Family History: A New Blog

I was wandering through Papers Past on the National Library of New Zealand last night, and I thought to myself, what a wonderful source of community and family history.
I have been looking for relatives for other people in these archival papers and in the process decided to transcribe a few of the articles and relevant sections to send to a couple of New Zealand Rootsweb lists that I belong to. Through doing that I discovered that not everyone is able to access the information, or at least not in the fullest manner possible. And I have to confess that I get great pleasure reading what was going on in our communities over 100 years ago. Our ancestors certainly had a good dose of humour judging by some of the writing.

Personally I have family who were in “trade” and I would love to be able to find any reference to them in their local papers, so I thought I could “pay it forward” to those looking for information to flesh out their family history in New Zealand.
I was also encouraged by Lorelle’s posting about her plans to use the blog structure for her family’s genealogy. In no way am I creating anything on the scale that she is planning. My pretentions are only to provide a place for people to visit and maybe leave comments about the archival newspaper entries or the named individuals. A bit of a glorified webpage really, but hopefully one that will encourage others to participate in making some of our wonderful community records available.

It will be a learn by the seat of your pants experience (and blog) so if you do visit, please be patient as I develop it. At the moment it is one entry big, with an About page. The tags will be the Newspaper’s name, but perhaps in time this might need to be changed to include the year of the entry.
But considering the search facility available with WordPress.com I don’t think finding an entry with your family name attached will be too difficult. Maybe a lot to go through (once I add more transcriptions) but that’s not a bad thing in genealogy.

Any feedback on how you would search such a blog – by surname, location, year, etc. will be willingly accepted and considered.

Now on to the blog. It is called rather unimaginatively, but accurately “NZ Newspaper Articles – For Your Family History Research”. And it can be read here and clicked to through a link in the sidebar of this blog. I hope that in time it will become of use to some of you.

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5 thoughts on “Family History: A New Blog

  1. Good for you! Digging into your family history is hard work. I’ve started documenting my research and finding a ton of resources on my new Family History Blog, which might help you get started.

    Most people search genealogy blogs by name and location. At the very end of the spectrum, they are looking for name and date or location and date in combination. But names are the top keyword search. The trick is using the names enough in the writing to become “keywords”. Once isn’t enough.

    And which do you use? The first, middle, last, or a combination? What about nicknames? I have one relative born a Johan, but is also known as John and Jack, as well as “Fighting Jack” or “Fightin’ Jack”. And last names like Knap, Knapp, Napp, Knappe, and Knape, all representative of one family surname. It’s tough.

    And stay tuned as I have a ton of more articles in the Genealogy and Building a Blog series. Going to be great fun.

  2. Thanks Lorelle.

    I am interested in how you develop your family history blog, and maybe I will attempt one in the future too. At the moment a static page attached to my blog is sufficient for my needs and suits the kind of information I currently have for my family.

    In the meantime I can get gratuitous pleasure from helping other researchers find unique snippets of information about their ancestors through the NZ Newspaper Articles blog
    .

    And I completely understand your Knapp spelling issue – I have one of those too courtesy of an Irish accent living in Scotland…
    Foset, Fawcet, Fossad, Torcid, Faucit, Fosaid.
    I settled for Fawcett in the end.

    I also have a candidate for an ancestor with a lisp, my great-great-great-grandmother was recorded in the 1881 census as being born in Thorn.
    The parish of her birth was actually Sorn.

    The joys and quirks of Chinese whispers down the ages. :)

  3. I’ve been doing some family history here in the UK. As others have mentioned, spellings (or rather, mis-spellings) can create some problems.

    It sounds like you’ve had a great idea :)

  4. Thanks Nikki-ann.
    My entire family history is UK based as I’m a first generation immigrant, so internet access to records has become more important over the last few years. Previously it was the LDS family history libraries, local public libraries and that was all unless you made the journey to the UK. Now we have ScotlandsPeople and direct access to original documents at a reasonable cost (relative to flights). And for my ancestors in northern Scotland I have the wonderful Moray Council with their Family History index online. Now all I am waiting for is the full scale digitizing of newspapers. That was one of the things that prompted this idea. Papers Past is free, and it would be great to see similar things happen in the UK.

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