Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter November 2019

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: The thing that interests me most about family history is the gap between the things we think we know about our families and the realities - Jeremy Hardy


Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

FamNet moves to Https. 1

Editing and Re-arranging your Family Tree On-line. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

Ethics. 1

Wairarapa Wandering. 1

A Thermos Flask. 1

Digging Into Historical Records. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Starch Work by Experts - Chinese Laundries in Aotearoa New Zealand. 1

The Poison of Polygamy. 1

Anne Sherman. 1

Brick walls or just pit stops?. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Linda Gomas. 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

HeritageTalks  - Waha pū-taonga. 1

Group News. 1

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 1

Waikanae Family History Group. 1

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles Worth Reading. 1

Canterbury Research. 1

49 Rare Photos Of Victorians Proving They Weren’t As Serious As You Thought 1

Irish Man Hilariously Pranks His Family at His Own Funeral 1

DNA testing can reveal your ancestors – but it's not always what you expect 1

Irish birth, marriage and death certificates now available online for free. 1

Book Reviews. 1

Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy. 1

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. 1

In conclusion. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

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



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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

The last few months I seem to be reading a lot of articles and books about DNA tests. Now that everybody seems to be getting their tests done we seem to be seeing a lot of people telling us that it is not necessarily a good thing. The results may be totally unexpected. The results may be family destroying. Your results are not owned by you. etc etc etc.

The more I read the more I am examining why I do genealogy and/or family history and what my ultimate target is. I am deciding what my family is. Am I interested in name collecting and building my tree back to Adam and/or Eve (there's a discussion for you) or am I interested in how my "ancestors", (as I understand them to be without a confirmation by DNA testing), lived and developed the ethics, morals, family lifestyle etc that I currently enjoy or endure.

DNA testing has had a dramatic effect on genealogy already and on family dynamics as a result of an unexpected test result. There is much discussion to be had about what a family tree is and why it is assembled. Maybe a family tree is a mental thing ie a figment of the mind of the researcher. No longer can we demand that family trees be shown as we used to and, maybe, a family tree is what the researcher thinks it should be.

Also DNA testing has changed the definition and usage of the notion of privacy.

Yes October has been a month of contemplation for me.

Anyway, I present another month's offering for your perusal. I spend too much time preparing this because I read everything and wander off on tangents doing my research as a result. I get stimulated by our correspondents.

Peter Nash

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?

This newsletter is free. There are not many free newsletters of this length in New Zealand. I am biased but it should be an interesting read.

To subscribe is easy too. Go onto the FAMNET website - don't misspell it as I have, twice already.

The front page is lovely, but click on [Newsletters].  A page opens showing you a list of all the past newsletters, you can click the link to read one that you’re interested in.

Like the front page, the newsletters page has a place where you can log on or register.   It’s in the top right-hand corner.  Put your email here and click [Continue].   If you aren’t already on our mailing list, there will be a message “Email not in database” and a button [New User] appears.  Click this and follow the dialog to register.  It’s free and easy.  You should receive a copy every month until you unsubscribe.

Robert has assured me that he will not send begging letters to your email - apparently, he has enough money at the moment. You will not have to put in your credit card number. You will not be charged a subscription.

Tell other genealogists so they can enjoy the newsletters too.


Peter Nash

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Regular Contributors

From the Developer

FamNet moves to Https

A few sharp-eyed users will have already noticed that FamNet is now using an https (secure) address.  This has become the standard for web traffic, as it prevents the message being changed after the server sends it out.  The change has not been as simple as I had thought, I’ve had to spend several days time changing all the internal references from http://... to a form that will work in both test and production situations, as until this is done some features don’t work.  There are still two features that I know about with unresolved problems – Charts no longer work, and neither does the Timeline View.  Yesterday I discovered that the Help didn’t work either, that is now fixed.   As far as I know everything else is now working properly.  Let me know of any problems that you find.

Editing and Re-arranging your Family Tree On-line.

I received a query from a user who was having difficulties creating her family tree.  I’ve reproduced a version of my reply here, as it will be relevant to all of you who maintain your trees on line.  She had questions about correcting errors, such as people created in the wrong place in the tree, and a marriage date.  Her questions in this article are on lines starting with >.

The key to adding people is the Tree View.  For example, here is Tree View page based on my father: -


Firstly, notice that the Current Subject, my father Arthur Cyril BARNES, appears highlighted with a light yellow background in the middle of the bottom row.   To his left on this row are his siblings, to his right is his wife (my mother) and his family (me and my brother).   Above him are three generations of ancestor.  These positions will be empty if you haven’t yet entered the person occupying that position.  I expect that you have already used this view, as this is the place that you enter new people.  Your tree view probably won’t yet contain any pictures.

