Researching family in New Zealand?

David_Peterson / Pixabay

Which resources or record sets have you found the most useful when researching NZ ancestors?

Jane’s go to list

Fran’s go to list

  • My favourite is the NZ govt Births Deaths and Marriages as you can work out the day the event is recorded happening. bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search
  • Also love the military records in Archway. archway.archives.govt.nz
  • Next favourite NZ source is @PapersPastNZ because my Kitto family appears loads of times.
  • the Kiwi collection from the NZSG saved loads of time hunting out local materials such as school plus hundreds of other records. Now it’s available on a monthly or annual sub if you are a NZSG member.
  • 5th must use NZ #familyhistory source is the Electoral Rolls. Started collecting these at Archives at Wellington, NZ. Now mainly use @MyHeritage and @Ancestry.

Problem is, you go in looking for something specific and can so easily get waylaid reading other interesting things

I found loads of stuff on sons and daughters of my 3xgreat aunt and uncle that moved from UK, who travelled the world in the @PapersPastNZ

Was it bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz ? 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.

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.

BDMs bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz, Papers Past paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. electoral rolls are the ones I use constantly, plus cemetery records – some have photos of graves online, eg Timaru District Council

I have used Archives NZ, BDMs, Libraries, Paperspast and Family History and Historical Societies

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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?

Have a look on FamilySearch (though indexing not complete): familysearch.org/search/collect… I also found googling on surname + passenger list + year/ship can be fruitful. Check Papers Past for arrival notices. Also yesteryears.co.nz

I found the England-NZ passage on Ancestry.com….but I don’t think we ever found the passage from NZ to Australia.

Don’t know if this will help anyone but IF they left from Victoria they may appear in this index for outward passengers. I’ve used it a fair bit.

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.

There are some updated passenger lists on @findmypast recently search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-r… Can be useful to trace family alongside Trove and Papers Past shipping notices.

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.

Barni1 / Pixabay

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?

Yes, in Fiordland. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Gro… It was named for early 19th century sealer John 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”

But also Pahiatua has become a bit of an obsession for me, as I try to locate exactly where the Pahiatua Seed Company, owned by a Great Grandfather, was. wellingtonchinesehistory.fandom.com/wiki/Category:…

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.

 

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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?

Family History Societies

So your family has been in the one area for many years or generations. Have you thought to check with the local family history society? They might have more information not found on the normal genealogical databases. They have access to the local papers and stories passed on by inhabitants of the area.

Our questions were:

  1. Have you joined a local society or one where your ancestors lived? What benefits do/did you gain from the membership?
  2. How has a society helped progress your research, family history education, provided access to off-line records or volunteering on special projects?
  3. With aging members and the advance of digital technology are Genealogy Societies irrelevant in today’s world? How do they make sure they are relevant?
  4. What can societies offer to attract members in the 21st century? What traditional offerings should they continue to provide?

