternal line and geographic locations.

Testing Level

Matching Level

Generations to Common Ancestor

50% Confidence Interval

95% Confidence Interval



52 (about 1,300 years)



28 (about 700 years)


HVR1, HVR2, & Coding Region

5 (about 125 years)

22 (about 550 years)

Note: Higher testing levels (mtDNAPlus and mtFullSequence) include matching from lower testing levels. This means that someone who tests at the mtFullSequence testing level will have matching at the HVR1 level, the HVR1 & HVR2 level, and the HVR1, HVR2, & Coding Region level.

Be aware that this test is NOT classed as a genealogical test!

5.  How are chromosomes inherited?

Most adult cells contain two sets of chromosomes. However, sexual cells (sperm cells from the father and egg cells from the mother) contain a single chromosome set. During reproduction, each parent contributes one set of chromosomes to their offspring.

Sexual reproduction involves the fusion of a female and a male reproductive cell (also called gametes; in humans these are the sperm and egg cells). Reproductive cells contain half the set of chromosomes from the rest of the cells of the body. The fertilised egg therefore received one chromosome in the pair from the mother, and one from the father.

The illustration  below shows a photograph of the  human chromosomes when viewed with a microscope (this is called a karyotype). We have 22 pairs of chromosomes, plus the sexual chromosomes Y and X. Each parent contributed one chromosome in each pair. (Thanks to   )


6.  What is a marker?  Is it the same as a gene?  Is it the same as a Haplogroup?

If we are referring to human genetic genealogy, a marker is a particular position on one of your 46 chromosomes, namely the pairs of chromosomes 1 to 22 and both the X and Y chromosome – it applies to all chromosomes and to the mitochondria.  In informal use gene is a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring.  A human genome is the complete set of DNA within the 23 chromosomal pairs and in a small cell of the mitochondria.  Science has only just started to understand some of the human genome – much more work is to come.  A Haplogroup is, in terms of human genetics, a population of a group of people who share a common ancestor (however many thousands of years ago) in terms of their paternal or their maternal line.  The Y-DNA studies have a set of named haplogroups as does the mtDNA studies.  Some may be similarly named, but that is the end of the similarity.  The haplogroup of either the Y-DNA or the mtDNA is identified by a particular SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism). 

I do not write about, nor refer to, the diseases faced by humans and nor do I discuss those genes that are inherited.  Nor do I refer to forensic testing or paternity testing.  These are specialist fields and I am not qualified to comment on these.  Anything about which I have written, or will write, applies to genetic genealogy only.

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.

 We have lost two members to the Bay of Plenty area; Gloria, our Acting Convener and her husband Barry are setting up house there. Our regular meetings have concentrated on how people got into Genealogy and problem solving with our genealogy programmes. Our Special Interest Groups for FTM and Legacy users have been set up and will prove to be ideal for sharing ideas and solutions to issues and problems. The most fun and rewarding part of our meetings is collaborative research, which is very much a learning process for everyone.

One of our members, Barry Dawson brought to our notice a very interesting website - – I had a look and found my maternal great-grandparents’ head stone and was given access to a higher quality image to add to my collection. The site covers most countries and is worth a good look. You may be lucky, I was, thanks Barry. I hope everyone finds a treasure.

Waikanae Family History Group


Email:   Phone  (04) 904 3276,  (Hanley Hoffmann)

Venue:   Meets every 4th Thursday morning at the Waikanae Chartered Club, 8 Elizabeth Street Waikanae, just over the Railway Crossing from 9.30am to 12 -12.30pm, every month from January to November. Research days planned for either 2nd or 3rd Thursdays at 9.30am approximately four times a year.

Breaking news:  On September 24th Robert will be visiting WFHG to give tutorials on using FamNet.  Anybody from the Wellington region is welcome, not just WFHG members.  Contact Hanley Hoffmann for information and to let him know you are coming – we will need numbers in advance so that we print enough handouts.

