Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter July 2018

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote    "We all carry, inside us, people who came before us ", Liam Callanan


Editorial 2

Regular Contributors. 2

From the Developer 2

The Nash Rambler 3

DNA Testing for Family History. 4

Jan’s Jottings. 7

Wairarapa Wandering. 8

Hanley Hoffmann. 9

Tracey’s Tales. 10

Digging Into Historical Records. 11

Chinese Corner 13

The Chinese War Refugees. 13

Guest Contributor - Marlene. 14

From our Libraries and Museums. 20

Auckland Libraries. 20

Auckland Family History Expo 2018. 22

Group News. 23

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 23

Waikanae Family History Group. 24

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 25

News and Views. 25 You a Family Historian or a Name Collector?. 25

The Free Online GRO Index is Your Key to Millions of Buried English Records. 28

Top ten search tips for exploring the FamilySearch genealogy website. 33

It’s not for us to choose. 35

Book Reviews. 36

Imprint of the Raj - How Fingerprinting was born in colonial India. 36

Echoes of Our Past 37

It's All Relative by A J Jacobs. 38

Cleansing the Colony. 38

Advertisements. 39

Help wanted. 39

Letters to the Editor 39

Advertising with FamNet 40

In conclusion. 40

A Bit of Light Relief 40

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 41


Back to the Top. 17


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

This month's issue of the newsletter has been fun to assemble. I am heartened by the fact that more and more researchers are wishing to contribute and some old columnists are interested in returning. I am getting more and more feedback and it pleases me that this newsletter seems to be filling a hole in the field of genealogy publications in New Zealand. What's not to like when the cost is nothing, no paper left to dispose of after you have read it and it can be read when you want without your partner in life complaining about the litter beside your comfortable chair in the lounge.

Please feel free to contribute or drop me a line with comments.

This month I am pleased to present another guest contributor who has thought very hard about how to write up their research. I am very taken by their use of boxes to put related research that explains the atmosphere, the particular occupation or the locality that the particular person experienced in their lifetime. Have a look at it and be inspired to write your family history - it isn't too hard.

We are extremely lucky to have our regular writers who, month in and month out, produce something interesting and/or thought provoking for us readers to consider.

I notice that the Fickling Centre will be the venue of Auckland Public Library/ NZSG Computer Group weekend expo in August. I thoroughly enjoyed last year's session. Robert and I will be in attendance. Feel free to drop by and pass a comment - positive ones are preferred. I should say that I am very partial to a good coffee and will listen for five full minutes to anything you wish to tell me but I may be consulting my watch whilst you talk. I also look forward to learning something from the experts. You had better start planning to attend and save the necessary money to purchase that coffee.

Please enjoy this month's offering.


Peter Nash

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Regular Contributors

From the Developer


Sorry, nothing from me this month.



Telling your story: Index

1.    Writing your story as notes, or with Word.  

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

10.  Merging Trees.  Part 2:  Adding Records On-Line

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

14.  FamNet’s General Resource Databases
Updating General Resource Databases

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

21.  Bulk-uploading Objects.  FamNet resource: Useful Databases.


Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler

Rekindling your ardour

I remember when I first started my genealogy addiction. My father decided on a family reunion and I had to write the book for that reunion. He wanted to know how all his relations fitted into the family tree. My mother suggested that while I was at it I could do her family and sort out who all the five Auntie Marys were in her family. I can vividly remember walking in Cameron St, the main street of Whangarei, and all sorts of strangers saying hello to my mother and father. When I asked who they were the answer was always "a relation".


If I had known before I started that my father was one of eleven siblings and his father was one of thirteen siblings I may have taken up another hobby, maybe knitting, sculpture, kite flying or other important pastimes.


In those days micrographic printouts cost about $4 each and a sheet of four or five births, for example, came with the one you ordered ie you got a copy of the entire register page. So I buried myself in the microfiche for births, deaths and marriages together with the district keys. Being amazingly cheap, I was able to purchase certificates of any possibilities and quickly built up a huge collection of "certificates". Suddenly Uncle Frank became Francis, Auntie Poppy became Olive and some even had names that were completely different from what we knew them as. I even found divorces nobody spoke about and there were a couple of illegitimate children that raised an eyebrow or two.


When the reunion took place it was well attended and I was the only one in the hall that knew who everybody was. I had visited every living relative or the families of the dead ones. I had a little chapter on each branch and wrote something "good" about everyone - a very hard task in some cases.


I suppose that this process was enjoyable to me because of the process of "the Hunt" and the logic required working out the various subgroups of the family. You may be surprised at the idea that I had a good sense of logic but at a cost of $4 a printout who is going to care about a few instances of bad logic. The fact that the information was easily acquired and the process was fairly fast is the reason for my nostalgia about my early research. Nowadays I am researching late 1700s in rural England and Scotland and the facts are amazingly elusive which has caused my love of "the Hunt" to wane. I have moved off my research into the realms of indexing, transcribing and teaching genealogy.


You may wonder where all this reminiscing is taking us. Last month I mentioned that I had started a one name study for my COUTTS surname. It seemed a good idea at the time of starting and this winter is a good period to be glued to a computer screen in a warm computer room. I decided that I was not going to buy a certificate (far too expensive) and I wasn't going to travel to repositories outside of Auckland.


Well this one name study rekindled the pleasures I felt during my beginning search period. Oh the pleasure of becoming a "name collector" again. All I was looking for was birth dates, parents, marriage dates, death dates and the connection of them into extended family groups. I wasn't interested in whether their eyes were blue, what occupation they were paid for, their address, and other day-to-days matters. All I was interested was the formation of a few family trees.


I have nearly finished the exercise and I have a few thoughts to talk about.


1) The NZ BDM website is not as good as I thought it was. It has a high error rate. It has missed out names that were in the microfiche and has name variants that do not exist in the microfiche. But that website is good because of the fact that it gives parents names for births and age or birth date for deaths. The microfiche should be used because the location of births & deaths can be found using them.


2) The "historical" limitations on this website are a curse. I know that I'm going to upset a few people but I am against the Privacy Act in the ways that it is used to hinder research. I will also repeat my call that the government should make "historical" certificates free of charge for "valid researchers".


3) Paperspast is a wonderful resource.


4) The FamilySearch website is wonderful for the NZ wills it has and I cannot wait until all NZ wills are indexed on that site. I had forgotten how much information can be found in a will or the affidavits given during the probate process.


5) The NZSG produced two wonderful CD Roms - the marriage CD Rom and the Burial Locator. Why they ever decided to cease the sale of the Burial Locator showsme that they have a lack of real understanding of research requirements. The various cemetery websites are useful but this CD Rom gives an indication of the area the burial took place.


6) I am almost tempted to rejoin the NZSG just to get at the Certificates Collection which was, and still is, a very good idea for a resource. Unfortunately the cost of subscription cannot justify rejoining.


7) Archway, particularly WW1 Service records, is also a very valuable resource for this exercise.


To finish I will say that if your research has stopped or you are bored with your research then change. Do a one name study and limit the resources you are going to use. This will cause a refocusing of your research methods and you WILL re-experience the pleasure you felt when you first started your genealogy journey. You may even find material that you had overlooked in the past.


In the words of the Dilmah tea ad - "Do try it".


Regards to all

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DNA Testing for Family History

28.3   Wending your way through FTDNA – Segment 3

Y-DNA for men

To remind you, this is a series of articles on testing with FTDNA. (See the previous articles in the May and the June newsletters).

This month is about wending your way through a Y-DNA test.

I suggest you refresh your memories of Part 8. Understanding Your Paternal Y Chromosome Results, found in the October 2014 newsletter.

In this article, I want to begin at your FTDNA personal Home page.

This is almost the same as the screenshot found in the previous couple of newsletters, but this one is for a male who has taken the Y-DNA testing.  There are numerous options for testing Y-DNA. 

I am going to try to walk you through the options. 

Once you receive your Y-DNA STR results (whether Y12, Y25, Y37, Y67, Y111) notification from FTDNA, log into your FTDNA Home page and click on Y-DNA matches.

 It will possibly look something like this – depending on how many matches you actually have and at what level you have tested.  (As I write, the Y500 is being rolled out, but I have yet to work out how it can easily be used).


For anonymity purposes, I have removed names from this screenshot.

This is a small selection of the man’s matches at Y111 from the entire data base, but note when searching that you can input a surname and/or you can designate a project.

The Genetic Distance (GD) on the left indicates there is a difference of 3 mismatches for the first man to the man who is being considered..  The second man in this line-up of matches has a GD of 4, which is 4 mismatches.  And so on.

This GD means that the common ancestor lived at some time anywhere from 400 years to 1,000 years ago.  Not much help for researching if your tree only goes back some 300 years.  But look at what has been tested by each person.  The first man has test Y111, FF and the Big Y.  In fact all in this selection have tested these products except for the middle one who has not tested the Big Y. 

The Big Y is a ‘Next Generation Sequence’ test (NGS) and it considers many millions of SNPs (Single nucleotide polymorphisms which consist of A,C,T,G proteins).  The outcome will be what is known as the “Terminal SNP” which is an indication of your biological direct paternal line (or the path). 

In the column headed up Terminal SNP, we see one at A752, one at A751 then a space (because that man has not tested the Big Y), then two at A750.  Ignore the apparently descending numbers of the SNP – these are irrelevant and are invented and registered by the lab or person responsible for isolating it.  The important thing is that these men all match by the STR (Y111) method but because they have different terminal SNPs, although related, they are not in the direct unbroken paternal lineage.  Meaning at some point in the past (as indicated by the different GDs), the common ancestor developed a new lineage. 

Try and ignore man-made surnames when researching in DNA matches. 

All of these people in this match came from the same area many hundreds of years ago and as people were want to do, there were a number of intermarriages between families taking place.  In addition, hand-fasting could occur with an “annulment” after a year.  Even more interesting, many men took the attitude that they would not take a wife until she had proven she could get pregnant.  In the meantime whilst awaiting the news of pregnancy, that man may have died, or the mother may have died in childbirth leaving the new baby to be fostered out.  There are many possibilities to consider.