Family history societies in the 21st century 

  • We ask on the new member application a big question about helping, skills, previous jobs, etc. with the idea that this data can be useful – Fran
  • We run a competition in the primary school each year in memory of one of the members who also taught in the local school – Carmel
  • We have just established a media committee yesterday to make our FB posts more relevant and regular and to integrate promotion across posts, website and the locally owned papers. Set up a digital calendar so all can contribute ideas – Carmel
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  • Would partnering with us at UTAS Family History be something that appealed to members of family history societies? What sorts of things could we partner on that would be useful/helpful/fun? – Kate
  • The more we can bridge the gap between academic family historians & society family historians the better. Sharing/learning research skills. Access to/identification of academic history journals. I miss the UTAS family history discussion boards – Brooke
  • Work with teachers and students in researching the local area, sports teams, interviewing the older members of the area and writing up what they found out. Add to Facebook or a blog/website or the FHS newsletter – Sue
  • A retired person may be more willing to develop new skills rather than continue doing what they’ve done at work for decades. Also people’s personal obligations and health may limit their volunteering – Pauleen
  • I am working with local society, local council and @SocAustGen to present a program through the local library. Win-win for all three parties – Jill
  • I think the key to staying relevant is social media marketing. Even if the records are dusty, societies’ marketing should be flash. They have to let people know what they have, what they do. – Brooke
  • Being transparent with decision making and allowing members to input on decisions is good. They do not have to input, however, the option should be available. – Fran
  • Societies need to recognise that each speaker brings skills and knowledge to their presentations with a large time commitment that should be recognised financially eg a book voucher, perhaps a credit on membership or similar. – Pauleen
  • Keep in contact with local school and do activities with them, might get some youngsters joining a few years later eg ANZAC day or history of the area – Sue
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  • Societies need to be where their (potential) members are and if that is on social media then so be it. What can we offer? An up to the minute #familyhistory news aggregation service of sorts amongst other things. – Alex
  • Social media is great for providing that news aggregation service! We’ve also just tried our first digest of ‘News from the Twittersphere’ which has had great feedback including an appreciative email from someone who isn’t on Twitter!  – Society for One Place Studies
  • Upgrade services such as the society newsletter/magazine. Eg, New @SocAustGen mag has recently been revised so that its a magazine I want to keep & refer to now. It was a step-change in modernisation. – Brooke
  • Offering other societies’ newsletters electronically makes it easier to build up a library for your areas of interest. More societies are offering e-newsletters. – Pauleen
  • Run some basic one hour sessions during Family History month in your local library and have pamphlets with contact numbers etc and joining info. – Sue
  • Encourage members to take advantage of library facilities not just online resources – Pauleen
  • I think this year has made us realise that we can all do things differently, bringing presentations to people’s homes for example who are unable to physically attend a meeting is a good thing in my opinion – Paul
  • Caloundra FHS welcomes new members in person and in the newsletter as well as running a buddy system – Pauleen
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  • I think societies also need to demonstrate what their resources and records can provide towards research beyond the Internet. Just promoting them by title isn’t enough. – Pauleen
  • Societies could collaborate with other local interest groups on shared events invite non members – Hilary
  • Good response about society inclusivity. This includes offering times when those who aren’t retired can attend events. – Paul
  • Offer more society databases and indexes online via the society’s membership-access website. – Pauleen
  • To remain relevant societies need to find ways to attract volunteers to run them, manage social media, give presentations, edit journals, organise events and other jobs – Sharn
  • Ensuring the website has the right information to showcase what the society can do to help new members – Hilary
  • If 2020 has taught us one thing it’s that there’s a demand, and place, for online learning. Attending society seminars world-wide, otherwise inaccessible, has been great. Societies can also bring in additional income with multi-speaker sessions – Pauleen
  • If we have to compete with the comfort of the home lounge, what we offer away from home has to be pretty special and appealing. Maybe we can only do that by combining forces with other like-minded groups/organisations. – Alex
  • I think online memberships, with online meetings and classes. Getting to and from anywhere takes up valuable time. Genealogy conferences seem to have worked quite well during lockdowns. Virtual research assistance, where you can consult via Zoom. – Seonaid
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  • Societies have to make sure that they are as inclusive as possible, age, sex, ethnicity, we need to encourage as much as we can, a diverse demograph so that everybody feels included not excluded – Paul
  • I would like to see societies have a person to welcome people at all meetings. I’m sure some do this. If these cliques continue, younger people will never attend – Jennifer
  • Societies need to offer more online availability to access records and webinars for people who cannot attend. Lots of traditional talks are always appreciated – Sharn
  • Societies must continue to create and publish local indexes and stories but these need to made accessible outside society hours – Jill
  • This is interesting in local group where locals have worked tirelessly to raise funds for resources and for a building, local govt. library system looking at RecollectCMS to bring resources of all local heritage groups together.  I think it is a great idea! – Carmel
  • Is it dangerous when the same people stay in leadership roles for too long? – ANZ
  • The most successful societies have members who think ahead and ask the membership for their views – Hilary
  • Societies need to make sure they remain relevant by at least putting indexes online. Meetings often not scheduled for times that workers are able to attend, workers also time poor. Online memberships, classes/speakers online. This has taken off during Covid. – Seonaid
  • They need to advertise opening times etc and contact names and numbers especially if people are travelling and want to visit a FHS relating to their ancestors – Sue
  • As long as societies continue to send out newsletters, list of publications and advertise upcoming events online or otherwise, people will remain interested. – Sharn
  • Members expect something for their money but they don’t all want to give anything maybe FHS should have a contract for members – Hilary
  • Societies need digital savvy members especially if they are adding their images and objects to museum type databases. Also if they are creating their own databases from local papers etc – Sue
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  • Some of our members run fantastic Facebook Pages / Groups for their #OnePlaceStudies and (in some cases) associated societies, which are great for engagement. Love the idea of producing a biennial book using the shared stories and photos!
  • Societies will wither and die if they don’t move into the 20th century. They must embrace the Facebook generation with a social media presence and online resources and learning activities that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. – Jill
  • We need to recognise that times change and people’s attitudes change and we need to be cognisant of that on many levels. The word Society/Group can imply exclusivity and I think we need to be more aware of this. – ANZ
  • There exists in some #FamilyHistory societies an idea that resources bought with group funds should only be for members’ use. Let’s share our goodies! They may be the bait that attracts new members. – Jill
  • Genealogy societies don’t always have to meet face-to-face – we’ve seen that this year more than any other. In fact, the necessity of virtual meetings has been of great benefit to members who have impaired mobility or live remotely. – Maggie
  • Societies play an important social role in the community. They need to host casual events that encourage conversation and collaboration. – Jill
  • Family History Societies need to move with the times to recruit younger members too many stuck in the past – Hilary
  • Societies need to think about the audience they are trying to attract and what these people are looking for in a society. They need to review their members skills to see if they have members that can develop “products” can match these needs. – Fran
  • During the Queensland sesquicentenary in 2009 many societies undertook volunteer activities seeking submissions from family members about their pioneers. Many of these databases and stories are underutilised by those who simply don’t know they exist. – Pauleen
  • I think resources need to be shared but there is nothing wrong with Societies charging a research fee or having resources behind a members wall. More importantly they need to tell others what they have. Love online family history society catalogues – Shauna
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Personal highs and lows in membership