A couple of items from the July newsletter: -

Great Genealogy Websites

Just yesterday I received by email the GenealogyinTime magazine’s newsletter and WOW there is perfect list of 100 sites along with all the interesting features of each one – of significance whether they are free or pay sites.  I have attached a document to this Newsletter from which you can print it out and carefully store the two pages in a sleeve, or you can go into  and search for the link and print it out from there – Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2015.   I have to say we could not have developed such a comprehensive and informative list.


More than 390,000 Catholic Parish Records online!

Held by the National Library of Ireland, will be made available online – for free – from 8th July onwards.  Digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish records are recorded.

Catholic Records, this is good news for those of us with elusive ancestors who may or may not be recorded, no fault of theirs, blame the British. Top marks to clergy and others who secretly recorded baptisms, deaths and marriages; and we have to be grateful that the Irish Government of today is making every effort to encourage people to voluntarily help to recover records, by encouraging us to reach across the Irish sea with our records to help the cause.  This has been reported from the Australian Family Tree Connections magazine so here is the website

Dating from the 1740’s to the 1880’s they cover 1,091 parishes and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records, they are searchable by parish location only, and will not be transcribed or indexed by the NLI.

Hanley Hoffmann

Back to the Top

News and Views

We invite contributions from FamNet members for this section: please contact The Editor if you have any material.  Contributions received after the 22nd of each month may be carried forward.

Wairarapa Wandering

A Photograph Album. 

It pays to have friends in many places.  Some years ago a friend emailed me from Normandale (Lower Hutt), saying she had spied a very old photograph album to be auctioned in Lower Hutt, with, she added, names of early Carterton Settlers.  She knew what names I was after, oddly enough this very item hit the nail in the head, with all the names I was doing: Sullivan. Rains. McPartland. Lindop.  I was told the auction would be the next day, I had to act fast so I telephoned the folk I knew for these families in Gisborne & Lower Hutt and explained what was on auction.  They immediately said, “If you can please get it, keep it for Carterton…” so I got back in touch with her, “Forget work, and please attend this auction and bid for Carterton, I will pay for it, regardless, it’s for Carterton!”  Imagine my delight the following afternoon, an email to me, saying “It’s mine, she’d beaten all the other bidders, even some trader after the auction, and it’s going to be delivered up to Clareville, Carterton tomorrow”. 

I was thrilled with it, even took it up to Masterton Archives, saying to them, “Will keep it here for you to copy for your records…”  They asked where it had come from, I said that “Originally it was found at Wellington Tip, which is in Happy Valley Road, not far from either Brooklyn, or Owhiro Bay, and bought at auction in Lower Hutt”.  It probably dates to back late 1890s, so we’re very lucky to have it.

George McPartland sailed on the Indian Queen with his wife, but for years I could never find a grave at Clareville Cemetery for Eliza McPartland, but now I am sure that it’s her grave down at Mount Street Cemetery in Wellington, under the name of Eliza Portland.  The dates would be about right, 1860s, as George remarried to Ann Sullivan who was from County Mayo.  George was from Co. Cavan, he had been in the 49th Foot Regiment, signed up 1834.  I do hold a copy of the McPartland book, I have been able to obtain his first wife’s Marriage Certificate,  Eliza Doone, married George at Stoke Damerel, Plymouth, Devon 10th August 1845.  He was based at the Barracks there.  So many of Three Mile Bush early settlers were on the Indian Queen in 1857. Three Mile Bush is the first name for Carterton in the Wairarapa.

Another name with the family was Cashan; Catherine Cashan was on board with the ship that Ann Sullivan sailed on, both ladies were coming to NZ to join their brothers.  The surname Carter, nothing to do with the Charles Rooking Carter which Carterton is named after, this other Carter is from Edward Carter family. One of the Sullivan girls married into the Kempton family of Greytown.  Edward McPartland married into the Lindop family.

