Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter October 2018

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote     "In the end we all become stories" - Margaret Attwood


Regular Contributors

From the Developer

The Nash Rambler

DNA Testing for Family History

Jan’s Jottings

Wairarapa Wandering

Tracey’s Tales

Digging Into Historical Records

Chinese Corner

Guest Contributors

Marlene Skelton

Alan Rudge

From our Libraries and Museums

Auckland Libraries

Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group

Waikanae Family History Group

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

Books from Laura Nicholas

News and Views

RootsWeb URL’s Begin Working Again

The 2018 Auckland Family History Expo round up with Speaker's Notes

Ancestry vs MyHeritage vs Findmypast: What’s the Difference and Which One is Best?

Book Reviews

Full English

A Kentish Lad

In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Advertising with FamNet

A Bit of Light Relief

Oirish Vasectomy

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


Back to the Top. 17


Share this newsletter

FBTweet Email


Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

I get a lot of pleasure assembling this newsletter. I am now getting contributions from historians and genealogists who give me a lot of pleasure as I read their contributions. A couple of new contributors are in the process of writing an article.

Now that the newsletter is in a regular format and has a list of eminent contributors, including myself (nothing wrong with my ego) I am wondering if there are other improvements we could make to make this newsletter more important and a must read in the genealogy world. Therefore I am asking for some feedback from the readership about what we could write about, get articles from etc. No feedback means we will assume that you are all happy and we will continue on as before.

You could convince some other repositories, experts or organisations to contribute. We write the newsletter for you, the reader.

Please enjoy this month's offering.


Peter Nash

Back to the Top

Regular Contributors

From the Developer

Sorry, nothing this month. 

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.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

21.  Bulk-uploading Objects.  FamNet resource: Useful Databases.


Robert Barnes

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

Remembering old genealogists

I cannot start this month's magnificent piece of writing without acknowledging the passing of a regular columnist to this newsletter, Hanley Hoffmann (I must check the spelling, one n or two). Since I took over the editorship of this newsletter, Hanley was always encouraging. He was a valuable "critic" in that he would come up with some valuable tips about what I was trying to do. He was a practical genealogist. We have clashed more than once over the number of years that I knew him but we could never query each other's motives because we were both genealogists and administrators and we were not operating for personal kudos. I must admit that I giggled for a long time after I convinced him to be a regular columnist - he had the same problems I had regarding what to write about. That'll teach him to leave me alone I thought!!!. Besides I could never spell his surname correctly.

Farewell Hanley and thanks.

On a similar vein, yesterday I was visiting an old friend of mine who I will give the kiss of death to because of the "politics of the Genealogy Society" by naming her. Diane Wilson has contributed much to New Zealand genealogy through her efforts at indexing. I have been one of her team of indexers. Over the years her team changed very little. They were avid indexers who, despite their individual indexing quirks, regularly produced accurate indexes of any material she threw at them. We were reminiscing about how we produced the finest bit of indexing in New Zealand, in my humble opinion, the Burial Locator. This gem of an index is still indispensible for anyone doing New Zealand research and it is a pity that it can't be purchased because people keep stealing my version. It is all very well saying that it is all on the internet but it is not all in the one place and this CD Rom points you, with an ounce of luck, to where the required information is.

But the point is that her big team of now nameless indexers did the work. Some of them were very ill and only survived because indexing was a regular exercise. Many have now passed on. There are many genealogists who have contributed much to the many indexes that have been produced over the years.

This has reminded me of that magnificent data storage system - the microfiche. I'll just drool a little while I remember the pleasure that these wee sheets of plastic have given me. I think I'll take a break for a coffee.

Back again. Thinking of microfiche has reminded me of another person who contributed much to the growth of genealogy - Ann Bromell. I attended one of her beginner's classes at night school. She dragged me into the NZ Society of Genealogists. Anne got me into the speaking circuit. She would say things like

            "Peter I think you should look at Police Gazettes. I'm sure you can make a speech out of that."

And off I would go and this would result in speaking to many society branches. I can rattle off a whole list of speech subjects that resulted from a suggestion from Ann.

I wasn't the only speaker on the circuit.  We all introduced new resources that needed to be publicized. That was how genealogists learnt. Some unknown genealogist would be ferreting around in National Archives, Church Archives etc and find a new resource. They would quietly inform a speaker and voila, it became common knowledge.

This reminiscing leads me onto another lovely resource - the cemetery microfiche which is a collection of monumental inscriptions and burial records. These were compiled many years ago by now forgotten genealogists who scrambled through often overgrown cemeteries transcribing headstones. To show how valuable this work is I will mention that in the early 1990s over 150 brass plates were stolen from the Hillsborough cemetery and never recovered. Luckily the NZSG had recorded the monumental inscriptions a few years before. For years I ignored cemeteries but I'm now a "cemetery addict". I love to ramble through them both here in NZ and overseas.

What is the point of this rambling column?

Well modern pyjama (how do you spell that word) genealogists don't know how the "stuff on the computer" got found and got "made into a useable format". It is all the result of the old indexers and genealogists who went to great length to find, record and index various resources.

Let's have a quiet little minute thanking those nameless, probably dead or near dead in my case, and forgotten genealogists that developed the data. Let's raise a toast of whatever you want (in my case a good coffee) and silently thank them.

Regards to all

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

From the editor: Gail has written quite a series on DNA Testing. You will see them all on the FAMNET website and they are a must-read, particularly if you are considering or have had a test done. They are easy to read and not too technical. 