Before going any further, notice that at the bottom of this and every page there are a number of Help links.  Click the first of these, Help for this Page, to find out how to use the page you’re currently looking at.   General Help and Videos and F.A.Q. give you different kinds of help, and Contact us will send me an email.  This page


tells you how this page works.  (I’ve just found that Help didn’t work because of our switch to https.  I’ve now fixed this problem)

Back to the Tree View.  Notice that with every person on this view except the current subject there is a  button, or a Select link. Click this and the associated person becomes the current subject.   You will also see that there are [Edit] buttons or links with everybody, and you can also click their name to go to the page view for that person.   There are also [Add] buttons for siblings, spouse, and child, and in any blank position in the ancestry rows.   Experiment with Select and see that each time you click it the selected person becomes the current subject of the tree view.  This is important in understanding how to add people.

The [Add] button disappears for an ancestor when you fill in the position of father, mother, etc, but it remains for Spouse, Child, and Sibling, so you adding a 2nd spouse is easy.  For example, if my father had married again I’d simply click [Add Spouse] and define another wife.

Suppose my father had married “Wife2”, and had a child “MyHalfSister” with her.  The easiest way to distinguish parentage is to add the child to the mother: -

            Click Select for Wife2  => She becomes the Current Subject.   You’ll see that the two current children, me and my brother, disappear.

            Click [Add Child], add “MyHalfSister”.    MyHalfSister’s mother is Wife2, and father is Arthur Cyril BARNES. 

            Select Arthur Cyril BARNES => you’ll see all three children

            Select Olive WELLARD => you’ll see only me and my brother.

> Also it kept on going up in history and when I wanted to go back it was almost you could not change it or there are no changing option ( besides delete)

You can of course edit any record, but I don’t think that’s your question.  I think you mean that you’ve created a person in the wrong position.   For example, you’ve entered Grandfather#1, now you’re trying to add Grandfather#2 but you’ve made him a parent of Grandfather#1.  Is this similar to your problem?   Assuming that I’m answering the right question, here we’ve created a tree like this



                                    Father              Mother


What you meant to create was

            Grandfather#1         Grandfather#2

                        Father              Mother


I agree, this can be tricky to sort out, so you need to be careful with Tree View to ensure that you’re adding in the right place.   But you can repair mistakes if you have to. Click [Edit] for the correct person with the incorrect link, i.e. Grandfather#1 in the example above (not Grandfather#2).  The page opens with a row of buttons, starting with edit buttons [Edit], [Scrapbook], [More Facts], [Family], [GDB Links], [Permissions], and [Discard].   Click [Family]: -

In the record for Grandfather#1 his father is recorded as Grandfather#2.   Click [Delete].  This is equivalent to clicking [Delete] for the link to BARNES, John(1859-1925) in the example above.

Note that we haven’t actually deleted the record for Grandfather#2, we’ve merely deleted the link relating him as father to Grandfather#1.  We now have an unconnected record in the database, not linked to any children.

Now return to the Tree View.   Select Mother so that she becomes the Current Subject.  There should be a blank cell for her father.  Click [Add] in this cell.  A page to create a new person will appear: -


You’ve used this before to create the records of You, Father, Mother, Grandfather#1, and Grandfather#2.  This time instead of filling in details of GrandFather#2 again (which would create a duplicate record), we click [Link].   This opens a search dialog – rather like the dialog used to open a GDB record – and we find the record of GrandFather#2.   Selecting this record from the search links it back into your tree at the selected spot.   Return to Tree View to confirm that everything is correct (you may need to click the refresh button to get a new copy of the page).

>If I want to put in two sides of my family, is that possible without the living person in between made public.

Yes, and it’s automatic.  In the example above “You” is obviously alive.  To you it appears like any other record, but remember that you see all records in YOUR database.  For example, I see my wife, three daughters, and seven grandchildren.   You will only see me (because I’ve explicitly made my record public) but not my wife or descendants.  Try it – look up Robert Arthur BARNES, born 1946, in the database.   It will be the same for you – you can enter your family, and this will link both sides of your ancestry, but others won’t see the living people.

>When wanted to add wedding dates, you got only one chance.

You can change this on the Edit/Family page.  See the example above.  Click the link Marriage

>What is the best format for dates  1965, or 19/12/1965, 19-12-1965, or even American 12/19/65

You can give a date as simply a year, e.g. 1965, or as a full date when you know it. The best format is 12 Dec 1965, which avoids the confusion with American and British order.  Always give the century, e.g. 1965, never 65 – this is a genealogy database after all, and if you put in a two digit year Microsoft rules will apply and you’ll find some ancestor who fought in WW1 being recorded as born in 2001 (OK, he lied about his age when he enlisted). 

Telling your story: Index

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

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

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

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

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

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

21.  Bulk-uploading Objects.  FamNet resource: Useful Databases
22.  Publishing Living Family on Family Web Sites 

23.  Have YOU written your family story yet? 

Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler


I'm looking for a new "coffee buddy" for my regular Wednesday morning session.

For a few years now, Allan and I have spent a pleasant hour or so enjoying a tasty coffee and a scone. We right the wrongs of the world and discuss matters genealogical. We discuss our research and give advice as to the standard of each other's work. We have a handful of venues we visit which have all passed the taste test for coffee and scones. In winter there has to be heating, in summer a sunny spot to rest our weary bodies. We have even invited some other genealogists to join us but we have to be in the mood for conversation with "strangers.

