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FamNet eNewsletter July 2023

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it you have got to start young” – Theodore Roosevelt



Contents. 1

Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

Preserving and Sharing your Genealogy. 1

The Nash Rambler 1

I love filling holes. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

Did you Know? Some hints and tips in FTDNA that may interest you. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Fire at Ming Quong’s. 1

More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of 1

Who was Henry Wylde Leveson-Gower BURNS?. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Ken Morris. 1

Books about Immigration Voyages and Seafaring Ancestors. 1

Robina Trenbath. 1

Invercargill – The First (or Second) Blacksmith. 1

An Invitation to Contribute: 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

Auckland Family History Expo 2023. 1

Group News. 1

News and Views. 1

The mixed blessing of a fingerprint 1

Updates to New Zealand Historical Birth and Marriage Indexes. 1

British Army records: Where to find them online. 1

Three ways to prove your family tree is correct 1

How to use a research timeline to solve a family history problem.. 1

Scottish family history: finding a baby's father 1

In conclusion. 1

Book Reviews. 1

Help wanted. 1

Letters to the Editor 1

Advertising with FamNet 1

A Bit of Light Relief 1

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


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Description automatically generatedHello fellow hermits.

Greetings and welcome to another issue of the FamNet newsletter.

My article a couple of month’s ago has got people talking. I have had many conversations lately about safeguarding your valuable research. But readers are talking about what to do with their research so that it gets passed on to the next generation or two. The people I’ve been talking to about this have no obviously interested descendants to hand the research too and, consequently, they are exploring interesting alternatives. I have recommended making the volume of paperwork minimal by digitising it and making sure they write their own story. But they are thinking about their problem. Maybe I have avoided a few post-wake bonfires.

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. You can contribute an article – don’t wait for an invite. Just contact me.

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

From the Developer

Preserving and Sharing your Genealogy

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Description automatically generated with medium confidenceTo me, there is little point in spending a lot of time researching your family history unless you share it with your family at least.   And if you do, you will probably want to collaborate with others with overlapping family trees to share information so you learn from each other, and you can keep your tree up to date.  We have always promoted FamNet as a good option to preserve and share your genealogy, and our agreement with FamilySearch that will see our data incorporated into FamilySearch when their new system is ready means that your work, including pictures and documents linked to your people (“scrapbook”), will be preserved indefinitely. 

Many of you have put copies of your family trees into FamNet, but have you kept them up to date?  A reader  suggested to us that we should send out emails to those of you with trees in FamNet that haven’t been updated for a while suggesting that they might like to update them.  I will try and find time to do this, but first I’m just putting out a general call to all of you who have data stored in FamNet – if it hasn’t been updated recently, can you have a look at it and see if it needs updating.  If so you can update it by resubmitting a GED file from your desktop system, or you can update it online.  Well perhaps – there is a complication.

Many of you will remember that a year ago FamNet went off the air for a couple of months, coming back in time for the September newsletter.  The reasons for this and what we did to recover are described in   To summarize what I wrote then, I kept a full copy of the database locally, but for the on-line copy I had to trim the database to under 10GB – it was about 60GB – or pay more than we could afford, so I had to be fairly ruthless in deciding what to keep on line.  Every family tree that included at least one attached scrapbook item, plus a few others are there, but it is quite likely that yours was not one of them. Have a look and let me know if it’s missing and you want me to bring it back.  We’re currently well under the 10GB limit, so I’m sure I’ll be able to restore trees from the full backup for people that ask me to. 

Telling your story: Index

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

2.    Embedding pictures in Word documents

3.    Saving Documents for Web Publication.

4.    Saving Scrapbook Items

5.    Sharing your Story: Managing your Family Group

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

7.    Comparing and Synchronising Records

8.    Producing and Using Charts

9.    Merging Trees.  Part 1:  Why Bother?

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

11.  Merging Trees.  Part3.  Combining Existing Trees

12.  Finding Your Way Around FamNet (Getting Help)  

13.  FamNet – a Resource for your Grandchildren

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

16.  Privacy

17.  Indexes: beyond Excel.

18.  Linking trees

19.  Uploading a GEDCOM file

20.  Uploading Objects to your Database

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

23.  Have YOU written your family story yet? 

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

25.  It’s the Stories that Matter

26.  Using QR Codes for your Family History

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

28.  Our Shared Database Grows

Robert Barnes

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The Nash Rambler

I love filling holes

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Description automatically generatedFor many months I have not done much research into my own ancestry. I have talked a lot, talked more, consumed a coffee or two, read some genealogy magazines, researched for others, given a lecture or two, drank more coffee, attended a meeting or two, given research advice, talked more etc. but never opened my Family Tree Maker program or the pile of “must research” folders on my “tidy” desk. To be honest, like a lot of people I have spoken to, I was bored with my ancestry. Oops! I mean ancestry research because my ancestors are a very “interesting” bunch. I suppose that, after over 30 years research, I must experience a period or two of research boredom. I was a bit like the words of my favourite Wordsworth’s poem:          

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden …….. holes

Holes!!!! What do I mean when I say “holes”?

