Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter September 2016

ISSN 2253-4040

Quote.  To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.   Chinese Proverb


Editorial 2

Regular Features. 2

From the Developer 2

FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren. 2

FamNet at the Family History Expo. 3

Telling your story.     Index. 3

The Nash Rambler 4

World War 1 Cemeteries. 4

DNA Testing for Family History. 5

20.  DNA Testing – Getting into SNP testing on the Y chromosome to enhance your Family History. 5

Index so far 8

Wairarapa Wandering. 9

Jan’s Jottings. 10

Irish Genealogy Developments. 10

Retreat Research Weekend. 10

From our Libraries and Museums. 10

Auckland Libraries. 11

EVENTS – Family History Lunchtime Series. 11

Group News. 13

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 13

Waikanae Family History Group. 13

Community. 14

Letters to the Editor 14

Information Wanted/Offered. 14

Book Reviews. 15

THE ROMANOVS by Simon Sebag Montefiore. 15

MOTHER TONGUE by Bill Bryson. 15


A LIFE DISCARDED by Alexander Masters. 16

REAL MODERN by Bronwyn Labrum.. 16

In conclusion. 16

A Bit of Light Relief 16

Advertising with FamNet 16

To Unsubscribe,  Change your Email Address, or Manage your Personal Information. 17

Copyright (Waiver) 17


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I’m delighted to say that this will be my last editorial for some time, as I’ve persuaded another poor sucker one of our contributors to take over as editor.  Peter Nash, once the NZ Society of Genealogist’s Executive Officer and more recently a regular contributor to this newsletter, has taken over as editor, although for this issue he prefers to be described as “Assistant Editor”.  For some time, probably indefinitely, I will continue to be involved in the process as Peter learns how to use the Microsoft and Amazon technology that goes into this production, but for the newsletter my role should reduce to writing “From the Developer” and sometimes book reviews.  If you send an email to this now goes to Peter, not to me.  I continue to get for membership or technical queries.

I look forward to the fresh new ideas that a new person can bring, and to this newsletter being restored to regularity: Peter aims to get a newsletter out early each month.  This was the schedule that we maintained when Sue Greene was our editor, but this was not something I was able to keep up on my own.  It will be good to have somebody at the helm who actually knows something about genealogy: as you’re all aware by now my expertise is in computer programming, not genealogy, Mary and I having inherited almost all of our family history information from the work of our parents.  So while I could help with issues like how to attach pictures and documents to your FamNet tree, for queries like “Where do I find out about emigrants from Ireland?” I could only refer you to others like Sue and Jan. 

As always, we want contributions, whether one-off or regular.  If it’s interesting to you, it will be interesting to other readers.  You might write something about your family history, New Zealand history, an overseas trip you’ve made to research your ancestors, something you’ve just found at a library, a useful web site.  It might be a full article, or just a few lines.  And with our new editor actually knowing something about genealogy, letters to the editor, information wanted, and so on are even more worthwhile than they were before. 

In this issue: -

·                     From The Developer: one of my grandchildren uses FamNet for a school project.  Also, FamNet at the Family History Expo.

·                     The Nash Rambler:  Peter has been visiting WW1 battlegrounds and memorials

·                     DNA testing for Family History:  Gail continues with more information about SNP testing on the Y chromosome

·                     Wairarapa Wandering:  Adele asks “What’s in a Name?” as she sorts out the Robertson/Robieson family of Carterton

·                     Jan’s Jottings: Irish Genealogy Developments, and notice of a Retreat Research Weekend.

·                     Auckland Library Events: September Lunchtime Series includes

o        Michelle Patient: Creating a Family History Web Site

o        Christopher Paxton: The Battle of the Somme, 1916

o        Lisa Truttman: The Soldiers’ Corner: Waikumete Cemetery’s General Military Section since 1918

Also, an evening meeting in October

o        Brad Argent of Family History and DNA – The Science of Identity

·                     For our overseas readers: See the Group News Section if you’re interested in Waikanae’s Overseas Client Research offer.


Back to the Top

Regular Features

From the Developer

FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

I was going to continue with my series on FamNet features by starting to discuss some of its features beyond the Genealogy Database, but I’ve been diverted.

