NZ Birth Index at ancestry.com


Ancestry.com 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.

AncestryLogo

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.

Get Visitor Comments on Websites at RootsWeb


Enabling – and encouraging – your visitors to contribute to your website through comments is a great way to develop an interactive and engaging website, and build a regular audience. And a powerful way to gain invaluable feedback so you can adjust your website to meet the needs and expectations of your audience.

Although I had a Guestbook on my website, Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project, it was not really adding to the website, with comments being viewed on Rootsweb. It was obtaining some comments, but relatively few.  Also, because I did not have an email link, I did not review visitor comments frequently enough.

I hope I have fixed this now by using some software from htmlCommentBox on my website.  The javascript code was flexible enough to meet my needs and has several advantages when used on free Rootsweb websites:

  • The comments are stored and the scripts processed on htmlCommentBox, not Rootsweb.  Rootsweb limits the processing of some code needed for adding visitor comments to a web page.
  • The same code script can be inserted on the pages where you want to get and display visitor comments.  Only comments for that page are displayed.
  • You are emailed when visitors leave a comment, providing an alert.
  • Moderation of comments is easy; that is approval of comments so visitors can view.
  • The code can be modified to meet different requirements.  I have a new Guestbook, and can now accept visitor comments on Family notes pages (e.g. see comments on biographical notes for Korte family).  In addition, I am able to show recent comments from the whole site on the home page.
  • Visitors can be emailed automatically when a person replies to their comment.

If visitors provide comments to the pages I have set up, it will be easy to add additional code so comments can be added to other pages.  I am waiting to see how useful it is for visitors.

Image showing Example of htmlCommentBox
Example of htmlCommentBox showing input form and a posting.

Visitors adding comments to this blog is easy.  I hope it will be just as easy now on my website, Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project.

Tracking Vistors to your WorldConnect Family Tree


I am interested in the demographics of who is visiting my family tree on Rootsweb WorldConnect. What country, city are visitors from? What pages are looked at most often?

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After a few unsuccessful attempts, I have now managed to set up tracking so I can answer these questions, and others. I use Google Analytics.

Analytics LogoThere are two parts to the setup.

  1. In Google Analytics you need to define the default URL – I used wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com.  This refers to the whole WorldConnect site, but only your family tree pages will send tracking codes.  You  copy the tracking code from Google Analytics for insertion in web pages displaying your family tree.
  2. You then need to log into Rootsweb, open your account page, and under Worldconnect Tree ID select Edit. Click on the tree you want to track (in my case chris_korte), then click on Display Options under Tree Settings.  I pasted the tracking code from Google Analytics into the Page Footer.  Due to restrictions on string length for the page footer, I needed to remove the existing footer.  Before pasting, I also edited the tracking code in notepad to remove formatting spaces and carriage returns – I made one line of text.

So far this has tracked visitors for a few hours successfully.  When it has run for longer I will update on what has worked and what has not.

I have been able to see number of visitors, pageviews, visit duration, audience details, traffic sources and content.  These are the normal statistics that Analytics reports.  In-Page Analytics can not be reported, but this is not a concern to me.

I presume the tracking code can be inserted in other parts of the WorldConnect page, but I have not tried.

Google Analytics reports that “The Google Analytics tracking code has not been detected on your website’s home page.” This is because Rootsweb WorldConnect does not allow users to alter the home page.

Google Analytics says “For Analytics to function, you or your web administrator must add the code to each page of your website.” Because the footer is displayed whenever my tree is displayed, the tracking code will report all instances of my tree being viewed.

In case you do not know, use of both Google Analytics and Rootsweb WorldConnect is free.

CrashPlan for Backup


Backup of genealogy data is essential to avoid loss of your work.  I have written before about backup, but have recently started using the CrashPlan service. This post is to let you know about this new service.

CrashPlan Logo

Why Backup

So far I have had to use backups to get my research back twice. My computer disk needed to be reformatted to recover from a virus the first time, and the second time my genealogy files got corrupted.  Recovery is easy from backup files if you have them.

I have been backing my genealogy research up to a local network hard drive and to Carbonite, an online service that stores your files in the US.  However I was not happy with Carbonite because backup is very slow once you exceed 200 GB.  I need to backup over 700 GB because I have a lot of digital images from photography.

CrashPlan+

CrashPlan is an automatic backup service. Files and folders of your choosing are backed up when the CrashPlan software detects a change in files. You can choose when backups occur if you want to limit the time. The selective, incremental, and fully automatic backup system keeps the latest version of everything you want backed up without you ever having to think about it.

You can backup to a hard drive attached to your computer, to another computer on your network, to a friends computer using the internet, or to CrashPlan’s servers.  CrashPlan has servers in Australia for customers in New Zealand and Australia – CrashPlan Australia.

