Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Resolutions and redirection

Another year has slipped on by, and not much blogging has been happening for me. Too many other distractions and life in general keep getting in the way. 

It is holiday season though, so I have been trying to win that war with paper and other accumulated nonsense again. I think I am getting there. If only I could make some of the big decisions in my life as well.

I've always talked about packing up and taking off and living somewhere else for a bit, but life takes over, or I let myself talk myself out of it. I'm "okay" with my little life, my job is alright (not anything I am particularly passionate about though) and I like where I live (apart from the wind and the ever present earthquake potential). I keep thinking though, that if I do just stay in this little box and go along with the ride, will I regret not jumping off and doing something adventurous later - when I'm too old to do it ? Being a fortune teller would be a great help with this dilemma.

Should I sell my house ? Or rent it out ? I need to get some money from somewhere if I am going to jump off this path and get some adventure in my life. A few more years and the mortgage will be gone, but can I wait ? I could have already been mortgage free had I not made some of the other decisions I have in the past. Like give my daughter the opportunity to have holidays and do extra curricular activities like her friends, when she was still at school. Support her while she was studying because there were no other monetary support systems available. 

I have pondered the idea, over the past few years that home ownership is not really an option for single people. It doesn't feel like it makes good economic sense to me. Would I feel so conflicted about this decision if I didn't have a mortgage ?

Life certainly seemed a lot simpler when you just decided to move and gave notice - none of this house sale rubbish, preparing and planning. Other people do it though - my parents just have. Sold the house and begun building another. That decision really unsettled me though as it came out of the blue. I have become used to it now although I will miss having them so close to me. Sometimes I feel as if I am trying to live other people's lives instead of just my own.

So where to go, and for how long and when ? 

I met an acquaintance the other day and she said when faced with questions like this you should replace the "buts" with "ands". I think I should try this, as well as a list of pros and cons...and keep working through the other list of things to do - like talk to some realtors about my options and tidy, tidy, purge, recycle and set a date.

Hopefully 2014 will reveal some of the answers to the questions and doubts that 2013 has raised.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The trouble with cars

It is a sad day today.

My car has been given a terminal diagnosis. "No-one else in my family seems to have this problem", I thought earlier today when I was feeling sorry for myself. But I have remembered a few incidents now, which must have bought despair to their owners at the time.

Both my grandparents owned Morris Minors or Morris 1000s when I was little and many fun outings took place in them. One Nana was a more nervous driver than the other. Although I don't remember it, I apparently once told her what I thought of her bunny-hopping across an intersection. Another time she mixed the pedals or the gears up and went the wrong way out of the garage.

My other Nana loved her car and the independence it gave her. She drove to Auckland frequently, and even to Wellington once. Her much loved Morrie, now named Elsie in her honour has been passed about the family since her death 23 years ago. First to my cousin, then an aunt, then my Dad and now my brother. No heating, and originally no seat belts or radio, pull out buttons for the choke and ignition. Life was so simple. Nana changed gears like she was driving a truck and wore out several clutches over the 20 years she owned her car.

Once in the school holidays, she took my brother and me to the pool at Cambridge and on the way back steam started pouring out from the bonnet. No cellphones then, my brother walked for a few miles to a garage to get water. I cant remember if he walked back, or if someone gave him a ride. Not many 11 or 12 year olds would do that nowadays. I think he must have got a ride, because somehow we ended up being towed somewhere to get a hose replaced before we could make our way home.

A couple of cars my parents owned were troublesome too. We thought it was comical when we were little, but then we didn't understand the "what ifs" or have to pay the bill.

The first car I remember was a Ford Prefect complete with running boards. It didn't like going up the Kaimai hills on our way to the Mount and would overheat frequently. Friends of my parents also had a Prefect and we used to leapfrog our way over the hill. Them passing us on one bend as we waited for the car to cool down some, then us passing them a few bends later while they did the same.

Once during the summer holidays we were driving from Milford Sound to Dunedin over unsealed roads when the car (Hillman Super Minx) began to make a strange noise. I think we had to be towed to some little town which had a garage and lots of dust and not much else. It was something with the wheel or the axle, I cant remember now if the wheel had actually sheared off or whether it fell off when the mechanic inspected it. The part had to come from Dunedin, so a very long hot boring afternoon was spent waiting in that town.

