A Fourth Cousin, Once Removed?

In Nearby Tawa

One of the things I have been doing in New Zealand is looking for family names in the phone books to see if I can find any matches for some of the less common names. These names include Slape, Cobby and Petherbridge.

My third cousin Derek Slape, who lives in Portsmouth, recounted to me in December that a couple of years ago someone with the surname 'Slape' had called him from London (England) and asked if he knew of a Grace Slape. Derek had not connected with the name and did not get details of the caller, but did remember that he had identified himself as a New Zealander.

I did not have any more to go on, but it was enough to get me interested. So I looked in the Wellington phone book and sure enough, there was one Slape listed. I phoned this Michael Slape and indicated the long shot nature of the call, but asked if he could help. Sure enough, it was he who had called Derek!

We arranged to get together and on the evening of the 10th I visited him and his family in Tawa, a community on the outskirts of Wellington, about a fifteen minute drive from the center of the city. We chatted for a couple of hours, and amongst other things I found out that Michael's father, also named Michael, had come to New Zealand from the merchant marine just after WWII. His father had lost contact with his family in England, however just before Christmas last year his brother had come to New Zealand to visit. From this they learned that Michael's grandfather was a Thomas Gordon Slape, born about 1900. Now very interestingly Derek had provided me with the family tree which showed that there was a Thomas G. Slape born in 1873 who was a cousin of my great grandmother Julia Slape. We would be fourth cousins, once removed! To a geneologist this is exciting stuff, and I was excited. We still have some work to do to confirm these relationships, but in the meantime we have new friends in New Zealand. I took the following photo of Michael, his wife Leonie and their three sons Darren(14), Jared(12) and Grant(7) (expanding the Slape dynasty!) that evening. photo

This page is under development. Correcting comments and identifications of those unnamed would be appreciated.