Now I have been in touch with many people connected to these families but would like to learn more on the Sullivan side please. We have buried at Clareville Dennis Sullivan, John Sullivan and partners. There were two Rains families in Carterton, and not related at all, the Carterton ones, also went over to Pahiatua and buried at their cemetery there.

Adele Pentony-Graham

Carterton Early Settlers Researcher.

John’s Historical Connections

Chunuk Bair and Grandad

In early August, we commemorate Chunuk Bair. The Battle for Chunuk Bair was New Zealand’s most significant action in the Gallipoli Campaign. The battle, which took place from 6-10 August, was part of the August Offensive, in which the Allies attempted to seize the Sari Bair heights from Turkish forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The Wellington Battalion captured Chunuk Bair early on the 8th August, but they, and other New Zealand units, suffered grievous losses defending it. Chunuk Bair was eventually lost to the Ottoman forces after a series of overwhelming counterattacks, led by Ataturk.  For a good summary of the Gallipoli campaign with a focus on Chunuk Bair, visit

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss says preparations for the Battle for Chunuk Bair centenary service at Gallipoli on 8 August are progressing well. “Hundreds of Kiwi soldiers fought and died in an ultimately futile bid for control of this strategic vantage point. The centenary service on August 8 will honour those soldiers for their bravery and sacrifice.”

The service itself will have a different feel to the New Zealand service held at Chunuk Bair on Anzac Day. This will be a special service which has never happened before at Gallipoli, and is unlikely to happen again.  There will also be services in NZ with a national Centenary of the Battle for Chunuk Bair at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, 41 Buckle St, Mt Cook, Wellington, on Saturday 8 August 2015, at 4:00pm.  The commemoration in Wellington will be led by the Government and includes the laying of a wreath at the tomb of the unknown warriors.

In “Bloody Gallipoli, author Richard Stowers calculates that 880 New Zealanders died in the Battle for Chunuk Bair.  The Wellington Battalion suffered particularly badly, including losing senior officer Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone from supposed Allied fire. The casualty list for the regional battalions is: Auckland Infantry Battalion, 100; Wellington Infantry Battalion, 313; Christchurch Infantry Battalion, 93; Otago Infantry Battalion, 124; Auckland Mounted Rifles, 90; Wellington Mounted Rifles, 64; Christchurch Mounted Rifles, 31; Otago Mounted Rifles, 34; Maori Contingent, 21; others, 10.

The battle was also notable as the first major engagement of the Maori Contingent and the awarding of New Zealand's only Victoria Cross of the campaign, to Corporal Cyril Bassett.

Future WWI commemorations include the Battle of the Somme (September 15, 2016), the Battle of Messines (June 7, 2017), the Battle of Passchendaele (October 12, 2017), the Battle of Beersheba (October 31, 2017) and the liberation of Le Quesnoy (November 4, 2018).  

Recently, I received an email from a nephew who was assisting at the World War 1 exhibit in Buckle St and he wrote:

"I was on my standard wander through the exhibition. As per usual there was a large crowd in front of one of the AV's that shows an X-ray of a human body. On the side are several options: Bullets, Shrapnel, Artillery and Grenades - when one is selected it shows you a slow motion "this is what happens to the body" (actually, we had a girl faint in front of it the other week). The artillery option is particularly gruesome, but what I hadn't noticed before was that after the animation has finished, it displays a medical record and short summary of a kiwi soldier who suffered such a wound (or fate). And there he was - James Hyde, Wellington Mounted rifles, 11/776. So as it turns out my father's father's father has been part of the exhibition the whole time! Freaky stuff, history."

Attached is a photo of our Grandfathers Medical Case Sheet recording his wounds. He returned from the Middle East in a wheel chair, and was told he was unlikely to walk again.

Within 5 years, he was working in Taihape to Taumaranui bush keeping the railway lines clear, and in late 1920s, starting farming on Maori lease land just south of Mangaweka. He died aged 89, with the shell fragments still in his body. We will remember him!

