Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter December 2023

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t come to yours – Yogi Berra


Contents. 1

Editorial 1

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

Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

FamNet and FamilySearch. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

Epigenetics. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

FamilyTreeDNA Developements. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Chan Tommy 1889-1969. 1

More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of 1

Ken Morris. 1

Where The Flaming Hell Are We?. 1

George Warcup. 1

Rowan Gibbs. 1

“David Lynn” 1

Ross Miller 1

Lady Jane Franklin. 1

Robina Trenbath. 1

Christmas On Moturekareka Island. 1

An Invitation to Contribute: 1

To Newsletter Readers – How I started to contribute. 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

Hokianga Museum and Archives Centre. 1

Group News. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles Worth Reading. 1

Find people hidden in UK census records. 1

The Police Gazette: What it is and how to search it online - UK.. 1

How the 'New Woman' broke down barriers for independence. 1

In conclusion. 1

Book Reviews. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

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


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A picture containing text, person, person, smiling

Description automatically generatedHello fellow hermits.

Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

In my Editorial last month I begged for contributions and cartoons. Thanks very much to those that came to my rescue, I am very grateful.

To those who are thinking of contributing, Ken Morris wrote to explain how he started to write for us. Please read his letter in the “Invitation to Contribute” section at the end of the section of articles. It was easy for him to “get caught” but he has learnt to write and used us to fashion his style and to gather a collection of work for his future book. Please read it and “have a go”

Last week I went north to the Hokianga and visited the Museum in Omapere. It is one of my favourite museums and the place where I “return Hokianga things back to the Hokianga”. We should treasure small town museums and encourage them to keep going. A substantial donation would help achieve this. Please read their entry in the Libraries and Museums section. Other such establishments are welcome to use this newsletter as a means of advertising their presence and services.

The last thing I want to raise is that George Warcup, a fairly regular contributor to this newsletter has died. We are saddened by this news and pass on our condolences to his family. We will miss his articles. A small obituary is included in the Articles section.

Once again, we have an interesting newsletter. The articles are varied. The jokes are funny although they are not the main reason for reading the newsletter.

I hope this month’s issue occupies some of your time and you find something valuable.

PS It is that time again. Robert and I wish you a merry Christmas and New Year. May this period be free of stress, relaxing and fun. It is a time for family. May each and every one of you win an argument or two, gain a valuable present or two, and make more memories to be written about in your autobiography for future descendants in your family.  Take care.

We’re taking a break, so our next newsletter will be published in February 2024.

Peter Nash

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?

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

To subscribe is easy too. Go on - don't misspell it as I have, twice already.

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

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

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

Tell other genealogists so they can enjoy the newsletters too.


Peter Nash

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From the Developer

FamNet and FamilySearch

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Description automatically generated with medium confidenceFor those of you who have entrusted their family trees to FamNet, a reminder in case you’ve forgotten, that sometime in the future FamilySearch will be getting a copy of the data stored in FamNet.  This is my solution to the question “How do I guarantee that your data is safe, as I won’t be able to keep FamNet running indefinitely”.  Not too soon I hope, but the life of FamNet won’t be measured in centuries, so something needed to be done.  When this decision was made a year or two ago I emailed all tree owners to get their permission, one tree owner wanted her records excluded, but that was the only dissent.   I will be emailing tree owners again when the time is closer, or you can tell me now if you also want to be excluded.   

Last month I had a video meeting with the Family Search team.  Our data will be going into a new system that they’ve been developing for a few years, and they will be able to pick it up directly from a copy of the database, all of this makes it easier for me.  Probably about March next year we will do a test run, temporarily uploading the data from the part of FamNet that is currently on line to test that everything works as it should, and resolving any issues that we encounter.   I still know very little about this new system, as I learn more I’ll be letting you all know through this newsletter.  I do know that each owner has their own tree, it can contain living people but only the owner can see these – a bit like FamNet, but I don’t think that there is the ability for a tree owner to give others permission to see the living people as you can in FamNet.  I believe that it will look and feel pretty much like the current FamilySearch system, I think that the biggest change will be that it provides better control over who can edit the public (not living) people than their current system.

Telling your story: Index

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

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

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

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

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

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

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

23.  Have YOU written your family story yet? 

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

25.  It’s the Stories that Matter

26.  Using QR Codes for your Family History

27.  What happens to our Family History when we’re gone?

28.  Our Shared Database Grows

Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler


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Description automatically generatedWell I learnt of a new field for genealogy research, epigenetics.

The November 2023 Family Tree Magazine has an article on this subject. If you have read my ramblings over the many years that I have been putting my inner thoughts and life experiences into words for the reader’s education and sometimes pleasure, you will be aware of my obsession or lack thereof with being on top of the developments in genealogy research. I struggled with the computer when it came into play, I have tried to ignore DNA unless it proves a theory of mine that I have been unable to verify by paper research, and I haven’t put my tree up online. So, basically, I’m not a person who copes well with developments in technology and/or methods. So I am very wary of this new area.

Do you want a definition? Well, in simple language, epigenetics is “the study of changes in gene expression not caused by alterations in DNA sequences”. This means that an ancestor suffers a traumatic event which does not change the DNA structure at all but this trauma effects how the DNA operates in future generations. The article gives a few examples such as a woman suffering from claustrophobia which was “found to be caused” by the fact that her grandparents perished in a gas chamber.

