Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter March 2019

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future" – Niels Bohr (perhaps)



Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

The Nash Rambler 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

Jan’s Jottings. 1

Wairarapa Wandering. 1

Digging Into Historical Records. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Diane Wilson. 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

March. 1

April 1

Heritage Talks in the “SoundCloud” 1

2019 Auckland Family History Expo - Tāmaki Huinga Tātai Kōrero. 1

Group News. 1

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 1

Waikanae Family History Group. 1

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles worth reading. 1

Some DNA ancestry services akin to 'genetic astrology' 1

The Family Search Digital Library. 1

Testing Artifacts to Obtain DNA Evidence for Genealogical Research. 1

Mark Your Calendar: the Apocalypse Will Occur on December 28, 2019. 1

New Genealogy Search Engine at 1

Book Reviews. 1

Circe (Madeline Miller) 1

In conclusion. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

Early European Contacts with New Zealand (pre 1846) 1

Gengophers. 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

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


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

It is appropriate that at the beginning of the year organisations think about their future, their operation and whether they are "appropriate" any more. I have been involved in a number of these exercises lately.

It is a fact that the research of family history and genealogy is undergoing massive changes at the moment. The internet is being swamped by huge quantities of digital databases and documents. Subscriptions to use the websites and societies are expensive and being questioned. Why even an honest law-abiding citizen like myself is considering less than legal methods to gain access. I have been known to visit a friend who has a subscription to a website and appropriated their computer for an hour or so and asked them to disappear while I research - it is a privacy matter. If I choose the right person, I may get a coffee and a scone to add to the pleasure.

It is extremely difficult to predict the future. Or should I say that I can't. But organisations must do so and thus change their modus operandi in order to meet their aims and ambitions.

My column and Robert's are addressing that process. Even this website and newsletter must constantly review and change. If you have any ideas for improvement of the newsletter let me know. If a change of editor would do it let Robert know - I keep resigning and he doesn't hear me. Maybe I should stop whispering.

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

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Regular Contributors

From the Developer

RobertbI’ve been thinking about the future of FamNet.  A time will come – a long way off I hope – when I am no longer able to keep running FamNet, and I flatter myself that FamNet is something valuable that should be preserved.  It is the only uniquely Kiwi family history site, and already there are family records in its database that are available nowhere else, not only the family trees but attached photos and documents that would be very difficult to find if FamNet no longer existed.  So, I’d like to have a succession plan, an organization that could take over FamNet and continue it.   This should be arranged before I turn my toes up.  If arranged early enough then I’m around to hand over the program code, show the new trustees how the programs work so that they can continue development if they wish to, and work with them for as long as I can in making changes so that FamNet evolves and improves.  I can also make a number of changes to make the site more self-managing – for example, automatically processing submitted GEDCOM files.   If left to my family who have to sort things out later all this is too hard, and the system is likely to disappear. 

I’ve started talking to the National Library, and I’m pleased to tell you that my initial contact was very encouraging, and has undertaken to promote the idea with the relevant people.  Of course we all know how slowly organizations work, with committees needed to decide policies and run projects, and I have yet to receive any feedback, but I hope that one day I’ll be able to report that this has been approved and so we’re arranging for FamNet to have a future home making its records at least as permanent as those stored in Ancestry or other overseas sites.   Of course, I understand that, even though I won’t be charging the National Library for FamNet, they will have to find some budget for the on-going administration time that they will have to provide, so it’s not a given that this idea will proceed.  Ideally, we’ll find some sponsorship for this, and also to make FamNet completely free.  It wouldn’t take much.  If anybody can introduce us to a potential sponsor, please get in touch with me.    

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

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The Nash Rambler

Time for consideration of the future

I'm on a different track this month. I have written a few columns praising the old research methods and regretting the march of technology in our great time wasting "hobby" or obsession: genealogy/family history. This month I want to praise this march of technology and talk about the effect of this on research methods, the speed of research, the growth of "different genealogists" and the consequential ramifications for societies and branches.

I am amazed at the sheer volume of new digital databases that are becoming available every month. My favourite website, FamilySearch, has a massive increase in databases and has many new methods for research as well as interesting "add-ons" which add to the "pleasure" of the research experience., FindmyPast, The Genealogist, Scotland's People and other such pay-per-view websites are growing by the minute. This raises a few problems as to which one or ones I should subscribe to and how I can stretch my pension so that I can subscribe to more than one. It is unfortunate that these websites "charge like wounded bulls" but, I suppose, they must make a profit. So I continue to invest in Lotto.

I must praise those important websites that are free to use - Archway, Paperspast, NZ BDM, the various Irish websites that are free and, of course, FamilySearch. Long may they continue doing this. I think the NZ government could do more - how about free certificates for historical BDMs. But this is a different issue.

Besides the subscription problem, I have difficulty in finding out which website has which database. There appears to be no central website that has an index of these websites but, how such a resource would cope with being out of date month by month. This leads me to doing a general search on the name I'm looking for and scanning through the results to see what I can find. This has a consequence of me getting sidetracked and forgetting the original target of research together with "wasting valuable research time.

For example, one week I was looking for the military record of a William Sanderson. I found his NZ service record on Archway and his British Army Service record on (or was it FindmyPast - I give up, it'll take too long to check which and I'll lose my thread). The next week I was checking birth records for the same chap and came across his Army Pension records - don't ask which website. Suddenly I was able to see that he had his passage back to England paid by the NZ government and he enlisted in his old regiment during World War 1. You may ask why he didn't enlist in the NZ Army but I have to reply that his service to the NZ organisation was not a glorious severance situation and the British regiment either did not know this or did not care. He served a few months, was "severed again" and he returned to NZ, enlisted there for a month or two and then "severed again". These facts are not very vital facts but they added to the man's history and explained a few questions that arose from earlier research.

