Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter November 2016

ISSN 2253-4040

Quote. Most of our ancestors were not perfect ladies and gentlemen. The majority of them weren’t even mammals. Robert Anton Wilson


Editorial 2

Regular Features. 2

From the Developer 2

Updating General Resource Databases. 2

Telling your story.    Index. 5

The Nash Rambler 6

1918 Influenza Epidemic. 6

Irish Research. 7

DNA Testing for Family History. 9

Wairarapa Wandering. 9

Jan’s Jottings. 10

Scotland's People. 10

John Grenham.. 11

The Genealogist 11

Another Offer -  RootsTech 2017 Free Pass Contest 11

More about Jan. 12

Twila Van Leer: New Zealander loves family history — Utah style. 12

ScotlandsPlaces records now free to access. 13

Colleen’s Corner: an Occasional Column from Colleen Williams. 15

From our Libraries and Museums. 16

Auckland Libraries. 16

Family History Lunchtime Series 2016. 16

Group News. 17

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 17

Waikanae Family History Group. 17

What’s In A Name - Hoffmann. 17

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 18

News and Views. 18

Are You Sure Nobody Cares About Your Life Story?. 18

Relax In Your Shamrock PJs: The Best Websites For Irish Genealogy. 20

There Is One Thing Wrong With “Who Do You Think You Are?” 21

Community. 22

Letters to the Editor 22

Cammock Reunion. 22

New Project Launching at Karori Cemetery. 23

Information Wanted/Offered. 23

Book Reviews. 24

In conclusion. 24

A Bit of Light Relief 24

Advertising with FamNet 24

To Unsubscribe, Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 24

Back to the Top. 24


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Well another month has disappeared. Another newsletter has been written. I hope it is a well received as the last. I had a lot of positive response from the last and I thank you for your encouraging remarks.

I am trying to get more people to put "pen to paper" and produce some articles and am hoping for success. The newsletter is only as good as its contributors and we have some good ones. But we can do with more.

This newsletter is noteworthy for the number of articles & blogs that I have put in with interesting subject matter. They are put in to inform of developments in the field of genealogy or family history or to provoke the reader into action.

The last month or two have been notable for the explosion in available data available on the internet - particularly Irish research. Gone are the days of shaking your head and saying "Irish research is difficult". I wish the New Zealand government would take notice of the developments in making historic data free to all. Next year is election year - maybe we should start haunting our candidates about this. Wills are free on Family Search. World War 1 service records are free on Archway. It's time for historic BDMs to be made free on the BDM website.

In this issue: -

·                     From The Developer: Updating General Resource Databases

·                     The Nash Rambler: I am surprised by the effect of the influenza epidemic of 1918 and, after being asked by readers, have shown where I am getting free research for my wife's Irish roots.

·                     DNA testing for Family History: Gail takes a rest this month

·                     Adele talks about the Menken name

·                     Jan’s Jottings: Jan talks about Scotland's People and its new website

·                     An article I found about Jan Gow's Hooked on Genealogy tour

·                     An article on free databases on Scotland's People

·                     An occasional column from Colleen Williams on GRO's new indexes

·                     Auckland Library Events: November Lectures in the lunchtime series

·                     Hanley Hoffmann has written about the adventures he has with the spelling of his surname

·                     From various blogs: -

o        An article about writing your family history

o        An article about websites for Irish research

o        An article about "Who do you think you are".

·                     Two interesting letters to the editor


That should get you thinking.



Peter Nash


Back to the Top

Regular Features

From the Developer

Updating General Resource Databases

The previous newsletter introduced you to the general resource databases, showing you how to find and search them.   Now we’ll talk about how these databases get created and updated.

Creating a new database.

Suppose you have a spreadsheet of some information that you’d like to have available through FamNet.  For example, Adele had a table of burials at the Featherston cemetery, with headstone pictures.  Peter had various cemetery databases.  You email the spreadsheet to me, and we discuss how to handle it.  Will this be part of a larger table (another cemetery within the burials table) or something separate?  What columns does your spreadsheet contain?  If there are linked pictures or documents, do you want these to be available on line from the table (like Adele’s headstone pictures)?   Once we’ve agreed what to do, I’ll set up the new table (or table section – such as another cemetery) and load your spreadsheet data.  FamNet’s software makes this very simple, probably no more than an hour’s work.  I won’t illustrate this process because it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing this yourself.

Updating your database – who can do this?

Whether your database is an entire table, or a section of a larger table, FamNet records you as the owner of this database, and as in the GDB only you and FamNet admins will be able to update it.  For example, here’s what most of you will see if you look up a record in the Featherston cemetery: -

****   resnap

Here’s what Adele and I see when we open the same record. 

Note the extra row of buttons – [Update] etc.  These allow Adele and I to update the table, and in my case, to edit the table definition, for example adding more columns.

Updating a Few Records

Suppose that further research had discovered that he was 30, not 29, when he died.  Simply change the value and click [Update].  You can change any of the fields in this table – Family name, Given name, and so on.  These fields are all shown in white.  You cannot change the yellow fields – Cemetery name, etc.  These come from the related table “Cemeteries”, and you have to open that table to update it.

You may have noticed that the field [Select Columns] is green, not grey like the other buttons.  This is a visual clue that there are more columns than are displayed here.  Click this button and you’ll see the full list, and you can add any or all of the fields to the list displayed in the Search/Update panel.

Changing an individual record could hardly be simpler.   You can also add new record from this view, provided that you’ve selected your cemetery: -

*** resnap

But what if there are many records to change?  If you have dozens of records to change, updating or adding them individually is going to be an extremely tedious process.


If you’re the table owner than you can download a spreadsheet containing some or all of your records.  Click [Spreadsheet] to download a copy of your data.  The downloaded spreadsheet will have the columns that you’ve selected (click [Select Columns] if you want to include the name of the horse that drew the hearse!   Or other columns), and the rows that meet your search criteria.

This also provides a way of uploading many records that is far quicker than tediously adding each one individually.  In fact this is how the initial table load is done: 

1.            I define the table in FamNet

2.            I download an empty spreadsheet.  Now I have a spreadsheet containing the correct names

3.            I Copy/Paste the data from your spreadsheet (which may have different column names, and sometimes different formats) into the empty spreadsheet

4.            I upload the spreadsheet with [Add Records from Spreadsheet]

Telling your story.    Index

So far I’ve covered these topics.

1.  Writing your story as notes, or with Word.  Embedding links in Word documents. 

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

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

1918 Influenza Epidemic

As you are probably aware I have an addiction to cemetery records and am, at the moment deeply immersed in the Waikaraka Cemetery burials database (not the cemetery) which I am correcting and adding with the updated monumental inscriptions to the basic "Sexton's Records" that exist in digital format. This is a long but very interesting exercise which occupies a boring old man and keeps him out of mischief. Just recently I have completed the late November 1918 records and was struck by the sheer numbers of burials due to death by influenza and/or pneumonia.