I thought very hard on this subject and found that this could explain some of my quirks in my behaviour.

Last Friday, the Old Fogys Group met again. After our usual health reports and problem solving session I bought this matter up for discussion. Confusion reigned for some time and sarcastic comments flew around the room we were in. I then gave a couple of personal examples.

The first was an explanation for my delight in whisky consumption.  Half my ancestry is Scottish (not scotch) and they immediately said that was genetic but I responded with the fact that most of the descendants of that line were/are teetotal. Then I explained my pleasure in consuming more than one whisky in a session. This I explained was caused by epigenetics because I had three ancestors in different (some non-Scottish) lines that were certified alcoholics and could not use the services of the local (or any other) hotel. They very loudly suggested that wasn’t traumatic but I replied that it was very traumatic as all three were from back blocks Northland and there was only one pub in walking or riding distance so their liquor supplies were most cruelly curtailed i.e. they had to go cold turkey. Hence I have a supply of whiskey so that I don’t “run out” of the precious elixir of life and I have a heightened appreciation for whisky.

The other example I gave was my claustrophobia. I explained that in one of my ancestral lines I have three generations of miners. Obviously, at least one of them underwent a traumatic experience underground which has been transferred to me via epigenetics.

One of the louder members of the group suggested that I could never be convicted of a crime because I can use this as an explanation of my “instinctive” actions were beyond my control – “it wasn’t me your honour but is the result of the trauma caused to my ancestors”. I must remember that particularly when I have over imbibed the whisky.

Methinks that a group of psychologists are inventing another field of work so that their fees can be continued to be paid by a new type of client. I think that they should concentrate on why we nutters do genealogy.

Two weeks after writing the above I was given the next month’s issue of the same magazine and the same author wrote another article titled A Lasting Mark: Intergenerational Trauma in which she expands on the theme of the first article. She stated:

Trauma from events like genocide, war, segregation, poverty, imprisonment, and violence can affect families profoundly, even passing down through generations…………….and individuals with a history of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) . ACEs in domestic violence, parental abandonment, through separation or divorce, having a parent with a mental health condition, being a victim of abuse(physical, sexual and/or emotional), ……..can have a long term physical and psychological effects.

This really got me thinking. I’m proud of my convict ancestors, my army deserter and other ancestors. I can’t change them. But I can see why they “disappeared into back blocks NZ” and dodged the limelight. There are no famous people in my NZ ancestry and I now know why.

It is very easy to crack jokes about this subject but it does explain a lot about why I am what I am. But, because it is a new field and/or research method, I will mostly likely try to ignore it.

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Peter Nash

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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.  Click Index so far to see these articles

FamilyTreeDNA Developements

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Description automatically generatedAs some of you will know, I departed Aotearoa at the beginning of November aiming for Houston, Texas.  FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) was holding an Administrators’ Conference – the first since 2019 and I was fortunate enough to be part of it.

If you have ever attended a Family Reunion, you will have some idea as to the greetings, the noise and the hugs that can accompany such events – after all, it was a long time since we had seen one another.  We were all there with two purposes in mind: catching up and learning.

The FTDNA team chose to use the event as an experiment in Virtual attendance alongside actual attendance.  Much was learned by the organisers, by the speakers and by the IT team. 

It seemed that I was the only representative from the Southern Hemisphere in terms of actual attendance, although there may have been a few from South America.

FTDNA announced a number of changes coming, most notably will be the forced password reset.  This is most likely a direct result of the recent 23andMe incident.  They will send out warnings, and the Admin’s access to the Admin system known as GAP, will go first.  But all accounts will be forced to reset the passwords.  If you manage accounts of other sample donors, living or deceased, and your own email address isn’t on the account, you’re going to most likely be out-of-luck ever being able to access it again.

Therefore you need to ensure that your own current email address is on every account that you manage.  This is because the instructions for the password reset will be emailed to the email address on the account, and nobody else will be allowed to reset it.

While you are in that area of the account, you need to check out whether there is a named Beneficiary for that account.  We heard that it is no longer enough to alert FTDNA that a person has died.  If your email address is not on the account, then the beneficiary has to provide proof of death.

Two-factor authentication as a distinct possibility in what is being planned. 

You will all have noticed that currently you can no longer download your matches and segment data… this is undoubtedly part of the roll-out of the new Family Finder and Transfers being given whatever Y-DNA or mtDNA designations can be obtained from these tests, similar to what you get from Ancestry or 23andMe.


FTDNA has plans to replace their traditional genealogical family tree feature with a “better” one from MyHeritage.  Hopefully there will be a free and friendly way to get your current tree into the MyHeritage system before they toss the current system overboard (for the second time).  Personally, I am uncertain about this decision so I shall be holding back once it comes into being.


The presentations were varied and apparently all are available now to be seen virtually. 

Go to

I say ‘Apparently’ because I have not yet found them. 

Maybe I shall know by the time Peter calls for another article.

In the meantime, happy “silly season”

Gail Riddell 

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Chinese Corner 

Chan Tommy 1889-1969

Storekeeper, market gardener, landowner
This biography, written by Randal Springer, was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in 2000.

Chan Lit Chong, known in New Zealand as Tommy Chan, was born in May 1889 near Canton (Guangzhou), China, to peasant farmer Chan Kwong Yee and his wife, Foon Tong. He was the eldest of the couple’s four children. In 1908 he emigrated to New Zealand with a minimum of village school education and speaking no English, at a time when there was a marked antipathy towards the Chinese.

