Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter July 2016

ISSN 2253-4040

Quote.  Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking. – Unknown


Editorial 2

FamNet Trust is Dissolved. 3

From the Retiring Chair 3

From Robert 4

Regular Features. 4

From the Developer 4

Finding Your Way Around FamNet 4

Telling your story.     Index. 5

The Nash Rambler 5

Recording Cemeteries. 5

DNA Testing for Family History. 7

19.  DNA Testing – Getting into SNP testing on the Y chromosome to enhance your Family History. 7

Index so far 10

Wairarapa Wandering. 11

Jan’s Jottings. 11

Family Tree Analyzer 11

SLC2NZ Research Retreat Weekend, October 2016. 12

News and Views. 12

From our Libraries and Museums. 12

Auckland Libraries – Family History Expo. 12

New Zealand Family History Month 2016. 13

Auckland Library – Family History Lunchtime Series. 13

Group News. 15

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 15

Waikanae Family History Group. 15

Open Day , Saturday, 6th August 2016 – 9am to 3pm, at the Waikanae Chartered Club. 16

Community. 16

Letters to the Editor 16

New letters to the Editor 16

Information Wanted/Offered. 17

Book Reviews. 17

The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie. 17

In conclusion. 17

A Bit of Light Relief 17

Advertising with FamNet 17

To Unsubscribe,  Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 18

Copyright (Waiver) 18


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I’m sorry that it’s been such a long a while since the previous (April) newsletter: I have been very busy with my other software project, and so FamNet has had to compete for my time.  Hopefully we’ll get a new editor soon to alleviate this problem: if we do then newsletters will become more regular again, and with the time I save from personally writing the newsletters I may be able to find time to implement some of the improvements that have been considered.  However if this doesn’t happen then I’m afraid newsletters will continue to be very irregular and only the most urgent software changes will be made.

With regret we have to announce that we’ve terminated the FamNet Trust, as it was unable to get properly established and was not meeting our objectives.  This leaves us with the original dilemma: how do we ensure that FamNet survives me, and continues to offer a useful service to the NZ Genealogy community.  The dissolution of the trust and plans for the future are discussed in more detail in the next section below.   FamNet continues, your data is secure and I repeat the promise that I’ve consistently offered, that your data won’t be sold to Ancestry or other of the large commercial genealogy sites.

Also in this issue,

Our regular features include

·         From the developer – this month’s topic is Finding Your Way Around FamNet

·         Peter has another habit – recording cemeteries

·         Gail continues her DNA series with more on SNP testing

·         Adele (Wairarapa Wanderer) visits St Gerards Monastery on Mt Victoria.

·         Jan (Jan’s Jottings): reviews new software “Family Tree Analyzer”, and publicises a SLC2NZ research weekend.

In News and Views, the Auckland Library is starting to make good use of FamNet’s offer to publicise their events.  As well as an article on next month’s Family History Expo, there is a list of their planned Lunchtime Series talks on family history topics.  Hopefully other libraries will also use this free service.

Group News: Waikenae are holding an open day on 6th August where Tim Showbridge (Senior Historian, Ministry of Culture and Heritage) will present “Understanding NZEF Files”.

In Letters Bob Burnett is looking for a photo of his grandfather.  Can anybody help?

Finally the newsletter ends with a Book Review and the usual “In conclusion”.

If you think that FamNet is worthwhile, tell your friends.  Especially if you’re involved with a genealogy group, local history society, or any other group of people with an interest in New Zealand history.   We welcome contributions: anything on the general themes of Family History, Local History, even just Life in New Zealand.  Thank you to everybody who has contributed this time, especially first-time contributors.

Back to the Top

FamNet Trust is Dissolved

From the Retiring Chair

The Famnet Trust was formed in June 2013. The purpose of the Organisation was defined as “The Protection and Preservation of Genealogy and Family History that is accessible to all.”

With considerable enthusiasm members of the committee manned a stand at the Family History Fair in Manukau in August 2013. Other promotional activities were initiated and materials produced.

It was decided that the most appropriate structure for the organisation was a Charitable Trust, and a relevant Constitution, Contracts and Agreements with the Settlor and a Trust Deed for Charitable status were drafted and submitted to Internal Affairs for approval.