In early October 1918 Waikaraka was averaging two or three burials a day. By October 24, pneumonia and/or influenza were appearing as the cause of death and the numbers of burials were increasing daily. On 6 November burials were 4 that day, 9 November there were 10 burials, November 13 there were 15, November 15 there were 28. The numbers started easing when 18 November resulted in 14 deaths, 10 November having 5 burials, but rose against to about 20 a day until early December when the number of burials were a few a day.

The other notable statistic was that the ages of the deaths were mostly from approximately 20 to middle forties. There appeared to be few elderly deaths from influenza and very few children. The influenza bug hit the very healthy and struck at the people that were in jobs with a high level of contact with the public such as soldiers, shopkeepers, drivers, tramway employees, schoolteachers etc. There are instances of three or more being buried from the same family at the same address. I even found a few spinsters that fell to the disease (think about it) and even some of the cemetery staff were victims.

During my background research I found a couple of articles (wonderful thing is Mr Google) which were useful:       - gives a NZ point of view  - is an American article but is very interesting.

In an effort to educate my loyal and patient readers I include the following quotes from one of these web pages.

Researching family history one is highly likely going to come across two events that coincided with one another to change many families histories. The Spanish Influenza outbreak 1918-1919 and WWI 1916-1918. As we research our trees some will notice plenty of deaths during this time frame. Some of these were soldiers in camps and overseas, others were ordinary citizens that in certain parts of the country hundred of its citizens were dying daily at it’s peak (Oct-Dec 1918} Not all deaths were classified as death due to the Spanish Flu, rather some just say pneumonia, La grippe, lingering illness, and I have come across one that just said “sick 2 weeks and died from too much coughing” which I assumed was another way to say pneumonia……The Spanish Flu.

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe” the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster.

It was a flu unlike any other. People could be healthy in the morning and dead by nightfall. Others died more slowly, suffocating from the buildup of liquid in their lungs.

Then, just as suddenly as it struck, the calamitous disease abruptly began to vanish. By mid-November, the numbers of dead were plunging. “In light of our knowledge of influenza,” says Dr. Shirley Fannin, a Los Angeles County public health official, “we do understand that it probably ran out of fuel. It ran out of people who were susceptible and could be infected.”

Worst affected was German Samoa, today the independent state of Samoa, which had been occupied by New Zealand in 1914. A crippling 90% of the population was infected; 30% of adult men, 22% of adult women and 10% of children died. By contrast, the flu was kept away from American Samoa when Governor John Martin Poyer imposed a blockade. In New Zealand itself, 8,573 deaths were attributed to the 1918 pandemic influenza, resulting in a total population fatality rate of 0.74%.

I was struck by the sadness of it all. New Zealand lost a lot of fit and healthy men to World War 1 and welcomed back home many thousands of damaged returned soldiers. All these were the healthiest of our young men. Then immediately after the war we then lost thousands more of our healthiest men and women. We lost or damaged a whole generation of healthy "breeding stock" and this was a world-wide phenomena. What a waste of talent! What a sad decade!

Irish Research

To change the subject to a less depressing one, I have been asked to give the details of the websites that are providing the free data for Irish research that I was speaking about last month.

               for Irish census 1901 & 1911 with a few pieces of earlier census records

               click on Church Records for (obviously) church records

                        click on Civil Records for historic BDMs

Reading Jan Gow's column, you will find a link to John Grenham's blog and particularly one labelled "Punch Drunk". This has further information about Irish research.

I have also included the following article copied from a blog explaining the Irish BDM search site:

My New Toy: Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Images

Posted on September 12, 2016 Leave a comment

In my “Fabulous News For Those With Irish Ancestry” post I could scarcely contain my excitement at the release of Irish General Register Office (GRO) birth, marriages and death register images. The site is

I’ve had a few days playing with my new family history toy and getting a feel for the system. These searches have focused on my primary interest area, County Mayo, and in particular the Swinford Registration District. I’ve tried a combination of search methods, including wildcards for those multiple spellings. For example I didn’t realise how many ways you could spell the seemingly simple surnames: But Loft* identifies Loftus, Loftice and Loftis; Cass* included Cassidy, Cassedy and Cassiday.

I found it interesting to note how many of my family were baptised before their registered birth date! I knew my grandpa had two birthdays, but it seems he was not unique amongst his siblings. Staggeringly this applied to seven of out of the eight children of Michael and Mary Callaghan, whose birth register images are accessible. But it also features in my Loftus line.

It points to the religious importance of quick baptism to ensure eternal salvation at a time of high infant mortality; combined with the lesser imperative to officially register, with rural transport factors and employment pressures coming into play. By law, a birth had to be registered within 42 days. Fudging the birth date was a way to avoid a late registration penalty. Interestingly my grandpa carried on the “tradition” of an incorrect birth certificate date with my mum.

As with any new release on this scale there are some glitches:

The site did go down a few times and at others it was painfully slow. Hopefully these accessibility issues will improve as the traffic volume decreases;

·         I do get a tad frustrated at constantly proving “I am not a robot” several times within the same session. There’s a limit to how many street signs, grass vistas, milkshakes and shop fronts I must identify before curbing the urge to scream;

·         Not all images are online yet. Births are there from 1864 to 1915. However marriages are only available from 1882 to 1940. Deaths run from 1891 to 1965. The GRO are updating further records of Marriages dating back to 1845 and Deaths dating back to 1864, but no indication of how long this will take;

·         For one of my birth searches, the link was to the wrong image. I couldn’t see any way to browse adjoining pages easily. I tried in vain to overcome the issue using the advanced search options, narrowing down dates and Registration Districts. A frustrating half an hour later and I still couldn’t access it. So I know Andrew Callaghan’s 1891 birth registration is there somewhere, but the crucial image still eludes me. I have reported the issue via the feedback form, but as yet haven’t received a response;

·         The Advanced Search facility has issues, alluded to above. Linked to this, I do wish search guidance was clearer; and

·         I’ve heard anecdotal stories of false negative results, where someone who should be there isn’t identified in searches. So far this hasn’t affected me.

But the positives far outweigh these niggles:

·         FREE register images are instantly available with the click of a few keys;

·         The register pages supply the birth, marriage and death certificate details thus saving researchers €4 a certificate;

·         The information provided may lead to wider family. I quickly noticed that a good number of births were not registered by the parents. Far higher than I anticipated. Many entries were by people described as “present at birth”. For example a couple of my Callaghan births were registered in this manner by a Patrick Callaghan. Tantalisingly in these instances no relationship details were supplied. Possibly the baby’s grandfather or potentially an uncle, so extended family clues. However some entries do give the precise relationship details. I’ve seen sisters and grandmothers identified. So you may strike lucky;

·         You can include the mother’s maiden name in the advanced search option for births. And these fetch results earlier than the 1911 norm for England and Wales GRO searches. However I would not go so far as to say I to trust equating negative results to no results; and

·         There are entries for Northern Ireland Registration Districts. I’m not sure if these are limited to pre-1922 and how complete these are. So even if your ancestry is from the North, the records are worth checking.