We had a call from one of our grandchildren who’s in year 9 – 3rd Form in the old money – who is doing a Social Studies project that is focussing on immigration.  The class were asked to find an ancestor who immigrated to New Zealand, find out when and how they came to NZ, and why, how it affected their life, and who else was affected by this.  Like all of her generation Sarah is comfortable using computers, and she’d already consulted FamNet where she saw that her grandfather, John Alfred PYM, had come to NZ in 1923, so she decided to use him as her subject.  Mary has written most of what we know about him in My Father, a document attached to his FamNet record, but Sarah wanted to know more about why he’d left England.  He never went back to England, even for a visit to see his parents.  Mary thinks that he was tired of being in the army with no money, tired of England after WW1, and just wanted a change.   

As for how it affected his life, it completely changed its course.  Without this migration he would never have met Mary’s mother and neither she, Sarah’s mother, or Sarah herself would have existed.  It affected his family too, so we started clicking around FamNet.  His sister, Mary’s Aunt Freda came to NZ for a holiday to see him, she ended up emigrating to New Zealand also.  Clicking around further Sarah became fascinated by the records of JA Pym’s grandfather, her Great Great Great Grandfather, not actually somebody affected by his emigration but an interesting ancestor who’d been a naval officer when the English were trying to find the North West Passage, and in the time of the Crimean War.   Which got us talking about Florence Nightingale – not an ancestor, but Mary was a nurse – and the Charge of the Light Brigade.  

It was a lot of fun having one of our grandchildren interested in our shared family history.  The last thing that we want to do is to bore them silly with stories about long dead ancestors that they don’t care about, but Sarah couldn’t wait to tell her friends at school about this ancestor who had an island named after him. We have no idea why this was done; Pym Island is in British Columbia and we don’t believe that he got any further west than Beechey Island in the Canadian Artic where he was part of an expedition sent out to try to find the Franklin expedition. 

All this is a great example of the reason why I developed FamNet.  FamNet can never be the world’s best research site, every day Ancestry, FamilySearch, and the other large sites add more new records than our entire database.  What we can be is a repository, the best place for kiwis to tell their story. You can’t predict which of your family will be interested, or what they will be interested in, but when they’re ready it can be the place they go to find out about their heritage.  When Sarah rang up she had FamNet open on her computer and was clicking around as we talked: it’s the way that her generation finds out stuff.  So I hope that you are all building up your family history on FamNet so that it’s there when they want it.  You might not be around to tell them yourself!

FamNet at the Family History Expo

On 14th August my presentation at the Family History Expo was well attended, Shona estimates the attendance that day at ~2-300 people,  I didn’t count them but there must have been a good proportion of them at my talk.  It was very well received, several people commenting that they’d try it out, but I haven’t checked the FamNet figures to see how many new registrations we’ve had.

I started with a few Powerpoint slides – isn’t a legal requirement to use Powerpoint? – but I only used the first 5 slides and I quickly switched to a live demonstration where I showed facilities of FamNet like to keeping records of living people private except to your family, attaching pictures, documents etc to your records, and managing your family group.  Basically my talk followed the outline of the video that is on the FamNet home page, although with a live presentation and clicking around more to illustrate various points and answer questions.

We offered several FamNet subscriptions as raffle prizes, but so far only one of these has been claimed.  If you’re one of the others, please get in touch with me to claim your prize.

Telling your story.     Index

So far I’ve covered these topics.

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

2.  Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.  Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.  Saving Scrapbook Items

5.  Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.  Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.  Producing and Using Charts

9.  Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

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

11. Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12. Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

Back to the Top

The Nash Rambler

World War 1 Cemeteries

Well my trip to Europe is over. I survived a month of much walking, much eating of good food and living the sort of life I would like to live but the finances cannot support. Hopefully I will win Lotto and then...

This month I want to acknowledge and thank the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the job they do in the maintenance of the graves of the war dead. The graveyards are many, both small and huge, and perfectly manicured.  They are a sight to behold.

Their web site gives the details of the war dead. It has the address of the graveyard and the area, row and grave number so that the grave you are interested in is easily found. I was to visit two graves. The first was Francis Nash the brother of my grandfather. The second was Percy Bourke who was my grandmother's brother in law. Before I left New Zealand I had all the details from the website.

We hired a car with a Sat Nav system in it. Of course it was using the Belgium language and we had a bit of fun convincing the rental people to change it to English. But once the address was entered, all we had to do was turn when we were told to, although it had a weird habit of trying to send us to the back of the cemetery when I wanted to go through the front gate.