In early 2014, Internal Affairs declined our application for Charitable Status on the basis that the proposed Charitable Trust activities would be directly conferring “private benefits” to the owner of the software. Several options and changes were suggested, and investigated in depth with the owner, but Robert who has invested thousands of hours of his time in supporting and developing Famnet was not prepared to reduce or change his position of ownership of the software sufficiently to enable a Charitable Trust to be approved. As the Settlor he did indicate that he would review his position after a further 12 months if the organisation proved that it could produce positive results for FamNet.

It was decided that an organisation called The FamNet Trust be formed in the interim, and this was registered in mid-2014. A bank account was opened and membership contributions deposited. At this stage several members of the committee also decided not to continue to support its activities for a variety of reasons.

Notwithstanding, the remaining committee members in the next year:

·    Negotiated access to the Auckland Museum Armoury database of WW1 soldiers and direct links to / from the FamNet database. It was reported that there is increased traffic to FamNet site due to this link.

·         John and Robert met with Gay Williams (NZSG President) regarding working together. We had hoped this would be the beginning of closer cooperation between FamNet and NZSG.

·         Contacted all schools via email in New Zealand and promoted the FamNet site as a resource.

·         It was agreed that schools would be able to access FamNet for free, and schools were advised of this.

·         Engaged and paid an experienced software programmer to work with Robert to improve the ease of use, look and feel of the current website. After several visits the designer/ programmer gave up, and it was decided that it was “too hard, given the complexity.”  Later Robert did make some improvements which help, and acknowledged that more could be done when time allows. 

We decided that the FamNet Trust was not meeting our objectives, and so we decided to terminate the trust. Robert has advised that he plans to gift the website and database to the National Library on his passing. This may or may not include the related intellectual property. The future of the FamNet website and contents remains uncertain at this time.

In summary, the FamNet Trust was established to provide certainty for the many who use Famnet as a resource for recording and storing family history. For a variety of reasons, we have failed to provide this certainty, and apologise to all members for this. On 21 June 2016, we had our final FamNet Trust meeting.

Personally, I wish to thank all that I have met within this special community of interest for your guidance and encouragement and wish you all the best in your futures.

Yours Sincerely,

John Hyde

Retiring Chair.                                                                                                 22 June 2016

From Robert

FamNet has advanced features that are still not available from sites like Ancestry and FamilySearch, and I’m proud of what has been achieved.  While my focus has now moved to the Jazz software project and I cannot afford much time to continuing developing and promoting FamNet, I still want FamNet to survive and prosper.  I’d hoped that the FamNet Trust would make this happen, so it’s disappointing that the Trust was unable to pick up this responsibility, and it seems bizarre to me that Internal Affairs would not allow a charitable trust to be formed if I retained any IP rights to the software.  Yet without these rights I could have been constrained in unrelated projects like Jazz.

I’d hoped that enough time had passed that fresh leadership at the NZSG might see the opportunity for their members in supporting FamNet, as a little support and cooperation would make both stronger.  As I said to Gay Williams when we met, “I suspect that separately we’ll both fail, together we could prosper”.  She didn’t disagree.  However the NZSG remains indifferent.  A great shame as I think that FamNet would provide significant benefits to their membership, especially those living more than a few km away from Panmure.

An ongoing issue is that FamNet can be complex.  The challenge is to keep (and enhance?) the advanced facilities that FamNet currently has, while at the same time providing the simplicity of a very basic personal site.  It’s not easy.  I’ve seen users creating trees on line who have messed things up – but I’ve also seen similar messes trees imported from personal database tools like Legacy and Family Tree Maker.  I’ve tried to make it as easy as I can, and to prevent as many mistakes as I can, but there’s always room for improvement.  Thank you to those few users who have taken the time to interact with me (shout out to Laurie) as they’ve been invaluable in helping me to improve the software.   With modern tools it is relatively easy to create a simple web site, but it gets more complicated if you want more than a brochure site.

