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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James Wallace 1826-1899

Tracing James Wallace has been a mystery for me and other researchers for some time.  Sue Penrose put me onto some information that I believe solves the question.

A query was posted by lynbee on – James Wallace-I have lost this line of the family!  She posted what was known about James Wallace: his birth in Ireland in 1826, his enlistment in the 65th Regiment, guarding convicts on a voyage to Tasmania, posting to New Zealand, and discharge from the army in Wanganui in 1849.  Lyn’s question – did anyone know what happened to James?

Descendants of James Wallace and Maria Brophy from Tasmania replied to the query because they thought they might be related. Their James was also from Ireland, had been to Australia before being posted to New Zealand “and fought in the war there which we believe was in Wanganui. In the 1850’s he moved to Tasmania and married.”  However marriage and death registration did not have details of James’s parents.

The exchange does not provide a definitive and documented link between the James Wallace in my tree and the James Wallace who died in Tasmania.  There is considerable overlap of the facts though.

Discharged in New Zealand, by Hugh and Lyn Hughes, lists soldiers of the Imperial Foot Regiments who took their discharge in New Zealand between 1840 and 1870.  A search of the book shows that there was only one James Wallace discharged in New Zealand. This was the brother of Arthur Wallace and John Alexander McKane Wallace who were also discharged in Wanganui.

The headstone for James Wallace in Westbury Cemetery gives his age at death as 72 years (see image below). This matches with his birth in 1826.

Headstone of James Wallace, his wife Maria and son; Westbury, Tasmania

Headstone of James Wallace, his wife Maria and son; Westbury, Tasmania. Photo from Darryl Booth.

I believe that the story passed down to the children of James and Maria from Tasmania matches sufficiently with what was known from army records and New Zealand to conclude that this James Wallace is the the brother of Arthur Wallace and John Alexander McKane Wallace.  I will be updating my tree accordingly.

Please let me know if this is an error and you have an alternative James Wallace who fits better.

NOTEDischarged in New Zealand, by Hugh and Lyn Hughes, was published by the NZ Society of Genealogists in 1988.  A pdf version is now available on CD from the Society’s website.

UPDATE (6 June) – I have now updated the tree on Rootsweb with descendants of James Wallace I have found to date.

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Margaret McKone (nee Heavey)

I have been researching the HEAVEY family who migrated from Ireland to Otago, New Zealand about 1875.  Recently I found there was another family member, Margaret, born about 1859 in Mullingar, Westmeath.

In 1882 Margaret Heavey married Michael McKone, born about 1858 in Ballyconnell, Cavan, Ireland.  Michael was a labourer in County Cavan when at the age of 18 he migrated to New Zealand as an assisted passenger aboard the “Loch Awe” on 6 April 1974.  After arriving in Auckland, Michael  worked his way south and settled near Oamaru, North Otago. He was employed as a labourer with the New Zealand Refrigeration Company and was put in charge of the company’s water races at Awamoko, north of Oamaru.

Margaret and Michael had 16 children. Margaret died in 1902 at Awamoko, and was buried in Oamaru. To date I have traced 338 descendants and 131 spouses of descendants. If you can provide additional information please get in touch.

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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.

Posted in Other posts, Project Site, Site Updates, Software | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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?

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  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.

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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 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?

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