Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter November 2017

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote   "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it's difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine" Abraham Lincoln

Editorial 2

Regular Features. 3

From the Developer 3

Creating QRCodes. 3

The Nash Rambler 4

Starting with Coroners' Records and the Journey Begins: 4

Driving. 5

Jan’s Jottings. 6

Salt Lake City. 6

THE SLC2NZ Research Retreat WeekEnd. 7

Wairarapa Wandering. 7

Tracey’s Tales. 8

Hanley Hoffmann: 10

Digging Into Historical Records. 10

Chinese Corner 12

From our Libraries and Museums. 14

Auckland Libraries. 15

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council 15

Group News. 15

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 15

Waikanae Family History Group. 16

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 17

News and Views. 17

An Intimate Look at our Female Ancestors' Lives: Their Underwear 17

How Did Medieval People Walk?. 17

DNA doesn’t lie! Or does it?. 18

FamilySearch: Digitized Records Hiding Out in the Catalog. 20

Book Reviews. 22

Advertisements. 23

Old Family Reunion, 20th and 21st January 2018 in New Plymouth. 23

Help wanted. 23

Photo Identification. 23

Influenza Victims, Troopship HMNZT 107 “Tahiti” 23

Letters to the Editor 23

Advertising with FamNet 24

In conclusion. 24

A Bit of Light Relief 24

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


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 and another sigh of relief sounded. I don't change that opening because it is how I mostly feel when I get to this section, which is the last bit to write.

I am being continually amazed by the amount of new data becoming available on the internet every month. I am spending most of my research time exploring this new data or trying to keep up to date with recent releases. I am leading a group/class of beginner genealogists which meet monthly. I need to always appear to be the expert - i.e. I must know where to find the data on the internet or be able to solve each individual's problems., FindmyPast and The Genealogist are releasing new data weekly. I am amazed by the Family Search website which is becoming more and more essential to research. I am spending more and more time peering at computer screens and less and less time talking to people. I am not complaining because I am finding "stuff" that I have been seeking for many years. In fact I have been so successful that when I go to England this Xmas I will be doing no genealogy at all. In fact I am deliberately avoiding it this trip.

But this leads to one of my greatest gripes about modern genealogy: I am missing the fellowship of genealogy. I am constantly remembering the "good old days" when I went to meetings of various genealogy groups. Here we would generally gossip about resources, listen to interesting speeches, ask questions to the "experts" among the attendees, borrow the books and magazines and generally bask in genealogy for an hour or two. When I visited the Library, Archives or NZSG Library I would need to factor in at least 30 minutes for "natter" to other researchers who had the misfortune to be present. At the local LDS research centre I had fellow film readers checking for my names on their films and I kept a lookout for theirs. This fellowship meant that I knew what names other researchers were hunting and thus, on many occasions I solved a few problems for others. Annual conferences of NZSG, if I could afford to attend, were talkfests and very enjoyable.

Nowadays, besides the group I am running, I very seldom attend group meetings. I visit the Auckland Public Library occasionally and cannot remember my last visit to Archives NZ.

I miss the fellowship of genealogy.

As always, I am always pleased to receive feedback from our readers. Praise is always welcome but this newsletter cannot increase in value if you do not send me your valid criticisms and suggestions for improvement. An article or two from new contributors would be gratefully received and read by our readership of 6000 worldwide.  Remember this is the only national genealogy monthly "magazine" in NZ and we need your input to keep it relevant.

In this issue:-

·         From the developer: Creating QR Codes – an obscure and forgotten feature of FamNet

·         The Nash Rambler: I have recently found the Coroners' Reports on Archway and spent some time on the subsequent research that occurred.

·         Jan looks at bringing Salt Lake City to kiwis.

·         Adele reminisces about her involvement in Wairarapa research whilst readying her records for donation to an archive.

·         Tracey Bartlett talks about her grandmother and Tri-ang toys.

  •  Hanley Hoffmann talks about why the Waikanae group is a charitable trust, and e-mail ettiquette

·         Dawn Chambers talks about the 1919 Influenza Epidemic and the plifgt of the Registrars.

·         Chinese Corner  Helen Wong, has submitted an article about people's memories of Chinese in Caversham

·           Auckland Libraries announce their upcoming lunch time lectures.

·         I have included access to an article on the underwear of our lady ancestors

·         I have included access to an article on how medieval people walked

·         I have included a article, from the Legal Genealogist, on DNA results.

·         I have included an article on how to find digialised items on Family Search

·         Book reviews: I have reviewed a genealogical book I recommend


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

Creating QRCodes

For several years before I started the Jazz software project my main focus was developing FamNet, and I was keen to add features to it to make it a world-class genealogy system.  Even now it has features that other sites haven’t caught up with, as well as features like links to Digital NZ and Cenotaph that are New-Zealand-specific and unlikely to be adopted by a foreign site such as  Along the way there have been hits and misses, with some features that I thought would be popular being completely ignored.  One of the misses is FamNet’s ability to create QRCodes.  

“What is a QRCode?” I hear you ask.  QR Codes are graphic codes, looking like the picture at the right, representing a URL (a web page address).  You’ll see them in the NZ Herald and many other publications.  Click a QR Code app (there are several free apps) on your smart phone and point it at the code, and you can open the web page on your phone.  Depending on the URL you will get some more information, be able to send a letter to the editor, and so on. 

So why was this relevant to FamNet?   At the time my friend John Hyde was involved in a plan to establish a memorial walkway at North Head, and the plan was to have plaques at various points of the walk describing the significance of the site, what could be seen, and so on.  John and I thought that it would be a good idea to include QR Codes in these plaques, linked to web pages hosted by FamNet, so that more than the limited information that can actually be inscribed on a plaque could be made available to those who were interested. 

I thought that there might be others interested in this idea, whether for individual headstones in a cemetory, war memorials, or other historical sites.   I’ve often come across various monuments and wondered what happened there, but monument inscriptions don’t really tell you much.  A QR code could take you to a web site giving you much more information, even videos of re-creations of the historical events in some cases.   A page Create QR Code was developed, and a link with TimeSigns established so that FamNet users could simply click the link and send an email to TimeSigns to have a suitable plaque created.

Unfortunately the North Head memorial walkway project seems to have fallen through, a casualty of the excessive consultation and multiple interests brought on by the amalgamation of Auckland’s local authorities into the “Super City”, and nobody else has followed up on the idea of QR code plaques.  Of course I didn’t help by redesigning FamNet to hide the Navigator Bar at the left, which was the only place that the link Create QR Code was shown.  There has been only one use of FamNet’s QR Code facility, by the Barbarians Rugby Club, for their clubrooms at Eden Park.  This came about because they have rugby memorabilia of Mary’s father on display, and I approached them with the idea of putting a QR Code plaque on this: they liked the idea and also put plaques on memorabilia displays of several All Blacks.  The QR Code above, which is that used at Eden Park, opens on his FamNet bio written by Mary.  Ironically Mary’s father also has a link with North Head, he was in charge of the guns there during WWII. 

Click here to learn more about FamNet’s QR Code facility

If anybody is interested in this then let me know, and I’ll upgrade FamNet so that the link isn’t so well hidden, and help you through the process.  I still think that it’s a good idea, and should be of interest to people involved in some of the projects that FamNet has been involved in such as the Green Island Memorial Garden.  It also seems obviously useful for museums and art galleries.  There’s nothing in the facility that says that the code’s URL has to have anything to do with FamNet, nor that you have to use TimeSigns to produce the plaque.