Notice that two of these matches are showing the “genealogy tree” icon.  If you click on this, the person’s tee can be looked at – assuming he has enabled it for his matches.  To make contact with him, you would click on the envelope icon.  You can also make a note in the notepad icon – just to remind you…

Personally, I ignore the orange Tip icon although many people seem to find it useful.  My objection is that it deals in averages.

You will see the full names for all your matches and if you get a match at Y111 and say a GD of 1, look to see if the FF is displayed.  Hopefully you have also tested Family Finder.  If you have and if FF is displayed, go to your FF matches – see the previous month’s article – and plug in the name to learn if the match is within the last 4 or so generations.


Moving on now to Ancestral Origins.

All that this is doing is considering your matches, the GD and where your matches believe their ancestors originated.  It would be great if everybody actually knew from where their direct paternal ancestors came.  But since they do not, I ignore it.

Haplotree and SNPs

Unless you get involved in SNP testing, such as the Big Y or ordering a SNP pack, you will seldom look at this apart from satisfying yourself what your predicted SNP will be.  SNPs (pronounced Snip) are totally different to the STR tests you undertake with Y37, Y67 or Y111.  But the Big Y is the optimum test for a male to take if he is interested in both his deep ancestry and his specific SNP for his family.

Ignoring the maps, and going now to STR markers.

These are all the STR results (called a haplotype) that you have tested to date and their values.  It is downloadable, but not as graphically pretty as your Y-DNA certificate.  The times you would want to use this is when you wish to send your results to a relative but you are unsure what he has tested – and to check what has been placed on Ysearch.  There is never a need to send it to your project administrator because whichever project you join, the administrator has access to all your results unless you have removed the ability for the admin to see same.  And if you do this, there is no sense in joining a project. is a non-maintained site which FTDNA began many years ago and its purpose is (was) to enable you to compare your results with other testers from other data bases.  Many of which have now stopped trading.  

To get to it, go to your Y-DNA matches and at the bottom of your matches page, you will see the option to upload your results.  As said, it is not maintained and so do not be surprised if you get an error message.  Do NOT attempt to redo, because then you will have two of you on the site.  If you run into a problem, first time round, come back to me and I shall aid you get it sorted.  However, it is still an excellent site once you get used to its (mis)behaviour.

One further comment is that it will only automatically upload your Y12 to Y67.  Should you have joined it at Y37, you need to access it directly to add your extra results.  In addition, if you first begin at Y111, it will not upload the panel Y68 to Y111 correctly and you will have to go in and correct these.  Again, my offer is available if you need help.

We now come to the final aspect of discussion on your FTDNA Home page.  In the earlier graphic, you will have noticed Big Y500.

Unless you have tested the Big Y, you will not have 500 STR results and nor will you even see this section on your FTDNA Home page.  The ‘500 markers’ was rolled out in the middle of April 2018 and is only available for those who have taken/ordered the Big Y test.  In other words the 500 markers is a bonus to the Big Y testers.

As mentioned earlier, the Big Y is NGS testing and is utterly invaluable for discovering your paternal family’s specific “terminal SNP”. 

This is absolutely cutting edge technology and many Administrators are hard pressed to keep up with all the changes taking place so rapidly.  Perhaps I am lucky in that I have a large number of projects to look after and it fascinates me as to the information being discovered by the testers. 

It works best when a man is already tested to Y111, but his matches at that level are various surnames.  Using STR results alone, they would possibly all be matching up to 1500 years ago, but that is not going to aid you to any great degree unless they all have the same surname or a variant of that surname.  Under these circumstances, the sensible although expensive thing to do is to go for the Big Y and to encourage your matches at Y111 to do the same.  Then you can consider their ‘terminal’ SNPs and seek them out in your haplotree found on your FTDNA Home page – in this way, you will learn just how close or distant they are.  But wait, there is more…  The Big Y results page gives you so much more information.  However, that aspect will not be discussed in this segment

As always, please contact me if you have a question that has not been answered in any of the previous articles I have supplied to Famnet.

Gail Riddell

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From the editor: Gail has written quite a series on DNA Testing. You will see them all on the FAMNET website and they are a must-read, particularly if you are considering or have had a test done. They are easy to read and not too technical.

Index so far

Jan’s Jottings

Online Genealogical Index

 Something new - but been around a long time!!  Online Genealogical Index, .

This is something I really love about our wonderful hobby. Whilst there is so much that is new, there is so very much that stays the same!!  And we must have the antenna alert, looking for what’s new that is old!

My antenna found this site whilst I was in Salt Lake City on this year’s Hooked on Genealogy Tour.  It started, in its present format, in 2012. Created by, a FamilySearch employee in England, Tim Manners. The majority of the links are free to use at home and all are free to use in your local Family History Centre. Worth checking to see if any are on other sites also. AND included are links to the “Wayback Machine”.

You will see you have a choice of searching in England (not all counties covered), Wales and the Isle of Man. ‘No use to me’ I hear you say. Haven’t you heard? Most of the sites we search are like an iceberg - some are there for all to see, but much is below the water line and takes a little more effort on your part.

You could find Births/Baptisms, Marriages and Banns, Deaths and Burials. Cemetery Records, Pedigrees, Newspapers, School Registers, War Graves etc. etc.

I searched for a WHERE - Latton in Wiltshire. I did not enter a WHEN.

There were 33 hits and SEVEN different data sets!!!  ON THE FIRST PAGE OF 10 ENTRIES!!!  Seven new collections!

Each listing shows what is covered e.g. marriages. Click on the link. I clicked on the wiltshireopc link and the choices offered were amazing. 

And led to other choices.

It is MOST important that you follow the STOP!! LOOK!! READ!! philosophy. Because there is so much below the surface. Photos, contiguous parishes, list of websites that mention your place, transcripts, registers etc etc etc. And More!!

Look for a hit in the Collection called IGI Batch Search on Does not matter which town, county or country. Click on this link. Most likely is archersoftware. Many of you will remember how this tied in with the IGI. Scroll down on the LH side and you will see Scotland and Ireland. Now you can see some information for these countries/counties, even though they are not England!  Click on a batch for your county and place. No names, just click (try with names too).

Then you have to sign on to FamilySearch. Enter your surname and hit submit. You will have a list of matches BUT they will all be in the batch that you selected initially. And following through on the information given, will take you to the entries in FamilySearch.

Fill in a Pedigree Chart that covers the WHO and WHERE and WHEN you would like to research. Make sure you have entered all you know into a genealogy program. AND how you know what you know!

Then you can print the Pedigree Chart. Fill in or print Family Group Charts also - so you can see your ancestor’s siblings. Then decide which person to search for first.  Then Let’s Research!!!

Unlock the Past Cruise

Are you booked to 'sail' on the Unlock the Past cruise to Alaska in Sep?

Here is an idea!! How about having the week on the cruise and then fly to Salt Lake City for a week or two?  Jan has rooms available at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, right next door to the Family History Library.  Or if you prefer, you can fly straight to SLC 14 Sep and back to NZ one, two or three weeks later. 

There would be some pre Tour preparation. and lots of help in the Library.

Email Jan at for more info

Wairarapa Wandering



One of the graves up at Clareville Cemetery is for the FENSHAM family, which also includes the names CHALLIS, CORPE and GORDON.

 I began researching the early settlers’ area of the cemetery after clearing the weeds off the graves. Having done that I found it interesting to read a headstone and research the people who were buried. Some plots had no headstones, but the Council very kindly gave me the plans of the cemetery with the dates, surnames and where they were buried..

Now FENSHAM sticks in my memory over the years, as I can remember a letter arriving one day, advising me to please ring the writer collect to talk about a Bible she had found whilst clearing a relation's house out in Karori. After talking to her, it was arranged that I would drive down to Tawa to collect it. During a lovely morning tea she told me that the family had told her that the bible had to go to Carterton. So that is how Carterton managed to get a Bible for the Fensham family which had some family information in it.


 Then I was contacted by a FENSHAM family in England.


Caroline FENSHAM came over to New Zealand as a widow with two children. She was born 1826 in Middlesex and married Henry FENSHAM on 23 May 1844, Trinity Church Holborn, Middlesex, - yes it was Middlesex back then, but these days Holborn is part of London.


According to a family tree, three children survived and came to New Zealand with their mother Caroline. John, who left Fensham Reserve for Carterton, was born in 1851 and lived down Richmond Road at Surreyholme. There is mention of Thomas but he must have died as an infant (born 1849). Caroline was born in 1851 and died 1937 and Ann Frances Fanny 1857-1915.


There is a second marriage for Henry, with Emma ADAMS born about 1836, at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. She died April 1912, and was buried at Ashley Road Cemetery, Epsom, Surrey.  Oddly enough I passed that cemetery twice daily from 1972 to 1976 whilst working in Epsom, Surrey. Small world! Henry is buried there as well although, sadly, there is no headstone (I asked a cousin of mine to check it out). Henry, who died 1892, had married Emma in 1877 at St Andrews Church, Holborn.


Emma is Henry’s second wife in Epsom, Surrey. Caroline came to NZ as a widow but wasn’t a widow and remarried here in NZ.  We don’t know the full story of why she came here as a widow or when she walked out on the marriage and thus bringing the family with her! I am trying to make contact with a researcher in UK, at present, who did the FENSHAM write up and it's on Google presently, a Brian Brouchard in Ashtead, Surrey.


Caroline married William CHALLIS in 1864 who was from Somerset originally.


Also, I was contacted some time ago, by a member of Emma’s family saying they had a Family Bible, I told them that we have one here in Carterton for Caroline FENSHAM as well. But, over time, we have lost contact and I hope to find them in UK again, hopefully  by a letter to the Epsom newspaper.


In later years, John FENSHAM used to get around Carterton on a huge three wheeler tricycle.  Whilst up at Wairarapa Archives with a FENSHAM/GORDON descendant, Gareth showed us some very old photographs found in an old house like we find them from time to time. It was the FENSHAM family nonetheless and also a few letters from Henry to John, his son.


If, by chance, anyone reading this has any information on any family connected to the surname FENSHAM please contact me.


Also if anyone is needing a photograph of a grave at Clareville I would enjoy doing it for folk - no charge if done by email.


Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Hanley Hoffmann  

Why Become a Member of Waikanae Family History Group?


