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Hamilton Branch - Research Day 21st March 2015 - Report By Lorraine Rice

On Friday 20th March 2015,  Sue Slight and I left work early to get on the road to Hamilton before the traffic got too bad.

With Auckland traffic I don't think there is any such time and of course we got caught in the mess that is the motorway just south of Manukau. The traffic only got slower as we approached the Manurewa exit so we darted off the motorway and headed for Papakura via the back roads. Much more interesting trip and it gave us a chance to have a good look around on the way. By the time we got to Drury, the motorway was back to cruising speed so we rejoined the madding crowd and plowed on south.
We arrived in Hamilton just after 5pm and I turned to my navigator for the details on the Motel address - first mistake. She had left the information behind! Never mind, I knew it was near Claudelands Showgrounds so we drove in the general direction and found it quite easily. Then the motel manager tried to give us a unit on the first floor - we had two large boxes of books that we did not want to leave in the car overnight so it was with a large sigh that I cried out that I couldn't manage stairs and did they have anything on the ground floor? No worries and we unloaded the car then headed off to find the venue for the following day. Once again, we had left behind the actual name and address of the Church Hall where the Research Day was to be held. However I did remember that it was near the Chartwell shopping centre. Headed off in the right direction and found the Co-operating Church without too much delay.
As it turned out, Sue's Aunt (who is a Hamilton branch member) lived just down the road and we could have checked in with her if we really got stuck. Off to the local Speight's pub for dinner, a beer or two and the chance to watch the Hurricanes beat the Highlanders - of course we HAD to stay at the pub until the game was over.

Next morning - up early, off to breakfast at a lovely little café in Chartwell and onto the Research Day venue. We met up with Michelle Taylor who had driven down from Papakura that morning to be our third assistant on the Maori Interest Group table. We were given a large area at the back of the room, right alongside the Guild Of One Name Studies table - run by Michelle Patient. After setting up our table and getting the pull-up banner in place to block the sun we were ready for business. We had a few visitors to our MIG table - more than in past years but no really difficult questions this time. Michelle Taylor took the time to check out the Maori BDM Fiche we had brought with us and that set her off on the trail again.

The  most interesting query we had was 'Where can I find an old style RSA Anzac Poppy?'. The enquirer wanted to get a tattoo of the poppy done as a tribute to her father. We sent her off to her local RSA and failing that - to check out the Waiouru Army Museum.
Sue and I both spent a bit of time with Michelle Patient who showed us some of the benefits of the GOON's website. Lorraine Agnew from Hamilton had a small stand showing the Transit Camps set up in Hamilton after WWII using the old Army huts and setup. On the floor by her area was a space marked out with masking tape to show how much room there was in an army hut for families - not a lot. In fact, you probably would have had to all stand up just to open the door. There were some other new faces this year - the Land Search service did a roaring trade with searching out land parcels and giving huge help to some visitors looking for where their families used to live. Snapshot Camera's from Hamilton had a large display of photos and equipment that you could use to produce a visual record of your family history. They also can convert your records from old media ie. Film, negatives, videos into CD's and DVD's.  Waikato University Library were there again - this time with a collection of old maps that were very popular with visitors.

The highlight of the afternoon was definitely the two presentations by Michelle Patient - one on Archives and where to find them and the other on Digital Archives with a particular plug for the NZSG's Digital Archive service for members. Both presentations were held in the main hall, this meant that all stall holders could also participate. While this made for a quieter afternoon on our MIG table it did encourage people to move around the stands quickly in the breaks.

Hamilton Branch continues to provide a Research Day worth attending. As per usual, lunch was provided for the stall holders - soup, filled rolls and scones with jam and cream - why wouldn't you volunteer. Spot prizes for visitors on the day were a new touch and Sue Slight was delighted to win a year's subscription to Findmypast in one of the three raffles. LR
Te Reo Vol. 22 Issue #2 MEI/MAY 2015