Well my patient, well-meaning coffee mate asked me a question about the computer program I use. I could not answer immediately so I went home and opened my Family Tree Maker program and found the answer. I then looked into my index on that program and noticed I had a lot of holes i.e. empty spaces for births, deaths and marriages. This was particularly true in the ancestry of my lovely and patient lady wife. I had to fix this situation – the holes must be filled.

I started on my mother-in-law’s maternal line. I must admit one of the reasons for the poor state of my records for this line is that it involves at least one Carter–Carter marriage and most lines in the 1800s were in London or the now outer suburbs of London, mainly Kent. In particular Alfred John CARTER, born about 1860 somewhere in northern Kent. Every census where I could find him, he was born in a different parish and different year. It has been some years since I did much research on him and I was startled by the amount of London material that has appeared on line for London. I had found nine of his children. I have not found his birth or his mother’s name and his father was, allegedly, James CARTER – do you know how many James CARTER men lived in London in 1861? Searching the English birth indexes on the official website I found six births for Alfred John Carter between 1858 and 1862 and only one in Kent in 1861.I should point out that every document I have found of him, including census records he is always Alfred John not Alfred only. This birth is highly likely to be an illegitimate birth with a mother named Susannah CARTER. I have ordered this birth certificate.

I then explored the family trees on and found a couple with a few thousand entries and a few sources. They appeared very similar (i.e. one may have copied the other) and I printed one off and studied it. The compiler seemed to grab facts from out of the air and I could not verify a lot of them. There was a CARTER-CARTER marriage (unverified yet), a son, Alfred John, born about the same time as a marriage to a William SMITH (unverified yet) but has the surname CARTER not SMITH. This has got me hooked. I have to prove or disprove this theoretical (at the moment) family. I am awaiting the arrival of the only official birth certificate of Alfred John CARTER born in Kent in 1861 – hopefully with a mother, Susannah.

But there was one startling fact that emerged from this theoretical family – Alfred John had a girl, Susan Maria, his eldest child, born and died in 1881, obviously after the census of that year. I proved that this fact was correct. My wife was named Susan Maria and this child was her great aunt. There are no other girls named Susan in her ancestry, yet, and we have wondered for a long time where her name came from. Of course, we never asked her mother where that name came from and it is now too late for that exercise.

The evening after I found and verified this birth, I was watching a rugby league match. It must have been a boring match because I had a eureka moment – naming patterns. The eldest girl was Susan Maria – Alfred John’s mother being Susan??? And his wife’s mother Maria (true). I rushed to my computer and found his eldest son was George Albert – George was the father of Alfred John’s wife. Don’t ask me who Albert was! Maybe!!!!!!!

So I now have a theory. I have generated a lot of facts. I have generated a family tree. All needs proof. At the moment it hangs together by a naming pattern.

Of course, things hang on the fact that:

His birth was registered

His name was Alfred John not Alfred

The naming pattern theory

My coffee drinking mate hasn’t blown this theory apart (yet)

I have a lot of work to do. My computer is running hot. I’m hooked again!!!!!.

Gosh I love filling holes.


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Peter Nash

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DNA Testing for Family History

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

 Did you Know? Some hints and tips in FTDNA that may interest you.

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Description automatically generated1.  After you join (FTDNA), whether it is via a transfer of your autosomal results processed by another firm such as Ancestry or MyHeritage or 23andMe, or a via a test you have purchased from FTDNA, you have a raft of tools and information available to you?
These are all available in your FTDNA account also called your Dashboard or called your Home Page.   A good habit to get into is to slowly move your cursor over anything and everything in your Home Page and see what links are hiding in behind the words.

2.  You can join projects whether they be Surname projects or Geographical projects or Haplogroup Projects or YDNA Projects or mtDNA Projects.  There are also Cultural Projects plus Autosomal or Family projects.  Some projects require you to give reasons for wanting you to join.  If you come across this, please try and actually answer whatever questions are in the narrative.  Stating your surname or your most distant known ancestor is not enough.  You are wanting the Administrator to allow you to join so think about what will help your case.  [See #10 below]

3.  Administrators have total control over the project(s) they run.  Always provided they stay within the boundaries of the rules and policies set down by FTDNA.  For example, no Administrator can charge you for joining their project, even if they have a private project away from FTDNA for which they are often personally paying. 