A particular concern is that FamNet remains backed only by me.  What happens when I can no longer keep supporting it?   I will leave instructions with my family to offer it to the National Library, so that it remains available to all on the same or better terms than it is currently available.  This organization has the skills available to manage FamNet, and even to develop the software further if they wish to.  In the meantime FamNet can continue indefinitely – it is (just) bringing in enough income to cover its expenses – and I repeat the promises that are part of our terms and conditions:  the data remains yours and I have no rights to sell it to Ancestry or anybody else.  I have no plans to pull the plug on it.

Where to from here?  In the short term there’ll be no change.  Whether FamNet prospers and grows, or whether nothing changes, depends on whether it gets well supported by the family history community.

Regular Features

From the Developer

Finding Your Way Around FamNet

I’ve completed the “Telling your Story” chapters, and in the process given you a good overview of FamNet’s GDB (Genealogy Database).  Here’s an index to these chapters.  If there are any more topics that you’d like, then let me know and I’ll respond. 

Also, if you’re not sure what do, to remember that FamNet is well supplied with Help.  At the bottom of every page you’ll see these links: -

Help for this page gives you a page explaining what the page you’re looking at: how to use it, what everything means, where the links go, and so on.  Some help pages are very comprehensive, others are a bit basic.  Please let me know of any that are missing, or that you feel could be improved.

Of course this is all very well, but what if you don’t know what page you should be looking at.  The other two links will help you.

If the menu structure of the home page is insufficient, General Help & Videos provides a table of contents helping you to find your way around.  It also indicates some chapters and videos that I’d planned, but haven’t done.  These could be completed if there is sufficient demand and support.

F.A.Q. or Frequently Asked Questions, is an attempt to provide answers to the questions that are most likely to be asked.  If you have questions that I don’t answer, let me know.  It’s not difficult to add more.

Finally, if you’re using FamNet on a full-sized screen you may like to turn the Navigator Bar back on.  At the top of each page you’ll see this: -

Click [Show navigator bar] and a panel will appear at the left of the screen, giving you links to help pages, to the last 10 GDB pages that you accessed, and some other links.  This navigator bar was removed, becoming an option, as part of the site review, as it isn’t wanted when FamNet is accessed on a phone or tablet.

In later newsletters I’ll cover FamNet’s General Resource Databases, and FamNet’s Community Pages.  In both cases many facilities are provided, but there is potential for more.

Telling your story.     Index

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

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


Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

Recording Cemeteries

I have another habit I need to explain.

When I lived in Hillsborough I lived next door to the cemetery, and I became intrigued with who my immediate neighbours were. I obviously could read the headstones but there are a lot of vacant plots which did not help in my introductions to them. I approached the cemetery office and asked where I could find out who was in the vacant plots. Well, I could either consult the Auckland Public Library website or consult the burial record books and the Monumental inscriptions done by NZ Society of Genealogists in late 1980's. Stupidly, I asked whether it was a good idea to gather everything up into one database ie sextons database, Monumental Inscriptions and Burial records.

Before I knew it I had the Sexton's database in my hot little hands (this contained name, gender, death date, age, area, lot and plot) and was encouraged to produce such a database. Then, my next stupid step was to approach David Verran at the Library who was full of encouragement and he lent me the Burial Record books (these contain the above as in Sextons database plus occupation, address, cause of death, religion, native country, burial date, etc). A day or so later he provided me with the Monumental Inscriptions in digital format from the website. So my big mouth had gained me the necessary data.  Now I had to eat my words and combine the data into one master database.

A key to the whole process is understanding the manner in which the data was gathered. I must insist that I am not criticising anybody or the manner in which the data was produced. The fact is that it happened how it happened and I had to correct any errors I found.

First of all, the sexton seems to have collected the burial details on pieces of paper after being verbally informed, generally by the funeral director. Therefore the burials are not in date order, and names etc are as the person heard them. Consequently names could be wrong due to hearing difficulties.  Incidentally the handwriting is sometimes almost illegible.

Then, the data was written on cards and into the formal burial book. Transcription errors occurred.

Sometime in the 1990's these cards were put into digital format by PEP workers - remember them? Unfortunately they were not checked and sometimes you could see that the workers were tired and did not care: for example gender classification was sometimes a joke.

The NZ Society of Genealogists did a good job of recording the Monumental Inscriptions but the problem is that they were done nearly thirty years ago. They did produce one or two minor errors. The problem was that they were not in digital format in 2009 when I started and a lot more headstones had appeared.

