Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Researching your family history in New Zealand

Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs signed what is New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.

Before I personally started researching my family history I did not know of any NZ connections, but I soon found that I did. My two sources initially were Photos in my Grandmother’s photo album and their inscriptions and conversations with elderly relatives (since passed).

Many people actually migrated from Australia to NZ

In December 1863, the following advertisement appeared in the Sydney newspapers;

"Fifty Acres of Land Free - Military Settlers in New Zealand. A number of Married Men with their families are required to proceed to Auckland (passages free); also, a limited number of Single Men to complete a settlement. None need apply who cannot produce testimonials of industry and sobriety. Lieutenant Steele will, on and after Monday, 18 January, be in attendance to make the engagements and give any information that may be required. For the present apply to Soper and Steele, Market Wharf."

YPRL have very limited resources on NZ. However we are a very good starting place for your research but you will find that you will need to also visit other resource centres such as the The State Library of Victoria Genealogy Centre which have a very good collection of NZ material.

You might also like to get yourself a detailed map or touring guide of New Zealand and familiarise yourself with the local geography of the region you are interested in.

In New Zealand, official interest in births, deaths and marriages, dates back to 1847when compulsory civil registration was introduced. Prior to this, the registers kept by the churches are the primary record. Indexes can now be searched online.

I have compiled a list : “Researching your Family History in New Zealand” which provides some resources to explore.


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