But last week Allan blew it. He caused me much grief and caused me to lose many hours by forcing me to think about what I do. Let me explain.

I was talking about some research I had done for a local woman who wanted me to find out all the siblings of her grandmother for her mother (of almost 90 years plus age). The family I was seeking lived in Birmingham. She also wanted to know who her mother's grandparents were.

I was extremely lucky (they had an uncommon surname) and within two hours had found all siblings and all the next generation back. Being as pleased as punch I rang her and made an appointment to show her what I found. When I got there she and her mother produced a box of photographs which has all been named by her grandparents (ie the parents of the elder of the two ladies) but the names meant very little to them. Don't get confused about the ladies - just remember that they were mother and daughter and they wanted to get a few generations back into their family tree. There were letters which were about 100 years old. Luckily, my research put the names and family relationships to all or most of the photographs and letters. They were most pleased and produced a lovely bottle of red wine as the agreed cost for my research.

But the younger woman's great great grandfather had an unusual given name which with the unusual surname and village of birth made him very easy to find. Unfortunately the second fact that appeared on Ancestry was the fact that he was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment for theft in 1844.

Just before I left I mentioned this fact. She was shocked and most upset. She was sure no ancestor of hers did anything that could be worthy of a court hearing, let alone a short stay in the care of the police. I quickly changed the subject and left her to study her new family tree and to enjoy her photographs and letters now that she knew how the individuals fitted into her family.

When I told Allan he lectured me on the ethics of genealogy. Had I the right to tell that lady about the prison sentence? Had I fully thought about what I could tell her and what I should have left unsaid? He was right - I had got too excited about my finds. I had gone past what I was asked to find.

He told me that all genealogists should have some ethics. I told him that my experience, in NZ, proved the opposite but he muttered something about building a bridge and getting over it. I thought that was a little harsh. I was "officially unaware" that ethics in genealogy existed. He told me to take him home and pick up a book that he had just purchased - "Ethical  Dilemmas in Genealogy" by Penny Walters.

When I got home I started to read the book. It blew my mind. It made me think about what I do and how I do it. Some things I do automatically, others I have not thought about. Being a professional researcher, albeit that my current charging rate is half a bottle of red wine per hour, is a minefield of ethical dilemmas. The book gave me no answers but made me think about my "modus operandi" for genealogy research. I spent the next day deeply immersed in this book. It would have been easier if it gave some answers. But it was an interesting exercise.

After each point was raised in the book I found myself thinking about privacy - that word I hated when I was in the NZ Society of Genealogists. Then privacy was a reason for valuable resource material being hidden from researchers. Nowadays it has much more important meanings especially when you consider the results of DNA testing and the publishing of family trees. If you remember, and I hope you do, my last column discussed DNA testing and the high numbers of unexpected results. I have been reading a couple of books on that subject and the adverse effect it had on people and how they coped when the bombshell of an unexpected DNA test result was received or when unwanted contact by a person claiming to be a very close relative happened.

To be very honest I don't want to know of any "unexpected result" in my immediate family. I don't want to be contacted by a person claiming to be my close relative as a result of a "meeting" of a couple outside the bounds of marriage.

I suppose that this book was an "unexpected result" of a coffee meeting. I don't know whether I can cope with another such event. Maybe I should replace him.

But, after a long consideration, I think my chastisement was well intentioned and very timely. I have learned that there are very few situations in research that do not need ethical consideration. As a professional researcher, I should automatically operate ethically. Maybe as a result of this self education exercise I should double my rate for research - maybe a bottle of red wine per hour. At least the client can be assured that I am ethical in my research and reporting.

On second thoughts I will continue my regular sessions with Allan and expect a rap over the knuckles every now and again when he thinks my methods are not up to standard.

Peter Nash

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Wairarapa Wandering

A Thermos Flask

I had a most interesting telephone call the other day from a lady ringing from nearby Masterton. She said that she had read an article in the local paper that I had written years ago, about a thermos flask. That article was in Times Age about 2001 - just a few years gone!

I said that it is now up at the Classic Flyers Museum, Tauranga. My father had that aboard each flight during WW2 and we used it, after the war, on picnics, all year round back home in England.

Now, I have in front of me the history of this special Thermos, from the company Thermos themselves, in a letter dated back to 2001.

I had two special friends going up north the other year and asked them to please call into the museum to hand over the thermos. On seeing it, they were surprised how big it was. I told you that it was different and very special to our family, and it needed a good home. That Museum has also got my late father's parachute from WW2, even though he had never lived in New Zealand because it was with my sister who, at that time, was living in NZ at Takapuna.

My brother in law, a commander in the Royal Navy asked, one day, what we could do with the parachute, I suggested that a flying museum would love it, so that is how we selected the museum in Tauranga. I also printed out some of Dad’s letters from the parachute manufacturer for them as well.

