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FamNet eNewsletter November 2023

  ISSN 2253-4040

Quote:  Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please - Mark Twain


Contents. 1

Editorial 1

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

Contributors. 1

From the Developer 1

The Nash Rambler 1

Down another rabbit hole. 1

DNA Testing for Family History. 1

Chinese Corner 1

Looking for Where my Grandfather Lies. 1

More Famous New Zealanders You Have Probably Never Heard Of 1

Carlyle Gray Everiss (1914-1941) 1

Ken Morris. 1

A Visit To 42nd Street Suda, Crete, 26 Oct 2023. 1

Rowan Gibbs. 1

“Fabian De Lisle” 1

Robina Trenbeth. 1

Mary - GRO Online Indexes – Getting Research Right 1

An Invitation to Contribute: 1

From our Libraries and Museums. 1

Auckland Libraries. 1

Group News. 1

News and Views. 1

Discover the 1911 Census. 1

When was Greenwich Mean Time established?. 1

What were the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens?. 1

How to view Ancestry records for free. 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.

Well this month I’m begging again. We have had a lot of feedback from our readers about how interesting and helpful this newsletter is. Some have commented about how it keeps them up to date with current developments in the hobby. Others have used the style of our articles as a template for the writing on their own ancestors, research etc. but I hope they are not trying to copy my style of humour. Others like the jokes. But we try to make the newsletter readable and the articles not very formal.

Well my stock of unused jokes has emptied. I need a few donations of some jokes for future newsletters.

You will notice that one contributor is in Houston, another in Greece and Crete and another is dog sitting in England. We have lost a few who were regular writers due to illness and the final farewell. Please, please can we have a few contributions? They don’t have to be every month because that is very hard to do. But one every three months is brilliant. I, personally, don’t want to let the newsletter fold up because I’m the only writer – I could write a book instead and make millions. This is not a plea for a pay rise Robert. I love compiling this newsletter but I need help.

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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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

Down another rabbit hole

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Description automatically generatedI believe that every genealogist or family historian is an expert on some small sliver of history. Genealogists have had a great effect on the interpretation of history and the availability of resources to historians by our incredible desire to index everything we touch. We seem to wander off the straight and narrow path of collecting names and dates. We ask “stupid” questions which then lead to wandering down rabbit holes of historical matters. We become experts on immigrant ships, army units, Irish emigration, Catholic records, the Hillsborough cemetery, the convict ship “Derwent” and its cargo of wonderful Australian early settlers, the Waikato Immigration Scheme, the Motukaraka Village Settlement Scheme and the Dog Tax War etc etc. I have spent a lot of time on some of that list.

And then we all have experienced that accidental find that has solved a long-standing brick wall. I have always said that a brick wall will be solved when the appropriate ancestor “rattles their bones” and, somehow or another, drops a clue into our sight, brain or other pieces of our intellect. I had one who finally let me know where he was buried when I was searching through an overgrown cemetery up north. The grass was breast high; the weather was hot and sunny and I was very frustrated. After an hour, I accidentally kicked a fallen headstone which was totally hidden. I sat down and “enjoyed the pain“ for a while and took my shoe and sock off so that they wouldn’t be covered in blood. I then thought who was the “bast…” that caused my pain and, after quite a struggle, turned the stone over. It was my man (and his wife). I can give plenty of examples of such “accidents” that have occurred during my thirty plus years of research. You can’t plan for this intervention but when it happens it’s a wonderful experience.

Last month my article in this newsletter involved the research and writing of an article on William ARCHIBALD. He was the brother of my grandmother and was a WW1 War hero and highly regarded by the family. You could say that until my arrival into the family he was the only famous or successful member of a farming family from Scotland and the Hokianga. He was awarded a medal for his actions on Gallipoli and on his voyage home he threw his medals overboard. A letter, sent to the authorities some years later, asking for replacement medals stated that the loss was accidental because the medals were wrapped up in clothing he was ditching overboard. The authorities believed him and sent replacement medals. Knowing my ancestors as well as I do, I wondered if it was accidental and not a deliberate protestation at his treatment during his service.

The “old fogeys” group that I mingle with occasionally spent some time on this thought and made many suggestions about how I handle this in my writing and where I could answer the niggling question. Being an “ethical genealogist”, I shouldn’t put my interpretations on my ancestors’ actions without proof. Stop laughing Trevor and Allan!!!!!

