Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community

FamNet eNewsletter May 2023

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote: “Adults are always asking children what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas” – Paula Poundstone



Contents. 1

Editorial 1

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

Regular Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

The Nash Rambler 1

He Got Me. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

X Chromosome Master Class. 1

More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of 1

John Turnbull Thomson (1821-1884) ‘Surveyor Thomson’ 1

Diane Wilson. 1

Perception. 1

Guest Contributors. 1

Ken Morris. 1

Abe Books UK - Most expensive sales from January to March 2023. 1

Vegemite. 1

George Warcup. 1


Robina Trenbeth. 1

Genealogical Threads. 1

An Invitation to Contribute: 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

Group News. 1

News and Views. 1

Various Articles Worth Reading. 1

The forgotten Māori soldiers of Colditz and a dangerous wartime mission. 1

What was Victorian spiritualism?. 1

What is a marriage bond?. 1

Who were the Irish Volunteers?. 1

Trove Saved. 1

Irish census records and census substitutes. 1

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

How to find old orphanage records. 1

The London Gazette: What is it, how can you get a copy and how is it used in family history?. 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.

Last night while I was doing my normal nightly contemplation before dropping off to sleep I mentally, wrote a great editorial. It was short, funny and very readable. I woke up this morning with no memory of that wonderful piece of literature I had created. My morning coffee did not help my memory. My crossword session was disturbed by my mental attempts at recall i.e. I couldn’t complete any that I tried. I have had lunch, mowed the lawn and generally sat around trying to remember. Who said growing old was easy. Only the brave survive. Sometimes having an addled brain like mine is an asset and has saved me from all sorts of jobs, invitations etc. but there are occasions when I could quite easily exchange my brain for anybody else’s. Can we assume that the editorial is read and move on to the body of this magnificent newsletter?

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 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

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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

He Got Me

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Description automatically generatedIn April 2021 I wrote the following:

You must know by now that I have a weekly session, over a good coffee, with a very good friend of mine who is a fellow genealogy addict. We vary our meeting place and each takes turns in paying for the coffee and scones. Here we discuss our latest research and research problems and if we have none, we sort out the world’s problems. We have been known to play a trick on each other and if one has made a discovery as a result of the other’s suggestion, they then pay for the next session irrespective of whether it is their turn or not. It is a special part of the weekly event – dodging paying for the next week’s session.

The key point of our coffee sessions is to avoid being proved to be an idiot, incompetent or embarrassed or all three. It is my ambition to cause Allan to pay for the refreshments and to avoid him causing me to fork out.

Well last week he got me!!!!! And this is how he did it.

A couple of Fridays ago I was the speaker at the local Probus group. I was to speak on the Onehunga cemeteries with the emphasis on the Hillsborough cemetery – its history and its inmates. It is a particularly scenic cemetery on the hillside overlooking Onehunga and the Manukau Harbour. I have a slide show with a lot of magnificent photos which I am particularly proud of. These lengthen the speech and add a bit of class to the performance.

I arrived on time and set myself up. Unfortunately, it took about 30 minutes to get the overhead projector to work. I was insistent that I really needed it and sat there while the “boffins” pressed every button available. At last, it’s going. So I reach for my memory stick and, “bugger” I had left it at home. Oh Oh!!!! Deep embarrassment and apologies!!!!! Off I went into the speech. I made the audience look at the blue screen and we took a virtual tour of the cemetery. I pointed out that we could see Mangere Bridge, The harbour was particularly blue and the Pohutukawa were a lovely red colour. Luckily the audience played ball and made humorous comments as I proceeded. I pointed out on the virtual map the locality of the cemetery and they seemed to understand. They even “stood back” to let a car pass us by. Much laughter broke out when one lady commented on how close Mt Albert was and I told her to turn around she was facing the wrong direction.

Then I had a senior moment and forgot a huge slice of the speech. I had to rustle through my speech notes and proceeded to drop them on the floor. Before I picked them up I gave the audience permission to laugh, which they did loudly.

Then I got sidetracked when a lovely lady (who is a particular friend) asked a question. This took about five minutes to answer and I proceeded to wander well away from the planned format and forgot my notes. I ad-libbed for about fifteen minutes and ended up talking about safeguarding their valuables, photos etc as my last column was about – i.e. well off topic

I eventually faded into quietness and no questions were asked.

I quickly made my escape and raced home and hid in my computer room until much later in the day.