To quote from Thermos, thanking me for contacting them about thermos jars:

We are very pleased to hear of a customer with an interest in the history of our products.

The large jar with the container inside is the model 82 food jar and was made anytime between the mid 1930s to mid 1950s. They were used during the 1939-1945 war by the air force and on the 1000 bomber raids on Germany, there could have been approximately 10.000 vacuum ware products in the air. They were also dropped with parachutists in airborne raids and carried on motor torpedo boats, known as MTBs.

As a matter of interest, in the early 1960s we had to get the sale force to find a refill for one of these jars for the Queen Mother, fortunately we did. The smaller jar, the model 81, half gallon, was never as popular as the larger jar or as popular as the 607, a quart size version.

We are afraid we have no idea what the value of these jars would be today, however, as you can see the large one has an interesting history.

They included some newspaper adverts for me with the letter - priceless!

The flask or jar in question has three separate lidded containers inside, so it kept a meal hot for the men. The inside of the jar has a thick glass lining, and I mean thick.

So now I must get back to the lady who kindly rang me, as I have found the thermos history to show her. She said she had similar one which belonged to her father who was with De Haviland in England.

I will visit the lady in Masterton and see what model of thermos she has and show her the history of thermos jar.


Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane

Clareville 5713

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Digging Into Historical Records  

From the Editor: Dawn is too busy at the moment to write another interesting article. I will miss her contribution because I am amazed at what she finds in Archives NZ.








Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

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Chinese Corner 

Some Book reviews

Starch Work by Experts - Chinese Laundries in Aotearoa New Zealand  by Joanna Boileau

Chinese laundries first opened in the 1880s and were an integral part of New Zealand’s social fabric until at least the 1950s. How did they develop in towns from Southland to the far north before slowly disappearing after the 1940s? Who ran them and how did they fit into their communities? Starch Work by Experts: Chinese Laundries in Aotearoa New Zealand tells the story of the laundrymen, their families and customers.

Hand laundries were one of four main occupations for early Chinese settlers, along with mining, market gardening and storekeeping. They provided a low-cost stepping stone to a new life through hard work, skill and long hours. This book counters the stereotype of Chinese laundry work as menial and unskilled. While Chinese laundries were humble establishments, Chinese laundrymen (and women) were experts in starching, particularly men's shirts and detachable collars.
Blending documentary research, personal stories and fascinating images, Starch Work by Experts goes beyond the grille to step inside the world of steaming coppers, hissing irons and perfectly starched collars.
Dr Joanna Boileau is an historian specialising in the history of the Chinese in New Zealand and Australia. Her most recent book Chinese Market Gardening in Australia and New Zealand: Gardens of Prosperity was published by Palgrave McMillan in 2017.



Starch Work by Experts: Chinese Laundries in Aotearoa New Zealand @ $49.95
For copies, please email

The Poison of Polygamy  Wong Shee Ping 黃樹屏

Serialised in 1909-1010, The Poison of Polygamy by Wong Shee Ping is the first novel of the Chinese Australian experience. It recounts the story of a man from southern China who tries his luck on the Victorian goldfields. A new bilingual parallel edition presents The Poison of Polygamy to English language readers for the first time, translated by Ely Finch, with introductory material by Michael Williams and Mei-Fen Kuo. This is an extract from Michael Williams’ introduction to the novel.

The Poison of Polygamy’s 1909 – 1910 serialisation in the Chinese Times was published without its author being named, a not unusual circumstance for the times. However, references discovered in other stories published in this and another newspaper make it clear that the author is Wong Shee Ping (黃樹屏), also known as Wong Yau Kung (黃右 /黃又公).(1) Beginning with that name a picture of the author has now gradually evolved that includes not only elements of his life before and after the novel’s publication, his Christian ministry, political affiliations and additional literary efforts, but also the fact that descendants via his Australian-born daughter, Bonnie Ping, live in Australia today.


Registration for Dragon Tails 2019 is now open.

Theme: Translation and Transformation
Location: Hunter Building, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Date: Wed 20 – Sat 23 November 2019
  Wednesday will be pre-conference tours and events
Convenors: Grace Gassin, Karen Schamberger

Following on from the success of the Dragon Tails conferences at Ballarat (2009), Melbourne (2011), Wollongong (2013), Cairns (2015) and Bendigo (2017) we will be holding, in Wellington, the sixth Dragon Tails, an Australasian conference on Chinese diaspora history and heritage.                  This conference will be hosted by Wai-te-ata Press at the Victoria University of Wellington.


Helen Wong

Anne Sherman

Brick walls or just pit stops?

Many family history researchers will encounter a ‘brick wall’ in their research at some point, but how many are true brick walls and how many are just pit stops due to poor research skills or records that are not online?

I often look at genealogical forums to see if I can offer any assistance where others cannot.  All too often I find people saying they have hit a brick wall and assume the information they need does not exist.   In reality some have only checked online, and often only on one website.  Sadly the growing problem appears to be that if it is not on that website, they do not know where else to look.  In some ways this can be blamed on the television adverts that suggest that with just you name and date of birth, the site can give you the whole of your ancestry.   You cannot really blame people if they believe that.

