Quake treasures resurface

coverAugust is family history month and on Saturday 20 August, the Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists is holding a public research day at St. Ninian’s Church Hall, Puriri Street, Riccarton.

The day is in fact a celebration. For the first time in six months there will be available old familiar friends: tombstone transcripts (find references to these  on the library catalogue by using the words ‘sepulchral monument‘); local state primary school records; the matching brides-and -grooms and other CDs; and Denys Hampton’s michrofiche which may, via the Appendices to the journals of the House of Representatives, lead one to the indiscreet comments that some ancestor made in front of a long-forgotten royal commission.

Parish registers, cemetery transcripts, School indexes, the CDs, NZ BDM microfiche and NZ cemetery microfiche, and experienced researchers in Australian, European, and British Genealogy will be available . Society members will also show how to use school records and computer networks.

The earthquake of 22 February resulted in centres for historical and genealogical research such as the CentralLibrary and the Anglican and Methodist archives becoming trapped in the CBD’s red zone.
Slowly, access to these things is resuming.

  • Archives New Zealand in Peterborough Street, a magnificent but under-used institution, is now open and offers limited research facilities.
  • On 23 February brave souls from the Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists rescued their holdings from the Shirley Community Centre. These include the society’s bound volumes of Christchurch-and-environs church baptismal, marriage and burial registers. Genealogical Society members began transcribing these registers to a card file in 1980. With the card file stuck in the Central Library it is great to have the bound volumes available.

Material is available for use from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Participants are asked to bring their lunch; tea and coffee will be available.

Richard Greenaway

John Marsden in Christchurch

John MarsdenThe temperature has been rising in the Learning Centre.

Everyone has been rooting around on their children’s book shelves and dusting off old treasures. So when John Marsden arrived he was deluged by staff with sweaty palms thrusting their copies of Tomorrow when the War Began at him for an autograph. He is probably used to it…

John was here in recognition of Christchurch’s recent tough times. He had a very tight two day schedule of school talks and visits. It began with a helicopter tour of the CBD on Wednesday, a workshop with Avonside and Burnside High Schools, and a public session in the evening.

On Thursday, he was teleconferencing with five local schools, then visiting Cashmere and Linwood. He made high schools that are site sharing the priority.

He was calm and warm to all and revealed his secret weakness – Diet Coke. And he needed the caffeine to keep up the whirlwind pace of his tour.

Julianne, Learning advisor