Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter June 2019

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer - Yogi Berra


Editorial 1

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?. 1

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

Making your GDB Records Available to your Family Group. 1

NZ Databases for Family Searchers. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

God Bless DNA Testing. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

37.  Genealogy > Family History > DNA.. 1

Jan’s Jottings. 1

Use it or lose it 1

Wairarapa Wandering. 1

Loyalty, does it pay?. 1

Digging Into Historical Records. 1

Waste Lands Act 1858 – Land Claims 225 and 266. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Dragon Tails 2019. 1

New Zealand Cantonese Chinese Restaurants and Takeaways. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Ken Morris. 1

Australian Federal Election Result May 2019. 1

Carole Perwick. 1

My O’Connor family of Twins. 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

HeritageTalks  - Waha -taonga. 1

August (Family History Month) 1

Auckland Family History Expo | Tāmaki Huinga Tātai Kōrero. 1

Group News. 1

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 1

New Zealand Research Websites. 1

Waikanae Family History Group. 1

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles worth reading: 1

Republishing Obituaries: Is it Piracy?. 1

Credit and copyright 1

Irish birth and marriage certificates from 1864 to be available online. 1

Book Reviews. 1

The Jersey. 1

In conclusion. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

NZ General Hospital Number 2 (Mount Felix) 1

The Hilder-Graham Connection in Aotearoa New Zealand. 1

Unidentified Pictures in a locket 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

Anyone want to take a shot at the odds of this ever happening again?. 1

Letter received in response. 1

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 1



Back to the Top. 17


Share this newsletter

FBTweet Email


Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

I have to apologise for the lateness in sending out this newsletter. You see I started to assemble it and then got involved in serious research aka playing on the internet after reading some articles that I have included. These columns proved to be very interesting.

The first was the contribution from the Whangarei Family History Computer group of some NZ research websites that I was unaware of. I lost half a day playing around with those sites

Last month I included in the humour section an article about a murder/suicide that "occurred" during a fall from a building. I received a letter from Terry who explained the truth about that incident. I have included that article again and his letter. I lost some time on the website he gave.

Then I found that article in the News and Views section about Irish BDMs being available free online. Well my father in law was born in Dublin and was a member of a big family. So it was obvious that I lost another day exploring that website. I found a lot of certificates that helped with my research but another day disappeared.

These lost days show that the magic of research is not lost. I still enjoy being immersed in history and historical documents. My wife has a different opinion from me about the value of this time wasting but I tell her to take her glasses off and she won't notice the state of cleanliness of the house and the garden and lawns. I promise to do the household chores sometime this month.

Anyway, here is our latest offering. I hope it is interesting.


Peter Nash

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?

This newsletter is free. There are not many free newsletters of this length in New Zealand. I am biased but it should be an interesting read.

To subscribe is easy too. Go onto the FAMNET website - don't misspell it as I have, twice already.

The front page is lovely, but click on [Newsletters].  A page opens showing you a list of all the past newsletters, you can click the link to read one that you’re interested in.

Like the front page, the newsletters page has a place where you can log on or register.   It’s in the top right-hand corner.  Put your email here and click [Continue].   If you aren’t already on our mailing list, there will be a message “Email not in database” and a button [New User] appears.  Click this and follow the dialog to register.  It’s free and easy.  You should receive a copy every month until you unsubscribe.

Robert has assured me that he will not send begging letters to your email - apparently, he has enough money at the moment. You will not have to put in your credit card number. You will not be charged a subscription.

Tell other genealogists so they can enjoy the newsletters too.


Peter Nash

Back to the Top

Regular Contributors

From the Developer

Making your GDB Records Available to your Family Group

In last month’s issue I wrote about Jo Hilder’s family history large document. Jo’s issue of the document being too large was quickly solved, but a follow-on issue arose.  In contacting her relatives she not only directed them to the PDF, but also to her database in FamNet.  An on line database and a “book” like The Hilder-Graham Connection in Aotearoa New Zealand,” are not alternatives, they are complimentary, so naturally she wanted members of her family group to be able to see records in the j.hilder database.

When you add people to your family group you expect them to be able to see your records.  Depending on permissions this may include living people, and may even include update privilege. But you don’t expect them to be asked to pay a subscription.   Unfortunately, there’s currently some fine print: the rules that I’d programmed into FamNet say that either the database owner (in this case Jo) or the family group member have a subscription.

Peter tells you every month “apparently he has enough money at the moment”, and certainly my hopes for income from my software focus on my MANASYS Jazz project and I regard FamNet as just a hobby.  FamNet covers its costs from the small amount that it currently receives in subscriptions (and especially from the corporate subscription from the LDS – thank you!), so I am going to change the rule so that family group members have the access rights defined by the database owner, without needing a subscription.  After all, the current rule seems in conflict with our stated aim of being your repository, the best place for you to save your story and share it with your family.  I haven’t made this change yet – it proved to be more difficult than I’d expected – but I plan to make this change sometime in the next month.

NZ Databases for Family Searchers

The May newsletter brought this query from Katherine Cipolla: -

Is there a website for family searchers in New Zealand? I am researching my step-mother's family from Christchurch and Waimangara: Ronson, Craw, Macewan and Stewart seem to be the relevant names. While she emigrated to the US, I assume her relatives are still in New Zealand. I'd be happy to put a query on a bulletin board, if I knew of one.
Katharine Cipolla

Peter and I helped her as much as possible, and I’ve included an edited version of our correspondence here.  If you have information from your family history that can help Katherine, email her directly, but we’d love comments on the general topic of “Searching for New Zealand Family Information” which we’ll republish.  Let’s start a conversation on this topic.

Anyway, call me biased, but “Is there a website for family searchers in New Zealand” has an obvious answer: -

Katherine, the obvious starting point should be FamNet.   We have over 15M records in our genealogy database, and is the only genealogy site focussed on Kiwis and our ancestors.  Go to the FamNet home page ( and log on, then look up the names that you’re interested in (Look up People by Name).  I found 21 records of people named Ronson, 321 for Craw, 13 for Macewan, and well over 1000 Stewart records. You’ll probably get lower numbers: as Sysadmin I can see every record, but you won’t see records of living people unless they are your own records. Whether any of these records are of interest to you only you can tell, but at least it’s a starting point.

A particularly powerful way of focussing on the interesting records is to load a database of your own. With Upload your Family Data you can upload a GED file produced from your own records. This will be processed overnight (hopefully: to make sure send me an email so that I notice that it’s there and start the relevant process). This has several benefits.

1.    The first, and least important: by uploading your own data you’ll get a subscription credit, meaning that you’ll have access to the FamNet database for some time without having to pay anything. How long? It depends on the number of records that you upload. You get a year per 2000 records. By the way, a hint: upload your complete database, don’t worry about trimming it to remove living people because our software manages privacy very well, and your on line database is better if it includes everybody, even if other people can’t see the records of living people.

