2013 in review

The WordPress.com 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.


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.

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.

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.

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 Rootschat.com – 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 Rootschat.com 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.

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.

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.