Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter March 2018

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote   From the Editor: In light of the article by Gail Riddell which prompted my column I have decided to keep last month's quote.

"The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing" - Isaac Asimov

Editorial 2

Regular Features. 2

From the Developer 2

Uploading a GEDCOM file. 2

The Nash Rambler 5

Jan’s Jottings. 7

DNA Testing for Family History. 7

Wairarapa Wandering. 9

Tracey’s Tales. 9

Hanley Hoffmann: 9

Digging Into Historical Records. 10

Chinese Corner 12

The Search for Chinese Family Roots. 12

The Fruits of Our Labours: Chinese Fruit Shops in New Zealand. 12

From our Libraries and Museums. 14

Auckland Libraries. 14

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council 14

Group News. 15

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 15

Waikanae Family History Group. 17

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 17

News and Views. 17

Things to Consider Before Taking a DNA Test 18

Ancestry Has Thousands of “Invisible” Records You Can’t Find With a Search. 19

Where Do We Get Our Digitized Books?. 24

Book Reviews. 25

The English. 25

Fire and Fury - Inside the Trump White House. 26

The Growth of New Zealand Towns. 26

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. 26

Advertisements. 27

Help wanted. 27

Letters to the Editor 27

Advertising with FamNet 27

In conclusion. 27

A Bit of Light Relief 27

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 28


Back to the Top. 17


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

This month's newsletter has a theme running through it. Gail Riddell wrote a very good article in her DNA column. This provoked much thought about why I do genealogy. I am finding a lot of inspiration in doing other people's research or helping them to do to do it themselves. If you have been reading the last few months' newsletters you will notice that my column keeps repeating this theme. I have decided that the paper hunt is the part of genealogy I enjoy together, obviously, with talking about research sources and techniques. In fact it appears that it doesn't matter what the surname is or whether they are mine or not. The sources, techniques and the social interaction between researchers is the key to my satisfaction.

Therefore I suggest that you read Gail's column before you try to interpret my ramblings.

As an aside I learnt last night of some DNA results from a cousin of mine that appears to have partially knocked down my last brick wall. Looks like Julia MURRAY has rattled her bones. This may cause me to rethink my ramblings but that is for next month.

As editor, I have approached some very eminent genealogists and historians and asked them to contribute columns. My fingers are crossed. Robert and I are continuously trying to make this newsletter more valuable. If you are an eminent genealogist or historian and I haven't approached you YET, contact me and we'll talk about it. In fact you don't have to be eminent - ordinary everyday genealogist or historians can also write articles. Occasional columns are acceptable.

I hope you enjoy this issue

In this issue:-

·      From the developer:  Adding to the series about “Telling your story”: uploading a GEDCOM

·      The Nash Rambler: I have examined why I do genealogy

·      Gail Riddell  has written another column on matters DNA related and needs some suggestion for subject matter.

·      Adele attends the 75th Anniversary of the Featherston incident

·      Hanley Hoffmann talks about his philosophy regarding genealogy research

·      Dawn Chambers talks about the Cape Egmont visitors book

·      Chinese Corner  Helen Wong, talks about doing her research and has provided a book review of a book about Chinese shopkeepers.

·       Auckland Libraries:  Heritage Talks for March and April.

·      I have included an article on things to consider before getting a DNA test.

·      I have included an article on "invisible records on

·      I have included a article on developments genealogy gophers

·      Book reviews.  I have been reading a lot and have reviewed 3 books and also another review has been produced.


Hopefully you will find something of interest among all that. I have enjoyed assembling this month's newsletter.



Peter Nash

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Regular Features

From the Developer

Uploading a GEDCOM file.

A couple of newsletters ago somebody asked me how you upload a GEDCOM.  I realised that I hadn’t included this obviously important topic in the “telling your story” series, so here it is.

Firstly, what is a “GEDCOM”?  The short answer: it is a file in a standard format that allows different genealogy programs to exchange information.  The short answer probably didn’t help: let me explain more.  

You can do good genealogy with pen and paper, or with a computer using common software like Word and Excel, but if you have more than a few people in your genealogy you’ll begin to want a way of organising your records.  You discover another fact about Uncle Albert – where is his page so that you can add it.  Here’s a photo of a family group – where are you going to file it?  What about the other people in the photo?  Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a program that will organise all this stuff for us, so that we can do all of this, also print family charts, and reports for sharing with our children, and discussing with relatives.  Well if course we can: there are a great many programs to choose from such as Family Tree Maker and Legacy.  None of them are expensive, and many of them free, and many (most?) of the readers of this newsletter will be using one and appreciate its benefits. 

Now, imagine that you’ve organised your records with Legacy, and I’ve used FTM (Family Tree Maker), and we discover that we’re related and we want to share some information – you want to update your BARNES records from mine, while I want to get some of your WELLARD information.  Each program will have its own proprietary database format, and so the FTM developers need to develop functions within FTM to import Legacy information as well as FTM databases.  I’m aware of about 30 different genealogy programs, there’s probably a lot more, so you can see that this would require a lot of programming. Even worse, each new release of a program like FTM may make changes to its proprietary database format, in FTM there are several format options just for Family Tree Maker databases.  Keeping FTM updated so that it could import data from any version of Legacy, Brothers Keeper, ….  would be a daunting task, making the software more and more expensive.  We need a standard form that all programs understand.

If you’re using one of these programs, have a look at its Export function.  One of the export options will be “GEDCOM” or perhaps just “GED”.  This is a standard format that all of the programs will understand: if you send me your WELLARD information as a GED, and I send you my BARNES information as a GED, then your Legacy program and my FTM program will understand it.  “GEDCOM” means “GEnealogical Data COMmunication”.  Like a text file it isn’t really suitable as a database but that’s not its role: its role is to communicate information to be loaded into a database which can then be displayed and searched by genealogy programs.  Just for interest, here is a small GED file of part of my family.  If you’ve been around computers as long as I have you’ll recognise that the format comes from an era when data was punched on to 80 column cards.

Naturally all genealogy web sites will accept GED files to load into their databases. To do this in FamNet: -

1.     Export your genealogy database as a GED, creating a file somewhere on your computer, for example My Documents\Barnes.GED

        a.      For FamNet, do not use a name like “Barnes2018.ged”.  This will make it more difficult to update: better to use a name without a date, as FamNet identifies the information date automatically and uploading a second copy with the same name allows FamNet to recognise that it’s an update.

        b.      For FamNet, it’s best to upload the complete database, including living people.  FamNet is very good at preserving privacy, and letting you manage who sees which records.

2.       Log on.   Like any other web site, FamNet needs to identify people who are uploading information. 

3.     From the home page, click the link “Upload your Family Data”

4.     This opens this page.  Click the [Browse] button and navigate to the GED file you created in step 1.  Click [Upload] and this file is uploaded to the FamNet web site, and enqueued for overnight processing.