In summary, despite its flaws this is a brilliant resource. It is a wonderful companion set to the free NLI Catholic parish register release of 2015. And a massive thank you to the Irish authorities for making Irish Soldiers Wills 1914-1918, the Irish 1901 and 1911 census, and other datasets, also available free of charge via the National Archives of Ireland’s genealogy page.

It is worth comparing with the “pay” attitude for similar information in England and Wales. A prime example being the £9.25 extortionate charges for similar civil registration information, with seemingly very little progress made since the 2015 Deregulation Act which was supposed to pave the way to providing this information in an uncertified, lower cost form. Or the £10 charge for a World War 1 soldier’s will in this centenary commemoration period.

5 October 2016 update:

I have now received a response from Irish Genealogy to my query on errors. They will be adding a mechanism for error reporting, but no indication of timescale.

In terms of coverage they confirmed the General Register Office are currently working on updating further records of Marriages dating back to 1845 and Deaths dating back to 1864. These will be included in future updates to the records available on the website


Regards to all

Back to the Top

***  Hyperlink

DNA Testing for Family History

Gail is taking a break this month and I am envious because she tells me she is off overseas.

The series is well worth re-reading.  Previous articles in the series are:

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 

Gail Riddell 

Wairarapa Wandering.

When I first started researching here in Carterton, I had no knowledge of either how to do the process of researching, or anything about New Zealand and its history, but over time I’ve gathered quite a bit of early history to pass on to future generations. I had no computer when I started, but was given one after I lost my husband to cancer in 2000. The world was my oyster from then on…

I started doing the history of the Clareville Early Settlers Cemetery, also known as Carterton, and earlier called the Taratahi Cemetery. Who lies behind the headstone? Where did they come from? etc. etc.

But first I had to weed the plots to find the headstone to read. Some plots still do not have headstones Luckily, the Council very kindly gave me a plan of the place, which had surnames and dates on each plot.

One name that had me stuck for some years was Menken. Where did they come from? I immediately guessed Germany - correct - but spelling changed over time. Frederick came from Walle, near Hanover, together with his brother who died early and is buried in an unmarked grave at Featherston. I have managed to get quite a bit on the family through NZ Archives and it's to be passed down to future generations of Carterton.

 Luckily, I was given a contact up in Palmerston North, a grandson of Frederick. So with telephone calls to him and writing to him (as he didn’t have a computer), and his sister who lived in Pahiatua I found out a lot of their family history. As we find out, the trouble was with females - they change names on marriage - thus making it harder for us to find them and it took some time to find his sister.

Andrew showed me some articles belonging to his late father, who had lived on the corner of the lane I am at in Clareville. He had served in WW1. I was shown his Bible given to him by the St Mark’s Lodge in Carterton, and copies of the Diary he kept whilst serving overseas which I call the Gallipoli Diary as that is where he served, and survived. His Commanding Officer gave a great reference. Incidentally, his CO was none other than Brig. Herbert Hart, who, himself, came from Dalefield an area just out of Carterton here in the Wairarapa.

I loved visiting Andrew up in Palmerston North, learning about the family and also his sister in Pahiatua. She has since moved down to Wellington. I am also in touch with a cousin off the family over in Australia, who is one of the Bishop families of early Clareville. Another line of the family is the Boys family, because Frederick married Edith Boys from London whose family also lived at Clareville.

Meenken. Menken. The spelling has changed over time!

I am very thankful to all the people who are able to give me the history off their family and I now have so much to share with others.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



Jan’s Jottings

Scotland's People

A quick first look at the new Scotland’s People - Bit scary to realise how I don’t like changes!!!

But my first impressions are not too favourable. It seems old fashioned somehow. Clunky! But - these changes we just have to accept and look for any silver linings!! Like the bright orange Search button. This is similar to the free surname search we used to have. I searched on Roderick M*donald. Found over 7,000 entries - this is too many to look at, but was interesting to see how many in the Catholic registers. I added an end year and down to 1,332. Worth a quick check, but I will be using the Advanced Search most of the time.

The hits (a list of items that match your search criteria). I am disappointed that the county is longer is displayed. However, looking at the hits is free now. BUT looking at an entry is 6 credits instead of 5.

I would love to direct you to a .pdf of the Alpha Listing of Parishes (Index of Place Names) or Civil Parish Map Index or Registration Districts or anyone of the lists that used to be available - but I can’t find these. Let me know if you can.

So Wikipedia it is. You will need to have Wikipedia open (do this before you go into Scotlands People - so that you can easily check which county each of the parish hits is in. Will not give you the RD number - but this is on the Hits List.

You will be pleased to know that * works. So M*donald gave me McDonald and Macdonald.

You will be extra, extra pleased to know that the columns are sortable!!!! Wow!!!! So you can click on the RD Name and have an alpha sort. I clicked on this and went to page 5 to find all entries in Ross and Cromarty.

Another new procedure - once you have searched for a person, scroll down and on the LH side you’ll see search for a Birth/Marriage/Death.

Click on one of the and there will be an automatic search for the new event with the criteria you have already entered. So, if you first searched for a death, and then asked for a birth, this will automatically search for the same person who asked for the death search.

You need to choose to create a new search to be able to search for someone new.

A big disappointment is the search strategy when searching on more than one surname. I have always searched for a female death in SP as my first choice, because you could enter her maiden name as well as her married name. Mother’s maiden name sometimes too, athough I don’t add this very often.

BUT - not anymore!!! Somehow it only searches on both names, but not finding them together in one entry. So if you searched for a death on just the married name and get 100 hits and then you add the maiden name - which should REDUCE the number of hits because now you are asking for the two surnames to be on one entry - and, horror of horrors, the number of hits increase!!!

So searching for Ann GOW’s death gives 86 hits, add in her married name of Wilson and we have 1,217 hits. Adding that second surname has to REDUCE the number of hits, but it has obviously just added all the Ann Wilson entries to the Ann Gow entries. Adding the mother’s maiden name TAYLOR, reduced the hit list to 2 - neither of which are correct. I looked at one entry - it was Ann WILSON, unmarried, with WILSON parents the mother’s maiden name being TAYLOR. No Gow mentioned anywhere. Ann was born in 1807 and married a WILSON but I don’t know when so I searched 1855-1910 and age 45-103. I sorted on the RD and scrolled down to Glendevon where I knew she had died. Two entries there - Ann WILSON and Ann GOW - the same entry in twice.

I pretended that I had found Ann Wilson nee Gow in the 1871 census, but not the 1881. So searched from 1871 to 1881 and age 60-80. Now I have 12 results and I looked at two. Neither had both the GOW and the WILSON name.

We have lost the search on the two surnames. Horror!!!

We had no luck in searching for a marriage with both surnames. Just NIL hits. But searching for each separately found their marriage. But no way could we find it with the two surnames which would narrow the number of hits. You have the opportunity to click on the Spouse link to see if you can see the surname and so maybe find the marriage. Not that great if you have hundreds of hits for John Wilson for instance.