4.  All project Administrators are volunteers.  Some Administrators run numerous projects whereas some have just a few.  Some projects are huge and can take some time to load, whereas others are very small.  Some Administrators have been doing this ‘job’ for years and some are new.  Some will respond to any email or question you might have within a few hours, some may take days or even weeks.  If you have not received an answer within say a fortnight, write again ensuring you have correctly copied their email address.  If there is still no answer, contact a 2nd Administrator (or co-administrator).  If there is still no answer, contact FTDNA.

5.  Some Administrators do not enable you to see the genetic results of the members who have joined the project – on the basis that their members have asked for total privacy.  But this does not stop you from writing to the Administrator or even joining the project.  However, ask yourself why you would want to join such a project when a primary purpose is to learn from and see or compare the other results to your own.

6.  From time to time, a project will put out a request seeking donations.  This is to aid others in the project who do not have the funds required for needed upgrades.  The most needed upgrade for a male is the Big Y 700.  The most needed upgrade for a female is the Full Genomic Sequence for the mtDNA test.

7.  Males are also encouraged to get the Full Genomic Sequence mtDNA test and everyone is able to get the Autosomal test (also called Family Finder and atDNA).  (But not children!)

8.  Each project has what is colloquially known as an ‘In-house Forum’ – its actual name is ‘Activity Feed’.  It works like Facebook but there are no emailed notifications.  Instead, you have to rely on logging into your FTDNA Home page to learn whether there has been a message placed in the ‘Feed’ of a project you have joined.  Questions get posted; photographs get posted; hints and URLs get posted.  Whatever the members choose.  The Administrators have sole charge of these forums and because they can take up a lot of time, some Administrators do not make them available.

9.  In your Dashboard depending on what you have tested, you will find the ability to see your matches for that test.  Personally, I find the match pages for these slow to load, so I opt to use ‘Advanced Matches’ which you will find further down your Dashboard. 
Once there, open it and

a.  Check the boxes for the test(s) you have taken (YDNA or Family Finder or mtDNA).

b.  In the surname box input the first three letters of the surname you seek – you can leave this blank.

c.  Filter for the project you hope they will be in AND that you have also joined.

d.  Finally press Run report.

This can be done for each separate project you have joined.

10.  To join a Project, log into your FTDNA Dashboard and look up in your top Navigation Bar.  Hover your cursor over ‘Group Projects’ and select ‘Join a Project’ from the drop-down menu.  The first thing you will see is likely to be a box with a number of projects listed within it – these are recommendations by FTDNA for you to join based on information you have already provided in your account.  If the various names mean little to you, continue scrolling down and you will come to the alphabetised categories of projects:-

Surname Projects

YDNA Geographical Projects

mtDNA Geographical Projects

Dual (YDNA and mtDNA) Geographical Projects

mtDNA Lineage projects

YDNA Haplogroup Projects

mtDNA Haplogroup Projects.

Click on the alphabet beginning of the project name you wish to consider joining (the number means there are a specific number of projects in the list) and scroll down to the name that you want.
As an example if you choose Dual (YDNA and mtDNA) Geographical Projects and then select N, you will see there are two New Zealand Projects.  Each is seeking different information so do please read the narrative for each.  At the time of writing (June 2023), there are 11,722 projects.

To actually join the project, PLEASE first read the narratives available to you.  (You can also look at what else is in the project if you press the light blue URL near the top.)
When you are ready, press the orange  Join  and follow your nose.

You can join as many projects as you want!  But please do not join one for a short time and then leave – that just wastes everyone’s time.  Make certain you actually wish to join.

I have been doing these newsletter articles for many years but I need your input please.
What topics do you want me to write about?
What do you want me to expand on to aid your knowledge?
Would you like a case study?  Male or female?  Might you volunteer?

Gail Riddell 

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Chinese Corner 

 Fire at Ming Quong’s.

Today’s Proceedings           SUMMING UP BY THE CORONER

The inquest proceedings to investigate the origin of the fire at Ming Quong's store near Onehunga on the Ist March last were resumed at 10 o'clock this morning before Mr J. Bollard (coroner) and jury. The fore noon was occupied in Constable Jones, the clerk, reading over the evidence and the examination of papers and documents by the jury. At one o'clock Mr Bollard summed up the whole of the evidence to the jury. He first complimented them on the prompt manner in which they had returned to their duties after the various adjournments, and also on the attention they had given a long and wearisome case. He pointed out the jury were empanelled for the purpose of considering the origin of the fire. He asked them to put aside from their mind anything they had heard of the case outside of the room, and to come to a verdict on the evidence given before them.