The lack of a genealogical or research education is another aspect.  When I first started researching my family history in the 1980’s, I went to the Local Studies library and asked how to get started, and they helped me through the learning process one step at a time.  Today the search starts on the internet and the learning process has become very diluted and narrow.  Not only do some new researchers not know about other online resources, some have never visited a local history library or County Archive Centre.

My advice to all researchers, especially those with ‘brick walls’, is:

Look at the growing range of online resources – don’t just use one website.

Use the local archive office – they have huge amounts of documents and the expertise to help you.

Think outside the box – people in the past did not always behave how you think they should have.

More importantly get some expert help, either from your archive office, Family History Society or a professional genealogist who can teach or coach you.

Please note that family history classes may NOT be run by an experienced family history researcher, or even a qualified tutor.  One class I heard about was run by someone who had only started her own research less than 2 years earlier.  Also classes in libraries may also be given by library assistants with little personal experience.  Always check to see what experience the tutor has – after all do you want to be taught by someone with less experience than you may have?

So how do you knock down your ‘brick wall’?

Think out of the box.  This is not easy to do as we are generally not conditioned to do it. It is probably easier to give you an example than try to explain the process.

The 1911 census shows a husband, wife and several children, the youngest being 4 months old. The census gives the children’s ages and place of birth, and how long the husband and wife have been married.
Problem:  There is no GRO birth index for any of the children and no marriage for their parents.  How do you solve this?
(Answer at the end of the blog – but try to work it out for yourself first.)


Many people will have their own methods and thoughts, but these are mine.

1.    Write down all of the information you have in a timescale format and decide what extra information you want or need.  By organising data by time, you may get some ideas of where the information may be located. 

2.    Researching siblings or even cousins could help.  Was your ancestor staying with or visiting another member of the family in a different part of the country?  Sometimes a woman may have given birth or baptised her first child at her parents’ home.  That still happens today.

3.    Think about other resources that may help you.  

a.    Army service records can hold information regarding the man’s parents, siblings, wife and children.

b.    Wills are relatively cheap and easy to access now.  These will often give you lots of family information, including details of the ‘black sheep’.

c.     Newspapers are an undervalued resource that can give family details, addresses, occupations as well as character traits.

d.    Look at the original parish registers not just the indexes, as the clerk may have made some observations regarding your ancestor that the transcriber did not note down.  An 1814 burial I found stated that the deceased had ‘drowned in a ditch whilst highly inebriated.’  A baptism record also noted the children parents before crossing out the father as the child was illegitimate.

4.    Look for transcription errors or changes in how a name was spelt.  I once found Joseph transcribed on a census index as Joanne, and a serv (servant) transcribed as son – made even worse when the servant’s name was Mary. The census clearly showed she was female but the transcriber listed her as male.

5.   Contact other researchers of the same family if possible, as they may have documents that relate to your family member.  See my blog on how a letter in Canada solved my 15 year brick wall.

6.   Find a professional researcher/archivist to help you.  Sometimes fresh experienced eyes may see something you missed.

 7.    Understand the resources you are using.  If you know why the resource was created and its history (they were not created for the family history researcher) you will understand its strengths and pitfalls.  Understanding a resource may help you to see why your ancestor was not included in it, or why you cannot access it.   The most common examples are the lack of women in the electoral registers, because they were not allowed to vote, and ‘missing’ or duplicated people on the census. 


Not all family mysteries are true brick walls. It may be a lack of research skills, unavailable resources, or simply transcription errors that is preventing you from finding the answers you seek.


Unlike the television programmes, family history research cannot really be done in a few short months.  It is a lifelong hobby and will never be complete as it will continue to grow as new resources become available.  So don’t give up – the answer may still be out there.


Answer to problem:

The couple were never married as one was already married to someone else (and divorce was not an option for most people at this time).

Search the GRO indexes for the youngest child as you have a good idea of when he was born – BUT do not use a surname.  Write down all of the possible surnames.

Next check if any of the children have less than common forenames – in this case one was named Cyril, and search the GRO index for his birth, again without including a surname.  Now cross reference the possible surnames for both children. 

If you have several possible names repeat the process for another child.

When you only have one name, check all of the children.  In this case all of the children were found to have a middle forename that was the same as their father’s surname. 

If you need to do this for your own research be aware that the older children may be children from a different relationship.


This may take quite a while to sort out but no one ever said that family history research was easy.


If you need help with your family history let me know. My website is:


Anne Sherman

Guest Contributors 

Linda Gomas

Text Box:  “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d ….”

Whilst most of us would agree that a name reflects little of a person’s true worth, it is interesting that Shakespeare has used the metaphor of a rose to illustrate this belief in his tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.

With the arrival of Spring, it is perhaps timely to ponder on the many different qualities that the flower has brought to the lives of successive generations – through religion, mythology, literature, sport, medicine, warfare, and indeed its significance to the genealogist.