Well the next Wednesday Allan was acting normally. I didn’t mention my fiasco. We had our normal rambling discussion. About fifteen minutes into our “session” Allan looked at me, grinned, and said, “I hear you had a great speech with the Probus group”. I said, “you got me. I’m paying next week”. That did not stop him from telling me (very loudly) all the reports he had heard. Apparently that speech is very near the top of their list of hilarious speeches and I probably won’t be asked back again. I was once again deeply embarrassed.

So, next week, I expect Allan will order the most expensive cake in the display cabinet and will want two cups of his favourite tipple.


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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

X Chromosome Master Class

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Description automatically generatedI have been wanting to guide you towards X Chromosome matching for some time - it is actually invaluable because of the way it passes by inheritance.  I have found connections to members of my father's family that had been otherwise been invisible using just autosomal or YDNA matches.
The X chromosome can be especially useful to genetic genealogists because it has a unique inheritance path. Thanks to that characteristic, some of the work of identifying your common ancestor is done just by simply having an X match.
Unfortunately, X-DNA and X matching is both underutilised and misunderstood – in part because not all vendors report on the X chromosome for matching purposes.  But also because we do not correctly fill in the available charts for the X chromosome.  
In the meantime, my friend Roberta Estes has prepared a blog on the X Chromosome which is available to you at this URL:


Charts for your use are available (along with more information) here


Posted on March 28, 2023 by Roberta Estes in her ‘DNA Explained Blog available at

Hopefully, you will read this article, follow along with your own DNA results and make important discoveries.
Let’s get started!

Who Uses the X Chromosome?

The X chromosome is autosomal in nature, meaning it recombines under some circumstances, but you only inherit your X chromosome from certain ancestors.

It’s important to understand why, and how to utilize the X chromosome for matching. In this article, I’ve presented this information in a variety of ways, including case studies, because people learn differently.

Of the four major testing vendors, only two provide X-DNA match results.

FamilyTreeDNA – provides X chromosome results and advanced matching capabilities including filtered X matching

23andMe – provides X chromosome results, but not filtered X matching without downloading your results in spreadsheet format

Ancestry and MyHeritage do not provide X-DNA results but do include the X in your raw DNA file so you can upload to vendors who do provide X matching

GEDmatch – not a DNA testing vendor but a third-party matching database that provides X matching in addition to other tools

It’s worth noting at this point that X-DNA and mitochondrial DNA is not the same thing. I wrote about that, here. The source of this confusion is that the X chromosome and mitochondrial DNA are both associated in some way with descent from females – but they are very different and so is their inheritance path.

So, what is X-DNA and how does it work?   Click here to see the full article.  

From the Editor:  I put it into a separate web page because it would have doubled the size of the newsletter, but it’s thoroughly recommended for those with an interest in DNA.  Robert.

Gail Riddell 

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More Famous New Zealanders You have Probably Never Heard Of

John Turnbull Thomson (1821-1884) ‘Surveyor Thomson’

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Description automatically generatedJohn Turnbull Thomson was born at Glororum Farm, near Bamburgh, Northumberland in 1821 to Alexander and Janet THOMSON née TURNBULL. After studying engineering and mathematics he went to Malaysia and Singapore where by 1841, he was appointed the government surveyor. His most famous building there was the Horsburgh lighthouse which is still in use on the approaches to the Singapore Strait.

THOMSON suffered from ill health and returned to England in 1853 where he was advised to seek a more temperate climate. In 1856 came to Auckland on board the Ashmore, and in May, was appointed Chief Surveyor for the Otago Provincial Government, which then included Southland. At that stage only the coastlines had been mapped and Thomson’s first task was to lay out the towns of Bluff and Invercargill. Here he made the main streets twice the normal width and surrounded the planned town with a green belt. For the first three months of 1857 he explored, surveyed, and mapped nearly 2½ million acres of southern Otago/Southland. On foot and occasionally horseback, the survey party travelled almost 1,500 miles. He reported 253 Europeans, 70 half-castes and 119 Māori as being resident.

In October 1857, THOMSON began the survey of northern Otago. He explored the Waitaki River to its source at the head of Lake Pūkaki and was said to be the first European to sight Mount Cook from the east. He crossed and named the Lindis Pass, after Lindisfarne Island, and from Mount Grandview (near Hawea Flat), he named Mount Aspiring and Mount Pisa. Mount Earnslaw was named after his grandfather's farm, and the Twizel and Cardrona rivers and Mount St Bathans were named after places in his homeland.

