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17 September 2017

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Philip Kai, perhaps History departments at Universities could be encouraged to have students write up local history. I seem to remember an old publication from UPNG that encouraged "Oral History". I do not know if this is still going.

Philip Fitz, in some Catholic Church baptismal registers when the father of an infant was unknown, -or did not want to be unknown - the Latin word "Ignotus" (Unknown) was entered in place of "Father's Name". Some innocent with the name of "Ignatius" sometimes got the blame !
When trying to trace my own ancestry online I was not too successful but I did find a "Garret Roche" (among a 1819 list of "Irish Convicts to Australia" !
(Garry is short for Garrett)
Just by way of clarification, the Maria I refer to in the text is not the same person as the Maria Kerua in the photo.

PNG has a rich cultural heritage but our problem is we have not much written documents. ethnographers, anthropologist and linguists from outside have done so much but not much have been written. Oral testimony have limits and some times false information and misinterpretation are done.

the government must pour in money to do more research work and there is more to be done. Students at the universities must be encourage to do research work and publish books for the benefit of our future generations.

I, among many, helped an Adnyamathanha woman from the Flinders Ranges in South Australia record her whole tribal genealogy back in the late 1970s. Many, many elders were involved and it took several years to complete. Photographs and life stories were also collected along the way.

While arranging its publication I discovered there were actually two copies of the genealogy. There was one for publication which was an edited version with all the embarrassing bits, like close cousin marriages, marriages that contravened the matrilineal moiety system and births out of wedlock etc. taken out and an unabridged version with all the aberrations included.

The version with all the gory details was kept in a safe place and was the more valuable document.

A master was also kept where amendments were made as people read the published version and added bits of information or made corrections.

That battered old master is now a revered tribal resource and proved invaluable during native title negotiations.

Genealogies are a great idea but they have to be commenced as soon as possible. When Thomas dies a lot of valuable information could go with him.

The old census books kept at patrol posts would be another great source if they can be found. As would be the old village books.

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