Research your Ancestry in August

To celebrate Family History Month, Wellington City Libraries is holding ‘Ancestry in August’, a series of events for anyone interested in learning more about researching their family history.   There are events for those who are just starting out to research family history and also for those who may already have some research experience.

A Public Talk: Wellington Local History Resources
Friday 3rd August, 12:30pm -1:30pm

Come along to the Central Library ground floor and listen to our local history expert, Gábor Tóth, as he gives an overview of some of the lesser known sources available to research ancestors who may have lived in Wellington. This talk is free and you don’t need to book.

An introductory tour:  Genealogy Resources
Friday 10th August, 10:00am – 11:30am

Join Gábor for a tour of the family history resources available at the Central Library.

Learn about how to begin your family history research and the strengths and weaknesses of each resource. The talk will conclude with morning tea, when Gábor will demonstrate some of the online resources and talk about finds he has made. There is no charge for this event but numbers are limited and registration is required.

To register, please either contact the library via email to enquiries@wcl.govt.nz, or via phone at 04 801 4115, or come and speak to a librarian at the 2nd floor enquiries desk, Central Library to reserve your place.

Preserve and research your family history
Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 22nd and Friday 31st
10:00am – 4:00pm

Register to reserve a librarian: for the final three weeks of ‘Ancestry in August’ we have some times that will be available for you to book in with a librarian to help you with family history research. During your appointment you can choose to:

  • Digitise some family documents and photos.
  • Get help with your family search.
  • Discuss your whakapapa research with the Māori Specialist, Ann Reweti.

There is no charge for these appointments but registration is required. To register, please either contact the library via email to enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or via phone at 04 801 4115 or speak to a librarian at the 2nd floor enquiries desk, Central Library.

Family History Month – Part 4

As Family History month continues you may be starting to think about what to do with the information you have collected. Here are some resources on caring for your family papers, information, photos and memorabilia. We also have some ideas and examples of how to present or publish your family history information.

LOOKING AFTER YOUR HERITAGE ITEMS
Inheriting family photos, documents and other treasures is a family historian’s dream come true. But deciding how to deal with the ‘archives’ can become a nightmare. Organisation is key and lots of strategies are collected in Denise May Levenick’s book:
Syndetics book coverHow to archive family keepsakes : learn how to preserve family photos, memorabilia & genealogy records / Denise May Levenick.
Baby Boomers are coming of age, the age of inheritance. How to Archive Family Keepsakes will help anyone who has inherited their family treasures whether they are a few trinkets or a house filled with antiques. This step-by-step guide will lead the reader from chaos to calm. Part one offers specific advice on sorting and organising inherited items.

This guide sets out clearly how to:
• Organise the boxes of your relatives’ stuff you inherited
• Decide which family heirlooms to keep
• Donate items to museums, societies and charities
• Protect and pass on keepsakes

Levenick also has a blog on the Ancestry website, which you can access at any branch of Wellington City Libraries: This blog summarises many tips on topics like organising and preserving photo collections.

Syndetics book coverHow to trace your family tree (and not get stuck on a branch) / Janet Reakes.
“Janet Reakes has compiled sample birth, death and marriage certificates and pedigree charts, family record sheets and other blueprints to make laying out the family history an easy, methodical task.” (Syndetics summary)

WRITING YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
When you’ve gathered lots of details, documents and photos, and got them organised, the next step is to write up your family’s story.
The library has some good resources (see the 929.1 section on the 2nd Floor) to help you move beyond the masses of facts to present them engagingly.

Syndetics book coverWriting a non-boring family history / by Hazel Edwards.This book “will help you craft the history of your ancestors in an interesting and rewarding way that others will want to read”. It is packed with practical advice, with checklists of questions to consider – including who your target audience is, costs, collaboration, editing, format, publication, shaping your story – and when to stop researching!

