Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Unknown People from a German Photo album

The following photos are from an old German photo album that I own. When I say old, I mean an album dating from about the 1860s approximately. It is likely that it came out on the ship Sebastopol to New Zealand in 1863. I know it is German as it has come apart after its 150 odd years of use and inside some German newsprint was visible. Here are some of the photos inside. My ancestors were Elise and Karl Meng from Germany. Karl also had a second wife Sarah Winfield Meng, formerly Potts, nee Brown. So some of her photos are in there too, mainly ones sent from England. Their friends and family would have included the following family names such as Ellenberger, Griebel, Findt, Seyb, Kissel, Schneider. Also people from the areas of Kindenheim, Hohen-Sulzen and Friedelsheim, Germany. Also from the districts of Tuahiwi, Rangiora and Ohoka as well as possibly the Courtenay area where Sarah Winfield Meng lived for many years. Then if you take into account the people who have owned it over the years, there was my great great grandmother Mary Lord, nee Meng who may have stuck her own photos in there as well. It gets rather confusing. If anyone recognises any faces here as belonging to your family please let me know. My ancestors never named any photos and it has been a real challenge to name even a few of them.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Kate and William visit Christchurch, New Zealand

I know this is a family history blog, but I just couldn't resist posting the photos I took today of William and Kate on the visit to the Airforce Museum.

I was determined to see them today as I missed seeing the Queen properly back in 1986.  I was about ten years old and was waiting patiently with my Mum outside the Christchurch Museum.  I was so excited when the black car came around the corner of Worcester Blvd and into the main gates of the Botanic Gardens, right near us.  But then disaster struck.  A woman mooned the Queen just down from us.  I never saw it as my Mum shielded me from the terrible event.  The Queen must have seen it was going to happen and turned her head away.  She was on the side of the car nearest me, but all I saw was the back of her head.

Anyway, now I have seen her grandson William and the gorgeous Kate, looking radient in her beautiful red suit.  It was worth standing in the cold to see them.  Now I can forget the day I was cheated back in 1986!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sepia Saturday 223: Four photos

Sepia Saturday is a great thing!  Click here for more great photos and the stories about them.

The following is a set of four photos which are related to each other and which I scanned together at the same time, thereby creating a four photo postcard effect.  They are of the Friedelsheim Mennonite Church in the village of Friedelsheim, Germany. They are not old photos as I took them on a trip there in 1999, but they show quite old buildings.

The top left photo is of the inside of this small church.  My ancestor Jakob Ellenberger used to preach in here in the mid 1800s.  There was nothing ostentatious about it when I went for a look back in 1999.  I don't think the mennonite religion was that way inclined at all!

The second photo at the top is of a plaque on the outside wall of the church.  I was told what it said at the time, but most of it was lost in translation and now almost completely gone with time.  The bottom photo underneath the plaque photo is of Jakob Ellenberger's house which housed a family of 13!  It was tiny and they were so poor but they were pious and dedicated to God and from what I've learnt, were generally very happy.  The family didn't believe in war, so when Jakob's son, Jakob Nathaniel Ellenberger was called up for compulsory army training he instead emigrated to NZ in 1863, taking his sister (my great great great grandmother) Elise Katharina Ellenberger with him.  Because there were so many people to support in the family it was better for some of the family to move away and make their own fortunes elsewhere, so quality of life was also a big issue for the family.

The fourth photo of the stone tower is meant to be part of the old castle that stood in Friedelsheim.  I have a feeling this was partly rebuilt and is not the orginal by any means.  It is behind the small Ellenberger house.  In front of the house is a small courtyard and then the church.  These buildings are all part of a complex.

I visited in summer.  There were shady trees and vines in front of the entrance to this church and some of the Ellenberger women used to sit there and do their craftwork.  One can just imagine the relaxing slow pace of life that they would have experienced.  The simple life!

The buildings have changed somewhat from when my ancestors lived there, but hopefully not too much. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sepia Saturday 220: Monuments

Yes, I'm late with Sepia Saturday this week, but at least I've had a go.  If you want to know more about Sepia Saturday, click here.

This week we have to post photos of monuments.  I chose headstones as my theme seeing that I visited numerous headstones today of my ancestors, plus saw some interesting sights.