The Library had got them typed up but, unfortunately they were not checked.

Consequently, adding all the above up leads to an error rate of about 50%. I.e. there were errors in every second burial on the Library's website. I repeat that it was not their fault and was not deliberate.

I firstly updated the monumental inscriptions - a good task for summer.

For each burial I substantiate the facts by consulting Paperspast for death notices, inquests and obituaries, BDM website for deaths, Funeral directors records and NZSG Monumental Inscriptions books. Lately I have been consulting FindmyPast for the NZ death indexes because I can search with given names only. Each entry tales six minutes at least to check and type all data in. All corrections are explained.

We could have a great debate about which of all the records I consult is the most correct. But I tend to believe death notice is the first port of call, then BDM website etc. Where there is some confusion I include all possible surnames as separate entries and include the BDM surname if it differs because a researcher may want to get the certificate.

Hillsborough has over 17,500 burials. It took over 4 years to finish. The Library website has my database on it. The database is also on FindmyPast, and of course in FamNet (in the General Resource Databases).

I have become the expert on the cemetery and its population. I give guided tours through the cemetery at least once a year and used to give speeches on it to various public groups.

Having done that I, very stupidly, started doing the same for the Waikaraka Cemetery which has 20,500 burials and is still operating as a cemetery, so every day I do a couple of hour's work on data entry and substantiating each one.

I think that this process needs to be done for every cemetery in the country but I refuse to volunteer for Waikumete Cemetery.

Peter Nash

From the Editor

Peter’s Hillsborough database, and also the databases he developed for several cemeteries around Hokianga, are available in FamNet.  Just click the [General Resource Databases] tab and open the “Burials etc” database, where you can search these and other cemeteries.  Your search can be general (find a name in any of the cemeteries that we have), or restricted to particular cemeteries, date ranges, and so on.  The information recorded varies: in one cemetery the data even records the name of the horse drawing the hearse!

If you, like Peter, are gathering such data then we’d be happy to host your data in this database.  You remain the owner of these records.

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

19.  DNA Testing – Getting into SNP testing on the Y chromosome to enhance your Family History

Ladies, unless you have a male test for you as your proxy for the Y DNA results (or are trying to sweet-talk a male into testing for you – your father, your brother, your father’s brother – feel free to ignore this article.

To remind you that you may need to refresh your knowledge regarding Y testing with FTDNA, go to the Famnet articles on Y testing, particularly Article 18   The relevant articles are: -


5.   Direct paternal line (men only).

8.   Understanding direct paternal results.

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

18. DNA Testing – Starting a new series on Y DNA testing

You will need these and the glossary for a refresher.  You may also wish to refresh what a Y test can divulge for you by looking at this simplistic video

Having now watched that video and having re-read those articles, you will be aware I am referring only to the SNP testing on the Y chromosome.  You will also be aware of what a SNP is from the 18th article. 

What you may not be aware of is that the longhand method of displaying the male haplogroup has been discarded for the shorthand method.  For example, the Haplogroup which was once labelled R1b (longhand) is now R-M269.  Similarly, that which was once called Haplogroup I2a2a in the longhand method, is now I-M223.  

If you are anything like me, you will be asking yourself “why?” 

The simple answer is that remembering all the longhand group names and the order in which the letters and numbers occur is only possible for incredibly mentally adaptable people (I am not one of these).  As more discoveries are made, these longhand titles get longer and longer - as frequently as every few months.  Therefore to make the process of writing such a name easier, the decision was made a couple of years ago by FTDNA to report in terms of the SNP.  However I hasten to add that the long hand names are still in use.

Here is an extract (very small) from the ISOGG Ytree. (ISOGG stands for International Society of Genetic Genealogists, of which I am a member).

Should you go look at the site from whence I extracted this small snippet, you will see what I mean by the Longhand names getting longer and longer. 


Notice all the details following the longhand name?  These are the SNPs which designate the particular Haplogroup clade and sub-clade.

Put another way, the SNP is the method by which the Haplogroup is identified.  Say you have just tested for Y67  and without SNP testing you have an unconfirmed result of R-M269.  Looking at the extract of the Y tree above, it simply means you are near the top of the Y Haplotree for the R1b haplogroup.  