2.    The more important reason: when the file is fully processed FamNet will have identified any duplicate records, and you’ll have a direct link with other genealogists who have records of the same people. For example, here I’ve opened my record of my father, in Page View.

Below the Scrapbook (linked documents, photos, etc) is the section GDB Links. Here FamNet has recorded links with other GDB records of the same person: you can see that users DataManager, StuartClaridge, Fejoas, etc also have a record of my father in their database. I can simply click the record link to open their record. This gives me a quick way of contacting these other genealogists: perhaps they have information that they can share with me. Also I can click Compare to open a page that compares what they have recorded with what I have recorded.

3.    If this leads you to information on the people that you’re looking for, then the traditional way of dealing with this is to copy all the information that you want into your own records. Of course you can still do that, but FamNet offers an alternative. Have a look at this record, of my father’s mother Hannah OLD.  Record owner Robertb shows that this is my record, but you can see that two of her children’s records have different owners, DBarnes and TinaBelk46.  My reasoning is that these children would know more about their fathers than I knew about an uncle, so I swapped out my record of Ian BARNES and Harold BARNES and replaced my records with theirs. Now I have much better information, not only about these individuals, but about their families. If you get lucky and find the people that you’re looking for then you can make contact with the genealogists involved, and you have the option of linking to their records instead of creating your own.

4.    From any of your records you can click the link Add Links from DigitalNZ, FamNet, and the Web to your Scrapbook. DigitalNZ is a combined search of about 120 government and similar sites, such as the National Library, Papers Past, etc. If any of your people have been recorded in our papers or libraries this is your best chance of finding them. You’ll also find irrelevant stuff because it’s only a text search. For example when I searched for ‘Freda Cook’ I found also records of Freda du Faur climbing Mt Cook.

Of course all this is for naught if you don’t find any records in FamNet of the people that you’re looking for. What other options do you have?

We’ll carry a note in our next FamNet newsletter, perhaps one of our readers can help you.

Also, you might like to post something to the Rootweb NZ list,  Unlike FamNet you won’t need to wait until June before anybody reads your request, and you might reach different people (I think that there is a considerable overlap, but I don’t know).

I hope that this is helpful.

Katharine replied

Robert, I am thoroughly impressed. I am just at the start with Margot's family.

I inherited a hand written tree that goes back to Scotland 1814. I tracked the family through S. Africa to New Zealand, noting births along the way. I have her personal file since she needed it for citizenship. But that's about all. I would be thrilled to learn that her family still exists. While Margot had no children, she did have?? brother Grahame Craw who did have sons. So, they may still be in the neighbourhood. I'll be excited to find out. That would be two generations past what I know about. I will write up what I have and post a GED as soon as I can. Thank you so much for the lead.

BTW, if you have a museum of interesting New Zealanders, you might be interested in Margot Ronson Craw. She was a University Professor in Australia, and a Medical Doctor in England and the U.S. That's a great story for a daughter of a railway clerk born in Christchurch in 1923. (I have enough University Diplomas and Certificates to paper a wall.)

Again, thank you for your lead. I have work to do, but you will be hearing from me.

To which I replied

Katharine, I’m pleased that you found my information useful. 

 “Museum of interesting New Zealanders”.  One of the sites included in the DigitalNZ search is the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.    This is a government publication, with the biographies researched and written by professional historians.   You can apply to have your Margot included, but I don’t know if she would meet their criteria of “people who have made a significant mark on New Zealand history”.   For more ordinary mortals like most of our ancestors the nearest thing to the Museum of Interesting New Zealanders is really FamNet.  For example, if you look at the record of my grandmother you’ll see a wealth of material in her scrapbook, including a document (originally captured as an oral history I think) that is in the Whanganui Regional Museum describing her pioneer life.  We are fortunate to have similar documents for many of our ancestors, and even links to web sites (my wife’s 4-Great grandfather was an admiral in Nelson’s navy, there is a web page describing a sea battle – Battle of Grand Port – where he was the commander, and lost several of his squadron.  One of the few naval defeats in the Napoleonic Wars).   It has become a family tradition that we write “My Story” or similar, an autobiography of one to several (mine is 14) pages, to form a record for our descendants.  

The advantage of this approach is that we can say what we like, we don’t have to submit it to an editorial committee.  The disadvantage of course is that it doesn’t have the academic rigor of a commissioned biography.  

I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to use FamNet in this way.

Regards, Robert.

Telling your story: Index

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

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

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

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

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

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

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

Robert Barnes

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

God Bless DNA Testing

 I was dragooned into family history. You see a few of my cousins decided to have a NASH family reunion in the early 1990s. My father was one of eleven siblings and my grandfather was one of thirteen. Because I disappeared to the toilet whilst this decision was taken they also decided that a book would be produced and I was to write it. A least they were reasonable about it - I had nine months to write it. The problem was that even my father did not know all his cousins and he would be amazed at the numbers of cousins he had.

To write this book I interviewed every sibling and aunties and uncles at my father's level on the family tree. This took me to many funny places and many hilarious sessions with elderly people who, after checking me out, were only too pleased to tell me what they knew, show me photographs, certificates, letters and other memorabilia they possessed. One even crawled under her house at 10 pm to rescue a now precious portrait of my great grandmother, Julia NASH nee MURRAY that she had discarded many years before. Once they went through the interview process and seeing that I wasn't interested in saying nasty things and even ignored one or two trivial (in terms of family history) incidents that might be a little "controversial", every one told me of the "sensational" incidents in their family.

For instance, in one family one told me that the youngest girl was not a sister but the daughter of the eldest sister. This was easily proved but nobody else in that family knew. The girl concerned did know because she had trouble getting a passport and she told me after I promised not to write it into the book. Another told me to contact a woman in Australia who was an illegitimate daughter of a NASH boy who was not recognised by the family. This woman produced photos, letters from the alleged father in which paternity was admitted etc that proved to me that she was eligible for her place in the book. Her father was quite a ladies' man, who, when stationed in England during World War 2, had a liking for English girls and produced at least one other child - all verified in writing etc. He unfortunately died, in a London air raid, when he fell out a window whilst watching the planes in the sky- alas two stories above ground level.

Luckily, birth, death and marriages entries were $4 each and thus I was quickly able to amass quite a collection.

After producing that book I was in mental possession of a large amount of knowledge about the family that few others knew and which I could not put down in writing, particularly in that book. My father and mother were particularly insistent that I hear all the family gossip they knew because, they told me, somebody needs to know and pass on appropriately because a lot of it explained why we were in Auckland, why some branches speak to each other, why some siblings look different from each other, etc, etc. Some of it I could fit into my computer programme, FamilyTree Maker.

So, for about twenty years I have been silent. I have been approached by a handful of illegitimate children who have proved to my satisfaction and to the knowledge I have possessed. I have accepted them into the "clan" and provided the things they wanted - eg photos, certificates, memorabilia etc. But now it is a deluge of researchers who have done their DNA and the results have pointed them to my direction as the expert on the family history. A lot of the family home truths have been proven to be true.

