Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter May 2017

ISSN 2253-4040

Quote. " Whoever said “seek and ye shall find” was not a genealogist" – unknown

Editorial 2

Regular Features. 3

From the Developer 3

Privacy. 3

Telling your story: Index. 4

The Nash Rambler 4

DNA Testing for Family History. 6

Index to previous articles. 8

Jan’s Jottings. 8

Wairarapa Wandering:  The Young Postcard. 10

Tracey’s Contribution. 10

An Anonymous Genealogist from West Auckland. 12

Hard Copy – No, Not In Your Place. 14

Digging into Historical Records. 15

From our Libraries and Museums. 16

Auckland Libraries. 16

HeritageTalks 2017. 16

Group News. 18

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 18

Waikanae Family History Group. 18

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 19

News and Views. 19

Fibbing Ancestors. 19

Are We Nearing the End of Genealogy Blogging?. 20

Searching the Internet 21

Searching With Google. 21

Search Engines Other Than Google. 22

Useful Ideas when Searching on Google. 23

Should you share your family tree?. 24

How to Find 4 Kinds of Family History Books Free on FamilySearch. 25

New at FamilySearch-April 2017. 27

Book Reviews. 27

Yours Faithfully. 27

Elizabeth Yates. 28

Being Mortal 29

Advertisements. 29

Old Family Reunion, 20th and 21st January 2018 in New Plymouth. 29

Advertising with FamNet 29

In conclusion. 30

A Bit of Light Relief 30

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 31


Back to the Top. 17


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

Another month has flown by. Another newsletter is assembled.

It is extremely satisfying and encouraging to receive so much reaction to our newsletters. For a while there I thought all I was doing was assembling a newsletter that wasn't read other than by a very few. Now I'm getting comments, both in writing and verbally, and all are very acceptable. We are now getting all sorts of readers who have heard my suggestion that this newsletter is a method of getting their writing published. We are getting more people offering suggestions and articles.

I try to include interesting and, sometimes provocative, articles and blogs that I hope will stimulate readers. I try to keep abreast of new developments in this rapidly growing intellectual field of historical research. I even try to inject a bit of humour. I try to make this newsletter different from a society magazine or other magazines - all have their place. But the primary ambition is the word "news" that appears in the title.

In this issue:-

·         From the developer: the OLD reunion (see Advertisments) triggered some thoughts on Privacy.  Can we have too much privacy?

·         The Nash Rambler: I introduce an ethical problem I am facing regarding what I should do with my "mental clutter" particularly while I'm in the process of minimising my physical genealogical clutter.

·         Jan Gow writes on searching in My Heritage and interpreting the results of a search

·         Gail writes about Autosomal Ethnicity - if you don't know what that is, read the article. Gail will not be writing any more in this series for a long while because of overseas travel (lucky thing) and "overseas" relocation of residence (to South Island).  Reread the whole series and learn more.

·         Adele talks about acquiring an old postcard of historic significance to her area.

·         Tracey Bartlett introduces us to a couple more of her ancestors in her column. They are the sort of ancestors you need to brighten your family tree.

·         Another new contributor, the Anonymous Genealogist from West Auckland continues his saga on substantiating talk of a possible half sibling.

·         In light of the Edgecumbe floods Hanley Hoffmann suggests a method of safeguarding your digital records

·         Dawn Chambers starts a column which I hope to be a regular column about the various historical documents she has come across in her research - this time regarding when Opunake first appeared on a map.

·         Auckland Libraries announce their upcoming lunch time lectures and also an afternoon session with Helen Smith, an Australian professional genealogist (maybe you should attend).

·         I have included an article about our "fibbing ancestors" and boy do I have a few.

·         Included is an article on whether we are nearing the end of genealogy blogging

·         I have included some basic articles on using Google for research. Sometimes we need to reread the simple articles to be more successful in our research methods.

·         Included is a short article on whether you should share your family tree.

·         Again I have included an article on finding free genealogical books - this time on FamilySearch

·         Three book reviews this time


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



Peter Nash

Back to the Top

Regular Features

From the Developer


This month our newsletter is carrying a notice about an OLD reunion.  I am a descendent of Richard and Jane OLD who arrived in New Plymouth in 1843, so I’ve emailed back to Christine noting my interest.  But it got me thinking about privacy and genealogy databases, particularly in FamNet of course.

FamNet has always been strict about privacy: you can put your family tree into FamNet, including all the living people, yet people except for your family and friends that you add to your family group won’t see any records of living people.  Go on, try it: look up my record in FamNet (Robert BARNES, parents Arthur BARNES/Olive WELLARD, record owner robertb).  Although you’ll be able to see my record because I’ve explicitly made it public, you won’t be able to see my children or grandchildren.  Yet they’re there in the database, and I (and members of my family group) can see them.  FamNet has never had a privacy problem except in the first few months of its life (as NZGDB) where the program code had a few bugs.

Now think of Christine’s situation – she’s planning a family reunion, and it would no doubt be very helpful to her to have a list of the living descendents of Richard and Jane OLD.  FamNet can easily print this list: it has superb records of this family, mainly due to the excellent work of Mirk Smith (user Mirk562).   I sent Christine a descendents chart of my particular line, and then I thought “Oops, have I broken the rules?” because I sent a chart produced with my own logon which included some living people, not the restricted version that Christine would have produced had she printed this chart herself.

While a restricted chart will be of some interest to those coming to the reunion, clearly none of those attending will be deceased.  Is it illegal for anybody to produce a chart at the reunion with any living people on it?   This seems a bit stupid – after all, we go to these reunions because it is fun to make contact with our relatives, and our first question to each other will be “How are we connected?”  

A chart contains information like this, so the only information that anybody could possibly object to is having the year (not the date) of their birth disclosed.  Is even this too much? 

The law doesn’t actually say that you can’t publish information about living people, it says that you can’t disclose any information about living people that could cause them harm (or distress), but the only safe rule is “Confidential unless dead”.  Even a chart without any year of birth for living people could be a problem: what if it recorded an undisclosed child that the parent had wanted kept hidden?  So it mightn’t help to provide a chart option omitted birth years of living people.

Of course organizations are allowed to gather any information that they need for their business, and may publish it within the organisation but not externally.  Just think of the information that your bank, your employer, etc keep about you.  Could the reunion be regarded as an “Organization” (albeit temporary), and provide information to people attending subject to appropriate terms and conditions – basically agreement to use the information only for legitimate family history purposes?

Peter, I’ve love to have you add your comments.  With your experience at the NZSG you know much more about this than I do.  

From the editor: Only one complaint can put you into very long running and expensive dealings with the Privacy Commission. One complaint can result in a thorough review and observation of your whole operation which will result in restrictions being placed on you. Proving you’re right is not a victory when you consider time and money spent.

So, for purely these reasons only I would be very careful. There seem to be some people out there who are self-appointed preservers of privacy. We have dealt with some of them. Avoid them.

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

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

Now that I'm happily up to my eyeballs in my cartons of "important papers, research results, old photos etc" I have another problem I need to put down on paper.

Before I start on the matter of importance I should say that going through cartons of "valuables" is an enjoyable exercise. For example, I have scanned a few articles from old NZSG Conference Proceedings and thrown, gently, into the recycle bin those sometimes quite massive books. I have disposed of half a bookshelf in this manner. Reading these old "speeches" brought back many memories of past conferences. The articles have, mostly, been superseded by the massive developments in digital technology and the many resources that are now "on the internet". I even reread a lecture I gave and chuckled at the humour - no praise is better than self praise (I know that that can be read two ways).

I have been researching for over 25 years. I have forgotten what notes I had taken. I was very conscientious when I was reading LDS films. I recorded every reference to my surnames. Now that I have broken my Joseph NASH brick wall, I was able to go back a further two generations and complete a few families of his siblings and uncles and aunts. These forgotten records have all been put into a database because I cannot store the paper and I don't want to throw them out "just in case". I have reread some old articles I had photocopied. I found photos I could not scan at the time for some forgotten reason. This is a slow process. In three months I have disposed of two cartons - but have had a wonderful time doing so.

Therefore I thoroughly recommend that you dig out your cartons, empty those filing boxes and drawers and reread those old books. I strongly recommend that you digitise all that is "really important", not just all of it.

