Happiness is searching the annals of time

This map shows the original shoreline of Auckland.

I must be writing another book – there is no other explanation for getting buried in the past, which, at best, is a solitary task, and at worst is downright anti-social. But I’m happy. That must count for something.

Any genealogist, historian and writer will relate to my search, digging deeper and deeper into history to find just the right connection. As time has marched on, technology has been a great boon. Once, if you wanted to research your family tree, you had to go to libraries, museums, churches, and registry offices et al to get individual records, which are now available (mostly) online – thanks to the diligent work of thousands of dedicated genealogists.  So too with historical records. Yay and double yay!! she cried.

I’ve always done research for my books. I’ve read other books set in the time, read non-fiction articles and papers, visited libraries and talked with librarians and historians and so on, but there is so much available online these days I can now do most of it while on sitting down. Probably not very good for fitness, but saves an enormous amount of time. So to honour some of those dedicated souls who like to search the annals of history (some of them for fun, some of them for work, few for reward) I’d like to share the sites I’ve visited recently.

PapersPast – who can go past PapersPast? What a fascinating source of information. All thanks to the National Library. Searchable, readable evidence of what life was like way back then. And some of the gossip is juicy…

Timespanner Blogspot – is a fantastic site mostly about Auckland but also covers just about anything to do with New Zealand history. It is searchable, referenced and has links. Very professionally written by Lisa Truttman, who makes her living from researching history. Love it. Couldn’t do without it, in fact.

Auckland Council too, has this fabulous map of 1908 City of Auckland. Totally searchable and expandable. It’s been fun to match it up with a current Google map of the same area and see how Auckland has altered, which streets have changed their names, which ones get shortened or redirected or ceased to exist as the motorways were built. In fact, Auckland Council has quite a bit about the Heritage of Auckland. Go check it out. You can even walk in the footsteps of your ancestors if you’d like to.

I also use the wonderful Longwhitekid website (a play on Long White Cloud and Milky Bar Kid – and if you don’t know what that means you are not into history) and I subscribe to Darian Zam’s new e-magazine. Darian is into collecting, so its about products, and labels, and where goods could be bought or sold, and what life looked like back then. And lots more…

So thanks to all the hardworking, behind the scenes writers and technicians who put these websites together, and maintain them for our pleasure, so we can increase our knowledge. Hats off to you all!

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