I need to start a process that will process the GED file into the FamNet database. This involves a lot of processing, which is why it isn’t done immediately.  I am supposed to be automatically sent an email when a GED has been uploaded, but this feature seems to get turned off from time to time, so it doesn’t hurt to send me an email just to make sure that I’ve noticed that the process needs starting.

In the morning (with any luck) your records will be available in Jazz, all easily searchable, linked to duplicates, and so on.  Remember that in FamNet your normal search – the easy one – is to search by name, not by database.  You don’t look for Barnes.ged, you look for people with surname Barnes or Wellard or whatever you’re interested in.

That’s all there is to it.  Easy!   But hold on – what about the photos and other interesting stuff.  Did you have a look at that GED file?  It’s just text.  I’ll deal with adding photos (etc) next time.

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

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The Nash Rambler

From the Editor: I think that you should read Gail Riddell’s article below before you read this. Her article is very good and caused me to write this column.

 The Crossroads

I have just read the article, in this newsletter, by Gail Riddell about DNA testing. It is a very good article and questions the very basis of what is considered "correct genealogy".

For more years than I care to remember and after spending more dollars than I will ever admit to, I have occupied too many minutes pursuing the research of my ancestry. Of course I know what many people consider my ancestry to be but I want to prove them wrong and that I am nobly bred and descended from a long line of honest, upright ancestors, some of whom are, hopefully, upper class gentry and maybe I can find a saint or two in my tree. I have followed what are considered the correct research techniques and have found, BDM records, parish records, burial records, probate records, newspapers, census, poor law records and the many millions of other sources in order to prove the family facts so that I can slowly progress back through my ancestry. I have embraced that magnificent resource, the Internet, and am still finding facts that confirm my findings. I believe that I must find at least two different sources for facts such as births, deaths, marriages, children, siblings etc. I have even travelled the country in a public speaking role pontificating on how to do genealogy properly. In fact I am taking genealogy groups at the present time and trying to instil in them the correct procedures and the correct sources and where to find them. I have now got to the point where I can stand up in a crowded room, put my hand over my heart and affirm that, despite what an organisation has said in the past, I am an honourable genealogist who does his research properly.

Now a bit of reality must be injected into this article. That last paragraph is wonderful but the fact is that some of my ancestors had trouble being upright due to a liking for alcohol and subsequent horizontal postures and the word "honest" is inappropriate for one of two of them. I must admit to finding no gentry and finding a saint is an impossibility. In fact I think the best description of my ancestry is "colourful". But let's not let facts ruin a good article.

But Gail has injected a very valid point into my thoughts. People lied and people made accommodations in order to survive and for their children to survive.

I do not have to travel very far back into my family tree to prove that she is right. There is "something fishy" in the facts I have found for my Catholic ancestry in early New Zealand. The only explanation that I can use to explain events is that "accommodations" were made in order to survive. My grandmother and mother kept saying that it was a very remote village and the priest could not visit very often but I have doubts about that explanation.

Through my thorough (in my humble opinion) research I have proved cases where ancestors made mistakes with official documents i.e. lying about age, birthplace etc. But in every case one should make allowances for human frailties. I have believed every "fact" that I found that was confirmed by another source. I always believed the parentage of children as stated in the records - my ancestors would not misbehave in the sexual sense when it came to baby-making.

Until I read Gail's article I was a happy genealogical researcher.

Gail has made me think. Do I want to be a "correct genealogist" or do I want to be a realist and use DNA testing as a source for confirmation of facts. Do I want to be totally right in my research or do I want to be correct in terms of the documentation. MMMMM!!!!!

After a day or two of consideration on this very point I have come to a decision.

I have decided that the real pleasure I get from genealogical research is the hunt for facts. Maybe the subject matter, genealogy, is not the reason I research but the process is.

I enjoy the actual digging for "facts". I enjoy delving into historical data and history itself. I am elated when I make a discovery that enables me to add another family to my ancestry as I slowly move backwards in time. A few months ago I wrote about finding the Redburn family in the early 1800s in London via Poor Law records on I had been looking for this family for about 25 years and I basked for a long time in the satisfaction of the find. One of my greatest pleasures is doing research for my friends. I have had magnificent finds for them and this month's column was supposed to be about another miraculous find that solved another problem for my friend Alan. His research is much more interesting at the moment than my own.

I have written a couple of family histories already. My father is the keeper of the "dirt" in our family and he has transferred that knowledge to me because he believes that it is important and explains why things happened in the past. He is not transferring the dirt for any other reason than, he believes, this knowledge is important and may be needed in the future. You see there are two reasons why our family moved to Auckland - the real reason and the accepted "public" reason. Many families have similar stories. They cannot be written down - not yet, maybe in a hundred years time. My father has made me swear that I will pass that information onto the next family historian in our family. I cannot put them in writing and cannot tell other people in the family unless, for example, one does a DNA test and gets the wrong result. Sometimes I find myself giggling to myself at family funerals because of the family dynamics and my knowledge.

But I have a problem with the fact that DNA testing can overturn oral family history and family dynamics that have developed over many years by proving that alternative explanations are required. Maybe I'm a dreamer in believing that my 4x great grandmother had a romance with the manor owner's son that was doomed to failure due to his poor health and early death other than a drunken tryst under a haystack with the ultimate result of an illegitimate son. I have all sorts of "proof" for the romance explanation and am content with that. I'm grateful that DNA won't tell me whether it was or wasn't a tryst under the haystack but I know it was a tryst.

I have decided that I want to be a "correct genealogist" in terms of genealogical research and really do not want to face reality for a few more years. Therefore I acknowledge that Gail is right but I will happily ignore it at the moment.

Have a close look at this:

Regards to all

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Jan’s Jottings

Who, what where?   Jan is taking a break this month: she is at the AFFO congress.

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DNA Testing for Family History

26.  Stuff to think about


In the February Famnet 2018 Newsletter, one of the contributors gave his opinion that Family Tree researchers should make genealogy data their priority and also commented you should forget trying to find out if you are of the same lineage as Richard III.  These opinions struck a chord with me.  It started me thinking.




1.  When my mother died, my sister gave the undertakers the best information of which she knew.  It was incorrect. 

2.  When I looked at Papers Past and NZ BDM, I found my father’s full name was incorrectly stated.  (No, I have not bothered to correct).

3.  All through history, people who have been responsible for supplying incorrect details when left to deal with Births, Deaths and Marriages.  Some deliberate and some being innocent.


By now, any regular reader of this Famnet Newsletter will have worked out that I am a Genetic Genealogist.  This means that without using the genetic tool of DNA, I refuse to take anything written on paper as FACT!  So often it has turned out to be plain ordinary wrong.

I know this because as a member of the world-wide genetic community and a primary “go-to” administrator of numerous surname projects for FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), I see it regularly.  I also see the havoc that can occur because people do not realise that without understanding just what DNA can (and more importantly, cannot) do, that families can split apart.