Syndetics book coverWriting your family history : a New Zealand guide / Joan Rosier-Jones.
“A guide for the writer of a family history, focusing on the actual writing and production of the book, rather than the background research. The book includes choosing material for the book, writing style, editing and revision, getting feedback, and production and marketing. An appendix of samples and a bibliography are included. The author teaches courses on the subject.” (Syndetics summary)

Family histories in the NZ Collection
To get some ideas on how to present your research, look at some of the many published family histories in our NZ Collection and , like these:

Virtue leads, fortune follows : a short history of the Shand family from Scotland to New Zealand / compiled and edited by Ann Green.

Syndetics book coverPassageways : the story of a New Zealand family / Ann Thwaite.
“Thwaite, a biographer, offers a history of her family that is drawn from family papers and unpublished memoirs, chronicling the story of both sides of her family, from her great grandparents who settled in New Zealand between 1858 and 1868 to her family’s move to London, where she was born. Her parents founded and ran the New Zealand News there. She also recounts her childhood in England and schooling in New Zealand. Photos and documents are included. Distributed in the US by ISBS. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)” (Syndetics summary)

Family History Month – Part 3

As Family History month continues so does the list of genealogy resources available at Wellington City Libraries. For this post we feature a handy hint from our Local History Specialist, Gábor, that you can use when using the historic ‘Birth, Death and Marriage’ database in order to get a specific date for the event you are searching for. Also some help in finding passenger lists for ships that came to New Zealand, World War 1 service records and the type of information you can find searching through the NZ Gazette. You can find a display of these genealogical resources from this series of blogs on the second floor of Wellington Central Library.

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PASSENGER LISTS
When did your ancestors arrive in New Zealand? How did they get here? Where did they come from? Passenger lists can help you answer all these questions.
If you already know the name of the ship, or which port they might have arrived at in NZ, or roughly when, you can find many passenger lists on:

Denise and Peter’s
Over 1000 passenger lists, which can be searched by the name of the ship or port of arrival.

New Zealand Bound
Passenger lists arranged by port of arrival. Excellent tips on calculating year of arrival and other details, and many links to other sites containing passenger lists and all sorts of information related to shipping.

If you’re starting from scratch, without any immigration details, you can search by your ancestor’s name to find a passenger list on:
Family Search – Archives NZ Passenger Lists, 1839-1973
Search by the name of your ancestor, or browse the collection by port of arrival, year and ship. There are good tips for searching the lists.

Papers Past
Ships’ arrivals were usually reported in the newspapers, sometimes with a list of the passengers and often with interesting details about the sailing.

WORLD WAR 1 RECORDS ON ARCHWAY
If you had a relative serving in WW1 their military record will give a thorough description their military service – from when they enlisted, through wartime and beyond. Besides valuable information like birthdate and place, and next of kin, you can find out all sorts of interesting details about them, like the colour of their eyes and condition of their teeth!
Personnel files of WW1 servicemen are held at Archives NZ. The files are made up of numerous documents (attestation papers, medical history, casualty forms etc) that have been compiled into one file for each soldier. The files have been digitised and can be searched by name on ARCHWAY

PAPERS PAST
For adding depth and fascinating detail to your family history research, you can’t go past Papers Past.
This website of digitised newspapers from the National Library’s collection of NZ (including Maori) and Pacific newspapers is continuously being extended – both date ranges and titles. You can search for specific people, places, events etc, or browse through papers – what you find will provide insights into the social, economic and political times in which your ancestors lived.
The new version of the website was launched recently and has more than just newspapers. It is divided into 4 sections – Newspapers, Magazines and Journals, Letters and Diaries, and Parliamentary Papers. Searching is easier, with “a cleaner, more modern interface…and search tools have been improved, making it easier to search groups of papers, pick date ranges, and scan results”.

