New Zealand Genealogy Records
Below is a list and description of the most recent genealogy records for New Zealand (see list of most recent records for other countries). Many of these records can be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
Aukland – FamilySearch.org has indexed the burial records from Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland. This is New Zealand’s largest cemetery and since 1908 it has served as the main cemetery for the Auckland region. The records in this collection span the years from 1886 (when the cemetery was first established) to 1948. There are roughly 27,000 records in this collection.
A typical burial record (see image below) lists the name of the deceased, age, date and place of death and burial, occupation, cause of death, place of birth, religion and years in the province. Please note that if you happen to be looking through historic documents that the original spelling of the cemetery was Waikomiti. These records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [Waikumete Cemetery Records]
National – The popular New Zealand website Papers Past is testing a new beta version of the website. The objective is to improve the search tools and provide more kinds of content. For those who are not familiar with Papers Past, it is the definitive source for researching historic New Zealand newspapers. It has over four million pages of digitized content.
The website now also has historic magazines and journals, letters and diaries and parliamentary papers. It is run by the National Library of New Zealand. The website can be searched by keyword (like name), date range and title. Did we mention that it is free? [Papers Past]
National – FindMyPast has put online a small but important collection of New Zealand registered teachers for the year 1906. The collection is from an official government list of some 4,000 teachers and includes the teacher’s name, gender, district position, school name and level of qualification. The collection can be searched by first name, last name and district or region. Access is by subscription. [New Zealand 1906 Teachers List]
National – This week, FindMyPast has added some 3 million more birth, marriage and death index records from New Zealand. The birth and marriage indexes cover records from 120 or more years ago. The death index covers anyone who died at least 50 years ago. Please note these are indexes only and contain only basic information such as (for the birth index) name, year of birth, mother’s name, father’s name and registration number. Access is by subscription. [New Zealand Birth Index]
Alternatively, you can go to the official New Zealand government website to order the full official birth, marriage and death records, which can be searched by family name or registration number (which the FindMyPast index will provide). Information available includes:
• Births that occurred at least 100 years ago (50 years ago for stillborn births).
• Marriages that occurred at least 80 years ago.
• Deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago (or for anyone who died and was born at least 80 years ago).
There is no cost to search the records but there is a charge to receive a copy of the official legal document. [Official Historic New Zealand Birth Marriage Death Records]
National – FamilySearch has added another 770,000 images to their collection of New Zealand probate records. This collection spans the years from 1843 to 1998. Some of the records are already indexed and can be searched by first name, last name, probate place and year. Access is free. [New Zealand Probate Records]
National – Ancestry.com.au has added some 1.6 million cemetery records. These records span the years from 1800 to 2007 and come from a collection created by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists. It currently contains records from some 1350 to 1400 cemeteries and funeral directors. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, year and location. Access is by subscription. [[New Zealand Cemetery Records]
National – FamilySearch.org has added some 71,000 images to its collection of New Zealand probate records. This collection spans the years from 1843 to 1998 (although records issued during the past 50 years are not available for online viewing). This collection lists wills and other associated legal documents used to transfer property and possessions of a deceased person. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, place and year. Access is free. [New Zealand Probate Records]
National – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 145,000 probate records from various probate courts throughout New Zealand. This collection spans the years from 1848 to 1991. It can be searched by first and last name and the place and year of probate. Access is free. [Historic New Zealand Probate Records]
National – Archives New Zealand and the National Library have put online the World War I service files of some 141,000 individuals. This collection constitutes essentially of all of the WWI service records in the government’s possession. Many of the service records are several pages long and contain detailed information on each soldier (see examples below). This collection is part of the government’s WW100 centenary program. The service records can be searched by name or service number. [New Zealand WWI Service Records]
National – FamilySearch.org has added an additional 3.7million indexed records of New Zealand passenger records to their existing collection. These passenger lists cover the years from 1839 to 1973. This collection includes both inbound and outbound passengers at various ports in New Zealand and covers the peak migration period of the 1870s. A form of identification was required by all passengers before they were allowed to embark on the ship so these records tend to be fairly accurate (notwithstanding the usual spelling errors and typos of the ship officers who were responsible for handwriting the names into the registers). These records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [New Zealand Ship Passenger Records]
National – The National Archives of Australia and the New Zealand Archives have joined forces to create a new website called Discovering Anzacs. The objective is to create a profile of every Anzac who enlisted in World War I complete with their service record. People can also contribute their own personal family stories and photographs as well as help transcribe war diaries and service records. The brief video below describes the process. Access is free. [Discovering Anzacs]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has put online a new collection of some 113,000 names from the registers of medical practitioners and nurses from New Zealand. This collection covers the years from 1882 to 1933. The collection can be searched by name and location. A typical listing gives the name of the individual, their qualifications and their location. This list covers physicians, surgeons, nurses and midwives. Access is by subscription. [Historic New Zealand Medical Practitioners]