This rapid growth of available digital data, together with the growth of DNA testing, has helped to create more types of genealogists. Some are interested in only finding a famous ancestor, some are interested in collecting names and dates, some are only interested in "gathering" a tree of enormous size and few are as committed as I am to viewing the original documents. I am seeing this very often in my own family tree because I have put in a deliberate error of a minor nature to give the data I have put up on the internet a fingerprint. When I find data of interest to me ie a family tree, I quickly look for that fingerprint. If it does not appear then I have proof that that researcher may be a little more "acceptable" to me and not just a copier. Of course there is also the possibility that that researcher hadn't found my tree - hmmm!!

But we, the genealogy community, must accept that whilst we disagree with these variant researchers they exist and may be of assistance to us. They, at least, have contributed to the increasing availability of digital data by using the websites, pay for DNA tests, pay subscriptions and provide the profit these websites require. So, grit your teeth, smile and thank them for their participation. You are allowed to go around the corner, bang your head against the wall and utter frightful swear words but never insult them. Bet you can't.

This leads me onto another point for discussion. What is going to happen in the near future in this field of research? I have been a party to a few planning sessions that organisations are undertaking to decide their future. These crystal ball gazing sessions are difficult because things are changing day by day.

Despite my not being allowed to be a member of NZSG, I attend a branch meeting quite regularly. They are doing the future prediction process. Their problems are many. One is that everybody wants the group to continue but each individual does not want to be chairperson or on the committee. All want to attend a monthly meeting, be stimulated by an interesting speaker or topic of discussion, enjoy a natter over a cuppa and then go home. The chairman who wishes to hand over the job and has said so for about ten years gets thanked for the good work and the meeting proceeds to the next item of business. If I was writing the minutes I could have them done before the meeting concerned. Another problem concerning them is that their membership number is decreasing by natural causes - i.e. death of a member - and the majority still living are long term members and quite experienced researchers. If a person turns up checking out what the group does, they are asked what names they are researching and what problems they are experiencing. Unfortunately this is misinterpreted as a "problem solving" opportunity and suddenly all sorts of solutions and websites are flung at the unfortunate and the group then descends into various subgroups with animated discussions. The poor convenor is yelling for attention and is ignored. The unfortunate is very confused and if they then left the room they would not be noticed as being missing. The rest would agree that they had a very enjoyable session and forgot about their "behaviour". I must enjoy it because I keep turning up but I always end up laughing very loudly at the predictable comedy that I am participating in. I bet this happens at most branch meetings. Now don't let me start on the National organisation. But, on serious consideration, the Branch activities are satisfying its members. They keep attending, enjoying themselves and learning. Apart from a minor fact that the membership is slowly falling the branch appears to me to be very successful. Why change?

Robert is also undergoing his regular review processes so that his website continues to be or will grow to be a very handy tool for researchers. I keep telling him that increasing my salary would help but he always agrees and I still get $0s in my hand.

But the answer for these organisations and websites is not to increase subscriptions. At some stage they get too high and the dollar-conscious pensioners that are our major users and supporters walk away and use other means of scratching their genealogical itches.

Regards to all

Peter Nash

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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. 

34.  Newspaper Articles and the impact on a DNA tester.

GailDNAAbout three years ago, the discovery of the identity of the American Golden State killer, made headlines in numerous magazines and newspapers – whether in paper print or via the Internet.

It was not so much the discovery of the man’s identity after all the years since the crimes were committed, it was the method used to open the case and track the identity of the criminal.

This was because DNA had been left behind and a brilliant genealogical genetic scientist got involved who used genealogical methods to approach the mystery. 

Years before this particular story, another event existed where the DNA was left behind but a forensic scientist was used who used a semblance of genetic genealogy to solve the case.  Unfortunately, innocent people got caught up in this.

Further situations have occurred (in the US) whereby the US police have used DNA testing in an attempt to locate the perpetrator of the crime.  But they are now also using firms such as Gedmatch and FamilyTree DNA to learn who else might also match the DNA found.  In other words, they are using the principal of discovering who might be relatives of the DNA sample owner.  This has caused ripples in the genetic world.

Those of you who have heard me speak on genetic testing will know that I spend some time on alerting you to the risks involved in getting your DNA tested.  (To a lesser extent, I have also mentioned this in one or two of my articles appearing in Famnet).  Just last week I again mentioned to a class I was taking that a tester must be prepared for surprises if they choose to test their DNA.  They must also alert their relatives to the same issues should they decide they also want to encourage a relative to test.

Amongst those surprises can be the discovery that you are not who you think you are.  Also included is the discovery that you may be related to a criminal whether you are aware of their misdeeds or not.

These are real risks!

But back to my topic for this month.

Since the knowledge that the US police have begun using the same firms that we (as genealogists who get our DNA tested) use to learn where in the world our known and unknown cousins might be, some have become paranoid that the police will get hold of all their information.  Mostly this is due to articles that have begun appearing in the various newspapers.  So many of these articles appear to encourage groundless fears of a tester having his (or her) privacy violated, simply because of the particular slant taken by the writers.

Just recently, an article was published in US stating that FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) had begun selling information to the FBI.  You, the reader, can well imagine the type of turmoil that followed such an article.  After all, FTDNA has long been touted as the only testing company which insists on privacy for each tester and promises that a tester’s DNA will never be sold.

What made the uproar worse was that FTDNA had not forewarned either its many thousands of testers or its hundreds of project administrators that certain events had been occurring.  And of course, nobody likes to learn through the public press of such matters.

I copy here a letter from the founder and owner (FTDNA is not a public company) received on 4 February 2019 to FTDNA testers on the matter.  (It is copied with permission from FTDNA).


Dear Customers:
I am writing to address the news that our Gene-by-Gene laboratory, which processes genetic tests for several commercial clients in addition to all of the FamilyTreeDNA tests, has processed a handful of DNA samples for cold cases from the F.B.I. In many cases, the news reports contained false or misleading information.

Let me start with this categorical statement:

They cannot search or “dig through” FTDNA profiles any more than an ordinary user can.   As with all other genetic genealogy services, law enforcement must provide valid legal process, such as a subpoena or search warrant to receive any information beyond that which any other user can access. 