Telling your story: Index

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

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

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

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

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

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.


Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

Starting with Coroners' Records and the Journey Begins:

Before I start I must apologise for not being more specific in my last column where I was raving, as I am prone to do, about School Class Lists on Archway, the National Archives website. Following some queries from readers I did further investigations and found that the only class lists up seem to be from the Auckland Province, ie Gisborne northwards. Believe me when I say that I have given myself a thrashing and promise to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Many years ago, in the late 1990's, when I was hunting for the origins of my Joseph NASH I decided that I needed to check whether he had any siblings or nieces or nephews etc who came to NZ. Thus I found every NASH entry in the NZ BDM fiche which is much easier now due to the BDM website. I then put them all into families using an Excel database. I was particularly looking at the birthplaces of the first NASH in each family to come to NZ. The whole exercise took some years to "complete" and was before the advent of all the internet resources we have now. It involved visits to all offices of National Archives, and checking wills, monumental inscriptions, newspaper death notices, obits, the NZSG collections (particularly the certificate collection), biographies and umpteen million other sources and haranguing friends throughout NZ. But I achieved my target of getting most of the entries into families but it took a long time. I had achieved a NASH one name study for New Zealand NASHes.

Another of my names is COUTTS - my mother's family name.  My William COUTTS and his family came to New Zealand in about 1864 as part of the Waikato Immigration Scheme but, basically on landing, moved to Thames for the gold rush and appear to have never picked up his allocation of land in Pukekohe. After years of research I couldn't find any other of his relatives in NZ. By accident I got in touch with a lovely lady from Christchurch who was researching a GAMMIE family that immigrated into Pleasant Point, near Timaru. After a bit of discussion I found that Helen GAMMIE was a sister of my William COUTTS and descendants of either sibling were unaware of the other branch. I then moved to next door to the Hillsborough cemetery and lo and behold over the fence was the grave of Margaret COUTTS. She turned out to be another sister. She had apparently come out to NZ when her sister died relatively young leaving a large family of young children. Margaret helped raise the family until, eventually, a family argument resulted in her disappearing from Pleasant Point. The southerners did not know where she disappeared to and my lot had forgotten her as happens a lot with spinsters. This rambling series of accidents led me to making an entry on my retirement "to do" list - a COUTTS one name study to see if any other relatives came to NZ.

At the moment I am taking a genealogy group/class for a U3A group out here in West Auckland. Because I want to appear clever, intelligent and up-to-date in all matters genealogical (probably impossible for me) I am always investigating new resources.

After these last three rambling paragraphs I will get to the point. I was exploring the NZ Coroner's Reports on Family Search. I needed to know how to use them so that I appeared to be an expert in front of my class/group.

(Search Catalogue - enter New Zealand - click on NZ Court records - click on Coroner's inquest reports - scroll down - click on camera icon on right hand side of any you want to see.)

I have yet to find a quick way to use them but I persevered. I looked at the indexes (I know that is the wrong word but you know what I mean). Stupidly I scrolled down the index film for 1910 and found an entry for COUTTS. Without thinking, I noted the references and then opened the appropriate film and after some time scrolling down I found the papers for that inquest. It involved a fire in Normanby (Taranaki) in which Elizabeth COUTTS and her daughter, Isobella, was burnt to death beyond recognition. I spent about an hour enjoying the process of translating the horrible hand writing and noted pertinent points. Having discovered that the husband, William COUTTS, was in the Porirua Mental Hospital I was convinced that he was one of my COUTTS family - and a welcome addition to the huge list of "black sheep" and unfortunates in my ancestry.

I then used PapersPast to get more information - I obtained the names of the other children. I then visited the website for the South Taranaki Council and using their cemetery database I found the death dates etc of the entire family. The BDM website gave me more dates, children etc. I was on a roll. Man was I assembling quite a lot of data on this family in what I thought was a little time.

I then noticed that one of the sons was buried in a RSA cemetery plot. A flash of brilliance led me to looking for World War 1 service records on Archway. Unfortunately that was of no value because I couldn't find it. But, stupidly, I checked for the service record of Andrew COUTTS, his brother. Unfortunately my balloon of excitement was pricked. My happiness dissolved. His attestation form gave his parents’ names and the fact that they were both born in the Shetland Islands. My lot are in Aberdeenshire.

I then looked at the clock. I had spent six hours in this exercise. I had not had lunch, I was thirsty, my wife was due home from work and I was supposed to be cooking tea. Boy was I in trouble!

I have now decided to start the time consuming process of undertaking a COUTTS one name study for NZ. "Toyota" I was not ready for that.

So have some fun with those coroner's reports. If you have found a quick way of finding the ones you are interested in write a letter to the editor. I know him well. He may include your letter in the next newsletter.

In closing: whilst I was enjoying that COUTTS investigation I found the following little essay I wrote about ten years ago. It is about my grandfather. Please read it and enjoy my then attempt at writing "good literature". I wonder whether I have improved. Only contact me if you are positive and encouraging.


My grandfather, Jimmy Coutts, lived with our family after his wife died until his death in 1961. He was a lovely, gentle man and my only surviving grandfather and I spent a lot of time with him, in his bedroom, propped up on cushions playing cribbage. Sometimes I would be particularly lucky when I was his partner in a game of Five Hundred against other members of his family. To a young boy Jimmy could do no wrong and I still have memories of him, and the times we spent together.

In the late 1950’s Jimmy owned a black Ford Prefect car. Because he was never a wealthy man and could never afford a decent car in his younger days, this car was very precious to him. He was very proud owner and looked after it as if it was his own child.

One holiday period in the late 1950’s the family decided to go “home” to Kohukohu for a few weeks. This always was a major expedition because there were five children in the family and lots of clothing, bedding and food needed to taken with us. There would be much planning and consultation with the relations we were visiting so that we could take necessary provisions with us, or purchases that the farm wanted. There were too many people and too much luggage for one car on this particular trip so Jimmy took his pride and joy and I undertook that trip from Whangarei to Kohukohu as company and “navigator”. I got to sit in the front seat. WOW!

At that time, most of the roads in Hokianga were metal and, then, in very bad condition. They were very narrow, very winding and the hills were very steep. They were badly corrugated and often had slips that either blocked the road or carried away large chunks of the roadway. Grandpa Coutts always said that they were winding because the roading construction teams were paid by the mile and thus there were economical reasons for the tortuous route that resulted. It was the practice to toot your horn when going around blind corners to warn potential opposing traffic of your presence and also the wayward stock that commonly strayed onto the roads in Hokianga.

Jimmy refused to stop at the recommended “cup of tea stops” or “wee-wee stops” except that noteworthy landmark, the Rangiahua Hotel. This old wooden hotel was the border to the Hokianga and was regarded as a compulsory stop. Very often my parents would meet family and friends not seen for years when they stopped there for a refresher or two. Jimmy consequently was well ahead of the other car which carried the rest of the family and he did not countenance being passed by his daughter and family. It became a matter of honour to arrive at the farm at Kohukohu first. Despite the fact that the car never travelled very fast there were many “close shaves” when banks and drains were narrowly avoided in this race.

Whenever we came to a hill of any substance, Jimmy would turn the car around and back up the hill because reverse gear was lower than any forward gear. This manoeuvre would take place without, to my mind, stopping the car. Then we would proceed, backwards, as fast as possible up the hill, then turn around, without stopping, and carry on the trip. Consequently I spent a lot of that trip looking over my shoulder in an attempt to physically will any approaching vehicle to disappear.

