Motivation Monday: Irish place names with Geraldene O'Reilly webinar online now!

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Great news!

Our next family history talk is available online!

"Ireland1898Administrative" by XrysD-
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
Geraldene O'Reilly, convener of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Irish Interest Group gave us a talk about Irish townloads at our fortnightly Family History Lunchtime series event on Wednesday, 1 April.

Irish place names with Geraldene O'Reilly

The majority of Irish genealogy records are arranged by locality and most people within them are identified by the place name where they lived. The townland is the most fundamental land division in Ireland, the basic address for a rural family. 

Listen to Geraldene O'Reilly's talk to help you investigate Irish townlands and other place names.

We hope that this gives you the motivation to start your Irish family history research!

Happy hunting


Book Review: The Secret World of the Victorian Lodging House

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If your British rellies were crims, drifters, homeless, immigrants, hookers, abandoned kids, a family on hard times, artisans, beggars, thieves … in other words, the underclass, then you will be fascinated by this social history of life in that underbelly of Victorian life – the lodging house. The Secret World of the Victorian Lodging House (Joseph O’Neill) is written by someone who grew up in a lodging house in the 1950s and developed an intense curiosity into not only the history but to the people who ended up living this way. Turns out not a lot of study had been conducted into this layer of society – but what an intriguing piece of research it is.

In Victorian Britain, lodging houses were crucial to help people make the transition to industrial city life as more folk moved into the cities to secure work and accommodation. Not all houses were the same, however. An intriguing court trial addresses the fact that in a room of seven beds sleeping seventeen men, a man’s body lay decomposing for days before anyone thought it odd.  The mind boggles, as indeed it did back then to those who couldn’t believe such things actually took place in their respectable cities.

Equally as absorbing is the chapter on beggars and tramps which claims the more shocking a beggar’s disfigurement, the more successful the beggar. Gross wounds, it appears, enhanced greater sympathy from the public when it came to parting with their pennies. There was even a social divide amongst the lower classes. Beggars, for example, seldom mixed with burglars and might even look down on those who actually worked for a living. 

This is well worth a read as the nights get colder and longer, and curling up with a book just might be the definition of bliss!

There are several copies to borrow within the system, click here to find an available copy.

 - Joanne Graves, Auckland Research Centre.

Sentimental Sunday: Mother's Day

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Auckland Libraries,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 31-68043.
A brief history of Mother's Day

Today is a special day to recognise and celebrate the women who raised us. Many countries around the world, including New Zealand, have adopted the Mother's Day celebration based on the North American origin of the holiday, with roots in the American civil war.

There are two histories associated with the origin of celebrating mothers, despite occurring several decades apart, both were in response to conditions resulting from war. The origin of Mother's day stemmed as a anti-war movement, and its reason for existence was commemorative rather than celebratory. 
Auckland Libraries,
Sir George Grey Special Collections, 31,73400.

Social activist Julia Ward Howe arranged special services and rallies for women to unite against war, in 1870 she wrote a proclamation and tried to get formal recognition for a Mother's Day of Peace. At the same time, Ann Reeves Jarvis was also involved in the women's movement attempting to improve sanitation conditions for women and lower infant mortality by fighting disease during the US Civil War from 1861-1865.

It was the actions of Ann's daughter, Anna, who several years later organised a special church service on 10 May 1908, to mark the third anniversary of her own mother's death. The intention of the service was to honour all mothers, both those who were living and those who had passed away.

It remained very popular over the years and evolved into an annual celebration -- Anna campaigned to make the day a national holiday. In 1914 it was official, the second Sunday in May - Mother's Day.