Category Archives: Genealogy

A Day in Dublin

I was in Dublin visiting friends over the weekend, and because of the Bank Holiday in the UK, had decided to stay until the Monday and grab some precious research time – and my first foray into records there.

I had an early start, as I was driving into Dublin from Co Wicklow, but traffic was definitely not as bad as it was a few years ago.  First task was parking the car, and I’d chosen the parking building off Trinity Street, despite it being horrendously expensive, as it was near to my last stop of the day.

And so, onto Lombard Street and Joyce House, where I hoped to pick up the marriage certificate of Mary Jane Clark and her first husband.  After a short wait, I was told at the counter that they only dealt with certificates for marriages after 1920, and directed me to Navan (where the marriage took place) and the GRO in Roscommon.  Neither place was on my itinerary for that day!  I hurried over the river to the Irish Life Centre in Lower Abbey Street and the GRO Research facility there, where I filled out the appropriate form, paid €4 and waited.  I was warned it would take approximately 20 minutes, and I was thinking I should have brought a book with me, but in the end it was probably only ten minutes and then I was on my way.

Just across the courtyard, in Block 2 of the Irish Life Centre, is the Valuation Office.  It was very quiet in there, no waiting at all, and after giving a staff member the name of the townland I was interested in, relevant Revision books (or ‘Cancelled Land Books’) then came out.  After Griffith’s Valuation,  the revision books show the change in ownership and occupancy, as well as size and value, of a piece of land over the years.  Changes were recorded in different coloured ink, depending on the year, which makes it more useful to view the original books in colour, rather than in black and white on microfilm at an LDS centre.  The books themselves go from around 1859, essentially a copy of the Valuation, up until 1977.  (Thanks to Donna Moughty and her blog post that alerted me to this valuable resource!) Self-service full-colour A3 copying is available, at a cost of €1 a sheet, and it took almost no time to copy the fifteen pages I wanted.

Next stop: the National Library in Kildare Street.  I stowed my bag and coat in a free locker, and set off upstairs to the Main Reading Room to get a reader’s card.  To view the church records I wanted, it didn’t look like I needed one, but they’re valid for three years, so it was good to get it for later research.  I had brought along some passport-size photos, but they weren’t required as they take your photo there.  Once I’d been issued with my card, I headed back downstairs to the Genealogical Service room with a helpful staff member, who showed me where the church records on microfilm were kept and set me up with a microfilm reader in a separate room.  Once I found a record, I had to take the film back to the Genealogical Service room to wait for a reader connected to a scanner.  I also had to buy a printer card (€1) from the shop to pay for any copies I wanted. Unfortunately, when I came to print the first record I had found, the scanner machine failed to work.  Which meant a 20 minute wait for the only other machine in the room.  (I felt sorry for the main staff member in the room – very overworked, and running around doing an amazing job trying to help everyone as quickly as she could.)  After finally being able to print the record, my time was up – I had just enough time to grab a very quick cuppa with a friend before heading off to the airport.

Hitting the books ~ Sorting Saturday

I had a couple of kid-free hours today, so I could tackle some assignment work.  This current block of assignments are all focussed on family records, and I’m currently drafting an appraisal of the records I have in my possession, and how they’ve helped (or hindered) me in my research.  I also did a little work on the third assignment – my grandfather’s biography – adding some more information to the timeline I’ve created, and making notes where more research is required.  I need to incorporate significant historical events into the biography, and found some great timelines for New Zealand history online.  Hopefully I may also be able to source some New Zealand history books through my local library, otherwise I’m kinda relying on the internet.

I had great plans to do more organising of my Stuff today, but that fell by the wayside.  I’m motivated more to start planning a research trip to Yorkshire in the summer.  With three young kids in tow, it will be “interesting”.

On Monday, I’m hoping to visit the London Family History Centre if I can get myself sorted with a research plan before then.   It requires a bit of a search through their catalogue to see what records they have that might be useful – I know they have Casey’s O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland on microfilm, for example, which may help me greatly with my Co. Kerry ancestors.

Stuff and censuses ~ Sorting Saturday

Some of the blog posts I’ve been reading lately have inspired me to start tackling some of my stuff that’s Not Been Dealt With. For instance, while writing yesterday’s post I realised most of the census records I have collected are just images on my computer, a few have been transcribed, none have been printed out, and only a couple have made it into my Reunion family file.

What to do? I wonder what everyone else does?

