The stories of people and places are the result of a tangled web of interactions between people, places, and technologies.
I will be adding posts about the way some local places have changed over time, and about the ways in which changing technologies of communication have influenced people’s lives: the telegraph, the cinema, the printing press and more.
In my posts here I will be using examples from my own family history and related social and historical research. I was born and raised in greater Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau: already occupied by iwi with a strong engagement and living spiritual connection with the place.
I am the result of family lines of descent from Scotland, Normandy, and the northern boarders of England, via Ireland (County Fermanagh), Northumberland (Tyneside), Australia and various parts of New Zealand/Aotearoa (Kaipara, Rodney, Gisborne) and more.
Marion M Sinclair arrived in New Zealand from Newcastle Upon Tyne, in 1905. Her home town had been a centre of innovation in electrical engineering. Marion taught in rural NZ schools until her marriage in 1915 to Marcus Noble Skelton of Paparoa. Life there was very different from that in the city of Marion’s birth.
I am amazed at the changes my grandmother, Marion Margaret Skelton (née Sinclair), must have experienced during her life. She was born in 1883, the eldest child of James and Fanny Jane Sinclair, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. She died in 1970 near Paparoa where she had lived in New Zealand.
Evelyn Fullerton and Isabella Sinclair lived in Auckland with Evelyn’s husband, Dr F. W. Fullerton. They were a notable part of the Auckland social scene, while Dr. Fullerton was a high profile doctor. Evelyn and Dr Fullerton’s daughter married Keith Manning and went to live with him in Singapore, where Keith Manning died. Dr and Mrs Fullerton died in 1953, and Isabella spent her last years living with Gwen Manning in Kerkeri, north of Auckland.
Two of Edward and James Sinclair’s sisters also lived in New Zealand (mainly in Auckland) for over 40 years. They were Isabella Sinclair (1875-1965) and Evelyn Fullerton (née Sinclair, 1879-1953). Evelyn married Dr F. W. Fullerton in Cullercoats, 1899. Dr Fullerton, Evelyn and Isabella went to live in Te Kuiti, New Zealand in 1908, with Evelyn and Dr Fullerton’s daughter, Gwendoline Eveline Fullerton. Later they moved to Takapuna, then to Auckland city.
My Scottish born grandparents – John Barr (1887-1971) and Jessie Barr (née MacPherson 1889-1979) immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand. They were very enthusiastic about Auckland, its heritage and its development, while also remaining strongly attached to Scottish culture, heritage and literature. Robert Burns had particular significance for John Barr.
My great great great grandfather was a prominent tepemerance campaigner and campaigner for the poor and workers in Newcastle Upon Tyne and the north of England. He started work at 10 years old, and, towards the end of his life became Mayor of Tynemouth.
My great grandmother, Fanny Jane Brignal, like many women in the 19th Century had a short life, dying in child birth. Nevertheless, she played a very important role in giving life to 4 children, 2 of whom migrated to New Zealand. She married James Sinclair in 1882 at Tynemouth.