Last week I was wandering through the New Lynn library looking for a stimulating read. In one aisle a book was lying on the carpet so I picked it up to put it back in the right place. The book was “Mutiny on the Western Front 1918 by Greg Raffin (ISBN 978 1 925675 65 8). I didn’t know that there was a mutiny in 1918 in the Australian Forces in the French arena of WW1 so I took it home.

This is a very interesting read. The author explored the conditions and results of the various battles on the Australian servicemen from enlistment, Gallipoli and then France. My William didn’t serve in France but his experience in Gallipoli was particularly heroic and serving in Palestine was no holiday in a beach resort. Now I understand the effects of WW1 on Australian servicemen. This book will result in at least one big paragraph in the article I am writing on William Archibald. I don’t exactly know if he did deliberately throw his medals overboard but I have a strong feeling that he did. William “rattled his bones” and, I have no doubt that he knocked that book onto the floor where I could find it.

So, I haven’t done much genealogy but have gone down the rabbit hole of WW1 and the effects on Australian servicemen. I won’t become an expert on that subject but will be more aware of the outcomes of that particular War on the participants. Now I have to summarise that book into a paragraph or two in my written life story.

Now Wiilliam Archibald, can you please drop a hint about your relationship with Olive Eileen Bain and why did you “steal her clothes. That’s the last niggling problem for now. Am I asking too much? Or maybe you don’t want the facts to be found.

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

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Description automatically generatedGail is having a break this month. She says she is too busy being tied up with the forthcoming Houston Conference. This is an indication of the esteem she holds in the field of DNA genealogy.





Gail Riddell 

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Chinese Corner 

 Looking for Where my Grandfather Lies

I have been called on several times to try to piece together the family history for people from my Cantonese Chinese heritage.

My current search is for the grave of a grandfather, who passed away in New Zealand before my enquirer, John, was born.

The biggest problem is the name – and the puzzle as to when their surname was changed.

I cannot find any evidence where our surname changed. I was wondering if it was anglicised for convenience or to conform with NZ pronunciation because my father was also known as “Arthur” at his work. “

“Even my own name was not my real name. My father told me it was Hop Sun but changed it to Wai Cheung. I used to get called “Ching Chong Chinaman” at school but some people called me John because it sounded like Chong and in the end, I just said my name was John. When I applied for my NZ Passport, they had no record of my name for my date of birth. I found out my real name was Hobson.

“When my grandfather arrived in NZ in 1904 shortly after the law change, I imagine that anti-Chinese sentiment was rife in the community and I suspect they changed their names to “fit in” or “conform” with NZ society so that their names sound more “English” 

Due to anti-Chinese sentiment, government officials may have thought Chinese did not deserve the respect of their fellow citizens and had mis-spelt their names as they did with Māori names and place names. “


For a man who had little knowledge of his Chinese heritage he had, surprisingly, found information of his grandfather from the shipping records at Archives NZ and The Poll Tax records of his 2 arrivals in 1904 and 1914.

His grandfather departed from Hong Kong and arrived in Auckland on the ship “Mokoia” 25/01/1904.

The Poll Tax Certificate from the Collector of Customs at Auckland, dated 25/01/1904 was for 100 pounds – but the reverse side of the Poll Tax Certificate was a receipt for 200 pounds. He assumes the extra Poll Tax was for his father – but no name comes up on the Poll Tax records for his father. He then departed New Zealand 11/11/1912 and returned to Auckland on the ship “Victoria” 05/01/1914

My enquirer goes on to describe his daily activities with his father, including “daily visits to the Opium Den in Grey’s Avenue. It was halfway up the street on the right. We would walk down a narrow alleyway and knock on the door. He would call out a password in Chinese then someone would open the door.”

The reason for his search now is that his grandparents on his mother’s side removed him from his father, as a child, and he was brought up on a farm outside of Auckland.

Yes, part of the reason I wanted to find out about my grandfather was to mark his grave and pay my respects and also my father’s grave. I want to find out more about the Chinese culture. My father never spoke the language at home and I never learnt the language, but he always said I must go back to China.

I have good memories of frequently going to Chinatown in Grey’s Avenue, Auckland in the 1950’s. He knew a lot of people and just about every restaurant and fruit shop we went to, we would go out the back. He always said they were our cousins. We would go to watch Chinese movies at a theatre in Victoria Street.”

