Writing record a labour of love

By Roger Moroney

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DISASTER: A shot of Napier City following the 1931 earthquake. PHOTO/File.
DISASTER: A shot of Napier City following the 1931 earthquake. PHOTO/File.

For the researchers who embarked on the major task of compiling a fully comprehensive list of all those who perished in the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake it was something that simply had to be done.

Except it was anything but simple.

As Ancestry content director for Australia and New Zealand, Sydney-based Ben Mercer, said on the eve of his 12.30pm presentation about that research at the Napier Library today.

He will make a second presentation at 2pm.

The one word which was underlined when it came to describing the research that took place in compiling the list was "comprehensive" and some of that research resulted in the removal of some accepted fatalities, including some that were recorded more than once, and the inclusion of some fatalities that had not appeared in the past.

The list had been compiled from research carried out by Ancestry New Zealand researcher Christine Clement and she sourced electoral rolls, family trees, UK census records, UK outward-bound passenger lists from 1890 to 1960, past newspapers and Births, Deaths and Marriages certificates.

Work had also been painstakingly carried out by Faye Sherriff, Bev Wallace and Irene Lister for the Hawke's Bay Branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

There had also been input from Hawke's Bay MTG assistant curator Evan Greensides.

Mr Mercer said Ms Clement had been looking at the record of the Hawke's Bay earthquake for some time, and he got aboard when he started with Ancestry two years ago.

It was effectively sparked in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake where those who died were able to be formally listed, thereby giving families the ability to grieve and to give dignity to those who lost their lives.

After the '31 earthquake there were no inquests and records were accordingly liable to contain errors.

Which they did as the Ancestry researchers discovered.

"We came across nine names we had not known about - and we could take three off."

The three which came off were found to have died later of causes like tuberculosis and internal medical conditions.

They had also been able to correct the spelling of some names from earlier incorrect records. His personal love of history was sparked as a youngster when he researched the WWI experiences of his grandfather - a Byron Bay dairy farmer who served at Gallipoli.

That passion for history saw him become part of the biggest genealogy company in the world - Ancestry.com

