HENRY Family History



Welcome to the website of Donald and Hilary HENRY.  Donald (Don) is the narrator on these pages.

I was born in New Zealand and have a lot of family history in Canterbury, Otago and Southland.  My pre-New Zealand family history is in UK and Europe.  Hilary was born into the CHESWORTH family in Lancashire UK and all her family history is in England and Ireland.

This website was last revised on the 23rd May 2016, with an addition to the results of new research into the origins of Charles Edward HENRY.

Website Layout and Navigation

Each page of Family History information is based on a family group. The linkage between family groups is done by a system of hyperlinks which take the reader automatically to the next family with a single mouse-click.  Family Tree pages are included to show linkages visually, and individual names are listed in the Indexes.

Indexes containing of all the names used on this website are used to navigate to the page where a name occurs.  All names are hyperlinked so just click on the name and you will be transported to the appropriate page. Each index can be accessed via the navigation menu which appears at the top of each page. Names are listed alphabetically by surname.

Please let me know if any hyperlinks do not work correctly.


The aim of this project is to publish the results of years of research into my family history. 

This website is the result of combining 3 hobbies - genealogy (family history research), home computing and the internet. The website will grow as my publishing skills improve and my knowledge of my family history grows.  I invite all who are interested to revisit my website from time to time and watch it grow.


Genealogy is the study of family history. There are many people around the world who are practitioners of this art and I consider myself to be one of them.

One of the underlying goals of a Genealogist is to publish the results of their investigations - this website is my first humble attempt to put together that which I have learnt.

Genealogy is an art, not a science.  There aren’t any rules to observe, but there are conventions which are followed by serious Genealogists.  The most important convention is to not publish details which can identify living individuals.  The convention states that if one cannot identify a date of death, or a birth date from more than 100 years ago, then publishing any details of that individual is a no-no.

Research Methodology

I found out the “How To” of genealogy by talking to experienced Genealogists and reading some of the many books on the subject.  I found that the easiest way to do this was to join the local genealogy group and go to their meetings - I soon found their library, which had all of the information that I needed. The local group is a branch of the “New Zealand Society of Genealogists” (NZSG), who liaise with similar organisations in other countries. I soon worked out my methodology.

Being an engineer, research and analysis are tools of my trade. My familiarity with computers helped me to keep track of information gathered and, most importantly, to present it to me in a logical fashion.  I developed my filing system based on family groups, using the convention that the timeline of each group starts with a marriage (I believe that this is called the “Golden Ring” method). It works!

I learnt that the easiest path to my ancestors was to start with myself and work methodically back through each generation. As I went I gathered birth, death and marriage (BDM) information as the basic data that I needed to know about each individual and built up my family groups.

My overall objective was to prove my ancestral lineage with the best evidence available as I worked my way back into the past along my ancestral bloodlines. I found that it was extremely easy to get sidetracked away from the main branches and I got a lot of information on various branches of my family as I went along.  Each generation back effectively doubled the number of surnames that I was researching and I was in danger of becoming overloaded and “going around in circles”.  I always gratefully accept any data that comes my way, so my files were soon bulging!

Eventually I decided to concentrate on my ancestral bloodline family groups as my first priority.


I don’t remember what prompted me to take an interest in my family history. As I went through the first 40 years or so of my life I had no interest whatsoever! I think that my perception of genealogists was one of elderly eccentric aunts that everyone else in the family was afraid of because of what we thought they knew! I find it quite ironic (and amusing) that I may now fit that profile myself! 

My own interest seem to grow as I approached 50 years of age. I talked to other family members to find out what they knew and soon realised how little knowledge that I had. Initially my sisters proved to be a mine of information - a great start to the big quest. Once I started I found myself “hooked” (to use a fishing analogy) - good and proper!

Unfortunately my parents, my Grandparents and most of my Aunts and Uncles had passed away and I certainly missed their potential input. I had only ever met one of my Grandparents (my mother’s father Victor THOMPSON) when I was young, and I had absolutely no knowledge of my other 3 grandparents. Thanks to my mother I had some knowledge of various Aunts, Uncles and cousins, and she passed on stories about ancestors that had been verbally passed down through the generations. Mum also attended a THOMPSON family reunion back in the 70’s and I inherited the records that she collected at that gathering. My father did not talk about his ancestry at all.

I started by writing down what I know about myself, my family and my ancestors and gathering all the bits and pieces of information that I could find in my house. I added any and all information that I could glean from family members - and from anyone that seemed to know anything! I purchased printouts from the government BDM registry to establish lineage and gradually worked my way back in time.

That is when I started “networking”.


One of the golden rules in engineering is ”Don’t re-invent the wheel”. In other words it would be a waste of time doing research that someone has done before. In an effort to make contact with people who were researching the same people as I was, I made it known who I was researching as widely as possible. I used the networking channels provided by the genealogy community (including the NZSG), and spent a lot of time on the world wide web.

One purpose of this website is to widen my network.

Networking has proven to be a very effective tool.

Site Content

The information presented on this website is my personal interpretation of the information that I have gathered. Nothing is “set in concrete” in the genealogy information business and I am prepared to consider other points of view. Please feel free to email me if you feel that I have “got it wrong” (there will be no hard feelings!).