It’s a Revolt


Results come faster at this group because we don’t spend a lot of time talking at you, as is what happens at most genealogical branches.  We spend time involving you in dialogue, in help, in guiding you and others into bringing your family history together on paper, and in computer data, and this happens right from the outset.  On day one you will be targeted – tell us what you want


Why would you attend 11 meetings in a year and listen to the same number of people waffling on about Ancestry and what you can find there, but hey there, I have not even got a data programme on which I can build my family information, and I don’t know where to start.


Why did I get invited to spend $25 just to sit through more of these “guest speakers” and what was relevant to my plight in “War Service Records” so that is two months gone by and I still have not started.  Why can’t someone see the anguish on my face.  So I fronted up to the person handing out the name tags.  She said, go see the convenor, Michael Smith over there. He said see Gerry Brown because he is an expert on Legacy, that very complex data programme.


Can anyone identify the problem here? It happens at every one of the genealogical branches around New Zealand and it is time for a revolution. Can anyone see why we need to change?  I attend a meeting at Kilbirnie and there we have an excellent attendance of 60 plus members but I would venture that many of those leave their monthly meeting no further ahead than they were four years ago when they first joined the Branch.


So why can’t someone see that in family history groups things need to be done differently? Oh, but we have always done it this way!


On day one, when you join a group an experienced member needs to get beside you, ascertain what you need,  where you are wanting to go, how you are going to do it, and here we have some tools to help you. Then you get into a round table discussion group and hear what those ahead of you are doing, what they are up to.


Time to go home and the convenor says as you leave,”I’ll be around tomorrow at 2pm, OK?” and suddenly you feel you have taken the plunge and something is going to happen. Email and get some notes on what happens at Waikanae.


Hanley Hoffmann

A New Zealand resident, born in Young, NSW.

Now Waikanae FHG Newsletter Editor

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Tracey’s Tales

If in doubt, leave it out!? (And other research protocols)


My three years at university in the ‘arts’ of education and psychology taught me how to ‘test’ and ‘write’. Scientific experiments could only be recorded as ‘significantly true’ if statistical analysis resulted in a very high probability. Essays only received good marks if they were widely-researched, argued with objectivity and referenced, referenced, referenced. Spell check was a must and plagiarism was (is) an unforgivable offence – the offender would be handed a red card if caught in the act. So, with this educational background drummed into me, it is a bit hard to ignore some of the misdemeanours of ancestry research publications that present along the way.

Most of us have also come across downright silly errors in online family trees- simple things like dates of birth which don’t stack up to the ages in census records or the date of death (even allowing for creative license by our ancestors), but many would have to agree that it is very frustrating when we discover that incorrect family members are attached to a public tree – whether part of our family or that of someone else. I am no goody-two-shoes, as I have done just that. When I started out, in my enthusiasm, I ended up following an entirely wrong track.  I knew the name was right and the year of birth was about right and it was an interesting story, involving a British born ‘relative’- a young man who moved to Portugal where he joined family members in the fortified wine industry. He then appeared back in the UK with his mother in an affluent part of greater London, but at this point, I felt a little unsettled. I couldn’t quite see how he fitted with the known family. I researched sideways, up and down. I then found another name – the same name and date of birth but he belonged to a different family. It seemed more credible, and after some time and money spent, it matched up with my ancestors in all directions. I gave the first ‘ancestor’ back to his rightful owners and claimed our own. I explained to my mother that her gr-grandfather had ‘changed’ and he was in fact a London-based hairdresser, not a wine maker-trader.

On the other side of my mother’s family, I ‘fought’ for the return of my mother’s grandfather (only known through a photograph or two) whose parents had been claimed by another in an online family tree. As I had just started out researching, I presumed that this person’s public ancestry tree was legitimate. The problem was that there were two men of the same name born in Winchester in the same year. I went back and forward between the two men and felt strongly that my gr-grandfather and his family had been taken. In the first census one William was a carpenter, lodging in a boarding house, while the other was working as an office clerk in a brewery (he lied about his age, being two years younger than supposed).  I took a chance on ordering the latter’s birth certificate and it confirmed that this was indeed my mother’s family. The brewery was in the same street his family lived in. Office work obviously did not suit him as he became a gardener like his father and his ancestors before him and remained in this occupation for the rest of his life.

On my father’s side of the family, I spent considerable time researching his Irish side of the family, only made possible as my Gr+3 grandfather was a retired soldier who enlisted as a Fencible and therefore his records were fairly prominent – in both Britain and New Zealand. Imagine my surprise however, when I found a family tree online, posted by a long lost half-uncle in Australia, which had a whole set of different Coyles! I have no idea who they were but they weren’t our lot. I felt compelled to get in touch with him and set the record straight. I sent my in-depth copy of narrative and in return, I was given some scanned photos of more recent family members that were and are very much appreciated. Collaboration in any research can be valuable and I have that collaboration with my father’s cousin and he with other researchers, who have also been in contact.

There are other stories of incorrect family members who have been thrown into a tree, often by people who are not direct ancestors, despite other public trees of the same family sitting above and below their own, with different family members. Cross-referencing and cross-checking references, if any, will help! Some folk however, just don’t appear to be concerned that their data base has inaccuracies when approached with evidence to the contrary. The unfortunate scenario of one tree being copied by another, then another as a ‘citation’ also perpetuates inaccuracies into a ‘truth.

I had the good fortune to attend a presentation by Jan Gow a couple of years ago and she touched on the difficulty of trying to prevent even obvious inaccuracies being published in the major genealogy websites. Some errors are based on simple carelessness and keeping a calculator at hand would take care of this type of blunder. There are of course, short-cuts that can be taken because someone else has spent time on their tree, which might coincide with our own. They might have family documents that are not available on line as well as photographs. Public Trees therefore allow information sharing and can be invaluable. I have photos of ancestors that I wouldn’t otherwise have because someone took the time to post them online. To these people, I thank and make sure now to reference their contribution for any family member who might read in the future.  It is important to give credit where credit is due – a basic courtesy really. To copy and paste an entire article into other forum however (as recently noticed) without reference to the writer or publisher, is pretty poor form. It would be good therefore, to see the ancestry and other ‘biographical’ websites offer some basic protocols and tips on their front pages, as well as devising a programme to pick up on anomalies to weed out the obvious inconsistencies. In my own research, I try to stick to the facts but will include material which I think stacks up even when there is no evidence, but not without noting as such, therefore giving the future reader the option of further investigation. My former tutors would not approve, but at least it is transparent because sometimes I truly don’t want to leave it out.

Tracey Bartlett

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Digging Into Historical Records  

Opunake Station, Permanent Militia 14 September 1886

On 13 September 1886 the Defence Minister, the Honorable John Ballance, arrived at Opunake. The next day “a member of the Presbyterian choir who wants to be transferred from the A. C. Force to the police”, was “particularly energetic” in his “endeavour to obtain some satisfaction from the Minister.” [1] He was one of six men from the Opunake Station of the Permanent Militia who submitted requests to the Minister. [2]

Second class Sergeant Thomas Bland asked “to be transferred to the Police notwithstanding his being under height.” The Minister commented that “this is so deserving a man the request may be granted.” Bland’s 17 years in the Force was noted and the request duly granted. [2] Thomas was born in 1851 at Inniskillen, Fermanagh and he joined the Taranaki Bush Rangers on 01 July 1869. [3] During his time at Opunake his five eldest children attended the school 1885-1887 [4] and the births of the next three were registered at Opunake 1884-1887. [5] On 12 July 1887 he re-attested for the Permanent Militia [6] and there is reference to a defaulter’s record for him dated 05 March 1888. [7] “On retiring from the Government service in 1888 he went to the West Coast.” [13] On 26 August 1891 he was appointed as a member of the Brunner Licensing Committee vice W. McLiskie. [9] He was elected Mayor of Brunnerton in 1894 [10] and appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1895 [11]. He re-joined the Defence Department in 1901 and was stationed in Wellington. [9] About 1903 a photograph was taken of Thomas, his wife Hester and their 16 children. [12] Thomas died 02 May 1925 at Island Bay [13] and was buried three days later at Karori Cemetery. [14]

Third class Constable William Stonestreet asked "to be allowed privilege of sleeping out of Barracks being married without leave of the Commissioner." This was "to be considered (two other men on the station also married without leave and not allowed to sleep out.)" In the end the request was "Granted in the three cases." [2] When William Frederick Stonestreet was appointed as Constable on 09 June 1879 he was 20 years of age, 5’ 5” tall, single and a native of England. He had previously served with the Taranaki Volunteers for 2 years and 8 months. [15]

William Frederick was born 14 November 1859 and baptised 25 December at St Peter’s Walworth, Southwark. He was the son of Matilda and William Stonestreet, an engineer of Shaftesbury Street. [16] His mother, Matilda Humphries, daughter of Thomas Payne (deceased) was a minor when she married William Stonestreet at St Mary’s Lambeth on 12 March 1859. William’s father, John Stonestreet, a shoemaker, was also deceased. [17] The Stonestreet family, William, Matilda and six children left London on the ship ‘Howrah’ on 29 July 1876 as assisted immigrants. They were to be forwarded to New Plymouth at the Government’s expense. [18] The Howrah arrived at Nelson on 09 November 1876. [19]

William Frederick Stonestreet was transferred to the Waikato District on 02 March 1882 and he re-attested at Cambridge on 30 June 1882 for a three year term. [15] As a 3rd Class Constable, he applied for a promotion to 2nd Class at Cambridge on 15 April 1884. [20] On 11 June 1884 he married Maud Mary Bayliss. [20] On 25 January 1887 he was transferred from Opunake “to depot”, then transferred again on 09 March 1887 to Auckland. He re-attested at Fort Cautley on 09 August 1887. On 15 May 1888 he was discharged on compensation at Auckland on the reduction of the force. [15] His only child, also William Frederick Stonestreet, was born 12 June 1888. [21] By 1893 the family had moved to Tomoana, Hastings and this was where they stayed. [22] William Frederick Stonestreet died 03 September 1929 and is buried in the Hastings Cemetery. [23]