FULL LIST OF 1931 EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

ALEXANDER Thomas Wilson
ALLAN Sylvia Margaret Fordie (Miss)
ALLOWAY Ivy Patricia (Miss)
ANISY Antonio (Bodey)
ARROWSMITH Margaret (Mrs) (née THEILE)
ASHWELL Cecil George
ASHWORTH Ellen (Mrs) (née McCARTER)
ATKINSON Thomas Henry
AVERILL Anne Adele(Miss)
BAKER William Michael Hiatt
BARRETT Sarah Naomi (Mrs) (BAKER née ATKINS)
BARRY Edith Mary Maud (Mrs) (née CREAGH)
BARTLE William Morley
BARTLETT Mary Hodge (Mrs) (née CALDOW)
BENNETT Mary Leah (Miss)
BERRY Myra George (Mrs) (née BARTLETT)
BICKERSTAFF Louisa Maud (Lou) (Mrs) (née BURGESS)
BISSON Anna (Mrs) (née DONS)
BLACKBURN Mary Ann/e (Mrs) (née LANE)
BOHAN Ellen (Mrs) (née SULLIVAN)
BOHAN Kathleen (Miss)
BONNOR Alfred John (Alf)
BOWEN Frederick Edward
BOYD Frances Mary (Mrs) (née FOY)
BOYLE Thomas John (Reverend Father)
BRACE Herbert Henry
BRANDON Mary Eileen (Miss)
BROOKER Henry
BROWN Gilbert
BROWN Raymond Kenneth Broburg (Ray)
BRYSON Jane (Miss)
BRYSON Ruth (Miss)
BUCK Maria Teresa (Mabel) (Miss)
BURKIN Stephen
BURROW Clarice Margaret (Miss)
BUTLER Gwendoline Ethel (Gwen) (Miss)
CAMBRIDGE Olive Gwendoline (Miss)
CAMERON William Ritchie
CANHAM John Eugene
CARMODY Vincent De Paul
CHAPMAN Mary Hannah (Mrs)
CLEARY Gladys Alma (Miss)
COCKERILL Emma Clara (Mrs) (OSBORNE nee TURNER)
COLE Ethel Rose (Mrs) (née BARNES)
COLE Peter Henry
COLE William Edwin Francis (Billy)
COLEBOURNE John Henry
COLLINS Mary (Mrs)
COLTON Edward
COOK Thomas
COUPER Phillipa Maud (Miss)
CRADOCK Christina (Mrs) (née GRANT)
CRAWFORD John Herbert
CUDDIHY Michael
DALLEY Elizabeth Anne (Mrs) (née CHEYNE)
DALLISON Eleanor (Miss)
DAVIDSON John Stewart
DENNETT George Frederick
DENNETT Herbert Arthur
DEVONPORT Alexander Roy
DEWES Melita (Meta) (Miss)
DIMOND Thomas Henry
DOOGAN James Hannan
DRUMMOND Charles Gordon
DUNN Aileen Frances (Miss)
DUNN Mary Elizabeth (Mrs) (née DEVLIN)
DWYER John
DYER Herbert (Bert)
ELLIS Ada Mima Hood (Mrs) (née SAVAGE)
ELLIS Olive Frances (Mrs) (née BURR)
ELLISON Stanley George
ELTRIDGE Martha Ann (Mrs (née AYRES)
ENGLAND Laura (Mrs) (née AUSTIN)
EVANS David
EVERS-SWINDELL Arthur Wilfred Denys
FARMERY Gladys Lilian (Miss)
FRASER James Douglas
FREDSBERG Rex Ernest
FREEDMAN Derek
FREW Christina (Mrs) (née NEILSON)
GANNAWAY Norman Baxter
GIGG Albert James
GILHOOLY Thomas
GILL Thomas Henry
GOLDFINCH Leonard Henry
GONDRINGER Bernard Joseph (Father)
GOODALL Albert Edward
GOODALL Annie May
GRAHAM Raymond Stanley (Ray)
GRANT Frederick James
GRANT Gordon Hill
GREATBATCH Eli Thomas
GRUDNOFF Mina (Miss)
HANSEN Edward Peter
HARRIS Doreen Myra
HARRISON Valentine Joseph
HAWKINS Rita May
HAXTON Doris Emma (Miss)
HAXTON Sabina May (Miss)
HAYNES Jane (Mrs)
HEATH Clifford James Colvin
HEIGHWAY James Woodford
HENEY Cyril Herbert
HINDMARSH SheilaWestwood (Mrs) (née McLEOD)
HOLLAND Edmond Alfred (also known as Edmund, Edward)
HONG Young Nan
HOOKINGS Eliza Jane (Mrs) (née FERRIS)
HOOPER Brian
HORSLEY Constance Emily (Mrs) (née CLARKE)
HOULAHAN Eleanor May (Miss) (also known as Elinor)
HOWARD Ernest Edward
HUNT William James
INSULL Helen Caroline Marjory
JEFFARES Elizabeth (Mrs) (née O'Hara)
JENKINS Lily (Miss)
JENSEN Agnes Mary (Mrs) (née WOODROW)
JOHNSON Crawford Benjamin
JOHNSON Jack William
JOHNSON William George (Bill)
JOHNSTONE Bridget Mary (Mrs) (née DOOLEY)
JONES Ernest Cecil
JONES Grace Brandon (Miss)
KEDDELL Joan Grace (Miss)
KELLY Henrietta Lavinia (Miss)
KENNEDY Arthur Angus
KEY Elsie Gertrude (Miss)