In a project, you can tell if it is a confirmed SNP or a predicted SNP by looking at the colour of the SNP given to you.  If it is red, it is predicted.  If it is green, it has been tested and it has been found positive.  Until you test a particular SNP, you can guess all you like, but you will not actually know for certain.  If no SNP test has been taken or the answer is a negative result, then you will remain predicted. 

But what does all this mean to you in your research?

To begin (and this is a huge subject), a negative result after SNP testing is termed “Ancestral” and means you have simply inherited the SNP from a chappie in your family (ignore surnames) many, many years ago.  Maybe 5,000 or more years ago – we simply do not know.

A positive result after SNP testing means it is “derived” and is particularly associated with your general family.  How general  depends on the SNP you have tested.  The higher up the Ytree the SNP is, the older it is.  It is only when you get into what is known as “next generation sequencing” (often abbreviated to NGS) that your specific family’s “novel” variants come into view.  These are valuable, but they do cost!  Therefore in an effort to at least get the basics, many men opt for either a SNP pack for their particular Haplogroup, or they choose the most expensive route of taking one SNP test at a time (guessing all the way).

In terms of economics, it is best to go straight for the Big Y test, even though it is usually US$575.00 (and only available if you have already taken a YDNA test with FTDNA – sometimes called the STR test).  The SNP packs range from US$99.00 to US$119, depending on your haplogroup and the chosen pack.  The individual SNPs are US$39.00 each.

And yes, there are cheaper SNP tests with other firms, BUT the results cannot be brought into FTDNA, which makes it a little more difficult for comparisons  (and comparisons are the foundation of genetic genealogy).

I am now going to display a series of screen shots – these are what you will see in FTDNA – starting with your FTDNA Home page, once you have logged in (using your kit number and password at ), this is likely as to what you will see (depending on the tests you have taken to date.) 

 Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.13.44 PM.png

If you wish to upgrade to any test, go to your blue <Upgrade> button on the top right. This new screen will emerge.

 Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.18.39 PM.png

Notice that there are only three tests offered here, namely Family Finder;  Y111 and Big Y.  This means the tester with this Home page has NOT taken these tests.  Put another way, this tester is obviously already tested to Y67.  Therefore if he wishes to order the Big Y test (which gives him practically all the SNP possibilities with FTDNA presently), then he needs to click on the price button.  But if he wants to take a SNP pack, then he will need to click on the <Buy Now> for Advanced Tests.

This will bring up a screen such as this one. 

Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.35.16 PM.png

I shall look at this aspect in more detail and continue on in Article 20

Gail Riddell

Index so far

This is a complete list of the articles written by Gail over the last year or so. 

© 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

15.  DNA – Something a little different…

16.  Current Pricings for the Three Main Genealogical Testing Firms

17.  DNA Testing for Family History

18.  Starting a new series on Y DNA Testing


Gail Riddell 

Wairarapa Wandering. 

I was thrilled when the list came from Tranzit Club some weeks back, with an outing to Wellington which included a guided Tour around the magnificent St Gerard’s Monastery up at Mount Victoria.  I tell you. I jumped at the chance to finally see the place inside and out.  What a lovely Church it is there, with lovely stained glass windows, one being St Gerard..  For years I had said “Must visit”, even when we lived in Brooklyn, but I never had the chance to visit it even though I was there 13 years! But with Tranzit, we get door to door service: they picked me up at the top of my lane at Clareville, and took me down to Wellington, parked in the car park at St Gerard’s… Great service!  We then walked through the large Monastery, it reminded me of my old school in London, which was Gothic style and very similar.  We then had lunch near Parliament, then after lunch into the Debating Chamber and listened to the discussions.  Shortly afterwards it was time to return to the bus and return to Wairarapa.  I loved seeing St Gerard’s.  If you are like me and love history, visit it, you won’t be disappointed as it’s worth viewing, high up above Oriental Bay.

Adele Pentony-Graham
Carterton Early Settlers Researcher.

Jan’s Jottings

Family Tree Analyzer

I’ve recently come across  There have been similar programs before but this one seems most worthwhile.  I haven’t tried it on my computer as yet, but saw it demonstrated.  It reads a Gedcom file and then analyses it to show all sorts of interesting facts, figures and corrections. 


