Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Researching the Other Down Under
It's the "milling about" stage for mulling over potential next topics for blogging fodder. Gone is the saga of John Syme Hogue, whose life's events kept me amazed at every turn. Now what?
Lacking a sufficient next story, it's time to go back and do some spring cleaning on unfinished research. Since I've neglected work on those paternal lines—mine and my husband's—perhaps this is just the time to do penance.
I recall one detail I uncovered in my husband's line—it's been a couple years ago, now, but who's counting?—mentioning that his second great grandmother, Johanna Falvey Kelly, had a sister who had emigrated from their home in County Kerry, Ireland, to somewhere in New Zealand.
The key to that couple years of no progress is "somewhere." New Zealand may look like a small country; superimposed upon the east coast of the United States, however, it stretches from New York to the northern portions of the state of Florida. And somewhere in that stretch of land, there was once one single, solitary Falvey relative of my husband's second great grandmother.
Reading up on it all, quite a while back, I did discover that there were several Falveys settled in particular regions in the south island of New Zealand. Though a Falvey sister leaving County Kerry for this other British colony "Down Under" wouldn't likely have been categorized under her maiden name—assuming she had married, at some point—at least I could hope that she traveled in the company of others. Maybe, just maybe, some of those others with her might have been Falveys, as well.
So, how does one approach doing genealogical research, long distance, regarding someone settling in New Zealand? While I knew of some resources available in the place most people think of when they hear the phrase, "Down Under," I didn't know much about New Zealand's genealogical resources at all. I had to get updated on what is available online.
Fortunately, the usual resources will provide ample material to brief me on this new research territory. FamilySearch.org provides an overview on "Getting Started." Ancestry.com, thankfully, has amassed a decent data collection of New Zealand resources. Good old Rootsweb provides an extensive list of links, as does Cyndi's List (would you have expected otherwise?). And from a distinctive, local point of view, New Zealand History provides its own clickable list of resources.
All that to get me up to speed on New Zealand genealogical research, just so I can find the unidentified sister of my husband's second great grandmother? This task might be assuming the hopeless proportions of a needle-in-haystack quest. True. It might have to suffice me to allow this one to putter along in the background as more productive goals are achieved for blogging fodder. But chalk this one up to list building for my own research purposes. At least now I have a few go-to places to provide the background knowledge to power me through such a search.
Above: "Watercolour of Ellen Willmott's Garden," by English landscape painter Alfred William Parsons; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.