OFF-LINE – Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project web site

Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project web site has not been available since December 2017.  The site was hosted for free on  In December 2017 removed all the free websites and family trees on RootsWeb from the internet.  Content is being reviewed by before restoring.

My project family tree on RootsWeb‘s WorldConnect was restored for viewing in January 2018, but cannot be updated at present.  The version available on RootsWeb was uploaded to the site in June 2017.  Pictures and some notes (that are stored with the Project web site) are not presently available on the family tree.

Hopefully the project website is restored soon!  You can see the latest status here.


Hans Jebsen BECK (1878-1901)

Hans Jebsen BECK served and died with the 5th NZ Contingent in the South African Boer War.  A monument (below) was erected in Norsewood in recognition of his service.

Hans Jebsen Beck memorial in Norsewood, Hawkes Bay

The inscription on the memorial reads: Erected to the memory of Trooper H.J. Beck, 5th N.Z. Contingent who was wounded in action at Lichtenburg South Africa 3rd March 1901. Died of his wounds 24th March 1901. Age 23.

Hans Jebsen BECK was born 1878 in Hawkes Bay, the son of Mathias Peterson BECK and Anna Maria HANSEN who had migrated from Denmark to Napier on the “Fritz Reuter” in 1874.

On 27 March 1900 he enlisted as “John Beck” to serve with the 5th New Zealand Contingent of imperial troops in South Africa. The following reports in the Bush Advocate give an account of how he was wounded in action and the unveiling of his memorial (shown above).

The War

Mrs P. M. Beck, of Norsewood, has received the following letter from South Africa relating to the manner in which her son, Gunner J. Beck, received the wound which had, fatal consequences :-
5th March, 1901.
Mrs Beck, Ormondville,
Dear Madam, I much regret having to send this letter to tell you of a mishap that, has come to your son John. But as you will probably see the news in cablegrams from here it seemed better to let you know how he was getting along. Last Sunday morning we were attacked by the Boers, who managed to get into the town and very close to the entrenchments where the guns were. The men were, of course, on their guns and with nothing to eat or drink. Your son offered to run across an open space to bring something to the enclosure, and unfortunately while coming back was struck in the leg, the bullet going right through and breaking the bone. The doctor came as soon as possible and made him as comfortable as he could. We had him removed to the hospital the same night, where he is now doing very well. He has of course a good deal of pain, but is bearing up well and when the swelling has gone down and the doctors have set his leg, I hope he will mend rapidly, for otherwise he is in splendid health. We are all extremely sorry for his mishap, his good nature and cheerfulness having made him everybody’s friend in the battery. I trust he will soon be well enough to send you the news of his safe recovery. It is at present necessary that he should be still, which explains why he is unable to write himself. – I am, etc.,
C. T. Major,
Captain N.Z. Battery.
From Bush Advocate 18 May 1901

The Late Trooper Beck

The largest concourse of people that has ever assembled at Norsewood met on Sunday afternoon to witness the ceremony of unveiling the monument to the late Trooper Beck who fell so heroically while helping to get succour for his comrades in South Africa.
A detachment of the Union Rifles acted as a guard of honour, and the Brass Band was in attendance and played most appropriate music.
Punctually at 2.30 Mr P. Martin, the energetic secretary, mounted the platform and read apologies for non-attendance from the Very Rev. the Dean of Waiapu and Pastor Ries. The latter wrote as follow: – In reply to your kind invitation, dated January 15th, I beg to state that it would have given me great pleasure indeed to have been with you on the 26th at the unveiling of the Beck Memorial Monument; but as I have to be in Makaretu on the last Sunday in each month, and this is the last Sunday in this month, I could not possibly be with you. I honour and esteem any young man who shows regard to his country, and I am very glad to learn of the way in which the Norsewood community has deemed it proper to commemorate the deeds of our late trooper, young John Beck. I trust that the monument you are about to unveil will be an everlasting teacher of two things, – Firstly, that the Danish subjects in this colony are loyal to the British Crown, and at all times willing to give their lives for the service of the Empire; secondly, that the people of the colony honour and respect any man who does bis best to help to uphold the prestige of the British Empire. I pray to God that He will comfort the parents and other relatives in their sorrow over the loss of their son and brother. In conclusion, sir, as I understand that you are short of funds for the monument, and that a collection will be taken up, I beg to enclose cheque for £l, which you will kindly add to your collection. You have my best wishes for a successful meeting.
Mr Martin then called upon Mr Hall, M.H.R., who, having; made a few introductory remarks, asked Mrs Ole Ericksen to unveil the monument, a ceremony which that lady gracefully performed, during which the volunteers presented arms, and the “last post” was sounded.
Mr Hall then proceeded with his address, in which he eulogised the bravery shown by Trooper Beck. He also informed his hearers that a cross had been erected over the grave of deceased at Lichtenburg (where he met with his fatal wound) by his comrades-in-arms.
Addresses were also given by Mr C. A. Foston, Adjutant Cook, the Rev Canon Webb, and Pastor Topholm, the last speaker reminding his hearers that though he was not an Englishman by birth, he was a loyal subject of the King. He had traveled in several foreign countries and was conversant with their laws, and could say without fear of contradiction that there was no freer country in this world than that over which flew the English flag.
During the afternoon a collection was taken up and responded to with such good will that the monument is paid for, £12, the amount required, being taken.
Mr Hall, at the wish of Mr M. Beck, father of deceased, then read a few words of heartfelt gratitude to all those who bad helped in erecting such a memento to his son, after which Mr Foston moved that this meeting protests against the recent vile aspersions cast upon the British troops and affirms its belief in their honour and integrity.
Pastor Topholm seconded and the resolution was carried amidst loud cheering, the proceedings being brought to a close by the Band playing “God Save the King.”
The monument, which is a very handsome marble one and comes from the works of Mr J. Waterworth, of Napier, bears the following inscription: “Erected to the memory of Trooper H. J. Beck, 5th New Zealand Contingent, who was wounded in action at Lichtenburg, South Africa, 3rd March, 1901. Died of his wounds 24th March, 1901. Aged 23.” “In grateful remembrance of a brave soldier who gave his life in defence of the Empire.” The monument stands on a 3-tier concrete basement, which was erected by Mr Crossland, of Ormondville, and which does him infinite credit.
From Bush Advocate 27 January 1902