Thomson’s first map of the interior of Otago was published in 1860, and as a result of his favourable reports on the good pastoral land, settlers began to take up leasehold runs. With the finding of gold at Gabriel’s Gully in 1861 this led to the influx of gold seekers and other settlers to Otago. THOMSON was also responsible for the surveying of the main roads leading out from Dunedin.

In 1876 he was appointed as the first Surveyor General for New Zealand and moved to Wellington. He introduced his systems throughout the whole country and compiled a book of instructions for surveyors. He retired in 1879 to Invercargill with his wife, Jane née WILLIAMSON, and their nine daughters. John Turnbull THOMSON died in 1884 and is buried in Saint John’s Cemetery with his wife.

He had taught himself to paint and his paintings of both Singapore and New Zealand are seen as important visual records of settlement. He also wrote numerous books.

John Turnbull Thomson's mid-19th-century painting of the Toitu estuary 1856. (Public Domain)

His brother George was a sea captain and came to New Zealand with his wife Esther née Mitchell in 1866 settling in Invercargill. They are buried at Orepuki, near Riverton.

Christine Clement

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Diane Wilson


Recently in a Facebook group comment someone asked about whether the Wilson Collection was only for the Wilson’s. It had never occurred to me that this could be perceived from the name. Fortunately, I did not use my maiden family name of Poland or they would have thought the collection was for Polish settlers.

The Wilson Collection has a current focus on New Zealand marriage records and this is growing rapidly. We hope to do another update in September when many thousands of marriage places will be added to the database. So often the place of marriage is far from the place of residence making the collection doubly valuable. It must be emphasised that the collection is free and available to all and not only to the Wilsons.

We continue to be surprised that information obtained from Papers Past regarding bigamy and the details of the reasons for divorce. Often a lot of information of family relationships can be discovered in these articles.

Thank you so much to the many family historians who have sent details from many sources that assist with the project. Another free source of New Zealand data can be accessed at and this is a valuable additional source. I am sure everyone is grateful to all who make these free resources possible.

Data analytics continue to show details that users of the collection from are many parts of the globe including New Zealand, Australia, England, Pacific Islands, USA, Canada, Belgium, China, Mexico and others. Continue to explore your family history and have fun in your discoveries.

Diane Wilson

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Guest Contributors

Ken Morris

Abe Books UK - Most expensive sales from January to March 2023

This came into my inbox & it could be worthwhile looking thru one’s old books and any held by family members. Some are a bit rare but The Harry Potter and Casino Royale are possibles

1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling - £68,335Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone

This first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was once part of Edinburgh Public Library

This is a true first edition of published by Bloomsbury in June 1997. Only 500 copies were printed, 200 of which were used to promote the book, and 300 of which were provided to libraries. This copy was originally owned by the Edinburgh Public Library. Edinburgh is Rowling’s hometown. She wrote this novel while sitting in various cafes around the Scottish city. The book’s library card shows that it was borrowed 27 times between 15 December 1997 until 12 October, 1999 before it was withdrawn from service. Those 27 readers were among the first people to experience the magic of Hogwarts.

This is a hardcover and was issued without a dust jacket. This copy has been restored and is housed in a full red leather box lined with black suede. The sale is our second  most sale of all time, and shows that the Harry Potter phenomenon, which began in 1997, has not diminished. It is probably the most expensive online sale of a first edition of the Philosopher’s Stone. A first edition sold at auction for $471,000 in 2021.

2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling - £21,349

Harry Potter paperbackThe first paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Wait, there’s another one. This is one of the paperback first editions, published later in 1997. Around 5,000 copies of this edition were printed. This copy is inscribed by J.K. Rowling on the half-title page: 'To David & Jenny, J.K. Rowling'. Being a softcover, this book is creased and worn, and has clearly been read many times. Any book signed by Rowling is valuable. Early in her career, she frequently signed copies. As the series grew in popularity, signing events became less frequent.




3 Ichthyology of South Carolina by John Edwards Holbrook - £20,746

Ichthyology of South CarolinaThis book is rare because a disastrous fire in the Artists Building in Philadelphia destroyed all the plates, stones, and original drawings in the first edition of the book. This volume of the Ichthyology of South Carolina was published between 1855 and 1857 (in ten parts). Holbrook temporarily abandoned the project. The second edition, with the text reworked and all the plates redrawn, was published in 1860.