The search is still current – and hopefully will be successful – as I have now found the Death records from BDM. We are now waiting for the certificate.

Helen Wong

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More Famous New Zealanders You Have Probably Never Heard Of

Carlyle Gray Everiss (1914-1941)

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Description automatically generatedCarlyle Gray EVERISS (sometimes spelt Carlisle) was born on the 3 December 1914, the surviving twin to Frederick and Murielle Octavia Everiss nee GRAY. Carlyle appears to have been known as Gray. When almost six years old, his father, a stock and station clerk, died and his mother and family moved to Manawaru, near Te Aroha, before moving to Auckland.

By 1938, Gray was a kiln operator at Ongarue near Taumarunui for Ellis and Burnand Ltd, a large Zealand sawmilling and timber retailing company.

With the outbreak of war Gray enlisted for service and began pilot training in January 1941. On the 12 April 1941 at the Methodist Church at Te Kuiti, Leading Aircraftman Everiss married Phyllis Elizabeth FERRIS. He appears to have left for further training in Canada and on the 9 August 1941 was promoted from Sergeant to Pilot Officer, gaining his wings. On the 02 September 1941 he arrived in Liverpool from Halifax, Nova Scotia on board the Dominion Monarch.[1]

In the United Kingdom he was posted to the No. 58 Operational Training Unit at Grangemouth, beside the Firth of Forth in central Scotland for further training. On the 2 October 1941 he was killed in an aircraft accident officially reported as ‘Spun into the Ground at Cowie Collery, Bannockburn Near Stirling During a Practice Tail Chase.”[2]

The following is from

Everiss and another pilot were returning from an air combat exercise when the engine of his Spitfire stalled over the mining village of Cowie, about 10 km from Grangemouth. With his crippled plane heading straight for a tightly packed row of houses, Everiss refused to bail out and made a desperate attempt to gain altitude. While he managed to clear the village, his plane was thrown into an uncontrollable tailspin and crashed into a railway siding at a nearby coal mine. Villagers pulled Everiss from the burning wreckage, but the young pilot died shortly afterwards and was buried in Grangemouth (Grandsable) Cemetery.

Despite his hero status in Cowie, little was known about Everiss until local resident John Craig travelled to New Zealand in 1979 and tracked down his brother-in-law. He lent Craig a photograph of Pilot Officer Everiss in uniform and a painting was commissioned based on this picture. The portrait, entitled ‘Carlyle Everiss – the face of courage’, was hung in the clubrooms of the Cowie Bowling Club, near the crash site.

In May 2007 the residents of the Scottish village of Cowie gathered to unveil a memorial to Pilot Officer Carlyle Everiss – a New Zealand fighter pilot whose heroic actions saved the lives of many villagers during the Second World War.

On 19 May 2007 a memorial commemorating the young pilot’s sacrifice was unveiled in Cowie. The bronze bust of Everiss was erected atop a rock plinth after £12,000 was raised by residents.

[1] UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 - ancestry

[2] World War II Index to Allied Airmen Roll of Honour, 1939-1945 – ancestry

Christine Clement

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Ken Morris

A Visit To 42nd Street Suda, Crete, 26 Oct 2023

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Description automatically generatedI’m writing this piece back in Athens over a Mythos or two having returned from a nine-day visit to Crete. This was a trip thwarted by Covid back in 2020.

I was fortunate to have as companions my daughter Emma who speaks fluent Greek as a navigator/arranger and her husband Dimi who amongst other attributes is a consummate driver both for ‘ordinary’ Greek road and driving conditions as well as the tortuous mountain roads of Crete. The purpose of the trip was to ‘see’ Crete and to visit WWII battlefields, memorials and cemeteries. Over the nine days we covered ~ 900km, doesn’t sound a lot but it’s real driving and albeit I’ve done 4k km of driving in Italy I’m glad to have had the driving/navigating help in Crete.

This piece is just an add-on to the review of the book” Battle on 42nd Street” I did some time ago. I will follow-up with a review of another recently published book on the Allied Campaign in Greece & Crete, “Where the Hell are We” by Craige Collie, published 2023.

42nd Street was originally a lane through the olive groves near Suda, now it a a suburban street in an industrial area of Suda. It does have a well-maintained war memorial and I’m sure it is well visited and hosts Anzac Day commemorations.