Another time, with maybe the same car. We drove to town on Friday night to go to the Library. As we turned left in to the street where the Library was there was an almighty thud, screech and sparks...and then the back wheel rolled on past the car along the street as we wondered what had happened. I think we went home in a tow truck that night.

There was the car my friend and I bought off another friend for $50 because he couldnt afford to get it fixed. It had a noisy muffler, so being resourceful girls we superglued a 10 cent piece of the hole and Bingo ! no noise. We made a fair profit on that one.

The next car debacle I remember was one we bought cheap at the auctions. $180 I think. It had been pink stickered, but we got it going and registered pretty cheaply. Then we set off to drive to northern New South Wales for Christmas and it kept overheating. We spent an interminable amount of time at a garage near Newcastle with a 6 month old baby. At least there was grass, and coffee and no dust. They couldn't work out the problem so we carried on with the journey albeit much slower than we had planned, using lots of coolant. On our way home it was no better and we called in at the same garage thinking it had to be a gasket....only to find it was that the head was not bolted down tight and was letting the water out ! How did they miss that ?

Then there is this car, which has just been a bucket to throw money at for the past few years. Every time I think I will sell it, some thing major happens. But I am not prepared to put another reconditioned motor in it. I am annoyed as it has new tyres, battery and registration though, so I don't want to just give it away.

You would think that having a great grandfather who was one of the earliest taxi drivers at the turn of the last century that I should have a bit of luck with automobiles.

Can I live without a car though ?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

It was just a bit windy

We had a storm a week or so ago. Ask anyone who lives in New Zealand what they think of Wellington, and they'll say it's windy. Always blowing a gale. True, we do get big winds. But they don't normally last too long or do much damage - and actually, ours is a pretty awesome little city. Built on the hills around a very picturesque harbour. You can't beat Wellington on a good day.

My Dad used to joke when we experienced our first southerly storm after moving to Wellington, that the first settlers must have been blown into the harbour in a storm and not been able to get out. Why else would they settle here ? And then we discovered two branches of HIS family had been amongst those early settlers. One ship was even blown back out to sea so far they could no longer see land, to ride out a storm before they tried again to gain entry to the harbour. Early Governors of the new colony described the harbour to have "treacherous and violent" winds. Mariners treated them with respect, some even relishing the challenge of navigating their ship through the narrow entrance in high winds. A little like pilots today, who manage aircraft in often strong, variable crosswinds as they land at our airport.

When we do get a real storm, often they are real doozies. Like the one that blew through town June 20 & 21, 2013. They compared this one to the Wahine Storm of April 10, 1968. The one where the inter-island ferry Wahine hit the reef entering the harbour, and eventually founded off Worser Bay. Wind gusts of up to 120 miles per hour (198 kph) were recorded, people were told to stay home. But as word got out (there was a lot of disbelief) about the ferry sinking, locals took to their runabouts and fishing boats and set to helping the tug boats and police rescue passengers.It was the worst maritime disaster in modern time. What spirit was shown by Wellingtonians that day. And despite initial fears, just 51 lives were lost.

The Canberra Times (ACT 1926 - 1995) Thursday 11 April 1968 page 1 article107046299-3-001

This latest storm was gnarly. Wind gusts up to 200kph - stronger than 1968, power outages, airport closures, rail lines breached, road closed and commuter chaos. It was the first time I really felt like I might lose a window (floor to ceiling southerly facing wall of glass in my lounge) I'm glad it was dark and I couldn't see it flexing behind the blinds. It was like a freight train hitting the house, continuously. Don't go out if you don't have to, the authorities said. We were expecting wind and rain - but nothing like what we got.

Still, the next morning with the winds dropping ever so slightly the city began to pick itself up. People surveyed the damage (half a fence and a tree at my place) after a sleepless night. Friends lost trampolines, garden sheds, rooves etc tossed about like toys in the night. The house next door lost all of the protective tarpaulin covering the repair work - revealing the bare bones of the building for all to see. It was still cold, and windy - but at least you could stand up and not get blown off your feet - and rainy, but the worst seemed to be over. Many households were without power some even until the end of last week. Trees did the most damage falling across roads, on cars and houses, and the waves  pounded the south coast damaging toads and the sea wall and tossing debris (and the occasional fish) metres into front yards and across the road. 

