Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter March 2020

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: Definition of mythology: genealogy without documentation.- unknown


Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

An apology. 1

Failing emails. 1

Using QR Codes for Your Family History. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

Auckland City Mission Boys Home. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

Autosomal and New Zealand. 1

Wairarapa Wandering. 1

Cemeteries. 1

Digging Into Historical Records. 1

Mewis DNA in New Zealand. 1

Chinese Corner 1

George How Chow – Restaurateur - Gisborne. 1

Anne Sherman. 1

Census Returns in England and Wales. 1

Jan’s Jottings. 1

Try this with Legacy. 1

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin???  In the HOG kitchen?????. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Ken Morris. 1

Common Expressions using Imperial Units if Measure – by Roly Sussex. 1

Margaret Allan. 1

A Cautionary Tale. 1

An Invitation to Contribute: 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

DNA Masters Series. 1

HeritageTalks  - Waha pū-taonga. 1

Recent releases from Auckland Libraries SoundCloud. 1

Group News. 1

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 1

The Legal Genealogist 1

Waikanae Family History Group. 1

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles Worth Reading. 1

Is There Such a Thing as Ancestral Memory?. 1

What DNA can't tell us. 1

Book Reviews. 1

A Man Called Ove. 1

In conclusion. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

Gold Miners. 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

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


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Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

Where's January and February gone? I haven't finished my to-do list for those months. It's going to be hard to finish it in March because I'm off, subject to coronovirus, to sample the pleasures of Scotland's national drink and I don't mean water. I think that time should slow down as I age. I have done so therefore time should.

This month's offering is a fine old mixture of articles. Of course I recommend my column but I had a lot of enjoyment reading the other contributions.

I'm off for a coffee because I have great difficulty in finding a good coffee in the UK. I shall have to fill up here in NZ before I go.


Peter Nash

Do you want to receive this newsletter every month?

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

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

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

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

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

Tell other genealogists so they can enjoy the newsletters too.


Peter Nash

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Regular Contributors

From the Developer

An apology

Many of you will have got two copies of last month’s newsletter.  This was my fault: I accidentally stopped sending out the newsletter when it was about 60% through the list of email addresses.  After spending some time trying to find out whether I could pick up where it had finished, I decided that it was too hard so I just sent the whole lot again.  My apologies to anybody who got two copies, especially to those who thought that they might have been different.  They weren’t of course, and besides, the email is brief, and if there were any changes they would be in the actual newsletter which you go to when you click on any of the links to it in the email.

Failing emails

Every month when we send out a newsletter we get a number of “bounces”, where the email account no longer exists or for some other reason the newsletter doesn’t get through.   Periodically I clean up the database, there is no point in having dozens of obsolete emails in our list, it just wastes time and (perhaps) money.  I used to try to locate people when I thought that they might still want the newsletter but had just changed their email address: I had so little success with this that I decided that it was just a waste of time, so if your newsletter email bounces once you are now likely to be dropped from our list.   If this happens to you, just attempt to register on FamNet again ( if you find that you’re already there then uncheck the [  ] No Newsletters button and they’ll resume.  A special note for Actrix users: add to your approved senders list, otherwise they’ll continue to bounce, and I’ll not be able to fix it because I don’t get the automatic Actrix response which goes to Amazon, not to me.

Using QR Codes for Your Family History

You’ll remember that in December I told you in It’s the Stories that Matter of my daughter’s family history wall.  The pictures have brief information on their back, you can take them off the wall to read this, it’s very neat.  But in some cases we have a lot of information, and it would it would be nice to relate the picture to a web page.  A little-known feature of FamNet can help with this.  Go to Famnet (, log on, and then click [Show navigator bar].   This displays a navigator bar to the left.  Click Create QR Code, which is towards the top of the navigator bar.  This opens a page that looks like this


Do you have a QR Code Reader on your smartphone?  If not, go to the App Store and download one – there are several free options.  With this installed, start the app and point your phone at the page above.  There’ll be a ping and you’ll be able to open the page from your phone just by clicking OK.

Of course FamNet’s home page isn’t that interesting, you probably want a page about the subject of the photo.  Navigate to this page, and copy/paste its URL into the textbox above.

The point of all this of course is to create something that will be attached to the photo.  When this feature was developed we found a company, Timesigns, that can produce plaques with these QR codes, and we got them to produce small plaques, about 1cm square, which we affixed to displays in the Barbarian’s club rooms at Eden Park.  I  can’t remember what they cost, but it wasn’t much.  For Mary’s father, the plaque identifies this web page: -

For the others the page identified was from an All Blacks’ site, this one I think  This QR code feature is not just for FamNet pages!

So, if you have pictures, or an outside monument, that you want to link to a web page, here’s an easy way to do so.

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

Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler

Auckland City Mission Boys Home

Sometimes, when I'm researching, I ask myself questions and trying to find the answers of those questions leads me down strange pathways in which I find unusual events etc and which have nothing to do with my family.

Let me give you an example of my recent research. A friend of mine, who is most helpful, told me of a court case in Onehunga in January 1865 which involved a John MURRAY who is possibly a sibling of my Julia MURRAY.

In the Daily Southern Cross of 14 January 1865 is the following report:

John Murray, a boy of 10 years of age, was charged by Constable Lloyd with stealing peaches from Mrs Ormsby's orchard. The boy pleaded guilty. Constable Lloyd suggested that he should be sent to the care of Mr Cunningham, which the Bench directed should be done"

My friend and I wanted to know who Mr Cunningham was, and, if there were any records archived somewhere that could give us the names of the parents of the boy. So off I toddled onto a search of the Paperspast website. Silly boy!!! I should have given that question the Artillery response - I gunner do that one day.

The NZ Herald, 15 November 1866, reported on a court case:

Two youths named Thomas Banks and Daniel Holland, aged about 10 years were charged by Benjamin Cunningham, Manager of the City Mission, with stealing two shirts, two pairs of trousers, one pocket handkerchief, and a scarf, value 10s., .......   The two lads were then sentenced each to three months' imprisonment with hard labour."

The Southern Cross of that same date, in its editorial, started off on a crusade. The editor deplored the sentence imposed by the Justices of the Peace of three months in prison with hard labour among the hardened criminals and "the scum of the earth" there and asked what the result would be. They asked what the boys (aged 7 or 8 according to the paper) were to do - should they escape naked or do as they did - "borrow" the clothing they wore. The editor asked:

We can hardly think that any rational man, possessing the ordinary feelings of humanity could justify for a moment such an outrageous sentence........ Is it for a result such as this that the Christian public of Auckland subscribe to the support of the Auckland City Mission? We protest against any children being hereafter sent to the Auckland City Mission by the magistrates. We have had "frightful examples" enough in the cases in question of how things are managed there;

Well, did that set the cat among the pigeons! A series of Letters to the Editor were published on 16 November 1866. Two were from the Management Committee which expressed confidence and trust in Mr Cunningham and praised the work of that noble institution. The other two were explosive.