 30.  Is your family tree on

One of the advantages of Robert’s ‘Famnet’ website is that you can place your family tree in it.  This means of course that no matter where you are or what device is hiding in your tote bag or suitcase, you will always have access to it.  (Note that I do not recommend using a smart phone or an iPad for such access because the screens frequently are too small).

This is just one of the reasons that many people place their Family Trees on the ‘Family Search’ or the ‘My Heritage’ or ‘FindMyPast’ or on the sites (to name a few examples).  Probably one of the most common sites a person might use is the site. 

Then someone decides to get and use genealogy software on their own computer.

Always a good idea!  Just the other day, I attended a genealogy group and one lady was displaying her pedigree – on paper.  I asked whether she was placing the information on her computer.  “No” was her reply.  She went on to say that her computer was her source of extracting her information.


But of course, if you have spent hours loading your tree and references to, the question becomes “how do I extract my tree from the site”.

My thanks and grateful acknowledgement to Richard Johnson for allowing me to extract various paragraphs from his blog.

Luckily Ancestry allows you to export your tree in the GEDCOM format, however trying to figure this out on your own isn’t an easy feat.  This is how you export your tree from Ancestry to a GEDCOM file (image below with red dots shows label and button locations for clicking): export tree to GEDCOM file

  1. Go to your family tree in your account
  2. Under the menu bar, next to your tree’s name, there is a drop-down link labeled Tree pages with a down arrow. Hover your mouse over the link
  3. Select Tree Settings from the drop-down menu
  4. On the right side of the page you will see a green button labeled Export tree, click it
  5. Ancestry will now go ahead and process your tree, eventually presenting you with a button labeled Download your GEDCOM file, click it
  6. Save the file to your computer

Now you can easily import it into whatever genealogy software you are using.  

Please now go to your genealogy software’s File menu select the Import menu item, then select the GEDCOM file you just downloaded.  Note that you may have to wait quite some time for it to import.  Some have had a few minor issues with data not showing up in the tree, however the data is available.

Those of you who have been following my articles in Famnet will be wondering what all the above has to do with my favourite topic we call genetic genealogy (aka DNA testing).

If you are a member of FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) and I hope you are, you have a section in your FTDNA home page called myFamily.  This is where you either enter your tree manually or you load it from a GEDCOM. 

Hands up if you do not know what a GEDCOM file is.

It stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunication and all reputable genealogy software ought to have this function which means that your software can both import such a file and export such a file.

Back to your FTDNA Home page.

For what it is worth, here are my personal preferences once a person tests with FTDNA.

1.      Place family Tree in pedigree format either manually or by Gedcom into 'MyFamily' near the top of your Home page

2.      Females ought to test autosomal DNA ("Family Finder')

3.      Males ought to test Y111 as well as “Family Finder”

4.      Click on your name and look through each of the tabs which appear

5.      Check account settings so that your DNA is displayed publicly (note the public cannot contact you unless they too have tested with FTDNA and they match you)

6.      Give me 'Advanced Access' in your Project Preferences if you have joined any of “my” projects (if you think you will need aid in any way).  If you think you can work stuff out for yourself, then select 'Limited Access'

7.      Under your genealogy tab, enter your most distant known direct paternal male ancestor with his name and a date and a geographical area.

8.      Do similar for your most distant known direct maternal ancestor... (You have no idea how many people enter a male's name in the female portion)

9.      Enter surnames of everyone in your family tree and their geographical area - this is in a different section to the above two points

10.  Because all genetic testing works by comparison and contact, keep your email address up-to-date and enter into the forum conversations.

11.  Remember to name a beneficiary and print the information out and keep with your important documents along with your kit number and password.

Finally, did you know that there are hundreds of surname projects within FTDNA which offer free Y-DNA testing (usually Y12 and often Y37) to males with specific surnames? 

At today’s count, there are 10,129 basic projects split into the following categories:-
Surname Projects;  YDNA Geographical projects;  mtDNA Geographical Projects;  Dual Geographical projects and  mtLineage Projects.  And these do not include the hundreds of Haplogroup projects for both YDNA and mtDNA, nor the autosomal projects.

Please contact me if you would like to be considered.

Gail Riddell

From the Editor:  See also the Letter to the Editor, DNA Query, from Valerie

Back to the Top

Index so far

Jan’s Jottings

Jan is taking a break this month.





Wairarapa Wandering

Beyond the grave

Since I started researching local Wairarapa history, I have found a fascination in graves around the Valley and beyond. Some are without headstones but most have headstones.

To me, it is the best way to research what the early settlers did here in New Zealand and if possible what they did before leaving their home country. Needless to say, what I find out comes first hand from their descendants. I find that this is the best way to find the truth about their forebears.

One interesting grave over in Papawai is for a non Maori, buried in a Maori cemetery.  Apparently he lived with friends there in his later years. He was in fact from Spalding, in Lincolnshire, England, and was a bugler in the Maori Wars.

When one of the Commonwealth War Graves members was visiting New Zealand, checking out all the war graves, he was shown this one.  As he did not serve in the Great War or Boer War he did not qualify for one of their regimental style headstone, but he still visited his grave.

John Henry WALKER was wounded on 7th September 1868 at Te Ngutu o te Manu. He died on 5th September 1931. I have been in touch with extended family.