Whilst you are doing this make a few decisions about how your "treasures" are going to be dealt with when you pass on. Believe me I have shuddered when, in the past, I have been told of the bonfire in the backyard or the many recycle bins that have been filled by all that wonderful research done by a very inquiring mind. In my case, my unsuspecting daughter came home from London, for Xmas. She was sat down in front of my book shelves and told what to do with my books and family heirlooms. Despite her protestations, she was given a thorough tour of my computer and was subjected to many photos and articles etc. When I had finished she (hopefully) understood what I had acquired. I told her that she was the guardian. She didn't have to be the family's historian but it was her job to look after "my stuff" until she found another person in the family who was interested enough. I think I have sorted out the problem of future retention unless I annoy my daughter too much.

Now having decided to deal with the paper clutter in my computer room/office and delegated the future guardian, I have other information I need to deal with - the MENTAL CLUTTER.

Let me explain what I mean by "mental clutter".

When I wrote the NASH family history for the Family Reunion in the mid 1990's I had a definite way I gathered the information. I interviewed all the "oldies". I did this by sitting them down and asking questions. I then went away and wrote their chapter of the book and sent it back to them. After a week or two I went back and re-interviewed them. They were able to make changes, get things deleted if they wanted and make additions. Some of them had problems remembering their past or were suspicious of what I would write. They all knew that I was going to speak to all their relatives so they had to be reasonably honest. Obviously I didn't put everything that I had been told into the book because that wasn't sensitive or sensible. After a few visits their chapter was done and I promised not to make changes when I published the book.

Some of my "beloved" senior relatives had great pleasure in "spilling the beans" on their siblings or cousins. Believe me I heard some very surprising things. Some of my apparently "upright" aunties were very "frisky" when they were younger. I was put into touch with a few illegitimate cousins (albeit very distant cousins). I had found a lot of court records and, before PapersPast, newspaper articles of misdemeanours which I revealed and asked for comment.

I had a couple of hilarious afternoons in backblocks Hokianga hearing stories about a World War 1 veteran. Apparently he was gassed in France and this caused all sorts of health problems that could only be eased by alcohol - lots of alcohol. The local neighbours were very understanding. They would provide a lot of fruit to be converted to the medicinal elixir. Neighbours would even do the processing and deliver the final medicine. Even the fine upstanding, very religious, neighbouring spinsters were very benevolent and helpful and became very competent brewers. After much laughter and storytelling by two of his daughters, I had to gently break it to them that the closest he got to France was either Palestine or Egypt. Obviously the sand caused his problems. They weren't shocked but laughed even louder when it sunk in. They loved him more.

My father and mother decided that I needed to know the family secrets. They told me many things that shocked me. They told me why they had moved from Hokianga to Whangarei and then to Auckland. I was stunned. They told me things about their parents that I could never had found in "records". They told me why my favourite uncle had a very icy marriage. They told me all sorts of things including "many crimes not paid for and social sins committed". Suddenly all the little mysteries in the family were solved. I now knew why certain relatives were like they were. I now understood the silent glares, the nonappearances at family functions and the icy relationships. Interestingly the next generations were very affected by these misdemeanours although they didn't know of the cause for isolation etc.

If you have heard me preaching in my many speeches around NZ you will remember that one of my recurring themes was to find out why people moved from place to place. My repeated saying was "your ancestors moved for a reason. They didn't just suddenly up and go for no reason".

Now to my problem! What do I do with my brain and its contents? Do I write all this down? Do I tell somebody? Is it important that this information is retained or should it be lost forever when I decide to "move on" or it is decided that I "move on"? The information I have will not be found in any record in the future and I have the reasons for a few future DNA test results. HMMMM!!!

On another subject. You may recall a column or two I wrote this time last year about a trip to Europe I did in June. Although I didn't do any formal research it appeared that the places we visited were of genealogical significance to my family. She didn't complain too much at the time.

Well my wife is in the process of planning another trip to the UK and maybe Europe. Very early on she sent this cartoon to me as a compulsory qualification if I was to accompany her.

Regards to all

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

 23.  Autosomal Ethnicity – How accurate are the maps you are seeing?

I am taking a break from numerous tasks and am succumbing to our editor’s call to write another article for Famnet.  The subject has been motivated by the flurry of questions on ethnicity in recent times – not least because is pushing this aspect, but FTDNA has recently released a new look at a testers’ ethnicity from their autosomal results.

The common questions are along the lines of “I know my people came from “XYZ”, but this isn’t showing in my list or map or ???  Why not?”

The simple answer is not at all simple.  Here are some reasons:-

1.      The ethnicity results provided as a base against which to measure a tester’s autosomal results are averages.  And we all know the story of the man who drowned crossing a river said to be an average of two feet deep. 

2.      The tester has to know the movement of his or her ancestors back over more than just the last 200 years.  Not many know this because around 1880 or even a little later, records can be missing – which is why people took a test in the first place.  And if the tester does not know such details, then they cannot state categorically that their people came from “XYZ”.  After all, they could have come from another country entirely immediately before they landed in “XYZ”.

3.      My people arrived in New Zealand in the 1840s, 1850s and later.  Some from England; some from Scotland; some from Europe; some from Australia (and who had earlier come from Europe and/or Scotland).  Some of the Scottish migrants had come from both Europe and from England.  So what does my map show – see further along in this article.

4.      According to what I have just written, should my ethnicity show English or Scottish or European (Germany) or Australian?  And at what time?  Should the modern boundaries be used or should the boundaries of 200 years or a more distant time be shown? 

5.      We keep being told (or reading) that our parents passed 50% of each of their chromosomes to all their natural siblings.  So it is natural for us to think that our siblings will show the same map as our own.  Right?  Nope;  wrong.  We certainly do get 50% from each parent but not from each chromosome.  You got 22 of these from each parent, meaning you have 44 are mixing and muddling within your genes.  When a female adds in an X from her mother and her father, she has an extra complication.  When a male adds in his X from his mother and a Y from his father (which is excluded from the FTDNA autosomal ethnicity results), why should those siblings be the same?


When I first saw my own map (Figure 1) I was most surprised.  So I immediately went to look at my brother’s (Figure 2).  It was even more surprising.  My sister’s map floored me (Figure 3).

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3


I mean, I had a robust family tree but in no way did I consider there could be 4% Ashkenazi Jew from out of Poland.  I quickly worked out that the maps were based on two important factors.  The first was that the map reflected what we see in our Chromosome Browser  - meaning it could only reflect a small percentage of my ancestors back to maybe 1600;  a slightly higher percentage for those born in the 1700s and an even higher percentage of those born in the 1800s  in terms of generations.  Then I realised the map was representing a geographical view of what chromosomal mapping of all my family and cousins etc gave me.  For those of you who are unaware of chromosomal mapping, its advantages and benefits and who see no need to test their siblings or cousins please go to


Because one side of my family has only supplied one member for such a test, I have not been able to conclusively work out exactly from whence the Ashkenazi Jewishness came, but the trail is narrowing.  Just a couple more testers will nail it for me.


Earlier in this artcle, I mentioned that FTDNA excluded the Y chromsome from the maps.  The reason for this is that the Y chromosome is solely from male to male; meaning from father to son.  To bring this into the autosomal mix would be to skew the results.  Similarly the mitochondria is excluded – not that the mitochondria is a chromosome.  It is the power house of each cell and surrounds the nucleus in which the chromosomes reside.


Within FTDNA, the Y chromosome is displayed in its own map – by the SNPs found by testing firstly the STR markers, such as Y67, followed by testing the ‘Big Y’.  I cannot access this for my brother as there are only 2 men thus far in the entire data base with his particular most youthful SNP result.  This is not surprising because the whole point of such testing is to learn which SNP is particular to which family.  Utterly invaluable when you bear a common surname such as Williams or Smith or Johnson as examples.


Seeing all the African portions, reminded me of a comment from a gentleman who believed sincerely that his map should have shown his ethnicity as being from the various islands in the Caribbean, yet the map was showing mostly Polish.  He was most vocal.  However, it was explained to him that for some 80 years, the specific island in question (Tobago) were “owned” by an aristocrat – either of Latvia or Lithuania bordering the Baltic Sea.  And this area of Europe has frequently changed hands, so when history and dates are taken into account, it is not surprising that the map showed Poland.


The main points to take away from this short article is that until you do your genealogical work and until you learn the actual history of the geographical place of your believed origin and understand how these maps work, you too may be as surprised as I was.

