Monday, May 25, 2009
Search the Presbyterian Church Records Index
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Oh great – another genealogy service that I feel compelled to join just in case that one vital piece of the puzzle is there. WorldVitalRecords.com launched in February. World Collection Membership is $119 (USD) for a year.
Here’s what they have so far for New Zealand Records:
Defenders of New Zealand & Maori History (13,823 records)
New Zealand Gazette 1876 (67,530 records)
New Zealand Gazette 1877 (82,848 records)
New Zealand Gazette 1878 (112,979 records)
New Zealand Gazette 1886 (138,880 records)
New Zealand PO Directory 1890 (Wise) (408,283 records)
Stevens & Bartholomews New Zealand Directory 1866-67 (45,272 records)
I gave it a try by typing in one of the less common surnames in my research – Ghezzi. Four hits in the New Zealand PO Directory 1905 (Wise). Yeap, it’s them.
Since so many Scots immigrated to New Zealand, let’s see what records they have for Scotland:
A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Volume 1 (52,460 records)
An Ordinary of Scottish Arms (39,336 records)
Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650 - 1775 (23,936 records)
Folk Lore and Genealogies of Uppermost Nithsdale (14,534 records)
Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1896 (212,622 records)
Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: County Maps (196 records)
SCT Scotch Ancestry of President McKinley (1,708 records)
SCT Scottish Deaths 1747-1868 (13,585 records)
The Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882 (37,058 records)
The History of the Celtic Place Names of Scotland (40,909 records)
Other than maps and gazetteers not much else. A paltry 13,585 records in the death collection. I typed in the surname of Fraser and got 13 deaths. Here’s a sample of the information on one of the results:
Name: Fraser, Catherine
Relative: , ()
Death Date: 25 Nov 1847
Estimated Birth Year: 1785
Cause of Death: dropsy
Modern Cause of Death:
A neat little map opens with a pointer to Dunfermline, a feature I like. Still, until they get more records online, might be better off using ScotlandsPeople.com for BDMs.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I've place the "beta" version of the database online. It seems to be working fine. Now I just have to keep adding to it! If you'd like to see the current version go to this link.
Lets talk about Annette Guzzi Major. I soon find that her maiden name was Ghezzie, spelt with that ‘e’ on the end. Using the NZSG New Zealand Marriages 1836-1956 I find her marriage to Frederick Major in 1883. Now pop in the NZSG Burial CD and there are two more Ghezzie’s – Ada Sarah died 1944 and Alfred Ross died 1925.
Check the NZSG Index CD and I only get Annie (Annette) and Ada. We all know how surnames get mis-spelled, so I try “starts with” Ghezz for the surname. Eureka – lots of them with the surname Ghezzi. Why the heck did Annette have an ‘e’ on the end of her surname? Sort by date and the oldest entries are all children of Louis Ghezzi. Take a look at records on Louis and find his 1917 probate. His name is Louis or Luigi Ghezzi. Open PapersPast in my browser and there is a death for Luigi which says he was from Parma Italy.
Off to check ship manifests and there he is arriving in Auckland on the ship Reiherstieg in 1874. Wife and infant son with him. Hummmm, Annette must have been born in New Zealand after they arrived in 1874. Assume his wife Mary Ann Curtain is also from Italy. I’m thinking her real name was Maria Curtane or something like that.
Open the NZ Historical BDM web site. No birth on Annette or her husband Frederick Major. He sounds English to me anyways. Can’t find immigration/ship manifest on him. Order death certs on Luigi, Mary Ann, Annette, Frederick and a few other family members. Order marriage on Fred and Annie. Wait wait wait. Run to the mailbox ten times a day hoping for documents from New Zealand.
Documents arrive! What the heck? Annette was born at Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa and Frederick was born Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Luigi’s death says he was from Borgo, Sandino, Italy. No problem, Borgo is small village near Parma. Why isn’t Annette on ship manifest with her parents? Unsolved mystery. Find out Fred was son of Samuel Major, a shoemaker from Ireland. Find Samuel came to New Zealand also. Luigi’s wife, Mary Ann, was born in Limerick Ireland! How did a guy from Italy end up married to a lady from Ireland with two kids born in South Africa? Guess they were both enroute to New Zealand, ship stopped at Cape Town and love was in the air.