[1] Taranaki Herald 18 Sep 1886 Opunake – Hon Mr Ballance’s Visit

[2] Archives NZ Reference AAAL 22514 W5741 4/ P.M. 89/332 (Page 71) Memorandum of requests made to the Honorable The Defence Minister by non-commissioned officers and men of the Permanent Militia at Opunake on the 14th September 1886. The men listed: Sergeant-Major William White, 2nd Class Constable Thomas Bland, 3rd Class Constables Jacob Hewitt, Arnold Berg, William Stonestreet and William John Moore (Digitised online)

[3] The New Zealand Medal to Colonials by Richard Stowers

[4] Opunake School Examination Schedules 1883 to 1897 transcript at

[5] Ancestry All New Zealand Birth Index

[6] Archives NZ Reference AAAL 27150 W5913 2/[494] Re-attestation of Thomas Bland No.24 at Opunake (Digitised online)

[7] Archway - Archives NZ Reference AAYS 8660 AD31 7/28/43 Miscellaneous papers relating to the New Zealand Wars – Defaulter’s record re T. Bland and A. Fulk

[8] Archway – Archives NZ Reference ACGS 16211 J1 477/h 1891/903 Appointing Thomas Bland to be a member of Brunner Licensing Committee

[9] New Zealand Freelance 19 July 1919 Page 4 All sorts of people

[10] Archway – Archives NZ Reference ACGS 16211 J1 530/l 1894/1804 Town Clerk, Brunner 08 Dec 1894: Thomas Bland elected Mayor of Brunnerton

[11] Archway – Archives NZ Reference ACGS 16211 J1 545/bs 1895/1351 For appointment of Thomas Bland, Brunnerton as Justice of the Peace

[12] Alexander Turnbull Library Reference PA9-121 Bland Family Portrait c1903 – also published in New Zealand Freelance 19 July 1919 page 19

[13] Evening Post 04 May 1925 Personal Matters – Obituary for Thomas Bland

[14] Wellington City Council Cemeteries Search

[15] Archives NZ Reference AAAL 27150 W5913 2/[435] William Stonestreet No.91 3rd Class Gunner Armed Constabulary Force Defaulter Sheet 1879-1888 (digitised online)

[16] Ancestry: Baptism Register St Mary Newington, Surrey (St Peter’s Church, Walworth) No.1546 William Frederick Stonestreet

[17] Ancestry: Marriage Register St Mary Lambeth No.408 William Stonestreet to Matilda Humphries Payne 12 Mar 1859

[18] FamilySearch: New Zealand, Archives New Zealand Passenger List for the ship ‘Howrah’ 1876 – Archives NZ Reference ACFT 8253 IM-N8 1/1

[19] Nelson Evening Mail 10 Nov 1876 Shipping Intelligence – Arrived Ship Howrah from London

[20] Archway - Archives NZ Reference ACIS 17627 P1 181/ 1884/762 Cambridge 15 Apr 1884 Application of 3/c Constable William Stonestreet for promotion

[21] New Zealand Births, Deaths and Marriages online

[22] 1893 Hawke’s Bay Electoral Roll – Maud Mary Stonestreet, Domestic duties, Tomoana

[23] New Zealand Society of Genealogists Monumental Transcriptions – Hastings Cemetery – Section 1 Row 1 No. 2233 William Frederick husband of Maud Stonestreet d. 3 Sept. 1929 aged 69 years; also the above Maud Stonestreet d. 21 Sept 1948 aged 83 years.


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

The Chinese War Refugees

In 2014, the New Zealand Chinese Association remembered the 75th Anniversary of the Chinese Refugees arrival in New Zealand, in 1939.  Many of the children, who arrived with their Mothers, were in attendance, for the occasion. This was a sad situation in 1939, but was the beginning of the Chinese family reunification, with fathers sponsoring their wives, and children. The population grew substantially in the following years.

History records the situation, in 1939.

Chinese Refugees Entry to Dominion Request For Permits The Position of Wives

A number of Chinese in New Zealand have made application to the Minister of Customs to bring their wives or young children from the war zone in China into New Zealand. The secretary of the Auckland Chinese Association, Mr. Andrew Chong, said yesterday that so far no permits had been granted to Chinese in Auckland, but one applicant had been notified that, under certain conditions, his request would be considered. The application was for the man's wife to be admitted to New Zealand for two years, and the conditions under which it was stated that the request would be considered were that a bond for £5OO be signed and, if permission was granted, £2OO deposit be paid, to be forfeit if the conditions were broken. Any children born to the wife while in New Zealand to be taken out of the country on the expiry of the two-year term. Subject to certain conditions, wives of New Zealand-born Chinese were admitted to the country, Mr. Chong added. The present applications were in respect of other members of the Chinese community. Many Chinese had been sending money from the country to assist refugee dependents in China, and licences for varying amounts according to the number of dependents had hitherto been granted. In the past week, however, drafts had been refused by the banks in some cases, even where licences were held. Applicants had been informed that funds were not available.



The China War Missionary's Statement

(By Telegraph—Press Association.) AUCKLAND, July 2. "Unless something unforeseen occurs, the war in China will not finish within another year, and then, even supposing they should gain some part of China, the Japanese will never be able to rule over it." This statement was made by a man who has lived in China for 45 years, the Rev. G. W. Gibb, general director of the China Inland Mission, on his arrival in Auckland by the Awatea on Saturday. "Peace may ultimately be gained by Japan's acceptance of a province or two or part of northern China,' said Mr. Gibb.”It is certain that she never hold the territory she has conquered up to the present. It will be a flight to the finish, and wherever the Japanese may remain their position will be made unendurable by reason of guerrilla attacks and a war of attrition which will be continued indefinitely by the hardy inhabitants." The missionaries were helping many of the war refugees, caring for them in special encampments established for the purpose, said Mr, Gibb, They had also been called upon to assist the wounded and many orphans. Mr. Gibb paid a tribute to the work of the mission workers in the field, and referred particularly to the saving, during a bombing outrage; of more than 1000 children in an orphanage in Chihkiang by the foresight and prompt action of the leaders.

Mr, and Mrs. Gibb will spend about three weeks in New Zealand, and intend to return to Shanghai in September.



Chinese Refugees Arrival at Auckland Much Hardship Endured (By Telegraph—Press Association.) AUCKLAND, September 4,

The first group of Chinese refugees brought to New Zealand from war zones by relatives in the Dominion has reached Auckland. The party comprises the wives of eight Chinese residents in New Zealand and several children. A larger party of 70 will reach Wellington shortly, and others are on the way.

Subject to certain conditions, wives of New Zealand-born Chinese are admitted to the country in ordinary times. The present arrivals have been brought to the Dominion by Chinese resident here, but not born in New Zealand, under special permits. The refugees will be admitted for a period of two years, subject to the signing of a £500 bond and payment of a deposit of £200, to be forfeited if the conditions laid down are broken. Any children born to refugee wives while in New Zealand must leave at the expiry of the two-year term.

All the refugees in the group which has arrived are from Kwang Tung Province, the majority from the vicinity of Canton.

Many endured great hardship in reaching Hong Kong, whence they embarked for New Zealand via Australia. The journey from Canton to Kowloon, whence the ferry to Hong Kong leaves, normally takes about three hours by train. The refugees, however, had to travel on foot with their children and had to make a wide detour to avoid Japanese forces. Many took 10 days to reach Hong Kong. Even then difficulty was found in securing steamer accommodation, as all vessels leaving Hong Kong are crowded.

Several of the party on reaching New Zealand still showed signs of the privations they had suffered. Only two families will remain in Auckland; the others will go to relatives in various parts of the North Island.




Chinese Refugees Arrive

Driven from their homes in Canton in the early days of the war in China, since when they lived in Hong Kong, a party of 29 Chinese has reached Auckland. Of this number 25 will take up residence in New Zealand for two years, and the others intend to go to Suva. Among the party were seven women and their families, numbering thirteen children, between the ages of three and thirteen years. All the women were met by their husbands, who have been in New Zealand for some time.



Fruit Syndicate Chain Shop Suggestion Denial by Chinese Independent Activities  

A denial of the report from Christchurch that a Chinese syndicate had been formed in Auckland to establish a chain of 90 fruit shops throughout New Zealand was given yesterday by Mr. Andrew Chong who is prominently associated with the Chinese fruit trade in Auckland. He said there was absolutely no truth in the report, and that the majority of Chinese operated their business activities independently.

Referring to the excess of arrivals over departures of Chinese in New Zealand in the last six months, Mr. Chong said the position was caused by the war in China, and the issue of permits by the Government to refugees with relatives already in New Zealand. Few Chinese had left New Zealand in recent months, because of the unsettled conditions in their own country, and in some cases because the people had no homes to return to.

"Most of the refugees landing in New Zealand have been women and children, who have husbands and fathers here," said Mr. Chong. "Each has to be covered by a bond for £2OO, which is double the amount of the poll tax, charged in the case of earlier arrivals. Nor do I know of any case in which a refugee has taken any activity in business," he added. NEW ZEALAND HERALD, VOLUME LXXVI, ISSUE 23531, 16 DECEMBER 1939 page 13


Helen Wong

Guest Contributor - Marlene

From the Editor: I received this from a genealogist who is exploring ways of writing up her family history. We all gather lots of information about the life and times of our ancestors and I'm sure that it is a Murphy Law that we learn more about the siblings and their lifestyle than our elusive ancestors. When we write our family history we tend to ignore the siblings and a lot of material stays in our filing systems.

Marlene has come up with this page arrangement where she uses boxes to include material that is hard to include in the typical family history. I was immediately taken by this page arrangement and could see that it could solve a lot of my problems with how to include material that was interesting and added to the story of the person I was writing about. Also this arrangement gets over the problem of time sequencing ie I don't have to start at the birth and move along the person's life through marriage, childbirth and then death.

Marlene's research is meticulous. In one of the stories she submitted she had a sentence something like "It was a grey miserable day etc". This initially annoyed me, but when I mentioned this Marlene stated that it was such a day - she had read the local newspapers that had commented on the weather. To me that is superb research and writing.


From our Libraries and Museums

Triggered by an email from Seonaid (Shona) Lewis, we are offering a forum to our libraries and museums to publicise their events, and to contribute articles to this newsletter that may be of interest to our readers. Auckland Libraries is starting to make good use of this free service, let’s see if other libraries and museums take up this offer.

