iwiKiwi

A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Category: Events (Page 1 of 3)

Family History Month 2019

August is Family History Month in New Zealand and Australia, and there’s quite a bit going on for both hardened researchers and those just starting out. Here are a few events happening in the Wellington region and a couple further afield.

City and Harbour, Wellington NZ

City and Harbour, Wellington NZ 4073, from family collection, date unknown

Getting more out of your DNA results
> Saturday 27th July: 10am – 4pm
> Kapiti Community Centre, 15 Ngahina St, Paraparamumu
Just sneaking in at the end of July, a sort of pre-launch for Family History Month, is Kapiti DNA Interest Group’s event with Michelle Patient and Lorna Henderson. All welcome. $15, book by emailing DNADay@KapitiGen.org.

NZSG: Kilbirnie
Talk: Bolton Cemetery and the Motorway with Gabor Toth (Local & NZ History Specialist)
> Thursday 1st August: 10am
> Matairangi Room, ASB Sports Centre, 72 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie, Wellington
All welcome (visitors $2).

Finding Families in New Zealand – Legacy Family Tree Webinar
> Wednesday 7th August: 2pm NZST / 12pm AEST
Too cold to go out? Stay wrapped up warm at home and learn how to use electoral rolls and school records to discover more of your family history, from Kiwi genealogist Fiona Brooker. Free. Register for the webinar

Auckland Family History Expo
> Friday 9th August: 5pm – 8.30pm
> Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August: 8.30am – 6pm
> Fickling Convention Centre , 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings.
Presenters Nick Barratt (UK) and Cyndi Ingle (USA) are joined by some great speakers from around NZ and Australia, plus there’s also an exhibition with genealogy-related companies and groups. There is a welcome reception and two presentations on the Friday evening ($15 charge). Entry on Saturday and Sunday is free.

NZSG: Porirua
Talk: Using Porirua Library genealogy resources
> Wednesday 14th August: 7.30pm
> Genealogy Section, Porirua Library, entry opposite Harvey Norman Carpark, Wi Neera Drive, Porirua
Bring your laptop and research enquiries. All welcome (visitors $2).

DNA Down Under
> Wednesday 14th – Saturday 31st August
> Brisbane (14th), Perth (17th), Adelaide (20th), Melbourne (23rd), Canberra (26th), Sydney (29th – 31st)
One day events in five cities, plus a three day event in Sydney, featuring genetic genealogist Blaine Bettinger (USA) along with 11 other renowned speakers, with presentations suitable for DNA newbies and gurus alike. $A155 for one day, $A335 for three days, plus discount for combining Sydney with another city. See the DNA Down Under website for venue and programme information. I’m excited to be a DNA Down Under Ambassador and will be attending the Sydney three day event!

NZSG: Hutt Valley
Talk: Sharing her own family history research with Tui Lewis (Hutt City Councillor)
> Thursday 15th August: 7:30pm
> Petone Public Library, 7-11 Britannia Street, Petone
All welcome (visitors gold coin).

Wellington Family History Open Day [PDF, 1.2MB]
> Saturday 24th August: 9.30am – 4pm
> The Hutt Bowling Club, Myrtle St, Lower Hutt
NZSG Combined Wellington Branches event hosted by the Hutt Valley Branch, with  speakers from NZ Society of Genealogists, Wellington City Archives, Digital NZ, Papers Past, Hutt City Libraries, Hutt City Archives, and Archives NZ. Help desks available. $5 entry.

NZSG: Wellington
Talk: Wellington City Archives with Adrian Humphris (Wellington City Archivist)
> Wednesday 28th August: 6pm
> Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington
All welcome (visitors $3).

For other regions in NZ, check out the NZ Society of Genealogists events page for Family History Month activities near you.

 

The Travelling Genie

It’s been over a month since we arrived back from a family trip to the UK, where I managed to squeeze in a few genealogy-related activities.

While our main reason for visiting was to see family and friends, the timing of our visit was so I could attend the award ceremony for my Advanced Diploma in Local History at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

I would absolutely recommend the course – just be prepared to give up your life while you’re doing it!  There was a lot of reading. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. You’d start off on one book or article and then disappear down a rabbit hole of footnotes and references until your eyes weeped from tiredness. The assignments were evenly spaced throughout the year, though there was also the unit homework to complete as well (did anyone ever finish it all?), and the weekly online tutorial chats to attend. These were relatively informal, but just like with the online course forum, I suffered a little from imposter syndrome and was reticent about posting much.  Which was all very daft, as the students and tutors were welcoming and generous. It was often a struggle fitting in studying with holding down a day job combined with family responsibilities, but oh, the joy in learning and having my eyes opened! And the opportunity to combine my love of history with a love of data wrangling and analysis. It was definitely the most intense and challenging course I have ever undertaken.