So finally I get to the point of this rambling waffle. I am praising DNA testing. It is allowing me to publicise some of my mental goodies and pass on the mental notes about "family scandals" I had. I have a lesser problem now with the disposal of my knowledge when I pop my clogs, depart this world, fall off the world and other nice phrases that people use instead of that word, "die".

It appears that my NASH family is/was very fertile and has/had a strong preference to partaking in the breeding process irrespective of who their partner, at that time, was. A rude person has suggested that the family was so poor that they had no clothing and in winter were looking for somewhere to warm their genitals. That is a little harsh but I do know that TV was not invented and the movies were not readily available in the back blocks of Hokianga.

Another problem has now arisen. A "cousin" has contacted me with DNA results that are strongly in favour of a NASH input into her genes. BUT there are two versions of the parentage of her grandmother but both involve NASH brothers. How do I enter into my Familytree Maker a father who is either A NASH or Another NASH? I think that DNA will not be able to pinpoint which brother but that is not my problem.

Therefore, I repeat, God Bless DNA testing. I suggest that you be kind to weird inquiries from complete strangers who have a puzzling DNA result.


Regards to all

Peter Nash

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

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

 37.  Genealogy > Family History > DNA

GailDNABefore I begin this article, I need to comment on a paragraph I wrote in the May article.  The easiest method is simply to provide the following as was written to me.  Unfortunately, the assumption made is incorrect as the writer is apparently making Family Finder matches the focal point rather than the trees which was my focus.  But I think it is only right that you are aware in case you assume the same thing.



This bit is rather misleading.

 “Make certain that the exact same names as your relatives have used as their testing name is replicated in your family tree.  This will enable FTDNA to calculate whether your autosomal matches are from your paternal line or your maternal line.  Once calculated, you will see in your ‘Matches’ something what looks like this”.

This is saying that you got the phased maternal / paternal symbols because you put names in your tree the same as they appeared in your match list.

I do not believe that is correct, and would make them no better than Ancestry's tree guesses.

I believe the phased symbols ONLY come from FTDNA working with matches for the known dna tested relatives that you have linked to your tree via the DNA Matching as per the FAQs

Sure, if you input on your tree the same name it will provide you with the hint as you do so that this match can be linked but you have to link them, as described in the FAQ above

This month’s article is about how DNA can be so important to the research of your Family History and your Genealogy.

Because you are receiving this Famnet Newsletter, it is apparent you are interested in Genealogy and/or your Family history.  By the way, Genealogy is not the same as Family History.  Genealogy is the skeleton or the pedigree of a particular family and consists of names, places, and dates.  On the other hand, Family History puts the flesh on that skeleton.  It is the Family History which keeps us rivetted to our self-allotted tasks.

To get your pedigree, you pore over birth, death and marriage documentation.  Depending on the country in which you are searching, this may be a time consuming and possibly expensive task as you are keen to purchase documents verifying your information.  After time has passed, you start running into brick walls and so you turn your mind to researching particular lines of your family in the hopes that you will find something like a 2nd marriage or an adoption or even a change of name which will invigorate your pedigree research.

Along the way, you will become fascinated by what you are discovering and start delving further and further.  Again, you may start facing brick walls.  And this is where another tool may be most helpful.

No prizes for guessing that I am going to suggest that the tool is taking a DNA test with a firm which specialises in such testing.

Understand that if you do take this path, you will be facing the risk that all your work just might have been in vain.  This is because you may discover you are not who you think you are.  And I am not referring to you learning you have something like one too many of the gender chromosomes!  I am referring to the possibility that you are biologically the descendant of someone who is not in your meticulously researched family.

Let me explain using myself as an example.

My very first genetic test (autosomal) was taken with 23andMe when they still used to supply the full health reports as well as provide genealogical matches.  My autosomal ethnicity was pretty much as I anticipated – Scots, Irish, English, French, German etc but one piece puzzled me and that was ‘African’.  Those of you who know me are aware that I am fair skinned with fairish hair, so having non-European in my ancestral background was an utter surprise.  However, it was only about 2% so I concluded that one of my exploring male relatives had been in Africa and left a child there, who in turn had descendants living today carrying some of the same genes as I have.  In other words, I simply dismissed the idea.

Here is a screenshot of my 23andMe ethnicity result.  Note the timeline.


Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 12.48.55 PM.png


This particular test took place some 10 years ago but I had no idea about the Congolese connection.  I could not even think how I could learn if my dismissal of what I was seeing was simply an “ostrich–head-in-sand” attitude.

In March, I was in Houston with FamilyTreeDNA; my aim being to thoroughly indulge myself in all things genetic.  Because I had arrived there a couple of days early, I headed to the bar on my first evening where I saw a face who looked vaguely familiar.  So I went and introduced myself .  It turned out that he had a better memory from our meeting some 3 years earlier than I had. 

In turn I was introduced to others who were enjoying their ‘sundowners’ and one of whom turned out to be one of the Gedmatch owners. is a most valuable site for anyone who is interested in comparing their autosomal results with others who have tested at another company.  To cut a long story short, during the weekend I reacquainted myself with the new Genesis Gedmatch site.  It had been a year or more since I had last compared my results with others on that site.

Lo and behold, a recently joined tester from Ancestry came up as a close match to me (about 3 or so generations difference).  Even more interesting, his surname was FRAZER.  Frazer/Fraser is one of my brick walls as was his wife surnamed HEPBURN although I knew the names of her parents. 

So I wrote to the given email address putting in my line and so on, asking if contact could be made and hoping that I might learn a little more about the HEPBURN puzzle.

Back came the response and I got more than I bargained for.

Not only was my HEPBURN the granddaughter of a half mulatto freewoman, but that her grandfather was a Scottish highlander slaveowner who had a wife back in Scotland.  I read that the children of this union were taken to Scotland and educated there. 

All of this took place around the late 1700s.  Luckily I was sent a website where I was able to learn so much more and now I know why I have that smidgen of African ancestry in my genes.  From a skeleton pedigree to Family History to genetics.  What could be better?

Now I just have to work out where my Ashkenazi Jewish connection is! 


Gail Riddell

Back to the Top

Index so far

Jan’s Jottings

Use it or lose it

For their April Meeting, St Heliers branch of the NZSG met at the Lunn Ave Family History Centre.  I am concerned that we are using the FHC so rarely that they will close!  In fact, one in Hamilton no longer opens and another no longer opens in the evening. A true case of 'use it or lose it'.

I gave a short talk on using FamilySearch and then we 'played with the computers'. The main site we were using was FamilySearch of course. All free and set up with lots of links and short cuts to save you time with your research and take you to other, useful, sites. Partner sites like Ancestry, My Heritage, The Genealogist are there and, if your searching takes you to an image on one of these sites, you will be able to view more info. Perhaps not as much as with your own account - but what you can see is free!! And there is the chance to pay something and see more.