Another interesting grave is at Greytown Cemetery is that of James COX  who was also from England. He was an educated man who kept a diary. He lived by working for locals around the valley, almost like a swagger. There is a book about James written by Miles Fairburn. I searched for his grave some years back, and ordered a headstone for his grave, and paid for it myself because I thought it was the least I could do for him, perhaps being an ex pat as well. His grave is down the back of the Greytown Cemetery and is easier to find today with a headstone. James died at Greytown Hospital, but also had lived at Carterton.

Also at Greytown Cemetery, we have the burial of Russian Jack, a local swagger. If readers are ever up in Masterton, there is a lovely statue of him at Library Square, Queen Street.

Then on Somes Island we have a sailor who died WW1, a long way from home and the only Commonwealth Grave on the island. He was from Woolwich in London, but he does not have the regimental style headstone which is odd when one thinks about it. They changed the 180 graves at Featherston but they must have forgotten the sailor on Somes Island. Signalman (H.M.S. Geranium) George STANLEY died 30th June, 1919, aged 26. I just hope he is remembered on his home town war memorial. 


Wairarapa Wanderer.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane



Back to the Top

Tracey’s Tales

Wiremu Colenso (1851-1903)

My genealogy research has introduced me to different aspects of New Zealand history.  In my online meanderings, I came across William Colenso – printer, missionary, botanist, school inspector, politician - who was born in Cornwall and died in Napier. He appears amongst the many trees and branches of my mother’s CALENSO-AMOS-CAMPER tree.  Much has been written about William and his complex nature, as well as his philanthropic contributions.  It is William’s beloved son Wiremu, born out of wedlock during an affair with his wife’s household helper, that intrigued me. Not much has been written online about Wiremu (Wi) although there is mention of Professor Sarah Carter who is working on this as a forthcoming project (1). In the interim, I have pieced together some of the information available.

Part 1: William and Elizabeth and the birth of Wiremu

The marriage of William Colenso (1811-1899) and Elizabeth Fairburn (1821-1904), from various accounts including William’s own, was one of convenience - based on their missionary work and prompted by Bishop Selwyn.  Following the couple’s marriage in Otahuhu, Auckland in April 1843, where Elizabeth’s missionary family were now based, Bishop Selwyn sent them to Waimate North, West of Paihia in the Bay of Islands. It was here that William, aged 32, prepared for ordination at St John’s College and 22-year-old Elizabeth, a fluent Te Reo speaker, was put in charge of a Maori Girls’ boarding school. William and Elizabeth’s first child Frances Mary, called Fanny, was born in February 1844. William was ordained as deacon in September of that year and in December the family moved to Hawkes Bay to establish Waitangi Mission Station (1844-1852). In the winter of August 1845, William and Elizabeth, 24 years of age and about 8 months pregnant, and daughter Fanny now 18 months, spent two weeks making their way to the mission station in Turanganui near Gisborne. Archdeacon William Williams, a medical doctor and his wife Jane assisted in the birth of their son Ridley Lattimer who arrived in September 1845.

William and Elizabeth’s own mission station was isolated and swampy. William wrote disparagingly of the place in 1846: “The place is quite out of the way, low, damp, cold and unhealthy ..”(2)  “In 1847 his house was inundated by flood waters, which left a layer of silt 15 centimetres thick after they receded.”(3) Elizabeth was left to deal with all missionary matters, including teaching and acting as a nurse, while her husband journeyed within his vast parish jurisdiction which took him into unchartered territory. Their relationship after the birth of Ridley was strained and from this point, they co-habited as husband and wife in name only.

William’s attention now turned to another. When the family arrived to set up the mission in December 1844 they brought with them several assistants including Ripeka Meretene, a household assistant to Elizabeth. Ripeka (Elizabeth called her Rebecca in her letters) had been with the family since she was a child. William and Ripeka began a liaison from 1848. William wrote “..she was a merry laughing soul, the idol of the two children and the light in our house, and so the connection between us took place. (William Colenso, p.301)” (4). William’s third child, called Wiremu, was born in May 1851 (unsourced). Ripeka conveniently married Hamuera Te Nehu in 1850, William’s assistant, but this did not immediately halt the affair. Ripeka told Elizabeth who the child’s father was shortly after Wiremu’s birth and she also made the decision to leave the household. The child remained with the family at William’s behest, although it is reported that Ripeka came and went over the next couple of years. Elizabeth, who despite the infidelity of her husband and in William’s words, her “..anger, humiliation and regret” and the “… terrible time for us all” (5) that followed, accepted and cared for infant Wi.  She did however, return her wedding ring in a sealed envelope, leaving it in William’s writing desk.  The marriage was over but her sense of Christian duty to ‘the Cause’ bound Elizabeth to the mission’s work, which included raising child Wi.

In September1852, Elizabeth’s younger brother John Fairburn took his niece and nephew, Frances and Ridley, aged about 8 and 7 years, to Auckland for alternative schooling. Bishop Selwyn, finally apprised of the situation by William himself, suspended William from the CMS. Elizabeth remained at the Waitangi mission until August 1853, then left for the Wairoa missionary station, in the company of missionary James Hamlin, with the intention to carry on to Auckland to be with her children. Elizabeth took Wiremu with her rather than handing him to his relatives, as expected by Bishop Selwyn. While she was still at the Waitangi station recovering from illness, she had written letters to William that suggested that she still cared about him and she wrote that she loved Wiremu as if her own. William, upon the day of their parting, had expressed regret at the outcome of the situation, and it was on this basis that Elizabeth appears to have responded with some compassion, as noted in her letters to William from November 1852 through to November 1853. Elizabeth’s arrival at her family home with Wi was not however, what she had anticipated. Her father she wrote to William in December 1853 would not receive Wi into his house; her brother also refused them.  Elizabeth, after finding Wi temporary lodging, found a home for him in Auckland with a family she deemed suitable. From February 1854 however, her letters to William took on a formal tone and Wi was now referred to as ‘the child.’ She asked William to arrange for Wi to be taken to him, effectively extricating herself from the responsibility of his care.

