Final piece of family tree jigsaw found

By The Aucklander online

The final piece of the Waiheke family tree jigsaw has been found - ironically by a jigsaw maker.

A Waiheke Island resident heard about The Aucklander's story featuring Margaret Keiller's family tree, and thought he would pop into the library last week to let the librarians know how it had come to be in his possession. He had taken it into the library in August but hadn't originally given his name.

Trevor Smith, 65, says he had been clearing some rubbish for the SPCA with his son Jodie about 18 months ago. Jodie came across the meticulously created 500-year-old family tree in a cardboard tube. Thinking it looked too good to throw away, Trevor took it home to his house in Rocky Bay.

He said it had sat in a tube behind the TV for that time.

"I thought about throwing it away during the next clean up, but it looked like someone had put so much work into it," Mr Smith says. "It had drawings and it was on a huge piece of paper and I thought it was too good to just dump."

Last week Mrs Keiller (nee Jennings) told The Aucklander how the family tree had been drawn up by her late husband Dick Keiller in the 1960s. Mr Keiller had been a draughtsman by trade and so the work on the genealogical gem was extremely detailed and tidy.

It was uncovered when Mr Smith heard about the Auckland Libraries' Family History Month and decided it was a good time to take it in to Waiheke Library.

"They were onto it straight away," he said. "They assured me they would look after it and find out where it had come from."

Waiheke Library passed it to Auckland Libraries' family history team who restored damaged sections then asked for public help to find a descendant of the family. That's when 91-year-old Mrs Keiller from Hawke's Bay came forward.

She had been told the family heirloom was found in someone's attic on Waiheke and couldn't work out how that could be. It was part of the jigsaw that was still unsolved.

Mr Smith explains: "It was never found in an attic. That's Waiheke for you. A story goes around it three times and comes back as something else," he laughs.

Ironically Mr Smith used to run Waiheke Puzzles at Artworks on Waiheke, creating jigsaw puzzles with his son Jamie. He stopped making those types of jigsaws about a decade ago, but still makes wooden ones as a hobby.

"They're a bit of a novelty these days. I make ones with pictures of a child's family pet or whatever and people just hear about them through word of mouth."

As far as the Jennings family tree goes he's delighted word of mouth has resulted in finding a descendant and particularly happy to have now become the missing part of the jigsaw.

"It's actually really made my year," he says. "I love this place, I'm happy here, but this has made me even happier."

- The Aucklander

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