His first years in New Zealand were spent working for relatives in Wellington, Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton and Dannevirke. In 1910 he moved to Ōhakune, where he worked for his uncle, Chan Yin. Among his duties was managing the billiard saloon. In July 1911 Tommy Chan and his uncle became separated in the bush on a hunting trip. When Tommy realised his uncle must be lost, he forded the icy Mangawhero River, found a bush tramway and went off to get help. Local mill-hands helped in the search but the older man was not found until next day, half-frozen in the snow. A reward posted by his wife was not claimed, but dozens came to the spread he laid on after his recovery.

In 1914 Tommy Chan returned to China where he married Ng She, the daughter of a grocer, in Canton. A son was born to the couple before Tommy returned to New Zealand on his own in 1916 and established a grocer’s shop in Ōhakune.

By this time the main trunk railway had been completed, and the vast timber resources of the central plateau were thus available to the sawmilling industry, which was reaching its peak. Logging was soon to be followed by land clearing and farming. These activities resulted in an increase in the population of the Waimarino district and Tommy Chan’s business prospered. He sent for his younger brother, Chan Lit On (Willie Chan), who arrived in 1918 and was allowed entry after payment of the poll tax of £100. Leaving their son with relatives in China, Ng She followed; she arrived in Auckland where, in a registrar’s office on the wharf, a formal New Zealand marriage was conducted on 26 November 1918. Ten children were born to the couple in New Zealand.

Tommy Chan closed the Ōhakune shop in 1929 and reopened in Raetihi the following year. Ng She, with little English, helped in the shop. Together they were able to save for the family’s future and ensure that all the children received a good education. By this time antagonism towards Chinese in New Zealand was decreasing and Tommy Chan was well regarded locally. In the 1930s he was the only grocer prepared to give credit to the unemployed men on relief work who were living in Public Works Department roading camps throughout the district.

With a brother-in-law, Tommy embarked on a small market-gardening venture. They participated in the Services’ Vegetable Production Scheme which supplied vegetables to military camps throughout New Zealand and the Pacific during the Second World War. From market gardening Tommy Chan turned to buying up farming land, giving members of his family partnerships with each purchase. He was the founder of Chan Enterprises Limited, a holding company formed in the early 1950s and concerned with property in Auckland. During his later years he owned so much land in the Raetihi district that he was reputed to be wealthy. Yet he was essentially a humble man and any wealth he acquired was for the benefit of his family.

Tommy Chan had little time for leisure but was a good billiards player and kept bees. He took an interest in horse-racing, mainly, he said, to give him a topic of conversation. But his interest was a profitable one and he was able to use the proceeds to take his family for a trip to China in 1937.

Tommy Chan counted among his European friends Frank Langstone, once the MP for the electorate, and Bob Donald, director of Produce Markets in Auckland. He was a registered alien and therefore had no vote. An application for naturalisation in the 1920s was unsuccessful and he never applied again. He was a member of the Dominion Federation of Chinese Commercial Growers, and of the New Zealand Chinese Association, and a well-known and highly respected member of the local community.

Ng She died on 20 June 1965 and Tommy Chan died in Raetihi hospital on 19 July 1969; he was survived by six daughters and three sons. He had overcome immense initial difficulties but had achieved much during his life in New Zealand.

Tommy Chan and his wife Ng She at a Whanganui social occasion, 1954

Tommy Chan and his wife Ng She at a Whanganui social occasion, 1954


Helen Wong

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More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of

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Description automatically generatedSince she has been overseas I’ve lost her. Consequently she is taking a break this month.  My fingers are crossed so that she will return.






Christine Clement

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Ken Morris

Where The Flaming Hell Are We?

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Description automatically generatedby Craig Collie, published 2023 368 pages ISBN 9781760879198

As I mentioned in my 2020 review of “Battle of 42nd Street” – the battle for Crete, “It is amazing that new books on WWII are still being published some 75 years after the events, but which still bring new perspectives.”

I had intended to visit Greece & Crete in 2020 but Covid put a stop to that. A visit to 42nd Street was on the to do list and on my recent trip I managed that visit and several other memorials & museums.

“Where the Flamming Hell are We” is written in a similar style to “Battle of 42nd Street”, it is well researched and has many personal anecdotes of both enlisted men and officers, for many their first ‘big adventure’. Their hometown and occupation in civvy street is given, together with some pithy comments about the army, its organisational ability, the officers and ‘the powers that be’. Their names and source of information are referenced & indexed (43 pages), making the book a good record for family’s military history research. The book is well illustrated.

This book has a full section on the campaign in Greece prior to the action in Crete. There are many references to the ‘political machinations’ that resulted in the New Zealand & Australian troops following the British troops into both areas to what was virtually a retreat from the time of their arrival, and some names don’t seem to warrant the lofty esteem we were taught about them at school in the 50’s.

Having troops from three countries caused big issues as to who was in charge, &/or who thought they should be in charge. This, in conjunction with the ongoing retreat, loss of equipment and poor communications resulted in the loss of large numbers of soldiers either by death or capture.