Cruise the Ghezzi message board at Ancestry.com and find a living relative with information on Luigi. Luigi Ghezzi left Italy during the revolution of 1848. He had a price on his head for his participation in the revolution. He was later pardoned (and considered a hero) but had left the country by then. He ended up in Cape Town, South Africa. Here he met and married Irish immigrant Mary Ann Curtain in January 1861. The couple would have two children before being recruited by agents of the New Zealand Immigration Organization.
Looks like Fred Major’s mom, Harriet, died before he and his dad came to New Zealand. No death or burial records on her in New Zealand. His dad remarries in 1863 but not in New Zealand. Maybe Canada? Get his dad’s death printout. He was from Ireland, as was his second wife. Potato famine immigrants?
Many of my questions answered, but just about all my assumptions were wrong. Oh well, just another adventure climbing the genealogy tree.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
- If they married in New Zealand, country of birth may be on the marriage printout.
- If they died in New Zealand, it might be on their death printout.
- If they are buried in NZ, it might be mentioned in their burial record
- If you can find the ship manifest from their immigration, it might be mentioned on it.
Once you know the country of their birth you need to decide which genealogy service to use to continue your research. In many cases this will mean joining a paid research site such as Ancestry.com (or Ancestry.UK.com), ScotlandsPeople.com or FindYourPast.com.
The cost for subscriptions or the purchase of “credits” to view documents can quickly add up. You should visit each site before joining and check out which records they offer and determine if it will likely meet your needs. There are also many free web sites out there that may offer bits and pieces of information for your research. A good first place to start is at FamilySearch.org.
Ancestry.com offers a free 14-day trail. It has records for the USA, England, Scotland (transcript only of census, no images), Ireland, Wales, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man (amongst others). They offer three types of subscriptions, monthly, 3 month and annual. Unlimited viewing of all records.
To view what records they have go to http://www.ancestry.com/search/
FindMyPast.com offers UK BDM, census, migration and military records. They are also the source for the 1911 UK census. They offer pay-as-you-go vouchers, 6-month, or annual membership.
Pay-as-you go: 60 credits cost 10.52 USD, 18.03 NZD or 6.96 GBP. 280 credits cost 37.75 USD, 64.76 NZD or 24.95 GBP.
View how many credits you’ll be charged per document if using the pay-as-you-go method here.
ScotlandsPeople.com has no annual or monthly subscription service, strickly pay-as-you-go. For most records (such as the census) it will cost you 1 credit to view a page of search results (25 records per page) and another 5 credits to view and print the image.
Credits are purchased in increments of 30, which cost 9.08 USD, 15.57 NZD or 6 GBP.
View access charge here.
Ancestry.co.uk offers pay-as-you-go and monthly or annual subscriptions.
Pay as you go options is 12 record views in 14 days for 10.50 USD, 18.03 NZD or 6.96 GBP.
Rootsweb.com was bought out by Ancestry.com, but still offers come useful services for those who register (for free). One of the benefits of a free account at Rootsweb is that those who do not belong to Ancestry.com (or Ancestry.co.uk) can post queries on the message boards. The message boards are "shared" by Ancestry.com, Ancestry.co.uk and Rootsweb, so it's a backdoor into the Ancestry community. Many of these message boards are regularly read by GENWEB county coordinators and others that do their best to answer queries.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The database comprises 49 local and national titles from all parts of the UK. For example, the Ipswich Journal is available from January 04, 1800 to December 29, 1900.
You can search and view a snippet result for free, but need to subscribe to see full articles. The free snippet may be enough.
A 24-hour pass costs £6.99 allowing you to view up to 100 articles; a seven-day pass with 200 article views costs £9.99.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Unfortunately the New Zealand Census returns were not kept. However there are other resources available such as Wises Postal Directories, Electoral Rolls, Cemetery records, School rolls, Return of the Freeholders, Sheep Returns and the like. The problem is, few of these records are available online.
