Motivation Monday: Announcing the Auckland Family History Expo @ Central City Library

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Auckland Family History Expo @ Central City Library

When: Friday 7 August - Sunday 9 August
Where: Central City Library
Cost: Free for all events, except Friday opening event

The Auckland Family History Expo is a weekend-long event covering a wide range of topics related to genealogy and researching your family history.

A range of exhibitors will have stalls set up throughout the weekend, and a variety of talks on research techniques, resources and tools will be taking places in three separate venues around the library.

See the programme of events for each day:
Friday 7 August - $10, booking instructions below
Saturday 8 August - free, no bookings required
Sunday 9 August - free, no bookings required

Keep an eye out for Auckland War Memorial Museum's interactive Mobile Roadshow Unit, which will be parked outside Central City Library in Lorne Street all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As always, library staff will be available in the Central Auckland Research Centre to provide research assistance and access to resources.

  • Ancestry
  • Findmypast
  • FamilySearch
  • Archives New Zealand
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum and WW100
  • The Guild of One-Name Studies
  • The NZ Fencible Society
  • Hooked on Genealogy and Beehive Books
  • Anglican Archives
  • Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum
  • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists and its interest groups: New Zealand, Australian, Scots, Irish, English, European, Huguenot, Pacific Island and Māori.

Family History Expo opening
Whare Wananga Level 2, 4pm - 8pm

Attendance will cost $10 to cover hospitality. Booking is essential given that limited seats are available. To reserve your place, email the Central Auckland Research Centre or phone 09 307 7771.

4pm-5pm: Welcome and opening, followed by panel discussion
Featuring Michelle Patient (Guild of One-Name Studies), Ben Mercer (Ancestry), Seonaid Lewis (Auckland Libraries), Helen Smith (Genealogical Society of Queensland), Gay Williams (New Zealand Society of Genealogists).
5pm: Light refreshments
6pm: All is not lost - keynote address by David Lomas (Missing Pieces, Lost & Found)
For many New Zealand families there is a missing piece. All is not lost, presented by journalist David Lomas, will look at how missing people are found by David and his fellow researchers on the TV3 programme Lost & Found and its predecessor Missing Pieces.

Whare Wananga, Level 2 (seminars)  
10.15am: Commemorating the 1918 Flu Pandemic
Discovering insights from the online collections. Introduction by Sandra Coney (Auckland Council), presentation by Ben Mercer (, Topics will include Births, Deaths & Marriages; NZSG Cemeteries Collection; the special place of Waikumete Cemetery; and preparing for the centenary in 2018.
11.15am: AncestryDNA and your family tree
Combining history with science, making connections online with Ben Mercer ( Topics will include the AncestryDNA toolkit, building your family tree, breakdown of ethnicity, and making connections online.
12.15pm: Heraldic treasures at the Auckland War Memorial Museum library
Join manuscript librarian Martin Collett and learn about heraldry and the treasures within the Auckland Museum Library. 
1.15pm: They went to Australia and now can't be found
Presented by Helen Smith, Genealogical Society of Queensland.
2.15pm: FamilySearch
Learn how to use this wonderful free website to assist you with your family history. Presented by Jan Gow, Hooked on Genealogy.
3.15pm: The rest of the iceberg: researching beyond the internet
Presented by Barbara Wyley, NZSG.

Te Marama Room, Level 1 (workshops)
10.30am: Getting started with your family history research
Presented by Jan Gow, Hooked on Genealogy.
11am: DNA basics
A beginner’s guide to how science can help your family history by Helen Smith, Genealogical Society of Queensland.
11.30am: Tips for carrying out a family history interview 
Presented by Sandra Metcalfe, NZSG.
12noon: FindMyPast A-Z
Hints and tips for making the most of your Findmypast searches. Presented by Fiona Brooker, Findmypast.
12.30pm: Researching your Huguenot family history
Presented by Marion Heap, NZSG.
1pm: Researching in the Pacific Islands 
Presented by Christine Liava'a, NZSG Pacific Island Interest Group.
1.30pm: Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum
The Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum deals in the Eastern Borderlands of Poland during WWII and, in particular, the Soviet occupation of the area and deportations of Poles to Siberia. Presented by Irena Lowe, Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum.
2pm: Beginner's guide to researching your NZ family history 
Presented by Elaine Bell, NZSG research office holder.
2.30pm: Researching your Australian family history 
Presented by Helen Smith, Genealogical Society of Queensland.
3pm: Researching your Irish family history
A beginners guide presented by Maureen West, Auckland Libraries.
3.30pm: Building FamilyTrees with FamilySearch
Presented by Sister Lynda Bennett, FamilySearch.