Mr Cunningham could not resist and sent a long letter justifying his actions. I'll let the Southern Cross summarise that letter.

When Mr Cunningham sat down to pen his letter, it is very clear that his sole intention was to justify his appearance as prosecutor in the Police Court, against the two children that had been entrusted to his care by the Magistrates for industrial, moral and religious training; and he thought the best way to look white and clean himself was to blacken the unhappy children all over."

The other letter was very interesting. It made accusations that Mr Cunningham chained boys together for days at a time. He also stated that in the Mission there was a cage about four feet square in which children were confined, sometimes two to a cage.

Well more Letters to the Editor appeared in the next few days. One was from the father of a boy in Mr Cunningham's "care". He alleged beatings, deliberate starvation by Mr Cunningham, handcuffing boys, and bullying by both Mr Cunningham and senior boys.

The Committee of The Auckland City Mission decided to hold an inquiry into the matter and demanded that the Southern Cross furnish them with all the evidence it held. The newspaper responded by:

"Let us invite the committee to inquire, first of all, whether the Auckland City Mission Home has been declared a public gaol; next, whether Mr Cunningham has been gazetted gaoler; and third, whether subjects of her Majesty have been kept in irons and solitary confinement in the Mission Home, without authority of law.

Even one of the Magistrates wrote to justify the sentence.

The Southern Cross, 20 November 1866, reported that the Committee had met and that two resolutions had been passed:

"Two resolutions were come to in reference to the charges - That Mr Cunningham was justified, under the circumstances, in prosecuting the boys at the Police Court, 2nd: That the box should no longer be used as a place of punishment. The first of these resolutions was carried by a majority of six to four; The second was carried unanimously."

The Letters to The Editor continued to flood in and The Southern Cross continued on its crusade.

I noted, with amusement, that the Southern Cross, 23 November 1866, printed a letter from the children in the Home which Mr Cunningham, "our beloved friend and father", treated them with the utmost kindness and love. I wonder, in light of previous accusations, what the "kindly" Mr Cunningham would have done if even one child refused to sign it. Of course the newspaper poured more scorn on him and the management committee. They even reported on the exact measurement of the "boxes" which were measured under police supervision. Things were not improving.

The newspaper, 27 November 1866, reported on the further deliberations:

"The committee came to a series of resolutions entirely at variance with the evidence; and the resignation of Mr Benjamin Cunningham was unanimously accepted."

The newspaper printed a full report on that meeting which alleged further instances of bullying, beatings, whippings, and inhumane treatment on children, particularly a boy name Fatty.

The matter slowly died down as Mr Cunningham left Auckland. The final article on the above scandal came from the Wellington Independent:

"We will not pain our readers by entering further into these disgusting details, but it appears to us that Mr Benjamin Cunningham, whose zeal for the good of his fellow creatures has injured his health, would be greatly benefitted by a course of stone breaking, and that the Committee, whose apathy and indolence have permitted such acts of cruelty to be done, should resign a position, the duties of which they have failed to fulfil."

I am no further down the path of breaking my MURRAY brick wall but I have discovered that the brutality that existed towards the young and the poor in Victorian Britain also existed out here in quiet old Auckland. I am amazed that the church leaders and Auckland politicians of that time firstly allowed such brutality to take place but they supported the main perpetrator and let him off any punishment. This has supported my well known cynicism towards authority and I thank God I am not descended from Benjamin Cunningham and those magnificent leaders of Auckland who were on that management committee.

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

Autosomal and New Zealand

I would like to think that every New Zealander who reads the Famnet newsletters and who have taken an autosomal test, have also become part of FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA).

This applies whether you have tested elsewhere or whether you have the ‘Family Finder’ autosomal results from FTDNA.  Did you know that if you have tested elsewhere, you can transfer those autosomal results to FTDNA?  But in saying that, there are some restrictions, for example:-

            23andMe—you must have tested between December 2010 and December 2013;

            Ancestry—recent testers only get some 25% of their results transferred;

            `                       Living DNA—not yet able to transfer;

                                    MyHeritage—the test must have been taken in the six months prior to the transfer.

Once your results have transferred, you will be wise to consider paying US$19 to unlock the tools available to you in FTDNA. 

The reason I am bringing this up is because it seems some people have no idea that there are specific New Zealand and Pacific Island projects available to join – all are free.  But, of course, you have to be a member of FTDNA in order to join.

You will find these projects by looking in your top toolbar of your FTDNA account called  myProjects.  Hover your cursor over this and click on  Join A Project.  You will first see a group titled ‘Matching Projects’.   These are there purely because FTDNA has found your chosen testing surname in these projects.

If you see anything marked New Zealand, click on it, read the information and then click on  JOIN   If nothing exists in the list, then scroll down to the category titled   DUAL (YDNA AND MTDNA) GEOGRAPHICAL PROJECTS and click on N, then locate and click on  New Zealand DNA Project and when it is open, read the information and click on JOIN

Now feel free to hunt out other projects of choice, but be aware that some projects will not accept females or those with only an autosomal test.  Therefore you may need to open the project without joining and locate the Admin’s email address and write to her / him.

Returning to the matter of Transfers,

New Customers

The following describes how to transfer 23andMe© or AncestryDNA™ autosomal DNA results. for those who do not yet have a FamilyTreeDNA kit.

Important: If the person whose results are being transferred already has a FamilyTreeDNA kit, please see the Current Customers topic.

1. On the FamilyTreeDNA homepage navigation bar (top of the page), hover your cursor over Upload DNA Data, and click Autosomal DNA on the drop-down menu.

You are directed to the autosomal DNA transfer page which is a form needing you to complete for whosoever’s results are being transferred.  Once done, click on JOIN TODAY.  Then you need to upload your file from the firm with which you have tested

If you do not know how to do that, go to this URL  and choose the instructions for the appropriate firm.

Once this is completed, click on SUBMIT

Current Customers

The following describes how to transfer 23andMe© or AncestryDNA™ autosomal DNA results. for those who already have a FamilyTreeDNA kit.

Important: If the person whose results are being transferred does not already have a FamilyTreeDNA kit, please see the New Customers topic.

1. Sign in to your myFTDNA account.  In the upper-right corner of the page, on the navigation bar, click ADD ONS & UPGRADES. You are directed to the Upgrades page.

2. On the Upgrades page, scroll down until you see the Autosomal Transfers section, and click the Try it Free button.  You are directed to the autosomal DNA transfer page.  From here, it is the same as though you are a new customer.

To unlock the tools, click on Chromosome Browser in the Family Finder menu and you will be directed to the ‘unlock’ page.

