NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.





by Isobel


When the next NZSG magazine comes out in February, there will be a request form and a list of areas that the mailing list magazines originate from.  I joined when the list began and found the magazines very interesting and informative.  Most are quarterly and are very similar in content to our own NZ magazine.  The cost is $5 each magazine and you are asked to read and then forward on to the next name on the list and you pay for the postage and packing – usually an A4 size envelope plus postage.  Sometimes all the magazines seem to arrive the same week!!  Surnames used throughout each magazine are in big dark print which I found easy to skim read and the Cumbria magazine has a map on the last page which shows places mentioned in each issue.  This was most useful.  I made contact with two very distant relatives as well as learning a lot about each area.  I suggest you consider joining the mailing list as you never know what you will learn while receiving the magazine.

(Jan 2005)


NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.



contributed by Doreen


Civil Registration began in Scotland later than in England and it was not until 1855 that Scottish law required it.  However its late start is its only disadvantage, for the details given is far superior to that in England and Wales, and to most registration elsewhere.  The 1855 registration was the finest of all years, with the amount of information given in all certificates quite astonishing.  Unfortunately, it was decided that the difficulties of obtaining this very full information in every case made it impractical.  The details required were reduced in 1856 and these were slightly modified and improved upon in 1861.


Naming Customs in Scotland – Scotland had a highly developed custom for naming children for example;

          The eldest son would be named after the paternal grandfather

          The second son after the maternal grandfather

          The third son after the father

          The eldest daughter after the maternal grandmother

          The second daughter after the paternal grandmother

          The third daughter after the mother


Younger children would be named after earlier forbears, but the pattern in that case was less defined.


A variation from the above was to name the eldest son after the mother’s father, and the eldest daughter after the father’s mother.  In this case the second son would be named after the father’s father and the second daughter after the mother’s mother.  Occasionally the second son and daughter would be named after the father and mother instead of the third son and daughter.  Another variation was to call the third daughter after one of the great-grandmothers instead of after the mother.  In such cases, the fourth daughter would usually be called after the mother.


Certain christian names had different forms.  The Gaelic Hamish is the equivalent of James, and Ian or Iain are Scottish forms of the Latin for Johannes, which is John in English form.  Elspeth, Elspie, Isobel and Isabel are forms of Elizabeth.  Daniel is the equivalent of Donald.


Prior to mid 18th century it was uncommon to find more than one christian name, after which the gradual introduction of second christian names affected the naming pattern.  For example, in Edinburgh in 1760, only 1% of children baptized had two christian names.  By 1790 there were 7% and by 1820 nearly 25%, however more than one christian name for working-class families is very seldom found until the 19th century, and then fairly uncommon.  In the upper and professional classes however, more than one christian name begins to be more general from the beginning of the 19th Century.  The second christian name was sometimes the name of a godfather or godmother or some patron.


The growing custom of giving more than one christian name saw the inclusion of a surname from the mother’s side of the family being used.  Therefore a second son, rather than being named after the christian name of the mother’s father, was sometimes given both the christian and surname.  This custom applied also to the eldest daughter of families.  An unusual christian name can be a very valuable clue, with some unusual names having become almost hereditary in some families.


Source:’The Scots Link’ Sep 1987 ‘Naming Customs in Scotland’ by E Finn

(Feb 2005)


NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.


Photo’s of an ancestor’s home and many interesting stories were shared at our April meeting


One was that of a carpenter who worked on Larnach’s Castle and built his home on Otago Peninsula, the land still being in the family.  Isobel brought a photo of a BOYD/LEWIS family wedding with the tiny cottage in the background.  Mr BOYD at one time worked for a seed merchant and would, at the end of the season throw the unsold seeds into the Clutha River where many subsequently sprouted and took root along the banks.  We saw one of the homes of Betty’s ancestors who built homes in the Waitepeka district and named their properties Brentwood, Underwood and Cheetwood, names still evident in the district.  Jill shared with us a photo taken in the living room of her great grandparent’s home, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, showing them seated either side of the fireplace, upon the mantle of which, was a photo of their sons, Jill’s grandfather and great uncle.  On the wall were two tapestries sent home by her great uncle from South Africa.  Charlotte brought then and now photos of a Waimea West family home which an ancestor built, derelict today but still standing.


