Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter February 2023

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: “I dream of a better world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned”. On a shop front in Burford, Oxfordshire


Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

New Year Resolutions. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

Deciding what DNA Test you want 1

Chinese Corner 1

Items of News. 1

More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of 1

Hickey, Mary Dr (MA Litt.D. OBE) (Mother Mary St Domitille) 1

Diane Wilson. 1

The Wilson Collection. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Robina Trenbath. 1

Jewish Ancestry – A true table of consequences. 1

The Jewish Journey begins. 1

The book. 1

Nancy Vada Gibb. 1

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. 1

An Invitation to Contribute: 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

Group News. 1

News and Views. 1

Easy Ways You Can Share Your Genealogy Beyond an Ancestry Tree. 1

Borrowing Genealogy Books from the Internet Archive. 1

Scottish ancestry: How to find free Scottish records online. 1

Victorian cemeteries: When were they founded, and where can you find online records?. 1

In conclusion. 1

Book Reviews. 1

Scoff by Pen Vogler 1

England’s Villages by Ben Robinson. 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.

Well another year has arrived. Auckland and the north have welcomed it with open arms!!!! I write this as I watch a mini river raging down my boundary and washing away my beautiful bark path between my raised beds of vegetable plants. I am pleased to donate the bark in exchange for dryness under the house (my neighbours are not so lucky). But there are many people suffering storm damage within walking distance of my place. I must admit to wondering how my ancestors coped with tropical storms, flooding etc without knowledge of what they were and when they were expected. But they were probably clever enough not to build on swamps or too close to rivers, or too close to cliff edges.

Anyway, back to reality. 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 must thank my regular writers who, month after month, produce their articles. I, personally, have written about eighty of them and so must apologise if they are getting repetitive, nonsensical or plain boring. I have been shocked to find a couple of regulars are suffering health issues. I wish them well in their struggles and beg for new writers. They make the newsletter.

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

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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Regular Contributors

The Nash Rambler

New Year Resolutions

A picture containing text, person, person, smiling

Description automatically generatedWell, a new year has arrived. It’s a time to review what I have achieved and what new developments happened last year and what my new year resolutions are. You will know that we all make resolutions which turn out to be not even remotely realistic because of the many side-tracks, rabbit holes and general detours we all make when we use that wonderful research tool, the internet.

Alan and I met with some “old” genealogy friends over a coffee last week. All of us have been researching for over thirty years so we are well advanced in forming our family tree although none are related to an English king or even Adam. But I have high hopes for my tree. There must be a king in there because I have everything else, except a pope. After the usual greetings, health reports, etc we started on the subject of genealogy research. It seems we have all reached a point of “research blockage”. We have all done very little research the last few months. We are all members of the Royal Engineers – gunnas – we’re going to … Every one of us had difficulty getting motivated to do any research on our own tree but give us somebody else’s genealogy problem and we jump in eagerly to solve it. Anybody else’s tree is more interesting.

We all agreed that we are saturated by the rapidly increasing numbers of digital indexes, resources etc., so much that we don’t know what has just been released or where it has been released. The 1921 UK census is a bore – we have nobody left at home in the UK. We enter a name in the search box of a website and get inundated by hits. And the costs of a subscription to Ancestry, FindmyPast etc are not sustainable on my pension. The DNA analyses are getting too complicated and hard to understand. UK genealogy magazines are expensive. Genealogy conferences are rare and expensive. Fewer genealogy talks of interest and where have the NZSG branches gone?

So we all identified what is wrong in the genealogy world and discussed our excuses. Granted one of us had taken a fall and broke a hip which was deemed not a “legal” excuse.

Now we had to decide how to overcome our research inactivity and how to stimulate interest in family history and/or genealogy. Somebody, probably me, came up with a solution. After discussion we thought it was inspirational. The idea was to invent a Viagra-like pill that, once taken, would instantly “increase our interest” in research and the blockage would be overcome. We didn’t decide on the colour or shape of the pill but blue was considered risky and could cause a major relationship breakdown if our pill was taken instead of the other (or vice versa). No further discussion on this point but there were comic examples given for various possible permutations. This pill could stimulate interest in joining genealogy societies and groups with increasing membership and involvement in managing said groups. Maybe these groups should invest their funds in the research of such a membership stimulus – I hope to see a motion at the next AGM of the NZSG.

See, at a coffee session, not an alcoholic beverage session, we have solved a major issue. An alcohol consumption session could come up with other solutions to our inactivity. Maybe next week we could discuss the Ukraine situation and come up with another sensible solution.

