iwiKiwi

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

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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 (1840 – 1918) ~ Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch

Simeon Street entrance to Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

Simeon Street entrance to Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

While I was in Christchurch last June for the NZSG conference, I was determined to finally discover the resting place of my 2 x great grandfather, Martin Burke.  (There’s a picture of Martin in an earlier blog post.)  My first attempt with my aunt back in 2012 was not successful.  From Christchurch City Council’s cemetery database I knew he was buried in Sydenham Cemetery on 28th November 1918, and I had a plot number, but no map of the cemetery.  Major fail.

This time I had both!  However, it still wasn’t that easy to pinpoint his actual burial site.  While I could find the right block and row, none of the graves were numbered, so it was a case of using my phone and the online database to work out who was buried where, and narrow down his exact burial spot.

And what my aunt had thought was a walkway, was in fact our ancestor’s grave.

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Burial site of Martin Burke, Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ. [Block 22B, plot 63]

Later that weekend, I met up with a Burke cousin at the conference, and they were also going to search for Martin’s grave.  However, they had been in contact with the council and had a plan with the names and gravesite numbers marked on it.  Smart!

Plan of Block 22B of Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

Plan of Block 22B of Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ

We’re not sure why Martin doesn’t have a headstone on his grave.  Perhaps there was no money for a memorial, or some ill feeling amongst the family.  At least we now know where he rests.

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!

Census Day ~ 6 March 2018

Today is Census Day in New Zealand! It’s run every five years by Stats NZ, and counts the number of people and dwellings in the country on a particular day. The last census was held in 2013 and you can view the type of information gathered and the resulting reports from the Stats NZ website.

Four of the family are here to be enumerated at home, but my daughter is away on a school camp in the South Island. Unlike most of the country who are filling out the forms online, she and her classmates will be filling out paper forms (with some help from the teachers, no doubt!). The days of census collectors going door-to-door are fast disappearing.

Census collector on horsebak

Census enumerator travelling by horseback near Ruatāhuna in 1996. Credit: NZ Official Yearbook1

I wasn’t here in New Zealand for the last census, though we did make it into the UK one on 27 March 2011. It was the first UK census which could be completed online (though I also filled out and kept a paper copy for posterity).

Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to the Census from 1986, courtesy of NZ On Screen:


  1. ‘Census collecting by horse’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/collecting-census-by-horse, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 23-Mar-2015. Licensed by Manatū Taonga for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

Accentuate the Positive ~ 2017

My first full year back in New Zealand and we still haven’t fully unpacked! I did manage to squeeze in some study, a bit of research, and a few genealogy events.

A great newspaper article I found was about the visit my great great grandfather made back to England in 1907. In fact, there were two articles, and they provided a huge amount of detail (and some considerable hyperbole).

A geneajourney I took was to Auckland for the NZ Society of Genealogists’ annual conference, where the society was celebrating its 50th year in existence. A wonderfully run event with a great range of speakers. I’m looking forward to this year’s conference, Echoes of our Past, being held in Christchurch.

A geneasurprise I received was having a DNA match turn up for my mother, a descendant of her 2 x great grandfather’s half brother.

A (not so) new piece of technology I mastered was Excel. Although it’s not new to me, it’s been a long while since I’ve taken it for a proper spin, and I’m now able to generate some cool-looking charts and population pyramids.

I joined my local genealogy society and volunteered for the Wellington War Memorials project, and have met some lovely like-minded folks.

A genealogy event from which I learnt something new was the monthly series of family history talks held at the National Library of NZ in Wellington.

A blog post that taught me something new was any by John Grenham.

A great site I visited was Old Napier Cemetery, where many of my O’Rourke relatives are buried.

Old Napier cemetery


A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Kate Tiller’s English Local History: An introduction.

It was exciting to finally meet Seonaid Lewis from Auckland City Library, and many others since being back in NZ.

I am excited for 2018 because there’s Congress! A triennnial Australasian genealogy conference, this year being held in Sydney. I’m a Congress newbie, so looking forward to attending, plus I get to catch up with some cousins.