For readers of this newsletter: please bring this to the attention of your local libraries etc, and encourage them to participate.

Auckland Libraries


Family History Month at Auckland Libraries

Various library venues around the Auckland region – check with your local library.


The making of Conversations with Dead Relatives with Alex Ellis and Phil Ormsby

Wednesday 1 August, 12pm -1pm

In 2018 we took all the family stories we’d heard growing up and we turned them into a play. There are clashes of ideals, moral dilemmas, epic adventures and romantic tales about warriors, preachers, princesses, visionaries and ratbags. Phil Ormsby and Alex Ellis talk about converting family stories into a successful theatre piece.

Pre-Expo Special Events

Traditional genealogy and DNA – case studies with Kerry Farmer

Wednesday 8 August, 12pm -1pm

DNA is rarely sufficient to prove any theory on its own. However when combined with traditional genealogical  research techniques and well-researched family trees, DNA can provide both additional evidence and clues to  solutions that might not have otherwise been considered.

Join professional family historian and author, visiting Australian Kerry Farmer, as she uses case studies to demonstrate how DNA can enhance traditional genealogical research.


FamilySearch Wiki: Key to Solving Research Problems with Diane Loosle, FamilySearch

Wednesday 8 August, 1.30pm -2.30pm

The FamilySearch Research Wiki is a free, online, genealogical guide that helps you find ancestors from around the world. Learn how to effectively navigate and use the Wiki to find websites, databases, records and research strategies. Attendees will learn about the most helpful wiki pages for research through examples and cases studies and how to become a wiki contributor.

Bookings recommended: Phone the Auckland Research Centre on 09 890 2412 or book online


Friday 10 to Sunday 12 August 2018
Auckland Family History Expo
Come and see us at the Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mount Albert Road, Three Kings, Auckland.

Seminars, workshops, exhibitors, research assistance, raffle prizes.

Free event Saturday and Sunday but $15 per person for Friday night’s opening event.

To book for Friday email

MyHeritage Library edition launch with Russ Wilding from MyHeritage

Wednesday 15 August, 12pm -1pm

MyHeritage Library edition is now available to visitors in all 55 of Auckland Libraries sites – and also available from home if you have a library card. Come and hear Russ explain how to use this awesome new resource for Auckland Libraries customers.

Elusive ancestors with Seonaid Lewis

Wednesday 22 August, 12pm -1pm

Can’t find them? Are they hiding? Have they jumped ship or changed their names? Join Auckland Libraries’ family history librarian, Seonaid Lewis and she will share a few tips and tricks with you, that might just help you flush out those pesky elusive ancestors!
Was your ancestor a Huguenot?  with Marion Heap

Wednesday 29 August, 12pm -1pm

The Huguenots were refugees who left France, Germany and the Low Countries between approximately 1550-1750, in response to religious persecution. They settled in England, Ireland, other European countries, America and South Africa.  This talk will provide a general background and explain how Huguenot ancestry can be researched in Auckland.

Marion Heap is the Huguenot Research Officer of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

Bookings recommended: Phone the Auckland Research Centre on 09 890 2412 or book online

Auckland Family History Expo 2018

Friday 10 - Sunday 12 August
Proudly presented by Auckland Libraries and the Genealogical Commuting Group of New Zealand.

A weekend-long event covering a wide range of topics related to researching genealogy and family history.

When: Friday, 10 August to Sunday, 12 August 2018 
Where: Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings, Auckland 

Expressions of interest from potential sponsors and exhibitors are still welcome.
Please email

Meet our international guest speakers:

Kerry Farmer (Australia) has degrees in science and humanities, and has been teaching family history classes since 1997. She is a member of the Education Committee and on the Board of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and is also the Director of Australian Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Kerry authored "DNA for Genealogists”, "Arrivals in Australia from 1788" and together with Rosemary Kopittke wrote "Which Genealogy Program?"

Russ Wilding (USA) is the Chief Content Officer at MyHeritage and is leading the growth of its historical content. His work has led to the establishment of the MyHeritage digital archive of over 9 billion records, which is one of the largest global collections online today.

Russ brings a wealth of expertise in historical content acquisition, licensing and digitization from his previous 11-year role as CEO of iArchives, Inc. and Founder and CEO of its customer-facing website, which was sold to in 2010.

Diane C. Loosle (USA) is an Accredited Genealogist® and a Certified GenealogistSM.  She has a Bachelors degree in History with an emphasis in Family History and Genealogy and a Masters of Business Administration. She has worked for FamilySearch for the past twenty-four years as a British Reference Consultant, British Reference Unit Supervisor, Customer Experience Manager, FamilySearch Genealogical Community Services Manager, Director Genealogical Services, Director of the Family History Library and FamilySearch Centers worldwide, and is currently Director of the Family History Library and Senior Vice President of the Help Division for FamilySearch.

Jason Reeve (Australia) is Content Manager for Ancestry in New Zealand and Australia. Originally from Adelaide in South Australia, he has spent several years working within the Information Technology industry. A passionate advocate for all things history, Jason works closely with a range of archives, registries, historical & genealogical societies to uncover new record collections and share them with the Ancestry community. He is a regular speaker at genealogy events on Ancestry and AncestryDNA genetic testing.

Friday 10 August, 5pm-8.30pm

Expo opening reception for speakers, exhibitors and the general public

$15 a ticket, numbers limited, bookings essential - book:

5pm: Reception: Refreshments and canapes, mix and mingle

6pm: Welcome. Then DNA: another tool in the genealogist's toolbox with Kerry Farmer

7pm: Panel discussion DNA and traditional genealogy, followed by Q&A session

Saturday 11 August, 9am-7pm and Sunday 12 August, 9am-5.30pm

Free seminars, no booking required.

Free workshops and computer-based tutorials – bookings available on the day.

Exhibition room: Hillsborough Room – lower ground floor.

Absolute Beginners’ Table: Hillsborough Room by main entrance.

Seminar rooms: Waikowhai Room, Lynfield Room and Puketapapa (Senior Citizens) Room, lower ground floor.
No bookings required. Seats on a first come, first served basis.

Workshops/Ask an expert sessions: Three Kings Room (seats up to 10) – upper ground floor (library level). Bookings only available on the day at the information desk, restricted numbers.

Computer workshops: Mt Roskill Library computer area (seats up to 12) – upper ground floor. You are most welcome to bring your own device (laptop/tablet) and join in.

Bookings only available on the day at the information desk.

Exhibitors: Ancestry; Auckland Council Libraries; Auckland War Memorial Museum ADU;  Beehive Books/HOG Tours; Chinese Poll Tax Trust; FamilySearch; FamNet/Jazz Software; Family Tree DNA (FTDNA); Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS); Head to Head Productions; I ndian genealogy / West Research Centre; Mentis; Memories In Time; MyHeritage; New Zealand Fencible Society Inc; New Zealand Micrographics/Recollect; New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc. and NZSG Interest Groups: New Zealand, English, European, Irish, Māori, Pacific Island, Scottish; NZ Military History Society; Wales – New Zealand Family History Society.

Thank you to all our sponsors, who are providing financial support and awesome raffle prizes:  Ancestry, Auckland Council, FamilySearch, Genealogical Computing Group,  LivingDNA, MyHeritage, Puketapapa Local Board.

Full programme available online by 14 July: keep an eye on


The Auckland City branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists meet monthly at Central Library Auckland, on the fourth Tuesday of each month 10.30am-12pm

Join the monthly meeting of the Auckland City branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

There is a speaker and a topic at each meeting, with tea and coffee afterwards. Non-members very welcome!
Meeting is held in the Whare Wānanga on Level 2.

Enquiries to

Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central A uckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

Ph 09 890 2411| Extn (46) 2411 | Fax 09 307 7741

Auckland Libraries, Level 2, Central City Library, 44 - 46 Lorne Street, Auckland

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


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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.

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks (Genealogy) - helping bring the past alive

Cornwall OPC Database

The records in this database have been donated by volunteer transcribers worldwide. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the transcriptions are as accurate as possible, researchers are advised to consult the originals for themselves.

Gary North's Tip of the Week

This is part of a newsletter I get from a friend in Texas. I thought it was handy to share with you all


“It's time to start working on your autobiography. Only you can write it.

Buy two spiral-bound notebooks: one for your pocket and a standard school notebook divided into three sections.

When you think of a key event or decision in your life, jot it down in the pocket notebook.

At the end of the day, sit down with the larger notebook. Write notes on the thing or things you wrote in the pocket notebook. Do this in the first section. Don't put this off. Do it at the end of the day every day. Devote one page to each entry. Keep coming back to add more on any page.

In two months, you will have lots of notes -- too many, probably. More is better.

Then start writing an outline for each daily entry in the second section of the large notebook. Put the daily notes into a coherent form.

When you have the outlines done, start writing text in the third section.

This will be your first draft.

When that is done, write your autobiography in your word processor.

You can decide what to do with it when it's finished.”

Friends of Devon's Archives

About the Friends of Devon's Archives

“The Friends of Devon's Archives was founded in 1998 to promote the preservation and use of historical records throughout Devon and to raise public awareness of their importance for research and education. It provides financial support for the acquisition of Devon documents, arranges a programme of lectures and volunteer projects, and liases closely with the local record offices in Devon to improve standards of care and availability of the county's written heritage.”  

What is a Reasonable Conclusion in Genealogy?


“Sometimes, the direct proof we need just isn’t there in genealogy. Records are missing or non-existent. The records we do find have inaccuracies or missing information in them. We find records that have conflicting information. It can be frustrating when we can’t directly prove the relationships we need to prove for our research. However, just because we can’t make a direct connection between two people (or between a person and an event) doesn’t mean that we can’t make a reasonable assumption about it.”

Waikanae Family History Group

 Contacts: 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: at the Waikanae Public Library, 10am to 12 noon on second Wednesday of each month.


Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

The contact details of this group are:

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

Rose Cottage 33 Memorial Place


Tel: 06 – 754 – 3212

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News and Views    

                                                          You a Family Historian or a Name Collector?

