A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Accentuate the Positive ~ 2016

The last year has been a crazy busy year full of study and work and moving countries. It’s been lovely to look back and see that I actually did manage to cram in some genealogy fun as well.

An elusive ancestor I found was… not an ancestor, but a relative – a missing baby I had heard rumours of, and now have found. Ha!

An important vital record I found was the birth certificate of this missing baby, my 2 x great aunt’s illegitimate daughter.

An ancestor’s grave I found was my great grandmother’s in Taruheru cemetery, Gisborne, along with her husband, parents, and daughter, and it was very moving to visit it at last.

Gravestone of Elsie (Nunns) Wright, Taruheru Cemetery, Gisborne, NZ ~ December 2016

Gravestone of Elsie (Nunns) Wright, Taruheru Cemetery, Gisborne, NZ ~ December 2016

A geneasurprise I received was a framed collage of photos from my fellow IHGS students as a leaving present before I moved back to New Zealand.

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was Les Mitchinson‘s Report Writing course held in Petersfield, Hampshire.

I taught some members of the public how to start their family history research when I volunteered on the Ask the Experts sessions at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in Birmingham.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was Susan Moore’s Family Feuds: An Introduction to Chancery Records.

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the archives at Tralee Library in County Kerry, Ireland, where I viewed original workhouse records for the area.

A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Manorial Records for Family Historians, written by my cousin Geoffrey Barber.

A geneadventure I enjoyed was taking the kids to Belper in Derbyshire, and following in the footsteps of my 2 x great grandfather.

Another positive I would like to share is… after six years of study, 88 assignments, and one exam, I finally completed and PASSED the Higher Certificate of Genealogy from IHGS in Canterbury. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Thanks go to Jill at GeniAUS again for her great Accentuate the Positive geneameme. You can read about the 2016 highlights of other geneabloggers on the GeniAUS website.


Five year blogiversary


Family outing on the Avon ~ Wordless Wednesday


  1. Anne

    I am intrigued by the book on Chancery records. I have a number of families who seemed to think of having nothing better to do with their time. I suspect though I don’t want to work through the whole cases but find the summary, the gist of the issues and the outcomes. Have you found that difficult in the antipodes? Regards Anne

    • Maggie

      I was lucky enough to be in England at the time, would be difficult to do from further away, unless you have someone on the ground there. The National Archives (nationalarchives.gov.uk) catalogue is good, but can be tricky to get the gist of some cases without trawling through all the documents. I’m still working away on some I photographed last year!

  2. Congratulations on your achievements during 2016. And I love the photo at the top of your blog. Where was it taken?

    • Maggie

      Thanks, Judy! The top image changes, but if it’s the one I think you mean, it was taken near Staglands in the Akatarawa Valley (about an hour from Wellington).

  3. Wow, Maggie – a lot has happened in your life. Now that you are across the ditch I hope we’ll see you at Congress in Sydney in 2018. Congrats on finishing your course – it’s a a tough slog.

    • Maggie

      Thanks Jill! I’m hoping to be at Congress in 2018, it’s in the diary 😀

  4. Clare Young

    Hi Maggie, I’m wondering if by any chance the illegitmate child was mary helen gaffaney? We have been searching for the birth mother of my great great aunt.

    • Maggie

      No, this is on my mother’s side of the family. Where was your Mary Helen Gaffaney born?
      – Maggie

      • Clare Young

        Mary Helen Gaffaney was born in Sydney, to a mother from New Zealand. I have a copy of the birth certificate which had Suzanne gaffaney born Canterbury new Zealand as the mother, and as it’s such an unusual spelling of the last name based on what I can see in the new zealand birth records I believe there is only one Suzanne of the right age it could be. I’m happy to share the documents I have, what would be the best way to contact you?

      • Clare Young

        Sorry to break it into 2 comments but I figure I should give some more information. Mary helen gaffaney was born nov 1908 in marrickville to mother Susan gaffaney 44yrs old, she was born Canterbury new Zealand, father not recorded. Subsequently Mary was adopted and renamed helen mary. I have copies of both the birth certificate and a declaration made 6 years later. I also have some oral family history that I would be happy to share via email or phone call.

        • Maggie

          Thanks Clare, fascinating details! I’m in contact with someone else about this as well – will email you. 🙂

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