Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Good Bit of Detective Work


Here in New Zealand have an advert where a man talks about being the family detective in his genealogical pursuits. I think that advert is so true to life and I get a real thrill when I find a clue that helps me unravel a little ( or sometimes not so little ) puzzle.

Today I had one of those little thrills .

So to the beginning of the story. I have this fantastic photo of my Great Grandfather William McClellan in a brass band .



As you can see its not really been carefully cared for, being stuck into an album with tape!- so I did a bit of restoration on the photo which is something I really enjoy doing. Its very satisfying work I think


Satisfied with my restored image I really wanted to know more about it. What band is it ? – The details written on the photo by the photographer I felt werent going to give me much of a clue

Heremai Garden Fete This isnt a place name that Im aware of – Heremai Im sure here is a misspelling of a  Maori Greeting term Haere mai – so no help there.

No name of the band – it just says “The Band” so again no help and the date is illegible, but I did have a few clues from other information I have on my Great Grandfather.

A newspaper article published at the time of his Golden Wedding Anniversary stated “ He was an early conductor of the Central Mission Band Wellington, of the Hawera Band and of both the men’s and women’s choirs in Hawera.

So it appears Im either looking at the Hawera Band or the Central Mission Band Wellington. I tried a google image search to see if i could find a photo of either of these bands but that was to no avail.

It appears though that the photographer DID in fact leave me a clue – The name Zak Photo proved to be the clue I needed.

Joseph Zachariah was known as “Zak” was a photographer who used his portable camera to produce postcards, stereocopic views and photographs for publication in the Wellington area.

So I can thank Zak for now being able to caption this photo as the Wellington Central Mission Band .

Papers Past has yielded a wealth of articles in the form of advertisements for the Methodist Mission mentioning the band and My Great Grandfather such as the 2 below.




I’m sure I still have more to learn from this photo – they are a great documentation of life at the time they were taken .


  1. Very cool! And your restoration looks great. I love doing that, myself.

  2. Great restoration. What a difference!! very nice.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)