I have been an avid genealogist since I was twelve years old. FamilyTreeDNA is not just a business, it is my passion.  I fully understand your privacy concerns on a personal level.

Law enforcement has the ability to test DNA samples from crime scenes and upload the results into databases, like any other customer can, and it appears they have been doing it at other companies for the past year. The distinction is that, according to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, we expect the FBI and law enforcement agencies to let us know when they submit something to our database. We moved to something transparent, rather than having them work in a stealthy way. Other than that, nothing changed that affects the privacy of our customers.

FamilyTreeDNA has always taken your privacy seriously and will continue to do so.  We’ve remained steadfast, always, refusing to sell your data to pharmaceutical companies and other third parties.

One of the key reasons law enforcement wanted to submit their samples to us is the same reason many of you have: out of all the major companies, FamilyTreeDNA is the only one that has its own lab, and our customers’ samples never leave our company.

As previously stated, law enforcement can only receive information beyond that which is accessible to the standard user by providing FamilyTreeDNA with valid legal process, such as a subpoena or a search warrant. Again, this is specified in FamilyTreeDNA’s Terms of Service, just as with all other companies.

The Terms of Service were changed in May of 2018 to reflect GDPR requirements, and we informed our customers about the update at that time. Those changes included a paragraph that required law enforcement to receive our permission to enter the database and since it was a part of the overall update, notice was sent to every FTDNA customer. Without infringing upon our customers’ privacy, the language in the paragraph referring to law enforcement was updated in December, although nothing changed in the actual handling of such requests.  It was an oversight that notice of the revision was not sent to you and that is our mistake. Therefore, we are reverting our TOS to our May 2018 version, and any future changes will be communicated to you in a timely manner.

This is the May 2018, GDPR-compliant version, communicated to you at that time: “You agree to not use the Services for any law enforcement purposes, forensic examinations, criminal investigations, and/or similar purposes without the required legal documentation and written permission from FamilyTreeDNA.”

I am genuinely sorry for not having handled our communications with you as we should have. 

We’ve received an incredible amount of support from those of you who believe this is an opportunity for honest, law-abiding citizens to help catch bad guys and bring closure to devastated families. We want you to understand, as many of you already do, that you have the same protections that you’ve always had and that you have nothing to fear.

We’ve also heard from supporters offering ideas and solutions to make the FamilyTreeDNA experience a more comfortable one in light of this new information.  

We are listening. Our plan is to create a panel of citizen genealogist advisors who will work with us as we focus on how to make your FamilyTreeDNA experience the best one available.    

Bennett Greenspan


For those of you who have been anxious about your testing with FTDNA, I hope the above letter has gone a long way towards reassuring you that while risk is still present, it is not a risk to your privacy.

Gail Riddell

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Index so far

Jan’s Jottings

Here I am in Salt Lake City and watching the snow falling through the window. Just a nice light fall of snow. But I have to go out in it shortly to Dick Eastman’s dinner which he traditionally holds the Sat night of an Event in America.

I have had 4 days of RootsTech and could easily burst into tears because I want there to be another day!!  I want more of what we had!! There are things I have not seen and places I have not visited.

Just unbelievable the size of the Exhibit Hall and the quality and quality of vendors. What about the Lectures!!!  76 on Wednesday, 92 on Thur, 89 on Friday, 70 on Sat. 327

I sort of concentrated on learning more about Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage. Also some of the DNA classes.  I purchased the flash drive with most of the presentations thereon. $15. I asked if I could give one away and the answer was yes.  So I bought two. So, if you have been looking at the list of lectures and there is one in particular you would like to see, let me know and we can meet some time so you can watch it.

The Heredis company from France (I think) were there. I have been in touch with them over the years and their program is very good. A genealogy program. They created a special version for Roots Tech and I have permission to list the link. Anyone can download and try it out.
I have just installed it and this went well. For Mac and Windows.

Lots of talks on DNA of course. I think my best one was with Jos Taylor (who has been here) and Angie Bush and their session on Uniting traditional research with DNA research.  

Have a look at Ancestry, Find my Past, MyHeritage and Family Search as they have all added great processes to their sites.

My thoughts now are for the Hooked on Genealogy Tour when next I am in Salt Lake City in May. Leaving Auckland 10 May, for three weeks research in the FH Library, 10 nights London and 10 nights Ireland. New website is underway, meantime, for more info, please email to as having a problem with my email.

We will have TAG - that is the T for time in Salt Lake City and A for the access to so many records and G for the guidance in using the records we will receive. TAG!!

This will be our 27th Tour, and I know we will have lots of learning and fun.


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Wairarapa Wandering

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car 

AdeleAfter getting Peter’s message this week, I held back from sending a contribution, just as well, as what appeared in my snail mail today will do it for me!!!

My sister does a subscription with Best of British magazine annually for her younger sister, I often send articles in, but this one I think is great, it was a few years back, and happened for a few years, Carterton had loan of the lovely Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, which our Sir Peter Jackson bought.

Many of us old folks will remember the lovely film with Dick Van Dyke?  I just loved the car!!! It flew! Mind you I think I fly at times with driving. But this car….

The Christmas Parade is organised by Carterton Rotary, and is the first parade in the in the Wairarapa round of parades. We get hundreds of folk coming to view it, and it's great to be able to take part, which I do by taking all the photographs for Rotary, handing them the card with possibly nearly 100 on it yearly. They down load and hand the card back for another year - this is part of my volunteer work in the town. I was never asked to do it, just did it and handed it over. Sometimes I would pay to get them developed and printed, but thought no, do the card and let them download on their computer, it's cheaper in the long run, but I also have them on my computer! 

Needless to say, Adele is ex Londoner and never used to Christmas parades back home. I had never heard of them until 1970 when I came over to Wellington to work in James Smith, and being in their one in 1970. Gosh enjoyed that - dressed as a clown, handing out ice lollies to the children. I found a new niche in my life!!