Elizabeth’s attitude upon return to her family changed in every regard. Ultimately, she had been betrayed and humiliated by both William and Ripeka. William however, was somewhat mystified by her change in heart, which he raised in a letter in March 1854. He reminded her of her struggle to keep Ripeka and Hamuera from taking Wi from the house with them up North. Elizabeth’s letter in May 1854, which commenced ‘Dear Sir’ provides no doubt of her bitter resentment if not despise for William. She referred to his domination over her and his lack of remorse beyond his words on the day of their parting. She also reminded how she was obeying his wish to keep Wi from being taken up North at all costs. The marriage was definitely over. Elizabeth turned back to teaching, leaving the past behind as best she could. She and daughter Fanny never saw William again. Elizabeth appears to have remained in William’s mind however, for better or worse, as evident from his final Will:

“I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth if living at the time of my decease (she having left me against my wish and of her own accord in 1853 and I never having heard from her since that year) the sum of One hundred pounds but merely as a token of forgiveness, she having real property of her own.”

We can only wonder what he refers to as his ‘forgiveness.’

Wiremu was per Prof. Sarah Carter, “…boarded with a Maori family, and somehow got to his grandparents in Hokianga.” (6)

William, who was ex-communicated from both the CMS and his family, stayed in the Hawkes Bay area but became a recluse for a few years.  During this time, ironically he earnt a good living through land trading and sales – flouting his own past advice and admonitions to the Maori about selling their land. By 1858 William had moved to Napier and had entered into local politics, and in 1861 he had his beloved Wiremu, or Willie as he called him, living at home with him.

(Part one of two parts)

Footnote Refs:

1.      Biography of Wiremu in paper by Professor Sarah Carter in proceedings of the William Colenso bicentenary conference (2013: Napier, New Zealand), available in print form only:


3.; (Quoted in Waitangi Tribunal, Mohaka ki Ahuriri Report. Wellington: Legislation Direct, 2004, p. 34.)

4.      My Hand Will Write What My Heart Dictates: Edited by Frances Porter, Charlotte, Macdonald, Tui MacDonald, 1996 Bridget Williams Books; p. 297.

5. / Personal letters of William Colenso transcribed by Ian st George Part 1 12.9.11

6.      The Colenso Society; eColenso: July 2014 Volume 5 No. 7 Article: Why Was Willie at Walsall?  - Professor Sarah Carter

Other Refs:

Keith Newman, Bible & Treaty: Missionaries and Maori – A New perspective, Penguin 2010, 365 pages ISBN 978-0-14-320408-4 (Second printing 2012)


Tracey Bartlett

Digging Into Historical Records  

Nelson Labourer’s Wives 1841

London 7th September 1841. We the undersigned do hereby individually acknowledge, that during the times herein stated, we have severally received from the Incorporated New Zealand Company, the sums which are placed opposite to our names respectively. This document records: By whom received, time period, number of weeks, amount per week, total paid, the signature or mark of the woman concerned and a witness. Seventy five women are listed. At the end of the document is the comment “Add for Ann Perry sister of Mary Whibbey £1.” Ann Perry is not listed in this document. Mary Whibbey is listed as receiving 14s per week for 19 weeks from 01 May to 04 September 1841. She also received £3 for ‘outfit’ making the total paid £16 6s. She signed with her mark and this was witnessed by William Alfred, Clerk to the New Zealand Company. Mary, aged 20yrs, was the wife of Edward Whibbey, and she arrived at Nelson on the ‘Lloyds’ in February 1842 having lost both of her young sons, John and George, during the voyage. [1 and 2]

This document was recently found among financial papers of the New Zealand Company.

[1] Archives NZ Reference AAYZ 8980 NZC 32/12/28 Vouchers I-M (Scroll down to Labourer's Wives) A partial transcript listing the 75 women can be viewed at

[2] Nelson Provincial Museum Early Settlers Database

Barometer Accident in Akaroa?

The following message was written on the back of a Postcard titled “Sunset, Akaroa, N.Z.” from the Gold Medal series – No.6600.” It has a Penny Universal stamp on the back and carries an Akaroa postmark dated 06 July 1908.

“Dear Madge, I received your P.C. on Friday (I think). I had a bit of bad luck on Tuesday (30th). When I went home in the afternoon I took out Dick’s old pea-rifle, one we had down at old Rox, to have a shot at a bird in the backyard. There was a sparrow in the middle of the yard & I stood in the back-doorway. Well I let blaze at the spager and knocked its head off, but that was not all, for the bullet hit a stone and skidded off going through a tin fence, across the road and breaking a barometer (which was fixed in an office across the road for the use of the public). I have to pay to get the barometer fixed, & I am not quite sure whether I am going to be fined for using a rifle or not yet. I’m not 16 you know. I have not heard from Len for some time, & I’m sorry to hear that he has been sick. I have enclosed a few stamps for exchange. If you have them just send them back & say what kind you have least of, & if I have any of the kind you mention for swops I will send them, & we will try and exchange that way. Don’t be afraid to send the stamps back if you have them for I will not.”