There is true SPIRIT amongst Wellingtonians. "Its just wind", "What an amazing storm". We just picked ourselves up and got on with life. The power outages were fixed, the trees cleared and roads reopened, the seawall reconstructed and the rail line repaired, airport open and ferry sailings resumed. Open for business again, within days and at most a week.

Hurricane Sandy bought the eastern states to a standstill last year with winds not even as strong as our little southerly. But its all about attitude - we're a hardy lot. I think we are secretly a city full of crazy storm chasers - we love it, even if at the time it does mess up your hair and the garden.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Yesterday, 10 June was an anniversary. Twenty five years since my Nana left this life.

She wasn't too keen on us digging around in the past. I am sure that was mostly because of the secrets she and her sister kept, that buried the hurt from their childhood. But she did share some tidbits with us, and I'm sure she'd be mighty intrigued with all the discoveries we have made beyond that hurt.

Born in Milverton, Warwickshire in 1907 she was the 2nd daughter in her family. Her father was a groom, and later a cab-driver or chauffeur. Her mother had been a housemaid before her marriage in 1901. She never knew any of her grandparents, both of her grandmothers had died when her parents were less than a year old. Her grandfathers both remarried, one even twice more. 

By 1911 the family had grown, with the arrival of a third daughter, and shortly after the census was taken, a son. At some point after this, family life turned to custard. 

There were little bits of stories that we would hear. Her mother had two brothers who had emigrated to the US with their wives and settled in Washington State. Nana knew their names and occupations and she and her sister wrote letters to their aunt for many years. An aunt of their mother had also emigrated to the US, and Nana believed that their own family had intended to join them, but that her father had changed his mind.

Their mother became unwell, today we would mostly likely treat her for depression. She was hospitalised, and their father would take them to visit. These visits became upsetting for the children and for their mother as well as she didn't seem to recognise them after a while. For whatever reason, their father apparently decided it was best to stop the visits and tell the children that their mother had died. This would appear to be around 1915.

There didn't appear to be much support from either family. I imagine it would have been pretty tough to try to hold your family together, hold down a job and deal with your own feelings about your ill wife. The children especially the elder two would have become the housekeepers and carers to the younger children. I'm not sure how long they stayed at school, but I believe they worked as housemaids at some point. If they saw their father driving in the street, they were not to acknowledge him - if they did, they would hear about it later.

Nana's elder sister married and emigrated to New Zealand in the 1920's and Nana followed in 1929 to start a new life as well. Their younger sister joined the Baptist Mission and travelled to India as a missionary while their brother remained in Leamington Spa.

She met and married my grandfather by 1931 and started their own family. They moved a lot as Granddad was involved with the construction of hydro power stations in both the North and South Islands, eventually settling in the Waikato. This part of New Zealand always reminded her of "home" with the green rolling hills.

She loved to garden, read, solve crosswords and was a great knitter. We all had wonderful jumpers and cardigans as children. Family was important, letter writing kept the post office in business, seedlings for the garden were swapped amongst family and friends (thanks NZR buses) and regular lengthy phone calls boosted telephony companies profits. She loved the community camaraderie of hydro village life, played tennis and baked. The best meals were to be had at Nana's - cottage pie and rice pudding. Yum. Learning to make pikelets; standing on the chair by her side watching for those bubbles to pop, so you knew when they should be turned. And the games; we'd play at school - spelling words with the alphabet macaroni, and play that join the dots to make the squares game with her for hours on end. She regularly drove to visit us as our families moved a little further afield, and would help at church with care and craft for the "oldies" when she really wasn't much younger than some of them.

She was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, we miss her.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


I made an exciting discovery about Joseph Dickinson (who I have written about before) on Ancestry, way back on Australia Day. Thanks to the banner on Ancestry for prompting me to search the convict records again that day. I don't even know what made me put his name in to search, as I had seen nothing in my 20+ years research to suggest he might have been a convict. But search I did - and results I found ! 

I haven't been able to find much about his trial or the crime. On his certificate of freedom (27 September 1841) along with the description of his numerous tattoos and the revelation that he had red hair and bluish eyes are the words "stealing a box". What sort of box ? what was in the box ? Or what was the box made out of ? There must have been something surely to make this a crime worthy of transportation. Perhaps it was nothing at all - just a way to send tradespeople to the new country - using any minor misdemeanour as an excuse. Joseph was a plasterer and so was his father before him. I would imagine plasterers would have been quite sort after in the burgeoning building trade.

