Jan 292019
Moffat & Houliston Ancestors Chart

Still trying to get caught up – here’s Week 4 – hopefully only a few days late, with Week 5 hopefully back on time…

“I’d Like to Meet…” There’s a loaded question. Can the list be (almost, at least) infinitely long? Or is it restricted to one person/family. I’d like to meet all my ancestors as I probably could ask each of them at least 5 decent questions.

Moffat & Houliston Ancestors Chart

Pedigree Chart showing Roger’s Moffat and Houliston Ancestors

But lets focus on my Moffat ancestors who made the long journey from Scotland to Australia in 1857, and then on to New Zealand in 1862. The targeted Pedigree Chart to the right (click to see a larger readable version), shows Roger’s earliest known Moffat and Houliston ancestors.

George Moffat – the oldest known Moffat ancestor, died at Coldingham, Berwickshire, Scotland in 1844 (the purple box at top right of the map below), but all that is known about his birth, is that the 1841 British Census shows he was “born in County” – the county being Berwickshire, Scotland. All efforts to find a birth record for him have come up empty so far. Based on what George Moffat, and his wife Isabel Clark named their children, it might be inferred from use of the Scottish Naming Pattern of children that George’s parents might have been Alexander Moffat and Margaret. There is an Alexander Moffat and Margaret Lauder who married in 1784 in Legerwood, Berwickshire, Scotland in 1874. Legerwood is just off the left side of the map, west of Gordon, but no evidence found yet that they might be “my” George’s parents. Continue reading »

Jan 292019
Bringans Family in New Zealand

For Week 2 I was barely on time with this – this one is now 2 weeks late…

This week’s prompt was “Unusual Name”. I have a few in my family that might fit this requirement…

Houliston is one – a fairly rare Scottish  name that made it to New Zealand in the 1860s and have left behind thousands of descendants – 2,808 by my count –  over the last 150+ years. There aren’t a huge number of people around the world with this name, and a colleague – Andrew Houliston in South Africa – has compiled most of those he has found online and in genealogy databases into a single database that stubbornly refuses to provide any hints of where “my” Robert Houliston’s father, Adam Houliston, came from

Plunket(t) is another one – my father’s Mum’s brother – great uncle John Dewar, married a Gladys Kathleen Plunkett of Tasmania, Australia, who Grandma said in a memo she wrote, was related to William Lee Plunket – the 5th Baron Plunket. He was Governor General of New Zealand from 1904 to 1910, and New Zealand’s Premier Cricket Competition – the Plunket Shield – is named for him. But I’ve found no evidence of that connection so far. But one of Gladys’ grand-daughters, my second cousin Melinda Dewar, is now married to the Marquess of Reading. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:52 am
Jan 152019
Two ships, Pladda and Robert Henderson at Port Chalmers, 1861

This week’s prompt for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “Challenge”. That opens up lots of possibilities – the first is which is the challenge of me getting it done in time. In that I failed – it’s a couple of days into week 3 already…

I decided for this that I’d explore some of the challenges my ancestors faced when deciding to uproot themselves from England and Scotland, and make their way to New Zealand – clear around the other side of the world.

Dad’s Side – Moffat, Houliston, Stoddart, Monfries, Dewar, Bringans, Mitchell

The first ones to leave were William Moffat and his new bride Ellen Houliston. They married in Scotland in 1857, and then immediately after departed on the ship “Titan” to Victoria Australia, where William got a job working in the Victoria Goldfields. What a challenge that must have been to sail almost halfway around the world in search of a dream. A family history compiled in 1960 contains this quote: Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Jan 072019

For the last year I had been following Amy Johnson Crow’s series of prompts for blogging about your ancestors and genealogy research – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – but never quite managed to get started, and almost before I knew it the prompt for Week 52 was upon us, and I hadn’t yet done Week 1. So here we are almost at the end of Week 1 of 2019, and this is my start. This is what Amy sent out for January:

The January Prompts
Week 1 (January 1-7): First
Week 2 (January 8-14): Challenge
Week 3 (January 15-21): Unusual Name
Week 4 (January 22-28): I’d Like to Meet
Week 5 (January 29-February 4): At the Library

Week 1: First
Who was the first ancestor you found who you didn’t personally know? Who was the first ancestor to arrive in the country? Who was the first child in one of your ancestral families? First to go to college? First husband out of a string of many?

I decided not to answer any of those questions, but rather just get my first post completed and published before Week 1 had ended. Continue reading »

Feb 272018

It’s February 2018 – that means RootsTech is coming up, and Lisa and I are off to Salt Lake City for a week of genealogy fun, friends fun, and some sightseeing.

