August is Family History Month and the local genealogy group has planned several activities for those interested in researching their family, or those needing a refresher in making the most of the internet for their research. Capturing family stories and publishing them is one way of ensuring memories are passed down to the next generation.
To start the month, the genealogy group has put up storyboards around town and from August 1-6, these can be found in the foyer of the local library, as well as in the shop windows of Robert Harris, the Barber Shop, Bakehouse Café and the StoryTeller.
Inside the library during the first week of August will be a static display on the key steps needed to get started with family history research, along with free handouts and contact details for those wanting one-on-one help. The library will also have a selection of family history books on display.
At the end of Family History Month on Saturday, August 27, and also on Saturday, September 3, the genealogy group is holding two separate beginners workshops at the Te Awamutu Library. Both workshops are free and run from 10am to 12.30 pm, with doors to the Community Room open from 9.30am.
The workshop on August 27 will focus on getting started. Among the topics will be research basics, key online websites and keeping yourself organised.
The second workshop will cover DNA as a key research tool, collaboration with others and writing up your stories.
Although the workshops are stand-alone, people will get the most out of them if they are able to attend both.
Also part of Family History Month will be a talk by Alan Hall on Te Awamutu's heritage commercial buildings. Alan Hall is a member of the genealogy group and a driving force behind the heritage building research team. His talk, Te Awamutu's Business Area: The Story of its Development, follows on from an earlier talk he gave called Old Wine in New Bottles.
Alan's first talk focused on the buildings themselves; his latest talk focuses on the development of the town between 1880 and 1920, the role played by the town board in the provision of essential services and their part in opening up Mission Station land for commercial development.
He will also discuss some of the more important commercial buildings erected in Te Awamutu between 1890-1950, including observations about the architectural styles, modifications and the changing use of these buildings as the local economy prospered. Alan's free talk is being held at 6pm in the Te Awamutu Library on Wednesday, August 24.
The school register project the genealogy group has been working on for the past three years is almost complete and the branch is now able to offer research services on those born at least 100 years ago who attended schools in Te Awamutu and surrounding areas.
If information is wanted on a person under 100, then proof of family connection is required for privacy reasons.
The group ise hoping the public can also help in tracking down missing original registers from the Hauturu and Te Rore schools. For Te Rore the missing register covers the period 1951-1985 and for Hauturu the period is 1918-1956.
All other original school registers are held either at the Te Awamutu Museum or Archives NZ. The genealogy group's role in the project has involved transcribing the original registers and providing the participating schools with a digital copy for their own use.
Further information on Family History Month activities can be found on the Waipā Libraries website under the Upcoming Events page.
Members of the public are also welcome to attend the monthly evening meetings held by the Te Awamutu Genealogy Group on the first Tuesday of the month, at 7.30pm in the St John Ambulance training room in Palmer St.
There is a $3 door charge per meeting. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.