I went to Bromley Cemetery which is in Christchurch, New Zealand.  I've harped on about the Christchurch Earthquakes before so I won't go into detail again, only to say that the earthquakes have really wrecked our local cemeteries.  While walking around there were several council vans, some doing gardening and some fixing up the land issues at the cemetery.  There was a guy on a digger trying to level the ground again.  He said hi and went to have his lunch as I came along the pathway.  You could see where he had been digging, trying to lessen the amount of potholes on the pathways.  He also had been placing wooden stakes on the graves that needed major repair.  When this repair is going to be done, God only knows.  There are thousands of gravestones that need repairing.

I found most of the stones I was looking for.  I can tell you, if you want your own gravestone to survive and earthquake, put a slab in.  A modest sized slab with etched in letters so that they can't come off (like lead). My ancestor Edwin Lord and his wife chose a headstone that wasn't too high and very solid and it has lasted the test of time!
Grave of Edwin and Mary Lord (my great great grandparents)

But don't have an inserted panel on a slab.  They can just fall off, like this one on my ancestors' stone.

If you want your headstone to topple, then make it really really tall like this one

Gravestone of Jabez and Mary Ann Lord and their daughter Ellen Lord, taken 26 March 2014.

One of my relations, Henry Pearce, I searched and searched for.  He might have an unmarked grave.  Or maybe this is his stone, totally flattened by another during a 7.1 earthquake!

And finally don't ever put beautiful madonnas on your headstone that tower above your final resting place.  This one is now sleeping peacefully in Bromley Cemetery, tucked away in a forgotten corner.

Not everything has fallen.  Some strong monuments to the dead have survived, like this beautiful angel, bringing hope to us poor Christchurch residents.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Sepia Saturday 218: Fences and backyards

Sepia Saturday 218 is about fences and washing and other domestic things.  Click here to read more Sepia Saturday stories.  I found this great photo of my great grandma, who this blog is named after.  We are not sure how old she is here, maybe 8 or 9 years old.    She was born in 1900 which puts this photo at about 1908.  We are not even sure where the photo has been taken?  Her family were living in Ohoka at the time on a farm there.  But why would her photo be taken right next to a corragated iron fence when there were lovely gardens at the house.  So this photo is from a more urban setting. A table with flowers and books and an ornament grace the table that she leans on, yet there is an ugly fence behind her!

She looks kind of grumpy too.  Was she forced to stand still for too long and was getting more and more grumpy. Or maybe the sun was just too bright.  It reminds me of some of the faces she pulled when I knew her in her 80s and 90s.  She lived in a rest home for the last ten years of her life and hated it there.  I loved my great grandma.  She had such soft skin on her wrinkly face.  She told great stories of her childhood, riding horses to school and having hair so long she could sit on it.  She used to wear it in a long plait down her back. She had a wonderful childhood on the farm at Ohoka.  She remembers climbing trees to get the juicy apples!  Such memories of freedom and the colours, flavours and pure joy of childhood which lasted her whole life!

My great grandma died when she was 96 after living a good long life.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Camp Bay Cemetery Records, Banks Peninsula

For those of you who don't know, Camp Bay is near Purau Bay in Lyttelton Harbour and was used as a quarantine camp for ships for many years.  I have currently been hunting for the cemetery records.  My first port of call was the Christchurch City Libraries, but they don't have them.  They put me onto the Christchurch City Council but they didn't have them.  CCC put me on to the Department of Conservation as they run the reserve which contains the cemetery at Camp Bay but they don't seem to have them.  I then finally found a record of a microfisch held by the NZ Society of Genealogists and have yet to go and check that out.  It is held in a library not far from me, but I have to make a special trip to view it.  I'm not sure what is in this list however since reading Mary Staplyton-Smith's amazing book on Camp Bay, "The Other End of the Harbour."  In this book she states that she too tried to find records but none could be found.  She made her own small list of people but it was far from the 73 to 74 burials that a local man could remember being in the cemetery.  How this man knew this fact is unknown.

Anyway, I have started my own list of people who were possibly buried at this cemetery, from other records I have found in Archives New Zealand and Paperspast, for example.  Mary never would have had access to these records and instead would have spent many hours looking through old newspapers. She was researching before the Internet! Amazing!

