Logan Park High School pupil Frances Barnett with her prize-winning historic research on the migration of her forebears to Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Delving through old family photographs, diary entries,
newspaper articles and books about life in Scotland in the
early 1800s can be quite addictive, as Frances Barnett has
The 15-year-old Logan Park High School pupil recently spent
about two months retracing her Somerville family roots and
found the research process so absorbing she created a history
of her family, which won first-equal in the year 11 category
of the 2013 New Zealand Young Historians' Competition.
''It was really interesting. I spent a lot of time doing it
when I should have been doing other things.''
Frances said her great-great-great-grandparents and their
children came from Chesterfield, Edinburgh, in Scotland to
Dunedin on Blundell in 1858.
They were prominent members of the Free Church of Scotland
and made a significant impact in the first years of Dunedin's
''The diary entries were quite enlightening.
''They told you about how people felt on the boat over to New
Zealand and what their reaction was to settling in a new
country and the opportunities they were looking forward to.
''I thought it was enlightening to see what my ancestors had
to do, to create the life I have today.
''I've appreciated finding out a lot of the family history
for myself rather than someone just telling it to me.''
The judges were impressed with Frances' writing, saying it
was an ambitious family story which mixed the personal and
wider perspectives very well.
They said her writing showed genuine breadth and depth, and
she handled complex ideas effectively.
The article - titled Scotland to Otago: Understanding
Dunedin's Scottish Roots - was placed first-equal with
Epsom Girls' Grammar School pupil Fiona Wu's article titled
The Declaration of War by New Zealand, 1914.
Otago Girls' High School pupil Rebecca Anderson was second in
the year 13 category with her article about the Seacliff
Mental Hospital, and Logan Park High School pupil Raven
Mackenzie was third in the year 12 category with her article
about times of protest.