Think about this real life scenario.  A man in one of my projects tested and happily advised me of his genealogy and just casually mentioned his cousin (who had also joined the same project) as having aided him with the “facts” of the various generations – yes, based on birth, death and marriage data.  Unfortunately their DNA results showed there was no relationship whatsoever.  Avoiding contacting the cousin, I went straight to the man concerned and, in what I thought was a casual manner, wondered about another person also testing since the cousin’s results showed that there was no relationship. Instead of waiting for corroborative proof, this tester went to his parents and accused his father of philandering – guess the father’s (and mother’s) reactions!  Even his siblings sided against him. Another cousin was found and that too gave the same “no relationship” result.

Obviously something was “wrong” in one of the certificates, but what? Eventually, I found that the grandfather was a nefarious sort of a chap and in order to care for her wee‘uns, the grandmother would give herself to another male willing to provide food etc. for her young family.

Now stop and think about this. Go back 200 years. What medicines or medical aid did people have access to, assuming they lived in a village or settlement where there was such products or aid?  What welfare was available (apart from the ‘poor-house or similar) for a woman without the “man of the house”?  Think of the so-called Spanish ‘flu at the end of World War I, not to mention the men returning from the Crimean War, the Boer War and the Maori Wars.  Think of the workplace with no ‘Health & Safety’; think of skirmishes between various groups of people and the damage that bullets can inflict.

Go back a further 200 years.  Think of the typical human illnesses of numerous descriptions that killed so many; think of how the women were supposed to support their children.  Think of the various depressions through out the ages with the marauding men travelling and frequently raiding homes etc. to help them stay alive.  If they came across a woman, yes, well, let your imagination take over…

So, of course children were parked with others or the mother took in another male to both feed and house her children not to mention protect her. If those children were young enough, they would grow up thinking that the “man of the house” was their father and would call themselves by his surname. Any certificates or official documents (under these or similar circumstances) would very likely have that ‘step-father’s’ name.  Not their biological father’s name. Yet, it is these very documents that the genealogists tell us to rely on.

Change tack here! Is this wrong?  NO, NO, NO! But these documents are not the ‘be all’ and ‘end all’.

Genetics is a tool for genealogy – the DNA testing by the right people with the right firm choosing the right test can prove or negate the validity of these documents.  Genetics is a tool.

DNA testing gives the skeleton, genealogy puts the flesh on its bones and family history gives the details. They all work in tandem BUT if there is a conflict, the DNA results are the primary source.

And now to Richard III (or any other member of the Royal family). I have Richard’s genetic signatures (male and female) and the genealogy as reported on the appropriate records.  (I also have other Royal Family genetic signatures).

Given the way the families of that time and throughout history had ‘affaires de coeur’ you are obliged to first learn exactly what your connection might be.  For example, if you believe you have a direct male paternal line to Richard, then there is only one test you need to take to prove or disprove. If you believe you have a direct female line to his mother or sister, there is only one test you need to take. But if you have females intermingling with males at various intervals in your genealogy, no DNA test will aid you in this instance, because it is simply too far back for the current tests of today to cope with.

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.

Gail has run out of ideas for further matter to be covered in future columns and I think it is too important a subject to let her stop writing about it. Therefore send some questions or suggestions for articles to her or me. Maybe she can write something pertinent to your situation?

Index so far

Wairarapa Wandering


75th Anniversary Featherston Incident

It is Sunday, 25th February 1943.

The place is Featherston, South Wairarapa, North Island , New Zealand

There is a military camp here and it is the involuntary “home” of more than 500 Japanese Prisoners of War.  The American troops had captured them at Guadalcanal and sent them to New Zealand where they were put to work as farm labourers and gardeners around the district.  There was a riot... many Japanese and one New Zealand soldier (Private Walter Pelvin of Gerladine, South Canterbury, New Zealand) lost their lives.

It is Sunday, 25 February 2018 (75 years on).

A Ceremony took place at the Japanese Garden Memorial, north of Featherston.  Amongst the official attendees were His Excellency Toshihisa Takata (Ambassador of Japan to New Zealand);  Viv Napier (Mayor of South Wairarapa); Graham Apthorpe from Cowra, Australia.  The weather was warm and dry.

I had received an invitation to attend this Ceremony, probably because I attended in 2017 and had represented some families of New Zealand soldiers who were unable to attend at that time.  Each year, they liked to present a wreath at the burial marker which represents Private Pelvin.

Private Pelvin is buried in his home town – his daughter attends the Featherston ceremonies and I was fortunate enough to meet her last year. 

I considered it well organised and well attended.  An unofficial count indicates that at least 150 people attended this year.

After Wreath Laying, we moved to Anzac Hall in Featherston for refreshments.

For those of you who are both interested and in the area (or passing through), I recommend a visit to the Heritage Museum in Featherston where there are Japanese relics on display.   Address: 70 Fitzherbert St. Featherston!  next to the lovely Fell Engine Museum

For more information, go to

Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Tracey’s Tales

From the Editor: Unfortunately Tracey is taking a break. One of the hardest things about writing a column for a monthly newsletter is the thinking about a subject to write on. Once a subject is decided it, generally, is fairly easy to do the actual writing. Tracey wrote the original column and then managed to produce a monthly contribution for many months. She writes an interesting column. She needs a break to gather more ideas. So thank you very much, Tracey, I have enjoyed reading your columns and working with you.  Tracey Bartlett

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Hanley Hoffmann:  


I like to keep my items on practicalities, and I don’t intend to try to find my way back to King Edward when one half of my family is of German ancestry, and the other half is certainly Welsh, very much in the UK territory.

I have to ask the question why anyone would spend an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to emulate what we see on “Who do you think you are?” I consider it far more important to concentrate on getting all the living generations recorded, because that is usually the easy road to putting your family data all together. I am currently pursuing some of my cousins and a nephew for details, because David Hoffmann (nephew) has had two partners and unofficially he adopted his first partner’s child, then went on to have three children by the partner.  Now he has, over Christmas, boasted about being a grandfather at aged 48, but hey no details to support that, and because he is the busy owner of two gyms, one in Lismore NSW and one in the neighbouring town of Ballina he is probably going to tell me he is too busy to do the “homework” I have set him.  His mother, the great-grandmother of his new generation would not be amused, she was the first to clamour for the family history copies I supplied for all our families – she and I know how important that hard copy is.  And it is equally important to have it up-to-date – Richard III of England is not on my radar.

I have had some measure of success though, but it is a hard road because so many people do not look at their emails on a regular basis, do you?  So now you know where my focus is and the same should apply to you.  Life is too short to take our eyes off the current generations, and they will love you for it.

A New Zealand resident, born in Young, NSW.

Now Waikanae FHG Newsletter Editor

From Robert: Hear hear!!!!    The most important part of any genealogy is YOUR STORY.  The next most important part is the stuff you get from talking to your living relatives.  Records will persist, but memories die with people. Your family tree is only a framework on which you can hang this important stuff, so that other people can find it.

