I am writing a post for each state of Australia and New Zealand with a list of great resources for researching ancestors in that particular place. Tasmanian records are held mainly at Libraries Tasmania where both archive and library resources are on the one website.
In October 2021, our Twitter group #ANZAncestryTime had a session about New Zealand. The tips for great websites come from this chat.
NZ govt Births Deaths and Marriages allows you to work out the day the event is recorded happening. You can order printout (not the certificate) for NZD25 and will arrive via email. Yes! It’s cheaper, and for older records it’s a copy of the actual register entry, whereas the certificate is usually typed/transcribed.
This is the New Zealand equivalent of Australia’s Trove website where you can search newspapers to help tell the stories of your ancestors. As with Trove, you can also search diaries, journals, letters and books about New Zealand on this site. Make sure you read the help page so your searching can be done efficiently.
Part of the Victoria University of Wellington Library. This includes digitized historical texts and manuscripts including the Cyclopaedia of New Zealand. To refine your search check out this help page.
Yes! It’s cheaper, and for older records it’s a copy of the actual register entry, whereas the certificate is usually typed/transcribed.
My mother’s 31 scrolls covered in family trees! BDM Online, Papers Past, Wilson Collection, Cemetery Search, Archway, Ancestry (Electoral Rolls), various museums and libraries.
I have done much on my ancestors that moved to New Zealand, but best resource was the paperspast, these were a god send
I haven’t done enough NZ research. For my family it was kind of like a flying visit as far as direct ancestors go. My great-grandmother was born in Kaitangata to Scottish migrant parents. Resources: I ordered my ggm’s birth cert & have looked at some Kai newspapers
Papers Past has been useful, especially the advertisements for the businesses owned by my great grandparents. I’ve been able to narrow down the exact locations of some of the first businesses they owned in Blenheim and Pahiatua, respectively.
@WCC_Archives has also been great source of information and support.
Do they have things online? I looked ages ago however cannot remember what I was researching.
They have a selection online, and items can be digitised for a fee. Lovely staff, I must add.
Some great photos on some museum sites online, eg this on Canterbury Museum website is a photo of my two great-aunties.
Blue Books of Statistics for New Zealand are available via the AJCP in Trove for 1840 – 1855. If you had an ancestor who worked for colonial govt in any capacity they are likely to be mentioned with position wage etc.
Another gem is the Gisborne Photo News, for 20th century research – have found photos of my parents and grandparents on here. photonews.org.nz/gisborne/index… There’s another photo news for other regions as well, though can’t remember them off top of my head
Also Archway (NZ Archives) especially for military records. And Family search for probate records and passenger lists.
I don’t think I have NZ ancestors. However, I have ancestors who lived in NZ; found some extraordinary documentation to support this at Archives New Zealand. A file full of handwritten and typed letters, as well as official documents. archives.govt.nz
The Canterbury Historical Society was extremely helpful when I contacted them. It’s always worth asking
Auckland Cenotaph Online is my go-to place for any male.
I have used Archives NZ, BDMs, Libraries, Paperspast and Family History and Historical Societies
Have you found much migration between NZ and Oz? What records help with these discoveries?
Lots of trans-Tasman crossings in my family. Interestingly the Aussie branches of one line seem to have lost all knowledge of my 2X-grt-grandmother, who had at least 500 descendants in NZ!
The family New Testament. Family stories. NZ and Aussie records. My grandparents married in Williamstown in 1882, came to Whanganui on their honeymoon to join his brother, then the rest of his family came later that year. Hers is still there
our family bible went to NZ- my grandmother tried to get it returned & that branch had no descendants so I guess it went to landfill
Others suggest ebay and google alerts however I am not sure how you could word it. Don’t think there would be a load of bibles found in NZ so just old bible might work. Really needs a person that likes returning stuff to a home
Items like that often come up on TradeMe trademe.co.nz (NZ version of ebay)
I find it tricky getting the journey, but can pick them up in other records on either side of the ditch, helps piece a timeline together at any rate.
I have a great grandfather that was a cook on ships between NZ and Aus so found a few trips. Probably @FamilySearch and odd web sites that look like they are 20 years old. Never recorded correctly as always planned to go back. When I did many links lost. This is typical newzealandshipping.co.nz/History/Passen…
One of my great grandfathers lived there for a time as a young man. I have a book that states other ancestors were there, but I’ve found no evidence of that. Makes me wonder if this was not true. Did they stow away? Yet another mystery to solve.
There was a bit of back & forth for my ggm. I think she kept leaving ggf in Australia & heading back home to NZ. But the shipping record I really want to find is the Scotland-NZ one. Abt 1879 based on births of children. Where should I look?