There is nothing further to indicate who Madge, Dick or Len were. Despite the presence of a stamp, no address is provided.

Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers

Back to the Top

Chinese Corner 

Chung Yeung Festival

The Chung Yeung Festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. This year it is 17 October 2018.

Similar to the Ching Ming Festival in spring, the Chung Yeung Festival is when entire families congregate at cemeteries to engage in age-old practices of ancestor worship. On this holiday some Chinese also visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects. In Hong Kong, whole extended families head to ancestral graves to clean them and repaint inscriptions, and to lay out food offerings such as roast suckling pig, and fruit, which are then eaten (after the spirits have consumed the spiritual element of the food).

It is also popular to hike to the city’s high points on this day, as it’s believed this will bring good luck. This custom is rooted in a Han dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD) legend in which a soothsayer advised a man to take his family to high ground for the ninth day of the ninth moon. The man complied and the next day discovered that all the inhabitants of his village had been slaughtered, while he and his family had been spared by leaving for the hills.

It is known as Chōyō in Japanese, and Tết Trùng Cửu) in Vietnamese, it is a traditional Chinese holiday, mentioned in writing since before the East Han period (before AD 25). The day is also known as the Chrysanthemum Festival (菊の節句) in Japan.  [1]

This custom also extends to New Zealand and Australia, whereever there are Chinese, whose ancestors are buried far from home. A bit like Easter and Christmas, extended family, young and old, gather at the graves of Grandparents and Parents. Food is brought by every family, and shared, after the joss sticks and paper money have been burnt. The offering of 3 bowls of rice, 3 cups of tea, and 3 glasses of wine are placed before the grave. In small towns, we make do with what ever is on offer in the town. In my case, KFC takes the place of a whole chicken.

 A Kiwi DIY gravesite visit,
using local fare.


My Parents in Hawera

Grandfather in Manaia

Double Ninth, Remembering my Shandong Brothers


Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei.


Helen Wong

Guest Contributors

Marlene Skelton

From the Editor: Marlene is deeply into the process of writing up her family history. I have included an article she wrote because I like the way she presents her work. Her use of boxes allows her to fit into her story material that adds to the story but doesn't fit into an ordinary narrative style.



Alan Rudge

From the editor: Here is another chapter in the long battle that Alan has fought to get the details of the adoption of his brother. Incidentally I was his support person throughout the process and have learnt a lot about the whole process of getting the adoption paperwork.


Episode 7:  The quest for the quarry in the Family Court.

At the end of 2017 I received a formal notice to attend a “Short Cause Hearing” at the Family Court in Auckland in February 2018.  This was in respect of the application made under the Birth Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Act 1995 to have access to the pre-adoption birth entry. Other applications to look at some divorce records held at Archives New Zealand (Auckland Branch) and another matter concerning a report. This hearing was later deferred to early March.


The March hearing was an opportunity to see how the Family Court system worked. With my support person in tow we left early so we could have a coffee in the city and sort out a plan of action.   At the court room the court list of hearings are posted on the wall outside the court room. Some of the hearings are timed for anything from 30 minutes to two hours. At about 10.30 the counsel representing clients were admitted to the court room including those that are representing themselves. The order for the hearings are arranged between the Judge and counsel depending on urgency and other criteria.   When it came to my turn the hearing was again deferred. I was first given an early date in March which had to be declined as I would be in Australia. I also pointed out that I had been previously bumped. The Judge was considerate and informed me that my next hearing would be a priority and noted accordingly in the file. A week or so after our return from Australia I was again at the court.  The third hearing day duly arrived except this time the court room had to be changed because of IT problems. It seems even the court system is not immune from the vagaries of IT problems. The same procedure, as previously, admit the counsel, arrange the order of the hearings. This time we had success as we were slotted in as third on the list. The first two hearings took a bit longer than expected but eventually our two and half hour wait was finally over.  My support person and I were finally called into the court by the registrar. The Judge immediately requested us to sit and apologised for the delays for the hearing. We remained seated for the whole of the hearing creating a less formal atmosphere.  My request to have a support person in the court room with me was granted by the Judge.  After some questioning and discussion, the decision of the judge was to allow access to the pre-adoption birth entry but declined my other three applications for access to the divorce records and the Social Worker's report.  I was also quite bemused when the judge mentioned that there was no copy of the birth certificate in the file. In fact I had also expressed my wonderment about this to the Judge. My support person and I had discussed this earlier and we were both of the mind that there would be a copy in the judges file. The judge probably made his ruling on the basis that there was no supporting evidence in the adoption file to prove the relationship between the adoptee and his biological mother. I also commented to the judge that the mother lived in Auckland, the adoptees parents were in Kawhia and the adoption was formalised at the Hamilton Court. It would have been quite feasible for the documents to have been been misplaced somewhere in transit.


As a background to the adoption, it formalised under Sec. 17 of the Infants Act of 1908. The relevant sections of that Act are Part III Sections 15-26 – The Adoption of Children.     


The sections that are particularly relevant in Part III are:                  

            Sec.17 By whom male child may be adopted.                                                                                                                                               

            Sec.18 Consents required previous to adoption of child.