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Digging Into Historical Records  

 Cape Egmont Lighthouse - Nelson visitors November 1881

Of the 21 'Nelson' people who signed the visitor book only one has eluded identification. The other 20 were members of the Nelson Volunteers. [1] In October 1881 "fifty Maoris assembled on land belonging to Mr Fleming, a settler near Cape Egmont lighthouse, while he was fencing on his land, and told him to leave off, at the same time carrying away the fencing material with the exception of some heavy posts, which they cut in two. On a subsequent occasion Mr Fleming was molested, and before a force could be got on the ground the Natives had retired." Next a "Constabulary Field Force was rapidly recruited, drilled, and made ready for any emergency, and a force of Volunteers collected from various parts of the country, and it was decided to occupy Parihaka and disperse the assembly of Natives there." [2] Michael Fleming (1856-1931) continued to develop his farm and served the local community for the next 49 years. [3-4]

The nominal roll of the Nelson Contingent at Parihaka recorded 189 men as being on active service. [5] The Colonist reported 205 men. [6] The latter included an additional 10 men associated with the six-pound Armstrong gun that they brought with them. The remaining difference of six men is accounted for by the differing numbers provided for the Nelson City Rifles and the Waimea Rifle Volunteers.


Nelson Artillery Volunteers (49)

Nelson City Rifles (58) - Colonist (61)

Stoke Rifle Volunteers (44)

Waimea Rifle Volunteers (38) - Colonist (41)

The Lighthouse visitor book provides evidence that the three 'missing' Nelson City rifles men were present. Robert Smith, Charles Sharp and William Atkinson were recorded in the 1882 Nelson City Rifle Volunteers Capitation Roll and the latter two enrolled on 27 October 1881. [7] Three men in the 1881 Waimea Rifle Volunteers Capitation Roll were shown as enrolling in October 1881 - C. Edmunds, W. Hodgkinson and L. James. It seems likely that they too may have been omitted from the nominal roll due to their late enrolment. [8]

On 27 October H. A. Atkinson advised that "the Hinemoa will be at Nelson early to-morrow morning, and leave as soon as possible with your men if ready." [9] The Hinemoa sailed for Opunake at 10.30pm on 28 October. [10] Due to a heavy sea at Opunake the following morning, the Hinemoa went on to New Plymouth where the contingent disembarked. [11] After spending the night at "various hotels and boarding houses in town" the men "were mustered in the centre of the town, and started shortly before 11 o'clock for the Okato redoubt, accompanied by several conveyances loaded with their baggage. The six-pounder was also in the cortege." [12] They arrived at Pungarehu on 31 October "shortly after 12 o'clock, and were met about half-a-mile from the camp by the Constabulary band. On arrival they were received with hearty cheers. They will stay here about an hour, and then proceed to Rahotu." [13]

Before returning to Nelson the men who signed the lighthouse visitor book did so in three groups on three different days.

Sunday 13 November: Andrew Baigent, James Galbraith and Henry Boddington - all of Waimea Rifles

Tuesday 15 November:

City Rifles: Thomas Capper, Thomas Waddell, Robert Smith, George Pamely Waimea Rifles: Harry Wratt, Edward Silcock, Charles Ricketts, Rodolph Fowler Stoke Rifles: William Doidge and Hicks Parker

Thursday 17 November:

City Rifles: John William Akersten, John George Braddock, Joseph Allen, Charles Sharp, William Atkinson, Robert Louisson and John Bolton

Unknown: J. Holmes

On 18 November at Pungarehu, "shortly after daylight, the Nelson men were aroused, and at 8 o'clock marched for Opunake [14] and arrived "at two o'clock, after a thirsty march." [15] The men embarked on the Hinemoa and "arrived from Opunake at 6 p.m. on Saturday, after a smart passage, notwithstanding that she came under easy steam a part of the way." There were nearly 400 men on board "for in addition to the Nelson contingent the Canterbury and Marlborough men were also on board." [16-17]

So who was J. Holmes who signed the visitor book and was not listed in the nominal roll or capitation rolls? This remains unresolved.

Was he James Holmes of Ahaura who was one of 83 holders of spirit licenses in the Grey Valley above the Arnold river? His license for Junction Hotel was granted by the Ahaura Licensing Board on 04 May 1874. [18] In May 1877 he applied for a lease of 45 acres in the Ahaura District under "The Nelson Waste Lands Act, 1874". [19] The 1878 Wises Post Office directory lists him as a contractor living at Ahaura. Then the trail dims...

[1] Cape Egmont Lighthouse Visitor Book 1881-1904 - Archives NZ Reference ADOS 17057 ML-CapeEgmont6/1

[2] New Zealand Constabulary Annual Report 1882 - Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives 1882 H14 page 2

[3] Opunake Historical Notes Collection - Taranaki Research Centre, Puke Ariki vertical files - "Opunake" folders

[4] Opunake Times 07 Apr 1931 Obituary Mr Michael Fleming - A Life-Time of Service

[5] Nelson Contingent at Parihaka November 1881 - Archives NZ Reference AD1 158d M&V 1881/1528

[6] Colonist 29 Oct 1881 The Nelson Volunteers

[7] Nelson City Rifle Volunteers Capitation Roll 1882 - Archives NZ Reference AAYS 8790 ARM41/45 1896/1l

[8] Waimea Rifle Volunteers Capitation Rolls 1881 and 1882 - Archives NZ Reference AAYS 8790 ARM41/152 1911/83c

[9] Nelson Evening Mail 27 Oct 1881 The Volunteers Called Out [10] Nelson Evening Mail 29 Oct 1881 Shipping Intelligence - Sailed [11] Taranaki Herald 29 Oct 1881 Arrival of Hinemoa [12] Taranaki Herald 31 Oct 1881 Our Native Trouble - Landing of the Volunteers [13] Taranaki Herald 01 Nov 1881 Our Native Trouble - Arrival of Nelson Volunteers at the Front [14] Taranaki Herald 19 Nov 1881 Our Native Trouble - Pungarehu 18 November [15] Nelson Evening Mail 19 Nov 1881 Latest from the front [16] Nelson Evening Mail 21 Nov 1881 Shipping Intelligence [17] Nelson Evening Mail 21 Nov 1881 Return of the Volunteers [18] Grey River Argus 06 May 1874 Ahaura Licensing Board [19] The Colonist 05 Jun 1877 Government Notices - Lease No.1582

Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

The Search for Chinese Family Roots

In gathering information, I have discovered that the Chinese are reticent. They often gloss over the questions, and quickly move onto other topics very irrelevant to the situation. Why are they like that? Often they have just met you in a social situation and it is not an appropriate time to be delving into family history.

My own experience from last year’s visit to Hong Kong met a similar fate. I met my Mother’s younger brother and sisters for the first time since 1980. By then my mother had passed away, and I was keen to find out more on her life back in China. More to do with why she came at an early age, the village she came from - the usual questions from a family researcher’s mind. I came away with few answers, and no family photos.

