Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thames (NZ): A Thamesite

What's in a name, how is it spelt and why was it used?
To start with I have always heard the term THAMESITE used for people who were 'real' Thames folk! People who had their roots and foundations firmly from the goldmining years. Those families that first settled on the Thames goldfields and even after many left, they would still fondly call themselves a THAMESITE.

The question today is the spelling...I am often swayed by others that it should be THAMES-ITE. So to resolve this once and for all I went to Paperspast and searched for both terms. The Thames-ite seems to bring upa handful of false results, whereas the term THAMESITE brings up 378 results.

The first example was by Mr Macdonald in 1876.
NZ HERALD 19 June 1876
The Concept of being a Thamesite remained strong over the years, and there is nothing these old Thamesites like better than a good old reunion! The 1927 Diamond Jubilee was just one excuse for a massive gathering and parade, as so beautifully portrayed in the Auckland Weekly News 11 August 1927. 
 The last entry at Paperspast for Thamesite was in the Auckland Star 1 June 1936, when a reference was made to a meeting. It summed up early memories that many will have of ex town folk making the Sunday trip for cuppa with the relatives...then going back to Auckland. Over the years as generations have died and there are no longer Grandparents to visit, these trips back home, for many, have become a thing of the past.
As more and more people explore their past and genealogy, thanks to places like The Treasury - they often find relatives who have passed through Thames, and we can say...yes you too are a THAMESITE!