Showing posts from February, 2016

Unearthly landscapes: New Zealand’s early cemeteries, churchyards and urupā

In November 2004 Stephen Deed presented a Master of Arts Thesis to the University of Otago entitled Unearthly landscapes: the development of the cemetery in nineteenth century New Zealand, and until recently that limited access thesis was the only major historical study of cemeteries in New Zealand. Deed has now updated and expanded on his thesis, which has now been published by Otago University Press asUnearthly landscapes; New Zealand’s early cemeteries, churchyards and urupā.

Deed’s book covers traditional Māori urupā, Pākehā influenced Māori burial places, early Pākehā and Church Mission Station burial grounds, and urban and rural cemeteries of the nineteenth century. He also makes a distinction between what he terms ‘first generation’ cemeteries such as Bolton Street (Wellington) and Symonds Street (Auckland) and ‘second generation’ better planned cemeteries such as Southern Cemetery (Dunedin) and Waikumete Cemetery (Auckland). The book is very well illustrated.

Ref: James D…

Britain, Merchant Seamen, 1918-1941

The recent announcement that the "Britain, Merchant Seamen, 1918-1941" record collection is available on Findmypast was welcomed by a number of people including myself.

In a number of cases, they extend the "British Merchant Navy, First World War Medal Cards 1914-1925"  and "England & Wales Merchant Navy Crew Lists 1861-1913" record collections that Findmypast already hold.

As well as the usual name, date and place of birth, there are additional identifying features like the discharge number and the identity certificate number which can assist in finding further records about your person of interest. The real gold is the physical descriptions of the individuals, along with a photograph for some - and the names of the ships that they served on!

This card (front and back) is a "CR1" from The National Archive series BT364 gives the discharge number 1041304 and the registration number 460898. The discharge number followed the seaman from ship to…

It's not a census! It's the 1939 Register!

Nearly two years ago, Findmypast announced that they had won the bid to work in partnership with the National Archives to digitise the 1939 Register for England and Wales.

Many researchers hadn't heard of the Register before, but for those in the know, this was a huge bonus and would make a big difference to our research.

Since then Findmypast have conserved, scanned, transcribed and digitised over 1.2 million pages from 7000 volumes representing over 41 million individual entries from over 2000 residences.

Initially only available on a pay-per-view basis, the 1939 Register is now available to all annual Worldwide or United Kingdom collection subscribers.  Those that subscribe to the US, Australia and New Zealand, or Ireland collections will still have to pay per view - as will those who only subscribe on a month-to-month basis.
What is the 1939 Register? The Register was a snap census taken on 29 September 1939 at the start of Second World War to be used to issue identity cards, …

The Homosexual Law Reform Bill: scrapbook of newspaper clippings 1985-86

Auckland celebrates its LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer) communities during the Pride Festival in February. Pride Festival has become an important part of the Auckland Libraries’ calendar, with a number of events such as pop-up libraries and storytimes programmed over the course of the month (including at the same same but different festival).

However, as recently as the early 1980s not only was it legal to discriminate against a person on the basis of their (declared or suspected) sexual orientation, certain ‘homosexual behaviour’ was criminalised. At the time that Wellington Central MP Fran Wilde introduced the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in 1985, there was fierce debate both among politicians and throughout society about what the passing of such a bill might mean for New Zealand.
In the Sir George Grey Special Collections reading room, Central City Library, the Homosexual Law Reform clippings scrapbook will be on display during February. This scrapbook,…

Culture, entertainment and leisure in Wellsford and nearby locations, Pt 2

This is the second part of this post about leisure in the northern parts of the Auckland region.
Missed Part 1 of this post? Find it here.
Culture, leisure and entertainment have changed with changing technologies. In the early part of the 20th century the travelling People’s Picture company was very popular. It regularly visited Matakana, Puhoi, Wellsford and other places during the summer months.
Ref: Excerpt from the Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 8 October 1913, Page 4.

From Guangdong to Aotearoa : an exhibition of Chinese voices

“There is a belief that runs strong in the NZ Cantonese community. It’s the idea that through hard work, education and the willingness to take some risk, our children can have a life better than the one left behind in the Cantonese village. In the year 2013, Aotearoa/NZ is peopled with bright young Chinese women who take on jobs of tremendous importance for which they receive great recognition. Much of what they achieve is thanks to the hard work and sacrifices made by their mothers and the women before them.”

Ref: Photograph by King Tong Ho.
Most of NZ’s early Chinese settlers came from Canton Province, now known as Guangdong. The project From Guangdong to Aotearoa came about through Sue Gee’s interest in her ancestral origins. From Guangdong to Aotearoa aimed to record the life histories of six remarkable NZ Chinese women. They were chosen because their contribution in the community is noteworthy or because they had interest or knowledge of our Chinese settler history. The women in …

Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about Māori 1970-1975

A collection of 1970s newspaper articles regarding Māori is available to view in the Sir George Grey Special Collections reading room or to search online at Index Auckland. The scrapbooks contain many useful items for whakapapa or historical research, from obituaries to articles promoting the introduction of Māori language teaching in schools. Copies are also available in the Central Research Centre.

Even though the clippings are not precisely dated, nor source newspapers always identified, reading through the Scrapbooks reveals areas of concern and celebration for Māori at that time.

Ref: Photograph of three year old Raewyn Tiari, [Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings about Maori] volume 2, page 17, 1972-1975, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 995.3 S43.