The next time I went to Canton, and stayed with them in their home in Guangzhou. They knew I was going to stay in the Zengcheng area for a few days to visit family villages.

For the Gwa Leng village I had obtained a letter of introduction from a senior Wong in Auckland. That opened the door for me to visit with this man’s friend and daughter. We spent 4 hours there and I managed to get a good tape recording of village historical events, with a man who happened to be outside his house as we were wandering through the village.

On my return to Guangzhou, my Aunties and Uncle had some great news. Not only had they “discovered” their village of Yuen Gong in Panyu, they “knew where my Grand Father and Grand Mother’s shrine “was. The visit to both these places was the icing on the cake. They had also located photos of my Mother and her Mother, and her siblings, just before she came to New Zealand as a teenage bride.

So, all good things take time. You have to cultivate the friendship and preferably visit them in their homes, as that is where the family albums are. In addition, do not ask questions in a social setting. In addition, always share what you already know with your interviewee.

I had the fortune to go out in the field with the late Henry Chan when he was in Auckland working on the Zengcheng New Zealanders book. He would hire a tape recorder from the Auckland Museum and carry a portable scanner to copy photos from albums. He would never ask to borrow something so precious.

I have been lucky enough to return the favour to quite a few people, including people from America, Canada, and New Zealand, assisting them to find out more about their family history, their villages and other information.

The most recent have been working my friend, to help my cousin find his half-brother’s family in Ng Yiel.  And my visit to Bak Sui, help locate a cousin of a family, culminating in a visit by 15 members of the family, back to the village.

The Fruits of Our Labours: Chinese Fruit Shops in New Zealand

Fruitful Research

The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust has performed a valuable service in publishing The Fruits of Our Labours. It wasn’t until I started leafing through it that I fully realised that, in the space of a few generations, we have seen the rise and fall of the Chinese fruit-shop as an institution. Like so many other specialised services that we took for granted, family fruit-shops have been swept away by the changes in how we do our shopping. Here we have an important social document, which recognises a significant chapter in our nation’s history.

The family-owned Chinese fruit-shop (like the market garden and the laundry) was a system which rewarded effort and expertise with a reasonable chance of prosperity. It was an escalator, driven by human toil, which conveyed people from life as Chinese peasants to life as New Zealand professionals. It wasn’t efficient, and there were casualties but over three generations it helped create a prosperous, well-educated group of New Zealanders.

First comes a brave individual. Only he’s not an individual; he’s part of a tightly-linked system of clan loyalty and obligation. Guided by letters from relatives, he arrives in New Zealand to face the poll tax, language barriers and racial hostility. He copes with long hours of tedious work and the stress of repaying loans but is helped and encouraged by a network of relatives, village cousins and local Chinese. Marriage becomes a possibility. He starts his own shop.  His children all work hard there. His wife works even harder. A generation passes. The family enterprise adapts. Everyone works hard. Signs of success may include acceptance in the community, buying a truck or opening another branch. Members of the next generation are able to gain professional qualifications and become doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers and engineers – and that’s only the girls.

So who is going to read The Fruits of Our Labours? Obviously public libraries will buy it as a well-documented slice of New Zealand history. Equally obviously, secondary school libraries will find it useful as a social studies resource. Even more obviously, those elderly people whose stories are told in these pages will want a copy.

My concern is for a fourth group, those young family members – the doctors, lawyers, accountants, teacher and engineers - who barely remember the fruit-shop run by their parents and grandparents. It is vitally important for them to buy this book and use it as a base for building up their own detailed personal family history. There are plenty of good examples in these volumes, with Albert Young particularly evocative in listing his work as a five-year old in Timaru’s Crown Fruit Supply, “… sweep the floor, open newspaper for wrapping, fill up bag racks, fill up cigarette stands, pre-bag onions and potatoes, carry parcels to customers’ cars, try to open wooden boxes of fruit, and anything else Dad could think of.”

As Daniel Wong puts it, “The shop taught us the value of money.”

The five authors of this book have done a brilliant job of assembling all the information they could find about every Chinese fruit-shop in New Zealand. (The criteria that were used are detailed on p.8.) The handy database at the end of Volume 2 is breath-taking in its scope, listing every known shop from Bluff (W. Wong, 1940s) to Kaitaia (Hop Hing & Co, 1942-59), along with their Chinese names, owners’ names, dates, and their original village and county origin.  There are maps, diagrams, graphs, shop plans and masses of photographs.

The arrangement of the two volumes is broadly geographical, beginning for historical reasons with Otago, then following the spread of the original Cantonese into Southland, Canterbury and the West Coast, then to Wellington, the centre for the second concentration of Cantonese settlers, and ending in the northern regions such as Auckland, Waikato and Hawke’s Bay. Each of the sixteen regions has its own historical introduction and overview, so that we also learn about their cultural groups, produce markets, sports clubs, and Sunday screenings of opera films.

I hope that everyone with a fruit-shop in their family buys this book and uses it as a starting point to create their own family history.  If they do, the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust can be proud of their continued support for the preservation of Chinese New Zealand history.

Trevor Agnew

25 January 2018

Trevor was a teacher of history and English and teacher-librarian at Hillmorton High School for many years. He has a particular interest in children’s literature and is one of its strongest advocates. As well as being a contributor and reviewer for Magpies, an Australian children’s literature journal, Trevor has been a judge for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and has won awards for his efforts in promoting children’s and young adults’ literature. He is also kept busy as a book reviewer and television columnist for the Christchurch Press.

Trevor is married to Jenny (nee Sew Hoy). They are currently researching the life and times of Choie Sewhoy. Trevor has written several articles about New Zealand Chinese and is often a guest speaker on the topic.


The Fruits of Our Labours: Chinese Fruit Shops in New Zealand

Ruth Lam, Beverly Lowe, Helen Wong, Michael Wong, Carolyn King

Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust (2018)

904 pages, 2 volumes

Softcover        ISBN 978-0-473-41550-1       NZ$90


Helen Wong

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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

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council

Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland with some marked exceptions

Cost: Free

Booking: Not always essential but to secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 890 2412, or complete our online booking form.

Are you interested in family and local history? Or about the history of New Zealand? Then come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks<>. Experts in specialised fields deliver these talks and provide insight into our histories.

HeritageTalks take place at Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, unless otherwise stated. Booking is recommended.

Booking recommended, phone Central Auckland Research Centre 09 890 2412 or book online:


Early Local Government Agencies of Auckland with Keith Stuart, Auckland Council Archives

Wednesday 14 March, 12pm -1pm

Some of Auckland Council’s earliest archives are those from highway and road boards. These boards were stepping stones in Auckland local government, and their work developing roading across the region laid a foundation in the city’s progress. Keith Stuart looks at the records that have survived and their value for genealogical and historical research, illustrated with documents scanned from Auckland Council Archive’s South collection.