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Happy to help with any questions on visiting Crete & WWII Memorials

Ken Morris

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Rowan Gibbs

“Fabian De Lisle”

One of New Zealand’s most prolific, and least known, short story writers wrote under the name Fabian DE LISLE, publishing more than a hundred stories and serials in New Zealand, Australian and British newspapers and magazines from the 1880s to about 1910. Many are on sports, particularly horse racing, polo, and tiger hunting, and many are set in India with such stirring titles as ‘More Tales of Sahib Land’.

In Feilding on June 25th 1895 Fabian under the name Fabian Esme D’Aguila Chavasse Dudley De Lisle, married a widow, Caroline Eleanor RUSSELL, née ARMSTRONG, born in India. He declared himself a bachelor, born “Herefordshire, England”, age “Full”; in place of his father’s name he stated “Illegitimate” and gave as his mother’s name “Grace Phoebe De Lisle”. Presumably Caroline was quite unaware that while “illegitimate” was correct, the name he used was false and he too had been born in India.

His birth registration has not been located but from his christening at age 12 (see below) we know he was born in Calcutta on July 1st 1862, one of at least four children born to Henry Thoby PRINSEP (1836–1914), of the Bengal Civil Service, who became a judge of the Calcutta High Court, and a married woman Grace Phoebe ROE (née SAGEMAN). Grace, born in Bengal in 1837, was married there in 1855 to George Benjamin ROE by whom she had had a son, Melville George Roe, in 1852. She and her husband apparently had no further children and perhaps married when she was 18 merely to legitimise Melville. In 1860 she had a daughter Evangeline with an R. J. EVANS, but the child died in infancy. When Grace died in Bengal in 1883 she was still listed as the wife of George Benjamin Roe. Roe fathered several other children with Lavinia Maria White BAKER, and possibly others.

After Arthur, his birth in 1862 probably registered as Arthur Roe under his mother’s name as his siblings were, Grace Roe and Henry Thoby Prinsep were the parents of the following children in Calcutta

Henry Roe, born 20 November 1865, died in infancy (buried as “Illegitimate son of Grace Rowe”);

Ernest Charles Roe, born 9 March 1867, died in England in 1958;

Nina (Nena) Lilian Roe, born 14 March 1868, died in infancy (she received a private baptism in Calcutta shortly before her death from cholera), the only one of their children baptised in Calcutta; Henry Thoby Prinsep was named as the father, but she was buried as “Illegitimate

daughter of Grace Roe”).

In her will written shortly before her death in 1883 from heart disease Grace made bequests to “my son known as Ernest Charles Prinsep now in England ... to my daughter Edith Henrietta CRAWLEY, the wife of Thomas Crawley of Allahabad [Edith’s father is uncertain] ... to my son Melville George Roe of Calcutta” and to Melville’s son Percy Roe.

When her husband George Benjamin Roe died in 1900 (intestate) Melville’s inheritance of his estate was disputed by an alleged niece and by George’s children by Lavinia Baker on the grounds that Melville was born before the marriage and therefore illegitimate: the judge ruled that he was legitimate whereas the other claimants were not.

After Grace’s death Henry in 1887 married a widow, Lilla Livingston SKEEN (née SMITHE, 1857-1925); they had no children together. In his own will made in 1909 he leaves all his possessions to her, naming none of his children or grandchildren. When he left India in 1904, now Sir Henry, to settle in England there were warm and lengthy tributes to his service to the law and to Free Masonry but discreetly no mention at all of his children.

In 1875 the two brothers, Arthur Thoby and Ernest Charles, were christened together as Prinsep at Saint Mary The Virgin At The Walls, in Colchester, Essex, the parents recorded as Henry Thoby Prinsep and Grace Phoebe. Their father did not accompany them to England if they travelled in 1875, but they may have arrived some years earlier. The uncommon name Thoby, shared by Arthur’s father and grandfather, derived from Thoby Prior in Essex where Arthur’s great-grandfather settled in 1788 after returning from founding the family’s fortunes in India. Virginia Woolf was related to the family, her grandmother’s sister married Arthur’s grandfather, and Virginia’s brother was named Thoby STEPHEN.

