Nov 282011

I joined the cruise half way through. Speaking to the people on board I have missed some excellent presentations however there  are many more to come.

The ship is the Volendam, a very nicely set up ship of the Holland America Line.

Akaroa Harbour

As well as the 100 or so on board presentations,  there are also a number of on-shore seminars also being  organised by Lyn Blake, the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Education Officer, and Unlock the Past and these have been well attended.

We docked in the beautiful habour at Akaroa and Chris Paton and I headed off to Little River to give some presentations. 

Thank you to our drivers both there and back for the beautiful scenery and telling us  historical information of the area.

Akaroa is a very French settlement. The French flag was flying, the streets are all named as Rue  and as we were told it is only an accident of fate that New Zealand  was not actually a French colony.

Chris remarked the scenery was very similar to Scotland except the sky was blue! I have not managed to get to Scotland as yet but this scenery was definitely lovely and well worth seeing.

Chris did an excellent presentation on Discovering Scottish Church records. He started with an overview of how the Presbyterian Church became established in Scotland. 

I had never realised how complicated this was but it is clearer now (although I am very pleased he has written a book on the subject!). It is important to understand how and what schisms occurred as without this information finding your person being baptised could be impossible. 

This is particularly soas so much of the online Scottish records are the Established church rather than the breakaway  churches. In the 1851 religious census there were over 2000 non-conformist churches in Scotland.

I gave my Demolishing Brick Walls or as I prefer to call it “Going from Stop to Go in Your Research” talk which appeared to be well received.

Then Chris gave another wonderful presentation on “Online Irish Resources” There have been so many resources released online for Ireland recently that it has been fantastic. 

Chris spoke of the best ways of accessing the information as some sites are much cheaper than others. He provided so much information that I was very pleased I had bought his book as my hand just couldn’t keep up with all the links! (He does have a list of links available on his website) I would recommend his book available through Gould Genealogy. 


Chris writes  well and his work is very readable. You will also see his articles in many of the well-known genealogy magazines. I am just trying to work out a way of chaining him to his desk and having him write many more soon!

Gould have been publishing an increasing number of excellent books on family history including one by yours truly. So keep an eye on the website and what is coming out as I know of a number of books in various states of progress.