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

Deciding what DNA Test you want

For some of us, it is a difficult decision in our genealogy research to take the step of getting a DNA test to see if that can help us further our family trees.

And the difficulty does not stop there because we are then faced with a number of firms who all purport to give us the answers.  These include (but not limited to) Ancestry with its huge data base of autosomal testers, My Heritage with its lesser base of autosomal testers, 23andMe with its mostly American base of autosomal testers, FamilyTreeDNA with every type of DNA test you can think of, Living DNA with its mostly UK base of autosomal testers and so and on.

How do you choose?

The first thing is to know what you want to achieve – for example, is it just a general extending of your family tree back to about 4 to 6th cousins?  Or is it your mother’s mother’s mother’s etc. lineage?  Or is it your father’s father’s father’s father’s etc. lineage?  Or are you an orphan (or is one of your parents an orphan)?

If you do not have a goal in mind, you will not be able to make an informed choice, either about the firm to choose, or in the case of FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), which test to take.  This can lead to both a lack of understanding as to what you receive and a feeling of “I have wasted my money”.

Therefore, you need to understand the basics. 



This includes knowing what the word “autosomal” means. 

The formal definition is  “Autosomal means that a specific gene is not on a sex chromosome and is a numbered chromosome. Humans have 46 total chromosomes. Each of your parents gives you 23 chromosomes via the egg or sperm, for a total of 46. There are two sex chromosomes (X and Y) and 22 numbered chromosomes.”

Did you notice the wording “Each of your parents…”.  In reality, this means your father gave you 50% or ½ of the chromosomes you carry and your mother gave you the other 50%.  But your father could only pass his Y chromosome to his son and his X chromosome to his daughter.  Your mother, on the other hand could only pass her X chromosome to her children regardless of their gender – because she does not have a Y chromosome.

This is why a male has one X and one Y chromosome (excluding medical abnormalities) plus 22 other chromosomes and a female has no Y chromosome and has two X chromosomes.



Previously, I mentioned the mother’s lineage.  At first glance you may think that this means the X chromosome. If you do, you would be wrong.  This is because a man has an X chromosome.  However, he is a man and therefore does not feature in a mother’s mother’s mother’s line etc.  Instead, a mother’s mother’s mother’s etc. line is all female when looking backwards through time.  To learn about this, the information is reliant upon testing the mitochondria in a person’s cell.  Chromosomes reside in the nucleus of the cell whereas the mitochondria is outside the nucleus of that cell.

Ancestry, 23andMe, and MyHeritage will give you an indication of your mitochondrial results from your autosomal test but it is very high level. 

Let me give you an example. 


I received “H3” as my Mitochondrial haplogroup.

My full brother received “H”.

But my FTDNA Full Sequence Mitochondrial test gave me H3as.

“H” is some twenty thousands of years back.

“H3” is ten thousands of years back.

But H3as brings my mother’s mother’s mother’s etc. line to the last 5,000 years.

That is far from satisfactory if I am tracing my mother’s mother’s mother’s line so I use a tool called Scaled Innovation owned and operated by Rob Spencer.  He has shown that others with the same results all trace back to the UK (including Ireland) and Finland.  The most common outcome is from Ireland – as it turns out, this is where my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother is from.

As I am sure you can now tell, anything less than getting the full sequence option for a mitochondrial test is neither here nor there.  You would need to get a specific mitochondrial test to start getting some real traction on your mother’s mother’s mother’s etc. line.  And you can only get this with FTDNA.  Yes, other non-mentioned firms will give you such a test, but you will not get matches! 

The downside is that although you may receive an exact match with a full sequence test, you may not be able to get closer than about 500 years.  With this in mind, you would also need to get an autosomal test with FTDNA to be able to search your X chromosome matches.  Not all testing firms consider the X chromosome!   


Do you now start to understand why it is important to learn what each test type will give you?  And, just as important, which firm you should use in order to take such a test? 

Now you also have to consider whether it is a male in your family or a female who should take a test.


The Y chromosome

Only men carry this chromosome and they only pass it to their biological sons (usually unchanged although every now and again a change occurs).  This change is known as a mutation. 

It is the Y chromosome which is paramount in learning about your father’s father’s father’s etc. ancestry.

Only FTDNA offers the full range of genealogical tests (with matches) for the Y chromosome and there are a number of these available.

Because Y DNA testing (and the available tools) is a huge subject, I shall continue with this in the March article!