BIRTH, DEATH and MARRIAGE: Obtaining specific dates

After a change in legislation in the mid-2000’s, tighter restrictions on accessing birth, death and marriage (BDM) data were introduced which saw the end of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) providing annual datasets. These had been published on microfiche up to 1990 (which the central library continues to hold) and as computer files from 1991 onwards. However this change also saw the DIA make “historic” BDM data available and searchable online providing the following conditions are met:

1. The birth occurred more than 100 years ago
2. The marriage occurred more than 80 years ago
3. The death occurred more than 50 years ago OR the deceased was (or would have been had they still been alive today) at least 80 years of age. For example, the registration of someone who passed away in 1995 aged 60 can now be searched for as they would have been over 80 today.

Searches on the BDM website normally produces a year and a reference number of an event which can be used to obtain a full print-out or certificate. However by manipulating the search parameters, you can force the database to produce the actual date (day, month and year) that the event took place. Start by running a search that produces a BDM result of the name of someone you are interested in. Then gradually start to narrow the time-frame being searched for in the “Search from date” and the “Search to date” options. Start by narrowing the year; if the name suddenly disappears you will know the event is outside of the date parameters you have set. When a year is isolated, start to narrow the range of months being searched, again making sure the name you seek continues to result from a search, then do the same for the day within the month. When the “search from” and “search to” dates are exactly the same and the name you are looking for still results when a search is run, you know that you have isolated the exact date of the birth, death or marriage. Try it at BDM – Historical Records online

The NZ GAZETTE

The New Zealand Gazette is a weekly publication of government proclamations and is a massive source of genealogical information. Published since the earliest days of the colony, the gazette holds information about land transfers, bankruptcy notices & business liquidations, military call-up lists, local council information and a huge wealth of other information. One of the most useful areas of the gazette for the family historian are the lists of names (and often addresses) of individuals applying for formal registration within certain occupations. Occupations which required registration include doctors, nurses, teachers, electricians, boilermakers, engine drivers, architects and any number of other roles including positions such as Justices of Peace. One of the issues with the NZ Gazette was that until recently it was very difficult to find any information about an individual without knowing the date a gazette “notice” was published. Today we have access to a searchable database containing all copies of the NZ Gazette from 1841 through to 2014. As the database is a commercial product, it is not available online but rather must be used on a computer set aside for family history purposes at the Central Library. Ask at the reference desk on the 2nd floor for details.

Family History Month: Part 2

It’s week two of Family History month so time to introduce a few more resources that the researcher may be able to use to discover useful information to find another piece of the family history jigsaw puzzle. This post features ‘Zinio Online Magazines’ to access Family History magazines, information on searching “Iwi Histories and Māori Births and Deaths database, and three other useful information sources, the city archives, the Cyclopaedia of New Zealand and Stone’s directories. There is also a Wellington based genealogy events. You can find a display of these genealogical resources on the second floor of Wellington Central Library.

Zinio Online Magazines
With Zinio you can access family history magazines online including ‘Who do you think you are?’ and ‘Inside History’.
zinioZinio - inside history

Zinio is easy to use – you can view magazines via streaming on desktop/laptops or download them to tablets or smartphones for offline reading using the free Zinio for Libraries app. Added features in both versions allow magazine content to be printed, shared or emailed – and you can easily bookmark a magazine to save where you’re up to. Link here to the full set of titles available.

To use the Wellington City Libraries’ Zinio collection link here to create a new account. Have your library card number ready

Iwi Histories
Apart from key “tribal” histories – many of which were published from early last century, there are many books in our collection which will assist you in understanding the background to (your) iwi and hapū. Here is a link to the whakapapa page from the Māori Resources section on the library website.

Māori Births, Deaths & Marriages
Available at the 2nd floor information desk at Wellington Central Library
The information in this database is gathered from the same source as the microfiche, and the historical online records i.e. the official records held by New Zealand Dept of Internal Affairs.
However, additional material lies behind the record for each name, allowing you to search extra fields and retrieve much more detail than the microfiches or the historical online record allow:
Keep your search(es) as simple as possible, to avoid “knocking out” entries which may be beneficial to your end result.

