Escape into Family History

Finding the current COVID-19 crisis challenging? Being driven to distraction by your "bubble" companions? Exchange your present for the past, and your irritating relatives for less corporeal ancestors and get started on your family tree!

For family history newbies this is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the semi-sanity of the past and start to explore your family's origins. For older hands at the genealogical game there are still lots of opportunities to re-organise, re-focus and embellish your research to-date (more on this later).

If you've always wanted to find out more about your family but never had the time here are some top tips for getting started:

  • Read Christchurch City Libraries' handy-dandy Whakapapa Guide, opens a new window and Family History Guide., opens a new window The Beginner's Guide details first steps and the research principles behind successful family history.
  • Interrogate your family using the communication device of your choice. Collect family lore from your nearest and dearest and starting from you, work backwards.
  • Log-in to the Library Edition of Ancestry, opens a new window from home and for FREE with Christchurch City Libraries (Yes indeed, you can currently access Ancestry from the comfort of your own home. Just enter your library card details and PIN or password. If you need any help with this contact us. You can use Ancestry for New Zealand Electoral Rolls, Naturalisations, The New Zealand Police Gazette, Wises Directories, New Zealand Cemetery Records, Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes and oh much, much more!
  • Visit FamilySearch and access editable PDF pedigree charts and research logs, opens a new window. Record what you already know, what you find and where you found it. FamilySearch also hosts indexed New Zealand Passenger Lists and Probates, as well as other non-indexed gems. New Zealand content, opens a new window can be accessed without registration but you'll need to free register for global records.
  • Jump into Papers Past, opens a new window. This truly excellent site from the National Library of New Zealand offers access to digitised New Zealand newspapers with a host of essential family history info: birth, marriage, death and funeral notices, court pages (just in case you have naughty ancestors), business advertisements, news articles highlighting both the local and national news stories that pre-occupied the public of the day, bankruptcies, divorces and other assorted juicy tidbits. Read their help, opens a new window section and learn how to search smart.
  • MyHeritage, opens a new window Library Edition is also available for FREE and from home via the marvellousness of Christchurch City Libraries. My Heritage hosts over 2 billion family tree profiles plus records from around the world. This video tutorial, opens a new window from MyHeritage highlights the main resources available. Oh, and just a wee bit of advice, do take a pinch of salt with some of the posted family tree profiles. People make lots of mistakes in online trees and these errors tend to get proliferated, so read and consider but do your own brilliant research and don't just copy and paste.
  • In late breaking news Find My Past, opens a new window is now also FREE and accessible to Christchurch City Libraries members from home using your library card and PIN or password details (Oh happy day!). Find My Past has New Zealand birth, marriage and death indices, jury rolls, electoral rolls and many other small New Zealand data sets. It is also an excellent site for Australian records and outward bound passenger lists from the UK 1890-1960 and again, oodles more.

More Resources

Catalogue record for Traces eMagazineCatalogue record for Who do you think you are? eMagazineCatalogue record for Tracing your pre-Victorian ancestors eBookCatalogue record for Genealogy: Fourth editionCatalogue record for Tracing your family history on the InternetCatalogue record for Tracing your Great War ancestors: Ypres