KIRKPATRICK Mary Ann (Mrs) (née HICKEY)
KITCHING Thomas Henry
KITSON Dennis Francis
KNOTT Geoffrey Cole
KYLE Leo Alphonso
LAMBERT Beatrice Elizabeth (Mrs) (née ALLEN)
LAUERSEN Mary Bosworth (Mrs) (née ROBERTSON)
LEANING John England
LENIHAN Mary Josephine (Mrs)
LEVERETT Rose Eileen (Miss)
LEWIS Percival Hope
LINCOLN Eric Charles Earl
LOVE William Charles
LUNN Walter George
MACLEAN Dorothy (Miss)
MACLENNAN John Roderick (Roy)
MANGOS Leonard Joseph
MAYE Thomas John
McARTHUR Frederick Campbell
McCARTHY Joseph Henry
McDONALD Ellen Frances (Mrs) (née THOMPSON)
McDONALD John Spencer (Jock)
McENERY Ellen Margaret (Nellie) Miss
McKEE Mary May (Molly) (Miss)
McKENZIE John
McLEAN Mary Hannah (May) (Miss)
McLEOD Edith Mary (Mrs) (née HORRELL)
McLEOD Mary Alice (Mrs) (née CASTLE)
McMILLAN Irvine Harold
MEEK Thomas
MENZIES Myra Evelyn (Miss)
MITCHELL Ruth (Sister)
MORUNGA Ramu Maru (Mrs)
MORUNGA Takatoroa Mareo
MURCOTT Doris Mabel (Miss)
MURRAY Dina Jane (Miss)
MURRAY Wilhelmina Mary (Mena) (Mrs) (née McKAY)
NAPIER John Thomas
NUTTALL Elsie Ella (Miss)
OGDEN Henry
OGILVIE Bertram Verdun
O'MALLEY Rita Gwendoline (Mrs) (née MATTHEWS)
O'NEILL Margaret Teresa (Miss)
ORR Evelyn Doris (Miss)
ORR Susan Catherine (Mrs) (née McGLONE)
OTTER Alice Martha (Mrs) (née PRICE)
PARKINSON Ronald Irvine
PATMAN Lucy Flora (Mrs) (née HAYTER)
PAUL Patricia (Miss)
PEARSON Kathleen Irene (Mrs) (née BALLARD)
PLANK George
POINTON Edwin (Ted)
POLLOCK William Archibald (Billy)
PRATER Thomas
PUDDLE Elizabeth (Mrs) (née WATTON)*
RAE John
RAFTER Edward Ngaio
RATTRAY Alexander Edward
REDWOOD Cecily Theresa Mary (Miss)
REID George
RHODES Lloyd
ROBERTSON Raymond Claude
RODGERS Helena
ROLLS Grace Ellen (Miss)
ROSS John Alexander
RUNDLE Ethel Mary Galloway (Mrs) (née HOOKINGS)
RUSS Rodney Francis
RYAN Arthur Lever
RYAN Thomas Michael
SAUNDERS James
SCHMOLL Ernest George
SEWELL Marguerite Viola (Miss)
SHACKELFORD Leonard William
SHIRLEY John Stanley (Jack)
SINDEN Elizabeth Anne (Eliza) (Mrs) (née RALLINSHAW)
SKELTON Henry
SKELTON Mary (Minnie May) (Mrs)
SKINNER Charles
SMITH Christina (Mrs)
SMITH Ellen (Mrs)
SMITH Louis Ormond
SPENCE Shona Eileen (Miss)
STAINES Winifred Fena (Miss)
STEAD Irvine Thomas
STEER Mabel Annie (Miss)
STEPHENSON George Gabriel
STEVENS John Ascott (Jack)
STEVENSON James
STEVENSON William Alexander
STEWART Daniel
STONE Lucy Mildred (Miss)
SYMES George Oliver
TAGGART William Thomas Andrew
TAYLOR Joyce Elizabeth (Miss)
THOMPSON Frances Jane (Mrs) (née HALL)
THOMPSON Julia Carr (Miss) (also known as Ivy)
THORNE-GEORGE Nancy (Miss)
TONKIN Horace John
TRESTON Malcom Valentine
TRIPNEY Annie Gordon Ogilvie (Mrs) (née OGILVIE)
TRIPNEY David
TURNER Leona (Mrs)
VENABLES Stanley George
VERCOE Richard Collins (Dick)
VOICE Ellen (Mrs) (née McCORKINDALE)
WALKER Alexander Graham
WALKER Herbert
WALKER Samuel
WALKER Walter Zealand
WALSH Mary Deeley (Molly) (Sister Ignatius)
WALSHE Ada May (Mrs) (née OXENHAM)
WATSON Andrew
WATSON John Henry
WATSON Mary McLeod (Mrs) (née ROSS)
WEBSTER Francis Henry
WELLS Alice Mary (Miss) (also known as Trilby, Molly)
WELLS Emily Elizabeth Edith (Mrs) (née ELLIOTT)
WHYTE Patricia (Patsy) (Miss)
WILLIAMS Eileen May (Miss)
WILLIAMS Lydia Catherine (Miss) (Kate)
WILLIAMSON Lorna Katherine (Miss)
WILLIAMSON Reginald James Richard
WILSON Arthur
WOOD Sybil Florence (Miss)
WRIGHT Percy
YING Lim
YOUNG Howard Vincent (Lofty)

- Hawkes Bay Today

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