This afternoon I have been printing off census images, then transcribing the information onto blank UK census sheets from Ancestry. I’ve also noted down any extra citation information like date accessed and GSU roll. Once done, I place both pages back to back in a clear punch pocket and file away in my surname ring binders. This is going to take some time, but I figure if I do a bit every Saturday, it’ll get completed eventually. And then there’s adding all the information into Reunion as well, which I probably need to do as I go, or it will become a nightmare job!

Two books I had requested from the library turned up this week – more background reading for my course work: The Female Line – Researching your Female Ancestors by Margaret Ward, and Family Photographs & How to Date Them by Jayne Shrimpton. I met Jayne at Who Do You Think You Are? Live back in February and she dated a photograph for me, so I’m looking forward to reading about how she does it.

And in other news, I passed my first two assignments! (I’m studying towards the Higher Certificate in Genealogy with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies). I received a B+ for my autobiography and an A- for my Seize Quartiers (drop-line pedigree chart up to my 16 great great grandparents). It was great to get the comments back before I finish my next lot of assignments. I’m currently working on my paternal grandfather’s biography, need to get cracking on that.

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Not very ~ Sorting Saturday

I am not very sorted.  Genealogically-wise, I don’t have huge amounts of family ephemera to store, but I have recently amassed a fair amount of research that has Not Been Dealt With.

There’s all those wills and letters of administration I photographed at Wellington Archives Office when I was in New Zealand, plus all the photos I need to edit and put online for family to help identify.  And not to mention all the little notes I’ve written in my A5 project book that need adding into Reunion.

My latest “discovery” is the New Zealand Electoral Rolls on Ancestry, which I now have access to since upgrading my subscription.  Wow!  Initially I was focussing on my grandfather (for my assignment) but I keep coming up with other ancestors I want to track down.  While not as informative as a census record (only adults over 18 are listed), the rolls were compiled every three years, giving you a much better chance of tracking your relatives as they moved about.  Not all the rolls are indexed, but as long as you have an idea of where your relative is living, you can search for them by browsing in the relevant electorate(s).  Having said that, I have yet to find my grandfather in 1931.

So lots to do, and what do I end up doing today?  Reading a book that arrived in the post – Settlers: New Zealand Immigrants from England, Ireland & Scotland 1800 – 1945 by Jock Phillips and Terry Hearn.   Of course the first thing I did when I got it was check the index for names of any of my ancestors – no luck there, but so far the book is proving to be a very good distraction from other more mundane tasks such as filing and organising stuff that’s NBDW.  Oops.

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

At last!

Finally I have submitted the first assignments for my course!  Knuckled down this week and got them finished and sent off yesterday.  So I kinda missed my self-imposed deadline of Monday, but at least they are done. ( I’m doing the Higher Certificate in Genealogy by correspondence with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury.) And I’ve already downloaded and read the next lecture and started some prep work for the next three assignments, one of which is the biography of a grandparent.  I’m looking foward to this as it sounds like fun, and I shall be grilling my father and his siblings for information about my paternal grandfather.  It would be a great exercise to do for my other grandparents as well, so might think of tackling them later on in the year.

It took me six months to complete that first lecture and its assignments – yikes!  Am aiming to finish this next one within six weeks, and plan to schedule set times during the week for study time.  Of course, my schedule will be all out the window come Easter school holidays, but hopefully I’ll have made a good start by then.

A Canterbury Tale

Just back from a fantastic few days away in Canterbury (England) – it was a tutorial weekend for my correspondence course with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. We had lectures on wills and probate, parish records and palaeography, with some hands on exercises, and lots of opportunity for research in their amazing library and discussion with lecturers, tutors and fellow students. Nothing like being with a bunch of like-minded souls!

The course is self-paced and I have been pretty slack so far – while I’ve spent some time on course work, I haven’t submitted any assignments yet. Erk. However, am feeling re-energised and motivated and have already done an hour’s work tonight. *shines halo* Plus, I have some other students on my back now nagging me, giving me deadlines.

I have to submit a “Seize Quartiers”, which involves a (non-computer-generated) dropline pedigree chart up to my great great grandparents, plus accompanying source citations. This is almost completed, just a little tidying up of the chart layout, and listing all the citations in an understandable report.

The other assignment is my autobiography, and I’ve not really enjoyed doing this, though it will be a fantastic genealogical resource for my descendents one day. The guide word limit is up to 3000 words, though I know other students have written much more. I’ve completed a first draft, and this week need to embellish and edit. And maybe add some photos.

My deadline for submission is Monday week (that’s the 21st of March) – wish me luck!

