Finding People in New Zealand

The sunny weather is proving to be a distraction when it comes to working on the family tree. That and The Ashes, the Tour de France, Wimbledonand the need to work on assignments… Yes, procrastination is the thief of time.

I've been working, on and off, trying to find death dates for thoseMeluselah people I mentioned last time.

For my New Zealand relatives I use:

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online, (a free site) for finding "births at least 100 years ago, stillbirths if registered at least 50 years ago, marriages that occurred at least 80 years ago anddeathsthat occurred at least 50 years ago or the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago". Lately, the deceased person's date of birth has been listed which helps fill in gaps on the tree, otherwise their age at death is given which allows an estimated year of birth.

PapersPast, (another free site) is excellent as it has digitised newspapers covering the years 1839 to 1945. A search produces results that can be refined according to the searcher's requirement. Actual images appear and there's the option to view computer-generated text, very handy in adding the information to the family tree program.

When I have exhausted those two avenues, New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, 1853-1981on Ancestry is my next port of call (it is a subscription site). Using that I am able to locate people's residences and occupations every three years from the electoral rolls. During the depression and during the two World Wars some elections were deferred, but finding a person on the rolls and her/his last recorded residence allows an easier search for cemetery records.

Most New Zealand local bodies have uploaded their cemetery records online. Some even include photographs of the graves with close-ups of headstones or cremation plaques. These, too, are available to view for free and can be found using a search engine.

Archives New Zealand, is a handy site for finding a range of material. The search result indexes allow for a researcher to order copies of documents. Alternatively, the relevant archive can be visited where the document/s can be viewed. A reference number is provided on the website. Lately Archives NZ have been uploading WWI soldiers records which can be downloaded as PDF files. Some of them make heartbreaking reading. There are all sorts of records to provide clues for further research.

There are some excellent sites for finding migrants. Ancestry, mentioned above, is useful as are the newspapers but free migration site I use regularly are:

New Zealand Yesteryears,

Petone Settlers database,

Passenger Lists,

New Zealand Bound,

Victoria University of Wellington Library's New Zealand Electronic Text Collections"comprises significant New Zealand and Pacific Island texts and materials held by Victoria University of Wellington Library". It is great as a general resource but I particularly like its Index of Ships,

It's always worth going back over members of the tree and re-searching as online information is being updated and improved all the time. Online information is super for finding rellies, then the relevant documents can be ordered and/or archives visited to give real validity to findings.

Jan Powell