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?], File Reference 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.

Also, check out our eResources on the right of your screen including 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 our Family History Centre at Central Library ManchesterCentral Library Peterborough, the library at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre, Upper Riccarton Library and Fendalton Library.

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.