I am so looking forward to having the searches the same as the search in Edinburgh. The Next year feature is wonderful. You have someone born in 1860 and you don’t know when they died. Had they died in 1860 they would have been 0 when died. So you enter this and then just hit the Next year key. The search changes to 1861 aged 1. Click again and search is 1862 aged 2 and so on. Is so quick to do.

Just a quick first look. Interested to hear what others think.

John Grenham

The SLC2NZ Research Retreat was held in October. One of the events was a Skype Chat with John Grenham who told us about all the wonderful new records now available for us to search in Ireland.

John gave us access to his web site for free for the weekend. And he gave us two subscriptions for our Goodie Bags.

I suggest you sign up for John’s Blog and read the message about punch-drunk:

Wonderful news!! I have a 33% discount off John Grenham's site.

Here is the discount offer for John Grenham's site.

Go to Click on the Discount coupon link and enter "GOWDISC" for 33% off a yearly subscription. Offer good until November 30th. The full sub is 70Eur, so a good saving.

Very good information on parishes and on surnames. Find out just what churches and religions were in your Parish. And when, where and what records are available. Find out where you may be able to view records.

Amazing list of sources - 136 for my parish of Oughaval. NB we are not finding people, we are finding resources and sources we can research - most important.

Despite the word for the discount, I am not benefitting financially!

The Genealogist

Also have another offer for you

We had a session on Lots of goodies here.

Have a discount offer for you. A saving of c £45 - not just for the first year, but for every year thereafter. Sub is usually £144.90 and now £98.95. to sign up. Includes a £24.95 sub to Discover Your Ancestors Periodical. This is the Diamond sub.

Have a look at the site. You can have a free trial. You can give this Discount Offer to others.

The Genealogist also gave us free access for the weekend and 4 annual subs for our Goodie Bags. And all those attending received 4 months Diamond sub.

Another Offer -  RootsTech 2017 Free Pass Contest

I am a RootsTech 2017 ambassador. So I have to give away a RootsTech plus Innovator Summit 4-day pass ($299 value) to one lucky FamNet Newsletter reader. RootsTech 2017 will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, 8-11 February 2017.

The pass gives you:

·         Innovator Summit 2017 keynotes and classes

·         Innovator Showdown

·         Over 200 classes, including RootsTech classes and Getting Started classes

·         Keynotes: Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton, The Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, and one more soon to be announced

·         Expo hall admission

·         Welcome party

·         Evening event: Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

·         Evening event: Celebrate Your Heritage

·         Closing Event: "Celebrating Life with Music—and Cake," featuring comedian Jason Hewlett, BYU men’s a cappella chorus, Vocal Point, and a cappella chorus, Noteworthy (There are extra charges for add-ons: luncheons and lab classes. This pass does not include Family Discover Day, which requires a separate registration.)

Rules & instructions:

1. You need to be able to fly to Salt Lake City for this!! And hopefully, be able to extend your stay to 10-14 days so you can research in the Family History Library.

2. You need to email to say yes please enter me in the competition 3. We need to know how long are you able to stay in SLC?

4. Subject for emails RootsTech17 pass

5. The first ten to email will receive a one year sub to FamNet.

6. Once we have an idea of how many people are able to attend - we will decide on the competition!! But it won’t be hard! Perhaps something like which ever email time of sending is closest to ..... BUT, if we can see a genealogical method we may use this.

7. Go to and click on Reasons to attend to learn a little more. Last year there were 26,000 registered to attend!!! You can’t image what this is like. To be in a venue that can cope with this number! You can see a photo of the main theatre on the web site above.

8. Need to receive entry email by 20 Nov 2016.

Jan Gow

More about Jan

On my wanderings through the internet I found this blog about Jan Gow and her trips to Salt Lake City. Jan is well known world-wide for her genealogy expertise as indicated by this article.

Twila Van Leer: New Zealander loves family history — Utah style

By Twila Van Leer

Published: Oct. 3, 2016 12:05 p.m.Updated: yesterday

When Jan Gow of Auckland, New Zealand, first visited Salt Lake City in 1992, she chose the Utah capital over other choices, such as Niagara Falls. In that first trip, taken mostly on a fluke, she was immediately hooked on genealogy, Utah style.

Gow had already ventured into a genealogy consulting business in Auckland in 1984, using Beehive Books as a resource. But her on-the-spot visit to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Family History Library in Salt Lake City convinced her she had found the genealogist's mecca.

She has returned annually for 25 years, bringing clients to share in several weeks of concentrated searching for family names among the church's collections, unmatched in the world.

"I've been called a 'dry Mormon,'" she quipped, referring to the fact that she is not a member of the church, but like millions around the world, has a deep-seated addiction to the family history hobby. Those of many faiths use the church resources on a regular basis. It is a mutually beneficial relationship as the church adds their data to its archives.

This year's Utah visit included only 10 clients, Gow said, but she has been hostess to as many as 20 at a time. In any given year, some of the group are likely to be on repeat status. "They always want to come back," she said.

Before a trip to Utah, she conducts a series of seminars in New Zealand. The focus tends to be primarily on British genealogical possibilities, Gow said, "although there is some interest in Scandinavian and German research."

The particularly interesting history of the settling of Australia partially by convicts deported from England during the 1700s and 1800s can make for a fun search, Gow said. She is a native Aussie-turned-Kiwi (New Zealander).

"In my line, there are five convicts who were sent to Botany Bay, the British penal colony, usually for such crimes as stealing chickens or bread, things of that sort," she said. "The descendants of convicts are referred to as 'Australian royalty.'"

In fact, one of the things that keeps bringing Gow and her genealogical compatriots back to Salt Lake every year is that they are "treated like royalty," Gow said. Personnel at the library include the many missionaries who fill callings in the Family History Department, who aid the research.

On one occasion, a family history worker who had grown up in Adelaide, Australia, called Gow in her hotel room and invited the whole group to take a tour of local sites of interest, including the famed Bingham Copper Mine, the Great Salt Lake, an outlet mall and "the King Kong Restaurant." On at least one Sunday during their visit, the Auckland group gets the "VIP treatment" at the Tabernacle Choir performance, she said.

Barbara Bates of Auckland was enjoying her sixth Utah trip during this July. This time, her daughter, Natasha, was in tow. Barbara Bates looked back on her first class with Gow. That's where she caught the bug. "I went to the meeting with a notebook and pen. It was way before computers," she recalled.

Bates was introduced to genealogy by another woman with whom she was attending "Plunkett classes," a series of programs for New Zealand nurses who assist with the care of new mothers and their infants. After a conversation, Bates accompanied the nursing companion to a Gow lecture and her fate was settled.

"I got hooked," she said. Her friend Gow, in fact, breaks up the word "genealogy" into component parts of "gene" and "allergy." She just can't get past it.

The New Zealanders were complimentary of the LDS Church's addition of indexing to its research resources. The work of gleaning family history titbits from hundreds of thousands of records from throughout the world greatly expands the possibility of finding information about relatives, Gow said. "We're becoming very spoiled."

