Sunday, March 28, 2010

Papers Past - Brilliant Online Archive of New Zealand Newspapers

Just found a brilliant resource, Papers Past, an online archive containing more than 14 million articles digitised from over 238,000 New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection is from 1839 to 1932 and includes 52 publications from all over New Zealand.

Papers Past is part of the National Library of New Zealand and allows searching by a word or a phrase. The results can be sorted in different ways.
Alternatively, you can browse by date, region or title.

The articles are displayed as they appear in the newspaper, with highlighting, one can select an article and download it as a printable PDF or as a high resolution image, or even have it converted by Optical Character Recognition into a text document on the web page.

And, even better, it's free !

In the very first issue of the New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator for 21 August 1839, I found ads for potential emigrants as well as 'Regulations for labourers wishing to emigrate to New Zealand'.

This article stated that free passage to the colony was available for agricultural labourers, shepherds, bakers, blacksmiths, braziers and tinmen, smiths, shipwrights, boat-builders, wheelwrights, sawyers, cabinet-makers, carpenters, coopers, curriers, farriers, millwrights, harness-makers, boot and shoemakers, tailors, tanners, brickmakers, lime-burners, and all persons engaged in. the erection of buildings, as well as their wives. Children under 1 or over 15 also went free, but the fare for other children was £3 each, a huge cost (about 4 months wages for a Borders farm labourer). The port of embarkation was London, and of course, there would be the cost of getting to London, too.

The advertised on-board diet for adults seems pretty generous and included daily: 1 lb of ship's biscuit (a hard biscuit often with extra protein in the form of weevils), half a pound of meat, 4 oz of flour, a quarter pint of peas, 2 oz of rice, 6 oz of potatoes, and 6 pints of water. The only fruit was raisins - 4 oz, twice a week. On Sundays, a quarter pint of pickled cabbage (presumably to prevent scurvy). Each adult was allowed to take up to half a ton or 20 cubic feet of baggage; but they also had to bring their own bedding.

Why is Borders Family History Society interested ?

Lots of Borderers emigrated to New Zealand, some just went for a visit; and there and a few modern-day Kiwis that came from New Zealand to see the places from which their ancestors came, fell in love with the Borders (very easy) and have decided to stay.

To comment on this article, please click the 'comments' link below.


Anonymous said...

I haven't tried this before. I learn a lot about new OCR software at but most of them are quiet expensive.

Peter Munro said...

For this site you don't need OCR software - it's done for you on the Papers Past website.

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