We arrived on Saturday, 24 February and as usual picked up a rental car so that we could head off on Sunday for “Bloody Tourist Sunday”. This year’s destination was to “Golden Spike National Historic Site” – the site where in 1869 the railroads that were being built from east and west of the United States met and were joined with the ceremonial hamming in of the last railway spike – the Golden Spike. 

Then since it was such a nice day, we headed out to Antelope Island for a rather chilly visit.

Below are 3 panoramic shots taken with multiple overlapping images on my Canon 70D camera and then joined together in Lightroom.

The Wide View 1

The Wide View 1
Picture 1 of 3

On the way to Promontory and Corinne - looking over The Great Salt Lake to the mountains

 Posted by at 12:57 pm
Apr 092017

Another “must visit” on this trip to Wellington was the Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre. They are very well known for their captive breeding efforts of rare and endangered birds, and my particular interest was the Campbell Island Teal – a small flightless duck that had become extinct on Campbell Island, but which survived on an off-shore island. When I was at Campbell Island in about 1990 Department of Conservation (DOC) sent a team down to go to Dent Island to capture some of these teal to bring them to Mount Bruce to breed in captivity prior to the massive effort to remove the rats from Campbell Island, after which the Teal would be returned. This was all remarkably successful – rats gone, teal bred and over 150 of them were returned to Campbell Island. I had been hoping that some remained at Mount Bruce, but alas they had all been returned to Campbell Island some years ago, so we didn’t get a chance to see them, but we did get a chance to see other birds – some like the Takahe and Kaka we’d seen at Zealandia the previous day, others like the Kakariki, and the Kiwi we hadn’t seen yet.

A couple of particular highlights – the Kiwi egg in the incubator that we could see where the chick inside was pipping away at the shell ready to break out, and also seeing the very rare white Kiwi Manukura running around in the darkened enclosure foraging for food. Since the Kiwis are nocturnal, they are very hard to see in the dim light available in the enclosure, but we did get to see the pair of them.

And a great visit with Marlene – Marlene and I were at school together from 1962 when we were both 7 year old founding pupils at Fernlea School in Wainuiomata, through to the end of 1971 when she finished her 6th Form year and went off to journalism school – 45½ years ago –  we hadn’t seen each other since until this day.

 Posted by at 12:49 am
Apr 072017

We arrived in Wellington mid-Friday morning, having left Michigan late Wednesday afternoon – about 24 hours of travel in 3 flights from Grand Rapids – Houston – Auckland – Wellington. Once the rental car was picked up (it took a while as apparently the Dixie Chicks were playing Napier tonight and so the rental car outfit had 40 cars scheduled for pickup today, many of them to do with that concert) it was off to Zealandia to have lunch and see the wildlife there.

A great day of weather for it, and I got to see 3 species I’ve never seen in the wild before – the Takahē, which was thought to be extinct until it was discovered in a remote part of New Zealand in 1948, The playful Kākā – kind of a cousin to the Kea, and the Tuatara a lizard species that has its origins 200 million years ago!! (I have seen Tuatara before in more captive situations like museums, but not out in a vast area like we saw them today.) I had never seen Kākā or Takahē until today.

Feb 242017

A compilation from the Franklin Series 11 Parts Book combining the listing of wiring, with wire sizes, colours and the types of terminals on the ends of the wires. In a small number of cases the wire is more than one wire made as a part, so a 5 digit Franklin Drawing number is given with no wire specifications.

The terminals are “decoded” with the diagram at the end of this post that shows the type and dimensions of the various specified terminals. The most common type – “30 x 31” is mentioned in more detail in this posting.