Bates said her family shares her enthusiasm for delving into genealogy, including her husband, "as long as I do the work," she said. Being able to share the work with her daughter is a bonus.

Ironically, though part of the younger generation that has grown up with computers, Natasha Bates admits to a special fondness for the old microfiche technology.

"'Fiche is old school," she said. "But it's good school."

Like these enthusiastic Kiwis, more and more people with the genealogy bug are going to great lengths to search out their little nuggets of family history. For many of them, the lure of Salt Lake City with its unequaled family history resources is a preferred destination.

When they completed their annual work at the Salt Lake Family History Library, in fact, the New Zealanders split up. Natasha Bates headed home with others of the party, but for her mother, Gow and others of the group, the trip would continue. The next destinations, England and Scotland, are for more digging into their family lines.

Yep. No question. They're hooked.

Twila Van Leer is a former Deseret News editor and staff writer who serves as a family history missionary.

ScotlandsPlaces records now free to access

Further to Jan's column I found this blog by Chris Paton that adds further information

Major news from Scotland, in that the records collections on ScotlandsPlaces( have now been made available free of charge. In the past the site hosted a mixture of records, some of which were free to access (as was the case when the site was originally launched), and others which required a subscription of £15 +VAT, i.e. £18 (the only records collection I ever saw in the UK which advertised its sub on that basis!), although transcripts of some of those records were free to access. The sources for the collections are the National Records of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (now part of Historic Environment Scotland).

The records that are now completely free on the site are:

Historical Tax Rolls
Carriage Tax, 1785-1798, (20 volumes)
Cart Tax, 1785-1798, (14 volumes)
Clock and Watch Tax, 1797-1798, (2 volumes)
Consolidated Schedules of Assessed Taxes, 1798-1799 (32 volumes)
Dog Tax, 1797-1798, (2 volumes)
Farm Horse Tax, 1797-1798, (13 volumes)
Female Servant Tax, 1785-1792, (28 volumes)
Hearth Tax, 1691-1695, (43 volumes)
Horse Tax, 1785-1798, (33 volumes)
Inhabited House Tax, 1778-1798 (64 volumes)
Land Tax, 1645-1831, (129 volumes)
Male Servant Tax, 1777-1798, (27 volumes)
Poll Tax, 1694-1698, (88 volumes)
Shop Tax, 1785-1789, (8 volumes)
Window Tax, 1748-1798, (218 volumes)

Ordnance Survey Name Books
Aberdeenshire, 1865-1878, (91 volumes)Argyll, 1868-1878, (81 volumes)
Ayrshire, 1855-1857, (64 volumes)
Banffshire, 1867-1869, (28 volumes)
Berwickshire, 1856-1858, (41 volumes)
Buteshire, 1855-1864, (7 volumes)
Caithness, 1871-1873, (15 volumes)
Clackmannanshire, 1861-1862, (7 volumes)
Dumfriesshire, 1848-1858, (55 volumes)
Dunbartonshire, 1860, (18 volumes)
East Lothian, 1853-1854, (55 volumes)
Fife and Kinross-shire, 1853-1855, (135 volumes) 
Forfarshire (Angus), 1857-1861, (84 volumes)
Inverness-shire, 1876-1878, (86 volumes)
Kincardineshire, 1863, (20 volumes)
Kircudbrightshire, 1848-1851, (159 volumes)
Lanarkshire, 1858-1861, (50 volumes)
Midlothian, 1852-1853, (135 volumes)
Morayshire, 1868-1871, (23 volumes)
Nairnshire, 1869, (7 volumes)
Orkney, 1878-1880, (26 volumes)
Peeblesshire, 1856-1858, (47 volumes)
Perthshire, 1856-1858, (79 volumes)
Renfrewshire, 1856-1857, (21 volumes)
Ross and Cromarty, 1848-1852, (187 volumes)
Roxburghshire, 1858-1860, (42 volumes)
Selkirkshire, 1858, (15 volumes)
Shetland, 1877-1878, (26 volumes)
Stirlingshire, ca 1864, (27 volumes)
Sutherland, 1871-1875, (35 volumes)
West Lothian, 1855-1859, (69 volumes)
Wigtownshire, 1845-1849, (88 volumes)

RCAHMS Archives
Alexander Curle diaries, 1908-1953 (14 volumes)
Inventories, 1909-1992 (30 volumes)

Burgh registers
Aberdeenshire Burgh Registers, 1398-1511 (8 volumes)

Official Reports
Medical Officer of Health Reports, 1891
Land Ownership Commission Reports, 1872-1873

Published Gazetteers and Atlases
Hay Shennan, County and Parish Boundaries, 1892
An Atlas of Scottish History to 1707

Hydrographic Surveys
Bathmetrical Surveys of Scottish Lochs, 1898-1909

Archaeological and architectural sites, and historical maps and plans
1st edition 6-inch series1st edition 25-inch series
2nd and later edition 6-inch series
2nd and later edition 25-inch series

The ScotlandsPlaces team are still looking for volunteer transcribers to help with deciphering some of the collections from their older script forms, so if interested, do drop them a note! 

Have fun! :)


Colleen’s Corner: an Occasional Column from Colleen Williams

General Register Office launches new indexes

Recently the General Register Office launched new online indexes of births and deaths for England & Wales which not only make ordering of certificates easier, they provide additional information that will make it easier than ever before for family historians to find the right entries.


We can now reveal that we have been involved in beta-testing the new indexes since 13th October, and when I tell you that during that those 3 weeks I've ordered more certificates than in the previous 3 years you might get some sense of how significant this development is.


The key features of the new indexes are:


  • Constructed from scratch
    Rather than digitising their existing indexes - which we are all familiar with from sites like FreeBMD, Ancestry, and Findmypast - the GRO have based the indexes on transcriptions of their registers made during the aborted DoVE (Digitisation of Vital Events project). This means that errors and omissions made in the construction of the original indexes, or when handwritten indexes were recast as typeset indexes, are likely to have been avoided. We are not suggesting that the new indexes are error-free (they aren't) but it's likely that the errors will be different errors. It's important to remember that whilst we can search the existing indexes at several different websites, they've all based their transcriptions on the same source.

  • Limited range
    The new indexes include births from 1837 to 1915 (ie more than 100 years old), and deaths from 1837 to 1957.

  • Extra information - mother's maiden name
    The mother's maiden name was only added to the original indexes with effect from July 1911, which means that finding births prior to that date has often been problematic - this was highlighted 8 years ago when the 1911 Census went online and we could see, for the first time, that children had been born to our ancestors who didn't live long enough to appear on any census. Even if the surname was fairly rare, without knowing when they were born, what their forenames were, or even their gender it was difficult to find the entries. The mother's maiden name is now shown from 1837 onwards, which also helps us to identify illegitimate births.

  • Extra information - age at death
    The age at death only appears in the original indexes from 1866 onwards, which means that ordering the death certificates for ancestors who died between the introduction of Civil Registration in July 1837 and December 1865 has been very difficult. The age at death is now shown from 1837 onward.