The first cemetery was the Rue David Cemetery in Fleurbaix. I walked through the front gate, walked to the right area, counted rows and then walked down the row counting graves. Within five minutes I had found the grave of Francis Nash.

C:\Users\Nash\Pictures\Europe2016\DSC02236.JPGThis graveyard is very small and has only eighteen New Zealanders. On the day he died there were only two casualties both of which were killed by shrapnel and they were side by side in this cemetery. Nearby was the grave of an unknown German soldier. I filled out the visitors book and found that very few visitors had been in this cemetery (or, at least filled out the book) during the last ten years and no other New Zealanders had been so I went back and visited the other sixteen New Zealand graves.

Next we moved on to the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery where Percy Bourke's grave was easily found.  Here is also a monument listing the names of New Zealand who died in or around Armentieres in 1916 and 1917 and had no known grave.

C:\Users\Nash\Pictures\Europe2016\DSC02245.JPGThis graveyard is much bigger than the other one. Once again I found the grave within five minutes and it was almost manicured in appearance. On reading the visitors book I found that Percy had been particularly busy entertaining two other groups of visitors from New Zealand in the past three months - not bad for a guy that had no children of his own.

I also found the "Mademoiselle from Armentieres", as the song goes, and boy could she cook a beautiful lunch although she did not speak English so it was hard thanking her.

The most stunning graveyard we visited was at Tynecot which is a massive cemetery, mostly of graves of unknown soldiers. The row upon row of perfectly kept graves of unknown soldiers from all countries that fought World War 1 was mind boggling.  The interesting fact was that the cemetery was full of visitors including three or four big groups of school children who appeared to be on a school trip. They were putting poppies on the gravestone of their choice but they were extremely reverential and serious - no laughter was heard. Here was a big list of New Zealand casualties in the Passchendaele debacle who have no known grave.

The previous evening we had been in Menin Gate, in Ypres, which, at 8 pm, has a short ceremony lasting about ten minutes which is very similar to the ceremonies we have in New Zealand on Anzac Day. Wreaths are laid, the Last Post is sounded and due respect is paid to the names of 54,000 casualties except New Zealanders (who are listed at Tynecot). We had to get there 45 minutes before the start to get a prime position because well over 2,000 people, of all nationalities, attended the ceremony. Just walking around the structure looking at the countries listed and their loss, soldiers with no grave, was a sobering experience. This ceremony takes place every evening with the same huge number of attendees.

The other interesting thing was looking at the rebuilt town of Ypres which was almost totally flattened during World War 1. If you were unaware of World War I you would assume that the buildings were centuries old.

If you are going to Europe you must include a visit to Ypres and one or two of the cemeteries. They are easy to find and the visit will stun you in terms of the sheer number of casualties in that war.

Peter Nash

Back to the Top

DNA Testing for Family History

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

In article 19, I finished off by writing on the ‘bare bones’ of Y chromosome SNP testing and showing where these SNP could be ordered. Ladies, unless you are intending to have a male test for you, this article (like the previous one) is unlikely to be of any interest to you.

The last figure I gave you was the order page – here now is what you will see when you click on  the <Buy Now> for Advanced Tests.

Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.35.16 PM.png
In this article, I am going to get into a little more detail. 

You will likely need to have your Ytree on the screen so that you can follow what I am writing more easily.

Notice the options for SNPS in the above figure.  If a SNP pack is clicked on, this will bring up the screen below. 

NB, I have sectioned off for this screenshot ONLY those for the R1b testers (those who are R-M269.  I have done this because all the Y DNA haplogroups are represented in SNP packs.

Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.45.32 PM.png

If the tester is say a J haplogroup, then he has the option of selecting from just three SNP packs applicable, such as 

Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 8.55.24 PM.png

If the tester is say an E haplogroup (say E-L117) and clicks on the SNP pack available, he will get the options of selecting from just two as per this next screen shot.

Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.01.56 PM.png

The options continue, depending on the haplogroup.  (And more SNP packs become available every month).

If the male tester thinks he is likely to be a particular SNP and that is all he wishes to know, he needs to take note of his Y DNA matches in order to learn which tests they have taken.  To do this, go to the tester’s Home page and look at what his matches have tested.  But do NOT order yet.

Find those who match at Y67 or better.  If the tester has a reasonably close match, note the SNP given and locate it on his Haplotree from his YDNA menu on his FTDNA Home page.