Crete is very rugged, in the rural/mountain areas many of the roads, albeit sealed, are very narrow and windy.  It was these roads the troops, many on foot, had to make their way to the south coast for rescue by the navy (at nighttime to miss the attention of the Luftwaffe).  The access to the evacuation village of Chora Sfakion is horrendous and the original road they walked or hitched a ride is the most dangerous road in Crete with 800m drop, ~ 27 hairpin bends and no guardrails, and more ‘exciting to traverse than “Skippers”. There are a number of world famous gorge walks along this part of south coast.

The book covers the same events as in Battle of 42nd St, with the addition of both the Greek mainland battles and an added emphasis of the Greek/Cretan Resistance Fighters and the resultant reprisals and massacres of a number of whole village populations. On this trip I have learned more about a WWII massacre of a whole village including my son-in-law’s family. His mother and uncle (aged ~9 & ~11 at that time) were the only ones who managed to escape & survive, a story which only very few of us will have had to record in our family histories. We visited a number of memorials to these massacres as well as visiting the Allied War Cemetery at Suda and the German Cemetery at Malerne.  A pause & reflection at these cemeteries seems to me, we have still not learned a lot about making a better job of being able to live together.

Many of the overall comments I made about the campaigns in the review for 42nd St are not repeated in this review, but having read these two books I will go back and have a look thru the official NZ war histories to check on the balance.

Crete is a great place to visit and costs are quite reasonable at the end of the season Oct/Nov. I had my daughter & Greek son-in-law travelling with me, an advantage and really enhances the experience.

Memorial at 42nd Street

Memorial at Chora Sfakion/Hora Sphakia

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Ken Morris

From the Editor: I have a favourite uncle who I never met. I was born on his birthday and carry his name, Archibald, in my name. He was in the NZ Army and was sent to Greece. He never came back. He never made it to Crete or back to Egypt. Nobody knows how and where he died. He has no known grave. My grandmother was informed by one of his mates in the Army that he was on a truck travelling at night with no lights on. That truck disappeared.

I read this book in an effort to understand the conditions he experienced. I was going to write a review but thanks Ken for your review. It is a very readable book and gives plenty of “atmosphere” to that campaign. This is a very important book to me and my family history.

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George Warcup

George was a fairly regular contributor to this newsletter. He answered one of my calls for articles. They magically appeared and required very little editing although he seemed to ignore commas and full stops.

He wrote about his ancestors in very early Wellington. Without going back and checking, I can remember the outlines of some of his stories. One was about a boating tragedy his ancestor was involved in and another was about the early footwear trade in Wellington. This indicates to me that he wrote well because my addled brain remembers his articles.

Robert and I send our condolences to his family.

Peter Nash

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Rowan Gibbs

“David Lynn”

In 1946 the New Zealand politician, publisher and novelist John A. Lee reprinted a novel Love and Hunger by another New Zealander, “David Lynn”, which Lee claimed had already sold 200,000 copies in England. On the cover Lee trumpeted: “The sensationally successful New Zealand writer, who landed in London penniless and ended by writing, publishing and selling his own novels, and as a result made a vast amount of money. He made £2,000 out of this book, which is of rough, tough, raw-edged life...”.

Yet the novelist Lee refers to is virtually unknown in New Zealand literary circles, in spite of writing some thirty books, most of them fiction (novels, novellas and short stories) between 1942 and 1967. Most are “social” fiction, set in London high society or the Soho underworld, though earlier stories are set in Canterbury and in Sydney. His work is recorded sporadically in bibliographies, but receives no mention in studies of New Zealand literature.

Even his real name was long uncertain. The New Zealand library system originally had him as “McLennan” and John A. Lee called him “Lynn, or McLelland to use his real name”. He was in fact David Warnock McCLELLAND, born in Grey Lynn, Auckland, on December 4th 1907, son of Thomas Warnock McClelland, a blacksmith, and Sarah Jane JOHNSTON, both from Canterbury. (His father registered his birth on January 3rd 1908, antedating his marriage by three years and naming his son Thomas Warnock McClelland; then on June 5th his mother had his name altered to David Warnock McClelland.)

He grew up in Canterbury (where some of his books are set) and early became a left wing political activist. In 1934 he turns up in the Wellington papers charged with “being an idle and disorderly person with insufficient lawful means of support”. He had come up from Lyttelton with a mate and they had “tried to approach several prominent citizens” for work and then asked them for money, which was illegal. He gave his profession as “journalist”, and when asked about his politics he stated in court: “I’m no way connected with the Communist Party at the present time, I was once, but I’m not doing anything for them now. I have got myself to look after. The books in my possession when the police arrested me certainly dealt with Communism, but I bought those in Christchurch from a seller in the street. The membership book is out of date, and I did not know I had it on me.” He got one month’s imprisonment and his photo in the Police Gazette:

By 1936 he was in Sydney — his 1945 novel Barney Christopher (subtitled “A sensational novel of the Australian underworld”) is dated at the end “Sydney 1936”. But in January 1937 he and the same mate were arrested in Wellington having stowed away back to New Zealand from Sydney on the ‘Niagara’. Despite claims their money had been stolen in Sydney while there on holiday, telling the court: “‘Things are so bad in Sydney that thievery seems to be the principal industry there.’ (Laughter.)”, they each received twelve months’ probation and were ordered to repay the £7.10s. cost of the fare.