The boys were placed in an English boarding school and in the 1881 census they are in Applegate’s Grammar School in Newark on Trent, Nottinghamshire. Arthur is found in the local papers from 1879 playing various sports and is named as A.T.H. Prinsep, so he already had the third name Haversleigh which he later bore.

Arthur is still in Newark in June 1882, but a year later he is in India, and married. When he arrived is uncertain: he later claimed that he travelled using a false name “Probyn” because “he did not wish his father to know that he was going to India”. (He said this when winning a case for slander in Sydney in 1885 after being called a scoundrel and illegitimate: SMH 12 May 1885).

In Calcutta on July 28th 1883 he married Adeline Mary HINDER and their first child was born in Calcutta on March 19th 1884. Two months later Arthur left for Australia. He is found there over the next ten years, in Brisbane, Sydney, and Newcastle, prominent in cycling and other sporting circles, and in a wonderful 1892 interview (Table Talk 29 Jan.1892) he spun a story of having been to Harrow (as his father had) and Cambridge (as his uncle had) and claimed he then studied languages in Calcutta but after suffering from sunstroke had to return to England, where he tried art, playwriting, and acting, and had arrived in Australia from America with a Christy Minstrel group. There (so he said) his father financed him to run a Queensland sheep station, but this failed and he went back on the stage. However, what he said of his family was accurate: “Mr. Arthur Prinsep is the son of Mr. Justice Prinsep, and he counts amongst his uncles, a baronet, a Colonel commanding a regiment in India, and Mr. Val. Prinsep, the celebrated artist ...”. The Prinseps had been merchants, soldiers and civil servants in India for a hundred years, and several had published on Indian history and law and written fiction set there. Valentine painted the famous giant picture of the ‘Durbar’, and also wrote conmediettas, as Arthur was to do.

But the real story of Arthur’s time in Australia was given by his wife Adeline when divorcing him for adultery and bigamy in Sydney in 1893 (Australian Star 3 Nov.1893):

About two months after marriage respondent left for Queensland. In July, 1884, petitioner followed him to Australia. She then found he had no occupation, and that he was heavily in debt. He took her clothes and hypothecated them. In January, 1885, the parties left Brisbane for Sydney, and settled here for a while at Stanmore. Respondent got an appointment as schoolmaster. Respondent’s father was a judge in Calcutta. Petitioner went to Calcutta to see if respondent’s father would give him any money. She returned to Sydney in 1887, on respondent writing to say he had obtained a permanent situation. When she arrived he had gone to Melbourne with a theatrical company. She went to him in Melbourne, and he again pawned all her clothes and jewellery... She did not live with him and he did not support her. Petitioner earned her living by school teaching.

Adeline and Arthur had four children, the last born in England where she went following the divorce.

It was under the assumed name Arthur Eames HAVERSLEIGH that he bigamously married one Ada BROADBENT in Sydney on Oct 10th 1891. He gave his birthplace as Ireland, his father as Henry Haversleigh, Judge, and his mother as Grace De [?Arnu]. Ada gave her father as Geoff Broadbent sculptor, so may also have used her imagination.

After the divorce a warrant was published for his arrest on the charge of bigamy (NSW Police Gazette 15 Nov.1893):

Sydney.—A warrant has been issued by me Water Police Bench for the arrest of Arthur Thoby Haversleigh Prinsep, charged with bigamy, at Sydney, on 10th October, 1891. Offender is about 32 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, thin build, dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair, heavy dark moustache only. The second wife, Ada Broadbent, is at present at Port Darwin, Northern Territory.

It was now that Arthur fled to New Zealand, where he is first found under his new name De Lisle, selling pianos and giving music lessons in Dunedin. He “borrowed” that name from Captain (later General Sir) Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle (1864–1955), a polo expert, and in fact in a 1907 interview claimed to be his brother (and “please rhyme L’Isle with ‘feel’”); this was soon rubbished by Henry’s cousin Ivea De Lisle in Hastings. (NZ Free Lance 13 July; 10 Aug.1907).

By July 1894 he was living in Wellington, then from November in Feilding (advertising a “conservatoire of music”), and married Caroline in 1895. They had three children, two of whom died young. They moved around a lot, Hastings (“Mus. Grad. of Bonn University”), Carterton, Wellington, and in 1908 Hamilton. He is often found in the papers, fond of sports, especially cycling, and amateur dramatics (using the stage name “Hal Dyne”), and producing a steady output of stories and poems, giving concerts and touring a vaudeville company round the country. In an interview when in Dunedin (Otago Witness 19 July 1905) he risked stating that he was the nephew of Val Prinsep, to whom he said he owed his “Bohemianism”.