And it is not only flowers, but the cultivation of vegetable seeds and tubers that have helped shape the histories of our ancestors.  It is important not to underestimate the role of the humble potato in their destinies. The potato’s involvement in the mass movement of people to the United States and the Antipodes is well known but never forget how the supply of sweet potatoes, the kumara, by the Maori to our early European settlers saved many a desperate family living hand to mouth in appalling conditions, lured to the other side of the world by the promise of land and prosperity. The Rev. Vicesimus Lush notes in his diary entry for 7 February 1866: “Rode to Maketu: the immigrant settlement I like best. This place was, before the war, a Maori village: the natives had planted here a large quantity of peach trees – where the largest number were placed the Superintendent had the ground fenced in and a garden formed, where vegetables and seeds were raised for the immigrants’ use, till such time as they would have a supply from their own lands. These peach trees are now (Feby) in full bearing and such a quantity of peaches I never beheld. They were lying upon the ground beneath the trees in hundreds and the branches were weighed down to the earth by their loads of fruit – last Saturday the head “ganger” as he is called – Mr Donaldson – began to distribute the peaches to the immigrants – he gave away “35 hundred” and will give that quantity away twice a week till they are all gone – but it will take some weeks to exhaust the supply.” Saved by the peach!

We celebrate flowers by forever bestowing our favourite blooms on our offspring, particularly our daughters – Blossom, Violet, Ivy, Iris, Heather, Lily, Rose, Fleur, Jasmine, Daisy, Poppy, Erica;  less so our sons – Basil, William, Bud.

Flowers play an emotional part in all of our lives for not only do we value them for their scent, colour and form, we let them speak for us at those most significant events in our lives. Many of the messages are implicit, for example the manner in which they are presented or worn – the red poppy embodies the tragic consequences of war on world populations; the red rose shows our love and devotion; the laurel and lily convey our grief; the daffodil now symbolises our fight against cancer. Others are more direct – they represent anniversaries, wars, adorn our flags. Countries define themselves by their national flower – England has the Tudor Rose, Scotland the Thistle, France the Iris, New Zealand the Kowhai. Flowers adorn our literature and are prolific in all of the arts.

But while floral tributes help celebrate life’s milestones, they also remind us that genealogy is not just a collection of mindless dates of birth, marriage and death. I think of flowers at this time of the year. Spring reminds me of the colour yellow. The colour yellow reminds me of my Aunty Joan. She’s in my garden – her daughter gave me her potted gerbera and favourite rose, a climbing yellow banksia, after her passing. Some 20 years later she’s still with me. She shares my garden with “Mum”, “Dad”, “Auntie Norma”, “Marie”, “Nana”. I worry when they’re poorly – unfortunately “Auntie Dollie” passed on a few years ago after surviving her namesake by some 20 years. When walking my sister’s dog I pass clusters of marigolds and think nostalgically of dear old Pat who festooned his garden with his favourite golden blooms and alyssum; gazanias and African daisies take me back to Waikaraka Cemetery where so many of my family dwell; catching the fleeting scent of old fashioned sweet peas brings to mind those growing wild over the 1918 flu victims’ graves at Waikumete. My aunt passed on to me my grandmother’s faded wedding bouquet and I just love it when I chance upon a pressed flower between the pages of some tattered old book. They may no longer be with us, but their floral family tree lives on and keeps their memories alive. The cuttings and seedlings they so proudly treasured and raised get passed on to present generations who similarly cherish them and reverentially pass them on to future generations.

Linda Gomas

From our Libraries and Museums

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 makes 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  - Waha -taonga


July to November 2019
Are you interested in family and local history; the historical stories of New Zealand, the Pacific, and beyond?

Then why not come along to one of our fortnightly HeritageTalks - Waha -taonga and hear more about both our personal and our shared heritage?

These talks are given by experts in their field and can provide valuable insight into our histories.

When: At least fortnightly on Wednesdays, from February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland
Cost: Free
Booking: All welcome. Booking recommended but not essential.

To ensure your place, please contact Research Central on 09 890 2412, or book online at


The Kiwi speaks… with Max Cryer

Wednesday 6 November, 12pm -1pm

Max Cryer examines the somewhat casual relationship New Zealanders have with the English language. The average Kiwi knows little about the structure of the language most commonly spoken in Aotearoa - but Max does know. He illuminates the scene by light-heartedly examining formidable-sounding local language by-ways such as metathesis and hypochorism styles which many New Zealanders didn’t know they used.

Women Mean Business: Colonial Businesswomen in New Zealand, with Dr Catherine Bishop, author

Wednesday 6 November 6pm-7.30pm

‘The greatest comefort to me is to get an honest living for my familey’. Boarding-house-keeper Susannah Wall’s words in 1845 echo the sentiments of many colonial women in New Zealand throughout the nineteenth century. Like Susannah, many of them ran small businesses (though not all were as concerned about the ‘honesty’ of the living they got).