Gail Riddell 

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Chinese Corner 

 Items of News

The Chinese settlement included in schools’ history curriculum

Primary and intermediate pupils will learn about Otago’s Chinese settlers as part of a new history curriculum being rolled out in schools.

The new Aotearoa New Zealand Histories Curriculum recognises the major role Chinese immigrants played in the economic and cultural development of Otago, helping to establish the region as a commercial centre.

The curriculum lesson plans and teacher resources were developed by Sun Gum Saan Ltd, a charitable company jointly owned by the Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust and the New Zealand Chinese Association Otago Southland branch.

Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust chairman Malcolm Wong said it would help Otago's schoolchildren learn more about their multicultural origins by learning the story of Otago Chinese migrants, through the lens of the early Chinese community descendants.

This was part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Histories programme which aimed to highlight how the early settlement of New Zealand contributed to an increasingly diverse population, he said.

"It’s very important.

"It’s a golden opportunity for the Chinese community to express what it is to be ethnically Chinese in New Zealand.

"Many children in New Zealand probably don’t realise that there has been a large Chinese population here in Otago since the late 1800s.

"The involvement of the Chinese, and how far that stretches back, is important for everyone to know."


From the Editor: My attention was drawn to the following webpage, on the National Archives website, which has a collection of photographs of 1800s Chinese immigrants.

1.    If you go to the main NZ Archives website and click on Research Guides, then Home

2.      Research guidance

3.      Research guides

4.      Citizenship and migration

  1. Citizenship

Then scroll down the article there is a whole section on Chinese Migration

Helen Wong

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More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of

Hickey, Mary Dr (MA Litt.D. OBE) (Mother Mary St Domitille)

Mary HICKEY was born in a thatched whare in Opunake, Taranaki on 13 April 1882, about where the Cottage Rest Home is today.  She was the first of eleven children of John Cornelius and Hannah HICKEY nee STACK, and the first European girl to be born in the town.  Her father was a member of the Armed Constabulary.

Mary attended Opunake Primary School and was the first pupil teacher there. Later she taught at New Plymouth, gaining her teacher's certificates by correspondence from Auckland.  She then taught for a time at Stratford High School.

In 1905, Mary joined the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Christchurch and taught there.  She then attended Canterbury University College, where in 1914 she completed her BA and was Senior Scholar in History.  In 1915 she completed an MA degree with first class honours in history. In 1925 she achieved the distinction of being the first woman in Australasia to be awarded a Doctorate in Literature, her thesis being on the early history of Canterbury. 

Mother M St Domitille was alive to all educational movements in her time. On a visit to England in 1925 (to attend the Chapter of the Congregation), she met Madame Montessori and was greatly impressed, and so on her return she introduced to New Zealand the Montessori method of education.

She gave strong support to bringing into being the NZ Catholic Schools' Journals.  She contributed articles to them, and for many years edited the Catholic Teachers' Bulletin.  In 1921 she wrote a history, first published in instalments by the Opunake Times, then as a book: A Graphic Outline of the Great War, and this was used as a text in the colleges where the Sisters taught. 

Mother M St Domitille was principal of Sacred Heart College, Christchurch for over 20 years.  Later she was Provincial, for six years, of the south province of her congregation.  She had a great influence for good on all those she taught and is remembered for her wise sayings including "The most important virtue is common sense, but often it is the least commonly found" and "God must love the ordinary person because he has made so many of them". 

Mother Domitille was awarded the OBE for her work in education.  She died on the 20 June 1958, quite suddenly, on her way to chapel for evening prayer.  She was a woman of strong faith and of vision but always humble - a woman for all times.


Christine Clement

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Diane Wilson

The Wilson Collection

The past two months have produced some of my best genealogical moments. I have been touched beyond belief by the kindness and generosity of fellow genealogists. So many have shared their certificates and research to add to the marriage details in the Wilson Collection.

I was given a huge shock to get a recent diagnosis from what I first thought was my hiatus hernia playing up. Pancreatic cancer was not on my horizon, however, it has given me time to organise the continuation of the Wilson Collection and ensure there is enough money left for the team to keep going. The Collection has always been personally financed by me, so I was not under any pressure to produce or display records in any special format.  This type of project, if you use professionals to create it, is not cheap but hopefully will continue to prove its value to you all.