He was still in New Zealand in early 1911 but then disappears. He abandoned his wife and child and left for Australia with a young Australian woman, Ada GRIFFITHS (full name, Janet Harriett Ada Griffiths, born in Sydney in 1885). He now adopted the name Frank (and Frankland) Colign(e)y De Lisle, and ran a press agency in Sydney. In 1917 he was charged with larceny for defrauding a widow with an “infallible” betting system but found not guilty. (NZ Truth covered the trial at length, 17 Feb.1917, but did not connect him with Fabian). In 1919 and 1924 he is on the electoral roll in Henty in Victoria as Frank D’Agastas Caligny De L’Isle. He and Ada had two children, a boy and a girl. On his son’s birth certificate he falsely declared that he and Ada had married on March 8th 1905 in Dunedin and gave his own birth as about 1871 in Kent. However, on his daughter’s birth certificate in 1913 in Adelaide, he actually told the truth, stating that he was born in Alipore, India, in about 1862.

He continued churning out stories and verse as “F. De Lisle” and “Lancer” and some were collected into a book, The Adventures of a Turf Detective, published in London in 1910. He also published a history of the Adelaide Polo Club in 1913. He wrote again of his early life with his father and artist uncle in The Age in 1934, under the name Arthur Haldimand Thoby Prinsep (“Haldimand” borrowed from his father’s brother Maj.-Gen. Arthur Haldimand Prinsep).

He died in Melbourne on February 19th 1938. There were various obituaries, none, of course, telling the full story of his colourful life.

New Zealand Mail 12 October 1889


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His  father in 1859


but seems taken from Getty Images

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Fabian in 1899 (from larger photo above)


Rowan Gibbs

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Robina Trenbeth

Mary - GRO Online Indexes – Getting Research Right

OUCH! Yes, it hurt to find that the family tree I had built up so carefully over many years was partially incorrect. Why? BECAUSE I FORGOT TO APPLY OCKHAM’S RAZOR* (Fam.Net/ July*).

1995 - Source Document: New Zealand Death Certificate (1907) for our GGM Mary JOHNS. Father’s name = William JOHNS, Occupation Overseer. Informant: Mary’s husband.


Issue: Did I take note of what was written or even apply what was obvious? No way. Not when a paid genealogist stepped in to help and gave me Mary’s parents as, Thomas & Hannah Johns (nee Tamlyn). It took 25 years before the proverbial train wreck happened.  When I came to write Mary’s story, dates, names and places did not add up.                                                                                                                           

Example 1 - Mary’s younger brother: emigrated from Cornwall (1869) to live in Christchurch. The family gave their children *middle names which were familial surnames e.g.  *Valnoweth, *Rapson, *Glasson, *Bennet & *Moyle. No Tamlyn there (query that)?                Mary Johns’ Birth Date: 1907 – 67 years = c.1840. Go to…                                                                          

1.BMD UK/Births Search: Dec. ¼ 1839 – Dec. ¼ 1841 + Mary Johns born in Cornwall gave me 2 items: (i.) Dec. Quarter 1840 at Penzance, Vol.9. P.224. (ii.) Jun.Quarter 1841 at Helston, Vol.9. P. 137.  

2.GRO ONLINE INDEXES: Register or Login. Search GRO indexes. Click Birth & enter the information from BMD UK. (Year of Reg. + Surname + 1st Forename + Sex (Leave out Mother’s Maiden Name = LESS IS MORE) + District + Reg. quarter + Vol. + Page + Search.                                       Results: (i.) Penzance Mother’s Maiden Surname = TRYTHALL.                                                             (ii.) Helston Mother’s Maiden surname = MOYLES …YES! 

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Back up the GRO ONLINE INDEX with a copy of 1841 Civil Registration of Birth for Mary Johns

3.1841 ENGLAND CENSUS Search: Mary Johns – birth c.1841 + F = William & M = Mary Johns at Helston. There was our Mary aged 3 months. As the 1841 Eng. Census was taken on the night of Sunday 6 June her birth was very likely to have been in March. Her brother Thomas was born in Sep. ¼ 1843. Finally, most of what I had was ship shape and Bristol fashion.