With FamilySearch, there will be images you can see that you could not see at home. Also links back to the FamilySearch Family Tree sites.

Do think about having a meeting in your local FHC. One of your branch meetings. Or just call in yourself and talk to the folk on duty. They may not be familiar with all that you can do and see - but they will know when would be a good time for you to come back, when other people are on duty.  And you only learn by doing that's for sure.

Something a little different:

Go to   Click on Search.  Click on Research Wiki. Scroll down to Guided Research. Click on Prioritized Online Databases.  Look to RH side of the screen and click on Guided Research and read about it, so that you understand what you might find and what to do with it. 

Go back a page - click LH arrow in upper LH corner. 

Click on country. Be aware that this is being updated daily so you should check on a regular basis. Click on County. Click on event of your choice. Type in your family info and watch to see what happens!!! 

Do make time to read all the information that is there. Very helpful.

Jan Gow

Back to the Top

Wairarapa Wandering

Loyalty, does it pay?  

AdeleI met a lovely lady years ago, who has fitted shoes to possibly thousands of feet here in Wairarapa. When I last spoke to Sally SUMMERS she told me she has worked at Saunders Shoe Shop for over 70 years.

Imagine how fashions have changed in footwear over this time. She must be talking to the great grandchildren of her first customers most days in the shop.

I first met her when I bumped into her in Greytown, and then each time I visit Saunders Store in Queen Street, Masterton, there is Sally fitting shoes to her heart's content.  I have had the privilege of being fitted by her.

 One day I took a photograph of her in the shop. She asked why I did that, and I replied "for one good reason Sally, a day will come, and you may not be working here, but I know I will have your photograph to remember you by".

She still greats us with a smile on her face and I love just going in to speak with her. She must be one of the most loyal people in New Zealand.

She has told me some of her family history being connected to the RIDGWAY family of early Carterton. In fact the oldest cottage on High Street South is the home of the Ridgway family. Yes, she is related to Ridgeway Pottery back home in Staffordshire, although spelt with an E in the name, she said connected.

She attended Solway Primary School in Masterton. I wonder if back then what she wanted to do with her life!  Save soles!

Now I have been up in the Wairarapa since 1991, but to have worked for the same company for over 70 years!  I am now 76, so think what I have achieved in my life time, then think of Sally selling shoes for 70 odd years of my life time - a remarkable woman. Long may she be there, but the business is for sale, perhaps it's then she is to retire?


Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane

Clareville 5713

Back to the Top

Digging Into Historical Records  

 Waste Lands Act 1858 – Land Claims 225 and 266

In order to encourage the settlement of Naval and Military Settlers throughout the North Island men who had served in Her Majesty’s service or the East India Company who were discharged or retired could apply for land free of cost. [1]

For the Wellington Province one outcome was 355 ‘bundles’ of papers, ranging from a single sheet of paper to several items, held in two boxes at the Wellington office of Archives New Zealand. In Archway they are described as Land Claims circa 1865 Nos 1-397. A recently completed inventory records some applicant details, whether their signature is present in the file and an indication of the number of enclosures in the bundle. [2] Another file, that records the nature of the documents deposited by the applicants in support of their claim, has also been transcribed. [3]

 Two of the 355 ‘bundles’ related to the Crowther family of Wainuiomata. Claim No.225 consisted of a single letter written by Thomas Crowther (1792-1878) of York Bay on 01 May 1860 to William Fitzherbert, Commissioner of Crown Lands.

“Sir, Having seen an advertisement in the Wellington newspapers stating that persons discharged from Her Majesty’s services in the Army shall have a grant of land upon producing their discharge I have the misfortune to lose mine. I was discharged from Her Majesty’s 51st in January 1827 at Fort Pitt, Chatham and if it is required, I think I could get a copy of my discharge by writing to Horse Guards.”

Claim No.266 by Joseph Rushforth (1819-1868) was a genealogical jackpot. It included a copy of his death certificate and certified copies of parish register entries for the marriage of his parents and baptism of his older brother George. The real standout item was a letter written by Joseph from Wainuiomata.

“Sir, I have selected the land you have awarded me in the Three Mile Bush adjoining Michel Connoley’s as I pointed out to Mr Holmes on the map. I do not wish to come to Town again just now, by Sending me the land order by Post you will Oblige you, Obedient Servant, Joseph Rushforth, late Sergeant 58th Regiment. Direct Joseph Rushforth, Post Office, Hutt.”

Joseph was accidentally drowned at Te Witi, Wairarapa on 09 October 1868 and his brother George, being heir-at-law, granted Power of Attorney to Frederick Kershaw Crowther (1833-1907) of the Post Office, Hutt. This allowed Frederick to handle Joseph’s estate. [4] Frederick was the son of Thomas Crowther. [5]

A Crown Grant was eventually issued in the name of Joseph Rushforth for Section 140 Taratahi Plain on 22 January 1880. [6,7] By then it had been sold to Alexander Hughan (1871) who in turn sold it to William Booth, Edward Eagle and Alfred Booth, sawmill proprietors and William Booth, Congregational Minister in 1874. [8]

In general, the 355 ‘bundles’ contain a wide miscellany of items, including original parchment certificates issued by military authorities, and are well worth exploring.

[1] An Act to regulate the disposal and administration of the Waste Lands of the Crown of New Zealand 19 August 1858

[2] Archives NZ References ADXS 19523 LS-W32/1/1 Wellington Land Claims 1860s (Nos 1-190) and LS-W 32/2/2 (Nos 191-397) [R17370063 and R17370064 respectively]

[3] Archives NZ Reference AADS 18356 W6087 9/1 Wellington District Schedules of Applicants for Land Orders under the “Waste Lands Act of 1858” [R25674052]

[4] Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 21/ 1871/451 Letter from George Rushforth 04 Oct 1871 Copy Power of Attorney George Rushforth to Frederick Crowther [R24439252]

[5] Crowther Family Genealogy

[6] Archives NZ Reference AFIH 22394 W5691/51 Deeds Index Volume 9 folio 613 [R20163329]

[7] Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19523 LS-W32 3/7 Grants issued in the Wellington District for Military, Naval and Volunteer Services (R17370069)

[8] Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W2 29/ 1877/20 Letter from George Rushforth 10 Jan 1877 Abstract of wishings conveying Section 140 Taratahi to Booth and others [R24482550]


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

Back to the Top

Chinese Corner 

Dragon Tails 2019 Australasian conference on Chinese diaspora history and heritage will be held in Wellington, on 20-23 November 2019

Theme: Translation and Transformation
Location: Hunter Building, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Date: Wed 20 – Sat 23 November 2019
Wednesday will be pre-conference tours and events
Convenors: Grace Gassin, Duncan Campbell, Karen Schamberger

This conference will be hosted by Wai-Te-Ata Press at the Victoria University of Wellington.