The City Archives
Did your ancestors live in Wellington? The Wellington City Archive is a huge repository for Council records going back to the early 1860s which can reveal fascinating information about earlier residents. Anyone who has owned a property or run a business within the city is likely to have had some sort of relationship with the City Council and much of that information is kept in perpetuity. Records include house plans, street histories, rating information (who owned a property and what it was worth), cemetery and cremation information, complaints to the council on all manner of subjects, staff records and dozens of other sources information contained within eight linear kilometres of shelving. You can access a basic file index on-line but staff archivists are happy to help you navigate your way through to potential sources of genealogical information. Just to note that archives staff require at least a day’s notice to get requested material ready for you to research in their reading room in Barker Street, so make sure you contact them before visiting. Contact & location details and a link to their index database can be found here.

The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand
120 years ago, a Wellington-based publishing company was established to produce one of the first “vanity” publications to be printed in New Zealand. Issued in six volumes (broken down into provinces) over ten years, the Cyclopaedia offers an extraordinary insight into colonial New Zealand at the turn of the 20th Century. The first, largest and most detailed volume was dedicated to Wellington and was released in 1897. It’s 1300+ pages contains a wealth of information about a huge number of different areas such as schools and school teachers, hotels and pubs, central and local body politicians, businesses and their owners, tradesmen, sports clubs, boarding houses and restaurants. As people often paid a fee to be included (and also provided the material), personal biographies are invariably flattering but this doesn’t greatly detract from it being a wonderful source of genealogical information. The publishers also made use of what was then highly advanced printing technology to reproduce half-tone photographs on semi-gloss paper. The result is that the Cyclopaedia contains the only known photographs of many early pioneers. As original copies of the Cyclopaedia of New Zealand are now rare and fragile, Wellington City Libraries worked with the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre to assist them to digitise a complete set of the volumes. These can be searched or browsed here.

Stones Directories
Before there were phonebooks there were directories. These publications are now usual for finding people, where they lived and what occupations they held.
From the early 1870’s to the mid 1950’s saw three major publishers of directories including Wises’ and Stones’ directories which we have in various forms at the Central Library An entry would usually consist of the name, occupation and residence of the house owner. 1869 saw the first householder lists for all provincial centres and included many of the smaller towns. The main sections of the business and residential directories were obtained by canvassing house to house. The head of the household was listed, as well as any male lodgers. Woman were included only if they owned property in their own name.

Recommended event coming up next week

Publishing your family stories
Weds 17th August 5:30pm
Connolly Hall – Guildford Terrace, Thorndon.
Suzanne Sutton: Getting all your family stories written down and out there to be enjoyed now and in the future.
Hosted by Hutt Branch of the NZ Society of Genealogists

Rachel Dawick returns to Wellington

Update:

Unfortunately Rachel’s lunchtime performance today at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea has had to be cancelled. We hope Rachel will be able to reschedule at a later date and will keep you posted as and when we hear more.

Rachel DawickNew Zealand singer and songwriter Rachel Dawick is back in Wellington on the second stage of her ‘Follow My Tears’ tour, and will give a free performance celebrating the lives of women in 1800s New Zealand this Friday at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea

Rachel visited Wellington City Libraries back in May and gave us two beautiful performances, capturing women’s stories with “a slice of folk, a dash of blues and a bit of country with a twist”.  This time Rachel is collecting stories of women’s lives from 1893 to WWII as she cycles(!) through New Zealand and raises funds for Christchurch Women’s Refuge along the way.

Come to the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, 12.30pm Friday 11 November, to hear Rachel and maybe bring along a story or two of your own.  Entry is free.

Ancestry in August talks are underway

Gábor Tóth, local history specialist at Wellington City Libraries, talking about resources for genealogy research
Gábor Tóth, local history specialist at Wellington City Libraries, talking about resources for genealogy research

Family History Month is underway and it was great to see so many people at our first lunchtime seminar on Tuesday who were interested in finding out more about using library resources to help with their genealogical research.