Another positive I would like to share is… I’m halfway through the Advanced Diploma in Local History, a distance course run by the University of Oxford. It has been such a huge learning adventure, and despite the incredible amount of time and work it involves, I am absolutely loving it.

Thanks go to Jill at GeniAUS again for her great Accentuate the Positive geneameme. You can read about the 2017 highlights of other geneabloggers on the GeniAUS website.

George & Elizabeth Tunnecliff all spruced up ~ Tombstone Tuesday

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Tunnecliffes of Taranaki

My 3 x great grandparents George and Elizabeth Tunnicliff are buried in Grave 56 of St Mary’s Cathedral churchyard, New Plymouth (Taranaki, New Zealand). In 2014 John Pickering, graveyard manager of St Mary’s, spearheaded a project to repair all the old gravestones in the churchyard. Desecendants, where known, were contacted and asked to help fund the project. Through an earlier blog post, some money was raised towards the repair of George and Elizabeth’s gravestone, but the majority was funded by donations from local parishioners.

The churchyard is a Category 1 historical site, and as such, only registered memorial masons could carry out the repairs. As you can see, a wonderful job has been done! Heartfelt thanks must go to St Mary’s Cathedral and its generous congregation, and especially John Pickering, for looking after our heritage sites.

The inscription on the headstone reads:

In loving memory of George Tunnecliff died 13 February 1912 aged 80 years also Elizabeth Tunnecliff died 24 February 1916 aged 86 . At rest.

Further reading:

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Family outing on the Avon ~ Wordless Wednesday

My grandfather and his parents, out on the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand. A photograph from a family album.

Peter Gaffaney, Margaret (O'Rourke Gaffaney), and Dominic Gaffaney, on the Avon River, Christchurch, c.1914

Peter Gaffaney, Margaret (O’Rourke) Gaffaney, and Dominic Gaffaney, on the Avon River, Christchurch, c.1914

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

The Arrival of my Ancestors ~ Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. It commemorates the date the Treaty of Waitangi was formally agreed between the Māori tribes of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Queen of England way back in 1840. For all the Treaty’s faults, it helped pave the way for my ancestors to emigrate and settle in New Zealand. So, I thought I’d list when each of my immigrant family members arrived and their ships, where known.

Sketches on Board an Emigrant Ship ~ The Illustrated New Zealand Herald, 9 April, 1875

Sketches on Board an Emigrant Ship ~ The Illustrated New Zealand Herald, 9 April, 1875

Arrived 8 August 1857 ~ Dinapore

George Tunnecliff(e) from Staffordshire and Elizabeth Barber from Sussex, my 3 x great grandparents, travelled on the Dinapore which left London on 13 April 1857.1 Did they know each other before they sailed, or did they meet on the ship? Also on the ship were Elizabeth’s employers from London, the Yates family. Did they pay for her ticket, and was she expected to work for them on arrival in New Zealand? In any case, George and Elizabeth married in Auckland, three days after arriving.

Arrived 12 September 1859 ~ Cresswell

Michael Gaff(a)ney, my 2 x great grandfather born in Derbyshire of Irish parents, took advantage of the assisted immigration scheme and departed London aboard the Cresswell on 27 May 1859, arriving in Lyttleton on 12 September 1859.2

Arrived around 1861 ~ ship unknown

Michael McGonnell from Co Down arrived in New Zealand around 1861, according to his death certificate. It’s unclear how he travelled to New Zealand. He had joined the Royal Navy in 1858, and did a runner from HMS Foxhound in June 1861. He later married George and Elizabeth Tunnecliffe’s daughter, Louisa.

Arrived 16 December 1862 ~ Echunga

Margaret Brosnahan, my 2 x great grandmother, and her brother John, from Co Kerry, sailed from Gravesend on 10 September 1862 as full-paying passengers on the Echunga, and landed at Timaru on 16 December 1862.3 Apparently Margaret was the first girl down the gangplank, and Michael Gaffaney took one look at her and vowed to marry her. They married a year later.