But getting back to the March edition of Best of British magazine, I had forgotten that I had sent a question in regarding the Chitty Car. I wanted to know how many there were made for the film. The answer is SIX. And our Sir Peter Jackson bought one of them and isn’t Carterton fortunate enough to have it in some of our Christmas Parades! Awesome.  I know one of the models is on display in Beaulieu Car Museum near Brockenhurst in Hampshire. There is more history on the car in the letter in March edition of Best of British magazine. Simon, the editor, told me, months ago, that he would try and find out more. So will now thank him very much. I have let our local Rotary in Carterton know about the letter and photograph of the lovely car. It may fit in my garage….. may I said! I would love to drive it… dream on girl!!


Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Digging Into Historical Records  

Pencarrow Quarry

Earlier this year questions were asked about a Waiwetu house called ‘Rato’. Having no knowledge of this bespoke mansion, designed by Frederick De Jersey Clere and built c1907, gave me pause for thought.


Then as a result of recent public Hutt Heritage discussions the idea of a Heritage List with a difference came to mind. My Brown grandparents named their home in Gravesend, Kent “Opunake” after the place where their daughter married in 1963. About 1858 my 3x great-grandfather, Hugh Sinclair, named his home in WainuiomataMoness” after the area in Perthshire where he came from.


Having noticed, over time, that named residences were recorded in Electoral Rolls, I decided to browse the Hutt rolls. This turned out to be a real eye-opener and a source of many new questions. The period chosen was 1899-1914 just before wide-spread street numbering came to the fore. The geographic area extends from Pencarrow to Remutaka Summit.


Pencarrow Quarry was one such standout. There were eight men listed in the 1908 roll and half of them were also in the 1911 roll. No men were listed in 1905 or 1914. The implication is that the men were British subjects, had been in the colony for a year, in the electoral district for three months, and were actually living at the quarry.


The eight men were Edward Alexander, platelayer; Eric Bernhard Gustafsson, seaman; James Joseph O’Connor, engine driver and five labourers – Charles Buckingham, Thomas Harris, Fraser McDowell, Thomas Miller and William Edward Symonds. [1] Attempts to learn more about these men yielded no obvious trace for the labourers and railway career details for Alexander (1906-1910) and O’Connor (1897-1916). [2]


Eric Bernhard Gustafsson, a 26-year-old Swedish national, was naturalised on 17 October 1908 at Wellington [3] and became eligible to be listed on the Hutt Supplementary Roll dated 31 October 1908. He served on the scow Wanderer (1908), the ketch Coronation (1911), s.s. Defender (1914), and s.s. Queen of the South (1919) [4] before being lost at sea on the s.s. Ripple off Cape Palliser on 07 August 1924. [5]


Pencarrow quarry was situated at the narrowest part of Wellington Harbour directly opposite Point Dorset/Beacon Hill. A 1945 map shows the Quarry, Tramway and stone wharf. [6] Two Evening Post photographs of the derelict Tramway were taken in December 1958 and on 30 April 1960. [7, 8].


There was at least one ‘loco’ servicing the quarry. A listing of document references pertaining to operations at the quarry has been compiled by Juliet Scoble. One entry indicates that on 14 January 1906 approval was given to transfer the locomotive at Pencarrow to the Hutt Duplication works at a cost of £400. [9] A photograph of a small locomotive and one of the cranes was published in the New Zealand Mail on 08 November 1905.


In January 1908 there was a ‘loco’ at the site. [10] This was probably the A class locomotive No.62 (0-4-0 Type) loaned to New Zealand Railways and purchased by the maintenance branch in 1906. It can be seen in a photograph taken by Albert Percy Godber at Piha about 1915. [11]


Work at the quarry site commenced in December 1904 with construction of a wharf. By the end of May 1905 a stone crusher had been erected and the wharf completed. The intention was to deliver 50,000 tons of stone to the other side of the harbour [12] for protective works along the beach between Wellington and Petone. [13]


On 01 March 1906 a Greek named Nicholas Breton was removed to hospital after being jammed between two trucks at the quarry causing abdominal injuries. [14] Was he Nicholas Alexander Bertanees (1880-1938), a Greek Wellington waterside worker, who was naturalised on 30 November 1937? [15]


Another man, John Harris, had his chest crushed between two trollies on 19 February 1907. He was a 54 year old railway ganger who resided at Edward Street, Petone. [16] At about this time there were about 70 men employed at the quarry. [17]


In January 1908 there were 32 men living at Pencarrow Quarry in small red whares. These pick and shovel men were mainly travellers, and some were sailors. They lived a life of stone and fought the hills for eight hours a day. Breakfast was a two-man portion of porridge, a double-ration of beef, and slices of bread that seem merely loaves slightly shrunken and trimmed at the edges. The table in the long tin messroom is spotless and the enamelware platters shine like new half-crowns. The camp at Pencarrow is wonderfully clean. If it rains the moisture soaks into the sand and never becomes mud. The whares are clean, and the cookhouse is clean, and the cook is clean, and what he cooks is clean too. [18]


At 6.40pm on 06 January 1908 the quarrymen probably received some unexpected assistance by virtue of an earthquake that lasted for several seconds. It was also felt in Blenheim. [19] On 19 January the hills around the eastern side of the harbour were enveloped in unbroken clouds of smoke [20] and on Wellington anniversary morning “the calm water of the harbour was like liquid gold in the smoke-stained sunshine, and the warships, with their bunting lightly fluttering, were deeply limned like phantoms of the deep – painted ships upon a painted ocean.” [21]


The big grass fire burning on the hills threatened the quarry wharves which were nestled among great lumps of toi-toi. “The quarrymen turnout out with bushes, climbed the slippery hills, and beat the fire to death, or at least as much of it as intended burning Pencarrowville.” [22]


In February 1908 a decision was made to attempt to dislodge about 15,000 tons of material by drilling into the side of the hill and placing about a ton of blasting powder. This was described as being one of the biggest blasts that has ever been put in the North Island. [23]


On 12 February 1909 William Henry Massey was buried alive under about 3000 tons of earth that had come down after a gunpowder explosion. His body was eventually extricated by a party of workers on 23 February. [24] He was buried at Karori the following day. The deceased was employed as a casual hand in the railway electrical workshops on 08 December 1908, very shortly after arriving in New Zealand. He was sent to Pencarrow to lay a mine for exploding a charge of one ton of blasting powder. On 11 February two attempts were made to fire the charge, but they both failed. Massey was single, about 40 years of age and had relatives in England. [25]


By March 1910 the Pencarrow quarry was no longer in use. [26] Given that so many unknown men worked and resided at the quarry it seems pertinent to list those that have appeared while researching.