  Reference Number Drawing Number Description Length Wire Code Wire Size Wire Colour Terminals
Starting Motor and Switch R-5722 4×816 Starting switch to starting motor wire     Black  
  R-5725 4×99 Starting Switch to Feed Terminal Block 26 4 x 13 #8 Black 30 x 22
30 x 24
Battery Indicator (Ammeter) Wiring R-5726 4×910 Ammeter to Feed Terminal 42 4 x 13 #8 Black 2 – 30 x 24
  R-5727 4×2446 Ammeter to Generator Terminal 46½ 4 x 22 #12 Brown 30 x 31
30 x 15
Generator Wiring R-5730 32179 Generator and Ignition wire assembley          
Ignition Wiring R-5732 4×2447 Ignition switch to ignition terminal 46½ 4 x 17 #14 Red 2 – 30 x 31
  R-5733 27778 Ignition instrument to spark coil wire 7 48 x 3 Spark Plug Wire    
  R-5734 4×2448 Ignition switch to battery indicator (Ammeter) 7 4 x 17 #14 Red 30 x 15
30 x 31
  R-5736 4×2421 Spark Coil to Ignition Instrument wire 15 4 x 17 #14 Red 2 – 30 x 31
  R-5738 4×2425 Ignition instrument ground 6 4 x 25 #14 Yellow 30 x 11
30 x 12
Primer Wiring R-5740 4×97 Primer switch to battery indicator (Ammeter) 9 4 x 13 #8 Black 30 x 23
30 x 24
  R-5741 4×912 Primer switch to primer terminal block 40 4 x 13 #8 Black 30 x 23
30 x 24
  R-5742 4×911 Primer coil to primer terminal block 34 4 x 13 #8 Black 30 x 24
30 x 25
Horn Wiring R-5743 4×2445 Battery indicator to horn fuse 45½ 4 x 16 #14 Yellow w 2 Blue 30 x 15
30 x 31
  R-5744 32177 Horn wire assembley          
  R-5746 4×2460 Horn button to binding post 46½ 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red 30 x 13
30 x 31
Lighting Wiring R-5748 4×2454 Lighting switch to panel fuse wire 44½ 4 x 16 #14 Yellow w 2 Blue 2 – 30 x 31
  R-5749 4×2459 Panel lamp to panel fuse wire 71 4 x 16 #14 Yellow w 2 Blue 30 x 17
30 x 31
  R-5752 4×2458 Panel lamp to tail light wire terminal block 45 4 x 17 #14 Red 30 x 17
30 x 31
  R-5753 32180 Tail and stop light wire complete          
  R-5757 4×2449 Stop light switch to fuse wire 46½ 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red 30 x 13
30 x 31
  R-5758 4×2450 Lighting switch to bright fuse wire 46½ 4 x 19 #14 Green w 2 Yellow 2 – 30 x 31
  R-5760 32178 Headlight cable complete with terminals          
  R-5764 4×2451 Lighting switch to dimmer fuse wire 46½ 4 x 25 #14 Yellow 2 – 30 x 31
  R-5766 4×2453 Dome light switch to panel wire 26½ 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red 30 x 15
30 x 31
    4×2473 Dome lamp switch to panel lamp wire 46½ 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red 30 x 15
30 x 31
  R-5768 4×2452 Dome light switch to dome light fuse wire 40½ 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red 2 – 30 x 31
  R-5770 4×1519 Dome light door switch to dome light fuse wire 152 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red  
  R-5771 4×1525 Dome light door switch to dome light wire 129 4 x 15 #14 Tan w 1 Red  
  R-5772 4×2444 Dome light door switch to panel lamp wire 186 4 x 16 #14 Yellow w 2 Blue 1 – 30 x 17
  R-5773 4×2432 Dome light to ground wire 135 4 x 14 #14 Black 1 – 30 x 16
    4×2482 Cigar lighter and trouble lamp to ammeter wire 22 4 x 16 #14 Yellow 30 x 15
30 x 31

This table is available to download as a single page PDF or a two page PDF.

The image below shows the different types of wire specified by Franklin for use in the car – not a whole lot of choices and colours needed.

From the Franklin Parts book, showing the different gauges and colours of wiring specified for use in the car.


The image below shows the different types of terminals that Franklin specified for use on the wiring in the car.

From the Franklin Series 11 Parts Manual showing the listing of terminals used.

Feb 232017

Many of the wiring connections on my 1926 Franklin are made with ring terminals as shown in these images. The wire is wrapped around the end of the terminal and then the “legs” folded over like an eyelet/rivet as used in clothing, shoes, etc. 

The insulation has broken off and shows the wire on the left, through the terminal and wrapped around the eyelet hole which is crimped over the wires.

Shows the legs lifted up enough to free the wire, and the wire partly unwound from the terminal.

Shows the terminal with wire removed. Legs partly folded up.

Franklin refers to them as Reference Number R-5813, Drawing Number 30×31, “Wire Terminal. Light friction type (3/16″ hole) Hand punch for attaching 30 x 31 terminals can be secured from United Shoe Machine Co., Boston, Mass.”

From Franklin Series 11A parts manual shows their description of these terminals, and that had I been around 90 years ago I could buy them for $0.01 each!

Several hours of searching online have failed to reveal anyone selling these in 2016 – 90 years later, but did turn up the patent applied for in 1923, granted in 1928 for the machine to put these terminals on the wire. See https://www.google.com/patents/US1677968

Aug 182016

In the USA the Monarch butterfly populations are very mobile – wintering in Mexico, but traveling the length of the continent almost to breed in Canada and the northern tier of US states before flying back to Mexico. In Christchurch, New Zealand, the Monarchs remain in the city it seems, wintering over in a few parks spread around the city.

I set out to find some of them today, but alas a cold spell a few weeks ago had killed a lot of them. But I did find some at Abberley Park in St Albans, mostly high up in a tree sunning themselves in the Winter sun.

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