Early Auckland Deaths
Compiled by Geoff and Shirley Kendall

Links to indices for Early Auckland Deaths may be found at the foot of the preface below. However, we recommend that you read this introduction written by Geoff and Shirley as it goes a long way towards demonstrating the devotion and selfless commitment they have towards preserving the history of our country. Researchers throughout New Zealand and the world owe Geoff and Shirley a huge thankyou.

This list of deaths did not necessarily all occur at Auckland but relate to early families of that region.  In a few instances, where I have not included a year or date, that entry has probably been extracted from the Hattaway Scrapbooks courtesy of the Howick Historical Society and the Howick Colonial Village. Some years back, the then Registrar-General whose ancestor was Edward Lightfoot of the 58th Regiment gave me special permission to study the old registers for a period of several weeks.  With the acute awareness which has been built up during my many years of studying the Fencibles, I was able to sort out a few entries where names were wrongly written in those registers.  To explain how this came about, by using the maiden name of the wife or child's mother where there were multiple men with the same name was extremely valuable.  James Danley was written in the register but
everything points to him having been James Donnelly.  Jane Laydon should have read Jane Lydon and lastly, Meatland or Meatlaw was actually Maitland when sorted.  These people were mainly illiterate and even had they been given the opportunity to check an entry, they would have been unable to do so.  Add to this a thick brogue, be it Irish or Scottish or English and one begins to realise how mistakes occurred. Other sources which have been studied are the death and obituary notices in the newspapers held at the Auckland Public Library, the Museum and Institute Library, both at Auckland, the Parliamentary Library (courtesy of a friend who was a member of Parliament) and the National Library at Wellington, and the Mitchell and State Libraries of Sydney.  All these
places had particular values to any researcher. If any descendant can offer further light upon an entry about which we are not sure, we would be very glad to receive that information.  A whole new perspective can be placed on life in the young colony when we read of some of the terrible accidents which occurred to a few of the pioneers.   To read about an old woman dying a shocking death in a house fire, an old man being dragged along the road by a bolting horse, or another old man, albeit inebriated, who fell into a hole from which he could not escape and therefore drowned, gives us a new perspective on the times in which these hardy pioneers lived.  It is very hard for us today to imagine even what the countryside looked like without the many houses and gardens, plentiful roads and transport services we all take for granted.

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Geoff and Shirley Kendall