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4.Mary/ bal maiden: her father’s occupation was overseer at the mine. Census’ 1841 - 1881 Johns & Moyle (mining) families lived side by side.  From an early age Mary & her 6 siblings worked in the mines. Mary & 2 of her sisters were tin dressers, another sister was an assistant cook aged 13. All the girls are. listed on the Bal Maidens Database. Mary’s number = 17460.

Typical work for a bal maiden would be picking ore from rubble, breaking and separating the ore and carrying ore and metal. Girls began work at the mines around 10 years of age. Ref.1.

Women and young girls were employed in the metalliferous mining areas of the UK and Ireland at least from the time of the earliest mining records (200 years between 1720 and 1920). The areas include Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Scotland, the Black Country, Yorkshire Dales, Ireland, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Staffordshire & Somerset. Ref.2.A picture containing sketch, drawing, line art, illustration

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It’s best not to assume that your great grannie in the UK or Ireland was sitting at home in front of the fire darning socks, in the 18th century . More than likely she was a bal maiden. 


Example 2 – Mary’s older brother: John Johns was born in March Quarter 1839 at Helston, Vol.9. P.146. He was baptized at Calvadnack, Wendron on 24 Mar. 18393 and appeared in the 1841 & 1851 England Census’ with his family, dying at Carnmenellis, on 13 Jan. 18584.                                                                                                                                                            

More than 20 sites have him as John Martin Johns, Rev. (1840-1890) + parents William Henry & Mary Johns (nee Moyle). Off we go…

1.BMD UK/Births Search: 1 item = John Martin Johns at Falmouth in Sep. Quarter 1840. Vol.9. P. 77.

2.GRO ONLINE INDEXES: follow the same principles as Example 1 entering the data above. Result: Maiden Surname of Mother = WELCH.

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(i.) Falmouth Union: From 1834 parishes were grouped into unions for the administration of poor relief in their areas. Poor law unions were later used as a basis for the delivery of registration from 1837, of all births, marriages and deaths.5.                                                                                          (ii.) The Unions of parishes, established by the Poor Law Commissioners under the 1835 Act of Parliament, became registration districts with the introduction of registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1837 for England and Wales, superseding the medieval division of the county of Cornwall (Hundreds) and even breaking with the ancient county boundaries6. Basically, Union does not necessarily mean ‘the workhouse’. More than likely it pertains to the Poor Law district within which a family reside and record their civil registrations.

4. GOOGLE - John Martin Johns Rev: Doing the obvious, I quickly find…                                          

(i.) Son of John Johns & Phillis Welch born @ Flushing, Mylor, Cornwall.                                                           

(ii.) 1860: “I was converted in Flushing, 29 years ago that fall”.                                                                       

(iii.) 1870: Emigrated to U.S.A. Married Harriet Cox.                                                                             

(iv.) He died of cancer 15 January 1890 & is buried at West High St; Cemetery, Painted Post Steuben Co. N.Y. U.S.A.7.

GRO INDEX – If the mother’s maiden surname is known then here’s a ‘thing’:                                               It’s quick, user friendly and by-passes having to search FREE BMD.                                                    

Try this example: 1847 - Thomas MOYLE married Ann CROCKER (Ref. Cornwall OPC).                         1861 England Census: 2 daughters Angelinia (b.1848) & Fanny (b.1849).   Begin…                                   

Birth + Year (1848) now choose + 2 years (red dot with ? The only 3 entries which are mandatory have = *Year, *Birth Surname & *Sex)  + Surname at birth = MOYLE + sex = Female + Mother’s Maiden Surname = CROCKER.  Skip everything else & click SEARCH. Because the girl’s births were close I get both entries. NOTE: spelling = Angelinia

However: if I want to see 2 years before and after 1848 and view a wider range then DO NOT ENTER THE MOTHER’S MAIDEN SURNAME… SEE WHAT HAPPENS. 

Or… If I am looking for a Male then go back and just go back to Sex & enter that gender. Now I get their brother Thomas MOYLE b. 1850.


(i.) No Matching Results Found then, it is likely to be an illegitimate birth.           

