NZ Birth Index at have recently added some new records that I have found very useful – NZ Birth Index 1840-1950, NZ Death Index 1848-1980, NZ Marriage Index 1840-1950. This post is about the birth index that I have been using recently to fill in gaps in my family tree.


New Zealand Birth Index, 1840-1950

This collection includes a searchable index to birth records from New Zealand covering the years 1840–1950. The index lists the name of the child, the quarter and year in which he or she was born, and a folio number associated with the microfiche index created by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. The location of the birth registration is available for many of the records. The same information is available on microfiche in many public libraries in New Zealand, and some overseas.

Having the index available on-line is much more convenient than searching through several microfiche.  If you are not sure of the birth year, several microfiche need to be searched.  With the on-line search, results for several years are shown so you can select the correct one, or the most likely ones for further investigation. I have been using the index to find location of birth registration.  Previously this required a look-up of folio numbers in District keys to the N.Z. registration indexes published by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

What is Missing?  The records for 1951 to 1990 that are available on microfiche, and include the mother’s given names, are not in the index.  Not all the names in the index have location of the birth registration, and there are errors – I have found lots of children with their birth incorrectly registered on Chatham Islands.

A really useful tool for filling in missing details in your family tree, at least it has been for me.

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Updates – April 2014

Updates have been added to my New Zealand Genealogy Project website.  Previous updates were in December 2013.

Genealogy Project Website Masthead

Changes and updates include:

  • Additional biographical details added for Frederick Ernest Trueman (1897-1903) and Norman Edward Trueman (1903-1903) based on newspaper reports of their deaths.
  • The Site Visitors page updated to include visitor details from Google Analytics for 2013, and statistics on the 25,000 visits over four years.
  • Additional family photo added to photo page for Christian August Berkahn.
  • Photographs of Alice Jones (1894-1981) and Walter Jones (1896-1980) added to page of Family notes for David Jones.
  • New page added to site with photograph of nurse Alice Jones (1894-1981).
  • An 1894 letter from Elizabeth McLaren (nee Duxfield) to her children, in case she died, added to her biographical notes. A photograph of Elizabeth’s notebook that contains the letter is shown below.
  • New photo of St Mary’s Matawai Anglican Church added to Matawai page, replacing a previous photo from Google.
  • New page added to site with historical photographs of the Gisborne to Motuhora (Moutohora) railway.
  • Menus and Site map page updated to include links to new pages.

People photographs were obtained during a recent visit to New Zealand. In a visit to Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne, Dudley Meadows was very patient in looking for photos about Matawai I could use – a couple have been used for the page of photos from the Gisborne to Motuhora (Moutohora) railway.

Elizabeth Duxfield's notebook

Elizabeth Duxfield’s notebook. The 90 mm by 60 mm notebook is closed with an ivory pencil.

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George Henry Trueman Photographs

This gallery contains 14 photos.

I recently obtained an old photograph album and loose photos that belonged to Harold Trueman. After Harold died, the photographs were retained by the Palmerston North City Council from when they cleaned out the house that Harold rented.  Catheryn Te … Continue reading

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2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Updates – October 2013

Today updates were posted to my family tree on RootsWeb WorldConnect and to my New Zealand Genealogy Project website.  Previous updates were in June 2013. Recovery from  recent surgery delayed these changes being completed and posted.
RootsWeb logo
Family Tree Changes

Changes to the family tree file that is on RootsWeb WorldConnect on Tuesday 29 October 2013 include:

NZ Genealogy Home Page

NZ Genealogy Project Home Page

NZ Genealogy Site Changes

Changes on 29 October to Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project website include:

  • Tree Visitors page updated based on six months Google Analytics data for March-August 2013. This replaced the previous two month data for March-April 2013.
  • New page added to site giving details of Carmavy (Carmavey) in Northern Ireland. Carmavy was the birth place of Thomas McLernon, my great grandfather.
  • Update to 1921 Letter from Northern Ireland page to include links to family members from Ireland mentioned. This became possible after reviewing 1911 Census returns.
  • Menus and site map page updated to include the new Carmavy page.
  • Photograph of Elizabeth Redpath (1856-1933) headstone added to her photo page.
  • Additional photographs added to the Berkahn notes page (Gordon and Reynold Berkahn) and Christian Berkahn family photo page (group photographs of Christian’s children).
  • Details of Emily Mist updated when additional details were found in the electoral rolls.
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Samuel McLERNON (1854-1926)

Samuel McLernon, born in 1854 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, emigrated to New Zealand in 1875 aged 21.  He became a successful jeweler, with a business initially in Hamilton, and subsequently in Gisborne and then Napier.  He died in Napier in 1926. Samuel is my great-great-uncle.

Picture of Samual

Samuel McLernon

Samuel was the second son and fourth child of James McLERNON and Ann McCOMB from Carmavy near Belfast.  According to the The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (1908) James McLernon was a builder. Samuel was educated at Coleraine and Belfast, and became a manufacturing jeweler.  In 1875, aged 21, he obtained an assisted passage and emigrated to New Zealand on the ship Dunedin. He gave his occupation as mechanic. On arrival in Auckland, Samuel obtained work with Henry Kohn, an Auckland Queen Street Jeweler.