There were four points for the jury to decide, viz.: —

1 Was Ming Quong's store wilfully set on fire "on the 1st of March last, and if so, by whom? ~.

2 Was the store wilfully burned down by some person or persons unknown?

 3. Was the store burned down by accident?

 4. Is there any evidence to show the origin of the fire, or how the fire occurred?

Passing on, the Coroner said the jury had to look through the evidence for motive. The suggestion of the police was that Ming Quong was largely interested and would be benefited greatly by the insurance money, and that he made a false declaration for the purpose of defrauding the insurance companies. The expiation of making- a false declaration, added the Coroner, could form no part of the verdict unless they connected Ming Quong with the fire. It could only be dealt with by the jury as a rider.

In discussing the question of motive, the Coroner said the jury had it in evidence that at the time Ming Quong effected the insurance he declared the value of his goods at £2,400. It was not clear whether the goods sent to Napier and Fiji were included in this amount, but the evidence went to show their value was not. Ming Quong first said that he had lost £1,875 18/8, but afterwards he qualified this when the detectives commenced to make inquiries. However, it was only fair to Ming Quong to say that he made up the claim hurriedly and from memory. Ming Quong explained that his wife in going through the drawers in the dwelling house had found certain papers and invoices, and he stated to the detectives that he would send in a fresh statement of claim. Well, he did not send in the second claim until the 15th of April, and then he had to be written to for it. It appeared, from the evidence that the claim was in the hands of Ming Quong's solicitor, and this was given as the cause of the delay. The amended claim sent in amounted to £876 11/2. The Coroner then pointed out that when Ming Quang sent in his first claim he said that he had £60 worth of goods in his dwelling-house, but the detectives found on search warrants goods only to the extent of £34 odd, instead of £60. Of course the jury would have to draw their own conclusion about this.

The police also stated they found certain goods, unaccounted for, at the men's quarters, and at the gardens on Dr. Campbell's olive estate. With regard to the theory put forth by the Chinese that boys caused the fire, the police held no boys were about. Lee Yen had stated in evidence there were boys outside the store when he got out of bed, and that evidence was supported by another Chinese witness, who said he saw the boys. Whether the boys were there, it was for the jury to say. He would point out that the witness Brown, who was first on the scene of the fire and roused the Chinamen, saw no boys about. It was not easy to reconcile his statement with that of Lee Yen's.

The Coroner then referred to the evidence of Page and Mills, carters, who took goods from the store to Queen-street Wharf three days before the store was burned down. Page said that two or three loads would have cleared the store. If the jury believed the evidence of the carters there were but little goods in the store. Ming Quong had told his domestic servant (Mary McDonald) that he would lose £400 over his insurance, but that did not tally with any statement that Ming Quong had made. When Ming Quong was first called, he said that he owed his brother £70, but when re-examined he said he owed £250 to his brother in Fiji, and nothing to his brother in China. The suggestion put forth by the police, the Coroner pointed out, was Ming Quong had insured his stock at £1520, and that he would largely benefit by the burning of the store, and that was his motive for burning down the store and making a false declaration to the insurance companies.

With regard to Ming Quong's case Mr Bollard said no evidence had really been given to shake Ming Quong's amended claim for £876 11/3. The only evidence against that was the evidence of the carters. Ming Quong had stated the store was full up on the night of the fire; but he had brought no evidence of replacing goods between the time the carters took goods from the store on 25th February and the fire on the Ist March. Mr Bollard concluded by stating that the jury would require to take into consideration the goods found in the dwelling-house and Chinamen's house when considering their verdict.

 THE JURY RETIRE. At a quarter to two the jury retired to consider their verdict. At 3.30 the jury were still considering their verdict. AUCKLAND STAR, 9 MAY 1899

After a retirement of two hours, the jury found the following verdict That the store of Ming Quong was burned down on the first day of March, 1899, and that no evidence of the origin of the said fire doth appear to the said jury."

The following rider was added:—"That the jury is of opinion that the amended claim as put in is correct, and as regards lite first claim, the great excitement under which Ming Quong was suffering at the time he made it out is sufficient reason for the mistakes made, and the jury further consider that the agents of the insurance companies interested are deserving of censure for taking such a large sum of insurance risk without having first made a thorough inspection of the building and its contents."

The Coroner intimated that the verdict would be forwarded to the proper authorities. Detective Kennedy said that with the consent of the coroner he would take charge of all books and documents which had been produced, pending any proceedings that might be taken in the case.  NEW ZEALAND HERALD 10 MAY 1899 

Helen Wong

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More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of

Who was Henry Wylde Leveson-Gower BURNS?

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Description automatically generatedFALSE PRETENCES. NEW ZEALANDER SENT TO PRISON. (From Our Own Correspondent.) LONDON, November 21. Henry Wylde Leveson-Gower BURNS, aged 47, said to be a native of New Zealand, was sent to prison at Camborne last week on charges of obtaining money by false pretences from Mrs E. B. HOOPER, wife of the Rev. G. B. Hooper, of the Rectory, Camborne, and from Mr Joseph HEALE, of the Unicorn Inn, Camborne.