The Wilson Collection came into being to continue to make available many records created over time by so many fellow genealogists. I had received a letter from the NZSG board, of the time, advising me that they did not want to renew the agreement for the publication of the various CD’s we had created. Publication of these resources had ensured that the NZSG received a steady cash stream from sales of the various CD’s. This funding assisted in the running of the library and the Society.

It was impossible to negotiate a solution with the board and I am still unsure of why they decided to discontinue to offer sales of these resources. Rather than the material being lost I decided to make the indexes available for all as a free resource, and I created the Wilson Collection. Feedback from users around the world tells me this is a very useful Collection.

I was touched by the thoughtfulness of a gift recently. A parcel arrived with a delightful oval, cross- stitched memento for ‘The Queen Bee’ of the Wilson Collection.  I was thrilled and grateful to receive this acknowledgement of not only my work, but that of so many supporters who have made the Collection possible.

We have just updated the Marriage data and there now are 360,738 marriage place records available. Not bad for a small team of inputters!

Do please spread the word, donate certificates and remember – you can’t promote a secret! Good luck with all your research, it has been fun and very fulfilling

Diane Wilson

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Guest Contributors

Robina Trenbath

Jewish Ancestry – A true table of consequences

My daughter married a lad with a distinctly Jewish surname. He knew next to nothing about his ancestral lines.

His father acknowledged that they had Jewish ancestry but could only relate it back to his grandmother. Because he knew I researched and wrote family histories he asked if I would do that for his family; which I did. WOW! What a learning curve that was…but we will get to that, all in good time.

Years later, I moved in with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. It was a home ideal for me to live semi-independently and research/write to my heart’s content. The previous family moved out and we moved in, all in one day. On opening the rubbish-bin I found it full of kosher food packaging. Their surnames on the house sale had in no way indicated that the family was Jewish. Interesting…

Over time, I notice strange rectangular objects (about thumb-length) nailed to the house entry, door frames. Shrugged my shoulders…curious. Recently I was watching the movie Schindler’s List. It had arrived at a scene where Jewish families were being shunted out of their homes to move into the Warsaw Ghetto. Before one man closed his front-door he took out a pocket-knife and eased off the door frame a small rectangular object. OMG! It was very similar to our ones.

At a time like this – go to GOOGLE. “Small object Jews nail to their door frame?” Answer: In mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, a mezuzah is affixed to the doorpost of Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to “write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9). The Hebrew word mezuzah means ‘doorpost’. The mezuzah itself consists of a small scroll of parchment (k’laf) on which are written two biblical passages. The scroll is inserted into a wooden, plastic or metal casing that is often artistic in design. The mezuzah reminds us that our homes are holy places and that we should act accordingly – when we enter them and when we leave them to go out into the world. Ashkenazic Jews usually angle the mezuzah with the top tilted inward toward the interior of the house or room. (

L: one of several mezuzahs tilted inward on a door frame in our home.

I think we are blessed in a strange way because I can tell you this, in a very tight housing market we were never meant to ‘get’ this home. It was bought in 24 hours when a contract fell-through and the agent was fed up with listing it. We got the call and screamed: “YES!”

This is our ‘forever’ home. And so, to the book and researching Jewish lines.

The Jewish Journey begins.

Working backwards in time with the normal raft of source documents from a wide variety of Australian repositories I arrived in England 1826.          

i most of the records date between 1791-1860.                                            

I did an advanced search of a 3 x GGF and found a marriage in 1826 which gave the groom’s father’s name and a spouse’s name. Found them in the 1841 England Census. Went to FREE BMD UK for an 1841 birthplace/ volume and page number for one of their children; logged into GRO birth indexes online with the info. and it gave the mother’s maiden name which matched the maiden name of the bride in 1826. N.B. also search the database of Secular records (Tax, Wills, Settlements, Apprentices, Masons, Book Subscribers and Alien Registrations.) I found heaps here.

ii. London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932 ( card catalogue search): put in 4 x GGF’s name giving a 10 year timeframe from 1816-1826 and there he was in 1816 @ Ellison Street, Portsoken, City of London, paying one pound three shillings and fourpence. There are 45 pages of records and as I am wont to do, I go over every page picking up all kinds of tit bits about Petticoat Lane and finding familial names (including two brothers = 4 x Gt. uncles) which eventually find their way into the tapestry I am weaving.













iii. All England, Alien Arrivals, 1810-1811 (Ref. card catalogue search):  On 19 January,1811 coming into Yarmouth England from Prussia is ‘our man’ – a 4 x GGF.


iv. Brief Summary: My son-in-law’s 4 X GGF was possibly born in Belarus around 1770. He had 5 children (1796-1810) with his first wife in Poland. Those children all came to England and put their place of birth on all the England Censuses. He had 6 more children with a second wife in England and died in 1840 @ Whitechapel, England. As each child married their names (including his as father of the groom) appear in the Synagogue Records of The Great Synagogue founded in 1690, Dukes Place, London. It was re-built in 1790 and destroyed by fire in a German bombing raid on 11 May 1941.