The Ramblings of Peter Nash

Now that I am nearly at the time of an overdue retirement, I am putting into practice the long list of deferred and/or procrastinated projects that were destined for the retirement years. This involves a number of items such as the development of the gardens in our newly acquired home (about one third the size of our last one) particularly the edible section, completing my autobiography, completion of the corrected databases for the Hillsborough and Waikaraka cemeteries, restarting my family history research and adding flesh to the bones of my ancestors so that I can write the definitive book that contains more than birth, death and marriage dates (rarely in that order) and the resultant children, writing important articles that will become the definitive history book in NZ and generally becoming an utter nuisance to my wife and family. Please admire the length of that sentence and please do not criticise the punctuation.

Because I opened my mouth (again) I have offered to write a column for this newsletter. In this column I hope to offer advice, as I always do, recommend some reading material, supply a giggle or two and preach a little. This column will not be politically correct, will not be logically set out from beginning to end but, hopefully will be of interest.

To get straight into things I will start off preaching about writing your own family history. You may only have one opportunity to write your version of what you did during your long lifetime.

Think about most of your ancestors. They did not, generally, leave much, in writing, about how their life was lived. We have to read about the times they lived in, and extrapolate into their lives. We make huge assumptions in an effort to understand why they made the decisions they did. For instance why did our ancestors decide to make the hazardous journey to this side of the world? They did not wake up one morning and say " I have a good idea, let's go to New Zealand and become rich people etc etc". They left home for a reason, or came to New Zealand for a reason. Finding out that reason or reasons and understanding the times they lived makes sense of the whole tortuous exercise of "a world cruise to the tropics". If you are lucky enough to have a criminal in your ancestry then things are much easier because that "class of person" generally is well documented.

Similarly consider what will happen in about 80 years time when some interfering descendant of yours decides to "investigate" your life and the decisions you made. Use the above paragraph as an example of what your interfering descendant is going to think about your life. They are going to consider the reasons for why you took the decisions you did. For example if you were arrested for robbing a bank, your version of this "event" needs to highlight the "poverty you were in", the "meanness of your employers when they paid you", the marital stress that was constant because of the 25 children you were raising etc so that the "event" was caused by your environment not your silly decision making. Failure to put your slant on it will result in newspaper reports (probably the New Zealand Truth) becoming the only version and thus becoming the "truth".

So it will probably be much more preferable to write your own version. Don't exaggerate or tell too many untruths because much more material will be available free or at little cost to the future researcher. Putting your version may help sway the emotions of this researcher to be more understanding in their interpretations of the "incidents" he or she will definitely find. When I think of my father I thank God that I have interviewed him and written his life story. He is in his nineties and his memory is severely impaired. Without doing this, at his funeral, I would only be commenting on things like how his hearing was miraculously cured when his wife, my mother, died and that he magically no longer needed a hearing aid. I would be trivialising his long life without talking about his struggles to raise five children during times of very little income and putting up with a son like me.

Once written make sure your autobiography is in a format that will survive and, obviously, this organisation should be top of your list of options for preservation.

My own version is some 38 pages long with 16,500 words and I have only reached 1980. Believe me I did some interesting things but explaining them in the environment of the times is the difficult thing.

I have just reread what I have written so far and am quite proud of my effort so far and therefore add some quotes from it:

Fred, my grandfather, had two major beliefs which were to affect his children in a far reaching manner and his refusal to budge on these caused the family to split up and affected the generations to follow.

The first major belief was that he always told his children never to marry a Catholic, a teacher or a Maori. Nobody knows why teachers were frowned upon and the anti-Maori sentiment must be interpreted in the environment of the times. Research has proved that Fred was baptised in St Patrick’s Cathedral, in Auckland, on 24 May 1882 which makes his anti-Catholic feelings intriguing. Unfortunately, of the eight children who married, all bar Elsie went against his strict instructions. Consequently most married in quiet ceremonies to which the parents definitely did not attend and most of the brothers and sisters were forbidden to do so. This is strongly illustrated by the result of daughter, Helen’s, marriage and the consequences of it. A result of this was that the family became fragmented.