We have all heard about people transported for crimes such as taking a loaf of bread, stealing blankets - objects which in reality are simply necessities of life. My other convict Mary Brown stole a couple of pairs of shoes with her friend Mary Cannon. (Actually I think my Mary was the accomplice not the mastermind). But a box ? It must have had some value - to Joseph to entice him to steal it, and to the owner who felt wronged by its loss and their desire to have it returned and the thief bought to justice. I will find out more, eventually.

Anyway, Joseph was sentenced at Westminster 30 January 1834, and sailed 11 April 1834 from London arriving in Sydney on the "Surry", one of 260 convicts on 17 August, 

 The Sydney Monitor (NSW 1828 - 1838) Wednesday 20 August 1834 page 2 article32146993-3-001

but still lying in stream on 23 August. The Sydney Monitor (NSW : 1828 - 1838), Saturday 23 August 1834, page 2 article/32147026 .

On the 1837 muster Joseph is assigned to T A Murray and located in the Goulburn district. He was granted a ticket of leave in 1838, and his certificate of freedom 27 September 1841. I haven't found an application to marry, although he must have married Ann Blackman about this time. He appears in the New South Wales, Gaol Description & Entrance Books 1818-1930 for Goulburn Gaol. He served two months imprisonment from 31 March to 28 May 1850, though I'm not sure what for. 

From reading copies of The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser (NSW : 1848 - 1859) on Trove, to try and discover his crime, I discovered that T A Murray had property in the Lake George area. This all ties in with Joseph's other records and backs up the birthplace of his daughter Sarah, which is written on her marriage certificate (although no record of that birth seems to exist anywhere else). Apart from this scrape with the law, Joseph's only other appearances in court in Australia were where he was a witness rather than an offender. Some of these are mentioned here .

Perhaps I should try the convict records with all my hard to find people, in case they too are hiding a secret.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen .

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Lottery Win

Inspired by my discoveries last week in the expanded collection of Illawarra newspapers available on Trove, I have been search for other people who resided in the area. I found a little article which mentioned the younger sister of Alice Halsey the child bride from an earlier post.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW 1842 - 1954) Tuesday 8 November 1910 page 11 article15165214-7-001

Carrie was the 13 year old witness to her sister's marriage in 1880, and married herself three years later to David Owen. Here she is, the wife of a miner winning the Eight Hour Art Union prize. A tiara valued at £500.

I wonder what she thought. Did she wear it ? Did they keep it ? If they did, does the family still have it ? Or did they sell it ? Did it make a change to their lives ?

I learned something else, as I researched this post. In 1910 the Labor Government introduced a national currency to Australia. Up until then it had been made up of all sorts. The private banks had issued paper money denominated in pounds as far back as 1817. Earlier than that foreign currency was used, or goods were traded - rum being acceptable currency. Australia's first coinage was issued in 1813 in New South Wales by punching out the middle of a Spanish dollar. This produced two coins. The holey dollar was worth five shillings sterling, and the dump (the piece from the middle) one shilling and three pence. They were only able to be used in New South Wales. Pound coins, sovereigns and half sovereigns came later. In the lead up to Federation the currency in the colonies was made up of British silver and copper coins, Australian minted sovereigns (worth £1), half sovereigns, locally minted copper trade tokens (although these were suppressed by 1881) and private bank notes. Wikipedia has lots more information about this.

I found an article about the new money on Trove in The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 2 December 1910, page 6. It is quite wordy, so I have just used the link instead of the whole article.

The new national currency was based on an Australian pound, made up of 20 shillings, and each shilling made up of 12 pence. It was fixed, as it had been since colonisation, to the value of British sterling; so pound for pound. The Reserve Bank of Australia has a great inflation calculator on their website. According to their calculation with inflation £500 would be worth $AUD61783 today. This doesn't take into account what the mineral worth of a piece of jewellery such as this might be though. 

Still I daresay for a most of us today, an extra $60K would be a welcome windfall. I imagine it could have made quite a difference to  Carrie's family. Sadly she passed away only five years later. I hope if she kept it, that it was handed on to her only surviving daughter Ethel.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen .

Monday, 20 May 2013

A Generation of Detectives

The internet is a marvellous creation. 

