ANZC and the Libreferrals labyrinth

Libreferrals is the name we give to requests for information from customers about many and varied topics – from death and birth notices to questions about history and the law. Requests usually arrive via Fingertip or from one of our website online forms.

We get a few requests for images from the CCL images collection from people who are writing books and also occasionally for images to be included in online resources such as Te Papa, Te Ara and History.net. At some stage soon we may even see some CCL images on Who do you think you are? the BBC TV production.

There are so many resources available in ANZC, and online, that sometimes it seems almost impossible to know how to exhaust all possibilities in the quest for information. Feel free to come and ask if there are resources you want to find out about. Or maybe you know an information resource as well that you want to share with others?

Libreferral enquiries are fun to do and in the process of finding the information we can learn so much – about another chapter of history, or a new resource.

Here are some of the questions that we have received recently and the resources we used to try and find the information:

Nurse Maude, Sibylla Emily Maude

“What can you tell me about the former Nurse Maude building at 192 Madras Street?”

We have three books related to Nurse Maude and the history of her organisation in ANZC. Along with chapters from these and finding relevant dates to look up in the newspapers from the newspaper microfiche index under such headings as “Nurse Maude”, “health” and “buildings”, we were able to find out about the relevant history

“Have you got one of the instruction booklets with information about candidates which was sent out to voters for the 2007 local body elections?”…

We asked Jo Drysdall who looks after the ephemera collection if she knew whether we had one – and voila! Success! This was scanned and sent to the enquirer.

“Can you find out who were all the children of a (named) couple with an uncommon name?”

By checking the marriage CD-ROM for a marriage date and then looking at the birth fiche from that date, we were able to find 10 births with that name up till the time when we knew the husband had died (at a young age). The enquirer was very pleased as she knew that all 10 children were all either brothers and sisters or cousins.

Where can I find information about a Medical Practitioner here in Christchurch called Dr Bevan-Brown?”

Although past information about doctors can be found in the New Zealand Gazette, a good place to start is on our website: click on Heritage – family history – filling in the gaps – employment resources – doctors. This takes you to a PDF with an index of obituaries which have appeared in the New Zealand Medical Journal (1887-2008).

“Can you please find evidence to back up information I have found, that Bill Sutton was not happy with the art work on the Canterbury Centennial Stamps released for the Centennial in 1950?”

The New Zealand Post website gave us the dates of release of the Centennial stamps – November 1950, and from there we consulted The Press – Letters to the Editor. It took a while, but the letter from Bill Sutton, criticising the stamps, finally turned up on December 20th. Persistence paid off in the end.

“Who were the employer’s and worker’s delegates who accompanied the two government delegates to the International Labour Conference in 1935?”

After a quick internet search revealed that we could get no satisfaction by that route we turned to the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (the A to J’s) for 1935 and 1936. We also tried the index of the New Zealand Gazette (in the Research Room) and the Gazette archives link from our CCL website. We could find the information for other years but unfortunately not the year we wanted. We referred the enquirer to the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University, The Council of Trade Unions in Wellington and the Parliamentary Library.

“Do we have the Public Service Classification lists for the years 1953, 54, 65, 66?”

It took some time to figure out exactly what this enquirer wanted, but finally we tracked down what is on our catalogue as List of persons employed on the permanent staff of the public service/New Zealand State Services Commission. These lists are in Stack 2 and they list everyone who was permanently employed in the public service for that year. Not only are their names listed, but also such information as their grading, their salaries(!), when they joined the public service and their re-grading date

“What was the location in Christchurch of three businesses, including W.A. McLaren Ltd., between 1898 and about 1930, and could we find any advertisements for those businesses?”

The Wises Post Office directory gave us the location of the businesses across the years and the Weekly Press microfilm had some advertisements for W.A. McLaren Ltd.

“What was the population of Akaroa before and after World War I?”

This request was from a teacher who was guiding his students through a study of ANZAC Day. He wanted to show his students how devastating World War I had been on the populations of small town New Zealand. Information about Akaroa’s population in 1911, 1916 and 1921 gleaned from census books in the Research Room gave him the information he wanted.

Beth Clayton – ANZC

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