Family history research from home

This list of Auckland Libraries family history resources will help you progress your research during lockdown. Our expert family history librarian Seonaid has provided great tips for getting the best results for your records from home.

Auckland Libraries family history research guides

Our family history research guide can help you get started if you are a beginner, or assist you with questions like:
  • What resources are available to help with finding records of births, deaths, and marriages? 
  • What research resources are available for New Zealand specific research?
  • When ordering an electronic printout of a birth, death and marriage, what information can I expect to receive for a birth that happened after 1875?
Our guides also cover further New Zealand resources, immigration records, international resources and more.

Historic births, deaths and marriages

The Department of Internal Affairs' Historic Births, Deaths and Marriages are usually one of the first ports of call when researching New Zealand relatives and ancestors. Top tips for finding records of births, deaths and marriages
  • When entering names, they must be spelled exactly as they are in the database. This can be frustrating if the names are spelled differently or mis-transcribed.
  • If you don't find the results you are expecting in this database, check other sources that include NZ births, deaths and marriages, such as Ancestry (currently fully available from home), FindmyPast (limited access from home) and FamilySearch (fully available from home). These databases do fuzzy searching which can help in the case of alternate spellings or mis-transcriptions. Often you might have to try all three, as their search engines all have different algorithms and name thesauruses.
    • Still struggling? Once libraries re-open you can double-check our microfiche index. This is the source of records that have been transcribed into Ancestry.
  • Once you've found the entry you want, use this information on the Department of Internal Affairs' Historic Births, deaths and marriages site to order the printout you require.
  • We recommend that family historians order the electronic printout rather than the certificate, as the electronic printout will be a copy of the original register with a greater amount of useful information.

Ancestry Library Edition

Auckland Libraries subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition, which has all the indexes and records available to individual Ancestry World Deluxe subscribers. The only limitation is that you cannot create a family tree or communicate with others who have family trees on Ancestry.

Normally this valuable asset is only available when you are inside an Auckland Libraries location via our public computers or accessing the portal on our website using library WiFi on your own device.

During the lockdown, Auckland Libraries has organised free access from home to those with an Auckland Libraries membership!

If you don’t currently have an Auckland Libraries membership, sign up for an eMembership now to gain immediate access.

Ancestry Library Edition holds records from all over the world and covers civil registrations, parish records, censuses, directories, military records, and so much more.

Notes on accessing Ancestry Library Edition:

Please use Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers to gain straight-forward access to Ancestry, with one sign in. If you are using Microsoft Edge you may experience being asked for a second sign in, and difficulty with accessing Ancestry.

Digitised newspapers

Newspapers are a rich resource for a lot more than just family notices. You can find news reports of historical crimes – information on victims, criminals and law enforcement, local gossip, coroners reports and inquests, passenger lists and more.

Auckland Libraries subscribes to a wealth of databases which archive digitised newspapers from around the world. Browse and read many of them from home with your Auckland Libraries membership.

Gems such as 19th century U.S. newspapers, Gale NewsVault - which includes newspapers from the 17th century, The Irish Times (1859 - 2015), The Scotsman (1817 - 1950), and the Times of India (1838 - 2007) are just a few of our newspaper databases.

Papers Past

The National Library of New Zealand is gradually digitising New Zealand's heritage newspapers, often with the help of community support and sponsorship from other organisations.

Papers Past includes newspapers from all around New Zealand from 1839 to 1950. As well as heritage New Zealand newspapers you will also find magazines and journals, letters and diaries, and Parliamentary papers.

Seonaid's favourite publication is the New Zealand Police Gazette 1877-1945, which you will find in magazines and journals. It’s a real gem, and an enthralling read on its own.

 For Australian heritage publications, Australia’s equivalent of Papers Past is Trove, a wonderful resource for Australia, as well as New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Kura Heritage Collections Online

Your local library, or the library local to your ancestors is your greatest treasure!

Kura Heritage Collections Online is the result of consolidating and collating data and images from the legacy databases created by the various Councils and Libraries prior to Auckland Council's formation. Our digitisation team are always adding more legacy documents, manuscripts and images and digitising and indexing new content.

 Kura gives you access to cemetery records, including the C. Little and Sons Funeral Cards; photograph collections, and indexes that lead to great genealogical information such as Passenger and Vessels lists, the Old Colonists Association Register, Address to Sir George Grey and more.

Old Colonists Association Register

Seonaid's favourite Kura Heritage Collections Online resource is the Old Colonists Association Register. Genealogy gold!
Find out more about our family history and whakapapa resources and services on the Auckland Libraries website.