Mrs Hooper said that on Tuesday, November 11. the accused came to their house and asked to see the rector, who was out at the time. He asked to come inside, and they entered the drawing room. The accused said he wanted 5s to send a wire to London, as his money was due. He later said the telegram would cost 4s 5d, and witness eventually gave him 4s 6d.

Constable Scantlebury said when he saw Burns after complaints had been made by Mr Hooper, the accused said he had not sent a telegram, but had “gone on the booze.” Joseph Heale, licensee of the Uniform Inn, Camborne, said on Saturday, September 27, the accused came to his hotel and had some drinks. In conversation the accused represented that he was connected with Messrs Holman Bros., Ltd., Camborne, and Messrs Bickford Smith and Co., Ltd., and said he also had business connection with another firm at Liskeard whom witness knew. The accused said he was a shareholder with the firms. The accused then asked if he could change £1, and later witness found that the accused wished him to advance £1. The accused offered him an I.0.U. and said he would repay the sum on Monday.

TRAMPED THE COUNTRY. Sergeant Sloman said he made inquiries of the two firms mentioned and found that accused was not a shareholder in either. Burns pleaded “guilty” to the charge of obtaining money from Mrs Hooper, but “not guilty” on the second charge. He said that when he went to the rectory, he had had a fair amount of liquor, and was rather hazy as to what took place. He emphatically denied mentioning the names of the firms at the Uniform Inn. He offered an I.0.U. to Mr Heale as a sign of good feeling. He had tramped Scotland and the Midlands trying to find work, and he was not entitled to the “dole.” The bench sent the accused to prison for one month on each charge, the sentences to run concurrently.

This appeared in the Otago Daily Times of 5 January 1931.

I couldn’t find a Henry Wylde Leveson-Gower BURNS born around 1884 however there is a birth for a Henry Wylde Monteath BURNS born on the 3 December 1888 in Christchurch to banker and later sharebroker Benjamin Henry Burns and his wife Alice May nee GOWER who had married in Shanghai before coming to New Zealand. They were a society couple well known in Christchurch. Henry attended Whanganui Collegiate from 1902.

In July 1909 the Timaru Herald[1] reported that at the Waimate Police Court, Henry W. M. BURNS and Henry PRESTON were charged with theft of hams, from the storeroom of Messrs Meyers and Jones. Accused pleaded guilty and were fined 40s each, in default 14 days. The fines were paid. For the crime, the Police Gazette recorded Henry Wilde Monteith Burns was a labourer, about 5’10”, fresh complexion, light brown hair, grey eyes, medium nose and square build.

When Benjamin Henry Burns died in 1932 it was recorded that his son Mr H W M Burns was in England,[2] but when Alice Burns died in 1948, an obituary noted that she had lost her eldest son Archibald Gower Burns, in the 1914-18 war,[3] but there was no mention of son Henry.

[1] Timaru Herald, Volume XIIC, Issue 13965, 28 July 1909, Page 4

[2] Press, Volume LXVIII, Issue 20564, 4 June 1932, Page 16

[3] Press, Volume LXXXIV, Issue 25521, 15 June 1948, Page 2

Christine Clement

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Guest Contributors

Ken Morris

Books about Immigration Voyages and Seafaring Ancestors

WHAT WAS THE VOYAGE REALLY LIKE ~ Shauna Hicks           2015    $15.50            43 pages

MIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND ~ Christine Clement        2nd Ed 2016     $17.50            67 pages

TRYING TO FIND YOUR SEAFARING ANCESTORS ~ Ronald Parsons        1988          $2.50   12 pages.

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These slim volumes from ‘GOULD’ publishing in South Australia, albeit being relatively expensive in relation to the number of pages, they did provide me with some interesting information and leads for further research. As a ‘want to be author’ I’m well aware of the time that goes into researching for a book on family/ancestry and history, and as an author of a book on a like subject as these, suggest “you do it for the love, not the money”.


The chapters cover: why they came, what ship and what type, what was the voyage like, how to find shipboard diaries & logs, what happened on arrival, what happened to the ships as well as museum sources. There is a slight emphasis to Australian sources, but still research sources for NZ migration.

There is a select bibliography, a list of web sites and an index.


Has sections on pre 1840, 1850s & 1860s, the1870s, 1880s-90s, 1st 30 years of the 20th century and through to 1970. Each section is divided into each of the settlements established in the period, with details of where the settlers came from as well as the ships. There are more ‘foreigner groups’ mentioned both earlier and that I remember as a child in Tauranga in the 1940’s, where the ‘only foreigner’ was a Greek family who had a fish & chip shop, we then had quite a few Dutch families, most from Indonesia who didn’t want to go back to Europe and then several Latvian families. They all add to experience and degrowing up.