I took the CrashPlan+ Unlimited plan.  This allowed me to backup all my files (700 GB) on their Australian server plus to a local hard drive.  I also have an additional backup of my genealogy data to their server plus my wife’s computer when it gets turned on.

I used their “seed service” where they sent a hard drive, I backed up my files to the drive, and returned the drive to Sydney.  The files were then loaded onto CrashPlan Australia.  It would have otherwise taken several month to upload all my files as my current internet plan only allows 50 GB per month.  The “seed service” is expensive – $A165.

CrashPlan has several plans available.  A 10 GB plan for one computer costs $A35 per year.  With this plan you can backup (unlimited) to hard drives and friends computers for free, you are just limited to 10 GB on the CrashPlan servers. An Unlimited Family plan allows backup of unlimited amounts of personal files from 2-10 computers for $A165 per year. A free plan does not allow backup to CrashPlan servers and has several limitations.

CrashPlan keeps old versions of files so you can retrieve them if you want to.  I have retrieved files after I made changes then wanted to go back to an old version. If you have files on the CrashPlan servers you can download to your apple or android device using an app.

I tried to backup to my network attached storage but this did not work.  Access to network storage is not supported by CrashPlan although they provide an unsupported workaround. I used the workaround, but only managed to get half my backup done.  You may have success with a smaller backup?

Site Update


This post is to let you know about recent changes to my website – Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project.

The Site visitors page was updated using visitor data from Google Analytics. Information for three calendar years is included in the report. The number of visitors increased in 2012 compared with 2010 and 2011. In 2012 there were over 190 visits per month by visitors who looked at the site, each looking at 3-4 pages on average per visit (these were the “non-bounce” visits).

A new page added with information about Awatuna in Taranaki was added to the site. Awatuna is the district where the Korte family settled in Taranaki, cleared the forest, and dairy farmed.  The purpose of the page is to provide some photos and history on the settlement, now almost gone.

Details of Thomas McLAREN (1862-1958) have been updated, following research showing that his brothers emigrated from Ireland several years before him (instead of all traveling to New Zealand together).

The location of Abergavenny Farmhouse, Scoulton, United Kingdom was added to Rushbrooke family notes. I had visited the farm in 2005 but was unable to locate it on a map previously. Abergavenny Farm is where Ernest Edwin RUSHBROOKE (1859-1940) spent his early life.

A new page was added to the site giving details of Clipbush Barn, Abergavenny Farm, Scoulton – a farm building converted into a residence.  When I visited Abergavenny Farm in 2005 the barn was derelict, but it has since been fenced off and converted into a modern residence.

Abandoned farm buildings in 2005 at Abergavenny Farm, Scoulton.
Abandoned farm buildings in 2005 at Abergavenny Farm, Scoulton, Norfolk.
Clipbush Barn
Clipbush Barn, Abergavenny Farm, Scoulton, Norwich. This is the building front right in photo above.

Another change to the site has been to better enable it for mobile devices like the iphone and ipad.  To achieve this three templates are used for layout.  For iphones, tap on the text to expand to screen width – the layout is affected by a rootsweb header that cannot be reduced in size to match the screen size.

Auckland Weekly News


I have just discovered an online database at Auckland Library that has thousands of historical images from New Zealand – Heritage Images Online. The images are sourced from the Auckland Weekly News photographic supplements published between 1898 and 1943.

Photos in the database can be found in a Google search, but I have found searching the database on the Library website more useful. Heritage Images Online can be accessed through Auckland Libraries website at www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz

I have found historical photos of places in New Zealand that I can use for my website. The photo of the opening of Matawai Post Office (below) will be added to my web page for Matawai.

Photograph of opening of the Matawai Post Office in 1921
Opening of Matawai Post Office in 1921
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19210811-37-4

Searching for family names can turn up photographs of relatives.  The newspaper published portraits of many servicemen in WW1.  An example is shown below from a 1915 issue of the newspaper.

Photograph of Edwin Rushbrooke
Ernest Edwin Rushbrooke in 1915
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19150916-39-39

Auckland Weekly News images cover a broad range of subjects from global conflict of the day, scenic views of Auckland, royal visits and local events. They provide a pictorial depiction of New Zealanders and New Zealand life at the time of publication, with a focus on events within the Auckland region.

Images were taken from large bound volumes of newspapers, using a digital camera to capture an entire page of photographs. To protect the fragile volumes, photography was carried out onsite at the library, using specially modified equipment. The digital image of the single page was then transformed into separate records for each photograph, with searchable information about each one including a transcription of its original newspaper caption.