Grafters All

Our Family's Journey Through Time

The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us." How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do.



main imageWelcome to this site which deals primarily with our various Otago families from first settlement. Their ancestors and descendants are traced. The site has some 14,000 people listed in the last update of 6 November 2019. The 10 most numerous surnames are Allan, Dick, Rylance, Cunningham, Sargison, Adams, Kirk, Smith, Moss and Reid in that order. 50 names have more than 20 occurrences. It is on an ongoing project and all input is welcome – email



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Our Families

Our Ancestors Were Adventurers
Sargison Family
Henry (Harry) Griffin Sargison

Henry (Harry) Griffin Sargison

The Sargisons were relatively late settlers, arriving on the Wellington in Dec. 1874. The ship, incidentally, was of 1,250 tons, new and built for Patrick Henderson which later amalgamated with Shaw Savill. This ship was approximately twice the tonnage of the Philip Laing, Such was the demand for emigration and the advancement of technology! Aboard were Henry (Harry) Griffen Sargison , born in December 1856 at Parson Grove, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and his elder brother, William George Sargison, born in 1852

They each purchased land in Waitati - Merchiston. The descent line is through Henry Harry Griffen Sargison who was born in Parsons Drove, Cambridgeshire in December 1856; his father, Michael, was 26 and his mother, Jane, was 29. The Griffen in his name came from his mother’s surname but why it was spelt differently (but not consistently) is unknown. Multiple spellings of names were not unusual. On 15 May 1876, Harry married Mary Ann Horne from Leverington in Cambridgeshire. Harry and his brother, and the Horne family had all emigrated to Otago aboard the same ship the previous year. Harry and Mary Ann had three sons and three daughters. Harry had a total of 3 marriages. MAry Ann, Ada Burgess and Sarah Omand.

Dick Family

The first Dick arrived on 26 December 1849 aboard the Mooltan. This was Mary Dick, aged 18, a servant. Little is known about her. She married Archibald Barr, a seaman on the Mariner voyage in 1850. It appears she died before 1858. It is possible that he was related to the Barr family who were also on board the Mooltan or that she was related to the Barr family and Agnes Barr who later married James Allan. The descent line in NZ starts with Jane (Jean) Gray who was born on 18 December 1818 in Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire. Her father, John, was 29, and her mother, Jane, was 35. She married Robert Dick, a stonemason in Carnock, on 7 December 1835 in Boleskine, Inverness-shire. Robert Dick was born on 2 June 1809 in Perthshire. His father, William, was 29 and hiRobert and Jane Dick, along with their sons, Simon, Alexander, Robert and James, arrived in Dunedin aboard the Robert Henderson in 1862, joining their older sons, William and John, who came out in 1860. Robert died on 4 July 1876 in Dunedin, at the age of 67, and was buried in Portobello. Jane died at Sandymount on 25 October 1892 at the age of 73 and was also buried in Portobello's cemetery. mother, Mary, was 28 .

Rylance Family

The Rylances were the last of our primary families to arrive in New Zealand in the early 20th century. They settled in Dunedin and Christchurch, Frederick was a paint manufacturer alongs with his two sons John and Thurstan. Frederick, daughter Muriel and sons John and Thurstan arrived in Dunedin about 1911.


The Taieri Allans

The Allans were a very large family. Their history has been written up twice. The most significant work is The Taieri Allans by John Thompson Allan which is available on, along with a detailed family tree. The family again outside of the line of descent is not covered therefore. Agness Allan & John Allen (the Allans) were from families of weavers and small farmers, so were doubtless affected by these upheavals. In 1842, therefore, they emigrated to New Zealand with their four sons and three daughters. TThey were religious dissenters and had attended the Burgher Kirk, in Kilmarnock, one of many sects that split from the Church of Scotland during the 18th century.

On 4 July 1842, John and Agness and the children sailed from Cumbrae on the barque New Zealand, arriving in Nelson on 3 November 1842. John apparently had a small property at Richmond. They moved on to Otago in 1844, over three years before the official settlement began. This was largely as a result of difficulties with land title in Nelson, challenging economic conditions and the so-called Wairau Massacre. The Allans initially lived at Andersons Bay but in 1850 moved to the Taieri where John built a house on the farm he called Bellfield. He became the first elder of the East Taieri Presbyterian Church and in 1854 a member of the first Otago Presbytery. He died in 1863 and Agness lived another 28 years, dying at Bellfield in 1891.

The Whare Flat Jollysbottom image

Robert (1819-1896), married Mary West (1819-1894) on 7 August 1840 at Forncett St Peter in South Norfolk..Two of Robert and Mary’s sons, John and Robert, born in 1847 and 1850 respectively, were to emigrate to New Zealand. Robert arrived on 27 October 1875 at Port Chalmers aboard the Auckland. He was listed as a machine maker. John was clearly in Dunedin 1870 when his son, Robert James Jolly, was born.


TheWhare Flat Havards

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We strive to document all of our sources in this family tree. If you have something to add, please let us know.