Please note that the existing indexes will continue to be available online at the usual sites. To view the GRO indexes you'll need to log-in at their site, and you may be required to verify your email address.


colleen sherman-williams

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 and by publicising what’s available at their library/museum increase their visitor numbers. Auckland Libraries is starting to make good use of this free service, let’s see if other libraries and museums take up this offer.

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

Auckland Libraries

Family History Lunchtime Series 2016 

When: Fortnightly on Wednesdays from February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2,
Central City Library, 44 Lorne St, Auckland

Cost: Free
Booking: To secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 307 7771, or complete our
online booking form.

Are you interested in researching your family history? Are you looking for a particular relative? Have you reached a dead end with your research?

Come along to one of our fortnightly family history talks to learn about new techniques, resources and types of genealogical research. These talks are given by experts in their field and can provide valuable insight into the story of your family.

Coming up in the Family History Lunchtime Series:

Making Sense of the Census with Seonaid Lewis

Wednesday 16 November, 12pm -1pm
Auckland Libraries’ family history librarian, Seonaid Lewis, will demonstrate how the UK census can enhance your family history research, as well as highlight the pitfalls that lie in wait to trip you

Roots in the land: Scottish land records with Marie Hickey
Wednesday 30 November, 12pm -1pm
The land is special to Scots, whether they own it or work on it. This talk looks at records relating to ownership and tenure of the land.

Until recently a feudal system existed in Scotland with regard to land which means that it is not just the wealthy that are mentioned in land records.

Different types of records and their availability at Auckland Libraries will be explored to help with research.

Booking: To reserve your place, contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on (09) 307 7771, or complete our online booking form.


Please note that next year the lunchtime series talks will have a change of name. They will be called "HeritageTalks" to encourage a wider audience and wider choice of topics. Family historians are interested in all things history, so we know our current audience will still be keen to attend. Our talks always have a good attendance, but like most library services, we are looking to increase our reach and improve our offerings.

We are open to topic suggestions and speaker recommendations or volunteers. 

Please also note that we will be starting our programme in March 2017, rather than February. This is due to the re-carpeting and exciting layout changes that are due to happen to the Heritage floor (level 2) at Central Library.

Any questions please feel free to get in touch with us.

Kind regards SEONAID

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

Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


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

email, if you need directions.

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

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

Waikanae Family History Group


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 planned for either 2nd or 3rd Thursdays at 9.30am approximately four times a year.

What’s In A Name - Hoffmann

All around the globe there are brick kilns built around the patent of one Frederich Eduard Hoffmann of Prussia (now Germany) and invariably there are signs and publications all stating the story of the Hoffman Kilns. They were, and still are in some countries, an efficient way of making thousands of bricks of which many examples live on in the historic buildings which surround us, particularly in buildings erected after the 1870’s, and the list of countries where these kilns exist is quite long. But I wonder why so many places like Melbourne, Victoria, Adelaide in South Australia, and Palmerston North in New Zealand all persist in labeling these kilns with the miss-spelled name, underlined above with only one “N” when the patent documentation spells his name correctly with two “NN”s. Now I mention Adelaide here because the name in South Australia is almost like Smith or Brown, and especially as they had a prominent vineyard, that was Hoffmann’s Wines.

In cities like Melbourne companies were organized and used the name Hoffmann in their company titles but failed to preserve the Hoffmann name correctly spelled. They failed to consult the patent which would have revealed the correct spelling and as happened in Palmerston North the name endures to this day under the one “n” spelling. I recently emailed a copy of the European patent to the Palmerston North District Council who in turn passed my communication over to the local historical society: the original kiln is preserved as a heritage site. Access to the patent information is easy these days on Google. In the past it may have been a step too difficult to access, in any case like many ordinary citizens will even miss-spell it back to you, having had the spelling correctly enunciated to them.

In the early 70’s my wife Doreen, who incidentally suggested that having gone from a four letter name like Troy to Hoffmann felt like she was writing her history when signing her name, was ordering an item from a store on Lambton Quay, she observed that the lady on the counter had left off the “n”, remonstrated with her. The lady promptly retorted that that was the correct spelling! Doreen responded with “don’t you think I know how to spell my own name?” So the old saying ‘where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise’ comes into play, and I say to people it has been a life long struggle to get it right. And even in my childhood the families became so accustomed to the miss-spelling that it became the norm, even in my high school registration it was wrong. On my first day at the PMG Training school in Strathfield, Sydney, a well known sporting commentator JP was witnessing our signatures while holding an extract of my birth certificate in his hand! I was severely scolded (I was just still 16 years old) because I signed my name with one “n” and he pointed out that my birth certificate said otherwise!

Thus began my lifelong struggle to get people to spell it right, and of course our families from that day onwards had to be vigilant – even in my father’s will it was wrong, and now if you look up the births, deaths and marriages for NSW you will find his death registered with one ”n”.

I rest my case.           

Hanley Hoffmann                  

Waikanae Family History Group

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


Back to the Top

News and Views

Here I’ve picked up and reprinted a couple of articles from other blogs

Are You Sure Nobody Cares About Your Life Story?

September 3rd, 2016

Written by: Devon Noel Lee

"Why should I bother writing a memoir or keep a diary? I haven't done anything special," said Elizabeth, a Baby Boomer from South Carolina with brown skin with cool, jewel undertones and an effervescent smile.

"Besides, nobody would care."

Elizabeth isn't the only one who has expressed this sentiment to me when I've stressed the importance of capturing and preserving memories and family history at conferences and through my blog, A Patient Genealogist.

But like everyone before her and who I'll encounter in the future, she is completely wrong.

Oh, how I wish I could blink myself into her memory bank for an objective audit. I wanted to shine the light on the ordinary, everyday experiences that are more extraordinary than Elizabeth can comprehend.

The smallest moments of average individuals have more depth of meaning that any documentary on a celebrity or political leader imaginable. I know because my ancestors' stories are some of my greatest treasures and for those I have met while teaching genealogy.

I know because a German legend tells of the tiniest blue flower that nearly was overlooked by God as he went about naming the colored flora. The tiny flower called out to the deity to "Forget me not, O Lord" and then God declared that the little flower would forever be known as a forget-me-not.  So if any ordinary flower is often outshined by a rose or a lily is worthy of remembering, you better believe your life that your story, no matter how hum-drum you perceive it to be, is worth preserving.

The Clintons, Trumps, and Kardashians receive a lot of press for their antics both past and present. However, none of them make me laugh more than a conference attendee's retelling of when her grandma discovered her husband was cheating. Grandma put her wayward husband into the truck and drove him into the middle of nowhere and left him there to rot for all she cared. Upon returning home, she unceremonious removed his things from the house and began the divorce proceedings. The storyteller peppered her account with details that were just as shocking as tabloid accounts of the folks I just mentioned. I wish I could relay all the comical elements of this story, but I promise they were worth recording. I laughed so hard and could only say, "Good for you Grandma!"  This grandchild was impressed by her Grandma's tenacity, and I was too, and I never met the Grandma! How we, or our ancestors, handle the challenges and trials of life, can provide a source of inspiration or a cautionary tale for our family and others.