National – New Zealand has launched their commemorative website devoted to remembering the events of World War One. It is full of excellent information concerning New Zealand’s involvement in the war, including the incredible fact that 10% of the country’s population at the time was serving overseas. If you have New Zealand ancestors, this is a website that you will want to bookmark and return to on a regular basis. Access is free. [New Zealand World War One Website]
National – Ancestry has updated their database of New Zealand city and area directories. Ancestry does not provide any details on the update, but the database now contains some 6.9 million names. City directories are one of the best ways to search for ancestors because they can help identify where a person lived at a particular time. City directories often serve as a substitute census record and can also help fill in the gaps between two censuses. Access to this collection is by subscription. [New Zealand City Directories]
National - FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 2.7 million immigration records for New Zealand. These are ship passenger lists from 1855 to 1973. These records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [New Zealand Ship Passenger Lists]
New Zealand – Ancestry.com.au has added some New Zealand local histories to their online collections. These are essentially historical books containing information of interest to genealogists. Included in the new collection are the Cyclopedia of New Zealand (1897 to 1906) and the New Zealand Registered Ships and Owners (1840 to 1950). The link provides a complete list of the new books. Access is by subscription. [New Zealand Local Histories]
National – FindMyPast.com.au has just added another 56 million genealogical records covering Australia and New Zealand. This brings the total for the website to over 135 million records. The records consist primarily of census records, land records and survey records in addition to the usual birth, marriage and death records. Access is by subscription or pay-as-you-go. [Australian and New Zealand Genealogy Records] We feel compelled to mention that the Genealogy Search Engine also has just as many Australian and New Zealand genealogy records and it is free.
National – GenealogyInTime Magazine has added 400 million new records to their two free search engines. The Genealogy Search Engine (which covers ancestral records) now searches an additional 100 million more records, while the Family Tree Search Engine (which covers genealogy forums and online family trees) searches approximately 300 million more records.
In total, the two search engines now cover 5.7 billion records across more than 1,000 different websites (split between the Genealogy Search Engine covering 1.9 billion records and the Family Tree Search Engine covering 3.8 billion records – there is no overlap of records between the two search engines).
GenealogyInTime Magazine now gets over 40,000 queries per month for the two search engines. This makes them one of the most popular alternatives to the FamilySearch website for people wanting to look for free ancestral records. Significant holdings exist for the United States, Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand with minor holdings for the Caribbean, South America and South Africa.
Some of the highlights of the latest addition to the Genealogy Search Engine include:
• 55 million new records for the United States and 6 million new records for Canada. These are primarily ancestral records held in digital archives of public libraries and universities across North America. Many of these new records are historic photographs.
• 23 million new records for England, Ireland and Scotland. These are primarily twentieth century obituaries.
•14 million new records for Europe. These are primarily birth/marriage/death records from Central and Eastern Europe.
• 2 million more ship passenger records.
In this latest release, the search routines for both search engines have also been strengthened to provide better results. In addition, the number of returned records for a search query has been increased from 8 pages to 10 pages. Finally, results are delivered even faster than before.
Access to both search engines is free and the underlying records are also free. [Genealogy Search Engine] [Family Tree Search Engine] GenealogyInTime Magazine also has a number of genealogy articles to help you become better at online genealogy searches.
GenealogyInTime Magazine is now the world’s most popular online genealogy magazine. It is also now the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world (according to Alexa, the internet traffic people, the largest free genealogy websites in order are FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Geni, GeneaNet and GenealogyInTime Magazine).
National – FamilySearch.org has added an additional 384,000 images from probate cases from the Archives of New Zealand. The collection is now comprised of some 743,000 images that can be browsed by district and then name. The probate cases span the years 1878 to 1960. Most of the records are handwritten wills and affidavits (see image below). Access is free. [Historic New Zealand Probate Records]
National – FamilySearch.org has added 366,000 searchable records of New Zealand immigration passenger lists. These lists span the years 1855 to 1973. Most of the records are for passengers arriving from the British Isles, although there are some records from Western Europe, Asia and Polynesia. The records are basically the ship’s list of passengers that was prepared at time of departure and then handed to New Zealand authorities upon arrival.
A typical record lists the ship, date of arrival, port of arrival as well as the name, occupation and country of origin of the passenger. Since these handwritten records were prepared by the shipping companies (instead of government officials trained in neat handwriting), they can sometimes be hard to read. Alternatively the records can also be browed by port of arrival. Access is free. [Historic New Zealand Passenger Lists]
National – FamilySearch has significantly increased their New Zealand probate record collection. These are digital records from local courts throughout New Zealand for the period 1878 to 1960. The collection now covers some 143,000 images. This collection comes from the Archives of New Zealand website, which you can search to find the probate file number associated with a name. You then use this probate file number to find the appropriate images in the FamilySearch collection. Access is free. [New Zealand Probate Records]
Commonwealth - Ancestry.co.uk has published details on the 880,000 soldiers who received Silver War Badges (SWB) in World War I. These were small, circular badges made of silver, with the king’s initials, a crown and the inscription ‘For King and Empire’ and ‘Services Rendered’ (see image below). They were granted to soldiers who had been honourably discharged from the war due to wounds or illness.
