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About Gurney Family of New Zealand
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Before I begin, as with all Genealogical Trees, accuracy in relationships and dates is and always 
will be a problem, the information I have placed in and amongst this tree to all intents and 
purposes is/are correct, however I can be easily persuaded (and have been on a number of 
to make alterations to any entry that you feel needs "a little tidy up", and as this is an ongoing 
work in progress, things can change at any time

The recording of Family Trees, family connections, parents brothers sisters uncles aunts cousins 
etc is called Genealogy, in the Maori kingdom we call it, Whakapapa

My tree is mainly concerned with the following family names, GURNEY, ENRIGHT, SHELFORD, ROBINSON, 
HANSEN & HERBERT - and as with all other trees there is a multitude of other family names 
sprinkled thruout.

Through the investigations of my distant cousin John Dawson in the UK I have been able to 
positively identify our Gurney connections back to Benjamin Gurney born in Winwick, 
Northamptonshire in 1748.... The links I have created prior to Benjamin I have gathered from a 
number of other websites plus letters and emails sent to me over many years

Some years ago John wrote to my mother (no doubt to other Gurneys in NZ as well) listing a number 
of Gurneys in the UK and asked if we were related to any of them - Mum had no interest in 
so she gave me the letter - I read thru it and didnt recognise any of the names so I filed it away 
in all of my other Genealogy documents (luckily!)

Some years later again I was going thru my collections and came across Johns letter, after re-
reading it, to my excitement I now recognised some of the names, as thru my own investigations and 
ongoing searches, my tree had long since grown substantially since he wrote to mum! the rest is as 
they say, history
Some years later Cherie and I went up to the UK (and France) and on a trip up into Northern Wales 
where Cherie wanted to say "Hello" to a friend we made a surprise visit to John, we have been 
exchanging Xmas cards ever since

It was always my belief that we descended from yet another Benjamin, a son of John and Elizabeth 
Gurney, one of the founding families of the Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, 
however John has pointed out the errors of my ways, and I will be updating his information to the 
tree as and when time permits, in the meantime the tree is available to anyone who wishes to 
it, and the background music - "Take a Chance on Me" - says it all really, dont you think?

It is from the above John and Elizabeth that the great Norfolk Gurney Dynasty began

So, that said, lets begin, the name, Gurney, originates from Normandy France
When William the Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066 to claim the English Throne, one of his 
followers was a Norman Baron known as Hugo, he came from Gournai en Brai which is approx 60 miles 
north of Paris, history records that Hugo owned 30 miles in all directions when he stood in the 
centre of his domain
When the conquering Normans settled thruout England, they quickly learned that the local 
inhabitants had first and last names as in John Smith and not just John etc, so they named them 
selves similarly, with most (if they hadn't already done so) naming themselves after the territory 
that they came from or controlled back in Normandy (or France, Brittany, Belgium, Italy etc 
they weren't all Normans)  

For his loyalty to Duke William, Hugo was granted large areas of land in Norfolk and Suffolk, Hugo 
(who is mentioned in "The Roll of Battle Abbaye") called himself, Hugo de Gournai, meaning 
Hugo from or of Gournai, then over the years the name Gournai changed and had a variety of 
spellings, de Gournai, de Gournay, de Gourney, Gournay etc eventually becoming "anglicised" to 
it is today, plain old Gurney.  

The Abbey, was erected on the orders of William to commemorate his famous victory over the usurper 
to the English throne, Harold Godwinson who was the son and supporter of the pirate and coastal 
village plunderer, Godwin, the Earl of Wessex!