The image below is of the headstone erected by his comrades at Lichtenburg, South Africa.

Grave headstone image
Headstone erected over the grave of Hans Jebsen Beck at Lichtenburg, South Africa

Details of Hans Jebsen BECK, his parents and siblings can be viewed on RootsWeb.

Danish Berkahn Ancestors

As part of the recent update to my Family Tree on RootsWeb WorldConnect (16,270 people), Danish ancestors of the New Zealand Berkahn family were included.

Preben G. Kristensen from Denmark contacted me regarding the Berkahn family tree. Preben lives in Denmark in the area where Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN and his wife Inga Maria LARSDATTER were living before migrating to New Zealand in 1874.

Preben has been documenting family in Denmark and around the world. Information he has collected can be viewed at The Gravgaard family and other of our relatives website, in both English and Danish.

Following contact with Preben I have been able to add ancestors of Inga Maria LARSDATTER to the family tree on RootsWeb, dating back to the 16th century.   Inga Maria POULSEN‘s name was corrected to Inga Maria LARSDATTER in the update. Birth and christening information for her children born in Denmark was also added to RootsWeb.

Thanks Preben for sharing your information which I am sure family in New Zealand will find interesting.

Berkahn Photographs

These are reproductions of Berkahn family photographs that will be of interest to  Berkahn descendants. Source: Margaret Wallace.

Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN

Born 01 Sep 1832 in Denmark, migrated to New Zealand with his family in 1874, and settled at Makotuku (near Ormondville and Norsewood) where he farmed. He died 17 Sep 1916 in Dannevirke and was buried in Norsewood. Additional details at Rootsweb.

Image of Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN
Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN

Inga Maria POULSEN

Born 2 Sep 1843 in Denmark, married Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN in 1859, and migrated to New Zealand in 1874.  She had twelve children and died at Makotuku in 1914. Inga was buried in Norsewood. Additional details at Rootsweb.

Image of Inga Maria BERKAHN - nee POULSEN
Inga Maria BERKAHN – nee POULSEN
Photo of Henry and Inga Berkahn
Henry and Inga Berkahn outside their Makotuku home

Wilhelm Franz Heinrich BERKAHN family

Wilhelm Franz Heinrich BERKAHN was the eldest child of Franz Frederick Heinrich and Inga Maria BERKAHN, born 14 Jul 1859 in Denmark.  He migrated to New Zealand in 1874 and in 1884 married  Anne Mary JENSEN.  The following photographs are of the couple and their children. Additional details at Rootsweb.

William and Anne Berkahn family - 1907
William and Anne Berkahn family – 1907

In the above photograph (left to right):

  • Back row: Christie (b 1890), Henry (b 1886), William (b 1892).
  • Middle row: Anne, Mary (b 1885), William, Gydine (a cousin).
  • Front row: Hazel (on knee, b 1906), Leslie (b 1899), Gladys (b 1901).
Photo of William and Anne Berkahn family - 1913
William and Anne Berkahn family – 1913

In the above photograph (left to right):

  • Back row: Gladys (b 1901), Leslie (b 1899), Henry (b 1886), Christie (b 1890), William (b 1892).
  • Front row: Anne, Hazel (b 1906), William, Mary (b 1885).
Sons of William and Anne Berkahn - 1913
Sons of William and Anne Berkahn – 1913 Leslie, Henry, William, Christie

Christie Berkahn (below) served with Wellington Mounted Rifles in Egypt. He was killed in action in July 1916.

Picture of Christopher Kolle BERKAHN
WWI Trooper Christopher Kolle BERKAHN (Christie)


I have not done much genealogy research since 2013, but having retired from work, I now have more time available to update my family tree database and project web site.

Project website

I no longer have access to Dreamweaver, so now using CoffeeCup HTML Editor to manage and edit web pages.  Changes to date include:

  • My bookmarks for research page checked and hyperlinks updated where out of date.
  • Page outlining history of the Korte farm Ruanui at Matawai near Gisborne in New Zealand updated. Additional details added/corrected based on information from Papers Past.
  • Contact details page updated following change of address: from Horsham to Ballarat, Victoria.
  • Copyright date information updated on all pages.
  • Site visitors page updated with data from Google Analytics for the period 2010-2016. The previous site visitors page with data for 2010-2013 is still available.
  • Home page redesigned to show project updates, with a new About page added to explain site layout.
  • RSS feeds for site updated, and displayed on Home page. There is now a feed for changes to the project site and a second for changes to the family tree database.

Family Tree website

  • Family Tree updated on RootsWeb WorldConnect (16,091 people, 5,316 families). Corrections and additions mainly based on emails received.

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.

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.