4 The Sistine Chapel by Vatican Museums - £17,560

This luxury 3 Vol elephant folio-sized art book includes 1:1 scale images of the masterpieces by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and other Renaissance artists. It was created after two photographers took more than 270,000 images over 65 consecutive nights while the Sistine Chapel was closed to visitors — a photographic assignment of biblical proportions. A 33-foot-tall scaffold — which was constructed and taken apart each night — helped the photographers get close to the famous art decorating the walls and ceiling.

5 Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - £17,454

Casino RoyaleA first edition of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

A first edition of Ian Fleming’s classic James Bond thriller was published in 1953 by Jonathan Cape. This is a former library book and its all-important dust jacket has been beautifully restored. Casino Royale is one of the most collectible of twentieth century novels because it launched the 007 phenomenon. Copies of this novel regularly appear on our expensive sales lists.



6  Der Hungern Chronica by Janos Thuroczy - £16,425

Der Hungern Chronica translates from German as "Chronicle of the Hungarians". It was published in 1534 in Vienna and describes Hungarian medieval history. Originally published in Latin in 1488, this is a first German edition. It contains all five books of the chronicle in a single volume. It begins with the uprising of the Huns in 373 A.D. and ends with the death of King Louis II of Hungary in the battle of Mohács against the Ottomans in 1526.

7 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft - £14,110

This book, published in 1792 by British advocate of women’s rights, the author, is one of the earliest and most influential works on feminist philosophy. This was a first edition, bound in leather.

8  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick - £13,723

Do Androids Dream of Electric SheepA true first edition with an unrestored original dust jacket

One of the most famous novels by Philip K. Dick, this book was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. This copy of a true first edition is special because of the condition of the book and the dust jacket and its vibrant, unfaded colours.

The novel is about a bounty hunter who tracks down escaped androids in a post-apocalyptic future. This book belongs to our list of 50 must read science fiction books


9 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - £12,770

A Christmas CarolA rare first edition of A Christmas Carol published in 1843

This is a first edition, first printing by Chapman & Hall from 1843 bound in red Morocco leather, it was published on December 19, 1843, and became an instant bestseller.

This novella helped craft the modern version of Christmas with its focus on family, food, and giving. Scrooge has entered the lexicon for anyone who is tight-fisted. AbeBooks sold another first edition of this book, accompanied by a Dickens letter in 2022 for £15,3000



10  I, Robot by Isaac Asimov - £11,972

I RobotA first edition of I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Published by Gnome Press in 1950, this is a signed first edition of Asimov’s I, Robot , a collection of short stories. These stories originally appeared in the American magazines Super Science Stories and Astounding Science Fiction between 1940 and 1950.

Isaac Asimov was one of the three most influential authors of hard science fiction during his lifetime, along with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C Clarke. The Foundation series is arguably his defining work. It started as short stories published in Astounding Magazine with Asimov turning them into three books in the 1950s The Foundation series has recently been adapted into an Apple TV show.


11  Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien - £11,972

Smith of Wooton MajorSigned by J. R. R. Tolkien

This novella by J. R. R. Tolkien was first published in 1967. This is a first US edition, signed by Tolkien. In Smith of Wootton Major, Tolkien explores the gift of fantasy, and what it means to the life and character of the men who receives it. The story is not connected to the Middle-earth legendarium.




12 Whispers From Eternity by Paramahansa Yogananda – £9,982

Paramahansa Yogananda Whispers from Eternity was an Indian Hindu guru who introduced meditation and yoga to millions of Americans. This is an inscribed copy of a collection of mantras. Whispers From Eternity was self-published by Yogananda’s Self-Realization Publishing House in Los Angeles in 1944. Yogananda settled in America and became so well-known that he was even a guest of President Calvin Coolidge at the White House in 1927. Paramahansa Yogananda effectively launched American yoga culture.



13 Tax stamp (two shillings and six pence) - £9,582

Stamp taxA tax stamp from 1765 used in Britain's American colonies. This is a rare tax stamp from 1765 when Britain was attempting to raise revenue from its American colonies. A tax was levied on all paper goods including birth, marriage, and death certificates, and other printed materials such as newspapers and pamphlets. The legislation required that, starting in 1765, paper materials must carry a tax stamp. Agents would collect tax in exchange for the stamp.