Below is a very small section of an R1b tester’s Haplotree.

Macintosh HD:Users:gailr:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.12.08 PM.png

If you cannot be bothered doing this, look in the surname project that the male tester has joined.  Where has the Admin placed him?

What are the green coloured SNPs are that are in the same subgroup into which the male tester has been placed?

What does the heading of the subgroup say?

PLEASE, please do NOT order such a test without writing to an admin you feel you can trust – generally, it will be your haplogroup administrator.   But, contact your surname Project Administrator as well.  (I am assuming you will have joined such a haplogroup project specifically because you are interested in what more the YDNA can divulge besides the YSTR tests which we use for genealogy).  I came across a gentleman not so long ago and on looking at the projects he had joined and which SNP tests he had taken, it seemed to me that he was just clicking on anything that seemed good to him.  All were different haplogroups.  I felt quite sad for him as he had spent a great deal of money and except for his own haplogroup testing, all the others had come back negative. 

The mention of administrators brings me to an important point.  From time to time you will desire to join a project in one category or another.   Relatively easily done unless you have to go through a “request” procedure.  But what say the project you join appears to have been abandoned?

Consider this scenario.

·         You join a project without going through the request procedure.

·         You leave the matter for a day or so and then go to look at the project – to learn where and in what group you have been placed.

·         You find you (along with others) are in <Ungrouped>, so you make a mental note to check back in a week or two – just in case the Administrator is on holiday or has not seen your arrival.

·         Trying again, you note you are still in <Ungrouped> - this continues for awhile until you run out of patience, so you write to the Administrator.

·         You get no response – even after a fortnight or so.


Guess what?

That project has most likely been abandoned or you simply do not have the correct test to enable the administrator to deal with your results. 

Whatever the situation, be aware that every Administrator is a volunteer giving their own time and there are no perks, payment or anything for their efforts.  From time to time, a catastrophe hits and they are simply unable to continue – either for a short time period or at all.

(Please note I am still on the YDNA aspect of DNA testing – the mtDNA and the atDNA are different tests and are differently treated in certain projects).

If you suspect your project has been abandoned, especially because you do not receive any response from the Administrator, you have two options available to you – you can write directly to me explaining what has been happening (or not happening) or you can contact FTDNA on their special contact form which is located at the bottom of most of the FTDNA pages.

And now back to SNPs.

What is it that a SNP tells you?

Not a great deal on its own!

It is only when comparisons are made and you are willing to learn whereabouts in the Haplotree such SNPs are placed that you begin to realise just what little treasures they can be. 

Say, as an example, you have tested to Y67 or Y111 and you have either numerous matches at that level or you have none.  You decide to get a SNP pack for your particular Haplogroup and the results are returned.  If you have numerous matches and others in your list have taken the SAME SNP test as you (always remember to compare the same with the same) then you are now beginning to narrow down where it is that your distant direct male paternal ancestors came.

Even better is if you take the Big Y.  This is because you then discover your own family’s specific  “terminal” SNP.  And at the end of the day, is this not what genetic genealogy is all about?

Another topic will begin in a later article.  As always, you can contact me at

Index so far

This is a complete list of the articles written by Gail over the last year or so. 

© Gail Riddell 2014

Just click the link to go back to a previous article in this series. 

1.  What is Molecular Genealogy?

2.  Where would I begin?  

3.  What test should I take?

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

5.  Direct paternal line (men only).

6.  Direct maternal line (men and women).

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

8.  Understanding direct paternal results.

9.  Understanding direct maternal line results.

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

11.  Understanding the X Chromosome.

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

13.  DNA Websites, Blogs, and Forums

14.  Commonly Asked Questions – Some Basic, Some Advanced

15.  DNA – Something a little different…

16.  Current Pricings for the Three Main Genealogical Testing Firms

17.  DNA Testing for Family History

18.  Starting a new series on Y DNA Testing

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


Gail Riddell 

Wairarapa Wandering. 

Robertson…………..Robieson………..what is in a name? Quite a bit actually, and it helps to get the spelling correct! But in this instance it became very interesting and complex the further I investigated.

Jane ROBERTSON married Charles Rooking CARTER – at St James’ Westminster, London, 6th March 1850, her Witness at the marriage was Barbara Ann SHEPHERD

I was in London and Westmorland back in 2004 and did some research for the main benefactor for Three Mile Bush, later in 1857 to be called CARTERTON, in honour of our Charles Rooking CARTER. 