Index to previous articles

1.   What is Molecular Genealogy?

2.   Where would I begin?

3.   What test should I take?

4.   What DNA will NOT tell you and the risks involved.

5.   Direct paternal line (men only).

6.   Direct maternal line (men and women).

7.   All the lineages including maternal and paternal (men and women).

8.   Understanding direct paternal results.

9.   Understanding direct maternal line results.

10. Understanding your Autosomal ("cousin") results.

11. Understanding the X Chromosome.

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

13. DNA Websites, Blogs, and Forums

14. Commonly Asked Questions – Some Basic, Some Advanced

15. DNA – Something a little different…

16. Current Pricings for the Three Main Genealogical Testing Firms

17. DNA Testing for Family History

18. Starting a new series on Y DNA Testing

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

20. DNA Testing – Getting into SNP testing on the Y chromosome to enhance your Family History (Contd) 

21DNA Testing – Going over some frequently asked questions, plus, plus…

22. FTDNA Projects


Gail Riddell 

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Jan’s Jottings

Those of you who subscribe to the NZSG Members' List will know that there has been some discussion re My Heritage lately.


Someone was upset because they were searching in My Heritage and came across personal information about a recently deceased person and details on their parents and siblings – all living. They were trying to work out who of their relatives could have uploaded this information to My Heritage. They had their suspicions! Mostly they were upset that My Heritage had 'published' this information.


I have been in communication with My Heritage as they are an NZSG sponsor for the Conference and also for the Auckland FH Expo. I have been discussing, for instance, how we can have a women's maiden name as we have always been instructed to do rather than use her married surname.  There is a place to set this but it does not work as well as it could!! I suggested that they needed to do some work on the exact search -and that has certainly improved!!


 So I was ready to start more discussions with them!!!  But wanted to go through the steps and double check on what had happened, before I started more discussions.


I was sent screen dumps of the display showing the information on living people. I decided to try to see just what personal information was there for the people concerned. I did a “research this person” search in My Heritage. This is fabulous because they are searching through their databases looking for anything that might match with your data. There were 7 Family Trees found. For all but two there was nothing at all about this particular branch of the family – stopped a couple of generations back. For the other two, the family was mentioned but everything was shown as the surname and private. So none of the personal information was listed there.


Then I looked more carefully at the screen dump. The heading on the search results, clearly states ".... in your Legacy Family Tree".  Just as happens whenever you are looking at the MyHeritage Hints or possible matches it shows what you already have and what My Heritage has found - so that you can compare the two and see what the differences are.  This is just common sense and what we would want it to do.  When any of the processes occur when there has been a search for anything anywhere that might match in anyway with anyone in your tree - of course you have to be able to compare what you have with what was found to see if there is anything new and different. That is the whole purpose of the search!!  And surely what we expect to happen??   So, of course you are going to see what you have!!  But only you because it is you looking at your data in your Legacy on your computer.


You can have the same screen when doing a FamilySearch search and comparison. So the LH side has "in your ... tree” and the right hand side "in FamilySearch tree”. For you to compare what you have with what the..... search has found.


So YOU are seeing what you have entered into your Legacy database. So that YOU can compare with what MyHeritage/FamilySearch/XXXX matches have found with your data you already have.  The data is not there as uploaded, but there for comparison. This is a new facility in Legacy 9 – though has searched FamilySearch in previous versions.  A facility that you have to turn on to take advantage of this.


I searched on the names that were listed with the person's Legacy Family Tree on My Heritage comparison screen, and everything for living people came up as private - for me as a non family member doing a casual search to see what My Heritage had for a person of interest to me.


So My Heritage was just looking at the data in Legacy and displaying this for information purposes.  Nothing was uploaded. Well done Legacy. And MyHeritage.


Will let you into a secret ….  My Heritage's 12 month subs will be half price at the NZSG Conference and the Auckland FH Expo in August.


Hooked on Genealogy Tours (HOG Tours


2017 marks 25 years of Hooked on Genealogy Tours (HOG Tours). Our first Tour was in 1992 and over the years we have added and included items and now we have three weeks in Salt Lake City! With special lectures and guidance! And we don't want to leave on that last day!!!


This year we leave Auckland 9 June. We have pre Tour seminars which are recorded to ensure you are organised so that you can fully benefit from three weeks in the World's largest Family History Library! Option to then go to London for 10 days and then to Ireland for 10 days (5 days Dublin, 5 days Belfast).


Why go to SLC and the FHL?? The main reason - in just one word - TIME!!! We are there for 21 days and we do have the precious time - the Library opens at 8am and closes at 9pm except for Monday and Sat nights when it closes at 5pm. We live (nestle in) in the Plaza Hotel next door to the Library and we have free wi-fi there so we can continue researching!!  No telephones ringing for us; no meals to cook; no housework to do!! No ‘work; to fit in. Just research.  TIME to research.


The next one word???? Immediacy!! Yes, find something new?? You can immediately follow through - book to check; microfiche to search; film to read; experts to ask - all there at the FHL just waiting for you!


Third word?  Everywhere!!!!  Yes, Everywhere, Every time, Everyplace - just have to ask. Put your fingers on the computer keys (you can bring your own and use it in the FHL) and the world is your oyster.


We have just two places left on this year's Tour so thought I would give FamNet Newsletters readers the chance to come!!


For more information Email or phone 09 521 1518.



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Wairarapa Wandering:  The Young Postcard

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\FAMNET\Newsletter\NewsletterFeb2017 (Autosaved)_files\image021.pngWhen I saw this old 1899 post card (see photo below) for sale on Trademe, I thought it can only be the vicar who came to St Mark’s, in Carterton, and served the area well from 1898 to 1926.


One will notice, Palmerston North was cancelled, with Carterton written under New Zealand. The stamp was printed on the card, and it was posted in Kentish Town in London. There is lovely writing on the reverse asking if this Rev Robert YOUNG was the person this sender was looking for. 


Apparently, Rev Robert YOUNG, was first a missionary, then Methodist, then became Anglican clergy, as have I researched him on Rev Michael BLAIN’s website for Anglican Clergy. This is a great website to research early Anglican clergy in New Zealand. I have often assisted Rev. Michael BLAIN with research, especially concerning details of Bishop NEVIL of Dunedin.


The connection with Bishop NEVIL is that he married James Burton PENNY’s sister, and James  PENNY lived in Dakin Cottage, at Clareville, which is now my own historic cottage residence.

I immediately decided to purchase this treasure, and either donate it to the Church or the local Carterton District Historical Society which already has my collection of old post cards pertaining to this district. The previous card I was able to purchase for St Mark’s, now in the care of the Historical Society, was the interior of the lovely old church, possibly about the same date as this very card.


Everybody I show this card to loves and appreciates it. I took it up to Masterton Archives this week, and even Gareth asked where I found this treasure! 


I would love to be able to trace a family member to enable me to get more information on the YOUNG family and share this treasure with them.


Incidentally, in the church, there is a beautifully stained glass window dedicated to the YOUNG family.


I often get a email from someone as a result of my article and it's good to receive feedback, especially good feedback. Some time back someone read one of my tales and was going to forward it to me in case I had not read it. But then the penny dropped. He realised Adele had written it…. Fame!!!!

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Tracey’s Contribution

The Coyles - Three generations from Fencible to Mayor

While walking on the sandy shores of a local beach recently, the shore line was unusually awash with pumice stones. Pumice, I thought, is a great representation of history. The foamy volcanic stones washed up onto the beach were the result of hundreds of years of history. Just like pumice, we are the result of an historical past, and personally, I think it is very interesting to know that past. My present day appearance, my red hair, for example, is the result of a recessive gene from both my parent’s, which goes back many years. Although my father has black hair (yes, still, in his seventies) he carried and passed on the gene for red hair - the result of his forebears who included the Coyles.  

Arthur Coyle, born in the County of Mayo, Ireland was 18 years of age when he joined the 58th Regiment of Foot in Ballina in 1825, serving until his discharge in 1840. His British Army Service discharge papers provide a description of him, aged 33 years, as 5 feet, 5 ˝ inches in height, fair hair, blue eyes and fair complexion. Arthur served in the East Indies for just under 10 years, during which time he contracted cholera and rheumatic fever, and was eventually discharged as unfit for duties, no longer able to march with a knapsack. On his return to Ireland with his regiment, Arthur married Margaret and Arthur Coyle Jr was born in 1838 in Birr, Co. Offaly. Arthur was fortunate that he had a pension upon his retirement, and he had a trade of Blacksmith. Ireland however, was heading towards catastrophic times with the Potato Famine occurring from 1845 for a number of years, causing mass starvation, deaths and mass emigration. It was during this period that Arthur enlisted as a Fencible to provide back up defence and protection for the early settlers in Auckland, New Zealand. Arthur just met the criteria to apply and was accepted as a pensioner member of the 5th Detachment of Fencibles.  Arthur, with Margaret and 'one child’ (Arthur, noted as a child under the age of 10 years) departed on the ship Clifton in September 1847 in what was to be called by some pensioners on board as the Ship of Sorrow due to the illness on board resulting in 46 deaths - 39 of them children.