From the web page: -

“Family Tree Analyzer

“Use FTAnalyzer to investigate your family tree in new and interesting ways, see where your ancestors lived and moved over time on the new maps feature. Find errors in your tree eg: childrens’ birth dates before a parent was born. See lists of who is missing from census searches then click their name to automatically search on Ancestry, Find My Past, Familysearch etc. And lots more.

“Windows 8 & 8.1 installs may require you to click More Info and accept the certificate the first time you run the app.

“Helpful Guides to Using FTAnalyzer

“There is now a series of helpful guides to downloading, installing and using FTAnalyzer. You can get them from the download tab here.”

SLC2NZ Research Retreat Weekend, October 2016

After another three weeks in Salt Lake City and the amazing experience this is, Jan intends to create a little of what it is like there for this weekend.

What makes the difference:

1. Preparation - learning to know what you know and how you know it.

2. Time. Just time away from the normal daily routine. And although Fri afternoon to Monday afternoon is nothing like three weeks, it is amazing what you can achieve in these 6 half days.

3. Facilitators on hand. We don't have many lectures as it is the doing/experimenting/learning that is important.

4. Access to important sites and learning the tricks of using them.

5. Collaboration - having your family as the subject of intense collaborative research 6. The chance to win some pretty good spot prizes - including a week's accommodation at the Plaza Hotel in SLC.

7. A webinar live from the FHL.

8. Limited number of attendees so lots of help available

Any questions? To book a seat

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.

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 and by publicising what’s available at their library/museum increase their visitor numbers.  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 – Family History Expo

The Auckland Family History Expo is now less than a month away. The venue is the Fickling Centre Cnr Mt Albert and Mt Eden Roads, Three Kings. 12-14 August 2016. This is an Auckland Libraries event with sponsorship and help from the GCG (Genealogical Computing Croup) of the NZSG.

Dick Eastman (USA) and Shauna Hicks (Australia) are our overseas speakers.

The programme is on the Auckland Libraries web site.  We have 30 Main Lectures, 4 Computer Workshops, 4 Specialised Workshops and 5 Ask-an-Expert sessions. 

The Ask-an-Expert sessions are similar to what the Society of Genealogists offers at the Who Do You Think You Are Show in England. People will book in for a 20 minute session with an Expert of their choice - covering their particular ‘brick wall’ or area/site/item of interest.

The Computer Workshops will be held in the Mt Roskill Library (upstairs from the Fickling Centre) and we will use the Library computers. There will be just 13 computers, but anyone can bring their own computer, find a seat, and be part of the workshop. We will look at Ancestry, findmypast, The Genealogist and FamilySearch.

The Specialised Lectures will be in a small room, with around 12 people attending. So almost one-on-one with the lecturer. Two of these will be for Beginners and two for Maori Whakapapa.

The Main Lectures cover topics such as:
Researching Indian, Chinese and Pacific Island families. Being organised, Brick Walls, The Cloud, Newspapers, Libraries, Archives and lots of lectures for NZ research.  (I will be presenting FamNet 1:30 to 2:20PM, Sunday 14th – Robert).

We plan an Opening Function on the Friday Night, with special lectures from our overseas speakers. With some fun time on Saturday evening.

Entry is free, but, there will be a selection of Spot Prizes and the tickets for these will be $2. Buy more tickets for more chances to win!!

The lectures and/or handouts for most sessions will be available on a flash drive.

New Zealand Family History Month 2016 

When: Throughout August 2016

Where: Across Auckland Libraries 

Cost: Free

Family History Month is an annual festival of talks, seminars and workshops on the subject of family history and genealogy.

Whether you're just beginning your journey into your family's past or are an experienced researcher, you'll find an event to help you take the next step.

Find your region to see what's on at a library near you

Auckland Library – Family History Lunchtime Series

For all family history lunchtime series events: -

Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2,Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland

Cost: Free

Booking: To reserve your place, contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on (09) 307 7771, or complete our online booking form:

August (New Zealand Family History Month)

An ordinary NZ Immigrant family - surprises and frustrations in research with Graham Langton

Wednesday 10 August, 12pm - 1pm

The Langton family in England, and in Auckland from 1887, was fairly ordinary - the males mostly tradesmen and the females housekeeping. 