So Jane was a Miss ROBERTSON, but her brother who also came on the 'Eden' to New Zealand with them was James ROBIESON, and was known by that name.

I became interested in history quite by chance - a friend here in Carterton often invited me to attend one of Carterton District Historical Society meetings. I eventually went to one and got hooked, line and sinker. I loved learning the history of my chosen town, Carterton. So from 1996 I became Secretary. My life seemed to lead to this.

After leaving School, in England in 1958 and hating the thought of office work I went into the rag trade.  That trade resulted in my coming to NZ in 1970 and worked for the lovely Department store in Wellington, James Smith. I knew my job inside out fitting school uniforms, having done it for years in department stores in London - Gorringes, Harrods, Bournes & Kinch and Lack.

But getting back to the name… When I came back after visiting where Charles had come from, near Kendal in Westmorland, I got more interested in his name, Rooking, which was from his mother’s side of the family. Westminster Archives kindly faxed me a copy of his marriage certificate.  I never for one moment realised how important it would become as a piece of local history until about 2 months back (May 2016) when I received an email from a lady I had been assisting with her ancestry which was in Carterton from 1879.  Geraldine asked me if I had a copy of the Marriage Certificate and, in particular, who was the witness at the wedding. I had never thought of looking at that because I assumed that as no family were in London none would have attended the marriage. But this was different. Who would have thought a cousin of Jane, Barbara Ann SHEPHERD, was there to sign the register.

Barbara Anne SHEPHERD later married Matthew GARDENER, and would in turn come over to New Zealand with their family. They settled in Carterton and set up a business in town. Sadly Matthew died en route, leaving Barbara and the young family to start life afresh in a new country. Luckily she had her cousin, Jane CARTER, nearby. The family started up a hardware Shop in Carterton called Criterion (Papers Past shows this).

Later on Basil, one of the sons, was Mayor of Levin where he was in business.

Sarah being the only daughter married Robert CRAWFORD of Carterton.

William Charles Rooking GARDENER married Mary PELL lived in Auckland and had a Grocer shop.

Basil Robertson GARDENER was another son (notice he carries Jane/Jean Carter’s maiden name).

One certificate tied up a lot of early Carterton families into one big family.

I finally met up with enquirer when she came to Carterton and arranged for her to be photographed next to the statue of Charles Rooking CARTER.  Then I showed her around the district in which Charles would have had an interest.  He also is buried at Clareville Cemetery, having died 1896. His wife, Jean, died over in Derbyshire and was buried at Burbage. I have visited her grave.

The explanation of the different surnames Robertson and Robieson, comes down to how it was pronounced.

Adele Pentony-Graham
Carterton Early Settlers Researcher.

Jan’s Jottings

Irish Genealogy Developments

I have received an Invitation to a launch on the Irish Genealogy website to be held at The National Library in Dublin on 8th September 2016.  Historic Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths of the GRO. The site is and contains indexes to Births over 100 years, Marriages over 75 and Deaths over 50 years.   

Go to the site and scroll down and you will see Search online records.  This will search all the databases, so is great if you have an unusual surname.  My FARRAHER produced 17 different record sources.  Also a note that variants of the surname should be searched. Thought it was going to give me a suggestion list, but no, but it is a provision.  However, a search on my MILLIKIN surname gave me a list of 5 other spellings to check.

It was most interesting working through the list.  Most had some FARRAHERs, but not all the resources.There is a very good list to check for other access.

Have you looked at ? What about ? Just something a little different and you might find some new footprints.


(Had to say “No thank you” to the invite)

Retreat Research Weekend 

Hullo Fellow Bone Rattlers!!  Or should I say "fellow researchers". 

Those of you who have been around for some years will remember we used to say "when they are ready for you to find them, they will rattle their bones"!!!

Well times have changed and now we have the ability to make their bones, not just rattle - but DANCE!!!

But we have to PREPARE, PARTICIPATE, PRESERVE to know what to do, how to do it and then what to do.

AND learn about Collaborate, Corroborate, Coordinate.

ALSO, we have to make TIME in our busy days. Hence the Retreat, Research, Weekend.

Interested? Just email to and ask for more information.