Harsh words I hear you say, however what you have to take into consideration when discussing the 
English throne is, how did anyone become its King

By physical might, power and influence over and amongst the Witenagemot more commonly called, 
Witans. This group of powerful nobles etc alone decided who would be their King, as in those long 
off days there was no such thing as hereditary title to it, you either fought for it, or gained it 
at the behest of that group, and Harold Godwinson, who reneged on a promise to the Duke of 
Normandy, William, that he would support his (Williams) right to the throne, had the Witans support

Unfortunately for Harold, he held the throne for less that 10 months, being soundly defeated in 
what is now historically called, The Battle of Hastings. That battle lasted less than a day and 
the last time that England was successfully invaded

The Abbyes first community, was a society of Benedictine Monks, who not only prayed for those who 
had died in the battle but also created a record known as, "The Roll of Battle Abbaye"

The "Roll of Battle Abbaye" is a cornerstone in feudal English genealogy as well as an extremely 
interesting and controversial record, it contains the names of several hundred of the noble 
companions of William the Conqueror, it records the origins of each companion and his relationship 
to William, plus a description of the baronies and estates in England bestowed upon and granted to 
them by William for their services and loyalty to him. It is thus the very first document in 
English genealogy and the foundation of both spurious and authentic claims of Norman ancestry

Gournai is a French word generally meaning, "muddy swamp" or something along those lines, and 
to "pull a gurney" is to make a grotesque face, they have "gurney" competitions in the UK and I 
think the USA
There have been many Gurneys of note, probably the most written about are the above mentioned 
Quaker Gurneys of Norfolk England, of which one was, Elizabeth Gurney, she married and became, 
Elizabeth Fry

The Gurneys were a philanthropic English family of bankers and Wool merchants living in Norwich, 
Norfolk which has been the headquarters of the Gurney family since 1665, the majority of whom 
like their founder, Quakers. 

Here in 1770 the brothers John and Henry Gurney founded the Bank of Norwich, the business 
eventually passing in 1779 to Henry's son, Bartlett Gurney. On the death of Bartlett in 1802 the 
bank became the property of three of his cousins, one of whom was John Gurney (1750-1809)  
Johns son Samuel Gurney, assumed on his father's death control of the Norwich Bank. At about 
the same time he also took control of the London bill broking business of Richardson, Overend & 
Company. This business had been founded in 1800 by Thomas Richardson, clerk to a London bill-
discounter, and John Overend, chief clerk in the bank of Smith, Payne & Company at Nottingham, the 
Gurney family supplying the capital. 

The title of the firm was subsequently changed to Overend Gurney & Company, and for forty years it 
was the greatest discounting-house in the world. 

During the financial crisis of 1825, Overend Gurney & Company were able to make short loans to 
other bankers. The house indeed became known as "the bankers' banker," and secured many of the 
previous clients of the Bank of England. 

Samuel Gurney died in 1856, and in 1865 the business of Overend Gurney & Company, which had come 
under less competent control, was converted into a joint stock company, but in 1866 the firm 
suspended payment with liabilities amounting to eleven million pounds sterling (the equivalent in 
2008 pounds, an incredible 981 million!!) out of that disaster was born, Barclays Bank

Goldsworthy Gurney, invented the first steam driven car, he was turned down for funding by the 
Government who decided instead to invest in a railway system created and designed by George 
Stephenson, and so the first public train service was born, as we all know history records that 
train was named, Stephenson's Rocket
Sir Richard Gurney (he changed his name to Gurnard, which is the fish that adorns the top of the 
Gurney Coat of Arms) became Lord Mayor of London, unfortunately he supported the wrong Members of 
the divided Royal Family and paid for his loyalty by spending a little time in the Tower of London!
Sir Thomas de Gournay, along with John Maltravers and William de Ogle, were the murderers of King 
Edward II on the orders of Queen Isobella, who had an adulterous affair with Roger Mortimer (note: 
not with William Wallace as Braveheart would have it!!!)

de Gournay escaped to Spain, but was eventually recognised, captured and sent back to England, 
however he never made it back, the journey home was a long drawn out affair (on purpose?) and he 
died after a long and protracted "illness" at Bayonne in France  

History records de Gournay as being "a man of a savage and cruel disposition" and a long standing 
partisan of Queen Isobella and the Mortimer's, he along with Maltravers and de Ogle "exercised 
every sort of cruel and insulting indignity upon their King, including forcing him to ride from 
town to town barely clad and preventing him from sleeping, giving him unwholesome food, hoping 
the severity of the weather and malnourishment might hasten his departure from the living"