The book

It took me about a year to research and write my son-in-law’s Jewish family history. There were adventures through the ballsy hawkers of Petticoat Lane to the fleshy horse markets of Birmingham. Some were East India Company agents – merchants, shippers and factors and yes… Goldsmith’s who were exactly that – goldsmiths. A great grandfather went to the goldfields of Victoria, Australia establishing himself as a dealer in hardware (he made an absolute killing). Ten years later his son followed in his footsteps and lost everything! I unearthed a few suicides (a father and son a decade apart, both on trains), tragic loss of life in a Brisbane fire and the marriage of a 2 x GGF to a first fleeter convict (now, that’s the equivalent of royalty over the ditch). A great uncle was a politician who became a baron (being raised to the peerage in 1965).

Sadly, I was able to read the harrowing account of a 3x great grandmother who bravely brought before the courts, one of the earliest divorces by a woman. She won her case but lost custody of their 8 children. Though her family were wealthy, her husband was deemed to be the breadwinner!  The bereft woman was permitted to see her children for two hours every Thursday.  




N.B. The Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 (England) was a landmark step in women’s emancipation. (Ref.


Addenda: Christmas Day arrived and the book departed, as a gift. In the new year it was taken on many months of touring to share with extended family. Time for me to turn back to my own family history.  What I had neglected were my VATER, GOULD/ GOOLD and GREEN families (3 and 4 x GG parents) of Somerset. All those Isaacs, Abrahams, Sarahs Rachels and Elijahs seemed to be leaning very strongly towards having Jewish roots albeit, a long, long time ago.  Had I come full circle?


Additional Sources::

The Jewish Victorian by Doreen Berger.

Genealogical information from the Jewish Newspapers, 1861-70. There was only 1 copy in Australia. I was able to borrow this amazingly valuable tome from the National Library of Australia, through our local library.                                                                    ‘Jewish Chronicles’. ‘Anglo-Jewish Miscellanies’ – A brilliant collection of ‘things-Jewish’ from a dedicated archivist.                                                                                                                                             Check out their Card Catalogue (in Search). Their Jewish database is quite impressive.                                                                                                                             


Robina L Trenbath

Nancy Vada Gibb

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Recently I joined a writing group called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” which has a list of set topics for the entire year. Although it’s only a few weeks old I am enjoying it - it helps me to think about some family history from a different viewpoint. It is run by an American family historian, Amy Johnson Crow - she has a website but encourages people to post on a Facebook page called Generations Cafe. The group can be joined at any time. I have started a blog for my contributions at, but you don’t need to blog or to write more than a few sentences. 

Amy Johnson Crow describes it as a “Do something with your genealogy instead of letting it sit in your genealogy software” challenge. “You’ve worked hard on your genealogy. You’ve made some fantastic discoveries. But what do you actually do with it? Those discoveries don’t do much good just sitting in your file cabinet or on your computer. That’s where 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks comes in. It’s a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The guesswork of “who should I write about” is taken care of.”

Nancy Vada Gibb

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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.                  

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

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

HeritageTalks for 2023 begin again on Wednesday 8 February 12pm

We are taking expressions of interest and/or suggestions for speakers and topics for next year’s HeritageTalks programme

DEADLINE for expressions of interest submission

For the programme Feb-June 2023, deadline will be 17 October 2022 (programme distributed 1 Jan)

For the programme June-Nov 2023, deadline will be 27 March 2023 (programme distributed 1 June)

Please email


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) Lewis RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

Visit our website:

@Kintalk on Twitter / Auckland Research Centre on Facebook

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Group News

News and Views




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.

Easy Ways You Can Share Your Genealogy Beyond an Ancestry Tree

Borrowing Genealogy Books from the Internet Archive

Scottish ancestry: How to find free Scottish records online

Victorian cemeteries: When were they founded, and where can you find online records?