NZ Research plan – review

Auckland Archives office

  • Probate file for Elsie Adelaide Nunns – 1985 (great grandmother)
  • Customs Inwards letter – The High Commissioner for New Zealand, London – Alexander Wright – passenger to Auckland per “Rimutaka” leaving London 12 June 1908 (possibly great grandfather)

I decided not to visit the Auckland Archives in the end. My great grandmother I knew well enough that I didn’t think her will would contain too many surprises,  and the second item may not be connected to my family at all. These will keep till I have more time.

Wellington Archives office

  • Probate file for Patrick James O’Rourke – 1908 (great great uncle)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1912 (great great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Alice Tunnecliff – 1919 great great great uncle’s wife)
  • Probate file for Henry Richard Florey – 1916 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Elizabeth Ann Florey – 1922 (great great grandfather’s wife)
  • Probate file for Michael McGonnell – 1929 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1942 (great great great uncle)

Viewed and photographed all these files, apart from the one of the ones I most wanted to see, Henry Richard Florey’s probate file. It wasn’t available as it had been requested by someone else! I can order a copy to be made for $20, which I think I’ll do.

  • Coroners Inquest Report for Henry (Harry) Florey (great great grandfather)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Annie Florey (great great grandmother)

Wasn’t sure if these existed, and a very lovely staff member helped me locate both. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to enlarge the microfilm image to A4 size on the machine connected to the printer, and I didn’t have a USB drive to save the images using the other machines. So, I ended up printing A5 size images, which are incredibly hard to read. It wasn’t till afterwards that I realised I could have used the memory card in my camera…. *sigh* Anyway, I know they’re there now, and I can always go back when I’m next in town. In the meantime, I can try and transcribe from the printouts.

National Library, Wellington

  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bartholomew O’Rourke – 1923 (great great grandfather)
  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bridget Power O’Rourke – 1914 (great great grandmother)

The National Library is in a state of turmoil at the moment, with its collections located all over the place while they are redeveloping their main building on Molesworth  Street. The Library does hold issues of the NZ Tablet on microfilm for the years I’m interested in, but the films were not at the Reading Room on 77 Thorndon Quay.  The Library building reopens in 2012, so I might try and get my father to investigate then.

Other

  • Locate cassette tape of Lallie Coppinger’s interview (first cousin, twice removed)

Found!!!!!! And in the sixth box I checked of over 60 in our storage unit. I only had time to listen to a few minutes of the tape at my parents’ place, and it sounds great, can’t wait to listen to it all. Need to locate a cassette player first.

  • Take photograph of St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington – grandparents’ wedding venue

Done!

  • Remuera cemetery, Auckland – locate burial plot for Annie Florey

After asking on the Trade Me genealogy forum about Remuera cemeteries, I emailed St Mark’s Church to check if they had any records of Annie Florey being buried there. I received a reply very promptly, but unfortunately there is no record of her burial there. With time tight in Auckland, I decided to follow this up at a later date.

  • Take photographs of living relatives!

Done!

  • Identify as many people/places in photographs as possible in my father’s collection
  • Scan older photographs and documents in my father’s collection

I had planned to spend several evenings looking over old photographs and documents with my father, but there wasn’t enough time. I did, however, pull out a whole heap of things to scan – what a treasure trove there was stashed away! I think there is probably more packed away in boxes from when my parents moved house. I started scanning away, but realised what a mammoth task it was going to be (when I’d rather be sitting around chatting to my family), so I took a pile into the local Kodak shop and got them to copy them on to a DVD for me. My father had already had some borrowed photos copied there, so I got a copy of that DVD too. I now have a HUGE amount of work to do sorting them all out.

  • Collect information about paternal grandfather’s life for future assignment

Umm.. epic FAIL on this one. I’m hoping I’ll be able to do this over the phone and by email with my father.

I also met extended family at my grandmother’s funeral and at church one Sunday, though in both cases we weren’t able to chat for long. Was lovely to put some faces to names, though, and I hope to keep in contact with a couple of them by email.

Overall, I was pleased with what I managed to achieve, though I’m now seriously homesick and wanting to go back. Still, lots of research to be done this side of the world first!