The 5th detachment was allocated to the defence of Panmure village, situated by the river which was used as a trade route and for transport to Auckland. Most of Text Box:  the settlers in this locality were from Ireland, who at first built their own raupo huts; the promised wooden cottages were not built until later in 1848. In 1849 the first Catholic School (St Patricks) was established to cater for the local pensioners. We get a little snapshot of Arthur in Panmure, from researcher Shirley Kendall - 

“He [Arthur] argued with Edward  ... while working the Panmure punt. The two men came to blows because of their speech. Coyle said something derogatory about [Edward’s] “crooked mouth” and blows were exchanged which caused both men to appear in court at Howick.”

Arthur Snr's life was cut short, no doubt from illness; he was 40 years of age when he died in May 1849. He had only been in New Zealand for 16 months and did not see his only child and namesake grow and marry. He was buried in the new cemetery of St Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Arthur Jr’s mother Margaret remarried a widower, also a retired soldier, with five children of his own. The couple did not have children of their own but raised the six children together in Auckland City, then the capital of new Zealand. At some point, Arthur undertook an apprenticeship as a carpenter/joiner. It is at this point that I wonder if this is how Arthur met James Williams, carpenter and former whale station manager, whose young daughter he married (an introduction to James was made in the FamNet Newsletter March 2017). James, his wife Jane and infant daughter Mercy Ellen had sailed to South Australia in 1844 where they lived for nearly ten years, before returning to New Zealand and settling in Auckland, where Jane died aged 37 years in 1856. She did not survive to see her oldest child, daughter Mercy Ellen, aged only 15 years, marry Arthur, aged 21 years in February 1860.

Arthur and Mercy Ellen had 14 children but sadly only half reached adulthood. The family appeared to be progressive and hard working (of interest, Arthur signed the 1893 suffrage petition submitted to parliament - “A Coyle of Newton”). Arthur and Mercy invested in property from inheritance, which housed their older children and their families. Direct descendant Michael John Coyle, their third born child, attended Grafton School and had established a coach building business Text Box:  by the 1900 electoral roll but local politics appeared to be of greater interest; which led him to be voted as the first Mayor of Mt Albert. His obituary as published in the Evening Post, 25 March 1941 sums up his career -

…Mr Coyle became one of the best-known men in public life in Auckland. His first experience was gained as chairman of the Mount Albert Road Board for seven years, and when Mount Albert was constituted a borough he became its first Mayor, and was twice re-elected to that office. To the Auckland Hospital Board Mr Coyle gave 23 years' service, including 4˝ years as chairman during the war period. Mr Coyle was one of the first members of the Auckland Drainage Board, and was chairman of the Point Chevalier Road Board, when that district joined up with the city. He served on the Auckland City Council for 10 years, on the Metropolitan Fire Board for seven, and on the Transport Board for three.

Michael’s legacy continues in the form of Coyle Park, which was renamed in the year of his death 1941. Arthur and Mercy however, would have no doubt been very proud of all their children.

Tracey Bartlett

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An Anonymous Genealogist from West Auckland

From the Editor: For some time I have been working with a fellow genealogist in West Auckland in an area of research that is "awkward" and hard to research. I have convinced him that he should write his family history because, due to his family circumstances, his research may be lost when "he shuffles off his mortal coil". He has struggled with this because he does not have much experience in writing. I convinced him to produce it as a column without any identification for very obvious reasons. Welcome aboard my anonymous genealogist from West Auckland - no, it is not me. This is his second column.

 Episode 2: In pursuit of the quarry

In my naivety, not unexpectedly of­ course, the search for an unnamed male child through the Department of Justice BDMs was going to be disappointing for the following reasons, searching in the wrong years, no Christian name(s) to search on, although I used my family surname and my mother's maiden name.  It was about then I began to think this was going to be much more difficult search than I first envisaged.        

 Almost since I became addicted to progonoplexia I kept my research notes in A4 notebooks. These contain details of the research done, date, research venue, research details etc.  I now have thirteen of these notebooks and the earlier ones have had a very basic index compiled.                                                                                          

 It was roundabout 2010 when I began to research seriously in an effort to prove or disprove the family story of my mother's dalliance and to find whether or not I had a half sibling.

I began by looking at the various acts and legislation around illegitimacy and adoption.   I also looked at Government statistics relating to New Zealand births. For example in 1932 there were 217 illegitimate male births registered.*1 This was done with the somewhat foolish notion in mind to trace all these 217 male births in the forlorn hope of finding the one birth I was looking for.  I had also extracted and copied papers on adoption in New Zealand that had been presented at conferences and congresses. It is a topic that has not had a lot of coverage at these events.

Genealogists are always being told to ask family and friends as one of the early steps on the road to discovering their family history. I almost left it too late to ask anyone who was still around. There was one friend of the family still living in the neighborhood whom I contacted. She provided the following vital clues:

            My mother did have a child;

            The child was looked after by someone during the day while mother went to work;

            My father was not willing to adopt the child;

            The child was adopted out to a family in the Waikato.

I did go back a month or so later for more information but I found that she had since passed away. The lesson here is:  don’t delay asking friends and family about your family history. 

From my notes in Notebook 13, as yet un-indexed in 2010, when at the FRC looking through the birth indexes for the mid 1930s under my mother's maiden name, I had actually noted the birth reference for the “unknown male child”, even marked it with an asterisk beside it. However at the time I did not have any supporting evidence to take the next step and order the certificate. As well as this search I had also started to troll through the birth indexes and noting any references to a possible adoption, again, with a view to following these up.

In a paper; New Zealand Publications on Microfiche useful to Family Historians presented at the NZSG conference, 2003*2 there are references demonstrating how the birth indexes were amended to show a possible adoption.

Fast forward to 2014 when, after moving to a new residence, I was looking through some photographs from my mother’s estate when the "eureka moment" happened. Just waiting to be found was a photograph of a young boy playing with a dog in paddock. The inscription on the back in my mother’s handwriting provided the vital clues that eventually led to the right outcome. His given name, age, date and year the photograph was taken. So, I now had a birth year.

The next step was easy. Another trip to the FRC looking through the birth indexes, and there he was, under my mother's maiden name, with one of the given names from the photograph. The indexes show he had two given names. I like to think that because the second given name had been used in previous generations that it was so in this instance. Instinctively I had no doubt that this was my quarry. I set out with new resolve to bring this quarry to ground.

In the year I was looking at for this period of the microfiche alphabetic indexes shows the name and a reference - in this case 1947. That number is the folio number. If there is an adoption amendment there is a handwritten notation that indicates the new folio number and the year (usually 2 digits) ie 1947/54 - this would indicate folio no.1947 and the year 1954.

Using the District Keys you can locate place and the quarter of the year when the event was registered.  I found that my quarry was registered in South Auckland in the second quarter.

The amended entry for my quarry on the NZ RGO births microfiche at the FRC is a little smudged and one of the year digits could be either a 6 or 8. Another complication was that, on the RGO records, there will be more than one entry on the same folio page with the same folio number.

First, using the amended reference with the number 6 digit, I went through all 26 letters of the alphabet in the possible year of birth, looking for folio No. 1947. I found 5 registrations - 3 females and 2 males. To cut a long story short, these two male candidates did not fit the bill. They both had books written about them. One was a motorcycle racer, and the other was a church missionary in SE Asia who met an untimely death.  This research was discontinued and followed with the year 8 digit.  I even went to the church archives, and got a bonus as I found some useful information about an institution my mother had been to as a young girl. 

Repeating the same process of looking through the NZ RGO microfiche birth indexes for the year with the 8 digit, throughout the alphabetical order, I came up with 5 candidates - 3 males 2 females.

I then proceeded to follow these three male candidates and their families through the electoral rolls, directories and phone books tracing them or their descendants to 2016, making up a dossier on each of them.

One candidate, in particular, appealed as a very likely possibility to be the child of my mother and my half sibling.

At this point I applied to get copies of the certificate of my top candidate and I struck a road block which delayed the outcome for the best part of year. Because the birth registration is a non-historical registration meant I had to use REALME to obtain the certificate. My application was declined. I sent supporting information, still declined, and it wasn’t until months later that I found out it was a closed adoption. But now, we are really getting somewhere. I have a full name, year of birth, the right quarry (I believed) and that it is a closed adoption.

I also discovered at some point that I would need to make an application to the Family Court under section 23 of the adoption Act, 1955.This had now become a legal matter and all new territory to me.  For support I contacted the Salvation Army Family Tracing Service and also a lawyer, who was going to charge me a hefty fee for no guaranteed outcome. On the other hand, the Salvation Army has been very supportive and I have been keeping them updated as the research progressed.