Another reason I bring this topic up is because the New Zealand project through the skills, talents and contacts of my co-administrator Elena Tipuna, is now home to a number of  “C” and “O” YDNA haplogroups and she is successfully raising funds to take their tests as high as scientically possible at this time.  mtDNA is not missing out – it is fascinating to learn that New Zealand also has a number of B4 Haplogroups.

Obviously the YDNA tests and the mtDNA test are not autosomal tests and although we may not display autosomal tests publicly, you certainly can see your connections from your FTDNA account.  After you have joined the project, you locate Advanced Matches and designate the project as well as FF and click on Run Report.

To a geneticist, these haplogroup results from the YDNA and the mtDNA tests are exciting news. 

You can also view these by going to  and choosing the YDNA Chart or the mtDNA results.  Without actually joining.

But if you choose to visit us, be aware that you will need to be a member to see some aspects of the project – if you wish to become a member, click on JOIN  in the banner and follow the instructions.

As always, you can write to me. 

I am Gail Riddell

Wairarapa Wandering


I often read articles in the media about cemeteries in need of care, and wonder how many folk realise that it's not up to the local council to weed each grave and repair the headstones. When you buy a plot for your loved one, it's your family plot, you must look after it, weed it, fix anything that needs fixing.

Now, back in the late 1992, my husband and I visited Clareville Cemetery in Carterton. We cycled up to it and were appalled at the state of it. It had very overgrown graves and surroundings, trees on the plots whose roots travel along and come up and damage the concrete on and around graves. We didn't have any family buried there but we walked around the old historic graves and we were interested to see who was buried there. Fascinating!!!!

So we started weeding, but the then-mayor of Carterton told us we were not allowed to do that. I asked who should do it then? His response was that the family of the buried were and that we needed their permission to touch a grave. Did we listen - no!!!! We decided the first grave we would weed would be Charles Dakin, as we were living in his cottage at Clareville.

My husband died on 22nd March 2000 from cancer, and buried further down in cemetery.

After March 2000, I restarted weeding and some locals heard what I was doing, and one came to see me early one morning. He was disgusted about the state of the cemetery and embarrassed to think that someone who had no ancestor buried locally had started weeding. He suggested he would get a group started up to look after the cemetery. So this is when the group took over at Carterton cemetery, to continue  the work in the cemetery. Thank goodness for that because I had decided to do the history beyond the graves. I love doing that…

Many graves have no headstones, but council have very kindly given me a copy of the plans with surnames and dates of death/burial to go by. I do cemetery tours giving the history of the buried.

One grave, in particular, was that of the first Registered Nurse in the World, Ellen DOUGHERTY.  For the centenary of nursing I asked the Nursing Council to restore her grave, and on the 10th January 2002, it was rededicated, as that was the actual date, 100 years earlier, Ellen became the first.

We had the rededication service with extended Dougherty family, Nursing Council and visitors, followed by afternoon tea in the local Historical Society rooms. I have all the signatures of the extended family in a special book on the descendants of Daniel and Sarah DOUGHERTY book, "History in the making". I also attended the centenary celebrations at Parliament and Archives the following evening in Wellington. And each 10th January I can be seen there with others for a cemetery tour.

So my friends, take a leaf out of my book, and look after your local cemetery please. The pleasure you will get with the research is most enjoyable I am still at it over 20 years later. I have done other local cemeteries as well, like the Featherston Soldiers Cemetery and doing the soldier's history when I can.  So don’t moan about your local cemetery, help your council, be a volunteer please…

ps. My ancestors are back in the Home Country as I am from London.

Adele Pentony-Graham

12 Neich’s Lane

Clareville 5713

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Digging Into Historical Records  

Mewis DNA in New Zealand      

The third forename of my grandmother, Eunice Elizabeth Mewis JENKINS (1898-1985), was one source of fascination when starting out in genealogy. It is the maiden surname of her grandmother, Catherine Jane (1818-1883), of Birmingham, England and wife of William JENKINS who took a party of Maori to England in 1863. At first very little was known about the MEWIS family and over time a genealogy has been compiled [1]. It has also been a few years since the last significant research effort.

Given today’s online records and the resulting awareness that our ancestral families were probably more mobile than originally thought, the following question came to mind. Were there any other MEWIS family representatives living in New Zealand before 1884? Within a minute or so the answer came back yes!

In 1880 there was a John Thomas MEWIS, a grocer, residing at Buchanan’s Paddock near Timaru. [2] There is also a John Thomas Alfred MEWIS in the genealogy, a 1st cousin once removed to Catherine Jane. He was baptised at Birmingham St Martin in 1856. He then vanished from English records after the death of his parents. Are they one and same?

The online NZ BDMs returned no MEWIS birth or marriage entries and just two death entries – Thomas MEWIS who died 02 June 1929 aged 72 years and an Ena May MEWIS who died in 2012. [3] The latter, born in England, arrived at Auckland in 1961 from Suva on the ship Southern Cross with her New Zealand born 9½ month old daughter. [4] Her husband’s MEWIS ancestral line traces back to a Joseph MEWIS and Hannah FREEMAN who married at Solihull, Warwickshire in 1830. They do not appear to be connected to my family.

On 01 September 1880 Mr Thomas MEWIS’s Burlesque and Comedy Troupe performed at the Oddfellows’ Hall, Barnard Street, Timaru. A feature would be a stump oration on “Temperance” by Thomas, specially composed for the occasion. On the night Thomas performed without the company of his Troupe.

He first appeared in a white shirt as an overall, his legs in tights, his face blackened, and a newspaper pinned to his tail, which, after a time, he indignantly amputated. After singing out of tune he received a shower of stale eggs and bags of flour, which the detective, at the risk of his garments, succeeded in stopping. Between songs Thomas was copiously primed by his attendants with beer. For his efforts he was presented with a medal consisting of an antiquated rosette belonging to a British Workhouse followed by two rotten eggs and a dead cat. He appeared a second time in the character of a wild Indian, with a gunny bag on his head and danced for a time with his back to the audience. Another distribution of flour ensued. After some more beer Thomas appeared in his concluding character, with a large bucket on his head, as Ned Kelly, and gyrated about the stage with a tomahawk in his hand. [5]

On 24 September 1885, at the Registry Office, Timaru, Thomas MEWIS married Letitia TEGG [6] who had recently given birth to Thomas Henry Cabot TEGG on 21 August 1885. On 16 December 1885 a notice in the South Canterbury Times stated that Letitia “is not and has no intention of marrying Thomas MEWIS. He has neither means to keep himself or a wife.”