There are sections of specific source data both written, electronic for: passengers, ships & diaries; immigration; newspapers; biographical; NZ sources, libraries and museums. I found some helpful leads.


Seafaring folk are some of the harder to track down. This ‘book’, being predigital sources, does give a number of leads which are now, in some cases, available online. In the 1800s the UK instigated a number of certificates & registers for various classes of seafarers : captains, officers, mates, engineers, seamen and where these are available they provide a wealth of information, unfortunately their availability can be hit & miss and are located in a number of archives.

For a particular ship I have found the Crew Lists/Voyage Logs in the MHM in St Johns, New Foundland, the Archives in Pembrokeshire, Wales, & possibly in the Archives in Liverpool and London. The documents I’ve got so far have the officers & crew, the voyages, cargos, what seamen were paid (£3/5/- per month) and ratings as to their performance. At the end of a voyage the report had to be lodged with the appropriate authorities and  if in a foreign port with the UK Consul or agent, a reason not all made it back to archives.

The National Archives (UK) have data sheets on where to look for information, is helpful but not always user friendly but are a start.

Ken Morris

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Robina Trenbath

Invercargill – The First (or Second) Blacksmith

OBITUARIES – sometimes the end is a great place to begin: Martha and William BROWN were my late husband’s 2 x great grandparents.

Martha Brown: we’ll need to take Occam’s Razor to this one.  
1. What is Occam’s Razor? William of Ockham, a medieval theologian espoused: that of two competing theories, the simpler explanation is to be preferred.1.                                            
  2. 1856 Marriage Certificate/ Worcestershire, Eng: Martha nee Lewis’ father = Thomas Lewis/ Nurseryman (living).                                              
 3. 1904 Death Reg/ Invercargill N.Z: Informant recorded Martha’s father as Arnold Lewis/ labourer. At this one and only time she has the middle name of Jane. There’s a discrepancy in her age – hence her D.O.B. is not accurate.                        
 4. The simpler explanation: that Martha was alive at her marriage but not at her death is the more credible option but…even then, that data may not be reliable.                                         


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So, from her obituary2 all we really know about Martha is that she was the wife of a blacksmith, arrived in Dunedin in 1858, was a mother and a ‘damn good sort’ (in the kindest term of the phrase) around the neighbourhood. 



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William Brown/ Obituary:
3. Six years on - we know so much about William Brown that it is easy to navigate back & forward in time with some degree of accuracy.                
1.1830-32 born/bap. Shropshire, England             2.1858 Emigration Nourmahal to Dunedin                                                3.Issue: 2 daughters (including Mrs. McKenzie of Tay Street) & 4 sons.                         4.Descendants: 36 gr.children +
 5 gg child. 5.Occupations: Blueskin = sawyer. Invercargill blacksmith 20 years @ Jed-Esk Cnr; move to Victoria Horse Bazzar Tay St; thence to a section near Southland Bldg. Soc.                                                                             6.1905 Retired due to fall from a horse.             7.1910 Death & Funeral dates                             8.Invercargill history: significant others.


1979: After my father-in-law died, I began to collect source documents for William BROWN and his daughter, Mrs. McKENZIE. My mother-in-law would always have a story to tell when I shared the records with her. But there were never any photographs.

2009: When our daughters’ beloved nana passed away, a dusty album was discovered, on top of her old wardrobe. Their Poppa had never been a great talker but here were the early photographs of him and his siblings. Poppa Mac was born in Invercargill. Though he was a carpenter most of his life he left school early to be apprenticed to a saddle-maker. That made sense: his great grandfather had been a blacksmith, while his father (WW1 veteran) and uncle were bootmakers. But I digress… back to the William’s Brown.

1841 – 1851 England Census: William Brown’s father was…William BROWN* (1793-1878). N.B. Skip a generation and his grandfather was William BROWN too (this William married Elizabeth ANDREWS on 18 Jul. 1751 at Burford, Shropshire). For 300 years the Browns were all baptised, mostly raised to be blacksmiths, married & mostly died in Burford, Shropshire. William Snr.* occupations were variously soldier/joiner, wheelwright & carpenter.



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1817: On 28th August 1817 William Brown Snr. (aged 23) of Ledham, Salop (Salop is the ancient name for Shropshire) attested to join 46th Foot Soldiers South Devonshire Regiment4. Image:

William BROWN: baptised 1832 at Burford, Salop England. His parents were William (1793-1878) and Elizabeth BROWN (nee AMPHLET 1799 – June 1840). He was the 6th of their 11 children (the last, born November 1839). A young, widowed father with 11 hungry mouths to feed - tough times. Yes?