‘Milne and Choyce’ and ‘Smith and Caughey’s’ are well-known female-founded businesses in Auckland - but what about the Mclaughlin sisters’ drapery, Mary Ann Brassey’s school, mess-woman Louisa Darby or Sophia Paris James’ Q.C.E. Hotel? In this talk Catherine Bishop, author of Women Mean Business (Otago University Press), explores the stories of some of New Zealand’s colonial entrepreneurs – the successful and the outright failures, the heart-warming and the tragic, the everyday and the scandalous. 

Born and raised in Whanganui, Dr Catherine Bishop is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her first book Minding Her Own Business: Colonial Businesswomen in Sydney (NewSouth Publishing, 2015) won the prestigious 2016 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. This is her second book.

From Taranto to Trieste with Jennifer Mallison, author

Thursday 7 November 6pm-7.30pm

Following the 2nd NZ Division’s Italian Campaign, 1943-45

This is a modern journey in the path of 2nd New Zealand Division in Italy, from its arrival in Taranto in October 1943 until disbandment after the end of the war in Europe.

The author faithfully reconstructs the journey of the Division, from disembarkation in Taranto to peace-keeping in the ethnic and political hot-bed of Trieste, commenting on the landscape and social context while recalling the impressions and experiences of the soldiers as they passed through. The author also visits the four areas where the Division went into action: above the Sangro River in Abruzzo, at Cassino and in the mountains to the north, south of Arezzo and Florence in Tuscany, and across the rivers of Emilia-Romagna. The historical context (military and political) is related separately to explain and complement the story of the overall Kiwi experience.

The book is generously illustrated with detailed journey and local maps, numerous contemporary photographs, and a selection of war history photographs. The story is embellished by personal reflections, and notes on the physical and cultural environment, with interesting detours off-route to irresistible and often hidden attractions.

Two appendices provide brief descriptions of the Commonwealth War Cemeteries in Italy where New Zealanders are buried, and the Italian POW Camps where New Zealanders (from previous campaigns) transited or were held prisoner.

Explore new DNA tools - Michelle Patient

Wednesday 20 November, 12pm -1pm

Michelle Patient is back to share her in depth knowledge of genetic genealogy. This replaces the DNA talk originally programmed with Seonaid Lewis.

Using tools is essential in extracting genealogy evidence from our DNA results. Some are within the company websites, while others are available via a third party.

Join us as Michelle explores some of the more recently released tools along with those currently considered 'essential' by the genealogy community.

Michelle is a very popular speaker, speaking on a very popular topic! Booking is highly advised. To book please phone Research Central on 09 890 2412 or book online.


Lunchtime with Sylvia Valentine, UK guest speaker

Wednesday 27 November, 12pm -3pm

Speaker Biography

Sylvia Valentine is a UK based researcher and has been researching her own family history for almost 40 years. After retiring from a 30-year career working in the charity sector, she became a student of the University of Dundee, and graduated in 2016 with a Master of Letters degree in Family and Local History. She is now a doctoral candidate researching Opposition to Compulsory Smallpox Vaccination in Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. She owns her own research company, Recover Your Roots, researching particularly in northern England and Scotland.

Her specialist area of interest are the records created by the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 – and compulsory smallpox vaccination. Sylvia is an Honorary Teaching Fellow of the University of Dundee and delivers their online family history courses. She is also the Doctoral Fellow 2019 for the Centre for Scottish Studies.

She is a Director of the Register of Qualified Genealogists, (RQG) a member of the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives, (ASGRA) and is an Associate member of the Association and Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).


Twitter @historylady2013

Researching Workhouse Records in England and Wales

Family historians often think of using workhouse records chiefly in terms of the admission or discharge of a pauper ancestor. However the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 created a bureaucratic system across England and Wales for the management of local poor law unions. Not all records have survived, but those which do frequently name individuals with some connection to the workhouse. For example, suppliers of foodstuffs clothing and services such as dentistry. Your Ancestor might have been a workhouse employee or been one of “the great and the good” who oversaw day to day management. You can find information about absconding parents, apprentice records and smallpox vaccination records. This lecture explains some of the records you might be able to find.

The Dawson Orphans - From the Workhouse to Oxford University

Starting with a letter discovered in a workhouse letter book, out of curiosity, Sylvia set out to research the story of the five Dawson orphans who were born in the early nineteenth century. This talk shows how a researcher can use a variety of resources to put together a family history. The story has been pieced together using more than 25 resources, but, spoiler alert, sadly there are no happy endings for the brothers.

Smallpox Vaccination Records for Family History

Smallpox vaccination records might seem an unlikely source for family historians but, where they have survived, they might just help you with a “brick wall”. This presentation discusses some of the history of smallpox vaccination, resistance to compulsory vaccination and suggestions for locating any records, primarily within England and Wales.


Remembering the Mt Erebus disaster

 Central City LibraryWednesday 27 November6pm to 7.30pmFree

In the summer of 1979-1980, Nigel Roberts spent four months at Scott Base on Ross Island as Information Officer/photographer. Here he shares his memories of that fateful day in Antarctica in this talk presented by the New Zealand Antarctic Society.