I now needed to do more research on the three male candidates and provide sufficient proof of kinship from my mother to allow the adoption record to be opened for inspection.

Since the enactment of the 1955 Act it has become much easier for adoptees and the biological parents of adopted children to have the records opened for inspection - unless there has been an embargo set by the adoptees parent(s). Under the current legislation because I am looking for a half sibling the burden of proof is more rigorous.

I then filed an application through CYFS now MFVC with all three candidates to the Family court. CYFS reviews the file and then forward it to the Family Court Judge for approval.

The information filed to Family Court about the three candidates were copies of:

·         The photograph and a copy of the inscription on the back.

·         Birth certificates.

·         Marriage certificates.

·         Death certificates.

·         Proof of NZSG membership.

·         Notes of the research done.


All copies had to certified as true and correct copies by a JP

Then off I went to the Family court to lodge the application.

And then I waited !!!!!


The mysterious genealogist from West Auckland

*1         New Zealand Official Year-Book 1931- New Zealand Vital Statistics, 1931 (5)

*2         Bromell, Anne. New Zealand Publications on Microfiche useful to Family Historians:  They Came in Waves; Proceedings of the 2003 Conference of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists. Auckland. 2003.

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Hard Copy – No, Not In Your Place

From the Editor: Hanley Hoffmann has contributed every month. His articles have always been included in the newsletter under the banner of the Waikanae Family History Group and thus tend to get lost. I have decided that they are thought provoking and interesting. Therefore he has been "promoted" to that part of the newsletter where regular columnists have their "masterpieces".

This is one my hardy subjects which I keep boring you with. But it is ever so important right now after the Edgecumbe floods and other events which come upon us suddenly. It is no good saying to me or others that it can’t happen to me, my spare copy is on top of the wardrobe! Please can I say to you that that is tempting fate – as many an Edgecumbe resident will tell you it came out of the blue, and oh so quickly that rescue was personal. But flood is not the only disaster we all appreciate here in NZ those horrid aftershocks and the initial earthquake itself!

 Why not produce one copy and give it to a trusted member of your family who lives in another provincial area – and in the event of a loss of “stuff” from your computer or some other calamity – you can always make a plea to borrow the copy back.  It is reassuring to know that there is a hard copy elsewhere that can help you to recover your lost data.  The adverse weather events of recent times are a salutary lesson in preservation of one’s treasures in the event of a disastrous flood.  So many people have lost treasures which could easily include a family history or a precious computer with all that family history on it.  Now you could say well mine is 99% safe from any disaster, but as fate would have it a fire could be so final!  I do not like to be scaremongering about this, but having experienced a disastrous machinery shed fire on the farm way back in 1949, there were very few documents in this building but many precious valuable machinery parts.  And resourceful farmers needed those spare parts and in this case they were reduced to a molten mass of metal and so too the glass jars in which they were stored.  So a computer or a collection of binders bearing that hard copy would not survive. Where to put that “disaster” copy?

Out of that disastrous fire in 1949 on Christmas Eve a lot of rural fire fighters stood around and watched that inferno, there was no use in wasting good water on it.  However a couple of farmers spied a 44 gallon drum of petrol which they deemed too close for safety, so they rolled it away down the gentle slope from the vicinity of the fire. To their horror when they stopped rolling it, it had been trickling petrol all the way out of the loose bung in the top!

Also this inferno was close to a grassy paddock, tinder dry, and you would warn the public not to light a BBQ, but nothing was ignited by this conflagration.  A family history inside this building would have been so much ash! 

Hanley Hoffmann,

A New Zealand resident, born in Young.


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Digging into Historical Records

From the Editor: I am very pleased to welcome a new columnist. Dawn Chambers is a genealogist of some note. She will be contributing from time to time an article on the unexpected finds that come to light during her research "diggings". The idea is that the column will run along the lines like:  Question... Repository... Item requested.... Result.

The column will also be open for contributions from others who have found unusual "treasures" in their family history when they research the various repositories. We would welcome your report on such finds.  The article does not have to be very long. I have an idea of a miracle find I had in National Archives one day when I had an hour spare. and decided to read something - anything that could be remotely connected to my ancestry. You will have to wait till next newsletter.


Catalogues of collections, small and large, are like icebergs with only their pinnacles showing above water. So when trying to answer the question: "when did Opunake first appear on a map" the hunt was on for early Taranaki maps.

The first primary source reference to Opunake found so far was in the Wanganui Chronicle of 28 April 1860. Eight Ngatiruanui chiefs sent a letter to George King, the Putiki chief, saying that "if a ship go to the Waingongoro or Opunake, or anywhere up to Taranaki, it will be aggression on the part of the Europeans."

Kate Mickelson, author of The Clearing: A history of Opunake, wrote that until 1842 "Opunaki" or "Opunake" as it became later, scarcely appeared on any maps, or if it did, it was referred to as "The Clearing."  

To date the earliest map found so far that includes the label Opunake is dated 1862 and titled in Archway "Province of Taranaki - from Waitara to Oeo" - Archives NZ Reference AAFV 997 111 T92 [Public Works Department].

Other earlier maps that show the Opunake coastline are:

1840 A sketch of Taranaki showing land blocks No.1 and No.2 - Archives NZ Reference AAYZ 8999 NZC 131/3/14 [NZ Company]

1841 Map of the Colony of New Zealand from Official Documents - British Parliamentary Papers 1835-1842 Colonies New Zealand 3

1845 Map of New Zealand showing extent of the proposed Proprietry Government - BPP 1843-1845 Colonies New Zealand 4

1860 Map of New Zealand showing extent of land claimed by the Natives - BPP 1860 Colonies New Zealand 11

1860-1869 Sketch map of the North Island showing Loyal and Rebel Districts - Archives NZ Reference AAFV 997 Box 39 G519 [Statutory Branch Registered Maps]

1861 Map showing the relative amount of Native & Ceded Lands in the Province of Taranaki - BPP 1862-1864 Colonies New Zealand 13

A simple search of Archway for [Taranaki map] up to 1863 yields 25 results. Most are undated and the remainder, where the date is mentioned in the description, are later than 1863. A different approach is to search one year at a time by entering into simple search [Taranaki map 'year']. This returns entries where the year is included in the description field. Use control find [CTRL-F] to locate the keyword 'map' within the long descriptions - Archway will highlight the word in yellow.

Doing this produced a most unexpected result. For the year 1847 there was an entry under Colonial Secretary's Inwards correspondence simply labelled as "1847/35 [Map of Taranaki]" contained within the file IA1 1853/77 (ie the file you need to request). Disappointment followed as it turned out to be a proposed plan of the site of the Hospital at New Plymouth by surveyor Edwin Harris dated 24 December 1846. Pukeariki, however, were pleased to learn of it.

The map showing "The Clearing" has yet to be found - perhaps it is the Province of Taranaki 1842 map referenced in Archway (yet to be looked at) - Archives NZ Reference AAFV 997/106 T1(i) [Statutory Branch Registered Maps] - and so it goes on. 

Dawn Chambers

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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

Just to advise you that the Central Auckland Research Centre is expected to be closed from 18 May till week beginning 12 June for refurbishment.

Films interloaned from FamilySearch or the National Library of New Zealand may still be viewed during this time in the Reading Room of Sir George Grey Special Collections on L2 of Central Library.

Research Centre staff are still contactable via email during this time and I can still be contacted on my direct line 09 890 2411.

We recommend visiting either the West Auckland Research Centre, Level1 Waitakere Library or the South Auckland Research Centre, Level 1 Manukau Library; or making use of our online databases:


HeritageTalks (formerly Family History Lunchtime Series) are usually held in the Whare Wananga on Level 2 of Central Library.
During the closure period between 18 May and 12 June, the events will instead be held on the 3rd Floor in the Waitemata Room. So all talks will go ahead as scheduled.

This includes Helen Smith's England Ancestry event on 31 May.

HeritageTalks 2017 

When: Fortnightly on Wednesdays from February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2,
Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland
Cost: Free
Booking: All welcome.

To ensure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 8902412, or complete our online booking form.

Interested in family and local history? The history of this country, 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.

Coming up in HeritageTalks:    


An Irish harp. A doomed battle: the Easter Rising, Dublin, Ireland, 24-29 April 1916 with Raewynn Robertson

Wednesday 3 May, 12pm - 1pm

The Easter Rising was a doomed battle for Irish independence from Britain. This battle, which lasted six days over Easter 1916, was planned by the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), and had support from the Irish Citizens Army (ICA) and other volunteers. Although ultimately a disaster, as the Volunteers were completely outnumbered ten to one by British troops, the Easter Rising proved to be one of the decisive turning points in Irish history.