Four years later Letitia wrote to the Timaru Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. She was described as a young woman with an illegitimate child who was sent to Melbourne to her parents. Letitia stated that her father would not have her in the house and asked the Board for advice, as it was very awkward indeed looking for a situation in a strange place “with little Tommy to look after.” The South Canterbury Times reported that no advice was offered and congratulated the board that she was gone. [7]

On 15 September 1887 Thomas MEWIS, or “Tom the Pieman”, attempted to address “the electors of Timaru” in the Old Scotch Church on the subject of “woman suffrage.” In return he received rotten eggs and clods of earth before a howling mob capsized his table and chased him out the door. Outside he was mobbed by young fellows and boys and finally took refuge in a hotel. [8]

Four days later, on the steps of the Timaru Courthouse, he expressed regret that he had not the necessary ten pounds to become a candidate for the upcoming general election. [9] Thomas was a member of the Salvation Army. [10]

In 1901 John Thomas MEWIS was still in Timaru and was living on the northern corner of today’s Princes and Memorial Streets. [11] His last listing in the Wises Post Office Directories, as a labourer, was in 1909 at the same address. After that he vanishes.

So if John Thomas MEWIS, who died in New Zealand in 1929, is John Thomas MEWIS of Timaru and possibly first cousin once removed to Catherine Jane JENKINS it begs the question did anyone else from her family come to New Zealand?

This question has resulted in a significant revision of the MEWIS family tree thanks to the indexing of a 1918 death certificate by Marie CORSER as part of “Death Certificates attached to Land & Deeds documents 1822-1948” (Christchurch) in the NZSG Kiwi Collection. The mother of Philip WAREING of Milford, Temuka was Catherine Emily nee MEWIS. In England she was recorded as Emela Catherine and was a first cousin to Catherine Jane.

This led me to have another look at William JENKINS’ diary of the 1863 trip to England. He visited several members of the MEWIS family in Birmingham from November 1863 to January 1864. For the 5th of December 1863 he wrote: “After a harassing day we went to tea at Mrs WAREINGs – My Wifes cousin - Met a large party of friends. The Chiefs danced with the Ladies and the Chieftainess with the Gentlemen and we old folk chatted away quite comfortably - while the young folk danced and amused themselves in various ways. At 9.30 sat down to supper - several Clergymen were present. At 11 o'clock started for home.” [12]

When William departed from England on the ship ‘Surat’ in June 1864 he was joined by his brother Edward Clively JENKINS with his wife and four children [13] and Joseph Bernard WAREING aged 16 years [14]. The latter was the son of James WAREING and Emela Catherine nee MEWIS and the older brother of Philip WAREING mentioned previously. Joseph Bernard was one of three known individuals who were not listed in the newspaper as passengers on the ‘Surat’. The other two were William Brinsden (1839-1921) [15] and John Johnson (1842-1934) [16].

The result is an example of chain migration to New Zealand: Catherine Jane JENKINS on the ship ‘London’ in 1842; Joseph Bernard WAREING on the Surat in 1864; Philip WAREING c1875 and the yet to be proven John Thomas MEWIS of Timaru in 1880. In consequence there are many more MEWIS DNA relatives in New Zealand than I would ever have guessed. About 1½% of my DNA comes from Thomas MEWIS (1754-1827) of Hinckley, Leicestershire.



[1] Mewis Family Genealogy

[2] 1880-1881 Timaru Electoral Roll

[3] Births, Deaths & Marriages online

[4] FamilySearch: Archives NZ Passenger Lists 1839-1973

[5] South Canterbury Times 02 Sep 1880 Advertisement and Amusements – A Larrikin Jubilee [6] South Canterbury Times 24 Sep 1885 Marriage

[7] South Canterbury Times 11 Oct 1889 Hospital and Charitable Aid Board

[8] Timaru Herald 16 Sep 1887 Town & Country

[9] Timaru Herald 20 Sep 1887 Timaru Nominations

[10] Timaru Herald 27 Aug 1890 Town & Country

[11] Wises Post Office Directory 1901 Timaru

[12] Transcript of the Diary of William Jenkins 18 May 1863 to 06 Feb 1864

[13] Daily Southern Cross 05 Oct 1864 The Surat from London

[14] Temuka Leader 10 Jul 1928 Obituary of Joseph Bernard Wareing

[15] Auckland Star 15 Sep 1921 and NZ Herald 16 Sep 1921 Obituaries for William Brinsden

[16] New Zealand Herald 04 Aug 1934 John Johnson – 92nd birthday


Pandora Research

Dawn Chambers


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Chinese Corner 

George How Chow – Restaurateur – Gisborne



By an insert this evening George How Chow announces that he delivers bread of the finest quality at customers houses at 3d per loaf. POVERTY BAY HERALD, VOLUME XVI, 9 AUGUST 1889 [2]


Frederick Ellis, one of the individuals who misbehaved themselves on New Year's Eve, was before Mr Booth, R.M., at the Police Court this morning, on a charge of assaulting Mrs How Chow. It appears that a row occurred in the restaurant soon after midnight, and Mrs How Chow in endeavouring to get the price of the ham and eggs which Ellis had eaten, was roughly handled by this fellow, for which Mr Booth considered 14 days' imprisonment would meet the case. Ellis not long since completed a sentence of seven years imprisonment in Auckland gaol for robbery from the person.



A charge of sly grog selling preferred against George How Chow at the Police Court to-day failed, the Bench (Colonel Porter and Mr R. Johnston, J.P.s) considering there was not sufficient evidence to warrant them calling upon the accused for a defence. The evidence brought forward was that an old toper named Thomas Matthews, who resided at the restaurant for four days in December, asked How Chow to give him beer, paying the money before it was brought, and was supplied on several occasions with bottles of colonial beer. He had no idea where the Chinaman got the liquor from, and it was suggested that he got it from Mr Dickson's on the Sunday, but no evidence was called to that effect. Mr Johnston, J.P., pointed out that though the defendant made out that he got the beer from an hotel he was paid one shilling for it, whereas the hotel price was sixpence, and therefore as regards the sixpence profit, he made, he could be considered to be selling the beer. In dismissing the information, Colonel Porter complimented the police for having brought the case, and told accused that it was rumoured about the town that sly-grog selling did take place at his house, and cautioned him to be careful in future. How Chow said he would, and left the Court smiling. Sergt. Major Moore prosecuted, and Mr Finn with Mr Jones defended. 



A fire broke out last night at nine o’clock in Mrs Ledger's drapery establishment, Gladstone road. The building burned like matchwood, and the flames spread to the adjacent properties occupied by How Chow, restaurant keeper; Erskine, baker; Garrett, boot dealer; and Menzies, restaurant keeper, all of which were destroyed. The fire at one time threatened the whole business portion of the town and had it not been for the splendid endeavors of the Brigade together with the good supply of water, the results would have been much more disastrous. Nothing was saved from the buildings destroyed. The storekeepers adjacent suffered heavily by the removal of stock. Insurances : — Erskine's building, £500 in the London, Liverpool and Globe, and £150 in the Royal ; on the stock, £180 in the North German. On Mrs Ledger's stock, £1000 in the Phoenix, half or which is re-insured in the Royal Exchange, How Chow's stock, £275 in the Phoenix; Garret's stock, £200 in the United, and £300 in the Commercial Union and his premises owned by Matthews £150 in the New Zealand. Mrs Menzie's furniture £150 in the Royal, and the building occupied by her and owned by Maude Bros. £150 in the Royal.  