If anyone else has found a record recording a definite or possible burial at Camp Bay and wishes to add their ancestors to the list, please let me know.  Hopefully, with some help we can build up a reasonable list.  Please note this is a work in progress.

Definite Confirmed Burials at Camp Bay

Hathaway - a 2 month old infant, son of David and Milborough Hathaway.  Born on the ship Brother's Pride on 3 October 1863,  died 16 December 1863 at Camp Bay Quarantine station. Archives NZ Chch Office R22193437

Trigg - a six week old infant, son of Absalom and Hannah (Anna) Trigg.  Born on the ship Brother's Pride on 11 November 1863 (one of boy twins), died 23 December 1863 at Camp Bay Quarantine Station.  Archives NZ Chch Office R22193437

Possibly two others from the Brother's Pride - Names unknown

Assistant Cook of the ship Marlborough died of consumption on 16 December 1878 and was buried at Camp Bay on 17 December 1878.

Man from the White Rose  died of dysentery while on Ripa Island and was bured at Camp Bay Cemetery on 26 July 1875.

Infant from the ship White Rose was born on Ripa Island and died on the island 36 hours after birth.  Was buried at Camp bay on 26 July 1875.

Possible burials at Camp Bay, but no proof:

Ann Austin died in about September 1863 possibly after arriving on the ship Captain Cook and was likely buried at Camp Bay but this is unproven and there is no documented evidence.  For more information on the terrible experiences of the passengers of the Captain Cook click here.

Molley, an immigrant, died in quarantine today (25 March 1880)

Christchurch, October 17. William Hosking, laborer, employed at Ripa Island fortifications, died last night from injuries received tlirough a fall of earth on Thursday last.

Thomas Biggs, aged 28, immigrant from the Northampton who fell down a 30 ft cliff at Camp Bay and died of head injuries on.  Inquest was held at Lyttelton, so he is likely buried there, instead of at Camp Bay.

Lily Payne, aged 5 years old, who arrived by the Westland, died at Ripa Island of measles on 24 February 1880.

Mary Staplyton-Smith's list from her book "The Other End of the Harbour"

In 1873 (died at Ripapa Island and probably buried at Camp Bay as not buried elsewhere, however not fully proven!)

Johannes Petersen (5 1/2)
Sara Grieg (22)
Mathias Hansen (38)
Matilda Furgusson (17)
Catherine Prebensen (6 months)
Rebecca Furgusson (43)
Another female unnamed
Ellen Hayes (15)
Mary Cochrane (74)
James Berry.
Eva Maria Christiansen
Harriet Horton
James Jansen
Alice Pretty Atkins
Ernest Napier

Amy Fergusson, aged 24, dead of Enteric fever. (from Births, Deaths and marriages in Chch)

Barnes brothers (from a gravestone inscription that was remembered)
Miss Tullock (from relatives who say she is buried at Camp Bay)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Sepia Saturday 214: Musical Instruments

Sepia Saturday 214 shows two people by a piano.  For more Sepia Saturday posts, click the link.  Because of the piano, I decided to go with the theme of musical instruments and found an appropriate photo.  I come from a fairly musical family on both sides.

Here is a photo of my Pop with his alto saxophone in the late 1940s.  He is pretending to use it as a cricket bat on a field somewhere in Christchurch.  I have this photo on my wall as I absolutely love it!  I even learnt on this saxophone for a few years when I was a teenager.

My Pop was a bit of a character.  He was a joker.  He had nicknames for everyone.  My Dad was called Curly (he had curly hair), and my Grandma, Marta Hairy Legs (for obvious reasons).  My Mum had a horrible nickname that she hated, so I won't write it here.  My Pop was known as Jack but that wasn't his real name.  His friends and family all had nicknames.

He used to play tricks on people as he drove past.  If he went past a golf course and some golfers were about to tee off he would yell "FOUR" to try and put them off.  His family were trying to hide in the back of the car.

So I like this photo as it captures a bit of his cheeky side which came out occasionally.  I didn't know my Pop very well as he died when I was five.  I only have vague memories of him as I was so young, so old photos of him keep him alive in our memories.  Here is another photo of him in a more serious pose!