Later that year he was listed as wanted for breaching probation and failing to pay the restitution, but by late 1939 he was in England, recorded in the 1939 Register living in Muswell Hill, London, with the family of pin-up artist Lou (Lazarus) Shabner. David’s profession is “journalist” and he gives his birth date as 29 April 1908, which seems to be emended to 26 April: why did he reduce his age by a few months? It would not have removed his liability for conscription; at all events, he is not recorded as having served in the armed forces. His status is given as single yet I was informed by a relative that his pseudonym “David Lynn” was taken from the names of his two children, suggesting they were born (and he probably married) by the time he published his first book under that name, likely in 1942: however, no corresponding marriage or births have been traced.

His earliest book was a satirical indictment of Russian communism, The Return of Karl Marx, published by Chancery Books in London in 1941 written under the name “Grey Lynn”. All his later books were written as “David Lynn”.

In 1942 he founded his own publishing company, Kangaroo Books, with offices first at his residence at 55 Muswell Hill Road, and later in Avenue Chambers, Southampton Row, W.C.1 (home of many 1950s British paperback publishers).The last known title under the original Kangaroo Books imprint was published in 1946, though he revived the name in 1965. In the 1960s his books appeared with the imprint “Kiwi Books” at 27 Colindale Avenue, London, his home address. He died in London on July 11th 1969.

A listing of most of his books can be found in an earlier article I wrote on him, of which this is essentially an update. Published in 1988, online at, the article illustrates how little I was able to find back then on his life, with no online genealogical sites, newspapers, or library catalogues.

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Rowan Gibbs

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Ross Miller

Lady Jane Franklin

Portrait of Lady Jane FranklinIt is thought, and generally accepted, that we take the name of FRANKLIN from Lady Jane (nee GRIFFEN) Franklin. She was born in London on 4 December 1791, the second daughter of John Griffin who was a liveryman and later a Governor of the Goldsmith’s Company. Jane was well educated, and with her father being pretty wealthy he had her education completed by much travel on the continent. The portrait of her on the left was painted when she was 24 by Amelie Romilly at Geneva.

She had been a friend of John Franklin’s first wife, Eleanor Anne PORDEN who died in 1825 and she eventually became engaged to him. They were married on 5 November 1828 and the following year he was knighted. During the next three years she was parted for lengthy periods from her husband who was on service in the Mediterranean. In 1836 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tasmania where they arrived on 6 January 1836.

Jane began to take interest in the colony and did a good deal of exploring along the southern and western coast and in 1839 she became the first European woman to travel overland between Port Phillip and Sydney. In April that year she visited Melbourne where she received an address signed by 65 of the leading citizens which referred to her "character for kindness, benevolence and charity". With her husband she encouraged the founding of secondary schools for both boys and girls.

In February 1841 she left Hobart aboard the HMS Favourite for New Zealand. After visiting Wellington and Akaroa she headed to Auckland to meet with Governor Hobson. Her party consisted of her lady-in-waiting Miss Williamson, Lieutenant Bagot of the 51st Regiment and two servants. As the Hobson’s were living in a small house while Government House was being built they were probably relieved when she accepted an invitation to attend a missionary meeting at the Waikato Heads. 

She crossed the Manukau Harbour in a mission schooner and was carried by stalwart Maoris over rough narrow paths. She visited Waiuku even before it was known by name to Europeans and passed by the sandy wastes of Maioro. A paragraph from Nona Morris’ book Early Days in Franklin says …Mr Hamlin, the missionary from the Orua Bay Station, refers briefly to Lady Franklin in his diary. He writes that on Monday, 29 March, he sent the boat to bring the Governor and his party to his house before going on to Waikato Heads. The next day he wrote, “On Tuesday Lady Franklin arrived at our house to go on to the examination to Waikato which place we reached on Thursday evening.” After leaving Orua Bay it would seem the party travelled by Mr Hamlin’s boat to Moetoa [a former mission station] or Waiuku and then from here went down the Awaroa Creek and the Waikato River to the Heads…

On the return journey Lady Franklin took the overland route back from the Waikato Heads to Moetoa which documented by Mr Hamlin in his diary on 5 April which reads …On Monday morning returned from Waikato and brought Lady Franklin overland to Mocatoa [Moetoa] hoping to find the boat there, but we were disappointed and had to go and fetch the boat in at the Awaroa  and bring her to Mocatoa after which we went on to Orua where we arrived at 2 o’clock in the morning… 

On Thursday 8 April she left Orua at 11 o’clock and landed at Onehunga 2½ hours later. She spent Easter at Government House in Auckland and while there she met several prominent people of the time. Lady Franklin visited Thames once she was back from the Waikato. Before leaving for Australia she was present at the first sales of Crown Land on 19 April, 1841 held in the drawing room of Government House. Together with Miss Williamson and Mr Bagot, she bought an allotment at the lower end of Queen Street and vested the income in the Mission.

According Early Days in Franklin, Nona Morris writes that there is little doubt that she made a profound impression on New Zealanders at that time. A book called A Journey in the North Island of New Zealand  written by W R Wade in 1842 was dedicated to “Lady Franklin who has taken a deep interest in the country and people of New Zealand.”

Later on in 1841, back in Australia, she visited South Australia and persuaded the governor, Colonel George Gawler, to set aside some ground overlooking Spencer Gulf for a monument to Matthew Flinders. This was set up later in the year. When John Franklin was recalled at the end 1843 they went to Melbourne and then to England via New Zealand.