WHAT: SLC2NZ  Retreat, Research, Weekend

WHEN: Fri 21 Oct 1.30pm until Mon 24 Oct - afternoon (your choice of departure time)

WHERE: Best Western Motel, Great South Rd, Auckland. Conference room. Accommodation $40-$80 per person per night

WHY: The chance to experience a little of what it is like in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City without the long flight

         The chance to be part of an hour long webinar straight from FamilySearch in SLC

         The chance to learn how to use the main genealogy sites and so get your money's worth and your time's worth

         The chance to have your family the subject of concentrated 'pressure cooker' research

         The chance to win worthwhile spot prizes      

         The chance to do lots more - see the poster and blurb!!

Email to register and for more info.

Jan Gow

From our Libraries and Museums

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

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

Auckland Libraries

For a report on the Auckland Family History Expo and also the raffle results drawn please see: Auckland Libraries’ Kintalk blog

(Note: of the 10 FamNet subscriptions offered as raffle prizes, only one has been claimed so far.  Please get in touch with Robert to claim your prize if you’re one of the others).

EVENTS – Family History Lunchtime Series

When: Fortnightly on Wednesdays from February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
 Central City Library, Whare Wānanga, Level 2
 To secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 307 7771, or complete our online booking form.


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

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

Coming up in the Family History Lunchtime Series: 


Creating a family history website with Michelle Patient

Wednesday 7 September, 12pm -1pm
Want to know some simple and easy ways to publish your tree online? Or maybe you can't decide where to publish your information? 
Regular lunchtime series speaker, Michelle Patient, (aka The Patient Genie) will discuss reasons to publish, how that can impact your research, the decision about where to publish, and show us some of the benefits of doing so. 
There are many free sites out there, it doesn't have to cost a fortune, and you don't have to be a computer whiz.

(I hope that she mentions FamNet, where it is free to create a family history database and share it with your family: Robert)

The Battle of the Somme 1916 with Christopher Paxton

Wednesday 21 September, 12pm -1pm
The Somme Offensive was a pivotal event laying the basis for Allied victory in the First World War.

But the necessity for the battles, their significance and effect has been debated ever since the offensive was abandoned in November 1916.

Come and hear the ‘futility’ argument re-examined, and the Somme’s long New Zealand shadow considered.

The Soldiers' Corner: Waikumete Cemetery's general military section since 1918 with Lisa Truttman
Wednesday 28 September, 12pm -1pm
The first municipal soldiers' cemetery in New Zealand, after the area set aside for the deaths from Featherston Camp two years earlier, Waikumete has the second-largest number of military burials after Karori Cemetery in Wellington.
As with the rest of the cemetery, there are stories behind not only the simple layout we see today, but in the lives of those who find their final rest today on the clay slopes at West Auckland.
A brief history of how the Soldiers' Corner came to be, and just a few of the tales behind the headstones.

How to date a photograph with Bruce Ringer

Wednesday 5 October, 12pm -1pm
The techniques of speed dating don’t necessarily work when establishing a relationship with a photograph.

In a digital age, images can easily become divorced from their physical context. Identifying and dating them sometimes requires close attention and painstaking research.

In this talk Bruce Ringer, author, local historian and team leader of the South Auckland Research Centre, provides examples from the Auckland Libraries’ Footprints database of how to describe photographs using the tiniest clues offered by their content.

This talk should be of interest to family historians, local historians, librarians, and anyone who’s just interested in historical detective work.



Evening Event about to be announced:

Family History & DNA – The Science of Identity with Brad Argent, Ancestry

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

5.30pm for 6.30pm start till 8pm

Where: Central City Library, Whare Wānanga, Level 2
Cost: Free
Booking: Places limited, booking essential. To secure your place, please contact the Central Auckland Research Centre on 09 890 2412, or complete our 
online booking form.

Light refreshments will be served between 5.30pm and 6.30pm. Booking is essential.


When it comes to identity, many of us have grown up thinking we’re a part of a singular story. Our identity is informed by many factors; culture, community, family values and even family history – where identity is informed by lineage and records. 

But with the rise of products like AncestryDNA, genetic identity has become more accessible than ever before, and with Ancestry’s DNA database of more than 2 million people globally, that information is rapidly becoming more accurate and complex. 

Genetic (DNA) and memetic (cultural) history both have a role in the formation of identity – for most their sense of identity is formed, over time, by their memetic history, with any revelation of a genetic identity often happening in an instant. DNA tests reveal that there are actually multiple stories at play when it comes to genetic history, creating an interesting dichotomy, and potentially a tension where a person’s memetic history conflicts with their genetic history. 