Jimmy, also, had an unusual belief that the right hand side of the road was in better condition than the left hand side.  He believed that there were fewer potholes and those that existed were not as deep on that side and that the corrugations on the metal roads were less on that side of the road. Thus we spent most of the trip driving on the right hand side of the road, even around corners, and as fast as the little Ford could travel. This became nightmarish to a nine year old passenger. It was worse going uphill – backwards and on the wrong side of the road.

I doubt whether Jimmy managed to get that car to go any faster than about thirty miles per hour (50 kph) but a nine year old did not know that. It was a journey not to be repeated voluntarily on the return trip.

We had the honour of getting to Kohukohu first which even surpassed the fact that I missed out on the cakes at the “cup of tea stop”.

PS If you have written something like this submit it to the editor for publishing in the newsletter. I know him well and he tries to be very encouraging.

Regards to all

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Jan’s Jottings

Salt Lake City

A taste of genealogy heaven!!!!  Even though we can’t do these searches in our pyjamas!!!

One of the first resources we use when in Salt Lake City on a Hooked on Genealogy Tour - for those with Scottish research is .......  The films of the Civil Registers. The actual books.  Where the information is recorded when events are registered.  Where you order the certificate and receive a scan or print out of the entry in the Register. Wonderful, especially for 1855, the first year of Civil Registration in Scotland.

FamilySearch had been allowed to film from 1855 to 1875 - all the Registers.  And the 1881 and 1891 to help find families in those Census Records. These films were only available in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

For those with a smallish town, you could start at 1 January 1855 watching for your surnames, especially looking for maiden surnames. All the births have the Mother’s maiden name; all the marriages have the parents names including mother’s maiden name and all the deaths have the mother’s maiden name. AND in 1855 the births list previous children with name and age!!  Just perfect for creating families of parents and children.

So what has changed???  The films have been digitised!!  They are online. But, sadly, not for you to research at home in your pyjamas. You have to be in a Family History Centre or Affiliate Library. However, you can practice at home so that you can quickly start researching.

Go to  Click on Search, click on Catalog. Type Scotland in the place window. Click on Search. Scroll down to Scotland- Civil Registration. Click. Go to Registers of births, marriages and deaths Author: Scotland, Registrar General. Click.

You will see a list of Parishes and their number. You will need to know the number of each of your Parishes. Note there are 4,272 films!!

The first listing is for the Indexes.  Good idea to find which film covers your parish, the time frame and the sex of the person you want to look up.  The Indexes go up to 1955, so this could be handy!!  The actual films are listed by Parish number. You will see the icon of a camera with a key above it. This means that the film has been digitised with additional restrictions to view e.g. be in a Family History Centre.

The other icon is a film reel - not yet digitised - only on film. When you click on the link at home, you will just see a map. But at the FH Centre or Aff Lib you will be able to see the pages and click on these to start reading page by page of the Register book.

Remember - Preparation, Participation, Preservation - prepare by having your info with you (pedigree chart is good), know your parishes including the number; know the film number - so you can fully participate in locating your family in this original record; and can preserve the information for future genealogists.

THE SLC2NZ Research Retreat WeekEnd. 

(Salt Lake City to New Zealand - just a little of what is like to be researching in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.)

You may remember reading about this in previous Newsletters, so here is a brief resume of the weekend to give you an idea of what happens.

We endeavour to obtain information on the who, when and where of people’s research by collecting Pedigree Charts in advance which indicate how the information is known eg from a census, parish register, vital event etc. Also an idea of level of experience in using common web sites etc and our trick question asking people have they heard of the NIPRs. Do they have a problem they would hope to solve and people they would like to find? Etc.

We start the Friday around 1.30pm with the 15 people there getting to know each other and where we are researching. We looked at the goodie bags with lots of prizes - the lowest value of these being around $370 and the highest over $900. Each person attending received one of these.

We had a FamilySearch and a DNA lecture and started preparation for the Collaborative sessions on Saturday. We try to stop around 9.30pm, but people can keep on researching if they wish.

Saturday morning 8.30am we have our Webinar straight from the Family History Library in SLC. Especially for us and we can ask questions and make comments. Great learning exercise.  More discussion on using FamilySearch.

Then we started on collaborative research. Each person had a turn where we all researched their family. Each one of us using our tried and tested method of research AND trying new ideas as suggested.

Interspersed with short talks on using different sites eg ParLoc, FreeBMD and Cen, GRO, DustyDocs, Lost Cousins etc etc.

Sunday we had lectures on using sites such as Ancestry, The Genealogist, findmypast etc. And then used the sites under guidance from the facilitators. With time for ‘self directed research’ - putting new ideas and methods into practice.

Monday was more of the same!!  And we wanted more!!  Some lectures, some testing and checking. Evaluations of the weekend - all very positive. By 3.30 everyone was on their way home. Some saying they will be back next year!! Or even thinking of coming on next year’s Hooked on Genealogy Tour!!


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Wairarapa Wandering

Santa has come early

In two months’ time it will be Christmas Eve 2017, but I think Santa has already called into my historic cottage at Clareville with boxes and files galore. All are to be deposited at Wairarapa Archives once I have seen what they contain


It’s the HAXTON family research which has been very kindly donated by the family historian up in Taupo, Ian HAXTON, and his daughter Marie has delivered it to me in person. I have permission to examine it first before its delivery up to Masterton. I have spent most of the afternoon exploring the names WENDON, HAXTON, ANDERSON, HALL and Mc KENZIE etc. This is going to take me some time. It is wonderful that this research is being donated to Wairarapa Archives, as HAXTON, in particular, is a very early name in Three Mile Bush, which was the first name for Carterton.


Some of the this history is known to me because Marie has been one of my special friends since I first returned to settle in NZ after nearly 5 years back home in Surrey. We worked together at James Smith Ltd - a lovely Department Store in Cuba Street Wellington.


When I worked with Marie down in Wellington (I lived in Brooklyn back then) I would never have thought that, years later, I would do historical research, as history was one of my worst subjects at school. Adele could/should try harder… how many times have we read that on our reports!!!  Someone had to be bottom and it was always me. My school, today now know what Adele does, and are thrilled with learning she loves history!  It wasn’t until we moved to Clareville that I fell for local history, hook line and sinker. I love learning about early settlers, so much so that we now have a book printed on early Clareville, 1855-2017. This is where I used some of my cemetery research, it came in so handy. When the book was printed, and sold locally, I thought, let's email the wonderful folk who helped me with history. I got it direct from the early settlers' descendants, where else. I don’t copy from a book, as 99% of the time it is wrong as I have proved so many times.


I know the HAXTON related family are in the book, under CHALLIS.  Then it associates with CORP, even with the TANCRED family whom I still have to contact about the book because Prideaux TANCRED trained his horses at Clareville, and lived down Francis Line.  


One of the HAXTONs, George, is buried over at Brockenhurst, Hampshire. I visited his grave in 2004 for Anzac Day Service it is in a lovely part of England New Forest. Sapper George HAXTON died of influenza like so many of our soldiers, here in NZ, and overseas in 1918.


 I used to ask Ian HAXTON for assistance with anything on the family.  It's wonderful when we ask for help and it's always there to share. I even used to visit him in Paekakariki then later he moved up to Taupo. Often, in family research, it gives us more history, other names connected and where they were schooled, or had businesses. But you must remember to acknowledge where you obtain the information from, even photographs of headstones.