After Oxford, it was on to Leicester – where the Guild of One-Name Studies was celebrating its 40th birthday as part of its annual conference, and happily the dates coincided with our travels. The conference organisers had arranged an optional tour of the Richard III visitors’ centre and nearby cathedral, and it was a great chance to peer down into the spot where Richard’s body had been discovered, and also to see his impressive final resting place.

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The conference itself was a combination of socialising and learning, with some fantastic presentations, including one from Simon Wills on ancestral travels by sea, Voyages from the Past. I’ve now since bought his book of the same name. (A fuller review of the conference appears in July’s Guild Journal.)


Before my trip, I had decided I would focus my research on my 3 x great grandfather, John Clark(e), and I spent a couple of days at The National Archives at Kew and three days in Belfast, chasing him up in muster rolls, pension payment records, and parish registers.  Which John Clark was he – Thing 1 or Thing 2??

John Clark (1) and (2) in the muster rolls for 74th Regiment of Foot

John Clark (1) and (2), 74th Regiment of Foot muster roll, 1 Jul – 30 Sep 1846, WO 12/8099, National Archives (UK)

I had been to Belfast several times before, but never visited the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). On my first morning in the city I stopped in at the Ulster Historical Foundation to see about booking a research consultation. Fortunately there was a researcher available right then and there, and Gillian Hunt was a huge help in reviewing what I’d already found and suggesting ways forward in my research, as well as finding a baptism I hadn’t come across.  I’d really recommend doing this, especially if it’s your first time in Belfast, though at busier times you’d need to book an appointment in advance.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

The facilities at PRONI are fabulous and the staff incredibly helpful.  It’s located in the Titanic Quarter, not far from the Titanic museum, and I opted to stay in the city centre, about a 30 minute walk away. The Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing bus travels through the area regularly, and on my last afternoon I hopped on and took a tour around the city before heading to the airport.


The last genealogical event I attended was Family Tree LIVE at Alexandra Palace in London at the end of April.  After a dearth of similar events last year due to the closure of WDYTYA? Live, suddenly there’s a whole heap of genie treats this year, and I was thrilled to sneak this in to our trip.

Queuing up to get in to Family Tree Live, Alexandra Palace, London

Family Tree LIVE, Alexandra Palace, London

The venue was fantastic, and although there were few nearby eating and sleeping options, there was parking available plus shuttle buses from Wood Green underground station.  I thought the atmosphere was wonderful, and it was lovely to catch up with many genie friends and put faces to Twitter handles. The range of talks was excellent – highlights for me were Pam Smith’s presentation on her one-place study of Rillington, and Jonny Perl’s chromosome mapping with his DNA Painter tool.


Back on this side of the planet now and there’s lots to look forward to!  My father is celebrating his 80th birthday and the launch of his family history book this month. August is Family History month in Australasia, and I’m heading to Auckland for the Family History Expo there, and have also booked for the DNA Down Under three day event in Sydney at the end of August.

Martin Burke & Ann Philp ~ Canterbury settlers

Martin Burke and Ann Philip with their daughter

This is a copy of a photograph that was shared with me by my third cousin, Margaret. The couple are our great great grandparents, Ann Philp and Martin Burke. But who is the girl with them? Ann and Martin had three children: Mary (born 1863), Anne (born 1865) and Thomas (born around 1866), so presumably the young girl is either Mary or Anne. A few years ago I had a printout of the photo dated by American photo expert Maureen Taylor at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London, who estimated it was taken in the 1870s. Given the birth years of the girls, it’s probably more likely to be Anne in the photo, though difficult to be sure.

Martin and Ann, with baby Mary, emigrated to New Zealand in 1863 aboard the Mermaid, and settled near Christchurch, Canterbury. In two weeks I’m heading down to Christchurch for the New Zealand Society of Genealogists’ conference, Echoes of our Past, getting there a day early so I have some time for researching the Burke family!

Geneabloggers unite!

One of the best things about the recent Congress in Sydney was meeting up with fellow genealogy bloggers, easily recognised by our blogger beads (kindly sponsored by GeniAus and Lonetester).  It was a wonderful way to break the ice and get chatting with lots of different folk, especially in the line for a cuppa at morning tea.

Australasian genealogy bloggers outside the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour, Sydney, for Congress 2018.

Some of the Australasian genealogy bloggers (plus American Judy Russell) at Congress 2018 in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Thanks to Diana Hurford for the photo!