  • I wanted to join a local society. Was told I had to be sponsored by a member. I was new to town and knew nobody. The person at desk could not recommend a member to do it. I didn’t join. This is the kind of attitude that will cause societies to die out – Jennifer
  • It’s why I’ve dropped membership of some societies – too hard to renew! Not being able to pay easily (and automatically) online. – Maggie
  • I really don’t like Facebook groups. Sometimes the anonymity brings out the worst in people. – Brooke
  • My first meeting no one spoke to me even though I had phoned to say I was coming. I didn’t go back until there was an open meeting. Gave up after a few months. – Margaret
  • I belong to a couple long term plus some online forums … particularly focused on supporting ancestorian.com at the moment because it has lots of potential … members of all ages there – Jane
  • A society where the general meeting is only held with committee members and no one else welcomed…or maybe that was my perception. Societies should not be closed clubs – Pauleen
  • Our local society usually introduces visitors and new members at the beginning of the monthly meetings. Nice touch, I feel. – Maggie
  • I volunteer Fridays at local library helping with family history and always mention the local FHS where there are more resources than can be found online – Sue
  • The opportunity to mix with like-minded enthusiasts is a big advantage. Tech help and DNA and other Special Interest Groups societies can help expand a member’s confidence with technology and point them in the direction of appropriate research strategies. – Pauleen
  • I’m from a regional area, and have been able to attend many virtual conferences and sessions this year. I’ve loved them – Jennifer
  • When the Sorell group opened a Facebook group, suddenly numbers in the society went up dramatically but they don’t come to meetings, but communicate through the Facebook group. Sharing photos and stories that go into a biennial book. – Sue
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  • It is my humble opinion that #QFHS #ANZAncestryTime has gone above and beyond to support their members during this difficult time. Adapting to new technology quickly, communicating regularly with members and encouraging those less technologically savvy to take up the challenge. – Alex
  • More Zoom meetings including special interest groups so I am doing more than if I had to travel places – Shauna
  • Shoutout to #Hawkesbury #FamilyHistory Group in my ancestors’ area. A collaboration between the local library and FH group that makes resources available during long library opening hours – Jill
  • During COVID able to keep volunteering with local society but not with local library. Opportunities to enhance the group’s collections online in members only website – Carmel
  • Where do I begin? My home society #QFHS let me volunteer in the following areas: bookshop convenor, indexing, transcribing headstones, teaching, library asst, writing journal articles. So many ways. – Alex
  • I love the journals that are published by family history societies. They can be very helpful for research. – Jennifer
  • Our local one does a broad range of things. I like it that many of the talks are about things I would never think to go to and rarely find them uninteresting – Fran
  • Shoutout to #LakeMacquarie Family History Group, My local Society. As a newbie to the area membership has given me an entree to the local community – Jill

How have FHS helped in your ancestor research or your research skills

Sharn: Specialist societies which have information about trades, particular locations and local history have been invaluable in my overseas family history research

Maggie P: Irish special interest group of NZSG- I have been helped in specific ways for my specific research needs. Putting Peggy instead of Margaret in a search turned up my grt-grandmother’s baptism.