Mr J. W. Bright, instructed by the Registrar of the Supreme Court, yesterday auctioned at the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile buildings certain land property and Park Company shares. The leasehold known as Boylan's corner, having four years to run, was sold to Mr How Chow for £680.



At the Magistrate's Court yesterday afternoon the case of George How Chow v. Frank Harris, claim £6 6s 6d for board and lodging, was continued after we went to press. After hearing the statement of both parties, the Magistrate nonsuited the plaintiff POVERTY BAY HERALD, VOLUME XXVI, 13 JANUARY 1899  [8]

George How Chow v. Kamariera Kahure, claim £8 15s, balance due by the defendant for board and lodging. Mr R. N. Jones appeared for the plaintiff, whilst Captain Ferris acted as Native interpreter. Judgment was given for the amount claimed with costs. 

George How Chow v. Ropiha Tamararo, claim £l 5s 6d. Mr Jones appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr E. Rees for the defendant. Mr Skipworth acted as interpreter. In this case the defendant produced a receipt for the sum mentioned, which How Chow maintained he had never written. The defendant stated that he paid the amount to How Chow who went into an adjoining room and returned in a few minutes with the receipt. The plaintiff was nonsuited, with costs £1 6s.




Photo News Gisborne - Picture from the Past, No. 176, February 26, 1969 [9]

A meeting of the Licensing Committee was held at noon to-day. There were present Messrs Barton, (chairman), Macfarlane and Hepburn. An application for permission, for George How Chow to carry on the Rangatira hotel till the next quarterly meeting was granted. POVERTY BAY HERALD, VOLUME XXVIII, 19 OCTOBER 1901 [10]


This evening, at Te Karaka, near Gisborne, a young man named John Fletcher attempted to shoot Miss How Chow, eldest daughter of George How Chow, owner of the Te Karaka Hotel. Fletcher was on horseback at the time, and was seized and disarmed. He was released and rode away. Later on, he was found a mile away in a critical condition. He had evidently tried to poison himself with carbolic.



 Mr T. U. Lawless, land and estate agent, reports the sale of the Coffee Palace business to Mrs G How Chow.




Mrs G. How Chow returned to Gisborne on Wednesday night from her sad mission to China, which, proved unsuccessful as far as her husband was concerned, though successful in regard to her youngest son George. It will be remembered that over a year ago the family left on a visit to China. Mr How Chow furnished a fine house in Hong Kong, and having realised on his property in this district, he invested heavily in China, the intention being later on to return to New Zealand. The family, not caring for China, returned sooner than originally intended, the husband remaining for a time, and also the youngest son George. Each mail thereafter news was expected of the father and son's return to Gisborne, but letters that were awaited did not arrive, and information that did come later was of a most disquieting nature. Letters of enquiry did not clear up the mystery, and reports of a conflicting kind made matters more distressing for the family, without giving any real idea as to the cause of Mr How Chow's disappearance. A report through Chinese circles was to the effect that some of the hostile Chinamen had captured him and were detaining him in the hope of obtaining a ransom, but no demand having been made that theory could not be substantiated. Detectives were set to work, but have so far been unable to discover whether the disappearance was caused through accident or foul play. It is known that the missing man — once such a familiar figure in Gisborne and Te Karaka — was of a venturesome nature, and that he went to parts of China against which he had been warned. In the distressing circumstances Mrs How Chow made up her mind to revisit China, and at least to get her son George back if possible. Though in poor health and sore in heart, she undertook the journey back to Hong Kong, but there could glean no further information regarding her husband, and as each statement was met with some other statement of a contradictory nature, the mystery became even more perplexing. Some parts of the country, it is said, are in a very restless condition, and one detective who set out in quest of the missing man has been detained by some of the lawless people, and is not likely to get back to the quarter whence he set out. As for young George, he had been made very happy at the college. Tidings of his father's disappearance had been withheld from him; the conditions at the college were very pleasant, and he was making rapid progress in the learning of languages. The teachers would have been quite willing for him to stay on and he himself was eager to stay and finish his course — he is nearly eleven years of age— but the mother deemed it better to bring him home to New Zealand, and accordingly she did so. An idea that she might in some way have been instrumental in discovering by what means her husband had disappeared, and whether he could be found alive, was soon dispelled, neither the British Consul nor the detectives having so far been able to clear up the mystery. After a week's stay in Hong Kong, Mrs How Chow left for home; the long sea voyage intensified the worry instead of lessening it, and borne down by the terrible strain, the grief -stricken woman reached home in broken-down, health. It is hoped, however, that a few weeks with her family will set her up again. The lad returned in capital health, and although he was acquiring honors at the college at Hong Kong, he will no doubt be backward in the lines of education in New Zealand. The state of things in China is described as very discouraging. Plague and other epidemics are rife, the condition of the people is restless, and in some parts crime is rampant. POVERTY BAY HERALD, VOLUME XXXIV, ISSUE 11068, 6 SEPTEMBER 1907 [13]

A telegram from Gisborne the other day gave in brief the story of a sensational episode in the life of How Chow, a well-to-do Chinaman of the Gisborne district. The Poverty Bay Herald furnishes further particulars, to the effect that Mr. Vincent Pyke, manager of the Bank of New Zealand, has just received a letter signed by How Chow, with his usual signature, dated Hongkong, November 13. The letter reads:—"Dear Sir. —Your esteemed favour, dated November 27, 1906, only reached me some time last month, and contents noted. I regret to tell you the reason why I did not receive your letter before was that I had been kept for ransom for nearly a year in the brigands' den, and suffered a lot of trouble until last month, when I was released. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your draft for £__ , which was duly collected when I returned to Hongkong. Advice received by Mr. Pyke from the bank's agency, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation states that the money was paid to How Chow personally. The information contained in the above letter was communicated to Mrs. How Chow (a European), who so far had received no letter from her husband to tell her of the experience he had undergone


A quiet but pretty wedding was solemnised at St. Mary's Church this afternoon, when Mr S. J. Clark, of Auckland, was married to Miss Gonnie How Chow, second daughter of Mr G. How Chow.  The Rev Father Lane officiated. The bride was attended by her sister, Miss Annie How Chow, as, brides’ maid, and Mr August acted as best man.  The happy couple leave for Auckland in the morning.



The Gisborne " Times" reports that Mr G. How Chow, formerly owner of the Karaka Hotel, Poverty Bay, who returned to China about two years ago and was seized by Chinese brigands, is returning to New Zealand. It is stated that his captors obtained a very large ransom. 