I have a question. None of my living relatives knows the answer to this question. I have not found the answer to this question in any public records, nor have I been able to find the answer in cemeteries. I have read a few magazine articles and Internet pages about the topic, but none of them have directly answered the question.

The question is… “Why do we study genealogy?”

What makes anyone so curious about his or her family tree? What drives us to dedicate time, effort, and sometimes expenses to go find dead people?

What is it inside of us that makes us spend hours and hours cranking reels of microfilm, then we go home and report to our family members what a great day we had?

I must admit that I have asked that question of many people and have received several answers. Some people report that it is simple curiosity… and I tend to believe that is a part of the answer. Others report that it is part of an intriguing puzzle that they wish to solve.

The theory on the puzzle bothers me. First of all, I am devoted to genealogy, but I could care less about other puzzles. I don’t do the daily crosswords in the newspaper, I don’t put together those picture puzzles, and I do not seem very interested in any other form of puzzles. If genealogy is solely a puzzle, why would I be attracted to it and yet not to other puzzles? That doesn’t make sense to me. In short, I think there is more to genealogy than there is to a crossword puzzle.

The simplest and most direct answer for many people is because it is a religious requirement. Indeed, members of the LDS Church are encouraged to find information about their ancestry for religious purposes. And yet, of all the LDS members that I meet at most genealogy conferences, most met their religious requirements years ago but continue to look further and further back. In fact, many of them become so addicted that they help others do the same.

Yes, I can accept that religion is a major motivator, but I believe there is still more. I constantly meet people, LDS members and non-members alike, who keep searching and searching, further and further back. Why?

I do not have all the answers, but I do have an observation or two. I believe that most all humans have a natural curiosity. We are curious about many things, but for now, I will focus on our curiosity about our origins and ourselves.

It seems to me that we are all curious about who we are. When I say, “who we are,” that includes questions about our origins. Where did I come from? How did I end up being born where I was? What trials and tribulations did my parents go through in order to give birth to me and my siblings and to raise a family? What did their parents go through to do the same for them? And how about their parents?

All of this is an inverted pyramid. It all comes down to me. Each of us is walking around with an invisible inverted pyramid on our heads. Each of us is visible but each of us is also the result of the many people in the invisible inverted pyramid. After all, each of us is the product of our ancestors.

I will point out that there are two different kinds of genealogists. There are name gatherers, and then there are family historians. Let me tell you a story about an acquaintance of mine. This is a true story; I couldn’t possibly make this up.

I have known my friend for years. I’ll call her Linda, although that is not her true name. I knew Linda before she became interested in genealogy and even helped coach her a bit when she first started. This was many years ago, when I was just beginning my family tree searches as well. At that time, I only knew a little bit more about genealogy than she did.

I only see Linda once every few years. Every time that we meet, the conversation quickly turns to genealogy as we bring each other up to speed on our latest triumphs and failures. I always enjoy talking with Linda. She is bright, articulate, and very enthused about genealogy.

The last time I saw Linda, she proudly announced, “I have almost finished my genealogy!”

I was speechless. I am sure I stood there with my mouth hanging open, blinking my eyes. I don’t recall anyone else every saying they were “finished” with their genealogy searches. How can you be finished? Every time you find one new ancestor, you immediately gain two new puzzles to be solved. and I had a rather extended conversation. I’ll skip all the details and simply give the bottom line: Some years earlier Linda had purchased a blank pedigree chart that had room to write in eight generations of ancestors, including names, dates and places of birth, marriage, and death.

I suspect you know what a blank pedigree form is. Typically, on the extreme left there is room to write in your own name plus dates and places of your own birth and marriage. (Hopefully, you won’t be filling in data about your own death.)

Just to the right of the space for your entry, there is room for data entry for two more people: your parents. To the right of that, there is space for data about your four grandparents. Moving further to the right, there is room for information about eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents and so forth. In the case of the chart that Linda had obtained, there was room for eight generations, a total of 255 individuals.

At the time I was talking with Linda, she only had two blanks left to be filled on her form, both in the eighth generation. She had found all of her ancestors through seven generations and even all the eighth generation ancestors except for two. She was working diligently to find those last two.

Apparently Linda’s goal was to fill in the eight generations. That was her definition of “finished.” I asked her, “What about the people in the ninth generation or even earlier?” She replied, “Oh, I don’t care about them.”

I was speechless for a moment.

I recovered and then probed a bit further. Linda’s ancestry is French-Canadian, and so is much of my own. Most people with French-Canadian ancestry are related. Any two French-Canadians usually can find common ancestors in their pedigree charts. As I looked over Linda’s pedigree chart, I found several of my own ancestors as well as those of Celine Dion, Madonna, and probably half of the players in the National Hockey League. Since I was familiar with some of these ancestors and their history, I started commenting on their lives.

“Oh, here is the man who was killed in bed by a jealous husband who returned home unexpectedly and found his wife and our ancestor in an indelicate position.”

Linda said, “Really?”

I said, “Here is an ancestor who was captured by the Mohawk Indians and tortured unmercifully.”

Linda said, “How do you know that?”

OK, here is the next bottom line: Linda had expended hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours and a significant amount of expense traveling to various libraries and repositories. She even took a couple of trips to Quebec province. Along the way she collected eight generations of her ancestors’ names, places, and dates, and NOTHING ELSE.

She did not know anything about the lives of these people; their triumphs, their sorrows, the trials and tribulations they endured to raise families that eventually resulted in the births of Linda, me, and many others. She did not know their occupations, the causes of their deaths, or even how many children each had.

I ask you: Is Linda a family historian or a name collector?

If asked, she probably would protest that she is a genealogist. The term “genealogist” isn’t terribly specific, so perhaps that is a true statement. But I will suggest that she is not a family historian. She also does not know how she “fits in” with the rest of the world.

Now for my next question: Which side of the fence do you fall on? Are you merely collecting names, or are you studying family history?

The fact that you are reading this article suggests to me that you are probably a family historian, not a name gatherer.

In fact, I believe that most family historians are motivated by a desire to understand how we are ALL related to each other. We all can see the “big picture” in various history books: the Pilgrims, the Mayflower, Jamestown in Virginia, the Dutch in New York City, the waves of immigration from Europe in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and well into the twentieth centuries, the wars, the politicians, the movement westward opening up new lands, and all that. Pick up any good history book and you can learn about the history of our people.

But that book will not answer one question: How do I fit into all of this?

Studying history is a very useful thing, but it is only half the story. The second half is defining where you and your ancestors were involved. Was your family one of the early colonial settlers? Did your ancestors arrive in the waves of later immigration? If so, which wave? Did your ancestors cover the plains in a covered wagon and fight off Indians? Did that result in your being alive today? What would have happened if only one Indian had better aim?

Even closer to the “real you,” what values did these ancestors bring with them and then pass on to their descendants? Are you a religious person today because of the strong spiritual upbringing that you had? Are you politically conservative or liberal because of your parents’ and grandparents’ ideals and morals that they passed on to you?

Are you devoted to education or music or the arts or to homemaking or to other personal interests because of the morals given by your great-great-great-grandparents to their children, then passed on to their children, and so on and so on?

I believe that much of America’s work ethic, religion, and respect for the rights of others is based upon ideals brought to this country centuries ago, and then passed on over the dinner tables and in front of fireplaces for generations.

I believe this is the answer to the question: many of us who are true family historians study our family heritage in order to not only learn about our ancestors, but also to learn more about ourselves.

What motivates your family search?


The Free Online GRO Index is Your Key to Millions of Buried English Records

The Free Online GRO Index is Your Key to Millions of Buried English RecordsIf your family history research leads you back to England or Wales, the records kept by the General Register Office (GRO), and the GRO Index online, should absolutely be on your short list of amazing resources. The GRO has been recording vital information for the populations of both England and Wales since 1837. Nearly every birth, marriage, and death that has occurred there in the last 180 years has been recorded and indexed by the GRO.

Whether you’re just starting to conduct Welsh or English genealogy research, or you’re diligently hunting down a distant, elusive relative, this huge collection of data is certainly one of the most helpful resources out there. But where can you find it?

Well, if you’re looking to access the index for free (who isn’t?) then you have two options to choose from – each of which may provide different benefits and drawbacks, depending on your needs.

Here’s how you can take advantage of the GRO index of birth, death, and marriage records for free right now.

First of all, the General Register Office does offer direct access to their index for free, but there are some things you should be aware of before setting out to view it directly through their site.

The most important thing to know is that, while the index of these records is free to use, you can only view only a portion of the index covering registered births from 1837-1915 and deaths from 1837-1957.

Unfortunately, this version of the index – which was released to the public late last year – doesn’t include any of the marriage records found in the complete index, and likely won’t anytime soon. The GRO had this to say regarding their future plans to digitise records:

“Completing the digitisation of records would require significant investment and there are no current plans to resume this work but we continue to monitor the scope for future opportunities to complete the digitisation of all birth, death and marriage records.”

In order to access the index through the GRO website, you must first create an account here. You should begin on a page that looks like this:

GRO Index Free Genealogy Resource, GRO registration page

This registration is a little more involved than your standard account set-up, as you must provide your full name, postal address, as well as payment information and some limited facts about the type of records you are looking to access. This is because you will use this same account to purchase copies of certificates from the GRO, if you so choose. Note: viewing the index is completely free, your card will only be charged if you purchase a copy of a certificate.

Once your account is set up you will be able to log in and view the birth and death index as it exists on their site, as well as order copies of certificates from them quickly and easily. Read more about how to make the most of your searches on the GRO site here.

One major positive about viewing the index through the General Register Office directly is an exciting fact they’ve shared on their extensive FAQ page:

 “The new index will contain additional data fields to those which are already available and this will assist family historians to identify the correct record. In addition, the index is created from the digitised records and is not a copy of the existing index which is already made available by third party organisations.“

This means you may be able to obtain additional information or corrections about your English or Welsh ancestors even if you have already viewed other copies of the index online.

Another plus? If you do choose to order an actual certificate the leap from viewing the GRO index entry to ordering it is totally streamlined. That’s the real benefit of going through their detailed account creation process: once you’re ready to order, it’s a matter of a few clicks to finish the process and receive your certificate in the mail within a few business days.