The SWB was intended to be worn with civilian cloths (it was forbidden to be worn on a military uniform). The SWB was given to discharged soldiers to prevent them being accosted by women with white feathers (a symbol of cowardice), which were presented to able-bodied men on the home front who were not wearing a uniform. This collection includes SWBs given to soldiers across the Commonwealth. A typical record lists name, rank, regiment number, unit, date of enlistment, date of discharge and reason for discharge. Many service records from World War I were lost. If you suspect this may have happened with your ancestor, then you should check this collection. Sometimes, the SWB record is the only record of military service that survived the Great War. Access is by subscription. [Silver War Badge Service Records]
Commonwealth – GenesReunited.co.uk has added about 1.3 million military records from various Commonwealth countries. The records date from the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902) and World War I (1914 to 1918). Include are the following collections: lists of the men and women who fought during the Second Anglo-Boer war; Commonwealth soldiers who died in WWI; Royal Navy officer’s medal role (1914 to 1920) and New Zealand World War I male and female service personnel. Access is by subscription [Commonwealth World War I Military Records]
National – Ancestry.com.au has launched a major new collection for New Zealand that spans 20 million family history records. The six components to the collection include the New Zealand Electoral Rolls (1853-1981), Canterbury Provincial Rolls (1868-1874), Jury Lists (1842-1862), Mãori Voter Rolls (1908 & 1919), Mãori Land Claims (1858-1980) and New Zealand Naturalisations (1843-1981). Most of the records come from Anne Bromell, who spent many years preserving and converting important New Zealand genealogy records to microfilm. The electoral rolls in particular serve as a good substitute for census records for anyone who has experienced difficulty tracing their New Zealand ancestors. Access is by subscription. [Historic New Zealand Electoral Rolls]
National – FamilySearch has added 144,500 new records from immigration passenger lists dating from 1839 to 1973. Access is free. [Historic New Zealand Passenger Lists]
2010 July to December
National – FamilySearch has beefed up their immigration passenger list collection, with over 450,000 new records added for the period 1871 to 1915. Access is free. [New Zealand Passenger Lists 1871-1915]
National – Papers Past, the New Zealand National Library’s website of historic newspapers has added eight more historic New Zealand newspapers to its online collection. This brings the total collection to 61 publications spanning the years 1839 to 1945. The more than one million pages of digitized newspapers are from all regions of New Zealand. Papers Past has also enhanced its search capabilities, including the new ability to perform complex Boolean searches (using AND & OR operators). As well, a new zoom feature is available that allows a higher magnification look at page images. Access is free. [New Zealand Historic Newspapers 1839-1945]
National – A collaboration between Archives New Zealand and FamilySearch has resulted in some 300,000 pages of New Zealand maritime immigration records going online over the next couple of months. These are essentially passenger manifesto lists going back into the 1800s. Typical data includes passenger name, ship name, arrival date and port of arrival. About 10% of these immigration records have already been put online and the balance will be completed by the end of 2010. This is big news for anyone with New Zealand ancestors. One of the most difficult challenges for New Zealand genealogists has always been to determine when ancestors actually arrived in New Zealand. Now an extensive list is available for the first time. [New Zealand Maritime Immigration Records]
New Zealand – The New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) has just released three major new sets of genealogy records. The record sets are available for sale by CD. The first CD combines the electoral rolls of 1881 (120,000 names), 1893 (300,000 names) and 1896 (330,000 names) into one searchable database. The database is linked to copies of electoral maps from the period and the database can be searched by name and year. The second CD lists (non-Maori) landowners in New Zealand in October 1882. This is a searchable PDF list giving the names, addresses and occupations of freehold landowners. The third CD is a compilation of obituaries that appeared in the Wellington Evening Post from 1929 to 1977. Each CD can be purchased separately. The NZGS also sells other useful CDs, such as an index listing 1.7 million people who were married between 1856 and 1956. [New Zealand Historic Electoral Rolls and Historic Wellington Obituaries]
2010 January to June
National – FamilySearch has updated their New Zealand immigration passenger lists from 1871 to 1915. Access is free. [New Zealand Immigration Passenger Lists 1871-1915]
National: The National Library of New Zealand has added several more digitized newspapers to its online collection called Papers Past. The site has now digitized 52 New Zealand newspapers containing over 14 million articles. Access is free. [free Historic New Zealand Newspapers]
National: The New Zealand government has launched a web site to search 11 million historical birth, death, marriage and civil union records. Birth and death records are available from 1848 and marriage records from 1854. Mãori marriage records are available from at least 1911 and birth & death records from at least 1913. Births must have occurred at least 100 years ago, deaths at least 50 years ago and marriages at least 80 years ago. People wanting access to more recent records must provide proof of identity and apply by fax, mail or in person. Access is by pay-per-record. [Historic New Zealand Birth, Marriage, Death Records 1848-present]