STAR, ISSUE 9480, 2 MARCH 1909  [16]

A series of prosecutions under the borough by-laws with respect to the use of vehicles were heard at the Magistrate's Court today, before Mr W. A. Barton, S.M. George How Chow, for cycling after dark without a light on February 24th, was fined 10s and 7s costs.



Family History and Tree

The family are well known in the Gisborne area, and there was a big family reunion a few years ago. This is the beginning of my research for this man and his Restaurant life. There are many stories still to be told, and I would like to make contact with any family who may be able to write a bit more about the Restaurant and the life and times of George How Chow.

Eng Kung How Chow, known as George, was the son of a Chinese father, also named George, and a English mother Sophia (West) How Chow who married in Gisborne on April 25, 1885. George Junior, born in 1895, was educated at Central School and Te Karaka District School. [18]

Geni Tree




















Helen Wong

Anne Sherman

Census Returns in England and Wales.

The census returns record details of people present in England and Wales on the date of each census.

The Census population Act of 1800 established a national census for England, Scotland and Wales every ten years starting in 1801. This was only a count of how many:        

unoccupied houses

occupied houses and how many families lived in each house,

males and females lived in each area,

people were employed in the agricultural area,

people employed in a trade, manufacturing or handicraft,

people employed in other occupations.

Its main use was to determine the number of potential military recruits could be amassed.  Men already serving in the armed forces and the Merchant navy were not included in this census. 

The following census returns for 1811, 1821 and 1831 varied a little but still where only a count. In 1821 Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands were also included for the first time. A few of the 1831 census returns did include details of individuals. A list can be found here:

The 1841 census was a complete change and asked for more detailed information rather than just numbers, so forms were sent out to each household.

Each district was divided into a number of enumeration districts, each of which was the responsibility of an enumerator. The enumerator delivered a form known as a schedule to each household a few days before census night, and collected the completed schedules the day after.

The schedules were then sorted, and the details copied (transcribed) into the census enumerators’ books. It is these books which have survived for 1841 to 1901 and which can be seen today online or on microfilm.

From 1841 to the present day it is actually against the law to NOT complete the census return although it is rare to find anyone who was prosecuted for not doing so.

Be aware that in many cases a household could overlap to a second page if there was not enough room to write them all on one page.

You will find what appears to be a lot of crossings out, but these are usually tick marks, made by the enumerator when he was counting people, ages, occupations or places of birth etc.   There are also marks to divide households, as they could share a house.

Special schedules were provided for ships and institutions such as workhouses, hospitals and boarding schools etc.

Once the census returns had been collected, collated and counted, a report was written covering different aspects of what the returns as a whole showed regarding migrations, jobs and housing.  The reports covering 1801 to 1931 can be seen at the Histpop website:  


What they contain:


The 1841 census asked the following questions about each person:

            forename and surname

            age (rounded down to the nearest five for those aged 15 or over)



            whether they were born in the county in which they were enumerated (Y or N)

            whether they were born in Scotland (S), Ireland (I) or Foreign Parts (F)

Relationships between the people living in each household are not given in the 1841 census.  Do not assume these relationships. The woman you assume is the wife may be a sister, cousin or sister in law.

An address was also shown for each household but house numbers were rarely given, and in rural areas you will often find only the name of the village or hamlet.



From 1851 to 1901 the format of the census returns and the range of questions asked remained largely the same, but were made more precise.


The following details can be found for each individual:

            forename, middle names (often just initials) and surname

            relationship to the head of the household (usually the oldest male)

            marital status (shown as condition, with U, Um or S as unmarried/single, m – married and w – widowed)

            age (at last birthday)


            occupation (some had several jobs but this wanted their source of income, women’s jobs were often not seen as important so were not recorded)

            county and parish of birth (if born in England or Wales)

            country of birth (if born outside England and Wales)

            whether they suffered from certain medical disabilities

The full address may be given and each census year included more information about the dwelling itself, included how many rooms it contained.

Remember that in those days not many people could read or write, a literate neighbour or child may have completed the form.  Places of birth may also change across different census returns, depending on who gave the answers.  A parent would know a child was born in one village but grew up in another one. When that child has their own household, they may think they were born in the place they grew up.  Likewise a husband may assume his wife was born in the place he thought she came from.

The 1911 Census

The 1911 census involved other changes although much of the previous questions were still asked.  This is the first census were we can see the actual household schedule our ancestors completed, rather than the enumerators copies.  This means that in general you will be able to see the actual handwriting of your ancestor, as by this time most people could write. You should find their signature in the bottom corner of the page.

Additional questions related to the married woman's 'fertility in marriage' and asks for:

the length of present marriage

how many children had been born to that marriage

How many of those children were still living

How many of the children had died

The last two numbers should add up to the total number of children, but you may be surprised how many did not.

Be aware as well that if the family contained an illegitimate child then these numbers and the length of the marriage may be changed to ‘legitimise’ the child.  

Being able to see what your ancestors have written can be a very rewarding experience, as comments and errors they include can now be seen instead of being ignored by the enumerators.

Some things you are likely to find include:


names of children who have died,

children who have left home, included married children.  One 1911 return I have seen recently included all of their children, who they married and all the grandchildren even though only the husband and wife lived at that house.  The enumerators obviously crossed out these        details when he realised that they did not all live there, but we can still read it.

Widow and widowers will answer the fertility questions even though the form says those questions are for married women only.


1911 was the time of the suffragette movement and many women disagreed with having to complete the census when they were not allowed to vote.  For this reason you may see comments such as “Votes for Women” written across the page.  Some women even refused to be included in them.  If your ancestor did this it will give you an idea of their beliefs.  

Future Returns:

Census returns are closed for 100 years, so we will not see the 1921 census until at least 2022 as it takes about one year to transcribe them and copy them onto the internet.

Below is a list of the census returns, the dates they were taken and their availability.


Read part 2 next month – Fun stuff in the 1911 census to see the humorous things people wrote on household schedules. 

Anne Sherman

Jan’s Jottings

Try this with Legacy.

Decide on a person. I chose John Newcombe, my great grandfather. He married my great grandmother, Annie Farraher.  Their daughter, my grandmother, died when my mother was born, and I have not spent time on John Newcombe research for some years. Have lots of DNA matches with third cousins in this family.

So, open Legacy, make sure you have turned on Options/Customise/General Settings/1.8 integrate with FamilySearch and tick this.

You do need to have your data about this person, uploaded to FamilySearch. Click on Search and then FamilySearch.  Just look at your screen.  Lots to check and you may be able to import the FamilySearch tree. You can easily see if the data matches.  There is so much information on the screen.

Create a ‘to-do’ list to make a note of info to check.  