So, if the purpose of viewing the GRO index, for you, is to obtain complete birth or death certificates for your ancestors (and you’re not bothered by the missing marriage records) then accessing this index directly from the source is the way to go. After all, having copies of these certificates will provide a great deal of additional information.

But what if you’re not ready to start ordering certificates? Or maybe you’re looking for an English birth that took place after 1915? Or perhaps it’s strictly Welsh marriage records you’re after?

Here’s where the other option for viewing this index comes in: FreeBMD

The FreeBMD database also holds the GRO index, also known as Civil Registration index, and includes entries from 1837-1983. Transcribed by a large pool of volunteers, this huge database provides free access to a searchable index of over 250 million Welsh and English birth, death and marriage records. FreeBMD is a project of Free UK Genealogy, a CIO that also includes the free U.K. census database, FreeCEN and the free parish registers database, FreeREG – all of which we have mentioned previously in our 50 Free Genealogy Sites list and in our online genealogy course.

Start here to begin searching the GRO index through FreeBMD, the page will look like this:

Free Genealogy Resource GRO Index, FreeBMD search There are only two mandatory fields in FreeBMD’s search: surname and type of record (birth, death, marriage or all types). If the individual whose record you are looking for has a very uncommon name, you may be able to get away with a very broad search using only those parameters, but more than likely your search will return a message saying the results have exceeded the max return of 3,000 records.

At this point, you will need to narrow down your search. You can easily do this by adding a first name but take care in checking the “exact match on first names” box as errors in the original index, as well as in the transcriptions, are relatively common.

Another simple way to zero in on your desired results? Add a date range to your search. The information in the GRO index is divided into quarters: March, June, September, and December. This means you can’t search for an event by individual month, but instead by groups of three months, for example: the March quarter includes January, February, and March.

It is important to keep in mind that the event you are searching for wasn’t necessarily recorded in the quarter in which the event occurred (this is especially true for births). So let’s say an individual was born late in the June quarter of a certain year, their birth may not have been recorded in the index until the September, or even as late as the December, quarter.

While FreeBMD does allow you to add as wide or narrow of a date range as you choose, you may come up empty-handed if you are limiting your search to just one or two quarters, so keep your range on the wider side and narrow down as needed.

As you can see, there are a variety of other fields that you use can narrow your search. However, some will only be relevant when searching for records after a certain date including: death age/DOB and spouse/mother surname fields.

This is because some information was added to the index in later years, so a search including these parameters before the date they were added would yield no results. See below for a breakdown of when these additional facts were added:

After you have added enough specifics to return a list of results, which may take a few tries (remember, we’re dealing with tens of millions of English and Welsh records here), you should end up on a page with results like those shown below.

To see the entry, click on the red info button. You may also go directly to a scan of the index page by selecting the glasses symbol:

Once you have chosen an entry you will land on a page like the one below. All entries will contain the first and last name of the individual, the district where the event took place, the volume (which is a numeric representation of the district), and the index page number.  Other entries may contain additional information – like mother’s maiden name or DOB, depending on the year and type of record you’re viewing.

From this page, you can also scroll down to view the original index page (which will either be handwritten or in type, depending on how old the record is). You will need to first choose a format on the right-hand side of the page shown above, then select “view the original” on the left and the file will be downloaded to your device:

Remember, the “original” in this case is the page of the GRO index where the listing is found, not the actual record itself.

Of course, once you locate your ancestor in the index, you may find yourself longing for the entire record in order to learn more about the lives they lived, as an actual certificate will contain a plethora of important facts not included in the index. Take a look at this example marriage certificate from the GRO’s Guide to Certificates page:

If you do decide that you’re ready to order a copy of a birth, death or marriage certificate, the information found in the entries on FreeBMD will make up your GRO index reference number – a specific number that’s used to assist GRO in quickly locating the correct certificate.

The reference should not be confused with the certificate’s serial or application number and, bear in mind, it is not a single number found somewhere on the index entry. Instead, it is a collection of the quarter, year, volume number and page number found within the index entry. So, for the index entry shown above, the reference number would be ‘March 1850 XXIII 2’.

You will want to make note of this number before you try to purchase a copy of a certificate from the GRO site (which you can do by completing the same registration process outlined earlier) because you can use this number to greatly reduce the time it takes to receive a record by mail, from several weeks to a couple of business days. You can find more information about GRO reference numbers here.

However you choose to access this extensive, century-spanning index, you are likely to come back to it again and again. So get in there and start digging!

A quick note: If you’re looking for records of events that happened outside of England and Wales, but which involved British citizens, you may not find them in the databases highlighted above. While the GRO did keep information on citizens living abroad these records are not exhaustive and many of the events were recorded in the index several years after they occurred. Nonetheless, many records of this kind do exist, including:

§                Vital records of Army members and their families, since 1881

§                Army chaplain returns from 1796-1880

§                Army Regimental records from 1761-1924

§                Births and deaths at sea, since 1837

§                Consular records since 1849

§                Death records for personnel who served in WWl, WWll and the Boer War

FamilySearch has compiled a list of various digital locations (some free and some not) where indexes which may include birth, death and marriage records of British citizens living abroad can be viewed. 

By Kate Jackson, Associate Editor, Family History Daily

Top ten search tips for exploring the FamilySearch genealogy website

 Make sure that you mine every genealogical gem in the FamilySearch database with their top ten search tips.

FamilySearch top ten search tipsFamilySearch is the world's largest family history website, with almost 2 billion records from nations around the world. However, with so much information online, it can be difficult to know how to get started.

Read on for FamilySearch's top tips for making the most of the website.

1. Persona centric

FamilySearch is a persona centric record system. When you conduct a search for William you are presented Williams found in the records matching what you entered. We do not return documents, but rather the people found on documents, and each person found on a document has a unique ID. When we present to you in search results, a William that matched, we also tell you about all of William s relationships on the record and key document data.

When you attach “a historical record” to the Family Tree, what you are really doing is attaching William in the 1891 Census to William in the Family Tree (you are telling the system, and all other users, that you believe William in the record is the same real historical person as William in the tree). 

2. Lowest to highest hanging fruit

Users should follow a flow that lets them access the most data with the least effort first. Hints -> Search Indexed Records -> Browse Unindexed Records -> Catalog -> etc

Hints will often find the easy stuff and also some of the real difficult stuff to search for, but it will not find everything. Hints are on avg about 98.5% accurate, although that varies by location, collection, and family. After resolving all the hints, conducting searches in the historical records data set is the next most productive action, followed by browsing unindexed image sets.

3. Using the main search form

This is the best place to conduct most searches. Some users go to collection specific search forms and miss actual records. Collections specific forms should be used only for very specific workflows looking for specific records.

4. Events versus location & type

When you enter a place and date in the event fields of the search form you are not specifying a record type nor record location. If I enter a birth place of Ohio, evidence for my person having been born in Ohio may be found on a census record from California. If you really want records ONLY of a specific type or from a specific location you should restrict the records returned by Location or Type using the fields near the bottom.

5. Exact searching

Exact will return record matching exactly the text you typed with 4 exceptions; 1) Capitalization is ignored (MacDonald==macdonald); 2) Punctuation is ignored (OBrien==O’Brien); 3) Diacritics are ignored (Pena==Peña); 4) Spaces are ignored (De la Vega==delavega). Use it cautiously because it can cause you to miss real matching record persons.

6. Wildcards

Search accepts the * and ? Wildcard characters. When entered into a search field, the * character will be replaced by zero to an infinite number of ambiguous characters (ex. Stan* will return Stan, Stanley, Stanislaw). The ? replaces one, and only one, ambiguous character (ex. Eli?abeth will return Elizabeth and Elisabeth). You can put multiple wildcards in a single text string in the field, but you must have at least one unambiguous character. 

7. Exact, close and missing

When evaluating each record, fields are scored by how close they match what was typed in. Exact matches contribute the most to the overall score for the record. Close matches (Frank=Franklin, Frankie, Francis, etc) contribute less to the overall score. If we find a record that matches other parameters, but is missing data in a specified field, we may still return that record but the overall score is slightly reduced. All field scores are totaled and the person matches are presented in search results with the highest scoring ones at the top. The system will not return records where the data on the record conflicts with the data entered.

8. Location pages

If you are new to researching in a location, click on the map and access that country’s location page. On it you will find data and information that will get you up to speed faster (indexed & searchable record collections, browse only unindexed collections, learning center classes and training, the FamilySearch Wiki and the FamilySearch Catalog. Additional resources will be added to these pages over time. 

9. Single collection searching

If you know the specific record you are looking for and know that it is found in a specific collection (like the 1940 US Census), you can locate and search just that collection by typing it’s name in the “Find a Collection” box in the bottom right of the main search page. 

10. Evidentiary versus conclusionary

FamilySearch does NOT treat evidentiary source documents (a birth certificate) the same as conclusionary tree people (a person in Genealogies or in Family Tree). When you search the Historical Records dataset, you will be searching only source documents and will not be returned other users’ conclusion persons. If you want to see the conclusions made by other users, you can search Genealogies (a data set of 1 Billion+ lineage linked names submitted by users) or Family Tree (a wiki-like constantly growing and improving one word tree).


It’s not for us to choose

by Judy G. Russell | Jun 24, 2018

When the DNA results are not what was expected…

The question came in again this past week, as it has so many times in recent years.

A genealogist had asked others in the family to test to further the genealogist’s own research. When the results came in, well, they weren’t what anyone had expected.

Maybe in a given case it shows that the man who raised the tested person is not the tested person’s biological father at all.

Or that the “adoptive parents” of the tested person are really his biological grandparents or other close kin.

Or that only one of two supposed full-blood siblings is the child of both parents… and one is the child of only one of the parents.

Or… or… or…

These things happen all the time.

And, all too often, it leads to the kind of question that came in again this past week, as it has so many times in recent years: “Am I obligated to disclose this information to him?” “How much do I have to tell her?” “Is there a legal right to this type of information?”

Let’s take the easy one of these first: “Is there a legal right to this type of information?”

Of course there is. Nothing could or should be clearer from both a legal and an ethical standpoint than this essential truism: the data, the test, the results all belong to the person who tested, whose DNA was examined.

