Family history guide

Discover your family’s history at our libraries

Family History
Captain Thomas White (1810-1896) and family, Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula [1864?],CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0027
Find out what New Zealand family history resources we hold or can access, the information you are going to find in those resources, and when you need to look elsewhere. Our main focus is Christchurch and Canterbury information from the 19th and early 20th century.

In addition to physical resources, Christchurch City Libraries also provides access to Family History eResources like Library Edition.

Beginners’ guide

How to begin your family history

The basic rules of research, answering specific questions about individuals and writing it all up.

Caring for family papers and photographs

A brief guide to caring for precious family records and links to further sources of information.

Family History Computers

There are dedicated research computers at:

Family history events

Browse family history events at the library.

Family history online sessions

Watch our Family history sessions on YouTube

Online Family History and research topics - Starting your family history with charts and trees

Finding family information

Starting points

Major life events

Next steps

Arriving and living in New Zealand.

Filling in the gaps

Extra details to add to your family history.

Where to next?

Where to next?
Links to other organisations and international information.


The New Zealand Family History pages focus on European resources, primarily Christchurch and Canterbury information, from the 19th and early 20th century.

For Māori information the best starting places are our Whakapapa guide - to resources within Christchurch City Libraries, and the other whakapapa links provided from our website.

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