Brooke: Not a family history society as such, but there is a historical group in a small town in Suffolk, called Haughley. They have been so helpful, including putting me in touch with cousins.

Willsman/Denman ONS: The local one so I could attend meetings, and several FHS from where my ancestors came from, including @TheSDFHS, @devonfhs, @GlamorganFHS. Local FHS are great – all that local knowledge

Marian: I joined a small #FamilyHistory society in the US state of Indiana and a kind member volunteered to photograph gravestones in the local cemetery. Helped me identify more cousins I couldn’t previously connect to that ancestral line! Very grateful.

Pauleen: Seminars, workshops and Special Interest Groups have offered me great learning opportunities over the decades via the expertise of knowledgeable presenters. However, you also have to do your own wide research and reading to expand your knowledge

Fran: From NZSG does help my research with all the records that they have indexed over time.

Seonaid: Through membership of the NZ Society of Genealogists (NZSG) I’ve been to many awesome genealogy events. Fab speakers. Its really helped with my professional and personal development. I’ve made lots of friends and many professional contacts.

Jane: I am a member of the Guild of ONS as well … don’t have one but have contributed info to some

Sharn: Being a member of a family history society has provided greater access to their records. And the sharing of information between members has increased my own knowledge.

Carmel: SA genealogy has all the BDMs as well as several other databases for members, transcriptions quite cheap for members

Sue: Have found family files at local FHS which you can copy or scan with your camera or ipad

Maggie: Most of the societies I have joined offer either offline research help, useful genealogy publications, virtual and onsite presentations, or a mix of these. Local knowledge is king!

Sharn: At Rootstech this year I joined the Hampshire FH Society because I am researching a house and the part it played in WW2. A member’s grandfather had memories of the secret runway AMAZING

Paul: I have benefited greatly over the years from the many different societies that I have joined, you can’t beat that in depth local knowledge. People have kindly carried out look ups, taken photos of graves, houses etc, so kind and helpful

Sharn: I have found an English society called The Mills Archive Trust invaluable in my research into my ancestors who were millers in Lincolnshire. I would not have understood milling and mills had it not been for this society

Sharn: I am a member of the One Place Society and the Surname Society. It’s amazing what you can learn from others’ research

Alex: My favourite is Yass and District Historical society – great for my convict ancestors

Hilary: Membership of the Guild of One Name Studies has been most beneficial for me

Sue: I am a member of the Sorell Historical Society because I taught at the school there for 20 years and would often use their resources when teaching local history. Their facebook group is great

Pauleen: Just recently I was contacted by a cousin whose branch I’d failed to track down – all because the local society knew me and referred her to me. Very happy with that!

Jennifer: I joined Bedfordshire FHS many years ago. A member went to the archives and copied documents then sent them to me. We are still in touch., That was really great

Interesting links

Join us on Sunday to hear from Orkney Family History Society and Borders Family History Society. We start at 6 pm EDT live from #Scotland The full schedule will be added to scottishindexes.com soon.

Coming up on @SocAustGen in January yours truly on the AJCP via @TroveAustralia – Carmel

Cooray-Noosa website – up-to-date and looks 21st century

My Ancestors website with links to lots of Family History groups

Ancestorian website with links to posts from members of different FHS around UK mainly but starting to include Australian and New Zealand links – Family history social network

National Library Australia has links to FHS groups

Found this list of Facebook groups and other genealogy groups a few years ago, but they are updated. You’ll notice Alona has an Aussie list

Think I might need to join Society of Australian Genealogists for their seminars etc.

New Zealand Society of Genealogists has a great looking website

Lots of information on the front page of the Queensland Family History website

South Australia Genealogy also includes shopping cart

Cora Web has lists of Aussie FHS

Cyndi’s List has many groups mentioned especially for USA

Family History Federation for those groups in the UK

Post by Paul about joining a FHS

Great quotes

We need to remember that genealogy groups are for everyone – they are not senior citizens clubs – Jill

I hope that the personal, face-2-face factor and a welcoming environment make the difference. Online databases are all very well but you need the personal element. Societies need to make sure they are non-threatening & inclusive. – Alex

Readers: Are you a member of a family history society? What are the benefits of being a member? How do they help with your family history research?