Akozone computer suite, Level 1
Hands on computer tutorials
11am: Family history eResources at Auckland Libraries
Learn to use Auckland Libraries' online resources with Marie Hickey, Auckland Libraries.
12pm: FamilySearch NZ/AU
Tips and tricks on using FamilySearch to find New Zealand and Australian records, presented by Jan Gow, Hooked on Genealogy.
1pm: Ancestry NZ/AU
Tips and tricks on using Ancestry to find New Zealand and Australian records presented by Christine Clement, Ancestry.
2pm: Findmypast NZ/AU
Tips and tricks on using Findmypast to find New Zealand and Australian records presented by Fiona Brooker, Findmypast.

Whare Wananga, Level 2 (seminars)
10.15am: Present, Past and Future - with Findmypast
Discover how Findmypast can help you trace your family history with Fiona Brooker, Findmypast.
11.15am: Māori Land Court Minute Books
Whakapapa is found throughout the Minute Books – come and learn how to use them. Presented by Raniera Kingi, Auckland Libraries.
12.15pm: NZ Society of Genealogists
An outline of who we are, and what we can offer to all family history historians. Presented by Gay Williams, NZSG President.
1.15pm: Special settlement schemes
Includes schemes such Albertland, Puhoi, and the Bay of Islands settlements. Presented by Mark Stoddart, Archives NZ.
2.15pm: Scotland's People
The very best thing your ancestors could have done for you is be born, married or died in Scotland. Presented by Jan Gow, Hooked on Genealogy.
3.15pm: Digging for treasure
Using online newspapers to research your family’s history, presented by Michelle Patient, Guild of One-Name Studies.

Te Marama Room, Level 1 (workshops)
10.30am: How to do a One-Name Study
Presented by Michelle Patient, Guild of One-Name Studies.
11am: Timelines for brickwall research
Presented by Helen Smith, Genealogical Society of Queensland.
11.30am: Read all about it
Use newspapers and magazines to enhance your family and social history research. Presented by Marie Hickey, Auckland Libraries.
12pm: Q & A - what would you like to know about researching your family history?
Ask your local NZSG reps.
12.30pm: Researching your English family history
Presented by Viv Parker, NZSG.
1pm: Researching your Scottish family history
Presented by Marie Hickey, Auckland Libraries.
1.30pm: Starting your German family history 
Presented by Graham Clark, NZSG European Interest Group.
2pm: Whakapapa research with Auckland Libraries
Are you thinking about starting your whakapapa journey? Come along to this session and make a start today. Presented by Raniera Kingi, Auckland Libraries.
2.30pm: Evernote for Genealogists
Evernote is an easy-to-use flexible tool which not only stores notes (text, sound, images and handwriting) but makes them easy to find. Presented by Michelle Patient, Guild of One-Name Studies.
3pm: Headlines or smallprint
Add some flesh to the bones of your family history with these search tips. Presented by Fiona Brooker, Findmypast.
3.30pm: Ancestry search tricks
Presented by Christine Clement, Ancestry.

Akozone computer suite, Level 1
Hands on computer tutorials
11am: Ancestry UK
Tips and tricks on using Ancestry to find records to assist with research in the UK and Ireland. Presented by Christine Clement, Ancestry.
12pm: Auckland Libraries Family History eResources
Learn to use Auckland Libraries' unique online resources with Seonaid Lewis, Auckland Libraries.
1pm: Findmypast UK
Tips and tricks on using Findmypast to find records to assist with research in the UK and Ireland. Presented by Fiona Brooker, Findmypast.
2pm: FamilySearch UK
Tips and tricks on using FamilySearch to find records to assist with research in the UK and Ireland. Presented by Jan Gow, Hooked on Genealogy.