John Franklin started his last voyage in 1845 in which he discovered the Northwest Passage round the top of North America and when it was realised that he must have suffered some misfortune on that voyage Lady Franklin devoted herself for many years to trying to ascertain his fate.

She sponsored four expeditions to find her husband (in 1850, 1851, 1852 and finally in 1857) and, by means of a sizeable reward for information about him, instigated many more. Eventually evidence was found by a Francis McClintock in 1859 that John Franklin had died in 1847. By 1860 all had been done that could be done, and for the remainder of her life Lady Franklin divided her time between living in England and travelling in all quarters of the world. She died in London on 18 July 1875.

Lady Franklin was a woman of unusual character and personality. One of the earliest women in Tasmania who had had the full benefit of education and cultural surroundings, she was both an example and a force, and set a new standard in ways of living to the more prosperous settlers who were now past the stage of merely struggling for a living. Her determined efforts, in connexion with which she spent a great deal of her own money to discover the fate of her husband, incidentally, added much to the world's knowledge of the arctic regions.

To honour his widow for the part she had played the Royal Geographic Society awarded her their Founders’ Gold Medal and she was the first woman to ever to receive the award.

This was in 1860 – the year that our district Franklin was named.

Ross Miller

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Robina Trenbath

Christmas On Moturekareka Island

1955: On my grandmother’s mantlepiece was a photo of an old sailing ship under full sail.

A large sailboat in the water

Description automatically generatedI asked Nana Nellie what the name of the vessel was: “She was a four masted barque who began her voyages as Alice A Leigh.1. Years later she was sold and given a new name – Rewa. I remember her coming into Wellington Harbour and I went down to see her. That’s when I fell in love with her”.

I immediately made a familial connection: “So, you named Aunty after a sailing ship?”

“Yes. But Aunty will tell you that she was named after New Zealand honeysuckle called rewarewa. Now, do you want to know the rest of the story about the sailing ship because like all good stories, there was an end”.

Our grandmother was a very engaging storyteller and under her spell she recalled the times she had sailed on such vessels, for both her husbands had been mariners (the first, a Royal Marine, the second, a Chief Purser). Of course, being a romantic from the core of her soul, my sisters and I never quite knew fact from fiction.

Her recounting of the demise of one of the last sailing ships, giving way to steam powered vessels, was sad enough. But to learn that such a lofty windjammer spent eight years swinging on her moorings at Chelsea, Birkenhead2 and in 1930 was eventually towed away to Moturekareka Island in the Hauraki Gulf to become a breakwater; thereafter left to rot3, was not what we wanted to hear.

‘Timespanner’ went on to record that…Her figurehead was removed in May 1930 to join a collection in the Devonport Naval Yard. 
However, I spotted an item in paperspastnz4 Rewa was now an exhibit in Auckland Museum’s maritime hall (R: Closing Photo).
As with most family histories, a great deal of time is often spent in re-wind. 
1946: Daddy Jack was a radio-ham. Every move we made – up would go a radio mast followed by a radio shack. 
Jack made friends all over the world. His call sign was ZL1QB. Over time firm friendships grew so that beyond our family we had many adopted ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’. 
“ZL1QB calling ZL1BO…” now this was a special friend: ‘Uncle Ivor’. Our families were close and after the death of our father in 1954 it was ‘Uncle Ivor’ & ‘Aunty Leigh’ who in 1956 bought an island in the Hauraki Gulf. The next Christmas they scooped us up and we spent the first of many Christmas school holidays on Moturekareka Island.

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1957: “That’s the Rewa”, I whispered to my sisters. I think they were too young to understand, 
“We just call her, the wreck,” said Uncle Ivor’s son.  
I had just got a camera for my 13th birthday – this is one of my favourite snaps: Me and the Rewa. 

A shipwreck on the water

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We never called Moturekareka by its name – always just “Uncle Ivor’s Island”.  In my teenage mind I did not make the connection between our initial destination and Nana’s story.  On the tide, leaving from Okahu Bay on a small yacht called Katie, passing Kawau Island on the day, we arrived late in the afternoon. From the approach, there she was … resting majestically on her side, dominating the landscape.

“An old guy called Charlie HANSON once owned the island. He was a hermit and his ghost is still here. You’ll probably see another hermit, rambling around; Snow HARRIS”.

An island, the wreck of an old sailing ship, ghosts and hermits (whatever hermits were). This had to be the best holiday, ever. For six weeks the Rewa became our playground. Rowing out, the first time and tying the dinghy’s painter to her starboard side at the waterline, I can still remember how small I felt alongside. Yes, she was rusty. Yes, her proud masts had been gouged from her deck and yes, there was a haunting about her that was palpable. All that aside, clambering onto her deck in bare feet and looking down into the skeletal remains of what had once been the thumping heart of her steel-built hull was beyond awesome.

Each day was a discovery. Fish swam inside her engine rooms. The wheelhouse was a place to shelter from the hot sun and take in the length of her. Alice was the biggest ship ever built by Whitehaven Shipbuilding, Cumbria U.K. 309 ft. long. She carried 31 sails and had a crew of 335.

An excellent sea boat, the Rewa had a good turn of speed, often logging up to 330 or 340 miles for the day’s run in the last days of her career. On the last voyage home from New Zealand she had a race with the five-master ‘France’, the largest sailing ship afloat at the time, and the Rewa picked up five days on her big rival. The ‘France’ left Wellington 14 days before the Rewa left Lyttleton and arrived at London only nine days ahead6.

