4th cruise - Jan GowA genealogist, a speaker, a genealogy tour guide, and owner of a genealogy bookstore, as well as being as active member of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, including serving on their committee, Jan Gow is well-known throughout the genealogy community.

Jan loves cruising, and has been a guest presenter on each of our past genealogy cruises to date. And will be sharing her knowledge with fellow genealogy cruisers yet again on the upcoming 4th Unlock the Past cruise. So be sure you make it to at least one of her sessions, as she has a lot of knowledge to share.


NAME: Jan Gow
HOMETOWN/COUNTRY: lives Auckland, New Zealand, originally from Quirindi, New South Wales
DAYTIME JOB: Genealogy!!

Q1. Think back to your childhood … now what is your favourite memory from that time?
An only child, my special childhood memory is my special pal “Tuppence”. She looked just like a German Shepherd. But was the size of a fox terrier. So she fitted beautifully in my bicycle basket and went every where with me. I dressed her in doll’s clothes and of course she slept on my bed. She was very good at sitting on a chair playing cards with me. Spoiling my excitement at leaving on my ‘OE’ (overseas experience) was the thought of leaving her. Somehow, she knew, and she quietly died in her sleep, aged 13, a month before I left.

Q2. There’s always ‘something’ that sparks an interest in genealogy/history? What was it that sparked your interest?
Partly wondering about my inherited condition, vitiligo. I found my great great grandmother, a convict from Ireland, needed double the usual space to list all the brown spots on her hands. Way back in 1600’s an ancestor’s brother was known as Blanch Mains because he had white hands. Have I found the source?

Q3. How old were you when you developed an interest in this hobby?

Q4. What countries across this big wide world did your ancestors come from?
Ireland, England, Scotland

Q5. Is genealogy/history your main job?  
Job, occupation, hobby, passion

Q6. Do you have a genealogy mentor or idol? Someone who has deeply influenced you in your research along the way?
I guess the friend who said to  me, the night in 1981, when I won the return air fare from Auckland to LA, “if you are interested in family history you really should go to Salt Lake City whilst you are in the USA”. I did.

Q7. We all know that your family history can reveal some amazing things. Have any of your discoveries resulted in a life-changing experience?
Finding Charles Darwin as a cousin was very special. Even in America they know about him!

Q8. What do you find most challenging about research?
Finding the balance between the hunt and the capture!

Q9. If you had a time-machine what relative (past, present or future) would you most like to meet?
Elizabeth Turner, my 4 x great grandmother. Who were her parents? And how come her daughter was such an interesting woman?

Q10. Still using that time machine, you’ve been propelled into the future five years, what do you see yourself doing?
I would be very happy to still be doing what I am doing today, and taking advantage of modern technology.

Q11. What value do you think social media plays in genealogy these days?
I am being dragged kicking and screaming into social media! Mainly because I just don’t feel l I have time for another interesting hobby.

Q12. What do you do when you aren’t doing genealogy or history?
Read,  Sleep, travel.

Q13. What do you hope to get out of a genealogy cruise?
The chance for lots of infection!!  People catching the genealogy bug! Giving lots of help. Meeting old friends. Making new friends.

Q14. Share with us a few (up to five) of the genealogy websites that you tend to spend the most time on?
– Findmypast
– The Genealogist

Q15. Do you have any wise words for those just starting out in genealogy?
Sight, Site, Cite.


For those of you who are going on the 4th cruise, here are the topics that Jan will be speaking on, based on the current Program:
– A family history recipe: Let’s create YOUR New Zealand family history
– Delving deep into FamilySearch
– A world leader!: Making the most of New Zealand historical BDMs


YOU CAN VISIT JAN’S VARIOUS WEBSITE’S HERE … Jan says “All out of date!! (help!)”
Beehive Books – www.beehivebooks.co.nz
Genealogy on the Net – www.genealogy.net.nz
Hooked on Genealogy Tours – www.hookedongenealogytours.com
Lets Research – letsresearch.co.nz

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HookedonGenealogy
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/2/103730111947481639374/posts
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Jan/Gow