Jill Ball has collated many of the blog posts relating to Congress on her GeniAus website.

If you have a genealogy-related blog, or want to start one, check out the community at GeneabloggersTRIBE.

Next conference on the calendar for me is Echos of the Past being held in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 1-4 June.  Hopefully there will be a few of us there sporting our beads!

Congress 2018 ~ the good, the not so good, and the even better

International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney

International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney

It has taken me several days to come off Sydney time and the genie high that was the 15th Australasian Congress of Genealogy and Heraldry 2018. What a glorious four days! The weather was good, the venue superb, and the craic mighty – a winning combination. Hats off to the organisers for an amazing event, and to GeniAus for making it so welcoming to newcomers.

GeniAus about to interview John at Friday night's get-together

GeniAus about to interview John at Friday night’s get-together

Among the presentations I attended were those given by speakers I’d heard and enjoyed before – Judy Russell, Paul Milner, Paul Blake, and Lisa Louise Cooke. Always good value! Kiwi Fiona Brooker gave a great talk on families who travelled back and forwards “across the ditch” (the Tasman Sea), and GeniAus Jill Ball shared some useful tips for family history bloggers. Kerry Farmer’s two presentations on DNA were excellent – one was on solving family puzzles using DNA (illustrated with case studies), and the other on chromosome mapping (which I want to tackle but haven’t got round to).

I also attended talks on the National Archives of Australia and Trove, but unfortunately my attention was elsewhere at the time as my daughter’s school camp in the South Island had been hit by a gastro bug and lots of messaging ensued between myself and the husband back in NZ trying to find a way to get her home. (She was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get ill!)

Ruth Graham’s presentation on Digital Humanities and Pauleen Cass’s on Uncovering your Irish roots both provided some food for thought, and Carole Riley gave us the low-down on Evernote and OneNote (though I still don’t know which I prefer). I loved Thom Reed’s tips on utilising the unindexed records on FamilySearch – there’s treasure to be discovered!

The only presentation that was disappointing was on How to be a professional genealogist, where I had hoped to learn a bit about the genealogy industry in Australasia. Most of the talk was taken up with audience members’ comments on the various (good) educational options available locally and little on other practicalities. However, I am comparing with a couple of day-long events that I attended in England, so perhaps unfair. And (as an audience member) Judy Russell’s advocacy for the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) was marvellous!

Me with genealogy heroes, Lisa Louise Cooke (left) and Jan Gow (right)

Me with genealogy heroes, Lisa Louise Cooke (left) and Jan Gow (right)

Saturday night was the Congress dinner and obviously the genealogy gods were smiling as my table included both renowned NZ genealogist Jan Gow and American speaker Lisa Louise Cooke, as well as my two new Aussie genie-mates Janelle and Hillary. The food was good and the company even better. On Sunday night I had dinner with fellow members of the Guild of One Name Studies (thanks to Karen Rogers for organising).

The highlight of Congress was the wonderful conviviality and generosity shown by everyone. I had expected it to be similar to my first couple of genealogy events in England where (while I learnt a lot) I spent most of the time on my own. No chance of that with Congress!

International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, at night

International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, at night

Congress 2018 is here!

Getting up at dark o’clock (3am) is not much fun, but heading to Congress in Sydney was worth the bleary-eyed start. It’s a three hour flight “across the ditch” (aka the Tasman Sea) and after arriving just after 8am it was good to dump my suitcase at the hotel and then head to pre-register.

The Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) had opened up their HQ for pre-registration and a ‘meet and greet’ opportunity. GeniAus (Jill Ball) was on hand to welcome everyone, especially first-time Congress attendees, and to hand out ‘First Time attendee’ ribbons. The tea and cakes were very welcome, as was the chance to meet other genealogists. As a geneablogger, I also got to pick up some blogger beads! These are a great way to recognise fellow bloggers at the conference (and a nice talking point when you don’t know many folks).

Pre-registration name tag, first time attendee ribbon, and geneablogger beads

Pre-registration swag!

I had booked in for an afternoon tour of Hyde Park Barracks that SAG had arranged, and what an amazing place it is. Built between 1817 and 1819 by convicts, and designed by former convict turned architect Francis Greenway, it was originally designed to house labouring convicts. Transportion to New South Wales ceased in 1840, and by 1848 the building was being used to accommodate female immigrants as well as destitute women. From 1887 it was used for law courts and government offices, right up until 1979.

Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks

During the time convicts lived in the barracks, they slept in these hammocks. We were allowed to try them out – I almost fell asleep in one of them, they seemed so comfortable (or maybe I was just very very tired).

