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Early Auckland Births
Compiled and kindly donated by Shirley Kendall


The births listed on the following pages did not all occur at or near Auckland but the parents of these children were early settlers to the vicinity of Auckland. Births to families of men serving with the British Army and Royal New Zealand Fencible Corps, sometimes happened during voyages to New Zealand. Where known, these have been included as such events at sea, or those occurring in foreign countries, are often difficult to locate.

It cannot be stressed sufficiently that there may be slight discrepancies in dates as occasionally a baptism date may be given instead of a birth date. Catholic children were usually baptised at a very early age so the dates of baptism can be very useful. Another variation is the maiden name of the mother. Many of these women were married more than once, so when their maiden name or their former married name was given, the two can be given in different instances, causing some confusion. In a few instances, people married as many as three times due to deaths from childbirth, consumption and accidents. Many of the Fencibles, aged at more than forty years, often married girls as young as 14 years which meant that these men often died within a few years leaving these women with a family of young children and no means of support. Needless to say, there was usually no alternative to remarrying as they could not go out to work and care for young children.

To give the reader an idea of the wild variations which can be experienced, Gallagher became Golhar, McDaniel became McDonald and McDonnell while one woman's maiden name is listed as Helferty, Helforthy, Halford and Alford. In the case of stepchildren, William Pilcher's stepdaughter, Winifred, when registering the births of her children, was named as being née Pilcher or Cruise, the latter being her correct name. These families often had thick brogues and were unable to read or write so they had no way to check spelling. Pronouncing a name even though it looks widely different can be helpful.

These births have been gathered from a wide variety of sources. I have purchased certificates while in England and New Zealand, and some years back, I was privileged to be permitted by the then Registrar-General to spend several weeks searching the early registers at Levin. This enabled me to check strange spellings and make alterations such as Danley to Donnelly, mainly by checking the maiden name of the particular woman involved. One of the strangest was Meatlaw and Meatland which turned out to be Maitland. Four Fencibles were called James Donnelly. Two of whom came on the same ship and both were married to women called Mary. Three men called John Kerr, all living at Onehunga, and another three called Michael Murphy, also created many problems. One can then begin to see how the maiden name of the wife helps to sort out such discrepancies. When Bartholomew Maher's wife gave birth to her children, her maiden name is different in two separate entries. Explanation for this situation is that she may have been married previously, her mother was married several times, or she was herself a stepchild.

The Howick Colonial Village files have been placed at my disposal and these have been used extensively. The Auckland Volume of the Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, obituaries found in various libraries around Auckland and Waikato have given additional information and many hours have been spent in the State Library at Sydney checking death notices and obituaries also. I thank everyone who has been good enough to share their resources with me. This has meant that the end product has been greatly enhanced. Being able to give a place of abode and father's occupation has also contributed to fuller research. It enables some families to see movement around Auckland and changes of occupation in some instances. There should be a second volume of births when time permits.
Shirley Kendall

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