 I am never happier unless I am reading up about New Zealand early settlers, especially to this area. I like to find the homes they had lived in.


One person, said would like to have two more copies of the recently published book on Clareville and please could I sign it on page 82 where your name is listed and there is mention of DAKIN as its ancestor who built my home in 1882. So they are in the post to him down South Island.


Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



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Tracey’s Tales

Tri-ang Toys

In 1948 my Nanna, Winnie, her WWII veteran husband, 13-year-old son and 23-month-old infant daughter, my mother, immigrated to New Zealand from the United Kingdom - Surrey, England. The family lived in Panmure: a suburb of young families, many with Irish heritage due to the arrival of the Fencibles in the late 1840s. My mother recalls her family sometimes being singled out due to their ‘strange accent.’ Life was very different in New Zealand.  Winnie had a father who had lived in Auckland since 1925, and half-siblings she had not yet met, however, she and my Poppa Pete were separated from his family including Pete’s twin sister and nanna’s sister-in-law and great friend Maisie.  Winnie, however, was the sole income earner and might have been too busy to dwell on any home sickness. Good with figures, she worked part-time in the TAB totalizater boxes at Ellerslie raceway meets on weekends, and full time as payroll clerk at Tri-ang Toys.

Tri-ang Toys was the offshoot of brothers George and Joseph Lines’ (G. & J. Lines) toy business established in 1876. Based in London, the brothers built a prosperous business making wooden toys, specialising in rocking horses. Joseph had four sons, three of whom started their own toy company after WWI, with a more modern approach, eventually creating a wide range of toys and products such as prams and dolls (under subsidiary doll-making brand Pedigree). The brand name Tri-ang came from the three lines that represented the brothers’ joint venture. By 1937 the brothers boasted having the largest Toy making factory in the world (in Morden Road, London SW10) and by 1950 they had a multi-national toy-making business. This included a business in New Zealand when the Lines Bros purchased Joy Toys Ltd in 1946. After WWII the government had banned imports with the intention of providing returning soldiers with employment. The Lines Bros overseas subsidiary companies in turn helped manage the problem of increasing tariffs on exportations. The Government therefore willingly leased the WWII barracks of Camp Bunn, built by and for the Americans in Panmure, to Lines Bros. (NZ) Ltd (Tri-ang Works), providing hundreds of jobs for the locals, many of them women who worked during school hours. By 1954, Tri-ang employed 216 people of many nationalities. The factory has also been described as a “‘United Nations’: …Lines Bros employed Chinese women who specialised in doll painting, while new arrivals from the Pacific worked alongside Maori and Italians” (Ref 1).  There was at least one British person too! Winnie spent many a year in an office making sure the large staff was paid accurately and on time.

Text Box:   As a child I recall attending annual Christmas parties at ‘Nanna’s toy factory’ - put on for the employees and their families. A child’s dream!! Not only was there food galore for the dozens of children, but we all received a present. It was a long wait however, for one’s name to be called. I was 11 years of age when my Nanna passed on but I have a lot of special memories including the magical times at these Christmas parties and a ‘just me and Nanna’ trip to a Disney Tri-Ang Toys Factory, Panmureproduction in a large tent in Panmure – seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse walking on tight ropes was a revelation. 

When I was in my mid-twenties, I worked in a small office in an eastern suburb of Auckland. The accounts clerk, in her mid-fifties, and I often had a morning chat before the boss arrived. One day she mentioned that she had worked at a toy factory. My workmate, it transpired, was 19-years old when she too worked at Tri-ang Works and she had known my nanna well!! It really is a small world. She told me that Winnie always had a full peppermint jar on her desk, was highly regarded and very much liked. This was also apparent from Winnie’s reference letter, which my mother has, and the enormous card with dozens of lovely messages which my nanna received upon her semi-retirement.

A few of the Camp Bunn barracks still exist, occupied by several different businesses. A bit of history in the keeping just as the original Tri-ang toys are today.

Tri-Ang Toys Factory, Panmure. Ref: WA-20503-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22643434

Ref 1: References: Hello Girls and Boys!: A New Zealand Toy Story, David Veart

Tracey Bartlett

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Hanley Hoffmann:

Why are we, the WAIKANAE FAMILY HISTORY GROUP a charitable trust?

From the Editor: Hanley has written an article that is specific to members of the Waikanae Family History Group membership. After much thought, I have relocated his article to the Waikanae Family History Group Section. I recommend that, if you are a member of a group or branch of NZSG you read it. All societies are re-examining their original decision to register as a charity.

Hanley also sent me a copy of his group's newsletter which I enjoyed reading. There was one small article in it that appealed to me so I have included it here with his permission.

Etiquette & What is your attitude to Emails?

There seems to be an increasing disdain for emails which come into people’s “in boxes” with a legitimate focus requiring immediate response and courteous reply, and if the answer happens to be in the negative and with some discomfort, the best three words you can use is “no thank you” and sign it off.  On the other hand why would you leave a question unanswered, even to the point of “shift deleting” the message, and possibly denying its receipt? Even punching the “read receipt” is the shortest acknowledgment one can use. I occasionally refer to one of my axioms about “any good that i can do.........etc” and here is another like “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.  Life is too short to be building up agro with someone who emailed you – and probably for your best interest, if it is just to invite you to a meeting.  If it is your bad day, take five and don’t inflict it on some poor unsuspecting secretary whose job it was to elicit your attendance, response or not, at next Monday’s meeting.  Yep, you are going to counter argue that it is normal behaviour sometimes, and if it is for you it is not your right to “head butt” everyone you meet on the internet that morning. What about that meeting notice though?  If you belong to an organisation and you are one of twenty three members, when Jean, who is just a volunteer does her bit and sends a global reminder, be nice and give her those three words, even if your mouth and throat feels like “the bottom of a cocky’s cage” after last night’s session on turps.  It is, though, the ones who read the message and do nothing!  That’s right, do nothing, how do you excuse them?  I did not volunteer to have to put up with this!

A New Zealand resident, born in Young, NSW.

Now Waikanae FHG Newsletter Editor

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Digging Into Historical Records  

Influenza 1918 - Plight of the Registrars


On 06 November 1918 the Registrar General, Wilfrid Wulstan Cook (1876-1962), sent a memorandum to all Registrars telling them that they were "required to supply to District Health Officers particulars of all deaths immediately on registration, when cause of death is influenza or pneumonia following influenza. Public Health Form 117 should be used if available but this is not absolutely necessary as long as full particulars are supplied. The above applies to all deaths registered since 1st instant." Subsequent communications resulted in a thick file ending on 19 May 1919. [1]


The first notifications were received on 11 November:

From Napier - "two deaths of sailors were registered on 7th instant... one death yesterday"

From Devonport (2), Onehunga (3), Otahuhu (1), Taumarunui (1), Te Aroha (1), Tokaanu (1), Waiuku (1), Palmerston North (2), Wellington (8)


On 18 November the Napier Registrar asked the Registrar General if he could supply the names of those who died as a result of influenza. The reply was that "names and numbers dying from influenza &c not to be given to Press." The next day the Christchurch Registrar advised the Registrar General that the District Health Officer desires "that before licenses are issued for marriages in churches application to be made to him for permits and only legal minimum number of persons to be present."


The Morrinsville Registrar reported on 21 November "that a considerable number of Maoris have died round this district recently from influenza but no registrations have been made. At present the epidemic is very bad at Tahuna some 13 miles from here. When the abnormal state of affairs at present prevailing subsides, the police, if instructed, should be able to compel the relatives to register the death." A telegram from Nightcaps the next day advised "seventeen deaths here from influenza no doctor attending am registering deaths without doctor certificates on instructions from police."