Following on from the success of the Dragon Tails conferences at Ballarat (2009), Melbourne (2011), Wollongong (2013), Cairns (2015) and Bendigo (2017) we will be holding, in Wellington, the sixth Dragon Tails, an Australasian conference on Chinese diaspora history and heritage.

This year’s conference theme highlights the processes of translation and transformation that have been central to the histories of Chinese diaspora around the world. By transformation we mean the shifts in ideas, meanings and practice over time and the ways they have impacted Chinese diasporic communities. By translation we mean the ways people and organisations have interpreted, in a historical sense, significant events, meanings and ideas related to the Chinese diaspora for other audiences.

The Dragon Tails conferences promote research into the histories and heritage of Chinese people, their descendants and their associates, in Australasia (Australia and New Zealand). The conferences also encourage awareness of the connections of Chinese in Australasia with the histories of Chinese people, their descendants and their associates in other countries.

Dragon Tails conferences encourage an approach to history which combines the skills and interests of academic, community, local, family, professional, independent and amateur historians, archaeologists and heritage workers, as well as other professionals, academics and writers with an express interest in this field of research.

Dragon Tails conferences are organised by the Dragon Tails Association Inc.

Missed out on the previous Dragon Tails conferences?

Subscribe to our email list by sending an email to

Twitter - @dragontailsconf

New Zealand Cantonese Chinese Restaurants and Takeaways.

Helen Wong is now researching the history for future publication of a book. 
The first Chinese man, Appo Hocton, arrived in New Zealand in 1853 and was naturalised. In the 1860s, Chinese immigrants were invited to New Zealand by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce to replace the western goldminers who had followed the gold-fever to Australia. 
Logically, there will have been Chinese food served from 1853. 

PORK IN RESTAURANTS - TWO CHINESE FINED.  Prosecutions brought by the police against the proprietors of two Chinese restaurants in the city for having pork on the premises suitable for supplying to patrons and for illegally acquiring pork were the subject of reserved judgments given by Mr J. H. Luxford, S.M., yesterday. The defendants were David Chan, of the Chungking Cafe De Luxe (Mr Henry), and William Wong Doo, of the Chinese Tea House (Mr Dickson). The magistrate-imposed fines of £10 on each, and on further information brought against Chan he imposed a fine of £50. stating that Chan had carried on with the offence in defiance of the law.   NEW ZEALAND HERALD, VOLUME 82, ISSUE 25257, 18 JULY 1945

Looking for names, owners and dates for all towns and cities.  Please email

Facebook NZChineseRestaurantstakeaways


Helen Wong

Guest Contributors

Ken Morris

  Australian Federal Election Result May 2019


                                        A close up of a newspaper

Description automatically generated

I think the reference to raising/lowering the IQ has been used a number of times on both sides of “the ditch”

Ken Morris

Carole Perwick

My O’Connor family of Twins

My grandparents had 11 children that I knew about, my father, Isaac, being the youngest born in 1896. In fact, they had twelve live babies.

            James born in Leeston 20 Jun 1879

            Mary born in Leeston 18 November 1880 according to their baptisms.

They now shift to Longridge Village and Margaret and Vincent are registered as twins in 28th October 1883 born at Waimea Station. So there were twins in the family! Alas that was not fact as Margaret was born in 1882 and Vincent in 1884

Next to arrive was George Archie 11 September 1885. He died young aged 19.

In the Riversdale cemetery, I found a burial for a male child who had died aged 6 weeks old born on 11 June 1886 and died in 26 July 1886.

Paul, who died in WW1 aged 31, was registered as a twin with Thomas on 15th September 1887. His actual birth date according to his Army records was 11th June 1886 so now he was the twin of the son who died at 6 weeks.

In July 1981, Thomas died and on his headstone his age was 87. I thought he would have been older than that, so sent for his death certificate. Sure enough another sleight of hand was mastered by grandfather. He struck a log jam of babies unregistered so put a few together.

When Tom applied for his pension, once again the school registers came into play. Tom was born on11th September 1885, making him a twin of Archie and thus almost 96 and not Paul, who had the same birth date as the boy who died at 6 weeks. So there was a set of twins George and Thomas born 11 Sept 1885 then another set of twin boys born 11 June nine months later, Paul and the baby who died at 6 weeks.

Wow. Four babies in under a year. Any wonder poor Michael lost count.

Catherine was born 17th February 1889 Domnick was born 5 September 1891

While we were taking out the births from the register in Gore I found my aunt Matilda, when she applied for the pension in 1958, discovered that she was registered as a twin with Isaac born three years after her! She found school registers to prove that she was born on 8th August 1893. A letter was to be attached to the register and the new date for the birth registered to be accepted under Sec 14 of the Births Registration Act. 1951. This created more mayhem down the line when a relative announced that she had been adopted. I only came upon this when the relative had died.

Another misconception follows her research down the line! Isaac born 19th June 1896. It is true there were 2 sets of twins! Catherine died aged 90 years, gardening to the end. She had a large weeping fibrosarcoma on one arm for 22 years! Talk about tough eh?

Carol Perwick

From our Libraries and Museums

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 makes good use of this free service, let’s see if other libraries and museums take up this offer.

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

Auckland Libraries

 HeritageTalks  - Waha -taonga

Are you interested in family and local history; the historical stories of New Zealand, the Pacific, and beyond?


Then why not come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks | Waha -taonga and hear more about both our personal and our shared heritage?

These talks are given by experts in their field and can provide valuable insight into our histories.


When: At least fortnightly on Wednesdays, from February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland
Cost: Free
Booking: All welcome. Booking recommended but not essential.


To ensure your place, please contact Research Central on 09 890 2412, or book online at


Te Whaioranga - The Road to Recovery with Haunui Royal, Auckland Libraries

Wednesday 19 June, 12pm -1pm

After the protests and land marches of the seventies, and the devastating financial reforms in the eighties Maori communities reached crisis point.  In the nineties, through development of kaupapa māori institutions, Māori businesses, cultural revival, and Waitangi treaty claims, positive signs of recovery emerged. Utilizing documentary footage, Haunui Royal examines key themes arising from that period, and some of the personal stories behind this renaissance.


Coming home: The Returned Soldier experience after the war with Dr Stephen Clarke

Wednesday 3 July, 12pm -1pm

During the First World War, over 18,000 New Zealanders died, and their names are immortalised on local war memorials that are the focal point of remembrance on Anzac Day. But what do we know about those 80,000, often forgotten New Zealanders, who survived the war? Join Dr Stephen Clarke as he discusses the Great Silence about the experience of coming home from the Great War.