When my Dad started tracing our family even microfiche or microfilmed records were scarce. This meant you had to GO to libraries or other repositories and read pages and pages often not finding anything you were looking for. For us, all the way over here in New Zealand, trying to learn more about our forebears and reconnect with family in the United Kingdom was a very long, often hit and miss experience. Dad spent his lunch break at the British Embassy studying electoral rolls and phone books. Eventually, he wrote to a selection of people with our surname in the area of Somerset from whence we came. Luckily, some of the people he wrote to were also researching the family and had a lost branch they didn't know how to reconnect. US !!!

When I started researching my daughter's father's family there was still no internet, but microfiche and microfilmed records were becoming more accessible. Distance was still a barrier though. I was researching Australian families while living in New Zealand. The microfiche Pioneer and Federation birth, death and marriage indexes for New South Wales were well used as I strove to piece together families - and then order certificates to hopefully confirm my guesses. So much easier when we moved back there for a bit.

Over the last twelve or so years, thanks to the internet I have been able to "meet" a number of cousins and other relatives all researching different parts of what is fast becoming a world family tree. 

A chance find on a message board (when I should have been working) lead to reconnecting two branches of my Nana's family. The connection had only been lost in the late 1960's and although we had looked into leads several times we just weren't sure how to take the next step. At least we had an idea who we were looking for though - they had no idea about us, so it was a big surprise for them. Between us we have grown the information on this branch massively. Along the way we have connected with others who share the same 3 x great grandparents, each with a wealth of research to share.

The biggest surprise for my Mum and myself, was the discovery that there were other members of my Nana's family living in New Zealand. Nana had emigrated here in 1929 to join her elder sister who had emigrated shortly after she married. She didn't seem to know much about earlier generations of her family - or at least if she did, she didn't share a lot. All of her grandparents had died before she was born - actually before her parents were married, and most of her mother's immediate family emigrated to the USA. I'm sure if she knew that her grandfather's elder sister had emigrated to New Zealand in the 1880's and that she had had cousins here, that she would have tried to contact them. Their names were completely unheard of by us until the last few years. But the revelation that some of them had lived in the same city as Nana and at the same time was a bit mind blowing.

None of us were aware of this at all - but there was obviously contact between them and the families still living in England because discovered in a photo album (last year) that made the journey from England to the USA in 1905 there is a photo of one of the "cousins' in New Zealand. There also seems to have been quite an admiration for one of those kiwi cousins, as there are seven other girls (six in one branch) in one branch who were bestowed her name, and slight variations of it - two even having her surname added as one of their christian names. Initially we thought perhaps it was the number one name of the time - but the added surname as a christian name kinda blew that out of the water.

It has been great growing the story of our family with this little bunch of detectives from all over the world. The discovering is still going on with families uncovered and reconnected in Scotland, England, New Zealand, USA, Australia so far. Our 3 x great grandparent agricultural labourers from a tiny village in Shropshire could never have imagined how their family would grow and travel across the globe.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A new branch to explore

So, opportunity presented itself to me last night in the form of a tweet about new editions of various newspapers having been digitised and made available on Trove . 

A lot of the titles were from New South Wales, and some even from the South Coast and Illawarra area. Too tempting, I couldn't help myself

Here is one of the gems I discovered, about a branch I don't know too much of. But I will be finding out more now that I have been re-inspired - watch this space.

The Kiama Independent and Shoalhaven Advertiser (NSW 1863 - 1947) Saturday 20 April 1912 page 2 article102131970-3-001

John was part of a large Irish family which had arrived in the Illawarra in 1840. His sisters, the Mesdames James and R Gibson were married to brothers who had also emigrated separately, from Ireland in the 1860's. Mrs R Gibson is my daughter's 3 x great grandmother. And how great to get the married names of two other sisters - since this family seems to be indexed as IRVINE, IRVIN, and IRWIN on the bdms I have studied. Maybe soon I will be able to pinpoint some of the other family members.

From my little search just now on Trove, I think there may have been other members of the wider family who emigrated at the same time as John's parents, eldest sister and grandparents.

Check back soon, I'm saving some awesome ANZAC tidbits which mention the Gibson family for another post. Have to say that Trove is in my top ten favourite sites list, and getting pretty close to the top position.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen .

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

From Glasgow to Toowoomba

So, its been a wee while since I posted anything but I figured this is the week. 