At Russell, as of 27 November, native school teachers, who were also registrars, were not reporting daily numbers of natives dying from influenza in the Bay of Islands district. On 29 November Mary Crawford Paul Cobourne (1856-1930) of Port Waikato wrote that "I have to report that so far this quarter there have been sixteen deaths in this district from influenza. I should have sent word of the earlier cases sooner, but was ill with the disease myself, but am now convalescent."


The Registrar General sent a memorandum to the Minister of Internal Affairs on 07 December. "As you are aware, there have been many cases throughout the Dominion in which bread-winners have been carried off by the recent influenza epidemic, thereby leaving many families in necessitous circumstances. In many cases certificates of death are required for the purpose of lifting small sums from the Post Office Savings Bank, and already in several cases in the Wellington office I have authorised the Registrar to issue certificates of death free of cost. This power is given to me under section 23 of the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act, 1912. I think it would help in some slight way if all Registrars throughout New Zealand were allowed to issue free of cost certificates of birth and death required in genuine cases of distress, and I respectfully suggest that you approve of my instructing Registrars accordingly."


On 12 December the Registrar General asked the Commissioner of Police to request assistance from officers in securing Maori Registrations. Two days later the Registrar at Manaia, Coromandel reported that "no deaths have been registered, though about seventeen of our villagers have died. No Maori will think of registering these until requested by me to do so, and this matter I was leaving until the village was declared clean." At Omarumutu, Opotiki the Registrar reported on 27 December that all the deaths in the district have been registered. He then went on to say: "Am unable to certify cause of death as the influenza got a week’s start before we were able to get near the Maoris as our entire household, with the exception of Mrs [Jane] Mackay, went down at the start. I think most of the Maoris had pneumonia; but the heavy death rate was due to their dunking cold water in spite of all attempts to prevent them. It is further noticeable that the mortality is amongst the Ringatu’s whose cold water doctrine would have wiped them out but for the intervention of the Europeans." At the end of December the Hawera Registrar praised the efforts of Senior Sergeant Stephen Till (1874-1955) and his staff for their assistance with procuring registration details.


A month later the Registrar at Ruatahuna, Abigail Monfries (1880-1949), wrote: “I regret that owing to this district being isolated during the Influenza epidemic and no mails being received for some time your notice with regard to writing to you the number of deaths from the epidemic reached me a few days ago only. As you will see there have been no deaths from Influenza as fortunately our district escaped infection."


Also included in this file is a return of deaths at Hokitika as a result of influenza during the quarter ending 31 December 1918. It records name, age, cause of death, the medical attendant, date of registration and the date of burial.


With regard to statistics - a table has been created based solely on the contents of this single file - with the total number of deaths recorded being approximately 6,650. In some instances the numbers are 'fraught' with best guess interpretations. In general it is assumed that these reflect registration districts. In contrast the figures provided by Geoffrey Rice in his book "Black November: The 1918 Influenza Epidemic in New Zealand" (2012) are based on County and Town Districts. As attempts at reconciliation of the two sets of figures may be injurious to mental health perhaps a more useful approach would be to start turning the numbers into people.


[1] Notifications of deaths from infectious diseases - Archives NZ Reference ADAQ 8932 BDM 1/365 1918/199 Partial abridged transcript at:

Statistics file:


Dawn Chambers

Chinese Corner 

The Caversham Project

Caversham is one of the older suburbs of Dunedin.  The early history of the suburb and surrounding parts of southern Dunedin has been subject of a major ongoing archaeological and historical research project into early Dunedin by the University of Otago, known simply as The Caversham Project. 

Interviews by Local Residents on their memories of the Chinese[1]



J B Oh yes, I did. Sing Wah - they had the fruit shop in St Kilda and they were great friends of mum and dad's, and they used to give the rice for mum. Mum used to have that pure Siam rice - or whatever it was, you know - Siam rice -  it was Chinese rice anyhow. And mum would repay them by giving her some of the cooking. They wouldn't take money for the rice. But mum would repay them; every time she’d do some she'd send some round to them. And Walter, me eldest brother, he got great mates with them, yeah. He used to go down there and play cards. Yeah. Me second eldest brother, Walter. Yeah. He used to go there. And that's how we got to know a few of the Chinese community was through Sing Wah and his family and their relations. And we'd go up - Abe and I, we might be walking past and say: "hey Sing!". And he'd go: "hey, how' ya? come on!". And we'd go in there and he’d give us a banana or give us an apple, whatever was going, you know. He was great with mum and dad. Mum and dad were good - liked to make friends.

Colbert, Leslie.

There was a scare about war with China.  I used to look at the Chinese and feel a bit scared of them.  They used to walk past with these poles across their shoulders with a basket on the end of them.  You'd see them all round about the place. Then we'd have to go to the shop to get something.  We'd have perhaps a penny change.  Your mother would say, 'ah don't put that in your mouth!  A Chinaman might have had it!'  Other than that, I don't remember anything.  I just remember the possibility of war in China.



Mrs JB 1983. Yes, there's always been a Chinese shop in Caversham that's still there.  It's been there since I can remember.  My aunty tells me there used to be Chinese Gardens.  When they lived on the farm out at Green Island bush there were Chinese gardeners that must have been up round the top of the hill.  They used to walk to Caversham School from Green Island and they were very scared of these Chinese gardeners.  They used to pinch the odd turnip and they used to chase them.



Mr KD Well the Chinese had the gardens across the road from us where Queens High and Kings High were. And they used to fascinate me where the Kings High School is now they backed onto the Macandrew Road - what was then, the Macandrew Road School and they lived in appalling conditions. But what fascinated me was that they had a bike thing there - the chap got on the bike and peddled away and that pumped the water out.  And they grew veggies - they were two separate - they were next to us. They, the ones at Queens High, they were in and it wasn't profitable or what and then there’d be a break and it would go back to weed and then another group of Chinese would come in and at one period I used to -  we used to get a lot of the veggies for the shop there and I'd go over with a basket and get so many lettuces and so many cabbages. One or two trips and sell it in the shop.

Well I've had a small steady contact with the Chinese because I worked in the shop when I left school and then I went into wholesale grocery and I was out travelling and I had contact with the Chinese fruit and vegetable people around the town and their shops, and had quite a bit of contact with them in that way.

Found them very good to deal with. Once you've got the respect of a Chinese, he was very loyal to you. But until he gave you that respect, you just didn't know where you were with them. But, I seemed to catch on with them quite well because a lot of Chinese used to pay an account - they'd give me the cheque book and the account and say: "you write out the cheque". And you'd write out the cheque and they just signed it. "Right". "Okay". And I regarded that as quite an honour to be trusted and I don't know if they talked among themselves or not, but it happened a lot. And another Chinese family when we were in the shop, used to be a chap George Gee, he lived in Bath Street, and he used to have a truck and he used to hawk vegetables. And he'd go to private houses, but he also came to the shop over a period of time and you know -well he just sold off the van to the shop at a better price than he sold to the houses because they'd buy one and we'd buy more than that. But they - I can remember when I went for my heavy -I had a car license and I wanted to get a heavy traffic license - I don't know why, just for the sake of having it. He says, "you use my truck". 