That’s set out in the terms of use of the testing companies. For example, the terms of use at MyHeritage DNA state: “Any genetic information derived from the DNA samples, the DNA Results and/or appears in the DNA Reports continues to belong to the person from whom the DNA was collected…”1 At Ancestry, the privacy statement notes: “Your DNA Data belongs to you.”2

Our own codes of ethics back this up: “Genealogists believe that testers have an inalienable right to their own DNA test results and raw data, even if someone other than the tester purchased the DNA test.”3

As I said, that’s the easy one.

It’s a lot harder when the question is what we have to tell the person who tested who’s not into genealogy, who’s only tested because we ask, and who may not really want to know all the nitty gritty details of what the test discloses. When the real issue is whether we have an affirmative duty to disclose potentially unpleasant facts.

And it’s a whole lot harder to handle that question when it’s accompanied by the “ulp… what do I do now?” feeling rather than if it had been handled at the “this is what a test could show; if it does, do you want to know?” stage of things.

At that early stage, of course, we can take advantage of the great forms that folks like Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne have put together — more about those here — to be sure that our test takers really understand what their options are and make their choices in advance on what they do and don’t want to know about the results.4

But when the results come in before we get that what-do-you-want-to-know issue straightened out, then what?

The bottom line here is that this really isn’t an issue of legality but rather an issue of ethics. In every one of these cases, we have someone who has tested and who has an absolute right to the DNA information… If the person wants it. And — because we didn’t ask up front — we don’t know if the person wants it or not.

And ethically, I don’t think we have any real choice but to ask that test taker how much information, if any, he or she wants about the results. We can’t ethically make that decision for another competent adult. We don’t have the right to decide whether to disclose or withhold information; it’s the test taker’s choice, not ours.

Now, in saying that, I do think we can be careful and circumspect in what we say. I do think we can explain the range of choices without disclosing that we already know the results. We can say, for example, that we need to review the options with the test taker to be sure everyone understands that, in DNA results, there will be some information about ethnicity, some information about cousins we may match from a line far back in time or more recent, some information that could disclose family secrets and some information that’s just ordinary and (perhaps to our test taker) boring genealogy.

We can use the language of the genetic genealogy standards: “…DNA test results, like traditional genealogical records, can reveal unexpected information about the tester and his or her immediate family, ancestors, and/or descendants. For example, both DNA test results and traditional genealogical records can reveal misattributed parentage, adoption, health information, previously unknown family members, and errors in well-researched family trees, among other unexpected outcomes.”5

Or we can use those same informed consent forms we could have used before the results came in and have the person make his or her choices now about what information is really important — and what isn’t.

Once we find out what the test taker really wants to know, we’ll know what ethically we must disclose.

Because it’s really the test taker’s choice, not ours.


1.                   “DNA Services,” MyHeritage – Terms and Conditions ( : accessed 23 June 2018). 

2.                   Paragraph 8, “Your Privacy,”, effective 30 April 2018 ( : accessed 23 June 2018). 

3.                   Paragraph 3, Genetic Genealogy Standards ( : accessed 23 June 2018). 

4.                   See Judy G. Russell, “When you ask…,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 6 May 2018 ( : accessed 23 June 2018). 

5.                   Paragraph 12, Genetic Genealogy Standards ( : accessed 23 June 2018). 


Back to the Top

Book Reviews

Imprint of the Raj - How Fingerprinting was born in colonial India

 BY Chandak Sengoopta, published 2003 MacMillan 234 pages ISBN 0 333 98916 3

Most of us like a good detective thriller and chasing down ancestors & relatives follows many similar techniques. One technique available to the police is the identification of individuals by their fingerprints.


Anyone’s ancestors or relatives who fell on the wrong side of the law before 1902 could not be identified by this means.


The first case in British legal history involving the identification of a suspect by fingerprinting was in 13 September 1902 where the accused a 42-year-old labourer Harry Jackson was on trial for the theft of billiard balls. Albeit DNA now being available finger printing is still a mainstay of identification some 116 years later. The Jackson case was a milestone in that that prosecution had to demonstrate to the court and jury not only that the fingerprints found at the scene of the crime were in fact Jacksons but were also unique (his fingerprints were on record for an earlier burglary and the police got lucky as a few days after the billiard ball burglary Jackson was arrested on an unrelated incident)


Where was the technique “discovered” and developed? In Bengal, India, around the 1860’s a mid ranking colonial administrator William James Herschel (later Sir) noticed by chance that fingerprint patterns varied from person to person. Herschel realised their uniqueness made them a definitive marker for individual identity.


The Government of India ignored his proposal to use fingerprinting to identify people applying to draw pensions or register deeds, and it was not until three decades later that in 1900 the idea reached England and a Home Office committee recommended its adoption for identifying criminals.


The work by Herschel was expanded on by Sir Henry Galton who was responsible the initial development of a fingerprint classification system. Prior to this the police in Britain did have various registers of criminals including their various characteristic, but the systems were unwieldy.


By the end of 1902 Harry Jackson was one of 1722 suspected criminals whose identity had been determined by the Fingerprint Bureau.


The success of fingerprinting as a unique identifier was not before several other ideas were studied, including: Cesare Lombroso an Italian criminologist who taught a “born criminal” was a reversion to earlier stage of evolution and identified by massive jaw or misshapen skull, a Frenchman Bertillon made a great study of the characteristics of up to eleven body parts such as shapes of ears, shape of nose, limb lengths, eyes etc. The use of card indexes being the only system available to record all the data at the time was unwieldly and system was much harder to define uniqueness than the simpler finger printing.


The book is well researched and has many references and albeit a bit heavy at times, it is quite readable and has many examples of the need for unique identifiers in both the criminal and non-criminal world.


So, between Britain and India it was a two-way communication on ideas & like, Britain gave India the railways & telegraph and India gave Britain fingerprinting, curry powder and Worcester sauce in return.


India has certainly embraced fingerprinting, in a 2013 newspaper report they were working on giving all Indian citizens, some 1.2 billion people a unique identity, including a 12-digit number together with biometric data, which involves scanning some 2.4 billion eyeballs and some 12 billion fingerprints. In 2013, half a million people will be lining up each day to be registered. Imagine the outcry in our countries if the governments want to do this!


Ken Morris

Echoes of Our Past

2018 Conference Proceedings NZ Society of Genealogists

Published by NZSG, ISBN no 978-0-473-43825-8C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\EchoesofOuyrPastcover.jpg

For a number of reasons I cannot attend the conferences convened by the NZ Society of Genealogists. But I do enjoy reading the Conference Proceedings. They are generally full of interesting speech notes which you cannot obtain without attending the expensive event. Some of the articles will age but there are, as always, some gems among them. If you can obtain a copy I suggest you have a thumb through it - there is bound to be something of interest.

Articles that drew my attention were:

"The impact of the1918 Influenza Pandemic" and "Decimated by an Invisible Enemy" about the troopship Tahiti voyage 1918. I have a fixation about this pandemic and its effect on NZ Family History. These two articles gave much satisfaction

"Adjustable Marriages - Relationships, Divorce and Bigamy on the Goldfields"

"Appendices to the House of Representatives - an Underutilised Resource"

"Births, Deaths, Marriages and Adoptions"

After thoroughly enjoying reading these articles I then proceeded to soak in the other articles.

I have always sung the praises of books such as this. This is well worth acquiring or just stealing.

Peter Nash

It's All Relative by A J Jacobs

published by Simon & Schuster, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4767-3449-1

   To quote the inside cover:

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\ItsAllRelativecover.JPG"An epic, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure into the idea of family - where it begins and how far it goes - and what it has to tell us about our biology, and our genetics, our tribes and our traditions, and our history and our future"

Basically A J Jacobs becomes obsessed with family connections no manner how remote they are. He consults a lot of eminent genealogists many of whom I have met. He becomes aware of the "theory" that we are all related and that we should all be connecting our family trees up into one big family tree that would ultimately include everybody that has lived, is living or will be living. He decides to convene a family reunion of anybody who wants to attend so that the event becomes the biggest reunion ever.

Along the way he ponders all sorts of ideas about families and how they operate. He meets or should I say experiences genealogy events. He makes all sorts of observations that are sometimes very funny.

I had many a giggle whilst reading this book and may even read it again. It is an enjoyable read.


Peter Nash

Cleansing the Colony

by Kristyn Harman


From the Editor: I cannot do a review any better than this. It comes from Otago University Press, the publisher, and this review is from the following website

For years I have been fascinated about this historical topic. I have been asked to speak on it but I have nowhere near the expertise of this author. I recommend this book.


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From the Editor: Every now and then we get requests to put an advertisement in the newsletter. I have therefore created a new section which will appear from time to time. Advertisements will be included only at the Editor's discretion and will be of a genealogical nature.

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Keep emailing me. I don't print many of the emails I receive. It helps the contributors and your harassed editor when we receive a compliment or a reaction to our attempts at "good writing".


To the Editor:

Inspired to do something for a recent school anniversary, I have researched most of the early teachers and in particular, their War records.

In particular, for one teacher who inspired me, I wrote a history of his life and provided a copy to the school for its archives and having found his daughter, provided her with a copy. As a result, the daughter provided me with various photos to update that history.

Over recent months, I have helped his daughter obtain both his Army File and WW2 Medals viz:


1.       The War Medal 1939-45

2.       The Africa Star

3.       The Italy Star

4.       The Defence Medal

5.       The 1939-45 Star

6.       The New Zealand War Service Medal

So, if anyone can help finding someone who has the skill to mount the medals, preferably someone in the greater Auckland area, we would appreciate it.


Thank you

From the Editor: Please contact me regarding any suggestions.

Advertising with FamNet

If your organisation is not a group subscriber then there will be a charge for advertising events and services, which must be paid for before publication. Charges start at $NZ25 for a basic flier, and increase for more elaborate presentations. Like everyone else we need funds to help keep FamNet going. Fees are very minimal. If your organisation paid a yearly subscription you can have all the advertising you want all year round in the Group News section. Your group could be anywhere in the world, not just in New Zealand. The editor will continue to exercise discretion for free events.

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In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief

From the Editor: My gardening club newsletter has come up with the joke again.


 From the Editor: Here are some headstones I would love to visit.


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