When Herbert Hunter was working at the quarry in October 1906 he had a police criminal record and was photographed at Lyttelton on 10 January 1902. [27] On 18 October he assaulted a coloured man named James Digges at the White Swan Hotel in Wellington and was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment. [28]


January 1908

Mr Russell the tally-clerk and time-keeper attended to duties at the weighbridge, with the trucks, and on the wharf. He was a veteran in the service of the State and in the dim remoteness an English Railway servant. George Alfred Rayson (1866-1942) was the ganger. [29]


April 1908

A recently appointed Cingalese Cook attacked McLean with a knife. McLean very promptly knocked him down and fired him out through the galley door. An Irishman, Martin O’Brien, was second cook. McInteer, the Government ganger, and known as "the man with the little hammer" also caused a lot of trouble. [30]


February 1909

John Loughlin, quarryman and Thomas Morgan, railway foreman of works were witnesses at the coroner’s inquest for William Henry Massey. [31]


With regard to early records in 1843 the site was known as Point Hinds and was opposite Point Waddell. [32] The land, Harbour District Sections 61, 63 and 65, were purchased by John Cameron (1823-1888) under Government Regulations of the 1850s and the Crown Grants were issued on 07 November 1873. [33] The land was taken over and vested in the Crown by proclamation in 1904. The Cameron family sought and were awarded compensation from the Railway Department in 1909. [34, 35]


When you next traverse the coast between Petone and Wellington consider the thought that a large measure of the material that fronts the harbour and lies beneath the railway tracks came from Pencarrow Quarry.



[1] Named Hutt Valley Residences 1899-1914

[2] Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives – Railway Lists – Section D3

[3] Ancestry Family Tree of Niclas Gustafsson

[4] Electoral Rolls for Hutt (1908), East Cape (1911) and Wellington Central (1914 and 1919)

[5] Evening Post 08 Aug 1924 The Vessel’s Complement (s.s. Ripple)

[6] NZMS002 Map N164/6 (1945) Pencarrow sheet

[7] Rail track near Pencarrow Head, December 1958

[8] Rail track near Pencarrow Head, 30 April 1960

[9] Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand (Documents tab) Station Archive – Snippets about NZR locations by Juliet Scoble

[10] New Zealand Times 24 Jan 1908 Precious Stores - Pencarrow Quarry - Among the Boulders

[11] Erecting a locomotive at Piha for use on the Piha Tramway

[12] New Zealand Times 24 Jan 1908 Precious Stores - Pencarrow Quarry - Among the Boulders

[13] AJHR 1905 Section D2 Annual Railways Report

[14] Evening Post and New Zealand Times 03 Mar 1906

[15] New Zealand Naturalisations 1843-1981

[16] New Zealand Times 20 Feb 1907

[17] Evening Post 28 Feb 1907 Local and General

[18] New Zealand Times 24 Jan 1908 Precious Stores - Pencarrow Quarry - Among the Boulders

[19] Evening Post 07 Jan 1908

[20] Evening Post 20 Jan 1908 The Bush Fires

[21] Evening Post 22 Jan 1908 The Forest Fires – Wellington Under Smoke

[22] New Zealand Times 24 Jan 1908 Precious Stores - Pencarrow Quarry - Among the Boulders

[23] Lyttelton Times 28 Feb 1908

[24] Evening Post 24 Feb 1909 Fatal Explosion – The Pencarrow Fatality

[25] Dominion 25 Feb 1909

[26] Dominion 11 Mar 1910 Nearing Completion - Hutt Duplication Works - Visit of Inspection

[27] Police Gazette 1906 page 273 Herbert Hunter discharged from gaol 16 Jul 1906

[28] Evening Post 19 Oct 1906

[29] New Zealand Times 24 Jan 1908 Precious Stores - Pencarrow Quarry - Among the Boulders

[30] NZ Truth 06 Apr 1908 The Pencarrow Quarry

[31] Evening Post 24 Feb 1909 Fatal Explosion - The Pencarrow Fatality

[32] Sketch of the Country Districts in the vicinity of Port Nicholson 04 January 1843 Survey Office Plan SO 10429

[33] Register of Country Section Selections - Archives NZ Reference ADXS 19480 LS-W65/3/43

[34] New Zealand Times 15 Oct 1909 The Pencarrow Quarry - A Claim for L3500

[35] Wairarapa Daily Times 18 Oct 1909 Local and General

For the Cameron Family see


Other sources not seen/analysed for this article:

Archives NZ ACHL 22541 W5/615 24470/1 Pencarrow Quarry Plan WR16387 – shows wharf, weighbridge, cookhouse and areas of good and broken rock Archives NZ AAEB W3199 51/04/2018/1 Pencarrow Quarry 1904-1962 General papers covering the quarry from the beginning – correspondence, maps, tenderers, Cameron family

ARTICLE: Rock from Pencarrow by David Johnson Describes ships used for transporting stone from a quarry at Pencarrow to Petone for the building of sea walls along the Hutt Road to Wellington from Petone, to protect both the rail lines and the road. Summarises the project from the calling of tenders in 1905 to its completion in 1909. New Zealand marine news, 1982; v.33 n.1:p.19-22


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

  CHOIE Sew Hoy – Chinese Merchant in Otago Sew Hoy was the eldest of four sons of Choie Bing Sum, a farmer in the village of Sha Kong (Altar Hill), in the Upper Poon Yu (Panyu) district of Canton (Guangdong) Province, China

Choie Sew Hoy was one of thousands of Cantonese who went to Gum San, "the gold mountain" of California.