Our second free Ancestry in August talk this Tuesday (9th August, 12 noon – 1pm at Central Library) will be given by Emerson Vandy, Digital Services Manager of the National Library of  New Zealand.  Emerson will be talking about Papers Past, a popular database run by the National Library, which has opened up a huge new source of source of genealogical information for researching family history in New Zealand.   The collection of digitised newspapers and periodicals covers the years 1839 to 1945 and includes 68 publications from all regions of New Zealand.  You can use and search Papers Past for free on our computers at any of our branch libraries or from anywhere you have internet access.

Papers Past have just published their two-millionth page and to celebrate this landmark they are holding a competition called “Find yourself in the past/Lose yourself in the papers”.  To enter simply search Papers Past for your name and find the most interesting match for your namesake.  All entries go in the draw to win a Kobo e-book reader – click on the competition link for more details.

War, India & Karori

We have a great list of new books in our History Recent Picks this month. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverTracing your rural ancestors : a guide for family historians / Jonathan Brown.
“Many family historians will come across direct links to ancestors who lived and worked in the countryside as farmers, labourers, landowners, village tradesmen and professionals – for most of us have rural ancestors. Yet despite the burgeoning interest in genealogy, these people have rarely been written about with the family historian in mind. No previous book has provided a guide to the documents and records, from medieval times to the twentieth century, that researchers can use to find out about their rural ancestors and the world in which they lived. That is why this accessible and informative introduction by rural historian Jonathan Brown is so important.”(Global Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverKarori and its people / edited by Judith Burch & Jan Heynes.
“This book traces Karori’s transition from its beginnings as a rural outpost in the 1840s, through to the thriving community it is today – one of New Zealand’s largest and most significant suburbs. Chapters cover: Landscape and natural environment – Access – Settlement, growth and population – The town centre — heart of the suburb – Residential – Governance – Education – Business – Religion – Heritage in the cemetery – Military – Sport and recreation – Health and sanitation – Community and social services – Karori people. KARORI AND ITS PEOPLE covers all these topics and more, with the common thread the people who have made the suburb their home.” (Global Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverThe Lisbon route : entry and escape in Nazi Europe / Ronald Weber.
“The Lisbon Route tells of the extraordinary World War II transformation of Portugal’s tranquil port city into the great escape hatch of Nazi Europe. Royalty, celebrities, diplomats, fleeing troops, and ordinary citizens desperately slogged their way across France and Spain to reach the neutral nation. As well as offering freedom from war, Lisbon provided spies, smugglers, relief workers, military figures, and adventurers with an avenue into the conflict and its opportunities. Yet an ever-present shadow behind the gaiety was the fragile nature of Portuguese neutrality.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beautiful and the damned : life in the new India / Siddhartha Deb.
“A personal, narrative work of journalism and cultural analysis, The beautiful and the damned examines India’s many contradictions through five individual perspectives.”–Publisher’s description.

Syndetics book coverGallipoli : the final battles and evacuation of Anzac / David W. Cameron.
“This book is the first book since Charles Bean’s Official history to provide a detailed narrative of the bloody and tragic battle for Hill 60, along with the other engagements that went on until the very last days at Anzac – viewed from both sides of the trenches. It also examines in detail the planning and execution of the evacuation of the troops from Anzac – the most successful part of the whole Gallipoli fiasco. David Cameron’s detailed research and use of firsthand accounts including letters, diaries, and interviews, enables him to convey the confusion of battle while also telling a good story with a powerful emotional impact”–Back cover.

Ancestry in August – free genealogy talks at Central Library

To celebrate Family History Month, Wellington City Libraries is holding a series of lunchtime talks for anyone interested in learning more about researching their family tree. Come along to Central Library and join us on the 2nd (top) floor at lunchtime on Tuesdays in August to learn more. All the sessions are free and there’s no need to book – just turn up on the day.

blog-posterAn Introduction to Genealogy at Wellington City Libraries
Tuesday 2nd August, 12noon-1pm

Gábor Tóth and Jessica Berg take you through some of the resources available to begin your family history research and help explain their strengths and weaknesses. The talk will include an overview of the library edition of ancestry.com, a powerful new database which is free to use at any Wellington City library branch.