14 Artis Magnae Artilleriae by Kazimierz Sirmienowicz - £9,582

Artis Magnae ArtilleriaeThe fascinating pyrotechnic machines devised for entertainment Kazimierz Sirmienowicz  (1600-51) was a general of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, an expert of artillery and military engineering, and a pioneer of rocketry. Based on long-standing experience, Artis Magnae Artilleriae was an encyclopaedia of artillery and pyrotechnics.




15 Wormser Bibel - £8,466

The Wormser Bible was the first Protestant edition of the Bible to be printed in German. It was published by Peter Schöffer in the city of Worms in 1529. It contains the new and old testaments in one volume. This copy appears to have been rebound in the nineteenth century.


Ken Morris

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George Warcup


My wife Nola’s great-grandfather, Charles Lee WILDBORE, brought his family to New Zealand in 1874. Lee WILDBORE, as he was known to his friends, was a blacksmith. He was born in 1833 in Kirton in Holland, Lincolnshire where he served his apprenticeship and then joined the British army. After he was discharged, he married Eliza Baldock in 1854 but she died less than a year later. He married Emma Lynda Guy on the 3rd of February 1861.

In April 1861, the census of that year tells us that Lee was then aged 37 and was an unemployed farrier living in Islington southeast London with his family - his wife Emma, sons Charles aged 9 and John 5, and daughters Elizabeth 3 and Emma aged 1.

New Zealand in the 1860’s, along with most of the rest of the world, was suffering from a trade depression. The Imperial Army was being withdrawn from the country leaving the colonial government to find its own solution to its problems with the Maori. At the initiative of the then Colonial Treasurer, and later Prime Minister, Julius Vogel, the Government devised a bold and ambitious scheme to fill up the empty land with Europeans settlers and to improve communications to counter the Maori problem. In 1870 the Public Works and Immigration Act was passed; an enormous amount of money was borrowed from European investors and New Zealand embarked on an unprecedented period of expansion. England, at that time, was having troubles with the rural labour force forming trade unions and demanding better pay and conditions. New Zealand’s emigration agents targeted this section of the community.

The following few years saw a huge increase to New Zealand’s population and public works, notably railways. Villages became towns, waste land was sold and occupied, and wages increased. When these conditions became known in England and elsewhere an even greater flood of emigrants to this country occurred. For a while New Zealand in contrast to the rest of the world was booming. In due course inflation set in and with bad harvests due to dry weather in the later 1870’s the government was in danger of defaulting on its loan repayments. Immigration was stopped and the public works program curtailed.

Our WILDBORE family arrived in New Zealand on board the sailing ship Euterpe, arriving in Wellington in August 1874. With Charles Lee WILDBORE, and his wife Emma Lynda (nee GUY) were their four children, John Lee, then aged nine, his brother, Charles Edward, aged eleven and his two sisters Harriet Elizabeth, nine and Emma, seven.

The Euterpe was a fully rigged iron sailing ship built in the Isle of Man and launched in 1863. After a chequered career in the India trade, she was sold to Shaw Savill and, in 1871, embarked on a quarter century of transporting emigrants to New Zealand. In 1889 she was sold to American owners and was rigged down to a barque and renamed as the Star of India. She was employed sailing from California to the Bering Sea with loads of fisherman, cannery hands, and supplies returning each autumn loaded with tinned salmon. This carried on until 1923 when she was laid up and brought by a group from San Diego. In 1976 the fully restored Star of India put to sea for the first time in fifty years. She is now owned by the San Diego Maritime Museum and it is claimed that she is the oldest sailing ship still afloat.

Lee WILDBORE’s family settled in the Aorangi Taonui District, near the newly completed Palmerston North to Whanganui Railway line not far from the township of Fielding, and commenced business as a blacksmith. They were highly regarded in the local community with many friends but also unfortunately two implacable enemies.

For some time Lee had been bothered with stock straying onto his land in Taonui. During April 1887 Lee placed several advertisements in the Fielding Star newspaper to the effect that any stray horses or stock found on his land would be impounded and that dogs and pigs would be shot.

On the 5th of April Lee carried out his threat and shot eight trespassing pigs owned by a neighbour Jeremiah CORKERY. who contended that the pigs were not trespassing and that the boundary fence was incorrectly positioned. The seeds of animosity were about to sprout.

Next morning, at three o clock Saturday 6th of April 1878, Lee WILDBORE was awakened by a choking sensation. On collecting his senses, he discovered his home was on fire and, with the greatest difficulty, managed to save his child. Within twenty minutes the house was burnt to the ground. Neighbours rallied around and prevented the fire from spreading. Lee WILDBORE lost everything with the exception of one box of clothes.