Hammocks for convict labourers at Hyde Park Barracks

Hammocks for convict labourers, Hyde Park Barracks

In the evening my Australian cousins took me out for dinner at Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel, the Lord Nelson Brewing Hotel. A fitting end to the day!

RootsTech 2018 ~ livestreaming from Salt Lake City, Utah

RootsTech is the annual genealogy-meets-technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and this year is being held Wednesday 28th February to Saturday 3rd March. Not all of us can make it over there in person, but we can watch some of the presentations at home. Inspired by Sylvia Valentine who has “translated” the timetable from MST (Mountain Standard Time) into GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) for UK and Ireland folks, below is the timetable in NZDT (New Zealand Daylight Time). New Zealand is 20 hours ahead of Salt Lake City, so don’t get confused by the “Wednesday General Session” happening on a Thursday, etc!

There’s an excellent line-up of speakers, and if you have British Isles ancestry I can definitely recommend Myko Clelland and Brian Donovan – I’ve heard them both speak in person and they’re bound to give engaging and informative presentations.

For more details on the presentations and the live stream, visit the RootsTech website.

Alarm clocks at the ready!

Thursday, 1st March
4:30am Family History in 5 Minutes a Day Deborah Gamble
7:00am DNA—One Family, One World David Nicholson
9:30am Organizing and Preserving Photograph Collections Ari Wilkins
11:00am Finding the Answers: The Basics of WWII Research Jennifer Holik
12:30pm Wednesday General Session and Innovation Showcase Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International
Friday, 2nd March
4:30am Thursday General Session Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York
7:00am MyHeritage DNA 101: From Test to Results Yaniv Erlich
9:30am Google Photos: Collect, Organize, Preserve, and Share Michelle Goodrum
11:00am Unlocking Roman Catholic Records Brian Donovan
12:30pm A Gift of Life: Who’s Writing Your Story? Deborah Abbott
Saturday, 3rd March
4:30am Friday General Session Scott Hamilton
7:00am findmypast’s British and Irish Hidden Gems Myko Clelland
9:30am Finding the Right DNA Test for You Jim Brewster
11:00am How Not to Leave Your Genealogy Behind Amy Johnson Crow and Curt Witcher
12:30pm Finding Elusive Records at FamilySearch Robert Kehrer
Sunday, 4th March
4:30am Saturday General Session Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Natalia Lafourcade
7:00am Civil Registration Indexes of England and Wales Audrey Collins
9:30am Advancing Your Genealogy Research with DNA Anna Swayne
11:00am Pain in the Access: More Web for Your Genealogy Curt Witcher

At the going down of the sun and in the morning ~ Remembrance Sunday

Tower of London poppies ~ 25 Sep 2014

Tower of London poppies ~ 25 Sep 2014

This is how the Tower of London is commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is an installation created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, and has involved the help of hundreds of volunteer ‘poppy planters’. The Tower’s moat is being progressively filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies – each representing a British forces death during the war. The last poppy is being placed on November 11th, the date the Armistice was signed.

Tower of London poppies ~ 25 Sep 2014

Tower of London poppies ~ 25 Sep 2014

Every day since August 5, the names of 180 Commonwealth troops who were killed in the war have been read out at sunset, followed by the Last Post. These names are nominated by the public, and I nominated my two ANZACs, Peter Gaffaney and Edward Tunnecliff. Their names were read out on Thursday, September 25, and our whole family went up to London to hear them.

My (very short) video of their names being read out:

You can read more about these two soldiers in previous posts:

The official video of the full ceremony of September 25 including the Last Post is available on the Tower of London Roll of Honour website.

Tower of London poppies ~ 25 Sep 2014

Tower of London poppies ~ 25 Sep 2014

We will remember them.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live, London

I have just spent two wonderful days at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London. I had promised myself last year that I would attend all three days in 2014, but with the days changing from Friday – Sunday to Thursday – Saturday, it was all a bit tricky, so two days again it was.

I had an early start on Friday morning to travel in from Kent in time for my first talk: Rosalind McCutcheon on Irish Poor Law records. It was a mix of background history and details of what records might have survived, all delivered in Roz’s inimitable style, and I’m hopeful I may find something for my Irish families. Next up was the “Celebrity Talk” in the main SOG theatre, though it differed in format this time, as it included the producers as well as Larry Lamb talking about the making of the show. It was a lovely insight into what happens behind the scenes, from the production point of view rather than just focusing on the celebrity’s experience.