The lost suburb of Newton East with Lynnie Howcroft, Elianna Gabriel, Jade Oskar Harvey and S’Wee H’ng

Wednesday 17 July, 12pm -1pm

Join Lynnie Howcroft and the team behind the children’s book, Barkell and Mr Arkell, Elianna Gabriel, Jade Oskar Harvey and S’Wee H’ng; They’ll discuss their tentative journey into self-publishing, and how they developed this true story of characters who lived in Newton East, 80 years before construction of the Newton Motorway Interchange. It promises to be an inspirational discussion about bringing history to life, for both adults and children.


Your DNA Heritage with Michelle Patient

Wednesday 24 July, 12pm -1pm

There is a lot of hype and misunderstanding around the results of DNA tests. Are the tests a waste of time? Or are they a valuable tool for family historians? In this talk genetic genealogist Michelle Patient will discuss what the tests can reveal. She compares the work done by different companies and explains how the results can be useful for understanding our heritage.


New Zealand Imperialism in the Cook Islands with Chris Turnbull

Wednesday 31 July, 12pm -1pm

Fifty years after the Treaty of Waitangi, colonial New Zealand was given a second opportunity to shape the new government of a Pacific polity. This talk discusses the meeting of Colonial and Island cultures in the Cook Islands and argues that Island leaders were significant in determining the outcome. Chris Turnbull, an Auckland Libraries Heritage Trust scholar in 2018/19, is currently working on a PhD about Pacific History.


August (Family History Month)

1 to 31 August 2019

Family History Month at Auckland Libraries
Various library venues around the Auckland region – check with your local library.

Auckland Family History Expo | Tāmaki Huinga Tātai Kōrero

Friday 9 August to Sunday 11 August 2019

Auckland Libraries and the Genealogical Computing Group proudly present a weekend-long event covering a wide range of topics on researching genealogy, whakapapa and family history.

Seminars • exhibitors • computer workshops • ask-an-expert sessions • research assistance • raffle prizes.

International guest speakers

•          Cyndi Ingle, US (CyndisList)

•          Nick Barratt, UK (broadcaster/historian)

•          Raymon Naisbitt, US, FamilySearch

•          Jason Reeve, AncestryAU

•          Russ Wilding, US, MyHeritage.

Local guest speakers

•          Jan Gow QM FSG

•          Andy Fenton

•          Fiona Brooker

•          Michelle Patient .... and more to be announced.


• Ancestry • Archives New Zealand •  Auckland Libraries •FamilySearch •  FamilyTree DNA FamNet •  Guild of One Name Studies •  Head to Head Productions • Hooked on Genealogy Tours/Beehive Books •  Memories In Time • Mentis •  MyHeritage •  National Army Museum (Kippenberger Research Library •  National Library of New Zealand/PapersPast •  NZ Chinese Genealogy Group •         NZ Fencible Society •  NZ Society of Genealogists Inc •    NZ Micrographics •  Wales – NZ Family History Society

Come and see us at the Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mount Albert Road, Three Kings, Auckland. Find out more at

The Hidden Web: Digging Deeper with Cyndi Ingle

Wednesday 7 August, 12pm -1pm

Don’t give up if Google and traditional search engines fail to return useful information. We will explore resources that are invisible to Google and hidden deep within web sites and proprietary databases. The "hidden web" lies buried within the collections of commercial web sites, libraries, archives, and museums. We will also talk about the importance of indexes that deep-link into web sites online, thus uncovering hidden gems of information that may not be found easily through a search engine query.
US genealogist Cyndi Ingle is one of the keynote speakers at the Auckland Family History Expo.

Family History & the Media – Behind the scenes of WDYTYA with Nick Barratt

Wednesday 7 August, 1.30-2.30pm

UK author, broadcaster, and historian Dr Nick Barratt is best known for his work on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? series. In this session, Nick discusses broadcast media and how the rise of the internet has transformed genealogy and family history. He will reflect on how the hit BBC series was commissioned, researched and filmed. Using case studies from the show, he explores how several celebrities changed the way the programme was made - with a profound impact on the way audiences embraced a new style of research.

Come and hear Nick tell us about what really goes on behind the scenes of these TV programmes. More opportunities to hear Nick Barratt speak at the Auckland Family History Expo.

Russ Wilding, MyHeritage

Wednesday 14 August, 12pm -1pm

Another opportunity to hear Auckland Family History Expo speaker and MyHeritage Chief Content Officer Russ advise us on using MyHeritage technologies to discover your family history. He’ll also tell us how MyHeritageDNA can become another tool in your genealogy toolbox to help find missing links and verify your research.

The Many Faces of D.B. Russell 1862-1940 with Lisa Truttman
Wednesday 21 August, 12pm -1pm

Light opera singer, entrepreneur, impresario, supposed construction engineer, agricultural expert, resident agent and manager: D.B. Russell convinced people he could do virtually anything – then left behind little record of his activities. Lisa will discuss how she researched his life via archives held in New Zealand, Australia, America and Mexico. D.B. Russell enjoyed a career on stage in the Far East and travelled through the Pacific during a time of British and New Zealand imperial activity in the area. She discovered shady deals in the Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America, a grand Auckland canal project which never materialised, and his experience of the 1911 Mexican revolution.

Dall'altra parte del mondo: To the other side of the world with Giuseppe Gallina

Wednesday 28 August, 12pm -1pm

Giuseppe Gallina presents an illustrated talk about the evolution of Italian emigration to New Zealand which began in 1769 with the first arrival - a Venetian sailor who came on the Endeavour with James Cook.

Giuseppe explains why Italians left their homeland for this country, when they came, where they settled, the work they did, and the challenges they faced as their community grew.

Wills and probates with Marie Hickey

Wednesday 11 September, 12pm -1pm

Many researchers believe that it’s not worth looking for their ancestors’ wills, because their family didn’t have much money. This means that they miss out on vital information: Lists of household items, what happened to a particular item, or even learning about a family squabble.

This presentation will look at material from New Zealand, England, Scotland and Ireland, including websites where information may be found and why you may not find anything when you believe that there should be a will.

The growth of New Zealand towns with Hugh Dickie

Wednesday 25 September, 12pm -1pm

Enjoy an interactive visualise presentation including fascinating facts about the growth (or otherwise) of our towns and cities, including a focus on Auckland.  Misconceptions and historical myths are dealt with, as well as current trends and possible future changes.  Based on extensive new research.

5 October to 27 October 2019

Auckland Heritage Festival
Various events around the Auckland region.

See more HeritageTalks at


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


Back to the Top

Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


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

email, if you need directions.

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

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





New Zealand Research Websites


The WFHCG had a great discussion time last meeting over the links below. We had a lot of fun from this site supplied by Barry Dawson

Ships to New Zealand – Port of Auckland

Ships from UK & Ireland

Early NZ Settlers 1840-45

New Zealand Passenger Lists

NZ Birth, Deaths & Marriages Search

Websites of NZ Cemeteries


Waikanae Family History Group

WFHG Contacts: Email:

Venue: Meets every 4th Thursday morning at the Waikanae Chartered Club, 8 Elizabeth Street Waikanae, just over the Railway Crossing from 9.30am to 12 -12.30pm, every month from January to November.