Image of Dunedin

The Dunedin in 1876, with the colours of Shaw, Savill & Albion Line of London. Painting by Frederick Tudgay.

A description of the voyage to Auckland was published in the Evening Star (subsequently Auckland Star) on 19 May 1875, the day after the ship arrived in Auckland.

Captain Whittson declares the voyage as having been a very pleasant one. Gravesend was left on the 13th February. Light winds with foggy weather were experienced in the Channel. The trades were met in 25 NT., and the Equator was made on the 11th March, only 20 days out. The S.E. trades were carried to 21 S and were very consistent. Variable weather to the Cape, the meridian of which was crossed in lat 41.30 S., on the 7th April. The ship made fine running across the Southern Ocean, her speed for weeks together averaging 10 knots. Tasmania was passed on the 10th inst, and the Three Kings on the 17th. Fine weather with showers at intervals down the coast. Three cases of typhoid fever occurred on the passage, one of which proved fatal on the 8th April. Two births took place. An accident happened to one of the crew on the 14th April. He fell from aloft while making fast the spanker, but luckily was not much hurt. Dr Flood comes in charge of the immigrants.  Owing to the unsettled state of the weather the landing of the immigrants has been delayed til tomorrow.

The Dunedin was an iron clipper passenger ship built in 1874, designed for transport of 400 passengers. She was 230 feet long on the keel, and nearly 250 feet overall; 36 feet in her extreme breadth, and 21 feet deep from the top of the floor.  She had accommodation for 28 first class and 20 second class passengers.  The Dunedin was famous in New Zealand for starting the frozen meat trade from New Zealand to Britain following a refit with a refrigeration plant. On 15 February 1882, the Dunedin sailed with 4331 mutton, 598 lamb and 22 pig carcasses, 250 kegs of butter, as well as hare, pheasant, turkey, chicken and 2226 sheep tongues.


In April 1876 Samuel moved to Hamilton and opened a Jewelery shop. He advertised first class workmanship, punctuality, and attention to business. He  repaired watches and clocks, providing a warranty they would keep correct time for 12 months.  Jewellery was repaired. He advertised an assortment of clocks for sale. Agents in Cambridge, Ngarawahia and Hamilton East could send clocks and jewellery for repairs.

In August 1876 Samuel married Mary Jane SOMMERS in Auckland. Mary was the youngest daughter of John T. C. Somers of Dromore, Mallow, County Cork and niece of the Ralph Somers, Government Inspector of Telegraphs in Belfast. The couple had six children while living in Hamilton between 1877 and 1886.


Samuel purchased and opened a watch and jewellery business in Gladstone Road, Gisborne in December 1884.  The Hamilton business was closed in November 1888 and the family then moved to Gisborne.  Samuel and Mary had three more children while living in Gisborne.

In May 1890 Samuel was elected to the Gisborne Borough Council and he remained on the council until moving to Napier. During 1894-1896 he was a member of the Waiapu Licensing Bench, a body that administered hotel licenses to sell alcohol in the Gisborne district. Samuel was also on the school committee for the Gisborne District High School.


The McLernon family moved to Napier about 1897 after Samuel McLernon purchased a Napier jewellery and watch business in August 1896. He continued to operate the Gisborne business with a manager after moving to Napier.   In 1903 he erected a new building in Hastings Street for the Napier business. The Gisborne and Napier jewellery businesses continued to operate until 1920.

In February 1898 Samuel was elected to the Hawke’s Bay Education Board and represented the Northern Ward that contained the Gisborne and district schools for several years. He was also chairman of the local holiday association for several years, and at different times took part in the management of various public bodies.

Samuel’s wife, Mary McLernon, was widely known as a valuable and untiring social worker, and was associated in an unostentatious manner with many Napier organisations for the promotion of social welfare. She was a zealous church worker, who gave of her time unstintingly, notably in connection with St. John’s Cathedral in Napier.

Samuel died in 1926 and was buried in the Park Island Cemetery, Napier.  Mary died in Gisborne while at her daughter’s residence in 1937.

Family Tree

Details of descendants of Samuel McLernon can be seen on Rootsweb where a family tree is maintained. Details of one of Samuel’s sons, John Ross Somers McLernon can be seen on an earlier posting.

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Updates to Tree and Project Site

Tree Changes

Changes to the family tree file that is on RootsWeb WorldConnect on Sunday, 14 July 2013 include:

  • New GEDCOM uploaded to RootsWeb (15,508 people, 5,074 families).
  • Obituary for Patrick McKONE, killed in Belgium during WW1, added to his page.
  • A link to biographical details and photo (where available) added to pages for people on Family Notes pages for Jones, Korte and McLaren.

Site Changes

Changes on 14 July to to Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project website include:

  • Facility for visitors to add comments to Family Notes, Family Photos and Places pages.
  • Visitors Comments page added to site.
  • RSS feed added to site.
  • Menus updated on some pages so they were less obtrusive.

Previously, on 29 March, the page with details of visitors to RootsWeb WorldConnect family tree was updated.

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