The King however refused to succumb to their torments and deprivations, whereupon de Gournay, 
Maltravers and de Ogle proceeded to suffocate him and "thrust a red hot poker into his bowels" 
Edwards agonising screams could be heard thruout the castle, but none came to his rescue, 
preferring instead to "pray for his departing soul"

The following poem is the record of his death

Mark the year, and mark the night
When Severn shall re-echo with affright
The shrieks of death thru Berkeley's roofs that ring
Shrieks of an agonizing King
She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs
That tears the bowels of thy mangled mate
And so the Plantagenet King Edward II of England, died in Berkeley Castle at Severn, supposedly on 
the orders of his French wife, Queen Isobella

See the story re the Murder of King Edward at the bottom of this page

Thankfully the de Gournay name was reinstated into the Royal Court by Edward III, the son of 
II, the bearer of the family name was none other than Sir Thomas' son, Sir Matthew de Gournay

Sir Matthew assisted at all the great battles of King Edward III and the Kings son, Edward The 
Black Prince, interestingly Sir Matthew married Alice Beauchamp a grand-daughter of Roger 
Sir Matthew died in the year 1406 at the grand old age of 96!
Upon King Edward III orders, Maltravers was pardoned, Mortimer was beheaded, his mother, Queen 
Isobella, spent the rest of her life in imprisonment, de Ogle was last witnessed in a dishevelled 
state wandering the streets in Saxony, (Germany)

The great Essex Knight, Gerard de Gournai, who went on the 1st Crusade to Jerusalem, was a great 
great grandson, of the above mentioned Hugo de Gournai, Gerard married Editha de Warrenne, who was 
one of King Williams grand-daughters, thru Williams daughter, Princess Gundred, and her marriage 
William de Warrenne, the Earl of Surrey

The marriage of Gerard to Editha links the House of Gurney to the Royal Families of England, 
and greater Europe, Gerard never made it back home from the crusades, he died, "defending the 
faith" in the deserts of The Holy Land 

The St John Ambulance Brigade grew out of those very same crusades by way of the organization 
as, The Knights Hospitaller, who were a group of concerned Monks, Knights and others who cared for 
those crusading pilgrims (and others) who dared to journey to the Holy Lands, and who fell ill or 
were injured in those great conflicts of religious wars

Interestingly we have never decided who was right and who was wrong, because we are still having 
the same argument 900 odd years later!!!!!!

Back to the St John Ambulance.

The world recognised symbol (flag) of the Order of St John, is the white on black, eight pointed 
Maltese Star

I mention this in relation to Gerard de Gournai and his Crusading efforts, and those of our 
cousins, Vic and Royston Gurney of Kohukohu in the Hokianga, New Zealand. Both brothers were major 
financial benefactors to the local Order of the St John Ambulance Brigade and were hard driving 
forces of its continuation and services to that Northern area of New Zealand. 

When cousin Vic died, the Brigade honoured him by draping over his coffin, that very same eight 
pointed Maltese Star flag of the Order of St John, the pity of it is, that neither Vic nor Royston 
knew anything of the links between Gerard's family in England, (or the Norman Conquerors) and 
of us "down under", in little old New Zealand     

How fitting tho, that a Gurney, should have such a great honour, 900+ years later!

For those of you in the USA, you have the notable car racing driver and Team owner Dan Gurney, and 
you have a "gurney", a hospital bed on wheels

Now back to New Zealand, I call my tree The Gurney Whanau, the term Whanau, is Maori, its meaning 
is "family" and everything that that term entails, it includes and covers not only blood relatives 
but also marriages and other links into other families.

For instance, my sisters husbands mothers uncles and/or aunties children's children, are normally 
(sometimes are, but not always) not considered to be "family" in the English tradition, but when 
referred to in a Maori way, such relationships are covered to a much wider extent, and we call it, 
Whanau, pronounced - far nar oo - or more commonly - farnow - as in far cow - pronounce it like 
that and you've near enough got it

Our Maori connections come to us thru our great great great grandmother, Haerehau Hinepounamu 
Ngaropi, who came from the Ngati Ruanui Iwi of the Taranaki area and their Hapu (sub tribes) of, 
Ngati Tanewai and Ngati Tupaea.  Thru her marriage to Mukai Te Paenga of the Arawa Iwi, we get his 
Hapu of Ngati Rangiwewehi and Ngati Tapuika of the greater Waikato/Rotorua areas 

So we are, Taranaki and Arawa, and by capture we are Ngapuhi, which is a story in itself

Their daughter, our great great grandmother, Iritana Te Mukai Paenga, married ex British soldier, 
Oliver Edward Shelford, while Iritana's cousin, Roka Mataura (whose ancestry begins with the great 
Maori navigator, Turi) married, William Robinson. 