We dropped our fishing lines over the side and always took back a decent catch to be smoked in the smokehouse. The summer idyll was short-lived. We returned home and during that year Uncle Ivor allowed the steel of the Rewa to be salvaged. When we returned the next summer I was glad I had left my camera behind – Rewa was a mangled hulk. She struggled to retain her majesty, the scrap which was now well level with the tideline was evidence that her time was past.

However, her future, what remained, would be testament to a restless world seeking to salvage memories of what had once been great about the era of sail.

The Rewa continued to nurture our sense of adventure. We swam around her, managed to find leverage to ‘climb aboard’. No protection now, the old girl was stripped, naked. Despite her vulnerability, we looked down on strength. Her ‘ribs’ intact, unashamedly exposed and defiant.

Rewa continued to watch over us as we buried our sunburnt bodies in pine-needle graves on Motutara Island which was accessible at low tide. She saw us gathering sun-dried sea-egg shells; brilliant aqua and green shades with white dotted designs; they were our ‘jewels’.  As we gazed, she did too, at the baby blue penguins skimming over the surface of the bay.

Tussock-covered concrete blocks are all that remain of the old homestead where we would open the French doors and on a King tide, dive from the lounge into the ocean. The spooky climb behind the house was where we saw Charlie Hanson’s ghost waft between sighing pines. Uncle Ivor had been a cinema projectionist at the Majestic Theatre in Queen Street and at night he brought back the spectre of Charlie Hanson. Years later his children admitted that he had rigged up a system of wires and sheets to produce the drama which made us run and scream.

Rewa, it seems has become a magnet for snorkelers, kayakers and photographers – never mind the yachties (Uncle Ivor used to take ‘pot shots’ at them7.) I think the ‘shot’ my sister took of me and the Rewa on our first Christmas on Moturekareka is one of the best.

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 1. Alice A. Leigh (1905). State Library of South Australia, B 3456, PRG 121/3. Image from the A.D. Edwardes Collection.                                                                                                                             

 2. The barque Rewa formerly Alice A Leigh. Timespanner (7 July 2019).                                                                                                                                                                          

3. Marine Jottings. Ship Burials. Southland Times. 7 Jan. 1931. P.2. on paperspastnz.                        

4. General News - Forgotten Lady. Press 21 June 1966. Page 14.                                                                    

 5. End of an Era: Alice A. Leigh/ Rewa. (27 August 2011).                       

6. The Barque Rewa. Evening Post. 4 April, 1936. Page 27. paperspastnz.                                              

 7. Island Farmer Fined. Press, 25 May 1957, Page 12. Paperspastnz                  

Robina Trenbath

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An Invitation to Contribute:

I have a number of people that contribute occasional articles. These appear irregularly if and when the authors send them to me.  I use them to bulk up each month's newsletter. The more we have the more "rests "I can give my much-appreciated regular columnists.

This is a way that a person can get some of their writing published. Of course, we are all writing up our research results, aren't we? I have always said that every genealogist is an expert in some small piece of history, resources or research methods.

We circulate this newsletter to about 7,000 subscribers worldwide but is read by many more as it is passed on to other readers and LDS research centres. Every month I get feedback on my poor attempts at writing and I have now made many "new friends", albeit digital ones, I have even had some very helpful assistance in my research.

Why don't you contribute an article?

My basic requirements:

1) The column must be in English

2) The column should be no longer than about 1,200 words

3) The article should be emailed to me in a Word document format

4) The subject should be genealogical or historical in nature

Do not be afraid about your "perceived" bad English. The article will be edited, in a friendly manner, by me and then Robert. Then all columnists and a few valuable proof-readers get to read the newsletter before it is emailed out.   You’ll be paid $0 for your article, which is on the same scale that Robert and I pay ourselves for editing and publishing the newsletter.      

To Newsletter Readers – How I started to contribute

In response to Peter’s plea for more contributions, I’d like to throw in my “two Bob’s worth”.

Not sure how I came to start writing reviews & pieces, but over the 6 years I’ve completed 40+. Initially started with book reviews and then added articles on subjects I’d found of interest and thought worthy of sharing, albeit some straying slightly from the genealogy/family history guidelines.

I must admit I don’t always fully read all of the other contributions, but skim all to see what ‘gems’ they might contain. Gail Riddell on DNA and Robert’s series on writing family history have been particularly helpful.

Sometimes I’m a bit like Peter and wonder what I can contribute, not because I have to but because I want to, so I try and keep a list of topics in case I haven’t read any relevant books to review.

On my recent trip to Greece & Crete I have learned more about a WWII massacre of a whole village including my Son-in-Laws family, his mother and uncle (aged ~9 & ~11) were the only ones who managed to escape & survive, astory which only very few of us will have had to record in our family histories.

Another item is on pensions and their relation to the cost of living and the economies of a country.

Hopefully the contributions I have written have improved my writing skills, and I have completed a memoir, now at printer and well into another family history related project.

On one of my trips back to NZ I caught up with Robert & Peter for a coffee & chat and the enthusiasm for both Famnet and the Newsletter was obvious.

So, for those readers that my not ‘have a book in them’ I’m sure there will be many stories and topics that need to be told and will be of interest to the other readers.

