Report on the New Zealand India Bungalow meeting 22 March 2014

21 Apr | News,

A total of twenty three people gathered from  as far away as Te Awamutu and Waihi Beach. This included a number of FIBIS members, with two  more people applying for membership on the day.

Image of New Zealand Bungalow MeetingThe event began with morning tea and the opportunity for people to display their names of interest  in rough alphabetical order for others to check for commonality. Within a few minutes two people  had discovered their mutual interest in Dr Graham’s Homes in Kalimpong, so this was a worthwhile  ice-breaker. It would have been very appropriate to have had the post-it notes on the brick wall, but  we had to compromise by sticking them onto the glass doors instead.

Neville Thomas was the key speaker with a talk primarily about his wife’s family in India. Despite  what I had been led to believe, they were not at all “typical insurgents”, and were in fact fascinating  examples of five generations of British and Anglo-Indians who lived and worked in India. His  session dove-tailed with that of Linda Evans in the afternoon, as she is a cousin of Neville’s wife.

During the lunch break Linda showed people the beautifully presented and preserved familyphotograph albums she had inherited from an aunt. Linda’s talk focused on the Waters family. Both  speakers had immaculate PowerPoint presentations, illustrated with family photographs. Some  examples of these are available in the FIBIS photo gallery.

Image of  New Zealand Bungalow meetingTo round-out the day, Eleanor Neil gave the group an overview of the India Office records now  available through findmypast. Having explained what could and could not be expected in these  newly-digitized entries along with tips for searching, the group was divided into two parties. Those  with WiFi-enabled devices remained in the cafe and with the assistance of David Neil began their  search for formerly elusive ancestors. The others moved to the College’s David Yaxley Memorial  Library where they were able to access findmypast on the library computers. There were not quite  enough PCs for everyone but, because they had to share, two people discovered that they had a  mutual ancestor.

Everyone was very appreciative of findmypast sponsorship enabling free access and downloading  of relevant digitized records. One attendee said “ It enabled me to solve a couple of enigmas and  created a few more…!“ Access was available for the whole weekend via the generic login and one  person reported going home and searching the records until one o’clock in the morning. The  voucher from findmypast for a free one-year world subscription to was awarded  to John Badham, who had travelled from Hamilton.

Eleanor Neil, FIBIS New Zealand Liaison.