 It's all about audience - writing the articles with Bruce Ralston

Wednesday 17 May, 12pm - 1pm

Be inspired to put pen to paper and tell stories from your family history or research expertise. Let go of your inhibitions about writing and let the world know what you have discovered, even if it is really just stories you want to record for your family.

Bruce Ralston is editor of the New Zealand Genealogist. In previous lives he has been a librarian, helping to establish family history centres in Wellington and Auckland Libraries, a library manager, an archivist, and a metadata manipulator.

Special event: Wednesday 31 May

Your British Ancestry – an afternoon with Helen Smith 
1pm - 5pm
Visiting Australian Helen Smith is a professional family historian lecturing, teaching, writing and client research. She has been researching her own family history since 1986, and is researching the surname 'Quested' (anywhere, anytime), and has registered the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies and with the Surname Society.
We’re lucky enough to have her give us a series of three British family history talks:

            1pm - 2pm: The Parish Chest: More than baptisms, marriages and burials Treasures hidden within the Parish Chest include Bastardry bonds, settlement certificates, removal orders and so much more.

          2.30pm - 3.30pm: The workhouse The 1834 New Poor Law resulted in many changes and the dreaded Union Workhouse. Hear about life in the Workhouse, the records and more.

                 4pm - 5pm: The English apprentice The industrial revolution caused changes to the long history and records of English Apprenticeships.

The book that changed Europe, with Andrew Henry 
Wednesday 14 June, 12pm -1pm 
Picart’s Ceremonies, recently called ‘the book that changed Europe’, was the first book to compare the world’s religions in a way that encouraged tolerance. A publishing sensation at the time, it is sadly still relevant almost three centuries later. Come and have a look at these beautifully illustrated volumes and hear how Auckland Libraries has ended up with two sets of this beautifully illustrated, seven-volume, 18th century work.
Māori Maps with Peter Dowling
Wednesday 28 June, 12pm -1pm 
Māori Maps is a portal to the 750-plus ancestral marae of Aotearoa New Zealand. Relaunched in January this year in a mobile-friendly format, the site provides key information, maps and photos for each marae – going as far as the gateway to help descendants to reconnect and visitors to engage respectfully with marae communities.  


Ngā 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.


Whangarei Family History Computer Group

All our meetings had strong discussions of our experiences of DNA testing by a number of members. Still working an understanding how it all works. It is like going back to school, but more interesting. However, we are planning some workshops to learn more on the subject.

Claim a Convict

“The site offered researchers a free service that enabled those researching the same convict's ancestors to contact each other directly by email. Although the site did not include every convict that arrived, the lists provided an invaluable resource to the research community. “ – This is a site I found after attending a muster of descendants in Hobart of two convicts in the First Fleet of 1788 to Botany Bay. I met 85 new cousins. - Wayne

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.


From the Editor: I have moved Hanley Hoffmann's article up nearer the beginning of this newsletter. Hanley writes an interesting article of general interest (not just Waikanae) and it deserves to be included among our other contributors.

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


C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\J9HFEJ7H.jpg                   C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\KWBG36WC.png

Fibbing Ancestors

From the Editor: Here is an article that is true for some of my "beloved" ancestors. Fortunately or unfortunately I descend from a long line of characters whose version of the truth differed from what "officials" recorded. They had a habit of moulding "the truth" to suit the particular occasion.

Family Tree

fib-fingers crossedOne of the biggest problems in confirming and verifying information such as names, dates, locations is when it turns out that an ancestor was fibbing‘ to a clerk, census taker or for a newspaper article. Yes, our ancestors have fibbed, not been truthful especially when they know what information is given is going into a government document or public newspaper. They just did not want the real truth known.

So some examples of where an ancestor lied on an official document. In a census record, a person may not have wanted their correct age known, usually wanted a younger age. The census taker is not going to verify that person’s age, only accepts what is told them by the actual person or even worst by someone else in the household. That can be worst, the other person may not have even known for sure everyone’s age in the household, or didn’t want the actual ages known.

The same thing happens in census records for place of birth. The actual person doesn’t want it known they were born in a different state, territory or even born in a foreign country. Also one’s martial status is fibbed about. If the person was divorced, they didn’t want that known, so they stated they were a widow or widower or stated they were single.

fib-glassOn marriage certificates, you will find all types of fibs, especially related to their age (again usually younger). Or if they were marrying as an underage person, they would state they were older. Again most of the time no proof was needed. Marriage records might also have that the person never married before where in truth, they may have been previously married one, two or three times.

Even military records can contain some fibs. If a mother signed for her son to enter the military stating he was a certain age, she may have knowingly stated the wrong date so the son could enter the service. The military recruiter would not have questioned a mother. There are some who stated they served in the military and never really did.

On death certificates, it would not be the ancestor but whoever was providing information for the death record could be lying. If they want the deceased to be older in age, they would give a different birth date. If the deceased had been married but the informant stated the person had never married, again the clerk is putting down what information is provided.

Also, all siblings for a relative may not be listed, especially any who were thought as a ‘black sheep’. Or the ancestor’s type of occupation could be something quite different from what it actually was.

You can see how it can quickly get very confusing as to what is the truth. The key solution is NEVER relied on one source. Keep notes of what is located, say on a person’s birth date and the source of that data. Have at least 3 to 4 different sources from different time periods. Even that can’t provide the most accurate. I have seen a birth year for a certain relative continue to be two years younger than it really was and anytime even her young brother’s age was brought up, she made his birth year two years younger.

Always get the closest to the actual event, such as a birth to help verify information. If a child was born 1898, then check the 1900 census which has a month and year for a birth. Highly unlikely the mother will say her two-year child is a newborn or older by 1 to 2 years. However, the later in years, toward marriage date for a death date, the more likely it could be different from the truth.

Just be careful … many of our most upstanding ancestors didn’t always tell the truth, but rather now have created more research work for you

Are We Nearing the End of Genealogy Blogging?

From the Editor: Here is an article that set me thinking. It was a matter of the Penny dropping. I had noticed the same thing. I must admit to reading quite a few blogs.

What a relief. No more blogging. A recent post by Julie Cahill Tarr on her blog "Julie's Genealogy & History Hub" has been gaining some traction in the online genealogical community. The post is entitled, "What Happened to Genealogy Blogging." After coming back to blogging after a hiatus, Julie notes the following:

Out of the 350 blogs found in my reader that hadn’t had a post in over 30 days, 63% hadn’t been posted to within the last 12 months! Of the blogs that had been posted to within the last 12 months, just over half had been posted to within the last 6 months. What’s more, of those 350 blogs, over half hadn’t seen a post in over two years. Here’s how the numbers look:

A while back, I made some of the same observations and had a huge amount of blowback from genealogists who took my observations as a personal insult. So, I will refrain from mentioning any blogs or bloggers. But I am even more convinced now than I was a couple of years ago that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have basically killed blogging. Sure, I get hundreds of blogs clogging up my reader. Today I had over 1000+ blog posts to deal with. But very few of those turn out to be substantive genealogy blog posts. Almost all of the numbers come from commercial enterprises. So how did Julie Cahill Tarr avoid the dreaded blowback from the genealogy bloggers? Statistics.

She sat there and counted how many bloggers had not posted and provided a chart to prove her point. OK, we can fairly easily divide the genealogy bloggers into two camps: those who have an economic stake in their blogs being online and visible and those who blog either because of enjoyment or compulsion. I will leave it to you to decide what category I fall into. I don't see the commercial blogger backing off any from being visible online. So is there really a fallout? Is genealogy a dead blogging subject? Have I just not looked around and found out that I am the last man standing?

Well, for one thing, genealogy as an interest or passion isn't going away. But the basic methodology of genealogy is changing rapidly. You can only repeat stories about your ancestors for so long until you have to do some really heavy duty research and you can do research or you can blog. So why am I still here? That is a really good question. I did go down through my list of blogs and found that there was a significant number who had not posted in years, but I did not take the time to count through approximately 300 blogs. My impression is, however, that blog posting in general except for clearly commercial enterprises is way down.

For me, the clincher is my family's blog posts. Our family has twenty established blogs. Only seven of those blogs had been posted in the last six months or so. Many had not been active for years. But most of my family posts regularly to Facebook and Instagram.

What does this mean for blogging in the future? I will spend some time thinking about it. But I will have to take into consideration that two of my blogs are at or near their highest readership in their history.

