Using Find My Past for Aussie and NZ research

As a lot of Aussie and NZ research relates to our ancestors from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, a great database to use is Find My Past. But there are also lots of Aussie/NZ records on the database.

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What Australian and NZ records have you found helpful on Find My Past?

Reasons why I like the site, + ways in which it’s better than the opposition: bit.ly/2Hxp1Ad. I’ve had a subscription for over 10yrs & I use it constantly.

Ooh so many records to choose from. I probably have found the electoral rolls the most useful (our Census substitute) but there are lots of others e.g. school records and railway records. Check out QFHS datasets on FMP here findmypast.com.au/content/about-…

Being busy at work my FMP membership lapsed so have to use library versions when I need it. Checked my saved images and winners are AUS and NZ results are passenger records.

When using FMP I found it useful to help locate NZ BDM information or Electoral Rolls. From what I remember they have a large variety of the less usual databases / lists so a check of the catalogue confirmed this. Thinking I better join up again.

Haven’t used @findmypast very much but now I have dad’s family there from early 20th century, I will certainly look at their records more carefully.

I have found FMP invaluable for both Australian and NZ research – Birth, death, marriage, Qld Schools, NSW Govt Gazettes, Wills, Military Records, Convicts, Pioneer records and more.

I’ve had a FMP subscription for ages but haven’t used it as much as I could have until recently. I’ve found a huge amount of information there. Electoral rolls and QFHS records

I have tended to use FMP more for English research until recently Jennifer but I have been exploring the Australia/ NZ records more recently. Having a tree on FMP helps and hints are fairly accurate

Sometimes a bit freaky when you get an email saying ” we know you were searching for Mr X, you might be interested in this” LOL

It just means that the records come to you so to speak via hints which I find more accurate than on other sites

I get those all the time after I have found a record on the 1881 Census, usually one of the other Census records. Their cookies must be rather good.

I haven’t yet had a sub to FindMyPast. I use it mainly for the 1881 Census (which is free) for my @WikiTreers profiles. Once I finish my projects, I plan to take a sub for a time to see what I find.

I have been a bit more focused on UK records on FMP lately but am interested to hear what others have found useful for Aus and NZ

The birth, marriage and death indexes are great, plus the electoral rolls and military records – these are my go-to record sets. The sheep returns are another fab resource, and @findmypast has a few more than Ancestry. Pays to check who has what.

I haven’t seen the sheep returns Maggie but with quite a few sheep farmers in NZ in the past (South Island) I will now have a look

For NZ records I use BDM Online, Ancestry for Electoral Rolls, Wilson Collection, Papers Past, Archway, etc. I don’t know what they have that I can’t access elsewhere.

I spent all weekend diving into FMP They have many more records than I realised and some more unusual records. I found lots of information I hadn’t previously come across

Queensland Licences, Qld Land Records and Qld Early Pioneers has been really helpful for my Qld research

I’ve just discovered a Queenslander in the family. He bought up many pastoral leases so I’ve been looking into FMP land records. So much info there

I sometimes find if you cannot find something another site might help. Especially when indexing/ transcription errors have occurred. With electoral rolls different sites index different dates and other years are image view only so multiple sites can help.

I just dial up the Electoral Rolls and go looking. Amazing who I find. I am looking at the originals, so no transcription errors.

There’s a few niche record sets there, good to have a look through.

FMP has 340 AUS and NZ record sets. findmypast.com.au/search/histori…

I have found the Queensland school pupil indexes really helpful in tracing families that moved around

I discovered my grandparents knew each other as young children through Qld school records

Cemetery transcriptions on FMP are a bonus!

More SA records on FMP than the others, in particular I like the search for the electoral rolls and SA Govt Gazettes, also has emigrants applying for free passage to SA not available elsewhere

I’ve found convict/prisoner records on FMP helpful. It’s always good to remember that convict admin made multiple copies of prison, court, shipping records. Look at them all. There are slight differences ie more information.

I think the first time I used FMP I found the 1928 passenger list for my grandmother’s migration to Australia.

I discovered NZ jury records on FMP this weekend past. I found the NZ Women’s Suffrage records fascinating.

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Do you have a family tree on Find My Past? Are the hints useful and accurate?

Helen Smith has written a great article on using @findmypast for Australian research: findmypast.com.au/blog/family-re…

No I don’t. I mainly use it for searching

Yes but only a teeny weeny one. Because it is so tiny and the info so thin there aren’t many hints. I need to work on this area. Sigh. So many trees to maintain…..

That is the problem isn’t it Alex. I tend to update more my Ancestry tree then if it gets much larger than the FMP tree and I don’t have time to tend to those and family Tree Maker

No, too much else on my to-do list which I want to finish this year (not only genealogy). Then I hope to do so

I have a tree on FMP and so far the hints I get are really accurate. I like how they put the % of accuracy and you can start with those that are most accurate.