So, let's stop letting the well-known celebrities be the only ones whose stories are recorded and shared. Write your stories - the good, the bad, and the funny.

Before you think no one will care, would you believe that a granddaughter-IN-LAW would yearn for more stories about her grandfather by marriage?

I met my future grandfather-in-law at the wedding of my now brother-in-law. It was my first time meeting my husband's family, and Grandpa Grumpy was put in charge of me while my fiance full-filled his duties as groomsmen. Despite the gruff exterior, Grandpa Grumpy was as soft as a marshmallow on the inside. His crusty facade faded as he shared stories of his simple carpentry life and his quirky views on life and religion.

He became my second favorite grandparent!

After my eldest daughter was born, he insisted that her name must be said with the word "The" before it. His deep, rattly voice pronounced the with the 'e' having an 'uh' sound. I loved his insistence that she was more than just her name by adding the little extra word. His endearment was a far better pet name than 'pumpkin' or 'sweety pie'.

This thin, aging old man didn't look strong enough to lift his great-grandchild, but lift her he did! On a visit, a migraine prevented me from caring for my daughter. She was a toddler in their home full of many breakables with a sleeping mother.

Grandpa Grumpy took her outside, down four cement steps, strapped her squirmy body into an umbrella stroller, and they were off. Together they cruised the neighborhood as Grandpa showed off his darling granddaughter to neighbors and passersby.

Grandpa died fairly recently, and I miss him like crazy. Thankfully, his daughter is still around to tell me stories of him. We have turned an interview she did with him before his death into a video. The stories he shared were from his time on a destroyer escort ship during World War II.  While researching the ship's history, there are few extraordinary war stories as the ship stayed far from the fighting action. The USS Stewart did participate in escorting Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Casablanca, but Grandpa didn't interact with him.  In short, his service was pretty ordinary. But with his story recorded and some images from those days, the video is a peek into the life of a man that means so much to his daughter and a grandchild by marriage.

Take time to write your story. Take time to record the stories of your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Everyone is important to someone else. Often the ordinary lives of normal individuals are treasures worth more than gold.

My family tree contains average people. They were bookkeepers, railroaders, milkmen, auto mechanics, homemakers, educators, and farmers. As I have worked to uncover their stories, I have found these men and women to stories worth sharing.

The stories you preserve will be worth more to your family than an autographed copy of J. K. Rowling's first addition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

If you still don't believe me, check out my personal memoir entitled "From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown." It's not only the story of my teenage beauty pageant participation but records a portion of the lives of my parents who are now deceased.

I never won the title of Miss USA or Miss America, but my children and husband are so pleased that I took the time to retell the story. And you know who else is thrilled with my memoir? My mother-in-law!

How many people could say that?

Devon Noel Lee is a family historian, author, lecturer and mother of five home schooled children. She's a crazed Texas A&M fan and loves BBQ and Lemonade. Capturing and preserving family stories so her ancestors come alive is her passion.

Relax In Your Shamrock PJs: The Best Websites For Irish Genealogy

TuesdayOct 2016

Posted by Jake Fletcher in Links, Oliver Family Research, Research Techniques/How-To's, Uncategorized

Whatever level of experience in genealogy we might carry, there is a unanimous desire to visit the land of our ancestors. Those who have traveled to tour sights associated with their family history find it extremely moving. I myself descend from Irish families on my mother’s side. When I visited in Ireland in 2008 for non-genealogical purposes, it proved to be a very inspirational experience. So much so, that when I returned to United States, I basically hit the ground running to do genealogy. This led to much of my experience with Irish genealogy.

There are many people who know they have Irish roots and would like to know their ancestor’s townland of origin. It strengthens and adds a more personal connection to family history. Unfortunately, there’s a misconception among some that finding Irish origins is almost if not entirely impossible to obtain. It was never impossible and as of today, it’s easier than ever.

Before heading across the pond with your research, you need to be equipped with the knowledge of where your ancestors came from in Ireland. This might present researchers with the healthiest challenge. With that in mind, you have to undertake exhaustive and careful research. To explain this in detail would be in the scope of another post, but once the research is able to document with some accuracy where they came from in Ireland, you can begin to work with the Irish records. Ireland has made many genealogical records available online at no cost and the following list of websites is useful in propelling you back to your Irish homeland.

I. National Library of Ireland (NLI)

In 2015, the National Library of Ireland completed a digitization project of Roman Catholic church registers from the earliest available up to 1880. Even though these records are indexed on various other databases, you can use the NLI’s website access the images of these records and browse through them. Ministers recorded baptisms, marriages, and burials for their parish. The availability of records by parish varies greatly and many do not start until the 19th century because of Catholic Penal Laws.

II. National Archives of Ireland (NAI)

NAI’s genealogy website is among my favorite because of the diversity of collections and access to images of all the records. Among the available databases include:

1901, 1911 and pre-1901 survivals

Tithe Applotment Books, 1823-1837

Valuation Office house, field, tenure and quarto books 1824-1856

Calendar of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1922

Diocesan & Prerogative Wills, 1595-1858

Diocesan & Prerogative Marriage License Bonds, 1623-1866

Catholic Qualification & Convert Rolls, 1700-1845

Shipping agreements and crew lists, 1863-1921

Essentially, they have digitized most of their important genealogy collections they have. Each collection is searchable with multiple fields. Many of these collections, such as the pre-1858 wills and related will calendars, are based on a gathering of resources to reconstruct the immense loss from the Public Record Office fire in 1922. Only a small fraction of the wills and pre-1901 census records survive, but even if your ancestors left in the famine-era, it’s good to check the 1901 and 1911 schedules for descendants and Irish continued to emigrated well into the 20th century. For those who have located their ancestors in Griffith’s Valuation (searchable at, the valuation office books are a useful source for historical research about living conditions in 19th century Ireland. Griffith’s was essentially a census of landowners and leasers conducted for the purpose of taxation and are in most cases, the only comprehensive census available for pre-famine Ireland. Griffith’s Valuation at least puts our ancestor in a time and place, but the addition of the Valuation office books can add more detail. With the house books, I learned the exact dimensions of my ancestor Bartholomew Oliver’s house on Fish Quay in Galway. It also stated the worth of his household items and the fact he had a small garden, but no yard.


Ireland began unilateral civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in 1864, with the exception that non-Roman Catholic Marriages began in 1845. These records are among the most genealogically informative in Ireland and because of, administered by Ireland’s Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, many of the indexes and images of these records are available for research. This is a huge development for the online Irish genealogy, because traditionally you had to navigate civil registration records with the indexes, which only provide name, registration district, volume and page number. The availability of images with the indexes are not complete and at this time, the following range of years are available for Civil Registrations:

Births: 1864-1915

Marriages: 1882 to 1940

Deaths: 1891 to 1965

Fig 3. Death Registration of Bartholomew Oliver, 24 Mar 1900, Registration District Galway No.1. He died at his home on New Docks Street in Galway. His daughter Mary Josephine Oliver was present at his death, informing the registrar he was 79 years old, married, worked as a sea captain, and died probably of rheumatism. Mary visited the local registrar May 25th, two months after Bartholomew died.