In the 1851 Census William was recorded as being 19 years of age (= b.1832) and his father (56) occupation = carpenter along with his brother Thomas (17). William & his brother Charles (15) are both listed as being blacksmiths. Another brother, Richard (11) though a scholar, would in the 1861 census have his occupation as blacksmith.

1856 - May 8: Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage: Given @ the General Register Office     Marriage of William Brown/ Blacksmith to Martha Lewis @ Burford, County of Salop.   N.B. 1841 & 1851 England Census’: Martha Lewis cannot be reliably identified.


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1857: Eliza was William & Martha’s firstborn, @ Tenbury, Shropshire; the only one of their 8 children born in England.  

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Query: We all know how to use the GRO UK INDEX. Right? Let’s know if you don’t.

1858: Nourmahal’ London to Dunedin – 5 May: Captain Brayley. Steerage: Brown William, wife and daughter. 164 Immigrants, including 6 blacksmiths.5.    

1875 - MARRIAGE:                         Southland Times, Issue 2243. 23 December, Page 2. 
Eliza & James McKenzie had 6 children. 

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2022: Sometimes you ‘get lucky’. A descendant of William BROWN shared this portrait.

1908: William Brown 4 Generations6.  Taken in Invercargill, N Z
L: William Brown (1830/32-1910).             R: Eliza (nee Brown (1857-1930)                                                  M: Charles Alexander (Eliza’s son 1880-1932) & his daughter Edna William Brown’s 1st great grandchild. 
William Brown was my late husband’s paternal 2x gr. grandfather. Eliza, his great grandmother, Charles, his grandfather and Edna his aunt. 



I never neglect to Here’s what I found

1891 – Mr and Mrs. F. W. Dawson*:                    Colac Bay, Oraka, Southland – Timber Yard Manager.
 Born 1868 in Tasmania.  He served in the Invercargill City Guards and is now sergeant in the Colac Bay Rifles and a member of their shooting team. Mr. Dawson was married in 1901 to a daughter of Mr. William Brown, blacksmith, Invercargill. They have two sons and four daughters. 
Below:                                                                                 1885 – William Henry Brown(1865-1946) & his wife Betsy.6.                                                                         Like his grandfather, they had 11 children. Henry & Betsy had a farm at Taylors Gorge Road, Hokonui, Southland. 

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MORAL OF THIS FAMILY HISTORY STORY:                                 When it comes to harvesting old family photographs be patient and resourceful. 
Always ask - then acknowledge the kin who so kindly shared their treasures. 
Act with reciprocity - share with family, your discoveries with their sources. 

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1. Occam’s Razor: 

2. PERSONAL/ The ‘Southland News’ says: Mrs Martha Brown… In Evening Star, Issue 12368, 5 December 1904, Page 4.                                                                                                             

3. ABOUT PEOPLE / Mr William Brown: In Southland Times, Issue 14577, 18 November 1910. Page 6.                                                                                                     

4. Guide to the Records of the War Office (as filmed by the AJCP). TROVE/         

 N.B. TROVE: Give yourself over to many Sundays exploring this amazing site. ‘A Joint Copying Project – AJCP’ is a brilliant start for military & convict records (i.e. on board medical register of those who were sick, their illness and treatment etc.) You may never find this ‘stuff’ anywhere else…and it’s free! Phew! 3 April 2023: An injection of funding has saved its mooted closure!                                                                                                                          

5.Nourmahal: Plymouth 8th Feb. Otago Witness 1858, May 15.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

6. William Brown 4 Generations. Photograph acknowledgement JudyJh3/   

Robina Trenbeth

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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

Where:  Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street, Auckland City Centre , Whare Wananga, L2
Cnr of Kitchener & Wellesley Streets . Also online via Zoom            Cost: Free

For queries contact Research Central ph 09 890 2412.


Wednesday 19 July 2023 12pm-1pm

 HeritageTalk: Italian Gem with Giuseppe Gallina

Portrait of a lady with a dog, artist Lavinia Fontana, c1590s. Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1956. M1956/3/1. Photographed by Giuseppe Gallina.

The Renaissance in Italy: the study of ancient books that led to a flourishing of stunning art and to the end of the Italian principalities. The speaker also presents a Renaissance portrait, held in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, and attributed to Italy Lavinia Fontana, one of the very few Renaissance European woman painters.

About the speaker
Giuseppe Gallina is Italian and has been living in New Zealand since 1993. He loves Italian history and enjoys learning from historians. Giuseppe is also studying Italian art history.

He was a member of Toastmasters International from 2008 to 2017, where he learned the skills of public speaking, and in 2013 he started delivering speeches at other organisations. Giuseppe has spoken twice for Auckland Libraries’ HeritageTalks programme.