Papers Past: a guide to the database and its use in genealogy
Tuesday 9th August, 12noon-1pm
Emerson Vandy, Digital Services Manager of the National Library of New Zealand, will introduce this database which has opened up a huge new source of genealogical information for researching family history in New Zealand up to 1945.

Finding your Whakapapa: an introduction to Maori genealogy
Tuesday 16 August, 12noon-1pm
Presented by Brenda Joyce from the Maori Interest Group of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, this talk will help explain some of the intricacies associated with researching Maori family history.

BDM and Beyond: a guide to official records and more
Tuesday 23 August, 12noon-1pm
Jessica Berg from Wellington City Libraries presents an overview of using official birth, death and marriage records, including related records to help you find the next link in your family history.

Wellington Local History Resources: an introduction to Wellington-specific resources and their use
Tuesday 30 August, 12noon-1pm
Gábor Tóth, local history specialist at Wellington City Libraries, will give an overview of some of the lesser known sources of information which can be used to research ancestors who may have lived within Wellington.

If you have any queries about these seminars, please contact Gábor Tóth, phone 803-8572

ancestry poster

Rachel Dawick – free live performances at Central & Kilbirnie libraries

follow my tears eventOn Wednesday 18 May, Wellington City Libraries is delighted to have New Zealand singer/songwriter Rachel Dawick give two free live performances as part of her “Follow My Tears” tour. Rachel will perform at:
Central Library (65 Victoria Street) – 12-1pm
Ruth Gotlieb Library, Kilbirnie – 3.30-4.30pm

For 60 days Rachel will be touring New Zealand performing and collecting stories of New Zealand women in the 1800s on her journey.

“Researching into the songs written in the 1800s in NZ revealed a large gap in terms of those by women. It was a musical history dominated by men and therefore providing only half a story. If there weren’t the songs then the next best thing would be to discover the stories and write the songs myself.”
Rachel Dawick.

Want to have a listen before the event? Check out Rachel’s previous albums in our catalogue.

nzmmFor more information on Rachel Dawick: http://www.racheldawick.com

For more information about the “Follow My Tears” tour: http://web.me.com/rdawick/www.followmytears.com/The_Plan.html

Supported by Creative NZ, Wellington City Libraries, The Interislander Ferry and Radio New Zealand.

follow my tears events

Wanted: Stories of New Zealand women 1820 to 1890

Follow my tears posterDo you have stories of women in your family who lived in New Zealand in the 1800’s?  If so, we want to hear from you!
New Zealand singer-songwriter Rachel Dawick is collecting stories from all over New Zealand, which will then be used to create a new album of songs and a national resource for libraries.

“Researching into the songs written in the 1800s in NZ revealed a large gap in terms of those by women. It was a musical history dominated by men and therefore providing only half a story. If there weren’t the songs then the next best thing would be to discover the stories and write the songs myself.”
Rachel Dawick.

Write down the stories and drop them into your local Wellington City Libraries branch by 18 May or email them to us at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz
with  ‘Rachel Dawick Stories’ in the subject line. Please note that stories provided to us are unable to be returned.

nzmmFrom 14 April – 14 June, Rachel will also be travelling throughout New Zealand, performing in local libraries, while she collects the stories.

You will get your chance to see Rachel perform in Wellington when she will be giving two free live performances on Wednesday 18 May at Central Library (12-1pm) and Ruth Gotlieb Library, Kilbirnie (3.30-4.30pm).

Want to have a listen before the event?  Check out Rachel’s previous albums on our catalogue, or listen to an interview with her via RadioNZ.

follow my tears events