Review: Irish in the Blood, by Marie Gray

Pic20171207_05.jpgA Family History – an oldie but a goodie, rediscovered

This is the story of a family before and after emigrating to New Zealand in 1887, and is the answer to the question Marie and indeed her uncles and aunts often asked her grandfather (their uncle), to which the answer was an infuriating “Tell you one day.”

After his passing, Marie’s husband encouraged her to travel back to Ireland to find answers. She did so, and more. After receiving only hints of knowledge during her visit, she returned to New Zealand and began a full journey of research, aided by her grandmother’s journal, kept whilst travelling on the powered steamer Cuzco under Captain Murdoch.

Husband and wife Patrick Magill and Mary-Jane Pic20171207_07
(née Campbell) sailed with their children James (Jim), Mary, Robert (Bob) and Annie, heading to South Africa (Capetown), then east to Australia (Melbourne). There they took the Governor Arthur up the Yarrow River, to visit with Uncle Jack, who had travelled out some years before to try his luck at the gold fields. After losing his friend, he settled to the land, now a flourishing homestead.

The Magills shipped to New Zealand aboard the Arawata, arriving in the Hawke Bay Ahuriri port close to Napier.

Gray relates the events as she saw and heard them, and those of ancestors she has cleverly written as a narrative built from tales told by family members back in the old country. Her place in the genealogy of the family is included.

A delightful story,  told with both regret and wit, and you may have trouble getting your hands on a copy. But if there’s any Irish in you, you’ll find it.

Published 1997, by Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Limited, Auckland, NZ
ISBN: 1-86958-481-3


 

Extract:

Tuesday, 3rd February, 1931, was different. Even before it happened, the air had a hot, sticky feel to it, a sort of a gasp before a coughing fit.

“There’s something eerie going on,” mumbled Pat Scott mysteriously. “You wait! Look at the clouds coming over from Raglan Harbour.”

Jess ignored her prattle.

“There’s someone riding along the road for Te Akau. It’s not Len or Mr Magill either, Pat Scott yelled. She crossed herself devoutly.

The figure became clearer. “It’s the police from Ngaruawahia. Holy Mary Mother of God. What’s happened?”

“A message came through from Napier, Pat. Have you got the Magills staying here?” said the policeman.

Pat Scott flopped into a chair sideways, legs sprawled over the arm rests.

Jess came forward with her chin up.

“What is it Sergeant? I’m Jessie Magill.”

“Sorry to tell you, ma’am, but there’s been a mighty big earthquake in Napier. The town’s in ruins and the whole place is on fire. We got this message from Naval Headquarters. There’s no electricity or gas. They’re cut off completely. Here’s your telegram.

RETURN IMMEDIATELY. DREADFUL DISASTER. GARRATT.

“By the way, ma’am, two ships are on their way down the coast with supplies and a medical team aboard.”

“Thank you, Sergeant,” Jess said mechanically. “Are there many casualties?”

“Afraid so, ma’am, but we can’t give numbers yet. I;ll go and find the men.”

Da went white and started blowing his nose. “It sounds desperate. We’d better get going….”

 

No wonder it’s a marked down price!

Spotted Led Zeppelin – You Shook Me at a knock-off LedZepp cock-up
price, and being a lover of Stairway To Heaven,
grabbed it!

When reading the book, I found my “editor-mind” taking over. There are So Many c**k-ups in the text it is a very poor production. *

Then of course, I looked properly at the cover…
“4 DVD BOOK SET COLLECTORS LIMITED EDITION”
and at the foot, “UNOFFICIAL AND UNAUHORISED”
S. O. Dear, me…

Okay, I bought it for the DVDs. But the errors, that a good proof-reader should have found and fixed, Really bugged me. In one section, whole paragraphs (even a part-paragraph) had been repeated. Couldn’t help m’self. I grabbed a pencil and marked up the initial paragraphs…LedZepp 1st sections
…then the repeated paragraphs…
LedZepp 2nd sections
… and all the other, minor proofing slips, which I won’t show here.

What a disappointment for Led Zeppelin fans! But then, many won’t mind as the content contains a host of information which I’d not known. So, you get what you pay for, I guess.

* Publication data:
Author? not mentioned – content possibly lifted from other sources?
© Hurricane International Ltd
First Published by FHE Ltd – but – Date?
Photography? Courtesy of Pictorial Press, Wikimedia Commons, and Getty Images – unless indicated otherwise
ISBN: 978-0-9939170-1

Recommendation? Good if you only want a “potted” summary and the DVDs, and can live with the errors.

 

 

Your Town’s Street Name History – two books

Are you interested in the origins of some of the street names in your town? Have your children ever asked “Why did they call it ‘whatever’ Street?”

Rotorua (Bay of Plenty, N.Z.) people interested in this are lucky – in 1999 our own author Philip Andrews published a book which traced the origins of all street names then existing.

It was a really handy “go to” book for me, when I became interested in researching street names in the Rotorua suburb of Fenton Park, an area which in the Second World War was the site of an RNZAF air field, training pilots who would go on to fly and fight over Europe.

Visit the Book Council’s Profile of Philip Andrews at which you’ll see other, more recent titles. Sadly, this book survives only in libraries, being out of print.

Masterton (Wairarapa, N.Z.) was equally lucky to have research done on its street names by Masterton author/archivist Gareth Winters.

It always made me chuckle, that the longest street in Masterton began its existence named Short Street, until at two intersections it acquired three names. The shortest part was left with Short Street as its name, the “middle-sized” section (in the middle) was renamed Intermediate Street (for the Masterton Intermediate School sited along it), and the longest section was renamed Hillcrest Street.

(I always thought they could have named it for Councillor Ricky Long, calling it Long Street. But I guess no one else has my sense of humour)
The book’s details:

 

  • ISBN : 9780958205306
  • Publisher : Wairarapa Archive
  • Available $22-00

 

No matter where you live, I’ll bet someone had researched your towns street names’ origins.
One town had assistance from intermediate school (NZ Years 7 & 8) pupils in trawling through archived material to discover their town’s streets’ origins.

It is fascinating way to learn about your town’s history, and archivist authors such as Winters and Andrews are treasures indeed.

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