NZ Research plan

Auckland Archives office

  • Probate file for Elsie Adelaide Nunns – 1985 (great grandmother)
  • Customs Inwards letter – The High Commissioner for New Zealand, London – Alexander Wright – passenger to Auckland per “Rimutaka” leaving London 12 June 1908 (possibly great grandfather)

Wellington Archives office

  • Probate file for Patrick James O’Rourke – 1908 (great great uncle)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1912 (great great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Alice Tunnecliff – 1919 great great great uncle’s wife)
  • Probate file for Henry Richard Florey – 1916 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for Elizabeth Ann Florey – 1922 (great great grandfather’s wife)
  • Probate file for Michael McGonnell – 1929 (great great grandfather)
  • Probate file for George Tunnecliff – 1942 (great great great uncle)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Henry (Harry) Florey (great great grandfather)
  • Coroners Inquest Report for Annie Florey (great great grandmother)

National Library, Wellington

  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bartholomew O’Rourke – 1923 (great great grandfather)
  • NZ Tablet – obituary for Bridget Power O’Rourke – 1914 (great great grandmother)

Other

  • Locate cassette tape of Lallie Coppinger’s interview (first cousin, twice removed)
  • Take photograph of St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington – grandparents’ wedding venue
  • Remuera cemetery, Auckland – locate burial plot for Annie Florey
  • Take photographs of living relatives!
  • Identify as many people/places in photographs as possible in my father’s collection
  • Scan older photographs and documents in my father’s collection
  • Collect information about paternal grandfather’s life for future assignment

I think this might be a bit ambitious, given that we’re only in New Zealand for three weeks, and it’s supposed to be a holiday for the whole family, and not just me! Reviewing the list, I’m not sure it’s worth going to the Auckland Archives office this trip, as I think the only time I’ll have to do it, will be just after a 26 hour flight with three kids. Yikes!

Two more sleeps and we’re off – can’t wait!

WDYTYA Live 2011

I’ve finally booked!

We arrive back from New Zealand on the Friday afternoon, so I’ve been tossing up whether I’ll be compos mentis, or a pile of jibbering jet-laggedness.  Still, can’t pass up one of the genealogical highlights of the year, so I’ve bought a Q-jump ticket for the Sunday, and booked into three workshops and an Ask the Expert session.  (Will have to figure out what I’m going to “ask” at that.)

I also have a Beginner’s Tutorial weekend coming up for my course with IHGS in Canterbury in March, which I need to book before I go away next week.  Have to psych the hubby up for a weekend with the three kids on his own.   I’m hoping this will really push me forward on the assignment front (aka get my A into G and do some work), plus I get to meet fellow students. Oh, and a kidfree weekend! :D

Formulating a research plan (of sorts)

In February we’re off to New Zealand for a three week holiday. In 2007 we left with our two kids to come and live in England for 18 months. Four years and one baby later, we’re going back to catch up with family and enjoy a Kiwi summer! Of course, I hope to do a bit of genealogy research while I’m there, but not too much or hubby and the kids will get grumpy. So, a little bit of looking up dead people, and a lot of chatting to live people. With a runaround a cemetery or two for the kids.

Right now I’m going through Archway with my main New Zealand surnames, and seeing what probate records I will be able to order and view. I’ll only be able to get to the Wellington and Auckland Archives offices, and I won’t be able to spend days in them, so have to organise my time carefully. Happily, the hotel I booked us into for a couple nights near Auckland airport, is extremely close to the Auckland Archives! Who knew?? (I certainly didn’t when booking. Yay for serendipity!)

I’ll need to get a Reader’s card – will have to work out the logistics of that time-wise, and then I can order up the records online, so they’re ready for me when I go in. Well, that’s the plan anyway. And I also need to find out how many records I can order up/view at a time. Maybe I’ll need to put my requests in order of preference, just in case I run out of time?

Sadly, my Great Aunt Audrey in Gisborne, who I had planned to fly up and see while over in NZ, died last month. I may still fly up there, depending on what else I’m able to do, though I think I might just wait till next trip.

Another job to do – find the cassette tape which has (first, twice removed) Cousin Lally talking about her family on it. I recorded this in 1991, when I visited her in California. If it hasn’t perished, I really want to transcribe it before it’s lost for good. I’m not even sure how much information she gave me at the time – but it has to be better than nothing. The thing about the tape is… it’s in a box. In our storage unit in Wellington. Along with lots and lots and lots of other boxes. Yeah, so wish me luck on that one! (Actually, I’m hoping our numbering system and Excel spreadsheet of box contents may be of some assistance – we shall see.)

I’d also love to find the sources of the newspaper clippings I have (or rather, the scans of some newspaper clippings). One obituary I’m fairly sure is from the New Zealand Tablet, so I can check that in the National Library in Wellington, and also check if there are any more obituaries for that family.

And I am very much looking forward to seeing my Nanna. And the rest of my family!