KD: .. it's not so noticeable now, but there were the few Chinese that were starting to get into the University when there were only about two or three thousand students at the Otago University. We thought it was big then! And I don't know how many the roll was, but it would be no more than that - not much bigger than some of the big High Schools today, but there was the odd Chinese young person - some had been born in New Zealand. Parents - the male usually came over from China first and worked and lived on the job. Chinese gardeners lived in the gardens. Shops, they lived behind the shops or upstairs or what-have-you. Just the ones that worked there, they were the only ones that slept there and they kept in their own wee communities and they gave the impression of living very cheaply. Some of them were great gamblers in their own circles.

Kids - it was common practice for kids, you know, to play pranks on anybody they could play pranks on and the Chinese came in for more than their fair share that they -kids are kids and in those days well, it was common practice that you went through a stage that you played pranks on people. Go and knock-knock -cotton over a branch or something and you'd tie it onto a door knob and run over to the other side of the street and you'd knock at the door and see the people come. Some would twig straightaway and some would not know what was - take a parcel out on the footpath and you're lying down behind a hedge with cotton on it and someone goes to pick it up and you'd pull it back in. Very childish when you do it - but the adults at the time - probably 99% of them would know what it was and some played up to it and some didn't. They'd get a snitch on someone because they were different. Going back to the Chinese - they weren't white - they were different.



MC:  CHINESE MARKET GARDENS?  But they grew lovely stuff there and we were threatened, if you loiter around those Chinese gardens, they said, they'll tie you to a post and make you pick the worms out of the ground. They - this was a threat that the children had hanging over their heads, so that we wouldn't loiter there, make a nuisance of ourselves. But all those people that dealt with them they brought them a little present come Christmas, either a little tin of green tea we got one time and a nice little casket with tea in it and another time they gave us each a gift, or getting something from them, and then the scissor sharpener man would follow them up, he was in a like what - one of those old expresses that just had a canvas on the top and he kept his sharpening tools in there, and he didn't - made all aloud what their goods were, the Chinese didn't, they knew their customers, would just trot in, very polite they were.           

But he was funny, they'd have their short session at the door. The new vegetables that would come on the market and he'd say, 'They told me what these were called', of course they wrote them down for him in Chinese. He'd show mum the ticket with it on and she couldn't read Chinese, she said, 'Show me the vegetable'. So, she'd say, 'Oh, that's a so and so', or well, 'That's a so and so', you know. 'And this is' - oh, they used to have a bit of fun, laughing at learning the language.                     

Well, they had their own shops in town and up and down different streets, and what they didn't sell fresh they took into the town market and they were sold there by the auctioneer in town when they were about two or three days old, and the other shops bought them, and some people said, I'm not going to buy there, they’ve been [indistinct] by the Chinese. They've got their little ones that have got the cheap - the fresh vegetables.

And they - you could always get fresh vegetables from this Chinese shop, and that's how they did it.



Kennedy, James Ronayne. No, never. The only things I can remember when we were young, we had a shop over here in St Kilda.  The old laundry. That was the only Chinamen I can ever remember. Those were in the days when men wore starched collars, you know white, stiff collars and laundry was taken over. And the old Chinaman didn’t speak very good English. You got a ticket when you took the collars in. We used to enjoy going along there and say, "No tickey, no collar, John", you know. But yet they were very, very kind and very good. And my father - of course being in the Customs, he had a lot to do with the Sew Hoy family here in Dunedin. They used to bring stuff into the country, and whatever went through Customs, dad handled. And I always remember Christmas time we always got to Sew Hoy's premises - well its up there where Barton’s used to be, doesn't matter, and we always get a Christmas box. Christmas crackers from the old people there. But there weren't many Chinese around in those days, as I say, apart from this chap.

McKeich, Ken...We all come from -my father come from Roxburgh. My father could speak Chinese. He was born in Bluespur and went to Bluespur at school, and Chinese --- well kids will pick up language quicker than anything.  Yeah. I remember a time going to - we used to get, Sunday - we never grew early potatoes. A lot of people did. We never had potatoes for Christmas dinner but we used to go down to the Chinese gardens down where Kings High is now. And we went down there this day and my father took me, after school. And we get in there and one Chinaman was doing his hoeing, and we'd say: "they're freshly just hoed, aren't they?"  And his hoe went up in the air and his pigtail flying --- I think, I'm sure he had a pigtail. Dad and him with their arms around each other and my . . . my jo! They went to school together. And they brought my father home in a wheelbarrow with the Chinaman, drunk as a lord. Well. He had no Christmas dinner. And I'm sure he didn't get my mother’s peace of mind for a long, long time after that. It was Sunday Christmas dinner, coming home in a wheelbarrow with the Chinese, drunk as a lord. Well I was happy as Larry, because they handed me out those Chinese candy ginger, you know. And crackers. The old hut, they used to live there. I had these crackers and I might've been there all day, it was lovely. And when father came home - they brought him home in a wheelbarrow anyway.                



KM: Well they had the Chinese gardens. Where the Kings High is now. Well my father could speak Chinese. No. No. No, but my father got to --- I got the shock of my life -  there was ... see, we had the Chinese laundry at the top of Calder Street opposite [indistinct]. And we, father used to get his starch collars done there



AN: Yes, just an open funeral. So, we had this feed, it was the first funeral I had been to, Chinese. So anyway, after a while the, there was a boat to take these bodies, the Chinese bodies over to China and get them to bury over there. So, they had the pigtails, you know, and we asked them why they had the pigtails, they said they get pulled off to heaven with these pigtails. But however, the boat went down and all these bodies went down, so you see they didn't get to China.



TR: Chinese people. That's an interesting question. Whereas if anything was talked about -occasionally dad talked about the fact that he had many Chinese friends when he was a boy in Arrowtown. Mace Town, he was born in Mace Town.  And there were many Chinese gold miners - workers there in the field. And he could speak a few sentences of Chinese. And probably one of the things that he lived to tell us, he could recite the numbers one to 10, I recall. But that was all. So, our attitude, I think, came from his respect for them - because he did have respect for them. And I think anybody with any sense did have respect for them. Understanding what their motive was, which was to get money to send back home for the people were in very grave, serious conditions. I understood that. And of course, my mother's side that was a bit of some connection, but it was mostly through hand-on stories about Chinese taking their dead relation off in a coffin somewhere and being stopped and found it was full of gold or something, trying to smuggle - these kinds of things. Believe it or not. 

Auckland Museum

The museum have a current exhibition, “Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A Photographic Journey” .  If you’re interested, you have until Jan 21 2018 to see this.

From our Libraries and Museums

Triggered by an email from Seonaid (Shona) Lewis, we are offering a forum to our libraries and museums to publicise their events, and to contribute articles to this newsletter that may be of interest to our readers. Auckland Libraries is starting to make good use of this free service, let’s see if other libraries and museums take up this offer.

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

Auckland Libraries

HeritageTalks at Central Library, Auckland Council

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

Cost: Free

Booking: Not always essential but to secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 307 7771, or complete our online booking form.

Māori memorials with Bruce Ringer Wednesday 15 November, 12pm to 1pm

Find out about the 'missing' memorials of the Māori communities on the East Coast.

New Zealand’s civic war memorials for both world wars have mostly been well documented, but not so the memorials and rolls of honour unique to our Māori communities, on marae, in churches and in meeting houses.

Writer, research librarian and indefatigable memorial hunter Bruce Ringer takes you on a tour of some of these ‘missing’ memorials, with a particular emphasis on the East Coast.

Are you interested in family and local history? Or about the history of New Zealand?