On my Mum's side of the family there is a little bunch of detectives finding all sorts at the moment. We are all 3 x great grandchildren of our common ancestors Thomas Kelsey b1808c and Sarah Hulett b 14 Nov 1807. We've all been searching on our own for 20 years or so, but have slowly been making connections over that time until we have joined forces - and we're still recruiting ! The interesting part has been discovering how intertwined the families were a couple of generations ago, when they were closer to those common ancestors.

Thomas and Sarah were country folk; ag labs. They had five children. One son stayed in the same area working on the land to support his family, the other two sons joined the booming railroad industry, one daughter married a railroad worker and the other a local roading contractor. Their descendants are spread across the United Kingdom in England, Scotland and Wales and across the globe in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The Scots connection has only been recently uncovered and has also lead to discovering other emigrants to Australia and the United States. Yesterday I was comparing my information to that of another descendant on GenesReunited and noted that a 2nd cousin of my grandmother had a death recorded in Queensland Australia. This was something new, so after looking up passenger lists on Ancestry I discovered that Thomas Laing Kelsey had emigrated on his own from Scotland aged 16 on the Oronsay. Off to Trove I went to see what else I could find out.

I didnt find anything which mentioned Thomas by name. There were a number of articles about a charity ball which had been held on board after the ship arrived in Brisbane while moored on the river. There were two articles though, concerning one of Thomas's fellow passengers. One in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 August 1929, and the other in The Courier Mail on 6 August 1929 which was more detailed. These two articles also gave some background to the Boy Migrant Scheme under which Thomas had emigrated to Australia.

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Friday 2 August 1929, page 6

Thomas began his new life in Toowoomba. He later married there and had a couple of children before moving in the 1950's to the Gold Coast. I wonder why he applied to be part of the scheme, how did he qualify ? Both of his parents were still alive at the time he left Scotland. His father had been in the Army so must have had a pension, but perhaps they had fallen on hard times.

Some more detective work is required I think, to find out more and see if there are more  descendants to find and connect with.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A weekend to explore

All these discoveries I have been making, to help build a better picture of my forebears lives have also made me get myself organised to take a flying trip to the area where some of them they had lived. 

So last Friday with the weather playing along, we caught the Interislander to Picton after I finished work. It was a lovely sailing, cruising across the strait and through the Queen Charlotte Sounds enjoying the twilight and sunset vistas.

Early next morning, after a quick stop at Macca's for breakfast, we set off on our drive southwards through Marlborough and to North Canterbury. Destination - KAIKOURA .

Back in the 1800's there were two big industries in Kaikoura - whaling and farming. Actually these days they are both still pretty big, but the focus has changed a little. Now we go whale watching instead of hunting, and farming has diversified; grapes, lavender, as well as sheep and dairy. There is some great information about early Kaikoura and old photographs in the Cyclopedia of New Zealand which is part of the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection digitised by Victoria University of Wellington. None of my family is mentioned, though I believe William Cooke could be the cousin of Thomas Cooke VC's father Tom.

My 2x great grandparents relocated from Wellington to Kaikoura in the 1860's. John Cooper was a tailor and for the early part of their time in the district was employed at Kekerengu one of the large sheep stations. Other members of his wife's family also worked here and at other neighbouring stations. Last night on www.ancestry.com.au I found some newly added electoral rolls where I found the family at Kekerengu, Cottage No4. 

Kaikoura has grown somewhat, especially since the whale watch business has taken off, but it still retains some of the sleepy beachside village atmosphere of days gone by. As we drove about, relishing the stunning views and wildlife I couldnt help but wonder what John and Mary and their contemporaries must have felt as settlers. Coming to New Zealand for a better life for themselves and their families, what a different childhood their children will have experienced to that of their parents. Mary was nine when she emigrated, so would have had some memory of life in Camberwell, Surrey. Even early Wellington would have been a real difference - but Kaikoura would have been a whole different kettle of fish. John emigrated as a twenty year old with his parents and younger siblings. His family was from Montacute in Somerset, so a little more rural than 1830-40 Surrey but still a contrast I'm sure.

And on the way back to the ferry home, we paid a visit to this cute wee church. St John in the Wilderness. My great grandmother was baptised there in 1875. I will have to spend some time working on my notes about her family a bit more so that I can record it here. 

Watch this space.

So, not really a #TroveTuesday post this week, but without Trove and Ancestry I wouldnt have found out so much about  Thomas Cooke VC or my runaway great great grandmother . I cant wait to go back and spend a bit more time there.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.