Photo: Nigel Roberts

On the morning of 28 November 1979, Air New Zealand Flight TE901 left Auckland, for an 11-hour return sightseeing flight to Antarctica. At 12.49pm NZST, the aircraft crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew on board. It remains the worst civil disaster in New Zealand's history. In the summer of 1979-1980, Nigel Roberts spent four months at Scott Base on Ross Island as Information Officer / Photographer. Here he shares his memories of that fateful day in Antarctica. 


About Nigel Roberts

Emeritus Professor Nigel Roberts taught political science for many years, first at the University of Canterbury and then at Victoria University of Wellington, and he was the face of TVNZ’s election night coverage for numerous general elections. He is the author of multiple publications. 

About the New Zealand Antarctic Society

The New Zealand Antarctic Society brings people interested in the Antarctic region together to share their knowledge with others, to foster interest in the region, and to seek and support the protection of the Antarctic environment.


Our 2020 HeritageTalks for will start again on Wednesday 5 February

Phone: 09 890 2412

Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


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Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group


image001 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


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

email, if you need directions.

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

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






Waikanae Family History Group

 Contacts: Email:

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

Research days: at the Waikanae Public Library, 10am to 12 noon on second Wednesday of each month.



Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

 The contact details of this group are:

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

Rose Cottage 33 Memorial Place


Tel: 06 – 754 – 3212



President:- Rona Hooson 

Vice President:- Doree Smith

Secretary:- Trish Smart

Treasurer:- Marilyn O’Lander



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News and Views


Various Articles Worth Reading

From the Editor: Because of space restrictions and copyright issues I cannot put the complete articles in this newsletter so here are some URLs that are worth looking at:

  'Any idea we had about privacy is over,' says author of new book on genealogy


Canterbury Research

If you have Cantabrian ancestors, you may well find this of interest -

Local history resources - An annotated bibliography of published sources on the history of Christchurch, Lyttelton, and Banks Peninsula.


49 Rare Photos Of Victorians Proving They Weren’t As Serious As You Thought


Irish Man Hilariously Pranks His Family at His Own Funeral


and how he did it


DNA testing can reveal your ancestors – but it's not always what you expect


Irish birth, marriage and death certificates now available online for free



and a useful tip obtained from facebook

            Nancy McLaughlin And if you are using this Irish site a lot, you may want to try this very useful tool that allows you to browse through records of a particular district.
            First find a particular entry (Birth, marriage or death) for your district. Then copy and paste that URL into this form; submit, and then away you go, browsing the records. With so many spelling variations of surnames, this method is particularly useful.


Book Reviews

   Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy by Penny Walters, ISBN 9781724038241, self published

This is a very readable book on genealogical issues. It has caused me to spend a lot of time considering how I research and present the results of my research to clients. Until I read this I thought I knew everything I needed in order to be an ethical professional researcher.

The book gives no answers. A variety of ethical dilemmas are described and discussed. The author spends some time on DNA testing and adoption and the ethical dilemmas associated with these areas of genealogy.

Genealogy is no longer in the realms of pencil and paper and "snail mail" communications. Nowadays, there is so much data available at the click of a mouse. Nowadays we don't keep a paper family tree or use a computer programme in which we store our research data. We now put it all up on the internet with all our errors, mistakes, misprints, mistruths and plain lies. Others snatch it and add it to their collection. We snip photographs from the internet without a thought and add it to our collection. And all this happens in the twinkling of an eye. I am now, with an ounce of luck, able to get a few generations of a family tree within an hour or two.

Now the word "privacy" has a different meaning from 10 years ago. Then it was an excuse to hide research information from the public and it now covers a wider range of research methods including DNA testing, online publishing of family trees etc. And includes how we communicate our research to others.

I think this should be a compulsory read for genealogists.

To add more meat to my review and to give access details I have included a review that appeared in a recent Family Tree magazine.

Peter Nash

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro, ISBN 978 1 4328 6180 3, published by Gale 2019

Imagine that you take a DNA test just because it was a free gift to you. You get an unexpected result. Your much loved, strongly orthodox Jewish father appears to not be your father. Using Ancestry you find the person allegedly your real father.

This is the story line of this memoir. The author is extremely shocked and questions everything about her family (real and newly acquired), her conception and the way her Jewish parents went about the conception.

I found this to be stomach turning read and reinforces my feelings about DNA testing. I don't want to go through this experience. The version I read is large type and this contributed towards the ease of reading and the feeling that I had to keep reading without any breaks.

Here is the summary from the Auckland Public Library catalogue:

            "The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets--a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden            the story of her own life. In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her. Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro's memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love."--Provided by publisher.

If you are considering doing a DNA test I think that you should read this book.

Peter Nash

In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Advertising with FamNet

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

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

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A Bit of Light Relief


      Those of us that check up on our ancestors still need “money” and these cartoons came to mind while I was recently doing my tax returns & making sure I still had some money to pursue my genealogical pursuits – Ken Morris





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