Six months later, on Saturday the 8th  of October, Lee returned home from a trip from Palmerston North at peace with the world after admittedly consuming a few whiskeys with friends.  After tea Emma asked him to bring in the morning’s wood. Lee said to Emma that, while outside, he would see the Corkery’s and make friends as he did not like to live in bad blood with neighbours.

Lee first approached Mrs CORKERY to ask for reconciliation so that they could be friends and offered her his hand only to be rudely rebuffed. Lee then approached her husband and asked him to shake hands only to meet with the same rebuff. According to Lee, he turned and, while walking away, took out his knife to cut a chew of tobacco. He heard CORKERY approaching and turned around to find him in the act of striking him. He put up his hand to guard his face and, while walking backwards, fell over log. In the course of the fall, he drew the knife out of Corkery’s hand and dropped it. Finding that he was not pursued Lee went home and went to bed.

Next morning, Sunday Lee was arrested and summoned to appear at the Fielding Magistrates Court on the following Thursday, the 15th, where the Corkery’s told a very different story. The Court room was filled with Lee’s supporters and some of Mrs Corkery’s evidence was greeted with laughter. The magistrate could not decide whether to send the case to be heard in the Palmerston North District Court or to send it forward for a full jury trial at the Wanganui Supreme Court. A full and reasonable report of the proceedings was published that same day in the Fielding Star.

The Wanganui Herald however, with an eye for their circulation, carried the sensational headline “Stabbing Affray in Taonui.”

The Supreme Court Trial in Wanganui did not go well for Lee WILDBORE. CORKERY, with his evidence backed by his wife, and with his bandaged lacerated hand, complete with a doctor’s report indicating that he may lose the use of his little finger, gave evidence that while admitting that Lee had endeavoured to shake hands but then attempted to stab him in the heart was believed. On the 26th  of October 1878 Lee came up for sentence where the judge, despite the jury’s recommendation for mercy, passed a sentence of nine months jail with hard labour, while passing the remark that he considered that the defendant was getting off easily.

A few days later, on 17th November, a notice appeared in the Fielding Star it stated that:

A partition to the Minister of Justice praying for a mitigation of the sentence passed in the Supreme Court in Wanganui on Charles Lee Wildbore convicted of assault but strongly recommended for mercy by the jury now lies at Mr Cathew’s shop for signature of such residence and settlers desirous of showing their goodwill to the suffering family and pity for Mr Wildbore.










Some five months later a reply from the Director of Prisons was received by the Mayor of Fielding and published in same newspaper.

Sir I am directed to inform you that petition signed by you  and the other residence of the Fielding district on behalf of Mr Charles Wildbore now undergoing a sentence of nine month’s imprisonment  for assault has been duly submitted to his Excellency the Governor who can see no sufficient grounds to justify his complying with the prayer thereof.  Will you kindly in form the rest of the petitioners the result of His Excellency’s decision.











Charles died shortly before his wife at Aorangi on the 14th  of June 1916 and is buried at Bunnythorpe.

On the 22 November 1894, when aged twenty-eight, John Lee WILDBORE married Josephine Carolina Alvinia Henrietta HASSE. Josephine was born in Sulitz, Germany and was brought to New Zealand by her parents when she was eighteen months old, arriving in Wellington on the 3rd Oct 1874. The HASSE family became close neighbours of the Wildbore’s at Taonui.

The average German emigrant in the nineteenth century would hardly give a flicker of interest to the prospect of relocating in New Zealand. It took a fluctuation in international conditions with a recession in the U.S.A. as well as fortunate timing on the part of the New Zealand Government, to create a temporary interest in emigration to this country.

The Hasse’s, their father August and mother Louise, both aged 26, Josephine aged eighteen months, and her sister Auguste aged two years six months arrived in Wellington on the 4th August 1876 on board the 1475-ton, 256 ft. sailing ship, Fritz Reuter. Also, on board the Fritz Reuter were 425 passengers including Johan HASSE, aged 30, his wife Auguste aged 28 - probably close relations and both HASSE families settled in the Fielding area.