Tips & tricks for researching historical and digital records in FamilySearch with Jan Gow QSM FSG

Wednesday 28 March, 12pm -1pm

Could you do with more advice in searching the wonderful FamilySearch website? Then come along and hear Jan Gow QSM FSG as she guides us through various techniques, tips and tricks to help navigate and explore the historical record collection on FamilySearch’s digital catalogue.


Auckland's earliest Chinese settlers with Helene Wong

Extra event for Ching Ming/Qingming Festival

Wednesday 4 April, 12pm -1pm

When the gold in the South Island ran out in the 1870s, Chinese miners dispersed around the country and transformed themselves into market gardeners, merchants and shopkeepers. Author Helene Wong (Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story), introduces us to some of these intriguing people, and the places they occupied in Auckland’s history.

Auckland women overseas in the First World War with Jane Tolerton

Wednesday 11 April, 12pm -1pm

Jane Tolerton, author of Make Her Praises Heard Afar: New Zealand women overseas in World War One, talks about Auckland women who worked in the war effort in Egypt, Britain and France, and whose fascinating stories have been hidden in history. Born in Auckland, Jane is a best-selling and award-winning author on women and war.

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


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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.


I recently subscribed to Ancestral Findings free newsletter and found a wealth of very useful material. Attached is a PDF – Five Ways To Tell If Your Genealogy Research Is Accurate – I posted it in the Family History / Genealogy Group page that we have started and have had a good response, so I thought it would be great to share it freely on the FamNet newsletter. The Family History / Genealogy Group is growing and is now grown to 25 people, I hope you enjoy it as well.

Five Ways To Tell If Your Genealogy Research Is Accurate

There is a lot of guesswork and uncertainty in genealogy. People in the past may have put the wrong information on old records, either from genuinely not knowing, or from having something they wanted to hide. Mistakes can be made in transcriptions of documents from one location to another; even tombstones are known to sometimes have mistakes on them from the stone cutter. Census takers make mistakes in the spellings of names (and even dates and places of birth of the householders they enumerate). Those who published family genealogies back in the 19th century, when this was a popular thing to do, often relied on legend, gossip, and the erroneous family stories other people gave them.

There is a lot of room for human error in genealogy research, and you are undoubtedly going to come across it, either in the work of others, or through mistakes you make in your own work. Even the best genealogists will once in a while discover they got an entire line wrong based on one incorrect assumption, misinterpretation of a record, or by obtaining a faulty record. With so much room for making mistakes, how do you know you've gotten it right? How do you know if your genealogy research is successful?

The fact is, except for mother/child relationships (and even these might be nonbiological without you knowing it, if there was a secret adoption), genealogy is never a 100 percent sure thing. Even the best, most carefully carried out research can still potentially be proven wrong by a future researcher who discovers a clue no one ever noticed or that has just come to light.

However, there are a few ways to be as sure as you can ever possibly be that your research reveals the correct family relationships and information. Here are five ways you can tell if your genealogy research is most likely correct.

1. You Have Found the Same Information in More Than One Set of Records

The more often a family relationship, name, birth or death date, marriage date, or other important piece of family information is repeated through various record sets, the more likely it is to be correct. This is especially true if the records are primary records (records generated at the time of the event they mention).

For example, if you find the same names of parents or birth date or any other type of information for an ancestor in:

- Birth and death certificates - Old newspaper birth and death announcements or other articles - Wills - Military records

the more reason you have to trust that the information is correct. Unless you find something drastic later that makes you question this information, or that refutes it entirely, you can be reasonably sure your research into this person is successful.

2. Your Research Matches the Research of Other People

In the online age, you are bound to come across people who are distant cousins or relatives by marriage who are working on your line.  They may have been working on it for a while, possibly just as long as you or longer. It is important to compare research with these people.

If you find that your research matches up, including the sources you both used to arrive at your conclusions, you can have a great deal of confidence that your research is correct. If there are discrepancies in your research, then one of you is wrong, and you both need to look at your work again.

If you can find other people who have worked on the same line, try matching up your research with theirs. In fact, the more people you find who have done the same research and whose research is identical to yours, the more sure you can be that your research is correct.

3. You Can Reverse Engineer Someone Else’s Work

Those big genealogy books of the 19th century, though notorious for containing mistakes, also contain many correct things. Most of them come with annotations in the form of footnotes and/or endnotes as to where the author got the information used to write the genealogy.

Use these sources and find them yourself. It is always good genealogical practice to look at the original record in any case. You may find information on it the original researcher missed. If you can go through all the sources the author used and still come to the same conclusions as him or her, then you can be as sure as you can be that your research is successful.

4. Look for Confirmation for Your Wild Assumptions

Sometimes, in genealogy research, we have to take a leap of faith in our conclusions due to a lack of solid evidence. Even the well-respected genealogical journals often contain articles where the author made their conclusion based on an assumption. However, those assumptions are always backed up with ample amounts of secondary evidence (evidence where the record doesn’t outright state a family relationship or date, but one can be inferred from the information that is there).

If you have made a large assumption in your research, look for secondary evidence to back it up. The more secondary evidence you can find, the better. Once you’ve accumulated enough of it, you are at a point of being as sure as you can be about the accuracy of this line.

Of course, the best thing is if you one day discover a primary record that confirms all of this secondary evidence. Keep looking for a primary source, even if you have a lot of secondary evidence. Just because you haven’t found one yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It may be out there waiting for you to find it.

5. Get DNA Evidence

While still relatively new to the world of genealogy, DNA has a remarkable ability to prove and disprove family relationships that would once have been impossible to confirm. While DNA may not be able to tell you the exact names of your particular ancestors, it can definitely put you in a suspected ancestor’s family (or take you out of it) without a doubt.

If you have a person in your family tree with whom you have a suspected but unconfirmed direct relationship, DNA can confirm or deny it for you. You just need to get at least one (but the more the better) modern descendant of that person to compare their DNA with yours. The various DNA testing companies online can then tell you if the two of you are genetically related within a certain number of generations.

The more people you can get to take the test, the more accurate your results will be, especially if one person doesn’t match up with all of the rest of the people who tested into the family. DNA offers about the surest way to confirm the success of your genealogy research, as there is no room for human error in DNA results.

Genealogy is imprecise and uncertain by nature. There is always a chance a relationship or information about an ancestor’s birth, death, marriage, or anything else is wrong. This is more true the farther back into the past you go. People weren’t always as careful about accurate record keeping as they are now, and making up noble lines of descent to make a family seem more prestigious was common. While you can never get around these things entirely, you can make sure your genealogy research is as accurate and successful as it can be by using the five tips above. Being as sure as you can be is the same as declaring victory in genealogy.

Source: Newsletter


Waikanae Family History Group


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

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

Research days: 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               


Things to Consider Before Taking a DNA Test


Family Tree who want to take a DNA test have a wide variety to choose from. They are quick and painless to take, requiring only a cheek swap or saliva sample. Most are relatively inexpensive. There are things to consider before taking a DNA test.