James Tanner  

From the editor: Following on from this blog the author wrote an article "Genealogy Blog Reading Philosophy" which was very interesting and can be found at:

Searching the Internet

From the Editor: Sometimes we need to reread articles about the simpler things we do every day. The following three articles from are about the simple process of searching the Internet. Are you following all these suggestions? I must admit to learning something from these articles.

Family Tree

Searching With Google


Using the search engine of Google can have additional advantages in helping with your family history research. The following are some key tricks to try using Google.

First use Google’s ‘Advance Search’ box. It is located in the main search box for Google. The Advance Search is to the far lower right corner with the title ‘Settings‘. Click on it. Now there are many things to select from to help narrow your search. For exact if you have an exact phrase such as a hometown or a business name, using this section will help.

If you need a specific name not to be found in a certain location, such as Henry Jones in Baltimore, Maryland you add that. You won’t get any pages with Henry Jones in Baltimore.

For finding sites in a different language, place the language but don’t worry with Google’s translation ability, you can still read it in whatever language you need.

An item overlooked are files in PDF (portable digital files) which could prove to hold a wealth of information. Under the selection of file type, you select PDF and that only those files appear for what you looking for.

By having Google return only pages where your ancestor’s name appears and excluded several sites and terms you did not want to see results from. These simple changes allowed a whole new group of sites to be presented, places where new records can be found where new records can be found.



Family Tree

Search Engines Other Than Google

Search Engines Other Than Google  Find more genealogy blogs at


What do you do when you want to find information online? The majority of people “just Google it”. Typically, Google will come up with the answers that the person was seeking. What if Google didn’t find your ancestors? There are plenty of other search engines to try.

Duck Duck Go
Duck Duck Go is “the search engine that doesn’t track you”. That means Duck Duck Go does not retain its user’s data. It won’t track you and it won’t manipulate the results it gives you based on your previous searches. Duck Duck Go might be a good choice for genealogists who are searching the internet on a public computer (like at a library or university computer lab).

If you use Google on a public computer, there is a chance that some of the search terms you used could pop up in the autocomplete of the next person’s Google search. Duck Duck Go starts “clean” for every user – every time.

Bing is a search engine made by Microsoft. Some people feel that Bing is not as effective a search engine as Google is. Give Bing a try anyway. There is a chance it might come up with links that you didn’t see on the first few pages of a Google search. Bing is what powers Yahoo’s search engine.

There are some things Bing will do that might be better than Google. Bing will allow you to personalize your homepage. It also gives you twice as many autocompletes as Google does. Bing shows you thumbnails of videos that you can hover over to see more. Lifehacker says that Bing is really good at finding information about the course offerings of various universities.

Creative Commons Search
Creative Commons Search (CC Search) is an excellent tool for genealogists who are seeking photos and images to post in their genealogy blogs. Technically, Creative Commons Search is not a search engine. As such, you will still need to check and make sure that the images, music, videos, and other items it shows you are, in fact, released under creative commons.

You can add CC Search to your browser if you find it useful. If you use the Firefox browser, it is possible to switch to or from CC Search in your Firefox search bar.

BASE is a search engine you may not have heard of. It is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines that is especially for academic open access web resources. It provides more than 90 million documents from more than 4,000 sources.

BASE is a good option for genealogists who want their search results to include high-quality, academically relevant results. In other words, it leaves out the spam, the questionable websites, and the sites that simply aren’t credible sources of information.


Family Tree

Useful Ideas when Searching on Google

Google is a great search engine for finding just about anything, but not necessarily your family tree. However, here are a few ideas to improve your chances of finding more about a hometown, a business or an ancestor using Google.

First, narrow the search. Place quote marks (“) around the names or keywords you are searching. If it is a person’s name such as Henry W. Wilson; you can do “Henry W. Wilson” or “Wilson, Henry W.” If you are looking for an obituary, write with quote marks “obituary”.


Next to avoid getting an individual who not your ancestor and from a location that is not a family hometown, use the minus sign (-) before the key words you do not want found. For example, you are looking for an ancestor named James F. Franklin who only lived in New York. But there is also a James F. Franklin from Virginia, not related. In the search place “James F. Franklin” – “New York” (using quote again). You can even place a minus sign with a couple names or places not wanted. Example: “James F. Franklin” -“New York” -“ Pennsylvania” Place that minus right next to the word not wanted.

To find a surname in the text of a document or book, use ‘allintext’ before the key name or word. Place a colon after allintext:


Important is the time frame. If your ancestor lived roughly between 1864 and 1930 (giving yourself a bit of a spread) when you don’t know the exact dates use the periods (…) and dates in the search. Example: “Randolph, Ralph Earl” 1864 … 1930 Note, use the surname first for the name.

Also with Google, on its home page, there is a ‘Settings’ link in the lower right-hand corner. Click on it and you’ll get a drop ‘up’ menu. From there, click ‘Advanced Search’ to help narrow your search also.

Work on a Google search at least every one to two months because new web sites, family trees, books, images, and databases go online. See what you can discovery using these techniques.

From the Editor: Whilst we are on the subject of Google I found a very interesting article on Using Google Earth in your solving some of your genealogy problems. The article is far too long to put here but you can find it here:

Should you share your family tree?

From the Editor: Here is another blog that asks a basic question.


#AncestryHour |


You’ve spent several years and quite a bit of money on tracing your ancestors and building up your family tree. So should you then hand over that information to a stranger on a family history website? Rachel Bellerby of Family Tree magazine weighs up the pros and cons.

The Family Tree team were delighted to meet and chat with many family history enthusiasts at the recent Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Birmingham earlier this month. One of the recurring questions I noticed when talking to visitors, both new and experienced, was how generous should we be when sharing our family tree data online?

Of course, most of us want to see family history thrive, both as a profession and a hobby. But it’s human nature to feel a bit of a pang when a complete stranger approaches you after being shown a ‘match’ on a family history website. Why should you hand over information about your ancestors to someone who might then take their resulting brand new, shiny family tree and show it with pride to all and sundry? After all, that was your hard work…

Let family history thrive!

But perhaps we’re looking at this the wrong way. Isn’t it great to think that someone’s new to the hobby and is inspired enough to try to find out more? A generous response in terms of sharing your online tree (or part of it) and maybe even answering some questions about your ancestors could lead not only to helping someone develop their passion for family history, but maybe even putting you in touch with living relatives you never knew you had.

And of course, because you’ve taken such a pride in building your tree, researching your ancestors and double-checking all your information (of course you have!) you can feel the satisfaction of knowing that your rock-solid research is helping others – and maybe helping to counteract some of those hastily drawn up and scantily researched family trees that we’ve all come across online.

Fringe benefits

Sharing your information need not all be one-sided either. Not only might the person requesting your family tree be a distant relative, they may have access to family stories, documents or photographs which you haven’t yet seen.

The reason many of us love family history is because we never stop learning. So why not be open to sharing some of the information that you’ve gathered, in the hope that you might learn something new yourself – if not from the person who originally contacts you, but maybe further down the line? Once your tree has been shared, it’ll potentially match with other visitors to the website in question, putting you in the path of some useful contacts.

So let family history thrive! Despite my natural instinct to guard ‘my’ information (and the all-important rule of not giving out information on people who are still alive) I’m going to be generous with my ancestry. After all, if my grandparents hadn’t spent their time telling me family stories, I wouldn’t be enjoying family history as both a hobby and a job today; my forebears took the time to share their tales with me and I want to repay their kindness by being generous with the next generation of family history enthusiasts.

How to Find 4 Kinds of Family History Books Free on FamilySearch

From the Editor: If you have read a few of these newsletters you will be aware that I am a fan for free digital books. I am also a fan for the website, FamilySearch, and here is an article that combines the two.


By Dana McCullough and Diane Haddad

We'll show you how to find four kinds of family history books in the free online collection at the FamilySearch genealogy website.

Follow these search examples to find four different kinds of genealogy books in FamilySearch's online collection of digitized family history books.

You'll find expert advice for discovering ancestors in all of FamilySearch's free online resources—genealogy books, records, Family Tree, old photos, and more—in the Unofficial Guide to book and the Cheat Sheet.

1. Local Histories and Records

To find local history books and published record transcriptions for a place, search for the name of the county, town or community. Our search for a township name turned up published cemetery records, books about local families, local histories, and more.


 2. City Directories

Find city directories by searching for the name of a city or town and the words city directory. We found several digitized directories for Indianapolis, Ind. Keep in mind that a suburb or smaller city might be covered in the directory for a major city nearby.



 3. Family Histories

Search for a last name to find family history books. Add a place to narrow your results. Here, we included a county and state name to find titles relevant to the Teipel family in Northern Kentucky, rather than the Teipels of Missouri, Texas and elsewhere.