It is helpful to have your Legacy file and the FamilySearch file open at the same time. To do this, cursor to the lower RH corner on your screen. Move your cursor until you can see the time and the date. Right click. Scroll up to “show windows side by side” and click. Now you can position each half and enlarge until you have both ‘windows’ on the screen. And you can watch for what you have in your program and what is new in FamilySearch.

You do need to have opened the pages!!

Quite a task!  See if you can find a way, or ways, this method of presenting your data, can help with your research.  

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin???  In the HOG kitchen?????

Finally, have the ingredients organised and it does look exciting in the HOG kitchen!!!  Some well tried and always successful items are there again!!

So. Firstly, our usual 21 nights in the Plaza Hotel. Which is next door to the Family History Library. Within spitten’ distance if you are good at that particular exercise.

New departure date - 23 Sep. We might need to pack some winter woollies. Departure date for London 14 October. Onto Scotland 25 Oct with Tour finishing 4 Nov. Timed for those who would like to experience one of the genealogy world’s most exciting events - Roots Tech London from 5 to 7 November. You can join us just for the three weeks in SLC, or just the three weeks in the UK

We will have new closing times in the Library - Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm (used to close at 5pm on Monday), Saturday 9-5, SUNDAY!!! No longer closed all day, but open 1-5 - mostly for new to researching people - but we can easily take advantage of that!!!  Extra eight hours of research!

We will have our usual three pre Tour seminars - usually held in Auckland, but, with the Expo in Christchurch this year, as well as in Auckland, we just might hold a HOG Tour seminar around Family History EXPO weekend in Christchurch.  

TAG!!!  TAG!!!! TAG!!!!!   This is a TAG HOG TOUR.  T for time - 3 weeks, 21 days in SLC. Timeeeeeeeeeee to spend in the FH Library. We can never do this at home!!!  Never concentrate on our own research for 21 days!! And nights!!!  No one wants to leave on our last day.  But we will help keep you on your schedule - especially with our special classes in the Library.  

So T (tag) A?????  A is for ACCESS - and we have plenty of that at the FH Library!! All those searches that end with - available at the FH Library???  You remember those? Will, we will be there - able to see what is in the FHL.  We will be able to read the films that have not been digitized. We will be able to read the books.  We will have ACCESS!!!  

So T (tag), A (access) and G for Guidance!!!  AND WE WILL have GUIDANCE!!!  Often a staff member or volunteer will spend the whole day working with one person!!  Jan and Edwina will be available also.

So, let me know if you would like more info about the 2020 HOG Tour. Just getting the web sites updated so keep checking. is best email address at the moment. Please put HOG 2020 as the subject.  Thank you.

Some of you may be wondering about the SL2NZ weekend we usually have over October long weekend. Wonder no more!!!  Planning to hold this over Queen’s birthday weekend. End May/June. So, watch this space!!  Attending this long weekend will give you an idea of what it can be like researching in the FHL. What it can be like with T...A...G!!!  A TAG HOG weekend. Or ....    A TAG HOG research Tour.

Jan Gow

Guest Contributors 

Ken Morris

Common Expressions using Imperial Units if Measure – by Roly Sussex

Roly Sussex (Emeritus Professor of Languages at University of Queensland) has a column in our Sunday paper. Albeit this one makes initial reference to the Australian change to decimal currency in 1966 (I experienced both Australian & NZ change overs and the later NZ went much smoother) the gist of the article is about expressions using imperial units of measure and apply equally to NZ.


Australia officially went decimal on February 14,1966, after a long TV campaign with a cartoon character called (ugh) "Dollar Bill" in his perky, irritatingly "British" voice.

Unlike the Americans, we did whole-hog decimals, not just the currency. 

But some good old phrases live on.

The liquids haven’t given us much, except perhaps “pint-sized".

Money?  Some people can’t “pee” or "wee", and still "spend a penny". 

There's "silly as a two-bob watch", “wouldn't do it for quids", and people lacking in cognitive acuity are “not the full quid".

Weights leave a richer lode.  "An ounce of common sense" is still heard, and "pound for pound", some boxers are more pugilistic than others.  Thanks to Shakespeare we have "pound of flesh", and if you drop something heavy which "weighs a ton", your friends may "come down on you like a ton of bricks". Not, nota bene, "tonne", which is 16.05 kg lighter. 

But expressions of distance are the champions. "Inch by inch" he "inched closer"; I wouldn’t "give an inch", and she's "every inch a ballerina".

I wouldn't "touch him with a ten foot pole", even if I were "six feet under".  And there's the "whole nine yards".  All that's "miles too hard", and even if you "go the extra mile" you may "miss by miles".

How long will these old phrases persist? 

There are still Australians who can remember what they once meant. But once we shuffle off, I suspect that only a few will live on, Imperial fossils in a decimal age.


Roly who was born in Australia but grew up and was educated in NZ and has a sister Polly Sussex who is an accomplished musician in Auckland

Ken Morris

Margaret Allan

A Cautionary Tale.

I was on a roll, having found some details about my Great Grandma's siblings. How unbelievably hard their lives had been when they were orphaned as little children. In a fit of enthusiasm I ordered 30 credits from Scotland's People.

What I didn't realize or notice was that I'd also clicked on "order certificates" for the names of other relatives who had died in the last 20 years.

Even an email confirming my order didn't alert me to that fact.

It was only when checking my bank balance, that I was shocked to find that the order currently being processed amounted to roughly sixty-six POUNDS !!!!

In desperation I phoned one of our genealogy members who listened and gave good advice. The next morning I visited the bank to ask if the money could be refunded, and the teller kindly printed off a sheet giving details about the phone number for Scotland's People's Customer Services  and an email address.

Another member of our group suggested emailing them, which I did. This was 'bounced back' to me, so I phoned Scotland. UK is 13 hours behind NZ time, at this time, but this will change when we go off daylight saving, and UK goes onto it.I was somewhat relieved (after talking with their advisor) when they emailed me to say that they realized that I had ordered 5 certificates in error, and that they would refund me for  that amount and the shipping costs too.

Was I relieved ! A lesson learnt.

Now I'll proceed with caution in future.

Thank you to those who helped me 'get out of a hole of my own making !!' and to Scotland's People who were most accommodating.

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. In a few months I hope to meet a few when I waddle along to a few conferences and meetings in England and Scotland. I have even had a few very helpful assistances 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 1,200 words approximately

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 proofreaders 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.                  

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

DNA Masters Series

A DNA case study with Blaine Bettinger

Monday 16 March, 1pm-3pm – Pioneer Hall, Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland Central.

FREE Entry


The DNA painter toolbox with Jonny Perl

Friday 3 April, 6pm-10pm – Pioneer Hall, Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland Central

ENTRY: Bring a plate for informal shared dinner and “Meet the DNA Experts: Blaine Bettinger, Jonny Perl and Angie Bush”.