It doesn’t replace a doctor.
It is wonderful that the direct-to-consumer DNA tests can be used by people who have concerns that they may carry the genes for a particular disease. The thing to keep in mind is that the results of a direct-to-consumer DNA test are not intended to be a diagnosis of a disease or condition. Go ahead and take the DNA test, but remember to consult a doctor as well.

Not all DNA tests are the same.
It is a good idea to carefully review what, exactly, a specific DNA test can be used to test for. Some test couples to determine if either one carries a mutated gene that could result in a genetically heritable disease in their potential offspring. Other tests can tell you what part of the world your ancestors came from. You should take the DNA test that can provide you with the information you are seeking.

Who will see your results?
In general, you are not the only person who will see the results of your DNA test. If this troubles you, it is best to not take the test at all. According to 
NBC News, the National Society of Genetic Counselors suggests that people ask the following questions of their DNA testing company before they take the DNA test. The questions are:

* What do you plan to do with my genetic information?

* Will it be shared with other companies, researchers, or databases?

* Will my DNA be associated with my personal information?

* Will the company alert me if my DNA is shared or if privacy policy change?

Can you cope with unexpected news?
The results of your DNA test will likely come with some surprises. It might say your ancestors didn’t come from the countries you thought they did. It might say you don’t carry the gene you were worried about – but do carry one you hadn’t considered. Sometimes, DNA tests reveal that a person is not genetically related to their parents (or to one parent). How well would you cope with unexpected news? Take the time to consider how well, or how poorly, you would handle unexpected news before you take a DNA test.


Ancestry Has Thousands of “Invisible” Records You Can’t Find With a Search

This Ancestry Crash Course is an unofficial guide from Family History Daily. We are not associated with Ancestry except to act as an affiliate partner – which means we may earn a commission to support our work if you choose to subscribe to their services from a link on our pages. now offers 20 billion online records, most of which can be searched through the All Collections search box on their pages, as well as through individual collection search boxes. The Ancestry Crash Course covers numerous ways to maximize these search options and avoid pitfalls that limit your ability to uncover records. But today we are going to look at another way to access records on – records which cannot be found via search at all. 

Many people are unaware of the fact that not all of Ancestry’s records show up in search. A surprising number of collections have not been indexed and are therefore virtually invisible to the everyday user of the site. These browse-only collections, as they are known, need to be purposely sought out if you want to take advantage of the records they contain. Some collections have been on Ancestry’s site for years and are still not searchable, while others are new collections that have not yet been indexed.

Let’s take a look at how to find them. For your convenience we have also linked to several of these collections in the article, as well as at the bottom.

Because searching is such a huge part of modern genealogy research browse-only collections are repeatedly overlooked and underused. Not only are they often hard to find but, even when they are located by an interested researcher, many people shy away because they don’t know how to use these records.

Ignoring these records is a huge mistake, however, since they could contain valuable information about your ancestors.

Ancestry does not make it particularly hard to find their browse-only collections, but they do make it difficult for a researcher to know which records fall into this browse-only category – and, therefore, which records are being excluded from search.

To discover browse-only collections we’ll need to visit the Card Catalog we discussed in a previous lesson. To find the Card Catalog you can select it from the dropdown under Search in the top menu.













The best way to locate non-searchable collections that may be of interest to you is to search for a location you are researching in on this page. Let’s pretend that we are researching an ancestor in Oklahoma in 1890 and see what we can find.


We’ll start by typing Oklahoma in the Title box on the left to see what collections have Oklahoma in the title. Upon searching, Ancestry returns 37 options. As we click through to the collections that seem like a good match we see that each of them can be searched with their own custom search box. We already know what a powerful thing searching individual collections can be and we will definitely want to check these out.


But as we move further down the page, and click on a collection that looks promising, we find that no search box is presented to us. We’ve stumbled across a browse-only collection.















Going back a page we can see that there is nothing on the Card Catalog search page that denotes that this is a browse-only collection. We don’t find out until we visit the landing page. And, in fact, there is no way to sort for these non-searchable collections in the Card Catalog.


But stumbling across one is significant – because we’ve just found a treasure trove of information that would never come up in a search on Ancestry’s site.


But the lack of search capabilities will make our job a bit more difficult. Without a search box we’re going to have to dig through these records just like they did in the “old” days.


Let’s go back to the landing page for this collection and explore how we can view the records. On the right side you will see the Browse This Collection box – as is present on most collections. But now it holds special importance because it is the only way we can access this collection.


Each collection offers its own browsing format and this one is by Roll. Some are organized by location, others by date and still others by name or some other system.


There are 72 Rolls in all, in groups of 4 or 5. Clicking on the first one shows us a map, and then on page two we find the opening page for this collection. It seems a bit intimidating at first… how can we possibly flip through all of these pages to find what we are looking for?

But as you’ll notice in the screenshot above, there are some controls provided by Ancestry to help. Of course, there are the page numbers – and we can type in any page number we like. But there is also the option to view the entire “film strip” –  or the images of this collection in the order they were digitized.


Clicking on the film strip brings up a small view of all of the pages in this roll, in order. Rolling over any image brings up a preview and clicking on the image brings us to the page itself.


We can now attempt to figure out in what manner these records are organized so we can we go about trying to find our ancestor. This step is a bit like being presented with an old book or record collection in an archive. Just as in printed records there is usually some way to find what you need without having to flip through each page individually.


We may find that the information is in alphabetical order, or was entered by date – or we may find a table of contents in the beginning or an index at the end of a volume, roll or entire collection. Figuring this out takes some detective work but it will save us a good deal of time in the end.


Of course, this isn’t always the case. The collection above is not organized by date or name and there is no printed index available. The entries may be organized by land tract, but this isn’t a great deal of help to us unless we know the tract our ancestor owned.


Using a resource like this will take additional research on the nature of the collection and how our ancestor may have been included. We may need to use additional outside resources to help us understand how and why it was created, and how to properly use it. A good start on this is to carefully read the descriptions and tips for each collection as provided by Ancestry on the collection landing page. Do as much research as you need to to make sense of the collection and you will almost always be able to make good use of the records.


Luckily, not all browse-only collections are so difficult to navigate – the Nevada Marriages collection seen below is organized by county and date making it fairly easy to use.


When you do find a record you need you can save it to someone in your tree, or to your computer or shoebox, with the green save button in the upper right hand corner. You won’t get the same options you do with an indexed collection once saved, but attaching it your tree as a source is still fairly simple. More help is provided on sourcing later in the course.

There are many browse-only collections just like these ones waiting to be discovered and the information they contain may provide the breakthrough you’ve been hoping for. If you have an Ancestry subscription, head over to the Card Catalog now and conduct a search for collections related to your research. You might be surprised by what you’ve been missing.


If you do not have an Ancestry subscription you might like to read our article about accessing their free collections, or you can read our guide to accessing browse-only collections on FamilySearch for free.


Below is a small selection of these browse-only collections for your convenience. This is just a sample, to discover more you will need to do some digging.