IV. John Grenham – Irish Ancestors

If you want to learn directly from John Grenham, subscribe to Legacy Family Tree Webinars and tune in to his 5-part Irish Genealogy webinar course. You can also perform some great research on his immensely helpful website and use it as a waypoint to other resources. Locality research is as important to Irish genealogy as any other kind and John Grenham’s place name search is a great way to search for Irish townlands. Each townland listing provides the corresponding parish and civil registration district that encompasses it, leading you to the appropriate records for that townland and all neighboring ones within the parish or district. Even if your ancestor reported his townland of origin in certain genealogical sources, he may have actually originated from a neighboring locale. His surname search engine also gives background on Irish names and a distribution map of the surname in pre-famine Ireland, based on data from Griffith’s Valuation.

The websites explained in this post represent the essentials for getting started in Irish records, but there are also many others. You can find a more comprehensive list in my personal guide to Irish genealogy online. So relax in your shamrock PJs and follow your family history back to Ireland!

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher, “Relax In Your Shamrock PJs: The Best Websites For Irish Genealogy,” Jake Fletcher, posted 18 Oct 2016.

There Is One Thing Wrong With “Who Do You Think You Are?”

(Sorry, I can’t remember where I found this – Peter)

I really enjoy the program “Who Do You Think You Are?” I have even gotten my non-genealogy enthusiast husband to watch it with me each week. I know there is some controversy about the program only highlighting “famous” persons and how these people can handle all these wonderful old documents, with white gloves on of course. They fly to the places their Ancestors came from and visit the places they lived and where they were buried. All in all it is a good show. The bonus is it is bringing more of the younger generations into the Genealogy fold.

So why am I writing this blog? Because, no matter how good the program is, there are some drawbacks to it. Let me explain. My husband comes from a very large family. They are spread out across the country from Alaska, to New York to Florida and even down into Mexico. I have been working on his family’s genealogy for over 5 years. I put together a private family page on Facebook and have posted my findings. I even put together a beautiful book for my in-laws which included photos, documents and stories. Several of my husband’s siblings have asked for copies and the word that I am a Genealogist has gotten out.

One of my husband’s cousins, who I only met once at her Grandmother’s funeral, recently contacted me. She had heard about the Facebook page and asked if I could let her have access to it. Then she asked if I could maybe find some information about her father’s side of the family. After a couple of days she asked me if I could also find anything on her maternal Grandfathers side. She gave me what little information she had about them so I faced the challenge and felt pretty good about what I discovered. Then a week later she asked if I could also research her husband’s family. Again she only had limited information about them. I was amazed at how diverse their families were. Her father’s Ancestors came over from Ireland in 1865. Her maternal Grandfathers side came from Mexico, Poland and Germany! Her husband’s family emigrated here in 1967 from Italy.

So where is the problem? After giving me the sparse information that she had about both her family and her husband’s family, she contacts me 3 days later and is upset that I hadn’t found more data. I had traced her husband’s family back to the mid 1800’s in Italy; her father’s Ancestors back to 1834 in Ireland and her mother’s paternal side back to 1845 Germany. I told her it could take years to find and document these lines; it can’t be done in a week. Her response? “Well, on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ they can find it faster than that.”

After I quit laughing, dried the tears from my eyes and counted to 10, I let her in on a little secret. It is a television program! We have no idea how long it actually took to find the information they have. They also have a large staff and researchers working on the tree. We also don’t know if they screen the “famous” people to make sure their Ancestors are the easier ones to find. I also told her, that as much as I would love to, I really couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland, Germany, Poland or Mexico to do research. I explained that I could throw a tree together for her if she really didn’t care about having proof that these people belonged to her. Thankfully, she understood what I was saying and told me to take my time and do it right.

So, from where I am sitting I can see some of the problems this wonderful television show can cause for us. We already live in an instant gratification world. Everything should be quick, easy and available on the internet. By showing how a person can find not only their Ancestors, but documentation, stories and photos in a one hour program, people are lead to believe that this is how it is. Maybe there should be a “disclaimer” included in either the opening or closing of the program that explains that in real life it takes longer than one hour to create your family tree. In the meantime, I will just hope that future clients will be open to the fact that genealogy does take time and is a lot of work.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Letters to the Editor

If you want a letter published, just email

Cammock Reunion

Reunion proposed for the weekend of 24-26 March 2017 in Kennedy Park, Napier for descendants of Alexander CAMMOCK and Esther KELLY and their children: Alexander, Frances “Frank”, James “Jim”, David “Davie”, John, Edward “Ned”, Charles “Chas”, Henry, Mary Jane “Minnie” married David PROFFIT, Catherine “Kate” married Frederick GILMORE and Isabella “Isa” or “Belle” married John DURHAM, This will be the 150th anniversary of the CAMMOCK’s arrival in New Zealand on the Montmorency on 24 March 1867. If you are interested in attending, require further information or have historic family photographs, memorabilia or memories to contribute contact: E: Keith Cammock; Frank Cammock T: 0221035770/07 5733392; Julie Buist; Facebook: New Zealand CAMMOCK Family Reunion 1867-2017. Please register so we can gauge interest and numbers.

Submitter Details:

Julie Buist                               

Al Messayel Villas

Block 6, Street 31, Apt 4



OR a New Zealand address is

c/- 209 Main Street

Pahiatua 4910

New Project Launching at Karori Cemetery

Hi. I'm contacting you to tell you about an exciting new project being launched at Karori Cemetery, and to invite you to participate.

In November and December 1918 more than 700 people who died of influenza were buried at Karori Cemetery. Many of their grave sites are contiguous in four separate areas within the cemetery, and with the centenary of this global pandemic approaching the Wellington City Council has agreed there should be a special project to progressively clean, weed and tidy these areas to make them more accessible and to highlight their heritage significance.

The project will rely on volunteers to work for a few hours each month November-April, to do some light weeding, sweeping, and cleaning headstones. There will be presentations several times throughout the project timeframe (November 2016-December 2018) on subjects such as cleaning headstones safely, and the effects of the pandemic on Wellington.

Local genealogists will also be researching the life stories of about 10% of those who died, to upload to a dedicated website. WCC may also develop a digital storybook about this catastrophic event and how the burials were handled at Karori. This will be accessed via smartphones and other mobile devices.

If you would like to participate in this project either contact me by replying to this email to learn more, or come along to the Main Chapel, Rosehaugh Avenue, at 2.00pm on Sunday 13 November to learn more.

This project is a collaboration between WCC and Karori Cemetery Tour and I am the designated Project Leader.

Barbara Mulligan

Karori Cemetery Tour

Barbara Mulligan []

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