Yet research shows that 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary' are very close in any family, and that while more can always be discovered, frustrations cannot always be resolved.


Special family history event: Dick Eastman and Shauna Hicks 

When: Monday 15 August, 1pm - 4.30pm

Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2,Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland

Cost: Free

Booking: To secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 307 7771, or complete our online booking form.


Genealogy searches on Google - Dick Eastman.

Skeletons in the family: looking at asylum and prison records - Shauna Hicks


Come to Central City Library for an afternoon of family history talks with two respected genealogists.

Another opportunity to hear the Auckland Family History Expo keynote speakers, Dick Eastman and Shauna Hicks.

Tea and coffee will be served between lectures.

Complete the booking form to reserve your place at this event.


The Carte-de-Visite in New Zealand with Keith Giles

Wednesday 24 August, 12pm -1pm

Auckland Libraries’ Heritage Photograph Librarian, Keith Giles, talks about the photographic format that dominated New Zealand photography and family photograph albums in the 19th century.


Creating a family history website with Michelle Patient

Wednesday 7 September, 12pm -1pm

Want to know some simple and easy ways to publish your tree online? Or maybe you can't decide where to publish your information? 


Regular lunchtime series speaker, Michelle Patient, (aka The Patient Genie) will discuss reasons to publish, how that can impact your research, the decision about where to publish, and show us some of the benefits of doing so. 

There are many free sites out there, it doesn't have to cost a fortune, and you don't have to be a computer whiz.


The Battle of the Somme 1916 with Christopher Paxton

Wednesday 21 September, 12pm -1pm

The Somme Offensive was a pivotal event laying the basis for Allied victory in the First World War.

But the necessity for the battles, their significance and effect has been debated ever since the offensive was abandoned in November 1916.

Come and hear the ‘futility’ argument re-examined, and the Somme’s long New Zealand shadow considered.


The Soldiers' Corner: Waikumete Cemetery's general military section since 1918 with Lisa Truttman

Wednesday 28 September, 12pm -1pm

The first municipal soldiers' cemetery in New Zealand, after the area set aside for the deaths from Featherston Camp two years earlier, Waikumete has the second-largest number of military burials after Karori Cemetery in Wellington.


As with the rest of the cemetery, there are stories behind not only the simple layout we see today, but in the lives of those who find their final rest today on the clay slopes at West Auckland.


A brief history of how the Soldiers' Corner came to be, and just a few of the tales behind the headstones.


How to date a photograph with Bruce Ringer

Wednesday 5 October, 12pm -1pm

The techniques of speed dating don’t necessarily work when establishing a relationship with a photograph.

In a digital age, images can easily become divorced from their physical context. Identifying and dating them sometimes requires close attention and painstaking research.

In this talk Bruce Ringer, author, local historian and team leader of the South Auckland Research Centre, provides examples from the Auckland Libraries’ Footprints database of how to describe photographs using the tiniest clues offered by their content.

This talk should be of interest to family historians, local historians, librarians, and anyone who’s just interested in historical detective work.


Read all about it: scandal, scaremongering and society over the years with Joanne Graves

Wednesday 19 October, 12pm - 1pm

(Rescheduled from 13 July)

For over a century, NZ Truth was the salacious rag that exposed corruption, raked scandals through its pages and is credited with the beginnings of investigative journalism in this country.

From its beginning in 1905, to its role as a media giant and its demise in 2013, Joanne Graves of the Central Research Centre looks at the scandals and the heartbreaks that made it onto the pages of the Truth, and its impact on New Zealand’s social history.


It's YOUR grass verge!! What are YOU going to do about it? with Jan Gow QSM FSG

Wednesday 2 November, 12pm -1pm

Can you see the HUGE pile of stuff on your grass verge aka your computer?  

You NEED to be organised before you start looking for the riches amongst the rubbish. You need to be organised to make the best use of your time. And your money!!

Jan will show you how to create your research plan so you can be organised and make the most of your time.