It is possible that some of these collections may be viewable or searchable on other sites, such as FamilySearch – but be careful not to confuse the name of a browse-only collection on Ancestry with a searchable collection by a similar name. Many collection names look like they may contain the same records at first glance, but a closer look at the title or description shows us they are unique.                         

Where Do We Get Our Digitized Books?

We've got great partners

We obtained the initial 80,000 (plus) digitized books in our library from FamilySearch in a partnership we have with them. They obtained them in conjunction with their partner institutions, including (these are listed on the FamilySearch website):

We’ve obtained more than 100,000 digitized books in total from FamilySearch and will be gradually adding them to the 80,000 books already available in the GenGophers online library, once we’ve indexed and readied them for searching.

We're putting our crawlers to work

In addition to the digitized books we’ve licensed and receive from FamilySearch and its partners, we’re also gathering tens of thousands of more genealogy books from and other free book sources on the Internet. Our crawlers should soon be out searching the web for more content for you.

What About Copyright Protection?

The sources that provide us with digitized books for our online genealogy library work to ensure that copyright laws are followed during the digitizing process and that the rights of the books’ authors are fully protected. The books we receive have either been knowingly released by their authors into the public domain or are old enough that they are no longer protected by copyrights. That allows us to offer you these easily downloadable digitized books – for free.

We take copyright protection and authors’ rights seriously. Yet it's possible that an in-copyright book has mistakenly been included in our library, where the author did not give permission for a copyright-protected book to be made available online. If you are the author of such a book that’s mistakenly been made available to be searched and downloaded from GenGophers while still being copyright protected, we want to know about it. We’ll take immediate corrective action. There are 3 options you have:

  • If you don't want us to make the book available to users on GenGophers, click on this Feedback link, provide us your name and contact information, and we’ll coordinate with you to take the book out of our online library as soon as possible.
  • If you don't mind our making your book available to GenGophers’ users, everyone who uses our website and search tools thanks you! You don’t need to take any action.
  • If you’d like us to help you sell your book, click on the "Feedback" link to the right and let us know. We’re currently exploring ways to help authors sell their books on


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Book Reviews   

The English

By Jeremy Paxman published by Penguin Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-141-03295-5, obtained in London.


C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\CoverTheEnglish.JPGTo quote the back cover:

            Who or what are the English? .....Paxman discovers a few answers

            Why do the English actually enjoy feeling persecuted?

            What is behind the English obsession with games?

            How did they acquire their odd attitudes to sex and food?

            Where did they get their extraordinary capacity for hypocrisy?


Reading that I had to purchase the book. Having a high percentage of English blood flowing through my veins I needed to find out the reasons for their, not my, idiosyncrasies. I should point out the examples above do not apply to me but some of the others in the book do, except for the love of being spanked. It is surprising how the English bought their "weirdness" to New Zealand and some of that "weirdness" still applies to their New Zealand descendants. The book may explain why our Grandparents were as they were.


The book is very readable and written in a humorous manner. I found it to be informative and provocative. I can see many English readers rising to the various baits the author has laid.


The book is a good read as background information for understanding our English ancestors.


Peter Nash

Fire and Fury - Inside the Trump White House

By Michael Wolff published by Little, Brown, 2018, ISBN978-1-4087-1139-2 obtained from Whitcoulls


C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\CoverFire& Fury.JPGThe theory is that Donald Trump did not intend to be elected to the Presidency. It was all a publicity campaign in which he was to be a creditable candidate and finish as a near miss. This was aimed to finally end up as him starting a major news TV network. He did not need credible policies; he needed policies that made the news. Hence "build the wall", "lock her up", "make America great again" and other catchy phrases that, unfortunately for Trump, appealed to the huge numbers of rednecks. Despite himself he won. Now he had to run the country!


This book hit the market with much publicity in the New Year. It had an appeal in that it showed Trump to be seriously flawed as the world suspected. I was attracted and spent a bit of time trying to track it down in London when I was there.


The book is full of all sorts of claims about Trump and his family. It shows that nobody competent enough wanted to work for him. He filled the White House with incompetent and inexperience staff. Trump could not follow a teleprompter and made up policy as he spoke. Nobody could control him. He has a very short attention span, cannot and/or will not read documents etc. He does not understand how American government operates etc etc etc.


When I finished this book I shook my head. Only the USA could elect an apparently totally incompetent person to the White House. I now watch Trump's TV appearances with awe; I read the newspaper articles with incredulity. The book has appealed to my latent (I hope) belief that Americans are stupid.


Peter Nash

The Growth of New Zealand Towns

By Hugh Dickey, self published, ISBN 978-0-473-41143-5

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\CoverTowns (2).jpgThis book is about the growth and decline of New Zealand towns. Before he started the book Hugh Dickey and his team needed to have sensible population figures for comparison. Thus he applied modern town boundaries to historic population data and spent considerable time doing this. Having done this the author then goes through many comparisons of towns such as ranking towns by population size and looking at how this varied, the domination of the major cities over the provincial towns, the growth and decline of various towns etc. It appears to be a very technical book with lots of graphs and pie charts.


The last part of the book consists 50 articles about the history of an individual town or city, written by somebody of note in that town.


It is a very readable book with many interesting facts about the growth of towns and cities in New Zealand. Incidentally Hugh is a very good public speaker on this topic. I bought the book at a speech he had given.


Peter Nash

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

By Margreta Magnusson

I sourced my copy via Booktopia, at $AU19.95 for hardcopy & $AU11.90 for eBook, I elected for an eBook in keeping with theme of book. The author Margareta Magnusson says she is “between 80 & 100” and by her photograph I reckon nearer the 80. She has a lively style and the various chapters weave some highlights of her family & family history and of having lived in a variety of countries and accumulated a lot of memorabilia as well as the normal collection of “day to day stuff”.

Her reference to men (and her husband) and their sheds snickarbod in Swedish (or a new term mansdagis, a male kindergarten) where they like to have everything in order and in some cases like to organise and view tools rather than actually use them. Containers of miscellanies nail, screws bolts and bits are never thrown out, “may need them one day”, all something I can relate to.

Chapters are short and, in some cases, only a page, but they give one the urge to get started, one recommendation is to leave letters & photographs to last as these can carry more intense memories and will take more time. I’m in the process of digitising all of my people photos, in part for family & in part for future genealogist who may use &/or complete my research.

I’m in my mid 70’s and a “confirmed hoarder” but Margareta has stirred a real commitment and a figurative “deadline” in me: to dump what is of no use, recycle what is of use through “op shops” (no knockbacks yet) and to try and find new owners for “special and much-loved items”, but keeping the best for last.

Often “death cleaning” falls to one spouse and the decisions may well be easier, I have a wife of 53+ years and she has dementia and has no ongoing interest in most of the items that need to go, but I use the garage as a “halfway house” (just in case it is missed and needs to come back) before completing the cleaning exercise.

A recommended read to start a very necessary process

Ken Morris

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In conclusion

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From the Editor: The Gardening Club newsletter came up with another joke. 

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