Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project web site has not been available since December 2017. The site was hosted for free on Ancestry.com. In December 2017 Ancestry.com removed all the free websites and family trees on RootsWeb from the internet. Content is being reviewed by Ancestry.com 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 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.
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).
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.
Details of Hans Jebsen BECK, his parents and siblings can be viewed on RootsWeb.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
Christie Berkahn (below) served with Wellington Mounted Rifles in Egypt. He was killed in action in July 1916.
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.
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.