Arrived 16 February 1864 ~ Mermaid

Martin Burke and his wife Ann (Philp), my 2 x great grandparents, sailed on the Mermaid from London as assisted immigrants along with their five month old daughter, Mary.4 Martin was born in Co Mayo and had emigrated to Perth, Scotland with his family around 1850. Ann was originally from Fife, Scotland.

Arrived 18 November 1864 ~ Alfred

Edward Horne and his wife Elizabeth (Rose), my 3 x great grandparents, left Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 September 1864 aboard the Alfred, along with their six month old daughter, Annie.5 Edward was originally from Warwickshire, while Elizabeth was born in Cape Town. They were assisted immigrants, taking advantage of the Waikato Immigration Scheme.

Arrived around 1866 ~ Blue Jacket?

My 2 x great grandfather, Bartholomew O’Rourke from Co Kerry, sailed on the Blue Jacket and arrived in the West Coast goldfields around 1866, according to his obituary, although I can find no corresponding passenger list to confirm this. He may have travelled via the Australian goldfields.

Arrived around 1867 ~ ship unknown

Bridget Power from Co Tipperary arrived on the West Coast goldfields sometime around 1867. In 1869 she married Bartholomew O’Rourke.

Arrived 21 Jan 1875 ~ Avalanche

Henry Florey from Kent, my 3 x great grandfather, sailed from Gravesend on 22 October 1874 aboard the Avalanche, along with his wife Elizabeth (Byford), their son Forrest, and Henry’s son from a previous relationship, Henry John Forrest.6 Henry junior married Annie Horne in 1885.

Arrived around 1876 ~ Fernglen?

John Burton and his wife Bridget (O’Mahoney) were from Co Tipperary and Co Limerick respectively. According to family lore, they sailed with their two young children aboard the Fernglen and arrived in New Zealand around 1876. Their names don’t appear on any passenger listings or newspaper reports found so far, though the listings for the 1876 sailing may be incomplete.7

Arrived after 27 June 1902 ~ Delphic

My great grandmother Elsie Nunns from West Yorkshire travelled with her parents Sam and Alice (Cockerham) aboard the Delphic, which departed London on 8 May 1902, arriving in Wellington on 27 June. They continued on to Dunedin, disembarking at Port Chalmers.8

Arrived around 1911-14 ~ ship unknown

My great grandfather Alexander Wright arrived in New Zealand sometime between 1911 (when he deserted from the British Army) and 1914 (when he volunteered for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force). Originally from south east London, he married Elsie Nunns in 1917 after being invalided back to New Zealand during World War I.

Do you know when your ancestors arrived?

  1. “Dinapore”, transcription; YesterYears Passenger Lists, (http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlists/dinapore.html : accessed 5 Feb 2015); transcribed by 0032006 from The New Zealander, 4 Jul 1857 and The New Zealander, 8 Aug 1857.
  2. “New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FST7-NNG : accessed 5 February 2015), Michl Gaffeney, 12 Sep 1859; citing Cresswell, Ship, Arrival Port Lyttelton, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004411505.
  3. “The ‘Echunga’ Arrives”, transcription; South Canterbury NZ GenWeb (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzlscant/echunga.htm : accessed 5 Feb 2015); transcribe from the “Lyttelton Times” December 24, 1862.
  4. “New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FSBF-PJF : accessed 6 February 2015), Martin Burke, 16 Feb 1864; citing Mermaid, Ship, Arrival Port Canterbury, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004411751.
  5. “Alfred”, transcription; Our Stuff (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ourstuff/Alfred1864.htm : accessed 5 Feb 2015); transcribed by Denise & Peter, citing Archives New Zealand Micro 5019.
  6. “New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FSB5-L6N : accessed 5 February 2015), Henry R Florey, 21 Jan 1875; citing Avalanche, Ship, Arrival Port Taranaki, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004412892.
  7. “Fernglen”, New Zealand Bound (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzbound/fernglen.htm : accessed 5 Feb 2015).
  8. “The Delphic’s Passengers”, digital image; Papers Past (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/ : accessed 5 Feb 2015); citing The Press, volume LIX, issue 11299, 14 Jun 1902, p9.