After Wars against Denmark in 1864 and 1871, the German empire was finally united under the Prussian Prime Minister Count Otto von Bismarck and after these experiences sections of the community felt shell shocked. For instance, when promoting the potential for German migration, the German Empires consul in New Zealand, Fredrick August KRULL, suggested these would be emigrants fearing another war involving their homeland. A change in policy by the German Government in 1876 caused an abrupt end to immigration from that country which came as a great shock to the German emigration agent and the shipping company. The situation was far worse for the hundreds of German emigrants (and other nationalities) who had been accepted for New Zealand as they had given their required three months’ notice to their employers and sold their possessions. The dilemma came to a head when the Prussian Government forced the shipping company to send these emigrants anyway.

As a result, on the 4th of August 1876 the Fritz Reuter with its unwanted cargo of over four hundred passengers arrived in Wellington. The August 7th flurry of communications between German ambassador KRULL, and the Immigration department Wellington saw KRULL reduced to virtually begging for their help to accommodate temporally and feed this enormous number of people. The Minister of Immigration reluctantly agreed to accommodate these “unfortunates” on Soames Island. He also agreed to provide a few days rations. 

John Lee WILDBORE died on the 25th of November 1938 in Palmerston North aged seventy-three and is buried at Apiti. Josephine WILDBORE nee HASSE died on the 28th of July 1956 in Palmerston North, aged eighty-one, and is buried in the Kelvin Lawn Cemetery Palmerston North.

Charles Lee ’WILDBORE’s wife Emma Lynda nee GUY was born in Middlesex in 1831 and died on the 24th of November 1916 in tragic circumstances. Some passing neighbours noticed smoke coming from her home and, on investigating, found the house on fire and Emma lying on the path with all her cloths burnt off. It seems that a kerosene stove had exploded in the kitchen. She is also buried at Bunnythorpe. They were survived by their sons Charles Edward of Pohangia, John Lee living in Levin, Fredrick Lee  in Fielding,  William Alfred Aorangi, and daughters Harriet Elizabeth Sutherland Melbourne, and  Louisa Maud Moore Fielding.

Their second son John Lee WILDBORE, Nola’s grandfather, was named after his partenal grandfather and was born in Rochester, Kent, England  and, when aged  five, accompaied his parents  to New Zealand in 1874.

George Warcup

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Robina Trenbeth

Genealogical Threads

Ancestors: our family tree has quite a few characters. Sometimes I will pick one who appeals and drop them into the historical contexts of his or her time frame.  I usually end up with some colourful threads (i.e., source documents) which I use to weave their stories.

1637 & 1639 – Lambourn, Berkshire, England1: there were two 8 x great grand uncles who emigrated to America, leading men who helped establish the community of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

1807 – Somerset, England2: a 3x great grandfather (clerk of the coal works and Calvinist/ Wesleyan lay preacher) who zealously defended his right to preach alongside his community’s highly educated Anglican rector (also a highly regarded antiquarian).

1871 – Christchurch NZ3: our Cornish great grandfather travelled from Western Australia, sharing the company of five leaders of the Irish Brotherhood (Fenians: Baines, Fennell, Flood, Gouldney and Kelly).

1888 – Whitechapel, England4: a stoic great grandmother who lived and worked in the shadows of Jack-the-Ripper haunts. Her three sons given over to the Metropolitan Asylum Board and in the company of Sidney Chaplin, to serve on HMS Training Ship Exeter.

But not all the threads I find lead to a forebear. Sometimes they are just stray strands which I ‘pull at’ to see what will happen.

1973 – Highbury, Birkenhead, Auckland, N.Z: a newly opened antique shop attracted my attention as I passed. A rather attractive man with salt and pepper whiskers stood up from polishing the claws of a fine table and I said, I’d like to be left to browse. In the farthest corner I spied a dust cloth covering a large item. “Sorry, new stock from England but would you like to look?” Of course, I would.

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Late 17th century – large oak wall-mounted chest: 
Front top:  16 RALPH THORESBY 89
Door: an ancient metal worker using a tool on an elaborate helmet.
Front bottom - (Latin phrase):   
SOLA * IN * DEO * SALVS                                     Translation: SAFETY IN GOD ALONE
Ornately carved with flowers, vines, grapes and 2 owls. 
For 50 years now, everywhere I go, the chest goes too.

Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725)5: he was an antiquarian, born in Leeds. Besides being a merchant, he was a non-conformist, fellow of the Royal Society, diarist, author, common-councilman in the Corporation of Leeds and museum keeper.   
1689:  he established a mill (Sheepscar) for the preparation of rapeseed oil in which, as well as his other mercantile concerns, he had little, or rather no, success. 
N.B. 1689 being the date on the chest.