When the rush to Dai Gum San, the "big new gold mountain" of Australia, began, Choie Sew Hoy went to the goldfields of Victoria, but he took part in the Victorian gold rush as a merchant rather than a miner.


In 1867 the Otago Provincial Council invited Chinese miners in Victoria to come to the Otago goldfields, and Choie Sew Hoy moved his enterprise to New Zealand, probably in 1868. [1]

The Picture on the left does indeed show CHOIE Sew Hoy (c.1836-1901) but the picture on the right, probably taken at the same time, shows his oldest son CHOIE Kum Yok. Kum Yok (1855-1932) was born in Sha Kong village, Upper Panyu county, Guangdong, China. He came out to Otago to join his father in 1873, aged 18. The likelihood is that he was one of the four Chinese passengers who arrived in Dunedin by the barque Harriet Armitage, which had been chartered for a Dunedin - Hong Kong - Dunedin voyage by Choie Sew Hoy and other Dunedin Chinese merchants. - Otago Daily Times, 18 October 1873, p.2 Kum Yok took part in the family merchant business and returned to China in 1897, becoming a wealthy businessman in China. He died in 1932. Kum Yok was the father of Hugh SEW HOY (1902-1996), a prominent Dunedin businessman. – Trevor Agnew 1 Dec 2015 [2]


He opened a store in Dunedin in 1869 and developed into a successful merchant importing Chinese goods. Like other Chinese merchants in the city he became a social focus for the Chinese miners: providing advice, help and credit; outfitting and provisioning newcomers; and supplying Chinese stores in the goldfields. Sew Hoy was also twice reported to be exporting Jew's ear fungus Auricularia polytricha ) to China, despite his distance from the North Island forests where it grew.

Unlike most of his fellow Chinese, who saw themselves only as sojourners, Sew Hoy was naturalised in 1873. He did not, however, bring his wife to New Zealand, although a few Chinese wives began arriving in Dunedin from 1873. Virtually nothing is known of her except that her name was Young Soy May, and that her two sons, Kum Yok and Kum Poy, came to New Zealand. There was at least one other child, a daughter, who remained in China. At some point Sew Hoy and Eliza Ann (sometimes known as Eliza Lilly) Prescott began living together in a modest villa in Dunedin and had two children: Violet and Henry. It was presumably as a result of Eliza's influence that the children attended Anglican schools, since Sew Hoy probably never became a Christian. Eliza died on 15 February 1909, aged 40.

Sew Hoy became a prominent leader of Otago's Chinese miners, most of whom also came from the upper Panyu district; as one man put it: 'If Sew Hoy tell you a stone roll uphill, you believe him.' He commanded respect from Chinese and European alike, not least because he opposed opium smoking, and because his word was his bond. To Europeans he was well known for his 'interest in public affairs.… As everyone knows, his name invariably figured on subscription lists'. Being bilingual, he was able to mix in European society, and joined St John Kilwinning Lodge of the Freemasons. By the early 1880s he was the best-known Chinese in Dunedin.

Sew Hoy proved decisively that nineteenth century New Zealand Chinese had the capacity and ability to undertake advanced mining projects, and could successfully enter the European world. Yet he did not abandon his Chinese traditions. The Cheong Shing Tong – the benevolent society of Panyu and Hua migrants which operated from his store – helped the poor and elderly. In 1883 the society was responsible for exhuming 230 Chinese dead and conveying them to Guangdong. Sew Hoy died on 22 July 1901 at Dunedin, where he was buried. His body was disinterred in 1902 during another mass exhumation and placed on board the Ventnor, bound for China. Unfortunately, the ship sank off Hokianga, and his remains, along with most of the other 498 bodies, were lost. It is still remembered, however, that he wished to be buried in the Cheong Shing Tong's cemetery in upper Panyu, with the bodies of otherwise friendless former associates buried around him. [3]

The Family is still dominant in New Zealand, as seen by the family tree

To Grow Roots Where They Land


Seventy-five years ago, 244 Chinese women and their 239 children arrived in New Zealand as refugees from a war-torn homeland, Guangdong, China. Nearly 600 people including former Chinese war refugees and their descendants gathered in Auckland on Sunday, 12 October to acknowledge and celebrate this first arrival in 1939. The event also highlighted the long and substantial history and contribution the New Zealand Chinese community has made to New Zealand.

Organiser, Richard Leung, chair of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association said it is important to acknowledge New Zealand’s humanitarian act of accepting women and children fleeing a war-torn China: “We want the generations who have been born here since to remember their roots as New Zealand Chinese. It is now our opportunity to pay it forward.” [4]

In Labour Weekend 2019, it is planned to celebrate the 80th anniversary.

The Poll Tax Heritage Trust has recently commissioned authors Meilin Chong and Lily Lee to produce a history book on Chinese refugee mothers and children from 1939–1947.

They are compiling data and need extra information. If your grandmother or mother was a refugee (mother or child) in 1939-1947, please email Meilin Chong on:







Helen Wong

Guest Contributors

Diane Wilson

From the Editor: My old friend, Diane Wilson has been burrowing her way through documents as she assembles a new index. This one is about marriages and she has given some unusual articles she has found.

In November 2016 my late husband, Murray, and I celebrated our Diamond Wedding. I remarked at the time that in those 60 years only once was I asked for my marriage certificate, and that was when we applied for patriality in the UK. Strange, as in NZ since 1880 it is one of the best documents to assist with identifying your family connections. Well is this true?

For the past two years I have been constructing a marriage locator along the same lines as the Burial Locator I organised so many years ago. It has been an absolute eye opener as to where and how fragmented the records are and the places in which they are held.

Here are a few:

Article image

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 And to add a sense of farce she has included the following:

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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 @ Central Library, Auckland

Are you interested in family and local history? The history of New Zealand, as well as the rest of the world? Then why not come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks 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.

HeritageTalks take place every second Wednesday at 12 noon in the Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Auckland unless otherwise stated. Booking is recommended but not essential.