Image:
Montage of sketches depicting life on board an emigrant ship. Making New Zealand :Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0661-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23020604.

Bethuel Boyes of Great Driffield ~ Tombstone Tuesday

I’ve done my fair share of walking around graveyards in the vain hope of discovering an ancestor’s (legible) gravestone. And occasionally I get lucky!

Gravestone of George & Elizabeth Kemp, also Thomas Kemp, St John the Evangalist churchyard, Oulton, West Yorkshire

Gravestone of George & Elizabeth Kemp, also Thomas Kemp, St John the Evangalist churchyard, Oulton, West Yorkshire

(See an earlier post about finding George & Elizabeth Kemp in West Yorkshire.)

Sometimes I’ve even checked the burial registers or with cemetery staff beforehand and know for certain that a family member is buried there. And I’ve not been so lucky.

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London - June 2012

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London ~ June 2012

(See an earlier post on Mary Jane’s grave at Brockley Cemetery.)

A few months ago I thought I was onto a winning formula – not only had I found a transcription of an ancestor’s gravestone, but also a map clearly showing where it was in the churchyard of All Saints, Great Driffield, East Yorkshire.

1a Near this place lie interred the remains of /BETHUEL BOYES, Esquire, who
departed this life/ August 27th 1810, aged 78 years/ Also MARY BOYES his
wife, who departed this life/ September 13th 1819 aged 80 years/ Also BRYAN
BOYES / son of the above, who departed this life/October 13th 1843, aged 70
years/ Also of BETHUEL BOYES, Esquire/ (late of Eastburn), son of the
above, who died/14th April 1840, aged 73 years/ Also of LOIS BOYES, his
wife, who died /24th July 1820, aged 47 years/ And in memory of/ JOHN BOYES
Esquire, son of the above (interred in Little Driffield Church) who died/
30th March 1847, aged 71 years.1

Also listed were the relevant entries from the parish registers:

1810 Aug 29 Bethel Boyes, Gentleman 78
1819 Sep 15 Mary Boyes, Widow, Great Driffield 80
1843 Oct 20 Bryan Boyes, Great Driffield 70
1840 Apr 21 Bethel Boyes, Eastburn 73
1820 Jul 26 Lois, wife of Bethuel Boyes, Eastburn 47
*1847 Apr 6 John Boyes, Great Driffield 71 (in Little Driffield Register)2

So, on a recent trip to Yorkshire for an IHGS students get-together, I hired a car for an afternoon and went off in search of Mr Bethuel Boyes and Co.’s final resting place.

All Saint's Church, Great Driffield

All Saint’s Church, Great Driffield

See any gravestones? No.

Where have they gone? Removed. All of them.

See that thin weedy looking plant? Underneath that, or near enough anyway, lie the remains of my 6 x great grandparents, Bethuel and Mary (Etherington), two of their sons, and a daughter-in-law.

R.I.P.

A huge thanks to the East Yorkshire Family History Society who recorded the locations and inscriptions of the gravestones at All Saints churchyard in June 1982!

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. East Yorkshire FHS (trans.), Driffield ,Great (All Saints) memorial inscriptions: East Yorkshire monumental inscriptions vol. 5, East Yorkshire FHS (1990).
  2. Ibid.

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ Wordless Wednesday

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The Tunnecliffes of Taranaki
St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

My 3 x great grandfather George was baptised in this church on 19 December 1831, the son of William Tunnicliffe, farmer of Hall Green, and Louisa his wife1.

  1. St Mary & All Saints Church (Checkley, Staffordshire, England), Staffordshire Baptisms 1538-1900; digital image, FindMyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 01 Aug 2014).

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