18 (1) Before making such order of adoption the judge-

 (a)  May compel the attendance before him of any witness and for that purpose may sign, issue and cause to be  personally served upon the witness a summons in the prescribed form :

(b)  Shall take evidence on oath viva voce or by affidavit in proof of or concerning any fact, matter, or thing required by this Act or by the Judge to be proved:

(c)   Shall be satisfied that the child is under the age of fifteen years; that the person proposing to adopt the child is of good repute, and a fit and proper person to have the care and custody thereof, and of sufficient ability to bring up, maintain, and educate the child; and that the consent required by this Act have been duly signed and filed:

(d)   Shall be satisfied that the child, if over twelve years, consents to the adoption :

(e)   Shall require the consent in writing of the parents, whether living in or out of New Zealand, or such one of them as is living at the date of the application, or if both the parents are dead, then of the legal guardian of the child, or if one of the parents has deserted the child, then the consent of the other parent.

(f)     Shall not require any such consent in the case of a deserted child.

            (2) The Affidavit referred to in paragraph (b) hereof maybe sworn before any Judge , Magistrate, Solicitor, Registrar, Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court , Clerk of the Court, or any Justice.


I do wonder in the light of the Sec. 18 statutory requirements under the Act were adequately carried out. For example if due diligence was done to prove that the adoptees father was a man of “good repute” as at the time he had been married to his third wife for only a matter of months.  Or even just how much the mother knew about the adoptees parents.


Because the adoption file that I had previously been given access to included very little paperwork I am confused about whether the adoption process was legally carried out or whether this paperwork, required by the Act, is filed somewhere else. I am investigating a report that another researcher had found paperwork, in an adoption file, not relating to her research into another adoption, by the same couple.


In the meantime whilst waiting to see the pre-adoption birth entry, I am now looking to using the 20th century technology of DNA to ascertain paternity. To prove paternity means looking deeper into my original autosomal DNA test in addition to obtaining similar tests from other members of the family and comparing them. This may mean also testing some of my UK first cousins.

From our Libraries and Museums

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

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

Auckland Libraries

HeritageTalks @ Central Library, Auckland

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

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

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

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




Auckland Heritage Festival - 29 September - 14 October


Influenza 100 - Commemorating the pandemic of 1918

Held on Wednesday 3 October 1pm to 5.30pm as part of Auckland Heritage Festival

Commemorating the influenza pandemic of 1918, we heard four historians speak and give their accounts of what happened.


Hear the following accounts at this commemorative event:

* "Lived experiences - remembering 1918-1920" with Auckland Libraries' Principal Oral History and Sound curator Sue Berman

* "Why do we still need to know about the 1918 influenza pandemic?" with Geoffrey Rice, author of Black November

* "The stories behind the names; who were the victims?" with Jason Reeve, Ancestry

* "The “Spanish Lady” and the Armed Forces - The "flu" and warfare in 1918" with military historian, Michael Wynd.


Hear also this radio interview with Jason Reeve, Ancestry:


Please also read this blog about the 5500 names of victims of the Pandemic in New Zealand that have been confirmed and collated so far:

The list can also be downloaded from the Blog.


Looking for a better life with David Wong Hop and Lisa Truttman

Sunday 7 October

11am to 1pm

The Chinese poll tax certificate records in Auckland with David Wong Hop and Lisa Truttman. A HeritageTalk for Auckland Heritage Festival.

Auckland historians David Wong Hop and Lisa Truttman present their work from the recently published book Looking for a better life, a collection of information sourced from poll tax certificate information held at Archives New Zealand, along with general information as to Chinese settlement in the Auckland region, from the 1860s to first quarter of the 20th century.


The people of Wai Horotiu with Lisa Truttman

Wednesday 10 October

12pm to 1pm

Early settlers and the Queen Street stream. A HeritageTalk for Auckland Heritage Festival with Lisa Truttman.

From the arrival of Lt Governor Hobson and his staff, the settling of the centre of Auckland City was intimately connected with the flow of Te Waihorotiu and nearby watercourses. The aspirations many early Aucklanders both rose and fell along the course of what is now hidden.

Historian Lisa Truttman will introduce you to the stories of some who lived and worked beside the stream.


See more Heritage Talks throughout Auckland here:


Made in Auckland: screening the local with Carolyn Skelton

Wednesday 24 October

12pm to 1pm

In this HeritageTalk, Auckland Libraries' Senior research librarian Carolyn Skelton discusses Auckland's history with New Zealand filmmaking.

In the first two decades of the 20th century, filmmakers began shooting films in New Zealand. Aucklander Rudall Hayward was an early filmmaker with films like Rewi’s Last Stand (1925 and 1940).

By the 21st century, Auckland had become a significant centre for shooting diverse screen productions. Auckland locations have been used to represent local, national, international and fantasy locations.



Colleagues of Empire with Georgia Prince

Wednesday 7 November

12pm to 1pm

Join Principal Curator Printed Collections, Georgia Prince, for this HeritageTalk about two well-known historical figures, Florence Nightingale and Sir George Grey.

How did social reformer and founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, know Sir George Grey?

Preserved in the Grey collection at Auckland Libraries are letters and books which Florence Nightingale sent to Grey, best known as one of New Zealand's most controversial 19th century Governors. In this talk, Georgia Prince of Heritage Collections will explore how the two came to know each other.


Lost an ancestor in London? With Marie Hickey

Wednesday 21 November

12pm to 1pm

In this HeritageTalk, Marie Hickey, Research Central, advises on what to do if you or your ancestors are "Lost in London".