Iritana and Oliver's daughter, Maraea, married Roka and Williams son, James, who in turn gave us 
our Grandmother, Jane Robinson 

There appears to be no positive proof, but most of us believe that Iritana and Roka were either 
sisters or cousins, they were at the very least of the same Iwi (Maori tribe) living in the 
Taranaki area.  

Older Genealogists of the Shelford/Robinson connection, tell us that the girls were part of a 
group that were captured (as above) by the pillaging and plundering Ngapuhi people (as they were 
want to do on the odd occassion!) from the Hokianga Northland area, and taken back to live in that 
tribes northern lands, at the time the girls were approx 14yrs of age

There are others (not many) who believe the girls were indeed, Ngapuhi, but if that were so, why 
then did Iritana insist on being buried in Taranaki, taking into account that most, not all, but 
most Maori prefer to be "taken home" after their death, and indeed most of them often return home 
while still in the land of the living, to await deaths arrival

Iritana was eventually given by her Ngapuhi captors to the local Methodist Minister, Nathanial 
Turner and his wife Ruth, to be a part of their domestic help. 

The Turners were, after their New Zealand work, Methodist or Wesleyan Missionaries thruout the Sth 
Pacific Islands, Tahiti, Society (Cook) Islands being the main ones. A number of Shelford and 
Robinson connections also became Wesleyan Ministers, notable amongst them being, Oriwa Shelford 
Tahu Opotiki Hadden, who married into the Shelford family 

It was thru the work of Tahu that most of the whakapapa or genealogical records for our foundation 
Maori families were handed down to us 
There are some who believe that the name Iritana is the Maori translation of, Ruth Turner, Iri 
being Ruth and Tana being Turner, couple that with genealogical records in that the name Iritana 
doesn't appear to be in any tree before our Iritana, (there are many appearing after) and who 
knows, maybe its correct, Iritana = Ruth Turner

I have chosen the background colours for our TribalPages Family Tree because it looks like 
which is the Maori word for Greenstone, more commonly known around the World as, Jade.  Our Maori 
connections place great value and significance in this stone, not only will it bring good luck to 
the holder, but those who wear (or hold) it will always have strong links to the land (Whenua) and 
its people (Tangata) 

There is a strong tradition amongst Maori (and I am a firm believer) that the stone has its 
greatest value when it is freely given, rather than purchased for ones own use and/or adornment

So it is in that way that I give it you, the Genealogy/Whakapapa researcher/reader - may it bring 
you good luck in your search for your own Whanau/Family - who knows what you might find 
behind "The 
Green Door" - let me know if we are Cuzzies!!!!!

In ancient times most Maori were only given one name - as in John but not John Smith - and because 
the TribalPages genealogy program doesn't allow for the recording of people without last and/or 
first names, (unless either are entered as "unknown") you will note that I have inserted the Maori 
word "te" in lower case, in front of their Maori family name

The English translation of "te" means - the (singular) - so my "te" in front of their last name 
literally means they are (or were) the only one with that name - so to recap - their first name is 
the only one they had - the family name I have given them is the same as their first but with the 
addition of the "te" - hope that explains it, as I have no wish to record any Maori as unknown! 
Our European connections are from Norway, England, Ireland and Italy

Our mums dad, Ole Kristian Hansen, came from Larvik a town in the County of Vestfold, in southern 
Norway, of which one of its notable sons (other than our Grandad naturally!) was the great 
navigator and adventurer, Thor Heyerdahl, of Kon Tiki fame no less!.  

