Family History Society of New Zealand Inc.

December Meeting  Sunday  3rd December  (Christmas Meeting) 2pm

Our rooms 401A ‘The Office’ Papanui Road. No entrance fee!

Mum’s Biscuits. Most of us were brought up in an era of home baking. Some of our Mother’s baking became part of our heritage and we still use the recipes today. Bring along stories about your Mother’s baking. We would love to sample a biscuit or two!

Even if your Mother did not bake – after school treats were part of our heritage. Tell us about yours.


The rooms will close for the year on Saturday 16th December at 12 noon


The rooms will reopen at 10am on Saturday 20th January


October  Meeting

Sunday October 1st   2pm. Usual $3 entry. The Elmwood Park Bowling Club, 83D Heaton Street.

Evelyn McIver-Keeley talks about her new book on the history of three women in her Campbell clan family in Scotland, and how she approached the research and writing of her book “With Grace: Her Story and place in Campbell History 1642 – 1856.” Grace Buchanan Campbell is the central character; she was a published author in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century.

Trevor Lord speaking at our last meeting in the new rooms at the Elmwood Park Bowling Club - 83D Heaton Street

Sunday June 11th AGM  2pm. Meeting at The Bowling Club 5 Donald Place

Please note that this is the 2nd Sunday of the month, as the 1st Sunday falls during the King’s Birthday Weekend

Your chance to have your say about the future of our Society.

The usual $3 entry applies. There is extra parking behind the rooms.


Speakers: Glenda Rattray & Victoria Wisternoff   

Unmarked graves at the Sydenham Cemetery, in particular searching for Sunnyside patients.

For almost 40 years, Ann Rattray was incarcerated at Christchurch’s Sunnyside Hospital. She spent half her life at the psychiatric institution and died there alone when she was 80 years old. There is no record of her ever being visited by her husband or her two surviving children. Rattray is one of up to 1000 former Sunnyside patients lying in unmarked graves in Christchurch’s Sydenham cemetery.

The Press - Tina Law  Nov 27- 2021


Sunday May 7th 2pm. Meeting at The Bowling Club 5 Donald Place

The usual $3 entry applies. There is extra parking behind the rooms.

Speaker:  David Hill  - 13 Migration Stories

How my ancestors got to New Zealand

David will be sharing a power-point to support his talk.



During the week, the committee and other volunteers undertook a small fundraising exercise - preparing advertising envelopes for AVO New Zealand.

Last weekend the Society had its annual Field Trip, this time to Nelson. It was a wonderful weekend with visits to historic buildings, walks, special morning teas, talks on a variety of subjects and a cemetery tour where we saw first hand the restoration work undertaken by the hard working Friends of Wakapuaka Cemetery group. Special thanks must go to Simon Courtney for organising this wonderful event. 

Time for a well earned cuppa. Some of the ten strong team who helped out at the January working bee.

The Society took part in the Family History EXPO at the weekend. We got a great response from our committee to run the stall and managed to sign up 7 new members.

The Committee decided, at its meeting on Wednesday, that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the Committee’s control, the Mid Winter dinner – due to be held this Sunday - is postponed until Sunday 7th . August.

Sorry for this late notice.

Sunday 7 August 2022 Annual Midwinter dinner 12:30 start at the Bowling Club 5 Donald Place Please contact Judith Munro Ph.3597228 with your meal selections The meal will be followed by a talk from a prominent historian Richard Greenaway on “The Canterbury Provincial Government Immigration Scheme 1853-1876”

Jill Lord QSM

On Tuesday 10 May our Patron Jill Lord was presented with her QSM (Queen's Service Medal)  by the Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro at Government House in Wellington.

It was a delightful ceremony. Jill was supported by her family.

Sunday April 3rd.  2pm The Bowling Club 5 Donald Place

Claire le Couteur (one of our own members) will talk about her latest book

Dodds’ Pharmacies

Claire will have copies of her book available at the meeting for $30 – a special discount for our members.

Usual $3 entry

There is parking behind the rooms if the street parking is full


For nearly a hundred years, the Dodds’ name has been synonymous with pharmacy in Merivale, Christchurch. Doug Dodds established his chemist shop there in 1924. When he retired in 1965, successive owners of the business honoured him by naming it Dodds Pharmacy.

Doug’s grandfather, George Fawcit Dodds arrived in New Zealand in 1877 and opened his first chemist shop in Port Chalmers before leaving it in his son Nicholas’s hands and moving to Akaroa in 1888. George bought a French chemist’s business in the town and operated it with another son, John, also a chemist. Doug, John’s son, was brought up in Akaroa and later served an apprenticeship in Christchurch before buying the Merivale business.

The medicines these men sold were often imported patent medicines supplemented by their own formulations. Each generation developed their own concoctions, many of which could never have lived up to their extravagant claims. This advertising was common practice by chemists in the years leading up to strict legislation obliging manufacturers to list the ingredients of their mixtures on their labels.

This is not a family history, nor is it a comprehensive study of pharmacy through the ages, but an interesting tale of three generations of one family of chemists and their experiences in pharmacy.

Claire le Couteur


We are all very aware of the danger COVID still holds,

especially for us older members, so please

Wear a mask

Keep a safe distance

Be prepared to show your vaccine pass

Congratulations to our Patron Jill Lord, who today became a well deserved recipient of the Queens Service Medal, QSM.

Family History Flyer.pdf

Christchurch Family Historians & Genealogists

Need help researching your Family History? Our team of Christchurch Family Historians & Genealogists are here to help. 

Our Research Rooms & Library are located at 401A Papanui Road and are open on a Monday & Saturday from 10am - 12 noon

The Aims of our Society are:

To foster an interest in Family History, Genealogy and Family Trees

To support members with their research into Family History

To provide research facilities for our members

To hold regular meeting on topics related to Family History

To produce an e-magazine and newsletters for our members

The Family History Society of New Zealand was awarded the Christchurch City Council  Ambassadors Heritage Award in 2016

We now have a Covid Tracer sign on the noticeboard in our rooms. Please use it to sign in.