Larry Lamb and WDYTYA producers, Olympia 2014

Larry Lamb and WDYTYA producers, Olympia 2014

The next talk I attended was Researching Australian WW1 Military Personnel given by Helen V. Smith, and it gave me some great ideas for further research on my Kiwi soliders. After a short wander around the exhibit hall, I listened to Stephen Scarth talking about PRONI online resources, and while I was aware of many of them, there are some exciting resources being made available soon. I’d also overlooked the very useful research guides they provide on their website.

I had booked an Ask the Expert session in the afternoon, and the military expert I requested gave me some very helpful tips on where to go next in my research. Looking around this area, it didn’t seem as busy as in previous years. Perhaps it was busier on the Saturday?

Definitely the greatest value for me this year was meeting lots of lovely genealogists, some of whom I only “knew” via Twitter. I’m always inspired by those making a living out of genealogy, and love how passionate they are about what they do. A “Tweet Up” had been arranged at the end of the day in the Hand and Flower pub across the road from the Olympia, and there were so many of us it got a little crowded in our spot at the back of the pub! I managed to chat to a few people, before heading off to dinner with some fellow IHGS students.

After a late night, Saturday morning came a little too soon, but after a mammoth breakfast and a good brisk walk to the Olympia from my hotel, I was ready for another day of genealogical delights. I only attended two talks this day, with the first being on the Scottish Poor Laws from Patricia Whately. She gave an overview of Poor Law legislation in Scotland, and the many records that were created as a result. Kirsty Wilkinson has compiled a list of those records that survive, which can be accessed (along with other resources) on her website : My Ain Folk [archived version].

WDYTYA? Live, Olympia 2014

WDYTYA? Live, Olympia 2014

After another couple of meetups, Tweet Ups and walk around the stands, I was off to my second talk of the day: Janet Few on Putting Your Ancestors in their Place: Sources for Reconstructing 19th Century Communities. I found this a great follow up to the recent One Place Studies course I’d just completed with Pharos, and I’m keen to get a hold of Janet’s new book, Putting your Ancestors in their Place: A Guide to One Place Studies.

Somehow I managed to sign up for not one but TWO online courses – just couldn’t resist the “show special” prices. The Pharos One Name Studies course included a GOONS membership. Bonus! The Palaeography course through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies was one I’d been looking at doing, and I couldn’t resist the 50% discount, plus fountain pen. Double bonus! Both start next month, so I shall be a little busy, I think.

I was disappointed to miss a couple of talks that were scheduled for Thursday, but luckily the one I most wanted to see has been recorded and can be viewed online: Maurice Gleeson’s Autosomal DNA – a step-by-step approach to analysing your atDNA matches.

Over the two days I met some fantastic people, caught up with friends, and learnt a lot from the talks and discussions. There are rumours that next year’s event will be at a different venue (Birmingham?), but hopefully I will be there. WDYTYA? Live will also be making an appearance in Glasgow this August, which will be especially handy for those living further north. A fabulous excuse to visit Scotland, if you really needed one!

Chief of the Brosnan clan

This entry is part 17 of 18 in the series The Brosnahans of Temuka

As part of the Brosnan Clan Gathering last month, a Ceann Fine or “clan chieftain” was inaugurated at the Festival Banquet. There were great cheers from the Kiwi contingent when Seán Brosnahan’s name was announced. (Not sure the ash stick will make it through NZ customs, though.)

Sean Brosnahan, the new Ceann Fine

MC Mark Daly and Fr Dan Riordan with Sean Brosnahan, the new Ceann Fine.

Seán is the author of The Kerrytown Brosnahans, a book about his East Kerry ancestors who emigrated to New Zealand in the mid 19th century, and lived in the area of South Canterbury known as “Kerrytown”.  Sean describes his initial journey to Ireland to find his ancestral roots, details his and the many other Brosnahan families that settled in New Zealand, and includes an extensive listing of the descendents of those first Brosnahan settlers.  Seán is Curator at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Under Brehon Law the leaders of Irish clans were acclaimed by their kinsmen as custodians of the clan. This clan system formed the basis of society in Ireland up to the 17th century. The Ceann Fine was responsible for maintaining and protecting the clan and its property. This often meant leading his clan in battle on land and sea. In the old ages he was the military and political chief of his clan and the go-to person if someone wished to petition their regional king.
The Ceann Fine would also have held all sorts of social responsibilities to his clan members, including the fertility of the land and for protecting his clan against the blight and plague of any sort.
In the modern age he would provide an equally important role, that of unity and family identity, bearing importance on familial relations and establishing a deep seated sense of cultural pride. He will be often at times the only link one disparate sept of a clan shares with the larger sept, creating a sense of security and unity.
Brosnan Clan Gathering, Facebook page

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