Phone Central Auckland Research Centre 09 890 2412 to book, or book online:


What’s in a name? with Anne Brady

Wednesday 13 March, 12pm - 1pm

Why can’t you find your names when searching through online databases? Anne will give us lots of ideas on how to search for elusive ancestors using surname variants. You will get a lot more from the session if you bring along a piece of paper headed with columns of your ‘brick wall’ names.


James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks with Jake Bransgrove

Wednesday 20 March 12pm – 1pm

James Cook and Joseph Banks sailed from Plymouth Harbour on the HMS Endeavour in August 1768. The journey was the first of three undertaken by Cook to the Pacific. For Banks, the fame that followed laid the foundation for a life of science in the public eye. This talk explores the relationship between Cook and Banks through manuscript material held in Sir George Grey Special Collections.


Jake Bransgrove is a graduate student in History at the University of Auckland. He is an Auckland Library Heritage Trust Research Scholar for 2019, working with papers relating to James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks held in Sir George Grey Special Collections at the Auckland Central City Library.


Sir George Grey and the Thorne George family with David Verran

Wednesday 27 March, 12pm - 1pm

George Grey needs little introduction: governor, Premier, assimilationist, invader of the Waikato – a man of war, politics and letters, and estranged from his wife Lady Grey. Not so well known is that from 1853 Grey was guardian for his half niece, Annie Maria, and that Annie’s marriage to Seymour Thorne George gave Grey a family life for most of his remaining years.


LivingDNA with Jan Gow

Wednesday 3 April, 12pm - 1pm

Join Jan Gow QSM FSG and hear about LivingDNA’s test which covers your family line ancestry, your motherline, and your fatherline ancestry if you are male, with sub-regional breakdowns of results. The partnership with Findmypast promises to bring even more depth to your research.


Playing dress up: fancy dress in New Zealand museum collections with Marguerite Hill, heritage researcher, Auckland Council

Wednesday 10 April, 12pm - 1pm

Historically, New Zealanders have loved dressing up. From patriotic fundraisers and Sunday school picnics to historical reconstructions and the Rugby Sevens, Kiwis seem to find any excuse to put on fancy dress. New Zealand museum collections yield a surprising number of surviving fancy dress costumes as well as a wealth of photographs.

Spice it up!

Be inclusive with Professor Edwina Pio,

University Director of Diversity, AUT

Wednesday 24 April, 12pm - 1pm

With the volatile mix of ethnic patterns in our society, both past and current, how do we create a future all New Zealanders can dream of? Professor Edwina Pio examines how historically we have often shunned stereotypes, yet the future demands compassion and inclusiveness. This talk will look at how we must work to give back for the privilege of living in Aotearoa.

Heritage Talks in the “SoundCloud”

Have you ever wished that you could come to one of our events? Have you ever emailed me asking if the event was being recorded?

Well, click the link below and read the blog!

HeritageTalks go live!


Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero | Central City Library is pleased to announce that our popular Heritage Talks programme will now be available as part of Auckland Libraries’ content on SoundCloud<>

and YouTube<>.


Heritage Talks are a regular event run by Research Central<> and focus on topics of interest in the areas of local, family and world history. Talks are presented by a range of researchers and historians whose enthusiasm for their subjects is contagious. And now you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to share in the stories. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and relax!


We are carrying on with our recording and uploading of our HeritageTalks and other events (where we have the speakers’ permissions).

HeritageTalks that were recorded during 2018 (including our Influenza Pandemic Commemoration Day) are on the Auckland Libraries SoundCloud channel here:


This year’s HeritageTalks can be found here:


You may want to subscribe to our Soundcloud channel so you are alerted to other recordings coming online as they happen:


2019 Auckland Family History Expo - Tāmaki Huinga Tātai Kōrero

Preparation for this year’s Expo is humming along. We have closed our EOI for Exhibitors, and are now working through our speakers’ submissions. We hope to be tell you who our “headliners” are soon – and I promise we won’t disappoint!

We are still seeking sponsorship. In previous years, sponsorship has been $1000 plus products for raffle prizes. We are also very happy to negotiate sponsorship deals for those interested in smaller or larger contributions. If you know of a company who would be happy to sponsor us financially, or give us product or services for raffle prizes, please get them to get in contact – or let me know!

We feel it’s awesome marketing, and a fabulous way to support the genealogy and family history community!

Many thanks and kind regards –

Seonaid Lewis and Jan Gow, Auckland Family History Expo committee

KURA – Heritage Collections online at Auckland Libraries

I'd like to introduce you to "Kura" our Heritage Collections Online portal. Kura means treasured or valued possessions.

The amalgamation of our various libraries in 2010 when Auckland Council was created, meant we had a large number of databases in various different formats. Even just the old Auckland City databases were themselves all in different database formats.

The last couple of years our IS and Digital Services people, in conjunction with our Heritage teams have been working away to adapt a CMS (content management system) to pull all our databases over into one place, so people no longer have to search individual databases and can now do one search across multiple collections.

Around 650,000 existing digitised records have been brought into Kura from our other databases, with approximately 1.8 million existing records  still to go. Alot of images have been rescanned to take advantage of the better technology available today, and meta data has been tidied up to make searching easier.

A bunch of new never-before-digitised and / or published online records have also been added to Kura such as:

We will be continuously bringing over our existing collections, and adding new ones. So keep an eye out. Those that haven't moved over yet are still available in their old places, in their databases.

In the meantime, have a look at our library website - -  you can access Kura from either the banner at the top (which is there temporarily) or from Heritage Collections, which is their permanent place.

Don't forget the golden rule of using new websites/databases - check out the help pages to make sure you are getting the most out of your experience:

And it’s totally FREE for all to access, and no membership to Auckland Libraries is required!


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central A uckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


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Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


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

email, if you need directions.

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

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





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



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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:

Some DNA ancestry services akin to 'genetic astrology'

By Pallab GhoshScience correspondent, BBC News

·         7 March 2013


The Family Search Digital Library



Testing Artifacts to Obtain DNA Evidence for Genealogical Research



Mark Your Calendar: the Apocalypse Will Occur on December 28, 2019

Dick Eastman · February 11, 2019 

You can party from now until December 28th. Run up credit card bills, spend your money in Las Vegas, get drunk, and have fun with other things. Why not? The world is going to end anyway late this year so you don’t have to worry about paying those bills.