7.30pm: The DNA painter toolbox with Jonny Perl


DNA & the unknown biological family with Angie Bush Monday 6 April, 1pm-3pm – Pioneer Hall, Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland Central FREE Entry


Booking highly recommended!


We recommend you use public transport or Auckland Transport (AT) carparks.

HeritageTalks  - Waha -taonga

Are you interested in family and local 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.


When: Wednesdays, February to November, 12pm - 1pm unless otherwise stated
Where: Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, Lorne St, Auckland
Cost: Free
Booking: All welcome. Booking recommended.

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



The hunt for Ellen Louisa Taylor with Peter Krafft

Wednesday 4 March 12pm – 1pm

Join Peter Krafft to learn how he solved the mystery of Ellen Louisa Taylor.  Although Ellen’s family, the Taylors, were involved in horse racing in Otahuhu and Ellerslie during the latter half of the 19th century, several of the family proved more elusive than others to find -  and Ellen Louisa was the most difficult of the lot.  Hear how Peter finally solved this family history mystery.


Isaac Rhodes Cooper (1819-1889) with David Verran

Wednesday 18 March 12pm – 1pm

The eldest son of a wealthy landowning family in England, Isaac Cooper was a Captain in the 58th Regiment, and a Major with the militias at Whanganui and Thames, as well as Manly in Sydney. Besides donating land for both St John the Baptist Church in Northcote and the Anglican cemetery at Pupuke Road, he also represented Ōrewa on the Auckland Provincial Council. Local historian David Verran will discuss his private life, and his unsuccessful attempts at a national political career.



Writing a family history? With Julie MacDonald, The Family History Writers’ Network

Wednesday 1 April 12pm – 1pm

Many people find it difficult to convert knowledge and research into a narrative or some other form for sharing with family, friends and even the general public. Hear from Julie MacDonald of the Family History Writers' Network, an organisation providing grassroots support for family historians to help them make good use of their research and knowledge. Using an easy and enjoyable way to write, you’ll learn to share your experiences with other family historians.

My Story with Fiona Brooker

Wednesday 1 April 1.30pm – 2.30pm

Stay on after Julie MacDonald's 12pm talk on "Do you want to write a family history?" to learn more about publishing your own family history.

When we're gone our stories could disappear. Learn tips and tricks on recording your stories or your ancestors' stories, preserving your photos and memories and how to put them together for publication.

Fiona Brooker

Fiona Brooker has served as both President and Treasurer of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) and has worked with local branches, including convening the 2008 and 2018 national conferences. She holds a Higher Certificate in Genealogy from the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. She began her company Memories in Time from a desire to help others trace their family history.

She has helped people get started; get through road blocks; get organised and find heirs to estates. She loves to teach family history and digital scrapbooking, and believes there is nothing better than getting someone else addicted to the hunt for their ancestors.

Recent releases from Auckland Libraries SoundCloud

Researching your Property – a 4-part series

Auckland Council Archives archivist Eoin Lynch

Auckland Libraries’ local history librarian Joanne Graves

Heritage New Zealand’s outreach advisor Antony Phillips

Auckland Council’s Heritage Unit, Heritage Researcher Marguerite Hill


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

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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.





The Legal Genealogist

An interesting site, worth looking into.


Welcome to The Legal Genealogist


“My name is Judy Russell. I’m a genealogist with a law degree, and my purpose here at The Legal Genealogist is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history. Without understanding the context in which events took place and records were created, we miss so much of both the significance and the flavour of what happened. 

My personal background is, well, eclectic. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a political science minor from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark”


Wayne Laurence

Waikanae Family History Group

 Contacts: Email:

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

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



Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

 The contact details of this group are:

Waitara Districts History & Families Research Group

Rose Cottage 33 Memorial Place


Tel: 06 – 754 – 3212



President:- Rona Hooson 

Vice President:- Doree Smith

Secretary:- Trish Smart

Treasurer:- Marilyn O’Lander



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News and Views

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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:

 Is There Such a Thing as Ancestral Memory?

The March 2020 Edition of the Family Tree magazine due in shops soon has a very interesting article on this topic. It is well worth the trouble tracking it down and having a think about some of your experiences in your research. Have you walked into a cemetery for the first time and gone straight to the grave you were looking for? Have you an unusual skill that none of your immediate relatives have and wondered how that happened. We all have a "scary" story of how we found some of our ancestors.

No photo description available.

 What DNA can't tell us

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, writes an article that encapsulates some of my views on DNA Testing and the high probability of getting an unexpected result.


Book Reviews

A Man Called Ove

By Fredrik Backman

ISBN-13:978-1473670747.   Amazon

Ove is a grumpy old man, to whom there is a right way to do things, and many wrong ways.  He has fallen out with his best friend – after all, who can trust a person who buys a Volvo, not a Saab?  Recently widowed, and then made redundant, he has nothing to live for.  If only his annoying neighbours would leave him in peace, perhaps he could get on with his suicide.

This book is a slow burn, it took me about 5 chapters to start to enjoy it, but then it got better and better until I ended up reading to about 2:00AM to finish it.  There are several laugh-out-loud bits, and the fact that I have gone on to buy the next 4 books from this author clearly indicates that this is one of the best books that I’ve read recently.  I agree with Amazon’s review that stated

“If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down”.  

By the way, it’s nothing to do with family history, it’s a novel.

Reviewed by Robert. 


In conclusion

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Gold Miners

Hi Peter


Perhaps you can assist me with this inquiry or lead me to who may be able to.

As you know from next Sunday 1/3-8/3/2020 I’ll be visiting Melbourne for the first time and have priortised a visit to the Museum at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat; Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute in Sturt St and Melbourne Museum.

During extensive global family genealogy research we never got to the bottom of John (progenitor) Mulvenna, Mulvany Mulvaney DOB-1834?  Died on 2nd February 1902-aged 68yrs from County Antrim passage circa 1862-1864 from possibly County Armagh or County Cork or another Ireland port to Sydney to Melbourne to the Shotover; to Hokitika, South Westland to search for gold.

There’s one possibility of initials recorded JM. 

We seek dates and perhaps a ‘list of passengers’

Prior to my trip to Ireland in 2003 many emails were exchanged with all the agencies and the Republic of Ireland National Archives from 1852-1924.

As was the case then it will be great to meet in person.

Also I may have a meeting with the Gold Museum who may hold the diggers’ list.

I realise this is at short notice as I leave today week yet if you can think of anything please advise.

You will receive a review.



Paul Mulvaney

Advertising with FamNet

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

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

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A Bit of Light Relief

Be bouts of eating, drinking and sleeping over the festive break I have been exploring you tube. I hope you will enjoy these clips.                                   

Image result for graveyard humour     Image result for graveyard humour    Image result for graveyard humour                            

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