Note that your search results may include digitized books that are accessible only from computers in local FamilySearch Centers or in FamilySearch's Family History Library in Salt Lake City

4. Genealogical Society Publications

The FamilySearch book collection includes genealogical society journals, newsletters and other publications, which often include transcribed records, details on local families and tips on local resources. To find these publications, search for words in the name of the genealogical society.

Our search on illinois genealogical society turned up results for county societies in Illinois. FamilySearch books suggested adding the word state to our search to find publications by the Illinois State Genealogical Society.



From the March/April 2016 Family Tree Magazine

New at FamilySearch-April 2017

Green Circle with Black Pedigree Icon on It

There is a new banner inviting you to sign in to to see which individuals in the search results are already linked to your Family Tree. In the search results, if you are signed in, you can now see if a record is linked to someone in your Family Tree.  It is a little green circle with a black pedigree icon in it. This is an awesome improvement, let me explain.

First the record has been found, and either microfilmed and then digitized or digitally captured. Then the record goes through the indexing process to make it easily searchable. Then the search results from these historical records are compared against the records already in FamilySearch Family Tree to see if they are connected. If not, they are supplied as Hints.  If they are, you can see the record of the person the source is linked to.  If they are not linked, you will be able to link the record to a person in Family Tree or create a new person.  Imagine looking at a 1920 census record and being able to see which of the people on the census page are already in Family Tree, and which ones are not.  I envisioned this happening years ago, where we could look for missing individuals. I’m happy to see it coming to fruition.

Family Search Memories

The FamilySearch Memories has been improved to help you in your family history efforts. It has a new Actions menu which allows you to rotate photos and documents to the left or right. This was a needed addition. You can also change photos to documents or documents to photos download, and perform other tasks. A new option allows you to filter the memories in your gallery to see which ones are not in an album. You will soon be able to import your memories into FamilySearch from different social media platforms, such as Facebook. In St. George, nearly 4,000 youth (ages 14 to 18) met Saturday, March 25, at the Dixie State University for a family history event called KINnect YOU. They broke a World Record uploading photos and documents. The youth uploaded 18,580 memories images and 12,187 tags on the uploads in 10 minutes.

Web Indexing

Web indexing will be replacing the desktop indexing application and is being slowly rolled out during 2017. Leaders and consultants should be learning the application and preparing to train now.

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Book Reviews                  

Yours Faithfully

Henry Tewsley edited by Ally McBride, ISBN 978-0-473-32034-8 printed by Wickliffe

As a genealogist of more years than I care to remember, I am very averse to reading the "granny stories" that appear in genealogical publications. They are generally boring to others outside the immediate family (including my own efforts) and all follow a formula that is predictable -dates, C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\Tewsleycover.JPGnames, historical guesses, a few family photos, starting with a birth and generally ending with a death. All tend to be written with a rosy hue and treat the subject character with a very positive attitude with much creative "musings" about the matters discussed. Of course this is hard to avoid because the authors (including myself) are amateurs and are writing about our own ancestors. But we do our best.

So when I received this book for review I was very reticent to read it. It sat beside my bed for a few days before I opened it. But once I started, I read it within a day or two.

Using the letterbook as an anchor is brilliant. The letterbook is a Wedgwood Manifold Writer which "produced in one operation using a stylus any number of copies of a single letter".

The quoting adds Henry's feelings to the narrative. His letters home to his family in England are full of nostalgia, home sickness and lack of news. He reports on his business life in a manner that appears truthful rather than boastful. The editor fills the gaps between letters with factual matter she has discovered - mainly from newspapers. The emotion comes from the man, himself.

The letters he wrote about his first wife's death are particularly poignant. This method of writing the family history has given much more feeling to her death rather than the bland words - "She died of ... on whatever date..". There is no need to add any words from the editor or an author. His explanation for the choice of his second wife is surprisingly unemotional.

Henry Tewsley was not a wealthy man. He was not a raging success as a business man. But he succeeded in creating a comfortable life for his large family in Victoria and Dunedin. His activities outside his business life made him a notable character in the development of Dunedin whether it be religion, the harbour, shipping, gardening or the myriad other areas he was involved. His children were well educated and very successful in their various fields.

I must congratulate the Editor. It is a very good book in content and style and a good example of how a "granny story" can be fun to read.

The book is sold in the Dunedin UBS, through Wheelers online, or can be purchased by email to or 0211008067.   Price is $40

Peter Nash

Elizabeth Yates

by Judith Devaliant published by Exisle Publishing Ltd, 1996, ISBN 0-908988-06-0

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\Yatescover.JPGI have an addiction to the Waikaraka Cemetery (in Onehunga, Auckland) records. I spend a few hours every day adding the Burial Records and Monumental Inscriptions to the cemetery database. At the same time I am correcting that database by referring to newspaper death notices, obituaries and the BDM website. Knowing that I will have to make a speech on the topic sometime and to investigate why the cemetery records have a huge gap in them, I am investigating the history of the foundation of that cemetery. I came across this book in a cheap book sale.

Elizabeth Yates was the first female mayor in NZ and one of the first few throughout the world. She won an election in 1894 for mayor of Onehunga and served a full term of one year. She became very newsworthy and every move she made or word she spoke was reported in the newspapers. She also became a tourist attraction with many people going to Onehunga just to meet her. Her council consisted of men only, and included a minority who opposed everything she said or decision made. They became quite rude and belligerent. She showed remarkable tenacity, ability and courage enduring abuse from her fellow councillors and members of the public mainly because of her gender. Reading this book makes me angry that men could treat a woman as an inferior person and I'm glad that I'm not descended from any of those councillors although I did have a great great grandfather living in Onehunga at that time. I hope that he was not one of those rude opponents.

Before she became mayor the council was in considerable debt. There were major problems with drainage, sanitation and street development which were difficult to address due to financial restrictions. She also had the problem of the Waikaraka Cemetery which needed an act of parliament to allow burials to continue which was a problem she could not solve during her term.

Remembering that her election was in 1894, the following section must be quoted.

                 "Fair Play" refused to get excited about her election. They regarded the extension of the franchise to women as "the insertion of the thin edge of the wedge" and suggested, tongue in cheek, that by the time the next general election came around there   would be "female candidates for parliament, female lawyers, female labour agitators and even female jockeys and firemen".

If they could be resurrected now boy would they be shocked!! And to consider a female Prime Minister, Governor General and Chief Judge!!!

Yes I did discover the whole history of the Waikaraka Cemetery.

The book is a very good read. I recommend it.

Peter Nash

Being Mortal

by Atul Gawande.  ISBN 978 1 84668 582 8

In 1900, average life expectancy was about 50, and if we didn’t die violently or by accident we were carried off by disease.  Few survived to die of old age, or diseases of old age, like cancer.  Modern medicine has changed all of that.  Now living to old age is the norm, and our definition of “old age” is progressively being revised upwards.  But this has created an issue.  As Gawande, a U.S. surgeon writes, when a patient presents with a problem, medical professionals are oriented to offer solutions: fight the infection, shrink the tumour.  But sometimes they don’t listen, or rather, they don’t know what to listen for, or what the important questions are, and they attempt to solve the wrong problem.   And patients hear what they want to hear: “This should have a good outcome” is heard by the patient as “There’s a good chance that I’ll get back to full health”.  The doctor means “This should give you a bit longer without too much discomfit”.

Most FamNet readers are 50 or older, many of us are reaching that stage of life where health is declining and the issues raised by this book are particularly relevant.  I completely agree with Oliver Sacks who wrote “Being Mortal is not only wise and deeply moving: it is an essential an insightful book for our times”.  I too thoroughly recommend this book to our readers.

By the way, this book was lent to us by our daughter who is a doctor, an enthusiast for Gawande’s writing.  She also told us that another of his books, “The Checklist Manifesto” led to an international study including Auckland Hospital, and to changed practices resulting in better outcomes across the range from very poor third-world hospitals to the most advanced hospitals in the world.  

Reviewed by Robert Barnes  

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

Old Family Reunion, 20th and 21st January 2018 in New Plymouth.

This reunion will mark the 175th anniversary of the arrival of Richard and Jane Old and their 9 children and 1 grandchild, on board the “Essex”.

To express your interest please email Christine McDonagh on oldfamilyreunion@gmail.comand / or visit the Facebook Page 

Old Family Reunion January 2018

Advertising with FamNet

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

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In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief


From the editor: Again I read this in a Gardening Club newsletter and interrupted proceedings with my usual "quiet" laughter. Funny how gardening clubs have the best jokes.

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