Dads Pakeha (white man!) grandparents, Arthur Edmund and Emma Gurney, came from England, whilst 
mums great grandparents, Michael and Ellen (Helen) Enright, came from Ireland, our Italian 
connection comes thru mums grandfather, John Williams, of which there is an interesting story, and 
from his wife, Mary Holland, who also came from England
Arthur Edmund and Emma Gurney arrived in New Zealand with their 2 sons William Frank and Herbert 
aboard the Sailing Ship "Lady Jocelyn", in 1889, one of the few sailing ships to travel all the 
from England to New Zealand without making another landfall
Our side of the Gurneys descend from their son Herbert and his marriage to Jane Robinson.

The Enrights arrived in New Zealand from South Africa in 1864, aboard the sailing 
ship "Steinwarder", they had originally migrated from Ireland with 250+ others to Cape Town, South 
Africa some time during 1860 (after the great potato famine?)  Things didn't work out for these 
families in Sth Africa, so they all moved on to New Zealand

Granddad Hansen arrived in New Zealand c1906, the story he told his family was that he was an able 
bodied seaman aboard the SS "America", he was known to be onboard when it sailed, but no records 
exist to tell us how he re-entered NZ, the story he told his family was that he jumped overboard 
and swam back to Auckland somewhere off North Head, Devonport, in other words, he was a ships 

Ole Kristian Hansen married May Emileen Enright and during WWI both had to report every day to the 
local Constable in Onehunga.   The reason for that lay in the fact that grandad Hansen, being 
of Norwegian extraction, was classed as an "alien" during that great conflict, and because May 
Emileen had married him, she also, was classed as an "alien", poor grandma, an alien in her own 

The Holland family arrived in New Zealand on the 5th February 1855, more detail of that family can 
be found in the notes for, William Holland
Back to John Williams.... the story goes that he and his brother were deserters from the Italian 
Army, late c1840ish, both travelled half way round the Planet to hide in little old New Zealand, 
good place to hide, where could be further from Italy?

His name was, Giuseppe Constanza, he changed his name to plain old, John Williams, whilst his 
brother Carlos Vincenta Constanza, changed his name to Charles Constance, we believe they came 
Sorrento, Italy

At the bottom of this page there is a very user friendly Google Map - if its not then go to Google 
maps - http://maps.google.com - type in - Crick Rd, West Haddon, Northampton NN6, United Kingdom

Drag the map straight down (go up in other words) and you will see a little village called, Winwick

Zoom in to Winwick to the 4 road junction, take the road leading off to the left, go past the 
silver coloured car till you sight a red coloured car parked in a courtyard, the building is the 
old school that our Gurneys attended 

Just above the school is the local church, where there are lots of Gurneys buried in its cemetery, 
including that of our Great Great Great Grandfather, Herod Gurney

Now type in Chatham Street, Norwich - zoom in to the end of the road where you will see a red car 
and a blue car - to their right and above where they are parked is what looks like a small forest -
under that canopy of trees is the Gildencroft Quaker Cemetery - there you will find most of the 
Norfolk Gurneys dating back to the early 1700s - rows and rows of Gurney headstones - 
the headstones record their names birth and death dates - there are no relationships recorded on 
any headstone - a Quaker thing I guess 

Find our place - enter - 14 Bond Crescent, Forrest Hill, North Shore, NZ - you will need to zoom 
in - that's us with the dark silver roof surrounded by trees and a red roofed garage in front

Zoom in to anywhere on the Planet and who knows what you will find, find your place, see if you 
out on the front lawn having a beer!

Check out my "Useful Links" at the bottom of the page


Gil Gurney
New Zealand
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Getting Around
There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Tree View graphically shows the relationship of selected person to their kin. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Do you know who your second cousins are? Try the Kinship Relationships Tool. Your site can generate various Reports for each name in your family tree. You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.

In addition to the charts and reports you have Photo Albums, the Events list and the Relationships tool. Family photographs are organized in the Photo Index. Each Album's photographs are accompanied by a caption. To enlarge a photograph just click on it. Keep up with the family birthdays and anniversaries in the Events list. Birthdays and Anniversaries of living persons are listed by month. Want to know how you are related to anybody ? Check out the Relationships tool.

Descendants of ******
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