Anne didn’t bring a photo but Bob helped her out with one he had looked one out for her - “Oh really Bob - I was not brought up in Buckingham Palace!”  She then told us of her childhood home in the north of England, Coronation Street style with no bathroom and a shared outside toilet.  Nola brought a 1900 and 1976 photo of her great grandfather’s home in Helmsdale, Scotland which is still lived in today although going out of the family in 1972.


I seem to have ceased taking notes about then, but from memory, Donald had a photo of the home we are currently living in, built by his gt gt grandfather in 1876.  It is made of early concrete, un-reinforced and plastered and scribed to look like large stone blocks, very unusual for a rural dwelling.  Doreen told us of another old concrete house in Cromer Street, Balclutha in which she lived in for a time.  The meeting ended with much laughter as one of the raffle winners settled our curiosity as to the contents of the mysterious brown paper parcel. No, it wasn’t a dead cat as suggested by one member!  It proved to be an individually wrapped collection of fresh garden spuds and carrots!

(April 2005)


NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.



By Isobel


My most recent research was a query that came to Noeline via the Information Centre.  The enquirer had part of an inquest report taken from a book called ‘My Hand Will Write What my Heart Dictates’ by Porter and MacDonald.  This big, but interesting publication is comprised of snippets from early letters that immigrants wrote ‘home’ or to family in New Zealand, talking about quite intimate details of life. In the chapter called ‘Expecting and Childbirth’ is the following inquest from the Courthouse, Balclutha dated 3rd November 1904.


‘Susannah Wainwright must have been obviously pregnant when she worked for Thomas Guyatt as his housekeeper.  It would appear that he considered her state – even her approaching confinement – none of his responsibility.  When the ‘illness’ came on (“as I often had pains I took no notice of it”) she was still at Guyatt’s and gave birth to twins in his stable.  She then, having earlier given notice to her employer, set out to walk to Balclutha  The babies, both boys, died on the way.


‘Thomas Guyatt giving evidence.  “I am a labourer residing at Waitepeka and I am a widower.  I know Susannah as she was in my employ as a housekeeper for the last seven months.  She left my employ on the morning of 23rd October last.  That morning she woke me about half past 5 and said she was going away to Balclutha and was leaving for good.  I dressed and remonstrated with her to stay but she would not.  I said ‘If you go you will have to go without wages as I have not got money to pay you.’  She said she did not want money.  I went back to bed as far as I could see she was fully dressed and I did not take particular notice.”


‘Susannah’s sworn evidence states:  ‘I am a single woman and in the employ of Mr Guyatt for seven months up to the 23rd October.  I told Mr Guyatt about a week before I  left that I intended leaving.  I told him again on the morning of my leaving.  I expected to be confined about a month after I left and intended going to Invercargill.  I had come from Invercargill and was going to Mrs Stewart’s at Invercargill.  I had not arranged with Mrs Stewart as I thought I had plenty of time.  The Illness came on and I was confined in Mr Guyatt’s stable.  After the confinement I wrapped the children in some clothes and started to walk to Balclutha.  I had a night dress for the babies’ and some clothes and a shawl.  It was a fine, warm morning when I started.  I know the road pretty well.  I rested several times on the road and remember Mr Findlay speaking to me and the babies were then alive.  I do not remember them crying.  I passed the blue gums and sat under the hedge all night.  I was tired out.  I was not quite sure where I was most of the day – just sat about in different places.  I sat down in the evening and it started raining and I went to sleep.  I had the children on my knees against my body and a small shawl and my dress over them.  I tried to suckle them but they would not take anything – when I woke up both were dead.  I put them in the carpet bag and in the morning I found my way to Kakapuaka station – I had nothing to eat since my Saturday night tea until I got biscuits at McKee’s on Monday morning.  Then Const. Matthews came and drove me to Mrs Barrett’s.  I remember calling at Mr Guyatt’s door on the Sunday morning the children were then born not quite half an hour before that.  I left the house after I had spoken to Mr Guyatt and I carried the children in my arms.  I did not put the children in the carpet bag while they were alive as I was afraid they would smother.  I do not know how long I intended to remain in Balclutha as I had not made arrangements to stay there.  The confinement came on so unexpectedly that I had no opportunity of making arrangements in Balclutha or elsewhere.  I intended leaving Guyatt’s a month before I expected to be confined”

J46 COR 1904/942 Wellington’


From the book ‘The Two Posts’ by Ethel McLaren, I had learnt that Mr Guyatt had become a widower when his wife died giving birth to their first child.  As he felt he could not look after the baby, a boy, it was given to neighbours, George and Johann Turner.  Thomas Guyatt later moved to Toiro where he worked as the postmaster and he was close to his brother who was the blacksmith at Toiro.