In this seminar, Ancestry spokesperson Brad Argent will talk about how a possible ethnic grouping discovered through an AncestryDNA test can confirm or disrupt a person's notion of identity, how the dichotomy between genetic and memetic history could see them reassessing who they really are, and that we have much more in common that we might think. 

Brad Argent bio:

Brad Argent is Ancestry’s International Commercial Development Director, and is an AncestryDNA expert. Based in the UK, Brad is regularly invited to appear in press and on television and radio, both in UK and internationally. He has also appeared in local media on shows such as TV3's Paul Henry, and RNZ's Saturday Morning with Kim Hill. Most recently, Brad was involved in a video series created by Ancestry and international travel search site, Momondo, which has had more than seven million views on YouTube. 

The DNA Journey with Momondo and Ancestry

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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


Email:  Phone  (04) 904 3276,  (Hanley Hoffmann)

Venue:  Meets every 4th Thursday morning at the Waikanae Chartered Club, 8 Elizabeth Street Waikanae, just over the Railway Crossing from 9.30am to 12 -12.30pm, every month from January to November. Research days planned for either 2nd or 3rd Thursdays at 9.30am approximately four times a year.

Overseas Client Research

The Waikanae Family History Group last year launched into doing research for people overseas and so far have successfully assisted five people in making connections with New Zealand families, and of course contributing to our funds at the same time.

Firstly we advertise in the Australian Family Tree Connections magazine and I should add that if you don’t read this magazine – if your group or branch subscribes to AFTC for a round robin or someone in your branch subscribes to it, you should get your hands on a copy and read it. Since 1840 or thereabouts when New Zealand  became colonised, gold mining and many other attractions caused a free flow of people back and forth between here and Australia and it is likely that some of your descendants were part of that, and sadly for some it meant geographical rifts in the family.

Back to our Waikanae group, you will find our advertisement as the last item in the classified ads section of the magazine. In those first five forays into helping people in Australia connect to NZ, and now through the Internet I am in the process of bringing together someone in Britain and Dunedin NZ. The fact that we have been successful in all of these cases gives one a feeling of achievement that is difficult to describe, because we have brought two families together and then stepped back and let them enjoy the future of new found relatives.  Now it does not sound like much but the British one I am in the process of sorting closes a gap of nearly one hundred years from 1924.  Of course the gap between UK and NZ is much wider than the trans Tasman one.

I have to admit that this latest research has a personal interest because this lady left the UK in 1924 for NZ and married a Condon in Dunedin. I have a “one name study” on Condon and I suspect that is how this UK person made contact with me.  So this could be a win for me as well – my wife Doreen’s grandfather was Martin Condon and he was in the middle of 10 boys born in Ireland. Did one of his brothers come to Dunedin?  I am about to find out.

In the opening paragraph I mentioned funds. We don’t yet have a set fee but we do seek a donation for our efforts, and because the focus is Australia mainly, we have set up a bank account there.  Our advert in the AFTC costs around AUD$60.  Our very first successful research so enthralled the lady concerned, (Russell Tether, one of our members did the research), in two payments she gifted us $150! The following ones have been lesser amounts including one where the person came to us and we assisted him in person.

Where does FamNet fit into this?  That is easy because in one of our earlier researches we found a connection to a FamNet subscriber who was deceased.  So with Robert’s help we located the man’s family and the research advanced with great speed and success from there on.  So when you are next doing some research make sure that you make use of the FamNet database, because there will be family there waiting to be found.

So if you want an interest in overseas and trans Tasman connections follow our lead but first talk to us, we have mastered the pitfalls, been there and done that and enjoying the experience, and you have to remember that FamNet has played its part.                                                                 

Hanley Hoffmann


Waikanae Family History Group


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Letters to the Editor

If you want a letter published, just email

Information Wanted/Offered.

Remember that you can post photos for identification, and information wanted requests:-

Click here to post a photo

Click here to request help with some information

We’ll post the photos and information requests in the next newsletter, and they’ll remain on display for at least a year.

I have just received this post from the Kintalk: Whanau Korero: Family History blog and thought it was important:




BREAKING NEWS Irish research

Posted: 31 Aug 2016 11:52 PM PDT

 If you have Irish ancestry then you will be interested in this.  On the 8th of September 2016 (probably Northern hemisphere time, so 9th September 2016 NZ time) the historic birth, marriage and death certificates will become available to view on the website and information to hand would indicate that these will be FREE.