 (ii.) Why bother checking GRO INDEX if the MMSN is already known? Births & deaths not otherwise recorded between the census’ can be picked up. Be warned. Ann CROCKER had a sister (in the same area). In this instance check the GRO birth (Vol. & Page Nos.) against a birth with the child’s surname (e.g. his father’s name) + same Vol. & Page No. in FREE BMD.                                                                                 

(iii.) NOW try out GRO INDEX DEATHS.


Ref.1. Bal Maidens in Cornwall & Devon. .  N.B. Books & Articles page on most aspects of women in mining is worth looking at.                                                                                

Ref.2. British Mining No. 115/ Female Employment at the Metal Mines of the UK and Ireland by Lynne Mayers .                                                                                                                           

Ref.3.England Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010. Card Catalogue         

Ref.4. Cornwall Online Parish Registers. N.B. If you have Cornish ancestors check out Malcolm McCarthy Document Collection/ Index of Personal Names.                                                                   

Ref.5. Poor Law Union. Wikipedia.                                                                                                                

Ref.6. Cornwall: - Civil Registration. Registration                          

 Ref.7.Memoir Methodist Episcopal Church Genesee Conference Journal 1890, Pgs. 147-148 -John-Johns. 

Robina Trenbath

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An Invitation to Contribute:

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

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

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

Why don't you contribute an article?

My basic requirements:

1) The column must be in English

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

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

4) The subject should be genealogical or historical in nature

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

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


For queries contact Research Central ph 09 890 2412.


Wednesday 15 November 2023 12pm-1pm

Building the Takapuna Tramway with Derek Whaley, Auckland Libraries

On 9 February 1909, Waitemata County Council Chairman Vincent F. Kerr-Taylor turned the first sod of the Takapuna Tramways & Ferry Company’s tramway at Halls Corner in Takapuna.

It was the start of a nearly two-year project that would ultimately see a steam-powered tramway run along the Bayswater Peninsula and up Lake Road to Takapuna before looping around Lake Pupuke. But the success of this venture was long in doubt, and construction of the line was a trial by fire.

About the speaker
Derek R. Whaley is a Senior Research Librarian at Auckland Libraries and holds a PhD in History from the University of Canterbury. He began researching North Auckland railway and tramway projects in 2019 and has published several articles on the history of the Devonport Horse Tramway. A native of California, he has also published several books, articles, and blog posts on the history of railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Bay Area.


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

Enjoy our podcasts - recorded events and presentations

And see more on our YouTube channel


Nga mihi | Kind regards


Seonaid (Shona) Harvey RLIANZA | Family History Librarian

Central Auckland Research Centre, Central City Library

Heritage and Research

Auckland Libraries - Nga Whare Matauranga o Tamaki Makarau

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

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

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Group News

News and Views



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

Discover the 1911 Census

The once-a-decade census is a great resource for tracing family history. Discover the full history of the 1911 census — including the suffragettes who protested by refusing to take part — and how to access the records online


When was Greenwich Mean Time established?

Discover how Greenwich Mean Time spread from nautical time to the legal time in Britain with the coming of the railways


What were the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens?

What were the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and when did they open? Felicity Day explores a hidden world in 18th century London


How to view Ancestry records for free

We explain how you can use family history website Ancestry, and view some of their most popular records, for free

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


The barman says to Paddy, “Your glass is empty, fancy another one?”

Looking puzzled, Paddy says, “Why would I be needing two empty feckin’ glasses?”


Liam had left Dublin to go up to Belfast for a bit of skydiving. Late on Sunday evening, he was found in a tree by an amazed onlooker.

“What happened?” said the man.

Liam replied, “My parachute failed to open!”


When Billy saw Paddy with one of his shoelaces undone, he said, “Watch you don’t trip up over your laces, Paddy.”

Paddy said, “Yeah, it’s these bloody instructions.”

Billy said, “What instructions, Paddy?”

Paddy replies, “Underneath the shoe, it says ‘Taiwan’.”


Billy stops Paddy in Dublin and asks for the quickest way to Cork.

Paddy says, “Are you on foot or in the car?”

Billy says, “In the car.”

Paddy says, “That’s the quickest way.”


Sean and Paddy were at the bar when Paddy asked, “If you had to get one or the other would you rather get Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s?

Sean replied,” Sure, I rather have Parkinson’s. ‘Tis better to spill a couple of ounces of whiskey than to forget where you keep the bottle!”




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