Absolute beginners guide to Scottish history with Marie Hickey Wednesday 29 November, 12pm to 1pm

Want to know more about your Scottish roots? Have a look at the interesting records that can help.


Are you interested in family and local history? Or about the history of New Zealand?

Then come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks.

Experts in specialised fields deliver these talks and provide insight into our histories.

HeritageTalks take place at Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, unless otherwise stated.

All welcome - booking not essential, but to secure your place please phone 09 8902412 or book online:


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


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Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group

image001 Contacts: 

 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.

Tracing London Convicts in Britain & Australia, 1780-1925

This website allows you to search millions of records from around fifty datasets, relating to the lives of 90,000 convicts from the Old Bailey. Use our site to search individual convict life archives, explore and visualise data, and to learn more about crime and criminal justice in the past.

These pages provide introductions to the different records included in the Digital Panopticon. You should review this background material in order to make sense of the records and find out how to locate the information you are looking for.


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.


Why are we, the WAIKANAE FAMILY HISTORY GROUP a charitable trust?

As an organisation which has a focus of education of its members it is entitled to ask the government to give it charitable status.  It applies to the companies office, to the registrar of charitable trusts for this privilege, and with a little bit of convincing arguments or debate it happened. It (the WFHG) had also to register with the Charities Commission, a formality where we might have to pay a fee if our turnover in a year was more than $10,000. Because there are several thousand charities in New Zealand this is an instrument for extracting a fee out of each and every charitable legal entity. Before you fire off any questions if you are a church goer or an adherent of any of the Christian churches, they are all, each and every one of them (each parish is a part of the one big charitable trust) is a Charitable Trust.

The Waikanae Family History Group is a charitable trust but it does not pay that fee mentioned above because its turnover is not over the threshold.  If the Group wants to apply to the big charitable trusts around New Zealand for funding to help it in its work the government insists the WFHG be a legal entity such as a Charitable Trust.  Charitable Trusts have to account to the Govt once a year with its completed accounts for the previous trading year which in our case ends on 31 March.

At this point I have ignored Incorporated Societies because they are not charitable entities, unless Inland Revenue gets involved, and they pontificate and confer charitable status on some Incorporated Societies.    

Charitable Trust status was chosen for the WFHG because it is simpler and is more fitting since everything that we do at the group is in keeping with the educational factor which is where this group has its entire focus.

The benefits which members can enjoy first is that we determined that instead of a subscription, you would make a donation each year for which you end up with a tax receipt, enabling you to add it to your charitable giving which is part of your tax return. Maybe you are at the point where only your charitable giving requires you to do a return to IRD.  We invite members to pay more than the minimum $15 annual donation to increase their return from IRD.

Some organisations allow members to enter their door fee donation on a schedule, at the end of a year the treasurer totals their door fee koha so for example if they had eleven meetings and contributed $22 then a receipt was issued for that amount. This raises the question do we do this at WFHG, and no we don’t, but it could be organised – because you can accumulate the member donations to create a $37 donation for the year. Your treasurer might think this is creating work, but as a group funds are required for just the everyday running of the organisation.  In our case we do not pay rent for the meeting place but we pay $172 annually to maintain corporate membership of the Waikanae Chartered Club where we meet, which equates to almost $16 per meeting.  So this is another avenue down which I won’t go unless someone specifically asks me for information.  If you have a local chartered Club, it could be a good meeting place, as long as it has a large quiet meeting room. Part of our meeting is in the main auditorium and the bar staff, during their duties or making coffee, contribute a bit of irritating noise as you can imagine. Email the author on for further information.  Your organisation or family history collective, if it is independent of NZSG, could go down this road because you owe it to those who are part of your activity

A New Zealand resident, born in Young, NSW.

Now Waikanae FHG Newsletter Editor


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

An Intimate Look at our Female Ancestors' Lives: Their Underwear

From the Editor: Sometimes an article appears that interests me. This article discusses ladies' underwear. Believe it or not I do not have a particular interest in ladies' underwear but this long article was interesting and led me to considering the lifestyle of some of my ancestors who, although poor, must have worn underwear. Read it as background information.

How Did Medieval People Walk?

From the Editor: Here is another quirky video on how medieval people walked. I found it fascinating and you will too. It features a German gent by the name of Cornelius Berthold addressing an issue that I was never even aware of before - the fact that in the medieval period, people walked in a very different way to how they do today. It was all down to the footwear! Enjoy            


DNA doesn’t lie! Or does it?

It’s one of the most-commonly-repeated statements in genetic genealogy: “DNA doesn’t lie.”

It’s usually coupled with: “Families do.”

And The Legal Genealogist isn’t going to take on either of those.

But — as with almost everything in genealogy — there’s more to the story.

And boy was that hammered home for me yesterday.

I’m in northern Virginia attending and speaking at the Professional Management Conference of the Association of Professional Genealogists. I gave the Friday keynote about professional ethics; Blaine T. Bettinger — who blogs as The Genetic Genealogist — gave yesterday’s keynote about using DNA evidence to prove a genealogical conclusion. had no sooner finished his prepared remarks when a member of the audience said this one phrase — “DNA doesn’t lie” — should be eliminated from what we say as genetic genealogists, and his example was a man whose autosomal DNA did not match that of his own mother.

Now before you dismiss this as pure fiction let me assure you, the member of the audience was telling the absolute unvarnished truth: this tested man had autosomal DNA that did not match that of his own biological mother.

How is that possible?

When the person tested has had a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. The autosomal DNA in that case will match the donor — and not the donee’s own biological parent.

And Blaine himself showed an example of a case where each and every one of us, looking at the result, would have concluded that the two people tested were parent and child. The one-to-one comparison of DNA at GedMatch showed 3586.7 cM of DNA in common and a 1.0 generation difference between the two.

There isn’t a man-jack among us who wouldn’t look at that and say parent-child. And there isn’t a man-jack among us who wouldn’t have been dead wrong.

Because the two being compared were aunt and niece — the aunt happens to be an identical twin to the niece’s mother.

Powerful evidence, isn’t it?

So… should we stop saying “DNA doesn’t lie”?


Because of something else that Blaine said that was even more powerful.

He reminded us that DNA alone can never be enough to prove a genealogical relationship. There’s got to be at least one more piece of information to be able to properly interpret the DNA evidence you get.

In the one-to-one comparison case, the one more piece of information we needed was that one of the people tested was an identical twin. That one more piece of information would have been enough to stop us from making the erroneous assumption that this had to be a parent-child relationship and would have clued us in to the possibility (correct in this case) that the other person tested was the twin and not the parent.

In the no-match-to-mother case, the one more piece of information we needed was that the person tested had had the stem cell transplant. That one more piece of information would have been enough to stop us from mistakenly assuming that we were dealing with a case of misattributed parentage.

No, DNA doesn’t lie.

Our interpretation can be wrong.

And in every single solitary case, bar none, without fail, we are going to need at least one more piece of information to be able to prove a genealogical relationship.

From the editor: There are many comments, questions and answers at the end of this post which add to the original blog and should be read. Go to

My thanks to Judy Russell for permission to reprint this.

FamilySearch: Digitized Records Hiding Out in the Catalog

If you’re like me, you anxiously await the weekly email from FamilySearch that lists all the new historical records added to their online collection. When FamilySearch recently announced the discontinuation of lending microfilms to Family History Centers, I caught mention that all films that had been lent in the past few years were now digitized. Now, I know I’ve rented my share of films and I swear I haven’t seen any of those records come through in the weekly email. I even went out and checked the Historical Record Collections—nope, not there. What gives?