Ken Morris

From our Libraries and Museums

We are offering a forum to our libraries and museums to publicise their events, and to contribute articles to this newsletter that may be of interest to our readers. Auckland Libraries makes good use of this free service, let’s see if other libraries and museums take up this offer.

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

Auckland Libraries

Please note: Due to some recent changes in our department, we are reviewing our HeritageTalks programme of events.
The 2024 HeritageTalks programme is on hold after 6th March while we conduct this review.

If you attended a HeritageTalk in 2023 could you please assist us with some feedback:

Are you interested in family, local and social history, the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific, and beyond?

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

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

When: Wednesdays, February to November, 12noon - 1pm

Where: Auckland Whare Wanga, L2 Central City Library,
Lorne St . Also online via Zoom            Cost: Free

Wednesday 7 February

"How important were the texts of the Treaty of Waitangi? with Prof Michael Belgrave,  Massey University

Since Ruth Ross in 1972 suggested that the English and Maori texts of the Treaty of Waitangi were very different,  most New Zealanders understand the Māori text, Te Tiriti o Waitangi,  to be markedly different from the English draft.  But was that really the case?  Looking more closely at the events around the debates, it can be argued that the text played little part in the deliberation taking place on the day before the treaty signing.

Getting beyond the Treaty of Waitangi as two very different texts by exploring the debates that took place in the week between Hobson's arrival and the treaty signing.

About the speaker

Professor Michael Belgrave has been actively involved in Treaty of Waitangi research since the 1980s.  He taught social policy and history at Massey's Albany campus from 1993 to 2023.  He is a prize-winning historian and has extensive new history of New Zealand, 'A History of Us'  will be available later in the year.

Wednesday 21 February

Researching Tāmaki Makaurau: Auckland History Initiative Summer Scholars session one

The Auckland History Initiative (AHI), a research collaboration at the University of Auckland, presents research projects from the 2024 Summer Scholars exploring aspects of Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland's history.  The topics that each of the three students have chosen, will be updated on the Auckland Libraries' event page when confirmed.

Wednesday 28 February

Researching Tāmaki Makaurau: Auckland History Initiative Summer Scholars session two

The Auckland History Initiative (AHI), a research collaboration at the University of Auckland, presents research projects from the 2024 Summer Scholars exploring aspects of Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland's history.  The topics that each of the four students have chosen, will be updated on the Auckland Libraries' event page when confirmed.

Wednesday 6 March

Dietary Advice and ‘Food as Medicine’ in Aotearoa, 1930-1960 with Helen Morten, Auckland Library Heritage Trust John Stacpoole Research Scholarship recipient

Discussion of Dr. Ulric Williams highlights continuity in present-day concerns towards medical/health authorities, vaccine mandates, vaccinations. Williams led public forums at Auckland’s town hall during this period, voicing his distrust for vaccinations and milk pasteurisation, in particular.


For queries contact Research Central ph 09 890 2412.


Did you miss one of our HeritageTalks, or would you like to listen to it again?

Enjoy our podcasts - recorded events and presentations

And see more on our YouTube channel


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Harvey RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook


Hokianga Museum and Archives Centre.

Hokianga Museum is home to objects and records from Hokianga, including written and photographic histories from many of the families who have lived here, history of the local communities, schools and the natural geography of the area.

There are also displays featuring Mangungu Treaty  signing, 1893 Suffrage featuring Hokianga women who voted that year, The Dog Tax Rebellion, the 1918 Influenza pandemic, the timber and dairying industries, the 28th Maori Battalion A Company and accounts of shipwrecks, including the SS Ventnor.  The Museum also houses Russell Clark’s original statue of Opo the Dolphin.

14 Waianga Place, Omapere, Hokianga

Open Monday, Wednesday & Saturday 10.00 -2.00pm.

09 4058498

From the Editor

This is a museum and Research Centre I am closely associated with. I have donated photographs, books, articles and historical items to this organisation. They do a brilliant job and, if you are in the area, well worth a visit. It is staffed by many volunteers and if you are brimming with spare cash they are a worthy organisation for a donation.

Take a look at their webpage – click on the html above.


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Group News

News and Views


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Various Articles Worth Reading

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

Find people hidden in UK census records


The Police Gazette: What it is and how to search it online - UK


How the 'New Woman' broke down barriers for independence


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In conclusion

Book Reviews

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Advertising with FamNet

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

If your organisation is not a group subscriber then there may 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.

A Bit of Light Relief

 A SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

"House" for instance, is feminine: "la casa."

"Pencil," however, is masculine: "el lapiz."

A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.*

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computadora"), because:

1. *No one but their creator understands their internal logic;*

2. *The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;*

3. *Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval;*


4. *As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.*

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ("el computador"), because:

1. *In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on*

2. *They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;*

3. *They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem;*


4. *As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.*

*The women won*

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Used to be rock around the clock, now it’s limp around the block.


Felt uncomfortable driving into the cemetery.  The GPS blurted out; “You have reached your final destination”.


My wife asked me why I spoke so softly in the house.  I said I was afraid Mark Zuckerberg was listening! She laughed, I laughed, Alexa laughed, Siri laughed.


My greatest treasure is my family. We may not be perfect, and our tree has a few nuts; but I love them with all my heart.


My face in the mirror isn’t wrinkled or drawn; my house isn’t dirty the cobwebs are gone.  My garden looks lovely and so does my lawn; I think I might never put my glasses back on!!


I’ve reached the age when my train of thought often leaves the station without me!!

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