The inquest when it appeared in the Clutha Leader, covers 2¼ A4 pages so I will not be copying it in full!!  Very briefly, three residents - Mr Guyatt, a doctor and the policeman, along with the coroner, all gave evidence, plus Susannah herself.  It was found the babies were premature, the father of the babies lived in Invercargill, Susannah did not attempt to hide anything, the weather during the walk to Balclutha was wet.  It was felt that the babies may have survived if Susannah had got assistance for the delivery as they were found to be in good health.  The jury found that the mother, being in such a physical and mental condition at the time, was not responsible for her action.  However she was afterwards arrested on a charge of attempted concealment of birth and remanded until Wed 16th, light bail being allowed – two sureties of £25 each in addition to her own.  The latter case was dismissed.


The research query asked ‘Who was the father?’ ‘Was the birth registered?’  Any other arrests?’  ‘Other family in Invercargill?’ I have forwarded a copy of the inquest to the enquirer, plus the suggestion that he contact the Archives in Wellington quoting the reference, in case their notes are fuller, and also that he get the birth or death certificate, but not to expect to find the father’s name mentioned.  Susannah died in Christchurch in September 1934 at the Jubilee home in Woolston aged 65 years, so I also suggested the enquirer, as he lives in Christchurch, looks for information there as well.  Susannah’s family lived in Invercargill at the time and the Invercargill branch might be able to help with any other arrests (the enquirer’s words).  Her parents lived in Waitahuna on a farm and they died and are buried at Waitahuna.  It is not known where the twins were buried. 


Incidentally, in the Romahapa cemetery there are buried another two twin boys, exactly one year after the birth of Susannah’s twins, and the name on the tombstone is Wight!

(April 2005)


NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.




On the road to Kaka Point, just beyond the Puerua River bridge and opposite the gravel road to Romahapa, stands an old building.  This was the Port Molyneux hall which, along with a few piles marking the site of the jetty, is all that remains today of the town of Port Molyneux. 


In the very early days of European settlement before adequate roads were established, the mouth of the Clutha (Molineux) River became the busy centre necessary for the distribution of goods.  In 1865, the town boasted several stores, a baker, builders, a shoemaker, and a blacksmith, a painter and glazier, two dressmakers, two hotels (the Commercial and the Alexandra), stables, a timber merchant, a customs officer and agents along with one doctor. 

Port Molyneux 1864

In this photo taken in 1864, the Alexandra Hotel and bakery can be clearly seen at right.


Photo:’Stepping Out’  pg 50


Port Molyneux 1875


In the photo at left, taken about 1875, the buildings named from left to right are;  Store Jas Patterson, Store W Brown, School, 

Police Office also Road Board Office, Lock up and Stable, Alexandra Hotel and Bakery.


Written over water at left is ’20 feet of water here  -  Jetty’


And at bottom ‘Port Molyneux about 1875  Now Dry Land’


Photo:  ‘Maoris and Settlers in South Otago’  pg 64


The 1862 plan below shows the planned large town, complete with the Octagon, part of which is still visible today as you travel on the gravel road towards Port Molyneux.   The ‘Great Flood’ of 1878 brought an end to those plans when the Clutha River mouth was changed and the port ceased to function.  While a number of buildings remained including a store (where our fellow member, Rose would buy sweets as a little girl), the town of Port Molyneux quietly died.                                    


Map of Port Molyneux


Submitted by Rose

(May 2005)


Post Script to the article on Port Molyneux

The commonly held belief that the 1878 Flood of the Clutha River ruined the Port is not quite accurate.  While it certainly changed the mouth of the river and was most definitely the final straw, so to speak, ships had been unable to enter the Port for some time.  The port and the entry had been silting up for years, possibly hastened by the discovery of gold. The methods of extracting the gold, in particular sluicing, would have seen a lot of sediment flowing down the river, where much would be deposited in the tidal areas.   (Thanks Rose)

(June 2005)


NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.




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