The second major belief was his feelings that farmers were ‘upper-class’ and that any labour other than farming was not appropriate for the children of farmers. This might have been true in his father’s time but history has proved this to be false. Consequently his boys, in particular, were only allowed to find work as farmers or farmhands. Harry remembered begging to be allowed to get an apprenticeship in Kaikohe as a blacksmith but this was not allowed. None of his children were allowed to learn a trade, become professionals such as teachers, etc or to go into business such as banking. In fact, of the boys, only Tim was allowed to attend secondary school for any great length of time. The result was that when all of his children, except Joe, joined the drift to the towns and cities they found themselves only qualified to work as labourers, drivers or scrub cutting. Thus they, in fact, joined and remained all their lives as ‘working-class’ and, generally speaking, so did all the grandchildren.


St Marys was one of two convent schools in Whangarei, St Marys going to Std 4 and St Josephs to Form 2. I probably only went to school to eat my lunch and play. I was a bit of a larrikin and Pauline, being in the same classroom, tells of regularly serving detention for a name, P Nash, which appeared in the detention list. My school reports show that I was not a dummy but these contained that wonderful statement “can do better”. The two Catholic schools had a siege mentality towards the other schools in Whangarei. The “cattle ticks” were rubbish and, on the sports field or in the hastily arranged fighting arenas, we fought magnificently to overcome all insults. My sense of survival made sure I associated with bigger boys who would sort out any “enemy” that decided to teach me a lesson.


Obviously there is much, much more, and it needs further additions and polishing, but now is not the time.


In the book "Whangarei and Districts' Early Reminiscences" by A M Rust, published by, ISBN number 0-476-00577-9, my great, great grandparents are mentioned and these "powerful" words are used: "both he and his wife were beloved by all for their sunny smiles, and constant good fellowship. They were typical English yeomanry." 


This is the only character description I have of these important ancestors. It seems to convey all sorts of ideas but the main one is that they were happy but simple souls. In fact, my wife says, not in a flattering sense, that, when I am sitting on our deck in the sun, enjoying a good coffee and admiring my garden, I have inherited all those genes. But it would be a pity if that is the only impression your interfering descendant got about you.


Time to get started.


Peter Nash

Jan’s Jottings

 (this one being written sitting in Fort Lauderdale airport en route for Auckland)

National Library of Ireland – Roman Catholic Parish Registers

I was fortunate to receive an invitation to the launch of the project by National Library of Ireland - the access to the Roman Catholic Parish Registers.  Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach (Prime Minster) launched the project with a really great speech. He knew all about what was being offered and sounded as if he wanted to jump right in and start researching!  I was introduced to him and he hugged me on three separate occasions!! I am not sure if this is something he does all the time!!  To everyone!! I have a photo - beside him - not being hugged!!

The important thing to remember is that the data has not been indexed. So you have to have a place and time frame to search.  But it would not be hard to work around possible parishes on a concentrated meticulous search.  I would download Choose a parish and decide on a radius of - say - 10 miles. This will list all the Parishes and then you can create a plot. Print this and you can work your way checking the suggested parish registers!  Use  to check spellings etc and to see more information.  What fun!!  And you just may be lucky!! 

It would be a good idea to use your genealogy program to create a list of everyone in your database who was born in Ireland. Make sure you include the place and dates. If using Legacy I would turn on the surrounding people option, so that also printed will be parents names, spouses names and children’s names.  Print this too. And you will be able to make good use of small clumps of time to search.

I was in Ireland because this year’s Hooked on Genealogy Tour included the Summer School at Cork University.  I plan to tell you more about this next newsletter.

BUT - I certainly have some new sources and new websites and new books to read that we will be talking about at this years SLC2NZ Research Weekend in October.  That is Salt Lake City 2 New Zealand - bringing you a little taste of what it is like to research in SLC!!

Email for further information.  

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In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief: Obsessive Genealogy?

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