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



Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

 The contact details of this group are:

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

Rose Cottage 33 Memorial Place


Tel: 06 – 754 – 3212



President:- Rona Hooson 

Vice President:- Doree Smith

Secretary:- Trish Smart

Treasurer:- Marilyn O’Lander



Back to the Top

News and Views

Various Articles worth reading:          

From the Editor: Because of space restrictions and copyright issues I cannot put the complete articles in this newsletter so here are some URLs that are worth looking at:

Republishing Obituaries: Is it Piracy?

Here is an article by Dick Eastman that opens a can of worms. Although the scene is in Canada and they do things a little differently, it does open up a debate about copyright which always leads to heated debate.


I suggest that a read of the article & a visit to the parent article is a must. Also read the responses at the bottom of the Dick Eastman article.



Credit and copyright

Here is an article by the Legal Genealogist, Judy G Russell (who is always a good read) on this subject



Irish birth and marriage certificates from 1864 to be available online

Death certificates from 1878 to 1968 also accessible for free on new website

Tue, Jun 4, 2019, 00:05

Patsy McGarry

A further tranche of Ireland’s historical Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths are being available to the public online from Tuesday.

Accessible for free at, they cover births from 1864 to 1918; marriages from 1864 to 1943; and deaths from 1878 to 1968.

Included are the November 30th, 1967 death certificate for poet Patrick Kavanagh and for his nemesis Brendan Behan, who died on March 20th, 1964.

This digitisation process is part of a joint initiative by the Departments of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The records were prepared and uploaded by the Civil Registration Service and officials from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan described this addition of further years of historic registers of births, marriages and deaths as “an exciting development in family history research for Irish people here and all Irish descendants around the world.”

She noted how “since this online service became available in 2016 over 2.1 million visitors to the website have viewed these records.”

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty described the Civil Registration Service as “one of the State’s essential services and one of the greatest resources for those establishing their family histories. Providing this open and free access to older records and register entries will further support the efforts of many family historians throughout the world”.

Research by the ancestry.iehas extablished how these historic registers show that many of our ancestors’ jobs have become extinct.

Included would be that including a snob, someone who repaired shoes; a knocker upper, whose job was to tap on the windows of workers to wake them for work ;and rat catchers who, as the name suggests, had a job catching rats in a specific area. 80%volume is 80%volume is

Also gone is the job of lamp-lighter, responsible for lighting and extinguishing street lamps around cities and towns; the linotype operator, who used hot metal to produce the daily newspaper; elevator operator; fishwife - a woman who sold fish; town crier, who shouted news at street corners; and, a tweenie or junior domestic maid who helped older housemaids and cooks.

Book Reviews

The Jersey - THE SECRETS BEHIND THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL TEAM by Peter Bills, Macmillan ISBN 978-1-5098-5668-8 HB, 2018                                                                                                                                   

A black sign with white letters

Description automatically generated Peter Bills has been following and reporting on international rugby for over forty years and has over 20 books to his credit, in the main on rugby and its characters.

In the “Acknowledgements” Peter sets out the extent of support of NZ Rugby and the All Blacks coaching staff and of the willing interviews with a wide range of current and former players & coaches from most rugby nations. I can attest to the authenticity of the quotes and comments from one in particular, Ian “Spooky” Smith, All Black winger (24 matches between 1963 -66), AB number 644 and still had his jersey “14” which still fitted him at 75, Ian died a year later in 2017. Ian was married to my wife’s cousin and we enjoyed many beers both in our playing years and in later years.

This not is not a book of rugby statistics, it is a well-researched narrative based on many direct interviews over a three-year period up to 2017 and covers a great number of players, some who have since died, so is an important record of the players memories of their time as All Blacks, what the Jersey and the game of rugby meant to them. It’s not of the media reporting of them and the game(s). It is well illustrated and easy and interesting read and is likely to raise some “discussions over a beer”.

The format book is based on answering the Author’s question “How on earth did a country of just 4.8 million people conquer an entire world sport?” The answers are found throughout the book and commence in the first chapter “The Pioneers’ DNA”. Rugby was 1st “played” at Rugby School in 1823, the first official match played in NZ was between Nelson Club  and Nelson College in front of 200 spectators on the 14th May 1870 at the Botanical Reserve in Nelson  (sorry a statistic) and was reported as “a noisy, rushing, shouting game”.

Further chapters cover the development of rugby during the years of war and the playing and development of ruby in schools and colleges. There are chapters on the importance of the Polynesians, more correctly “Pasifika” to the game, on the Black Ferns and woman’s rugby, and on the Haka. Sometimes it may seem “a bit over the top” and make some of us Kiwis cringe, but the inclusion of the many interviews & comments of players and coaches from all the rugby playing countries keeps the balance.

“At all Costs”, this chapter covers some of the unpleasant and in some cases thuggish play by some All Blacks including a number of “rugby heroes”, a quote by Sir Colin Meads “When I look back, yes, there one or two things I regretted, felt I went too far”. It is a necessary and important part of the All Black story, and we need to be clear that some players (mainly forwards) overstepped the mark with a more than unsportsmanlike way and did deliberate physical damage to their opponents. Other countries players were not always angels but is not to be condoned. In the later years such play has been reduced where the matches are televised and replayed from every angle.

My first All Black match was the 1956 4th Test at Eden Park, before the start Danie Craven came out to inspect the field and someone on the terraces had a bugle and played the Last Post. The match was dour struggle with only one try, scored by Peter Jones and the All Blacks won 11-5 to clinch the series. In a post-match radio interview Peter Jones’s response to the question of how he felt, was, “I’m absolutely buggered”. It was a word not used in “polite company” and certainly not an expression to be broadcast nationwide, how things have changed!

Albeit I’ve been living in Australia for ~ 40 years, it’s still All Blacks 1st, then the Wallabies, and then anyone other than South Africa.

Ken Morris

In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

NZ General Hospital Number 2 (Mount Felix)



I have received the latest FamNet newsletter which is most interesting.

I am hoping your readers might be able to assist me with a research project I am carrying out.  I live in Walton on Thames, Surrey, UK and I am researching the hospital that was here during WW1 run by New Zealanders for New Zealanders known as NZ General Hospital Number 2 (Mount Felix).  I would very much like to hear from any of your readers who had an ancestor who was treated at the hospital.  I am trying to assemble a roll of those who were treated there but it will be a difficult task as there were about 29,000 admissions during the war and although many men were admitted more than once most would not have been.  Is it possible for something to be published in your newsletter?