See the Auckland Libraries' website for more details

Treasure Chest Thursday:- Māori Land Court Minute Books - Part 2: Searching

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To search the minute books you will need to use the Māori Land Court Minute Book Index. This index was created in the 1990s by librarians at the University of Auckland. The index covers 1,100 minute books from the whole country for hearings held between 1865-1910.

The index is available via two platforms. Either through Knowledge Basket, which Auckland Library members can access via the Digital Library, or through DBTextworks.

Auckland Library members can search the DBTextworks version on pcs at the Central Auckland Research Centre, the South Auckland Research Centre and the West Auckland Research Centre. We recommend using the DBTextworks version if possible as it enables specific field searching, the results can be easier to interpret and you can utilise the ‘browse feature’ to look up terms used in the index (helpful if you are unsure of spellings etc).

The index does not contain the content of the minute books themselves, so you will need to note the district, bookname and page numbers to then refer to the appropriate hard copy or microfilmed minute book. The hard copies can sometimes be easier to read than the microfilmed versions. Also, multiple volumes can be included on one reel of microfilm; each volume is only indicated at the start of that volume - which can make finding the appropriate volume and page more difficult.

When searching, you would usually be using some of the following information:

  • Names of land blocks
  • Names of people who may have given evidence in court between 1865-1910 or died before 1910
  • Names of hapū or iwi who may have been mentioned in court between 1865-1910

Other possibilities include date, place of sitting, judge, type of case or district.

This screenshot shows a search for succession cases on the Wairoa block involving Wiremu Kauika, using the Advanced Search:

Note that the database uses the surname, first name format. Eg Kauika, Wiremu

As is often the case when database searching, ‘less is more’, and it may be appropriate to include search information in only one field; sometimes just searching on a surname is sufficient. If you get too many irrelevant results than you can add more information to narrow your search.

A useful tip for name searching which accommodates the fact that names may have been recorded in the minute books in different orders, is to use the ‘within’ operator. Eg a search for Wiremu W2 Kauika will find all records where ‘Wiremu’ is within two words of ‘Kauika’ (in either order) allowing for an intervening middle name.

This screen shot shows this search, using Basic Search:

In terms of whakapapa research, when you review your search results the following information fields in the index’s records are particularly important:

KAIKŌRERO: Witnesses and conductors (kaiwhakahaere). These are the people who stood up to speak. They are listed in order of appearance.

HAPŪ: Hapū listed may be connected with the block of land, with the witnesses giving the evidence or frequently mentioned in the text.

NOTES: Page numbers for judgements, lists of owners etc in longer cases and other miscellaneous information. Note that information on tamaiti whāngai may be included here (a child adopted informally in terms of tikanga Māori and brought up as the adopting parent’s own child without formal adoption being concluded by any court).

WHAKAPAPA: Person giving whakapapa of more than 20 names

TIPUNA: First name or names listed at the top of the whakapapa table

TANGATA: Deceased person (eg in succession cases), adoptee, minor etc

WHAKPAGE: Page numbers for whakapapa

Here is an example of a record found by the above search.

The minute books indexed for 1890-1910 are especially rich in detailed whakapapa, including lists which can spread over 5-10 pages.

The following is also useful to note (adapted from the Comprehensive Search Guide):

Whakapapa containing more than 20 names have been indexed by the name of the person reciting the whakapapa, and by the name or, occasionally names, of the tipuna at the top of the whakapapa. In the Advanced Search, use the Tipuna/Ancestor field box to search for person reciting whakapapa and for tipuna.

It is also possible to find whakapapa without having a specific name to search. To do this, you will need to change the query screen to one which includes a box for each indexed field in the database. In the top menu choose Search > Select Query Screen > Basic Query Screen Type >0 in the Whakapapa field box. This will find all cases containing whakapapa. You can narrow this to a specific hapū or place using the Hapū or Place fields. For example, a search for all cases containing whakapapa for the hapū Ngarauru results in 27 records.