When did your ancestral place become part of London? Can’t find your ancestor/s in Church of England records - why not? Where do you look? What records are available to help further research of your London connections?

The talk will also include a look at some of the hidden gems available through subscription websites such as Ancestry, Findmypast, The Genealogist and MyHeritage.

HeritageTalks take place every second Wednesday at 12 noon in the Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library unless otherwise stated. Booking is recommended.


Phone Central Auckland Research Centre to book, or book online:



We have been working hard to try and make our events available to a wider audience.

So we are seeking a volunteer to assist us with transcribing audio recordings please.

We have been recording selected HeritageTalks. These recordings will be put together with the speaker’s Powerpoint and placed on to the Auckland Libraries’ YouTube channel.

Auckland Council has a commitment to accessibility to all, so any videos uploaded to YouTube require transcriptions, so we can caption them.

We know that for every oral history that is recorded, it takes four hours to transcribe one hour. So it is quite a labour intensive task. It needs someone who is patient, accurate and knows a bit about the subject matter.

If that sounds like you, then please do get in touch!


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central A uckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


Back to the Top

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.


Lineage Archive is an expensive solution in search of a problem

This is an interesting site that will find you with a smile on your face as you read it.

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


 Books from Laura Nicholas

Laura NICHOLAS (nee GRIEVE) born and grew up in Waitara, (surrounded) by river, sea, bush and our beautiful Mountain, Mount Taranaki.

Laura lost her mother when just a child of 8 years. She learnt a lot of her knowledge from the Kuia (old women ) who would call into her home and share their cultural rules and customs with her. Laura’s whakapapa is Te Atiawa/iwi, Te Atihau/ hapu, Ngati Tama / hapu. She also has links to Atiawa, and Port Nicholson.

Laura is a trained (registered) physcopeadic nurse, and has worked as a car assembler in Wellington, in the bar industry for DB, as a freezing Worker, and probation officer’s assistant. In her 30’s she attended Palmerston North Teachers College and became a teacher. She attempted a thesis in rural/urban drift and its effect on Maori, and studied Maori art with Cliff Whiting as her tutor. Her love for truth of Maori history continued.

Laura married Robert NICHOLAS who died as a young man. His Maori links are to Papawai Marae, with his grandfather, Joe REWI, being the last of the Chiefs there. The first Maori government was established there in the 1880’s.

Laura has a daughter and a son.

Laura Nicholas (Grieve) is a member, friend and wonderful author.

Laura’s first book was called RENA and is a story of love, loss and tumultuous times for a Maori tribe in New Zealand in the 1840’s. A healing woman, Rena, is faced with the tribulations of raising her granddaughter, Wikitoria, in traditional tribal customs versus the increasing influence of the European settlers on the young girl.   

Having read this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I could not put it down.  Laura has a way of making you feel as though you have either lived through the times of her writings or at least personally know someone who has.

Now about 18 months later, her second book WIKITORIA, has been released,   I am looking forward to reading this to see what became of Rena and Wikitoria, 

Wikitoria is the granddaughter of Rena and this the second book, the sequel to “ Rena “, follows the journey of her granddaughter, Wikitoria, to Whanganui to marry Chief Aringi who is known for his brutality. Wikitoria’s survival depends on her knowledge of bush craft until a possible rescue can be managed by her lover Thomas. Meanwhile Rena is occupied in healing the injured warriors and British soldiers fighting in the Taranaki land wars. The story of these two courageous women continues.

Laura who has strong Maori connections and  has written these books based on knowledge and truth, a very honest devoted loving lady.

Her books sell for $35 each plus posting

Any interest: contact Laura at

Back to the Top

News and Views  

                     Image result for genealogy funnies


RootsWeb URL’s Begin Working Again

Ashlee Peck September 8, 2018

Big news for genealogists! Websites hosted by the internet’s oldest and largest free genealogy community, RootsWeb, have started to come back online! Here are the details.


rootsweb workingIt’s been 7 months since RootsWeb was made unavailable after the company’s security team discovered issues with the website. At that time,’s Information Security Team received a message indicating a security researcher had found a file which contained email addresses, username and password combinations from a server.’s research has confirmed that the files does contain information related to users of Rootsweb’s surname list information, a service that the company had elected to retire earlier in 2017.


What’s currently working

On August 27, 2018, the RootsWeb blog was updated with a post announcing that homepages and freepages URLs are working again. It does appear that at least at the moment some homepages are actually still down, as a read through the comments on the blog indicates that many users are still unable to access their pages. But what we do know is that webpages hosted by the site are beginning to come back up, leading to much rejoicing amongst personal users and genealogical societies alike.


Is your hosted website still unavailable?

According to the RootsWeb homepage, they are bringing hosted websites back in phases.


RootsWeb has identified about 600 USGENWEB sites to bring back first. Owners of these sites should have received an email with instructions on how to reset their password and get to their content. These sites are now available from the appropriate USGENWEB page. If you believe you should have been contacted, please contact: Questions about USGENWEB. Please include the name of your site and any other information you have.


Other sites will be reinstated upon request. To make a request, go to Restore Website Form.

For those that would just like to download their websites contents from RootsWeb, go to Request Download Links.

Not familiar with RootsWeb?

RootsWeb is the Internet’s oldest and largest free genealogy community. Their award winning resources and databases, which include free web space, mailing lists, and message boards, are utilized by societies and individuals alike. 