You might also be interested to know that we commemorate Anzac Day here in Walton on Thames because of the hospital and this has happened every year since 1920 after the hospital closed.  It is held on the Sunday nearest to 25 April which this year was last Sunday, the 28th.  This year was special as a plaque was unveiled by the NZ High Commissioner to commemorate a viaduct that would have been used by patients heading for the River Thames being renamed "Anzac Way".  I attended the service and took some photographs if you are interested.


Keep up the good work.

Best wishes


Graham Grist


The Hilder-Graham Connection in Aotearoa New Zealand

Hi there

Robert Barnes suggested I drop you a line about my family history book that I recently had printed and distributed.

It is called "The Hilder-Graham Connection in Aotearoa New Zealand" and is based around the lives of two Graham sisters from Northland, NZ who married two Hilder brothers from Tasmania and also tells the story of their siblings and forebears too. It contains lots of photos as well as descendant charts.

The pdf is available on FamNet and the URL is  I have a few hard copies left ($25 + P&P).

I attach the cover in case you'd like to use that in the newsletter.

The book will be available in libraries in Auckland, Kaikohe, Tasmania and the National Library.

By the way, not sure if you want to mention this, but this is the 3rd family history book I've produced (and concerns my father's maternal and paternal history since they were so intertwined). I previously produced "Michael and Bridget Tobin: Their Story and their Descendants" (my mother's paternal history) and "John William Fisher & Eliza Jane Rowles: Their Story and their Descendants".


Jo Hilder
Mob: 021-131-3792

Unidentified Pictures in a locket

John GORDON, died 30 April 1881, after the wreck of SS Tararua.

A locket was given to my late husband’s cousin Chris, in Canada, from a maternal great aunt from South Africa, when his aunt died.  Photographs of two people inside the locket. John GORDON and possibly the fiancée, he was reportedly going back to Scotland to marry. Or, it could have been anyone maybe his mother (photographed when she was young) or his sister, if he had one. Could have been a mourning locket? No names.  No mention of relationships.

We have been looking for any GORDON families in Scotland that have an unaccounted for, son John, to no avail.  I am trying to find any records of his parents.

DOWNIE from Scotland is the other surname that we have been looking at, if the locket came down from his fiancée. The aunt in South Africa was born a DOWNIE.

I copy below some transcribed information, and attach photos of the locket, photographs and the back of the only photo with information on it. There is a lot of information on the Internet about the Christchurch Photographer, and lots of images, but I could not find any others of John Gordon, or any of the young ladies.


Ashburton Guardian 21st April 1881

FAREWELL- A complimentary dinner was given to John Gordon, guard of the Methven branch railway, on Thursday, the chair being occupied by Mr Cameron of Springfield. The opportunity was taken to present the guest, with a cheque for fifteen guineas, he being about to visit Scotland.  The spread provided by Host Patton was all that could be desired. Several toasts followed the removal of the cloth, a pleasant evening being spent.  Mr Bowles will succeed Mr Gordon as guard on the branch line.

Lyttleton Times 22nd April 1881 Volume IV, Issue No 6287, Page 4  Town and Country

FAREWELL DINNER -  On Thursday, April, 14th Mr John Gordon, guard on the Rakaia and Ashburton Forks line of the railway, was entertained by residents in the district  to a farewell dinner in the Methven Hotel. Mr Duncan Cameron, of Springfield, was the Chairman and there were about 30 at the table. After the usual toasts had been honoured, Mr Cameron proposed the health of their guest, speaking of him in high terms of praise, and concluding by presenting him a cheque for 15 guineas, which had been subscribed by a number of well-wishers. Mr Gordon, who is about to visit Scotland, suitably replied, thanking those present for their good wishes, and the subscribers for the gift, and after a pleasant evening had been spent, the company broke up.

The wreck of the Tararua, by Macintosh, Joan ISBN: 9780589004415    Wellington [N.Z.] : Reed, 1970

Page 78.

“Like captain Garrard, several passengers were engaged to be married, and John Gordon, who had been betrothed for some time, was at last on his way to London, for his marriage.

Before he left, he called at a bank, and asked the rate of commission charges for sending

£140 to London. He decided to waive the charges and bought a gold diggers belt, filled it with his

Sovereigns and wore it constantly.”

The Star 4th May 1881. The Wreck of the SS Tararua

“Our Ashburton correspondent writes: Amongst the victims of the Tararua disaster are one or two from this district. Mr John Gordon, recently guard on the Rakaia and Ashburton Forks railway was a passenger by the Tararua on a visit to Scotland. It was only a few days ago, that the residents in the Methven district entertained Mr Gordon at a public dinner and oresented him with a purse of sovereigns in token of their good will. Mr Gordon was universally liked in the district as was abundantly proved by the gathering above. Mr Carl Carlberg, who has also gone down in the ill fated vessel….”

There are lots of newspaper reports on the sinking of the SS Tararua. John Gordon’s body was never identified, or maybe never found.

I wondered if there was any information on the employees of the Rakaia and Ashburton Forks railway company.  Guessing that the railway cap is from the Rakaia and Ashburton Forks rail, but we have no idea about the sash. I know that Masons used to wear sashes, but it seems unlikely that he would wear a Guard’s hat and a Mason’s sash at the same time.

There are no hallmarks on the locket, not sure if it was made in Scotland, or maybe even South Africa.




 Brenda McLeish

Advertising with FamNet

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

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

Back to the Top

A Bit of Light Relief

From the Editor: I put this in last month's newsletter as a piece of humour.  I received the letter following the article which is self explanatory. I was very pleased to receive that letter I had to include it to prove a point - never believe everything you find on the internet or in newspapers. Further proof is needed.

Anyone want to take a shot at the odds of this ever happening again? 


On March 23, 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus, and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head.

Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building workers, and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.


The room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun! The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.


When one intends to kill subject 'A' but kills subject 'B' in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject 'B.


When confronted with the murder charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant, and both said that they thought the shotgun was not loaded. The old man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, assuming the gun had been accidentally loaded.


The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.


Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.


Now comes the exquisite twist...

Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son, Ronald Opus, had actually murdered himself. So the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

A true story from Associated Press.


Letter received in response:


Great story about Ronald Opus; I enjoyed it. You do realise the story never happened? Well, the story is true, the event isn't. The distinction I make when people tell me that great-uncle Jim used to say XYZ. No it didn't happen, but yes, he did say it, so put that into the family story. My dad didn't always get his stories right, but I was too young to know that.


Just in case you have seen this, here is the link to the Snopes article (the place I make for when I go "I wonder ..."): -



Thanks for the newsletter that I always read with interest; and for the website that, sadly, has not connected me with anyone who could help me. Not yet.



PS. the best story-teller I have ever been privileged to listen to used to say 'All stories are true; some of them actually happened'.

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

If you have problems with this page you can email us directly, but the page should be self-explanatory.

Copyright (Waiver)

Feel free to redistribute this newsletter. If you publish a newsletter yourself you may include material from this newsletter in yours provided that you acknowledge its source and include the FamNet URL.

Back to the Top