One recent boon for those researching ancestors from New Zealand is the "Birth, Death and Marriage Historical Records" online search made available by the government of New Zealand.
Historical records mean information relating to:
1. Births that occurred at least 100 years ago
2. Stillbirths that occurred at least 50 years ago
3. Marriages and eventually Civil Unions that occurred 80 years ago
4. Deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago or the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago.
An example of how this database can help you:
You know that your great-grandmother, Lillian, maiden name Henley, was born about 1880 in New Zealand. Go to the Birth search section, type in the surname Henley (don't type in her first name) and give a year range of 1870-1890. Find Lillian among the names displayed. If her parents names are listed, look to see if other children in your search results had the same parents.
Now you should have the exact birth year of your great-grandmother, hopefully names of your great-great grandparents, and possibly the names of some of their other children. Assuming that they got married a few years before the oldest child on your list, go to the marriage search page and type Henley in the GROOMS surname box and enter a year range of 5-10 years. If he shows up in the search results, your great-great grandmothers maiden name will be provided.
Now you want to know if your great-great grandparents were born in New Zealand. Assume they were 15-25 years old when they got married and go back to the birth search page and try to find them.
Bouncing back and forth between the birth, marriage and death search pages, you can quickly add to your family tree.
Previously gold had been found in small quantities in the Coromandel Peninsula (by visiting whalers) and near Nelson in 1842. Commercial interests in Auckland offered a £500 prize for anyone who could find payable quantities of gold anywhere nearby in the 1850s, at a time when some New Zealand settlers were leaving for the California and Australian gold rushes. In September 1852, Charles Ring, a timber merchant, claimed the prize for a find in Coromandel. A brief gold rush ensued around Coromandel township, Cape Colville and Mercury Bay but only £1500 of gold was accessible in river silt, although more was in quartz veins where it was inaccessible to individual prospectors. The rush lasted only about three months.
A find in the Aorere Valley near Collingwood in 1856 proved more successful, with 1500 miners converging on the district and removing about £150,000 of gold over the next decade, after which the gold was exhausted. (Source Wikipedia).
You can search an index to original records of people and companies mining in New Zealand during the period 1861 to 1872 at Goldminers of New Zealand
- The New Zealand Burial Locator ver.2 CD available from the NZ Society of Genalogists and
- Searching of online cemetery databases maintained by various District Councils in NZ
The New Zealand Burial Locator CD, which I own, is a great resource and must have for anyone doing extensive genealogy research on ancestors in New Zealand.
Public cemeteries in New Zealand are maintained by the District Council for the area they're located in. About 70% of these districts maintain searchable online databases. A list of the various District Councils, and the cemeteries they maintain, along with links to their online database (if available) can be found at the Clan Fraser New Zealand Cemetery page.
The most complete source for shipping manifests that I'm aware of is the chronological list at the Clan Fraser Society of New Zealand's genealogy site. Ships are listed by arrival year, and if an online transcription exists, a link it provided.
Other useful passenger lists can be found at:
- Denise & Peter's Passenger Lists over 450 ships here
- New Zealand Yesteryears
- AUSNZ Passenger Lists Gateway
- Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
- Passenger Lists to New Zealand
- Assisted Emigrants into Auckland Province between 1859 - 1872
- English Assisted Immigrants - 1870's (Surnames A-L) (Surnames L-Z). Indexed from "The Farthest Promised Land" by Professor Rollo Arnold of Victoria University, Wellington
- Passenger lists - England to New Zealand 1884-1910 Surnames A-C D E-G H-L M-S T-Z
- Immigrant Ships to New Zealand From the United Kingdom & Ireland 1835 to 1910
- Immigrant Ships to New Zealand From Countries Other than UK and Ireland 1835-1910
- Migrant Ships Arriving in New Zealand 1839-1860
- New Zealand Bound
- Passenger arrivals at Port Chalmers 1848-1851
- Assisted Immigrants from Donegal arriving in Lyttleton, New Zealand 1855 - 1874
- Canterbury Association Passenger Manifests
- Passenger Lists for - Otago - Port Chalmers - Dunedin
- Passenger Ships at Bluff Before 1900