2023 – April/ a bookshop in Australia/ Barbara Erskine6: is an author who combines historical fact with fiction (usually good old ghost stories). I had just finished her second to last novel The Ghost Tree which follows the ancestral lines of her 5x great grandfather Thomas Erskine – 2 of his offspring actually emigrated to New Zealand. 

So, it was with delight that I happened on her latest book The Dream Weavers which is partly set in the Kingdom of Mercia in 775AD. The Anglo-Saxon king was Offa and it is through him and the destinies of his daughters that the novel lives.

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What does all this mean? Well, the day before I bought the book, The Dream Weavers, I decided that Ralph Thoresby’s chest needed its annual polish of beeswax (yes, I know, I am not a great housekeeper.  I spend way too much time on history and genealogy). The chest glistened and I took time to admire, once more, its fine features.

I immersed myself in reading my new book. King Offa was certainly making sure that his daughters’ marriages were all going to be worthwhile alliances (at least, for him).

That night Ralph Thorseby came thumping into my dreams. So, I got up the next morning and brought him up to date on GOOGLE. I perused everything and was blessed with this little gem:                                                                                                                                                        Thoresby’s Journey to Cumbria 16947  

Wow! Over 320 years ago Ralph Thoresby knew all about King Offa!   

7928: Many historians regard Offa as the most powerful Anglo-Saxon king before Alfred the Great. His dominance never extended to Northumbria, though he gave his daughter AElfflaed in marriage to the Northumbrian king AEthelred 1 in 792 at Catterick.

To answer the question; all this means is, that when you ‘pull a thread’ you never know where or to what, it will lead you. It led me to write this article.

Taking on the role of family historian is like being a car mechanic – if the connections aren’t true, then ultimately, the jolly thing won’t work!

To find oneself immersed in history can be overwhelming. But equally, it can be to lose sight of the fact that our ancestors may not have been actual participants. They are not less for that fact. Indeed, to have walked alongside history is just as important. We seem to know all about Lady Emma Hamilton, yet we know nothing about her seamstress.

We, the recorders of past times and lives need to ensure that the forebears we attach to our tree, belong to us. No, we were not there to climb into their beds or sup at their tables and yes, we probably do not know much about those names we so gleefully claim as ‘Ours!” However, we can honour those, in whose footsteps we walk and pass on a rich heritage if we take the time (sometimes decades), trouble and the expense to go to the nth degree to establish that our attachments are true. That means sorting fact from fiction. Getting some ‘sauce’ on our documents. A source document is not something someone else has put up on the internet. Neither is it the scribbling of our grandad who thought to: “put it all down, before I go.” Due diligence given to family history research ensures better outcomes for all.

1.Ref. A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England by John Farmer, 1829. P.58.           

 2.Ref. Journal of a Somerset Rector 1803-1834 by Rev. John Skinner. Pub; 1930.                                                   

 3.Ref. Magistrates’ Courts Christchurch/ Lyttleton Alleged Convicted Fenians in Lyttleton       Times 8 June 1871. Page 3.                                                                                                                         

4.Ref. T.S.Exmouth Asscn; Patrick Jones, Secretary & Archivist, 2004.                                                             

] 5.Ref. Ralph Thoresby, Wikipedia.                                                                                                                

  6.Ref. The Ghost Tree (2019), The Dream Weavers (2022) by Barbara Erskine (Pub. Harper Collins).                                                                                                                                                              

 7.Ref. Ralph Thoresby, Lancaster University/ GOOGLE                                                                                

 8.Ref. Offa of Mercia, Wikipedia.                                                                                              

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

Whare Wānanga, L2 Central City Library

44 Lorne Street, Auckland Central

Also online via Zoom            Cost: Free

For queries contact Research Central ph 09 890 2412.


Group News

News and Views



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Various Articles Worth Reading

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

The forgotten Māori soldiers of Colditz and a dangerous wartime mission


What was Victorian spiritualism?



What is a marriage bond?


Who were the Irish Volunteers?




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Trove Saved


And this website


Irish census records and census substitutes


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



How to find old orphanage records



The London Gazette: What is it, how can you get a copy and how is it used in family history?


In conclusion

Book Reviews

Help wanted

Letters to the Editor

Advertising with FamNet

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

If your organisation is not a group subscriber then there may be a charge for advertising events and services, which must be paid for before publication. Charges start at $NZ25 for a basic flier, and increase for more elaborate presentations.

A Bit of Light Relief


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