They are subject to closure limitations and further information is given on the following website:

As with any launch, like this promises to be, it is possible that the site will be busy at the time of launch and we just have to hope that it is substantial enough not to crash.  I know that several of us on the Central Research Centre staff will be looking for that elusive ancestor, what about you?



You should also read Jan Gow's column as well.

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Book Reviews

THE ROMANOVS by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Published 2016 by Orion Publishing Co,ISBN978 0 297 852667 (available at Whitcoulls)

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\Romanovs.bmp.jpgThis book covers three hundred years of the rule of Russia by the Romanov family. It is an intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and the last, Nicholas. The author tells of unlimited power, ruthless empire building, palace conspiracies, sexual decadence, wild extravagance and everything else you may have heard about Russian Tsars. You will get a feeling for the Russian psyche and the long tortuous history of that remote power.

Montefiore is a writer who is easy to read but the book is long (about 700 pages) and I knew the ending. At the beginning of each chapter he lists all the protagonists which makes working out who is who much easier. This overcomes the problems of being inundated by many characters with complex Russian names which was a fault I found with other books by Montefiore, particularly Jerusalem.

This is not a book about genealogy but is a very good history book. A rattling good read which is hard to put down once started. I recommend it to anybody who likes history.

Peter Nash

MOTHER TONGUE by Bill Bryson

First published in 1990 by Penguin. This copy had ISBN 978 0 141 04008 0 and was purchased in London.

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\MotherTongueA.jpgThis book is a typical Bill Bryson book. He explores the history of the English language from the start as a mongrel local language through to now, where it is the most spoken language and is the international language of English. He throws in his style of wit, many obscure historical facts, his sense for the ridiculous and this book becomes a humorous, easy to read book on a boring subject matter. He explores swearing, weird spellings, word play, good English and bad English and many other facets of this complex method of communication we use.

Not a book for genealogists but is well worth reading because, after all, it is written by Bill Bryson.

Peter Nash



Published 2015 by Grantham Home Publishing, ISBN 978 1 86934 125 1 available from Whitcoulls

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\BlackJerseyA.jpgThis book is the biography of Tom Ellison, the first Maori to captain the All Blacks in 1893, and who also was a member of the Maori Rugby team that toured Great Britain in 1888. The author has done a good job in describing the various early New Zealand Rugby tours with a thorough description of the times and conditions of both the players but also the countries that they visited.

The value of this book to genealogists is the historical background descriptions. Late 1800's Wellington, Dunedin, Maori education and Te Aute College are particularly well covered. This book is very worthwhile background reading to help the reader understand these areas of history.

Peter Nash

A LIFE DISCARDED by Alexander Masters

Frst published in 2016 by Fourth Estate, ISBN 978 000 813080 0 and was purchased in London

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\LifeDiscardA.jpgIn 2001, 148 tattered mouldy notebooks were found in a rubbish skip. These were salvaged and found to be part of someone's diary covering a period of 1952 - 2001.After some time, the author proceeded to write this book in which he uncovered who the diaries' owner was and her history.

To read more about the book I refer you to this website which is a review that was published by The Guardian newspaper:

The book is an absolute gem. It was a pleasure to read. For a genealogists it gives some ideas of how to research for an unknown person but, in reality, you need no excuse to read this book.

Peter Nash

REAL MODERN by Bronwyn Labrum

Published by Te Papa Press, available at Whitcoulls, ISBN no 978 0 9941041 7 5

C:\Users\Nash\Documents\Peter\RealModern.jpgIn a previous column in this newsletter I lamented about the difficulty in describing growing up in the 1950's and 1960's and how little there was in literature about these momentous decades. Well this is a gem of a book and is compulsory reading by all intending autobiographical authors.

The book tells of the lifestyle of those years through objects and images. It is not a history book in terms of international affairs etc but, by way of everyday objects and pictures tell how it was living in those years. Every page brought back memories. My family had that set of china, that wallpaper, that car. We ate those biscuits. I spent quite some time reminiscing about those "good times". The subjects that are covered are too numerous to mention here.

The book is big and heavy,(some 400 pages) and is expensive. But I recommend that the pension be spent a little further so that a copy can be obtained. You will enjoy this book

Peter Nash

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