The 2018 Auckland Family History Expo round up with Speaker's Notes


From the Editor: The 2018 Auckland Family History Expo round up with Speaker's Notes is to be found at:



It is well worth having a look at the Speakers' Notes.



Image result for genealogy cartoons          Image result for genealogy cartoons


Ancestry vs MyHeritage vs Findmypast: What’s the Difference and Which One is Best?

From the Editor: This is a question that is often put to me. Obviously I can speak for hours on this subject but if you visit the following URL you may get some help.


Back to the Top

Book Reviews

Full English

By Tom Parker Bowles published by Ebury Press, 2009, ISBN 9780091926687

This author explores typical English food. He explains how it was first developed and interviews experts in each of the dishes he discusses.

I was amazed to read that the English did not create that greatly appreciated British classic, fish and chips, but they did put the combination together.

The history of another classic British dish, the curry, is also very interesting. They are English created, not dishes brought from India.

The history of the oyster is another memorable chapter. Once a favourite of the rich it became the mainstay of the poor people's diet.

Although the book contains a few recipes it is not a recipe book. It is somewhat like an old TV programme I watched and enjoyed, Rick Stein's "Food Heroes" in which he travelled the country investigating manufacturers and processors of traditional English food.

It is a very readable book. It opened my eyes about how the English diet developed. It is bound to get you wanting to visit that country and to take some time tasting their food.

Peter Nash



A Kentish Lad

by Frank Muir published, 1997,  Bantam Press ISBN  0-593-03452-X.

As I grew up almost in the same era as the author, I so appreciated reading about an entertainment world we so enjoyed and looked to for light relief and a laugh to brighten the days.  The ‘people of these pages just kept appearing before my eyes and brought back so many memories of programmes and people in My Music, My Word, Take it from here, Itma, and so many more.  Frank Muir became Head of BBC Entertainment, joined new ITV and with Denis Norton kept us happy!   This was an era mostly before TV, a time when the present generation knows little about and times were so vastly different, a slump, a war, followed by a changed world with eventually, the mighty ‘chip’.   A comment was made to me recently that the difference between these entertainments was that radio could be listened to at any time or place, doing anything, while TV had to be watched in one place unless, of course, one had a mobile phone!!!

Joy Lamb
Back to the Top

In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

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


Hokianga photos: Following one of my rambling columns in which I mentioned a photograph album of old Hokianga I received the following letter,


To the Editor: Finally getting to reading full emails and noticed in your  'ramblings' you mention a photo album with photos of Hokianga. There are plenty of us who have connections to Hokianga and there is a facebook page called 


and many photos put up by others have been identified which may be of help to you and also some may find lost memories of theirs in amongst your. LEW REDWOOD is the Administrator.


A DNA Query.   Valerie Hirst emailed us: -

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your welcomed newsletter each month which I look forward to. Could you or someone please throw some light on the way I received an update from Ancestry today on my DNA results?

I was satisfied with my original results now I find they were wrong according to this update. How the heck would DNA results change I wonder?

Very disappointing to me.



We passed this on to our DNA expert for comment.  Gail replies: -

Hi Peter,

Let me answer in this way please:

1.  Ancestry looks at ethnicity and not much else.

2.  Ethnicity results are estimates.

3.  Such estimates rely on whatever data base of compiled statistics from universities, from research institutions and from historical migratory paths happen to be chosen by the testing firm.

4.  These estimates also rely on where it is that their own testers say their ancestors came from and compares the results - but nobody checks these statements of "origination".

5.  Because of the migrations of many different members of families in various generations (war, needing work, wanting adventure, etc) how can someone ever say that they came from eg the UK - after all, where did all those UK people come from and when; and even more importantly, when did they leave and where did they go?

At best, Ethnicity results are a wonderful TV and dinner party conversation especially if they purport to tell you anything earlier than the previous 200 years.

So no, Ancestry was not "wrong" (either with the past ethnicity results or the current ethnicity results), they merely changed data bases for the measurement.

If Val chooses, she can upload her results to and there she will find a number of ethnicity data bases which can be used and all will give a different outcome.

Kind regards
GAIL RIDDELL l  FTDNA Volunteer Projects Admin

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.

Back to the Top

A Bit of Light Relief



Oirish Vasectomy

After having their 11th child, an Irish couple decided that that was enough, as they couldn't afford a larger bed. So the husband went to his doctor and told him that he and his wife didn't want to have any more children .

The doctor told him there was a procedure called a vasectomy that would fix the problem but it was expensive. A less costly alternative was to go home, get a large firecracker, light it, put it in a beer can, then hold the can up to his ear and count to 10.

The husband said to the doctor, "B'Jayzus, I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I don't see how putting a firework in a beer can next to my ear is going to help me with my problem."

"Trust me, it will do the job", said the doctor.

So the man went home, lit a cracker and put it in a beer can. He held the can up to his ear and began to count:

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5," at which point he paused, and placed the beer can between his legs so he could continue counting on his other hand.

This procedure also works in New Zealand and Australia.

·                     ct Us           

If You Can Read This            Hidden Message             Arthur And His Wife


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

If you have problems with this page you can email us directly, but the page should be self-explanatory.

Copyright (Waiver)

Feel free to redistribute this newsletter. If you publish a newsletter yourself you may include material from this newsletter in yours provided that you acknowledge its source and include the FamNet URL.

Back to the Top