A few days ago, I read a blog post by cousin-in-law, Cathy over at Opening Doors in Brick Walls. She shared that the 1766 Luxembourg census was digitized and available online. Super! I made a mental note to check it out, which I did the next day. Per my normal routine, I headed to the Historical Record Collections page, filtered the list, and this is what I saw—nothing about the 1766 census. Figuring maybe the date range for the main census collection hadn’t been updated, I poked around in there, and didn’t see a thing for 1766.


Okay, I did read Cathy’s post while I was half-asleep, maybe I read it wrong. So I headed over to read it again. I followed the link she provided—wait, this is the catalog entry, huh? I re-read the post again and she mentions the camera icon, which I have always associated with the Historical Records Collections, so now I’m really confused. Not doubting Cathy’s announcement of the digitization of the 1766 census, I scrolled down the catalog entry, seeing microfilm icon, after microfilm icon, and then…a camera icon! (And a handful more, fortunately there was a camera icon for my area of interest!!) Clicking the camera icon open up the microfilm roll in a digital image view, just like the Historical Records Collections viewer. Well, whadda you know.

Then it hits me—maybe you need to go through the CATALOG to access these digitized records. So I looked for a film I had recently rented and, sure enough, the catalog entry had a camera icon for that particular film.


I checked a few more recent rentals and, lo and behold, camera icons. Now totally amused, I began randomly looking for things I knew I had on my to-do list (I was on my tablet and didn’t have access to my list, but some of those items you just remember) and was shocked to see how many were digitized and accessible—through the CATALOG! To find these, head to the catalog and enter your search criteria, just as you would if you were looking to see what records were available for a particular location or subject. Have the film number already on a to-do list? Super! Enter it in the Film/Fiche Number search box and it’ll take you right to the entry.

So I took some time to myself this past weekend to update my to-do list. I filtered my list by the items I needed to retrieve at the Family History Library and began looking up the films to see if they were digitized. I got about halfway through my list and nearly all are digitized. Some are accessible from home, while others are only accessible through a Family History Center, an affiliate, or the Family History Library. Fortunately, there is an icon with a key above it (see below), which usually means that you have to be at one of those places (although, there was one instance that I came across where it just wanted me to be logged in to my free non-LDS account; there are also some that are accessible at home for those who are LDS members). Now all FamilySearch needs to do is add that key/camera icon to the Historical Records Collections page (it can take several clicks to drill down to the records you want to view, only to get that pop-up message saying nope, you can’t view these from home in your jammies).



Perhaps living under a rock the last several months prevented me from realizing this sooner, because I evidently missed the memo (Was there one? I mean, I can’t believe I missed something so critical!!!) Perhaps this is old news or common knowledge to others, but I thought I should write about this just in case it helps someone else.

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Book Reviews   

Grandad Did A Dastardly Deed - 50 More Family History Traps by Kate Broad & Toni Neobard, published 2014 by The Family History Partnership, 2014, ISBN 978 1 906280 47 5 (I borrowed it from the Library)

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\recipes\GrandadDidetcCover.JPGThis book is an easy read and needs to be read by all genealogists, particularly beginners, because, if you have reached a brick wall, it will cause you to rethink what you have done and may help you to rethink your research techniques. Every researcher needs to take a step back from their research from time to time and reconsider their techniques. We all get into a "groove" with our methods and our shortcut may be not as effective as we think.

The book is divided into five sections:

            Using and getting the best out of the internet,

            Finding ancestors in other places,

            Visiting and using archives, anomalies,

            Interpreting results and solving problems

            Presenting and disseminating your family history


Each section is dealt with simply and humorously. It is a practical book. It would be a big mistake if you think you are too experienced to read this book - even experts can be taught a thing or two.


This book is very precious to me in that it is the first one I have read that suggests the use of a "Mountweasel" in your published data so that you can identify plagiarism. I have come under a lot of "unfriendly fire" when I have publicly advocated this but the use has saved me a lot of research time more than once.


Another section that brought back memories is:

"It would be really awful to dedicate a huge chunk of your life to drawing up your family history for your surname, only to find out on your mother's death bed that you were conceived whilst the person you thought of as Dad was away on business and therefore had no genetic link to the name. At the same time you find out why the butcher always gave your mum a cheery wink and slipped an extra sausage or two into her order."


I remember the first time I went to the LDS Centre in Pah Rd. I sat down beside an "old codger" who proceeded to check whether this beginner had done the necessary ground work including getting my own birth entry. It appeared that he didn't and after ten years of research he had experienced exactly what I have just quoted. I must admit that I went and interrogated my mother most thoroughly on this very point.


I have to admit that I have fallen into many of the traps outlined in this book. I particularly laughed loudly when I read the section on Trap 27 - "I didn't want to look like a newbie". I have been there, done that and watched others do the same.


This book caused me to rethink my methods and bought back memories of disastrous research, assumptions, research results and plain stupid explanations and conclusions. But I suppose this is all part of the "fun of the game".


I bet you googled "Mountweasel"


Peter Nash


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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 and / or visit the Facebook Page 

Old Family Reunion January 2018

Help wanted

Photo Identification

The Chinese Genealogy Group has asked if anybody can help with identifying these photos.  They’re mostly Wellington based.  Email H Wong if you can help.

Influenza Victims, Troopship HMNZT 107 “Tahiti

Julie Buist writes

I would like to reach out to the FamNet community for information for some research I am doing. 

Last year I completed a dissertation for some postgrad study I was doing through Strathclyde University.  The topic of my dissertation related to finding out who the victims of the influenza pandemic on board the troopship HMNZT 107 "Tahiti" and what the records could tell us about their deaths.  

I would like to take that research further and really bring these victims back to life - tell their story.  I'm not sure yet whether I will publish a book or booklet but I want to include biographies of the victims and details of the voyage.  So I'm seeking information from relatives/descendants of the victims but also those that survived as they are the one's that tended to have diaries and letters.  I have accessed some through the Waiouru Military Museum and the Alexander Turnball Library.

I (Robert) have set up a table of Julie’s list of victims in the table “Names in Lists” in the General Database Section.  (Ignore the four records with group “Test” – they’re just my test data).  If you can help Julie with any information about these people, please email her.

Letters to the Editor

From the Editor: We received the following reader who voiced some pleasure at the response to her inquiry. We love to receive letters like this.           

Hi Robert

Thank you for the most recent addition of the newsletter.

Eighteen months ago I called on you guys for help in finding some information regarding an ancestor of my father - William Osborne and his wife Elsie Maud, who it turned out had remarried.

I was in NZ April and had some wonderful assistance from your readers to find the pieces of the puzzle.

My great grandmother was Sophia Osborne ( William's mother) and the daughter of Charles Coe and Elizabeth McGuinness and they were both convicts.

Charles Coe had a brother Henry and some of Henry's descendants migrated to New Zealand. I do not know how far back and when this happened, only that his son, Henry Harry Coe died in 1941 at Bulls, NZ

I believe that there are two descendants still alive, Jack Coe and his son Peter Henry Coe.

Peter Henry Coe born 1945, I am led to believe lives in Taupo but I have had no luck in contacting him  and the telephone number appears to be disconnected.

I am wondering if some of your contacts may know of Peter or Jack Coe and I would love to be connected to them.

Thank you again for your previous assistance and hope we have success on this occasion.

Toni Osborne

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: Here is another from my occasional series of family portraits. I love collecting humorous family portraits and this is the latest I have found.


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