Family History – Where to Next?

Captain Thomas White (1810-1896) and family, Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula
Captain Thomas White (1810-1896) and family, Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula

Once you have worked your way through our Beginner’s Guide and looked through our Finding Family Information pages, it is time to look further afield at other national and international organisations who may have the information you are looking for.

Christchurch groups

Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga, specialises in Christchurch and Canterbury family history information, with some national resources. For international resources there are several local groups and organisations who hold a wide range of material.

Contact details of local genealogical groups are provided from the CINCH database including these:

National Resources

Other organisations who may be able to assist in your search for New Zealand family history information include:

A busy spot in Christchurch, at the junction of High and Cashel Streets : in the centre is the Hallensteins Building.
A busy spot in Christchurch, at the junction of High and Cashel Streets. [1913]

New Zealand Society of Genealogists

Local branches:

Check the national website of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists for further information.

Special Interest Groups

The New Zealand Society of Genealogists supports a range of special interest groups. These groups create and collect various resources for their areas of interest. Contact details are provided at the links below:


You may get to a stage that you want to hire an independent researcher to conduct research outside of your local area or country of residence. Many family history groups will know of researchers who practice in their area. The New Zealand Society of Genealogists may be able to help for the wider New Zealand area and will be able to link you to their international counterparts. Other international organisations, archival collections and libraries may provide links of researchers for their local area as well.

Christchurch City Libraries also offers a research service, for a maximum of 2 hours research time. We provide a quote before beginning the research, and payment is to be made in advance.

International Resources

Our holdings

The old sod whare on the Sumner Road near the Heathcote Bridge, Christchurch
The old sod whare on the Sumner Road near the Heathcote Bridge, Christchurch [1910?]
Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga, focuses on family history resources for New Zealand, with the primary focus being the Canterbury and Christchurch geographic region.


There is also a small collection of international genealogy resources, including BurkesDebretts, parish maps of the British Isles, and more.

Family history eResources

We provide access to many online eResources for your research and recreational needs. Family History eResources include the following:

Ancestry Library Edition

LogoAncestry Library Edition is an international family history database, with more than 1.5 billion names from over 4,000 collections.
Access this at any of our libraries.
Ancestry Library Edition includes records from:

  • United Kingdom and Ireland Census Collection
  • Birth, Marriage and Death Records Collection
  • Family and Local History Collection
  • US Federal Census Collection

Find My Past

Find my past logoFind My Past is a family history and genealogy website covering the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. It now also includes all the information previously found in the Origins family history database.
Access this at any of our libraries. Limited to four users at any one time.


MyHeritage -  Library edition can be used to trace, share and preserve your family history. Records are sourced from around the world.

You can use this at a library or from home using your library card and password / PIN

Newspapers and Magazine Archives

We also subscribe to a large array of historical newspapers which may be very useful in your family history search including Gale Primary Sources which searches across nineteen different archives in a single search. We also have British Library Newspapers.

Printed sources

British geographical dictionaries

Topographical dictionaries, a series published around 1825 - 1850 are available for:

Other works which will help with finding a family’s British background are:

The Bicycle Band
The Bicycle Band (ca. 1900)

Old parish registers

Old parish registers (OPRs) constitute the main source of information for the pre-1855 period in the United Kingdom. There were 900 parishes, the records vary in legibility and quality and, in the main, have not been indexed.

Further sources include tombstone inscriptions, wills, post office directories, armed services records and war registers.

Phillimore atlas and index of parish registers
Phillimore lists the English counties and tells the names of the parishes within those counties. Often people would name their parish as the place where they were born.
New Zealand Scottish directory
This work, published in New Zealand in 1996, lists the clans and families of Scotland and the names and addresses of organisations in this country which are interested in clans, Scottish history and genealogy. The directory is very much a beginner’s guide.
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