This time it is for real, at least according to David Montaigne, a guy who has written multiple books about the end times, and bills himself as a “historian and “prophecy scholar.”

You might want to be aware that Montaigne’s record of predictions hasn’t been very good. Montaigne has previously claimed that the anti-Christ was going to return to Earth in June of 2016. But Montaigne is still here and is still making predictions about the end of the world. He insists this time it is for real.

Montaigne makes the following claims on his website:

“On December 21, 2019, survivors will experience the first day of a pole shift – when the entire surface of the planet will shift out of position and move over the more fluid layers beneath the crust. Over the next few days this will cause earthquakes and tidal waves and volcanic activity which will almost completely destroy what is left of our civilisation. There is a mountain of evidence in historical, geological, and biological records showing such pole shifts have happened before. Even the Bible describes them repeatedly. I think that we will experience another pole shift for the week following December 21, 2019, getting worse each day until the natural disasters culminate on December 28 – Judgment Day.”

Hand me the saltshaker, please. I need a few more grains of salt.

You can read more about David Montaigne’s predictions (if you have nothing better to do) on his blog, appropriately entitled End Times Prophecy, at:


New Genealogy Search Engine at

Dick Eastman · February 21, 2019 Crawler is a web crawler/search engine that works in a similar method as Google but with one major difference: it is constantly crawling the web looking for any pages that pertain solely to genealogy. Once it finds a genealogy-related web site, Kin Crawler indexes each page and puts the words or cache into a database on the Kin Crawler server. The search engine then takes whatever you type in and searches the database for matching words. It then tries to return a list of pages that best match your query. has over 3 million pages in the index so far. These first 2 million crawl has mainly been the free content from the USGenweb, Rootsweb pages, and many other sites that are considered to be good free alternatives to using pay sites. The plan is to expand that “web crawl” to as many genealogy sites as can be identified. If you don’t find what you want on Kin Crawler today, you might return in a few months and try again. By that time, Kin Crawler probably will be expanded significantly.

Kin Crawler is a non-commercial web site, started by and maintained as a personal project by Anthony Marshall. He writes, “My main hobbies are genealogy and web programming so I decided to combine the two in an attempt to make the largest ‘free form’ genealogy specific search engine on the internet. My main goal is to help others find their family history by creating a genealogy search that is completely free and linked to pages that are also completely free.”

You might want to take a look at In fact, you first might want to read the FAQs (Frequently-Asked Questions) at


 From the Editor: Go to


And read the comments and answers for further information.

Book Reviews

Circe (Madeline Miller)

Reviewed by Robert Barnes.

After last month’s reviews of books set in the ninth century, now I’ve gone back even earlier, to Greek mythology.  Those who have a smattering of a classical education will know the story of Odysseus, the Greek hero whose ten-year journey back home after the Trojan war involved many perils including an encounter with the evil enchantress Circe, who turned his crew into swine.   Here is a retelling of the story of Circe, presenting a completely different point of view.   Rated a New York Times bestseller, and named “one of the best books of the year” in several reviews.  I bought my copy electronically, and just loved it, agreeing with the Amazon review that described it as “unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense”.   Certainly, when I got close to the end, I just had to stay up to about 3AM to finish it.  An original take on the world of Titans, Gods, and Demigods of Greek mythology.


By the way: several of you must have followed up my review last month of the Ceridwen saga by clicking on Octavia Randolph’s site.  They thanked me for a spike in the number of their membership applications.

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In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

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


To the Editor:

Early European Contacts with New Zealand (pre 1846)

For many years I have been collecting data on early European individuals and families who settled or visited New Zealand.

As a project I have developed a genealogical database to try and capture every known instance of Early European contact with New Zealand (starting with the speculative arrival of the Portugese explorer Christopher MENDONCA in 1521! ) and including information through to the end of 1845 when New Zealand had a European population of around 7,000 people.  The database now has around 35,000 names. Where known the database includes genealogical data such as parents, spouses, siblings, children, immigration details etc.

I maintain the database as a genealogical database on Brother’s Keeper but periodically upload the database via gedcom to Famnet and to Rootsweb World Connect (Ancestry) as well as to my own website . This website provides a brief overview of early European history from the time of the first explorers, sealers, whalers, missionaries and so on through to the organised settlement programs of the NZ Company. The website has an associated database of names for look up.

Some of the key sources of information have been:

·         Shipping passenger lists

·         Early Settler’s Roll (Auckland and regions)

·         Jury lists

·         censuses

·         BDMs e.g. Bay of Island’s Anglican church records

·         Newspapers Past

·         The Dictionary of NZ Biography

·         Settler’s databases in local libraries/museums (Petone, Otago, Nelson etc)

·         Hundreds of books. (NZGS FRC in Panmure a good source)

·         Personal communications with hundreds of researchers.

I have previously believed that the database contains in excess of 90% of the potential names but I continually find further information to add to the database or to enable further details to be added and corrections to be made. I now believe that it will be another year or two before I am confident that the database contains in excess of 95% of the potential names.

I would appreciate corresponding with any other researchers who may be able to supply or correct information or who may wish me to provide information by "look up'' from the database.

I would also be interested in collaboration with anyone else who may be interested in further developing these databases.

As a by-product of the above I have also collated a Shipping Arrivals and Departures list for shipping in and around NZ up to the end of 1845. I am happy to make this available to anyone requesting it. (excel format).

I am grateful for all of the information that has already been gathered and which is available on a number of excellent web sites. Sources are available for all information.

Tony Christiansen,


To the Editor:


Hi again, this is the address of the genealogy books site I was talking about at the meeting.


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.

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A Bit of Light Relief

Here are more epitaphs that amuse me.

Image result for epitaph funny examples

Image result for epitaph funny examples

Image result for epitaph funny examples




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