In conclusion

Book Reviews

Scoff by Pen Vogler, ISBN 978-1-78649-649-2, published by Atlantic Books in 2021

ThumbnailI purchased this book in England but I noticed it is the Auckland Public Library which says the following:

Avocado or beans on toast? Gin or claret? Nut roast or game pie? Milk in first or milk in last? And do you have tea, dinner or supper in the evening? In this fascinating social history of food in Britain, Pen Vogler examines the origins of our eating habits and reveals how they are loaded with centuries of class prejudice. Covering such topics as fish and chips, roast beef, avocados, tripe, fish knives and the surprising origins of breakfast, Scoff reveals how in Britain we have become experts at using eating habits to make judgements about social background. Bringing together evidence from cookbooks, literature, artworks and social records from 1066 to the present, Vogler traces the changing fortunes of the food we encounter today and unpicks the aspirations and prejudices of the people who have shaped our cuisine for better or worse.


I found this a fascinating read about the history of food in England and when and how particular items of food or food preparation were introduced into the British diet. It discusses the social history of food consumption and the social standing of people which dictated where, how and what they ate. This is a really interesting book that adds “flesh to the bones” of our ancestral environments.



Peter Nash


England’s Villages by Ben Robinson, ISBN 978-1-788704-60-1, published by Bonnier Books UK in 2021

I spent over a month wandering through the Cotswold in England and, sometimes enjoying a quite ale in the country pub, various questions occurred to me,  such as:

What is a hamlet, a village and a town and when does one become the other?

Why do most villages I saw have the same layout – a village green or market square, a church, a pub and a stream running through?

Of course it would be rude not to visit a beautiful country pub and the atmosphere, fine ales and good food led to much thinking and, of course, lost time but that has to be expected.

The Waterstones Book Shop, from whom I purchased the book website says the following:

THE STUNNING NEW BOOK FROM THE HOST OF BBC 2'S VILLAGES BY THE SEA England's villages have survived, developed, and thrived over hundreds of years. But what makes a village and how has that changed over time? Take a charming and unexpected journey through the quirks of England's villages throughout the ages in the excellent company of Dr Ben Robinson, expert archaeologist. Join him in visiting villages from prehistoric, to Roman, to medieval times, all the way through to today's modern, urban villages. Discover how landowners, governments and communities have shaped villages, why village greens, village pubs and village halls exist, and the real meaning behind names like Bunny, Yelling, Lover, Great Snoring and Slaughter. A compelling study of archaeology, history and architecture, England's Villages is a thoughtful, enlightening and informative look at our oldest homes, uncovering and revealing the extraordinary heritage of the places that surround us.

This book is a very interesting read and well worth the trouble in tracking it down.

Peter Nash

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Very pleased to see the link to Charles Booth. My GGUncle was a Rev. in a poor part of London and gave a long interview to Booth - it is all recorded somewhere but cost so much to get a copy, and that was years ago, that I didn’t bother. I was hoping to find out a bit more about his family. Too late now - I’ve published the Johnston family history.

 My third book.   Could you please advertise? A preview is available from the Blurb website. 



Nancy Vada Gibb

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

Irish Divorce

The mother-in-law arrives home from shopping to find her son-in-law, Paddy in a steaming rage and hurriedly packing his suitcase. 

“What happened Paddy?" she asks anxiously. 

"What happened? I'll tell you what happened! I sent an email to my wife telling her I was coming home today from my fishing trip. I get home ... and guess what I found? Your daughter, my wife,  Jean, naked with Joe Murphy in our marital bed! This is unforgivable!  The end of our marriage. I'm done. I'm leaving forever!" ;

"Ah now, calm down, calm down Paddy!" says his mother-in-law.  

"There is something very odd going on here. Jean would never do such a thing! There must be a simple explanation. I'll go speak to her immediately and find out what happened." 

Moments later, the mother-in-law comes back with a big smile.

"Paddy, there, I told you it must be a simple explanation.  She never got your email!"




How it Starts

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as 

a Christmas gift ...

The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.

When she asked me why, I replied,

"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"

And that's how the fight started.....


My wife and I were sitting at a table at her school

reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his

drink as he sat alone at a nearby table

I asked her, "Do you know him?"

"Yes", she sighed,

"He's my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking

right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he

hasn't been sober since."

"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on

celebrating that long?"

And then the fight started...


Saturday morning, I got up early, quietly dressed, made my

lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the

boat up to the van and proceeded to back out into a torrential

downpour. The wind was blowing 50mph, so I pulled back into the

garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather

would be bad all day.

I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back

into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back; now with a different

anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is


My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my

stupid husband is out fishing in that?"

And that's how the fight started....

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