Making Sense of the Census with Seonaid Lewis

Wednesday 16 November, 12pm -1pm

Auckland Libraries’ family history librarian, Seonaid Lewis, will demonstrate how the UK census can enhance your family history research, as well as highlight the pitfalls that lie in wait to trip you up.


Roots in the land: Scottish land records with Marie Hickey

Wednesday 30 November, 12pm -1pm

The land is special to Scots, whether they own it or work on it. This talk looks at records relating to ownership and tenure of the land.

Until recently a feudal system existed in Scotland with regard to land which means that it is not just the wealthy that are mentioned in land records. 

Different types of records and their availability at Auckland Libraries will be explored to help with research.

Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


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

email, if you need directions.

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

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

Waikanae Family History Group


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.

Open Day , Saturday, 6th August 2016 – 9am to 3pm, at the Waikanae Chartered Club.

Do you have servicemen from either of the two world wars in your family history? Downloaded that file, don’t understand all those abbreviations, all that war history?  You can’t afford to miss this event!  Especially Tim ShoeBridge’s presentation at 11:00 am, “Understanding NZEF Files”

View large collection of family histories, help desks, research help.
Bring your own published or unpublished family histories for display. Share
your work with others.
Bring your laptop make yourself at home, there is bound to be someone in all
those family histories that you know or are connected to.
Entry is free!!! Morning tea, refreshments, $10 lunch, hospitality Waikanae style

Contact Hanley Hoffmann, WFHG President:  904 3276 (from Wellington, 934 3276).

WFHG have published three newsletters since the last FamNet Newsletter.  Here they are: -

#51 (April)

#52 (May)

#53 (June)

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Letters to the Editor

If you want a letter published, just email

In the last newsletter we published an information request from Toni Osborne.  I received this reply: -

Hi Robert

Just a quick note to express many thanks to you and the many FamNet readers who responded to my request for information regarding my great, great uncle William Osborne

A special thanks to Russell Tether from Waikanae FHG and to Michelle Robinson from Napier Library who actually found Elsie Maude who had remarried to a Jack Avison and is buried at Waipawa Cemetery not far from William

I had a wonderful trip exploring the Cambridge and Napier areas and the relevant cemeteries.

However, the icing on the cake was finding a living cousin, when the very courteous and friendly staff at Grinters Funeral Directors at Cambridge advised that William's son, also William, who was buried at Cambridge, along with his wife Winifred, was buried by his son Bruce and advised his address. After referring to white pages found Bruce and his wife Kathy and spent a lovely day with them and they were also pretty excited as they had no previous contact with the Australian Osbornes.

Once again many thanks

Toni Osborne

New letters to the Editor

Hi. My father Raymond Alfred Arthur Burnett B.E.M. turns 95 this year and I am hoping to be able to source a photo of his grandfather Kenneth Burnett for him as he has never seen one of him. Kenneth was born in Scotland in 1855 and emigrated to NZ on the SS Wellington in 1883. He married Sarah Jane Caulfield who had emigrated from Ireland on the same ship. Kenneth lived in Invercargill until around 1903 when he moved to Aramoho, Wanganui where he worked for the railways. After he retired he lived in and around Hamilton until 1925 when he died.

I do have extensive research material covering the Burnett family which I will happily share.


Bob Burnett

Good luck Bob.  Sorry that this newsletter has been so delayed, or you might have got a reply sooner but still, as you can see from Toni’s letter above, information requests can be quite effective.  Is your data already on FamNet?  This is a great way of sharing it, while retaining control.  Robert.

Information Wanted/Offered.

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.

We have nothing new for this issue.

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Book Reviews

The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie


By David Hastings.  Published 2015 by Auckland University Press, ISBN 978 1 86940 837 4 (available through Whitcoulls).

This is an interesting book in which the author investigates the murder of Mary Robie in 1880 in Taranaki. He builds up the atmosphere of the times before the dirty deed was committed, including the development of the Parihaka movement.

The actual murder is thoroughly researched as was the subsequent arrest, trial and execution of the convicted killer.

The author then moves on to the subsequent "sacking of Parihaka". He suggests that the perpetrators of this destruction of the Maori village and movement used this murder as part of their reasons.

An interesting read, but I am not thoroughly convinced that the right person was convicted for this crime.

Peter Nash

In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief

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