Cases containing many short whakapapa of less than 20 names have been noted with the phrase "short whakapapa" in the Notes field. 

When searching for names, it is important to try spelling variants:

Spelling - if a search doesn't find any records, or if you want to be sure you have found all the records about a particular person, try variations in spelling, eg Tamehana or Tamihana. Because the minute books are often difficult to read, the name may not have been spelled correctly. Try substituting e for i, a for u , n for ri etc. Taria and Tana for example, can look very similar. You can also use Browse choices from the Edit menu to browse through all the names in the index. Truncation, using the * and the first few letters of the name is another useful strategy. (eg a search for Rangi* finds every name beginning with Rangi including Rangiwhakaoma, Rangipaia, Rangiwhenua etc.) Remember, too, that names may be spelt with double vowels eg Hori or Hoori. 

When you are searching the Index, the Auckland University’s Quick Search Guide is useful to refer to. If more detail is required and for extensive background notes, see their Comprehensive Search Guide, although note that there have been some functionality changes since these guides were produced.

The minute books themselves run up to 1975. For 1911 onwards (beyond the computerised index) there are a couple of options for searching:

Indexes within the minute books themselves. Each minute book (with the exception of some very early ones) has a ‘block index’, usually at the start of the book, occasionally at the end. Most minute books also have a ‘succession index’ indexing succession orders by the name of the deceased. Note that Māori names are entered under their first name in this index.

Printed indexes. These are available for the years 1865-1900, 1900-1962 and 1962-1975, however the information contained in the indexes is limited to: names of the minute books, the dates and location of sittings, and (for the later period) the names of the judges. The printed indexes are held by the relevant District Offices and a small number of libraries (including Auckland Libraries for the 1865-1900 and 1900-1962 indexes) and also Archives New Zealand.

In addition to the Māori Land Court Minute Books there are many other resources for whakapapa research; see Auckland Libraries’ suggested resources.

Your whakapapa is taonga. 
Treat it with respect and it will 
enrich your life and the life of those who come after you.
(Roberts, 2006)

Part 1 of this post covered the background to the Māori Land Court Minute Books.

Roberts, Jude (2006). ‘Layer upon layer: Whakapapa’. 

Rachel Evans, Reference Librarian - Heritage

With assistance kindly provided by: 
Robert Eruera, Senior Librarian Pou Ārahi Taonga
Raewyn Paewai, Senior Librarian Māori Research
Linda Hogan, Librarian – Research
I would also like to acknowledge the talk on this subject given by Margaret Ngaropo, former Pou Kohinga Matua

Tuesday's Tip: NEW Family History video presentation available online

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We've had a sudden release of family history videos published to our website - packed full of loads of tips for this Tuesday!

New online:

Colleen Fitzpatrick: The "Unknown Child" of the Titanic - identified?

20 April 2015
Of the 328 bodies recovered by the salvage operation of the SS Titanic, just one was that of a child. His identity was unknown for nearly a century until 2002, when Dr. Alan Ruffman and Dr. Ryan Parr announced that they had identified the remains of the “Unknown Child”. But was this identification correct? Hear how we resolved the controversy so that the Unknown Child of the Titanic was unknown no longer.

Exploring Online Cenotaph with Victoria Passau

15 April 2015
New Zealanders have served this country in many international conflicts. Online Cenotaph, created by Auckland War Memorial Museum, aims to commemorate the stories of these veterans. This session showcases the new Online Cenotaph and discusses how family members and private researchers can contribute.

'The three uncles' The Cole brothers in the Great War with Tina Blackman

15 April 2015
An in-depth look at how the First World War affected one family where four brothers went to the Western Front and only one survived. In Tina Blackman's book, The three uncles: the Cole brothers in the Great War, readers will discover an extraordinary story that will resonate with many whose families were touched by the First World War.

Still to come: Colleen Fitzpatrick’s other two talks from 20 April:- CSI Roots and Adoption searches.

This will bring us to the end of our pilot programme of recording family history talks at this stage.

Family History Talks Online

See Auckland Libraries website for family history events, including the Auckland Family History Expo and other happenings during New Zealand Family History Month in August.