Awkwardly I discovered that my grandfather was still living in NZ after my mother and grandmother came to Australia in 1935 from his police mug shot on Ancestry. I’d love to know what he did
My mother was from NZ and her father born in Australia but went back. His father was born in NZ but came to Australia. My father’s uncle went to NZ from Ireland but later moved to the Darling Downs. Lots of crossing but not a shipping record found yet
It is the shipping records that always seem to elude me
Yes me too! I can find every trip my NZ relatives took overseas but not their voyages to Australia.
found a young marriage in Tas. In 1863 then she moved to NZ and married again in 1869 husband still alive in Tas
A number of my husband’s lines emigrated to Aus and then on to NZ … haven’t had much luck with shipping records between Aus and NZ … mainly pieced things together from range of evidence records incl. BDMs, Cyclopedia of New Zealand etc.
A lot of travel across the Tasman, though almost all my ancestors came directly to NZ. There are some passenger lists around, but not comprehensive. Shipping notices in Papers Past can be useful, but may not list passenger names,
My great grandfathers older sister moved to NZ with her Indian husband. They married in Tasmania, had many children there and then headed to NZ. Think he worked as a railway worker near Raetihi on the north island
evidence of marriages in NZ then finding subsequent families in Aust. in Trove.
Tūrangawaewae – a place to stand – is the Māori concept of a place, or places, where we feel connected, empowered. What is your special place in Aotearoa and why? (Or other place if no Kiwi connection.)
Victoria University of Wellington Easterfield Building. I met my 1st husband there, studied and worked in it.
Born in Whanganui on the river bank in the house my father lived in as a teenager. It was still there in February as a back packer place, but closed.
I really struggle with this. My 5xggf gets credited with “discovering” Milford Sound. But of course he didn’t “discover” it, Piopiotahi, he just gave it an English name & put it on British maps.
Getting there by land would have been challenging so a bit of a pioneer even if not the first there
Not by land. He was captain of a sealing ship. He gave English/Welsh names to a few places. Is there a Mt Grono?
Ruth Graham wrote a great piece in the last @SocAustGen Descent mag. I can’t stop thinking about it: To research & acknowledge the impact of colonisation on Indigenous Australians [& Maori] is something I want to take forward in my own family history research…
Tūrangawaewae, my place in NZ, last home before moving to Aus. Most beautiful view. No matter how bad you felt you came right looking out to Rangitoto Is., Bucklands Beach, Panmure, Waiheke Is., Waitematā Harbour and all the yachts and ships sailing by. Peace.
Lived in Aust so long now I have forgotten many Māori stories. (Ashame) I do know that even before the Pākehā came that ferns were important to the Maori. To me I think of the ponga tree as the under leaves are silver.
I feel connected to Auckland because my mother was born there and I love the city. ( I live visiting NZ) I also feel connected to the Canterbury Plains because I have researched other ancestors there
Haining and Frederick Streets in Wellington, as this was the closest Wellington had to a “Chinatown”
I’ve been to NZ several times but had no idea any ancestors had lived there until recently. Had some special times in Auckland. Also driving around the South Island/parts of the North Island. BLUE water like I’ve never seen before!
In NZ it would have to be Raetihi where the Maru family still live. I actually visited the Maru family on Raetihi and got lots of photos of the family. Have written post about the visit and what I learned. But otherwise Hobart or Tasmania where I always come back to after my travels. Born and raised in Hobart.
It’s Family History month in NZ (& Aus). Have you or will you attend any online or in-person events this month? Which virtual international events have you enjoyed in the last year?
I need more time for work, life, and FH as it seems every week is another great virtual event. One hour to multiple days. One of the few good things happening currently.
Yes NZ events this month … Wellington #FamilyHistory Research Day on 7 Aug (enjoyable day but caught ‘flu) … OK now. Virtual international – #RootsTechConnect
No, too busy finishing off a research project I started in 1970. Set myself the goal of having this one done by Christmas, so will need to keep my head down. I spend enough time on my computer as it is without attending events.
Just back from a great weekend at Auckland Family History Expo, and was hoping to get to Chch this weekend – will be a virtual event now. Have LOVED @scottishindexes conferences over the last year: international time-zone friendly and so well organised.
RootsTech, The Genealogy Show, Fran’s MyHeritage presentation on spreadsheets, Shauna’s Diaries, Letters And Archives, and many other free webinars as they pop up in my Feedly blogs
I am running two sessions at local library – one on using newspapers to help write your family stories and another on starting your family history journey.
I am fairly new to such events. Looking forward to hearing more about them. I attended my first ever genealogy webinar last week (Society of Australian Genealogists).
Readers: What resources have you used when researching NZ ancestors?