Wednesday 26 July 2023 12pm-1pm

HeritageTalk: Search, save, research and write: How to use DigitalNZ

National Library's DigitalNZ website began in 2008 with a purpose: to bring the wealth of Aotearoa's digital content into one easily searchable place.

DigitalNZ is primarily a search service that aims to make New Zealand digital content more useful and easily discoverable. We pull together over 30 million items held by over 200 heritage, media, government, and research organisations. Find out how to search DigitalNZ, then use the story tool to collect, curate or write about the things that interest you. You can even upload your own images!

About the speaker
Kelly Dix is an online engagement manager in the National Library’s Digital Experience team. Her primary role is to help connect people with heritage collections and taonga through She has previously worked at the New Zealand Fashion Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira and Learning Media.



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

Auckland Family History Expo 2023

WHERE       Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings, Auckland

Fickling Convention Centre is adjacent to Three Kings Reserve and has some on-street parking on Mt Albert Rd and in side streets. If you are able-bodied we suggest public transport or street parking in surrounding streets. This multi-functional venue is wheelchair-friendly and has accessible toilets.

WHEN           Friday 11 August 2023           5pm-8.30pm
                          Saturday 12 August 2023       8.30am-5.30pm
                          Sunday 13 August 2023         8.30am-4.30pm

COST          Free

Friday 11 August 2023: Opening event $25 per person. Booking is essential. Book tickets via Eventfinda.

Saturday 12 August 2023: Free entrance for all. No booking required.

Sunday 13 August 2023: Free entrance for all. No booking required.


Auckland Council Libraries and the Genealogical Computing Group  (an interest group of the NZ Society of Genealogists) proudly present a weekend-long event covering a wide range of topics on researching genealogy and family history.

Take advantage of our free seminars, from beginner to advanced, computer-based tutorials, ask-an-expert sessions and research assistance on Saturday 12 August and Sunday 13 August.

Bring your laptops to take full advantage of the workshops and tutorials.

Our international guest speakers will be joining us virtually via Zoom. Our New Zealand speakers will join us in person.

Ancestry is the proud platinum sponsor of the 2023 Auckland Family History Expo.

FamilyTree Maker, Genealogical Computing Group and Auckland Council are gold sponsors of the Auckland Family History Expo.

Find out more on the Auckland Libraries website and book tickets for the opening event on Eventfinda.

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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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.

The mixed blessing of a fingerprint

Chinese poll-tax certificates at Archives New Zealand are unique records of adversity and bravery

Updates to New Zealand Historical Birth and Marriage Indexes

British Army records: Where to find them online


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Three ways to prove your family tree is correct


How to use a research timeline to solve a family history problem


Scottish family history: finding a baby's father


In conclusion

Book Reviews

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Dear Peter,

I have been catching up with newsletters as I have had months of intense work load. Some comments on a few.

The 12th Countess of Seafield

She is related to me by marriage as my aunt married Percy Evans, grandson of Major George Evans who married Louise Corry and who emigrated to Oamaru as did his son Eyre. I have been adding the family to WikiTree gradually, so here is George:
I'll add his other siblings eventually once other projects are completed.

John Turnbull Thomson (1821-1884) ‘Surveyor Thomson

Most times I go out I pass the Thomsons Bush area named in his honour, see:
There is also a Turnbull Thomson Park in Invercargill.

Keeping Your Family History Research Safe and Accessible

I am fortunate to have a nephew who is passionate about family history to whom I can leave my materials and those from my mother and other family members that I inherited.
But the best place to put my research is on WikiTree, which you didn't mention. Not only the bare facts but complete stories can be added for family, friends or anyone else. Last month the New Zealand Project starting adding Mayors. I did the 17 Mayors of the Borough of Wanganui where I was born. Several of them would have been known by my grandfather through the St Andrew Kilwinning Lodge, and one was a relation of my first husband, Arthur G Bignell:

Perhaps you can let people know about this alternative to FamilySearch which as far as I am concerned is only useful for its extensive records collection.
In addition, and the reason for my work load, I employed two university students over the summer holidays to help me with all my records. One diligently scanned photos, slides, cards, papers and anything else I could find, and the other typed information into spreadsheets and trip books and the like into documents. It's not completed as there is a lot that I need to do including correcting the words that ended up wrong because they can't read hand writing easily. Much of the material wasn't needed once I had captured the information and has either been given to others who can use it or disposed of.

I back up to three PHDs including one that goes everywhere I go in my handbag.

My goal is to go through all my remaining cartons of papers this year (and that includes those from my research business which were packed up in 2005 and have moved as I have moved around the country). This is in addition to continuing to write my memoir, write profiles for WikiTree and research my own and other people's families.

Diane Wilson

We were all sorry to learn of Diane's death this month. The New Zealand Project has created a profile for her and added her to our list of Notables, see
I do enjoy your newsletter.


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

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