Not really, but I accessed FMP for free thru my local library for last 18 months (thanks covid) & find the search results much easier to scan than Ancestry. Miss it. Time to take out my own sub

Yes I have an old tree. Never had problems with the hints that I can remember although I try to focus on what I am researching and often leave hints.

I have several trees on Findmypast. This weekend I uploaded my Living DNA results to FMP as well

I have found the hints on Findmypast to be far more accurate than on other sites. But a tedious process saving them

Yes, I have 2 trees on FMP. Generally the hints are fairly accurate (not always) except in the case of hints from other people’s tree which can be ‘hit and miss’

I have a couple of family trees on Findmypast – at the moment they’re mostly for fishing on brickwalls, and the hints have generally pretty good. I need to build the trees up more to take better advantage.

Passing on to our England & Wales Interest Group that are talking about the 1921 Census tomorrow. With regard charges of £2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image. Does this mean if you want both it is £6?

Feeling a right geneabunny at the moment. I uploaded a tree to FMP in March of this year and completely forgot about it. Just looked and there are hints and hints and hints

I have just realised you can filter your hints so you only get census or BDM – makes it easier to add to just one person

I find it time-consuming to go through them, but occasionally there are hidden gems! I don’t mind them, just ignore till I have time to review them

I have family trees on FMP – I like the idea of fishing in all ponds and hence FMP is not necessarily as my starting point but it is an essential element and I like all the record sets on FMP – I’ve been learning about Scottish records in particular this year

Fishing in all the ponds is a good idea. I think that’s why I added my tree to FMP. Just don’t know why I completely forgot about it,

I like searching across as many sites as possible when I can’t find someone. Found my 3x ggrandfather in 1841 census on FamilySearch, not on the other sites.

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Which other countries on FMP are especially useful when researching? Why? What is unique to FMP?

Tbh my research is very UK focussed so I’d probably use English and Welsh records the most. Census and bdm records would be my focus. I think the 1939 Register is unique to FMP yes?

They had it first, but now available on Ancestry as well. FMP have the address search which is very useful.

I have found FMP very useful for most of my ancestors as many come from Essex, London and Cornwall. From memory Census and BDM for these areas are good.

Ireland is my other country apart from Australia. Occasionally England and I like the digitised newspapers.

Thinking that the British Newspaper collection means I do need to rejoin. I never seem to have time to get to the library.

I LOVE the English records on Findmypast. They are wonderful. Image quality for census records is superior too in my opinion and fewer transcription errors

Over the last few months I have been all over those Catholic registers – Diocese of Southwark, and Scotland. Such a huge help in tackling some brickwalls, absolutely love love love them!

Plus great for Irish records, and the British newspaper collection.

I have also used the 1939 register to trace descendants from common ancestors in England to sort out DNA matches. That has been most useful.

I find 1939 useful for this purpose also. Having a household, even if they are hidden does help.

I use for English #FamilyHistory research a lot. Sometimes for US records too but limited compared to Ancestry

I think the other records on FMP would be more useful so the newspapers is a bonus. I just worry I am missing out on learning about their lives by sticking to BDM, dry facts and dates.

The 1939 Register on FMP has my g uncle listed as Rex Hoyes correctly while Ancestry has him transcribed as Rose Hayes. transcription is important for finding things

One of my best Irish newspaper finds was the death notice for my GGG grandfather Robert Fagan. It also said American papers please copy. Explains some of those DNA matches

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What functionality on the Findmypast website have you found helpful when researching? What would be on your wishlist for the future?

I like the advanced searching where you can list another person’s name in the census. Useful for common name families.

hmmm I suspect it is easier to do a broader search on census documents on FMP rather than Ancestry i.e. I think you can search by address rather than just name but I may be barking up the wrong tree here.

I seem to remember that when you searched I documents you had already reviewed were marked. It saves rechecking the same record. If this is not available then it is the improvement I would like to see. Icons for downloaded and attached to a person.

I have FMP open and there are features I haven’t used or didn’t know were there. I tend to be focused on searching and have not been using FMP as effectively as I could. #ANZAncestryTime More on the to do list!

I think that because we have used the archives and local FHS here in Australia we tend to forget about online records Shauna

I love the address search on the censuses and the 1939 register. Also that every search field is optional – was great to search on just occupation when I was looking for a missing jeweller!

For house history research the address search on the censuses is invaluable #ANZAncestryTime (taking into consideration that street numbers can change)

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Great comments:

Worth signing up to Findmypast’s newsletter – they always publish new or updated record sets on Fridays. Sometimes there’ll be nothing applicable to your family research, but sometimes there is!

I find these types of updates useful for my society FB posts. It means I can quickly see new AUS or NZ records.

Thanks for this great discussion about FMP tonight. I’ve learnt lots and am looking forward to trying out all your hints and tips into action

Readers: Have you used FindMyPast for your Aussie or New Zealand research? Did you find something unusual?

 

Researching family in New Zealand?

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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.

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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?