A new project – building a life’s path

Electoral Rolls/Records

Ancestry provide access for election years up to 1981 online – anything from 1981 can be accessed from all New Zealand libraries.

The trick is to look for each year, and look for the full name.  When you find the person, look at the visual of the record and see who else with the same last name lives at the same address.  This could be a spouse, parent, or child.  Sometimes even an uncle or aunty.

With women, search the records for them with their maiden name, and married name.  Make sure that you don’t look for them with their married name before they were married – this will be somebody else (been there, done that!).

When looking at the electoral rolls through Ancestry, I found:

  • 1949 – found maternal grandfather in Supplementary Roll- also found:
    • married female with same last name at same address in Main Roll – possibly mother? has same middle name as maternal grandfather
    • male (Presbyterian minister) with same last name at same address in Main Roll – father or brother?
    • male (clerk) with same last name at same address in Main Roll – father or brother?

To figure out the relationships, I searched BDM for the marriage of the married female, and sure enough, she married the Presbyterian minister in 1916.  Possible parents?

  •  1954 – found maternal grandfather in Main Roll – also found:
    • widowed female (same name as female in 1949) at same address in Main Roll
    • male (clerk) at different address in Main Roll – brother?

Sure enough, the male (Presbyterian minister) died in 1952 (after checking the death records in BDM).

  • 1957 – found maternal grandfather in Main Roll (different electorate to previous years) – also found:
    • maternal grandmother at same address in Main Roll – have now married

I would now check the original electorate to see if the widowed female is at the original address from previous years, and whether the male (clerk) is still at the different address.  I would also be checking whether anybody else appears at the same addresses as these people.

  • 1963 – found maternal grandfather and grandmother in Main Roll (same electorate as 1957)


  1. Search electoral records on Ancestry, looking for other family members

What I could do next:

  1. Search BDM for the possible family members found – to help decipher relationships
  2. Look for cemetery records and/or headstones for those possible family members and see if the inscription tells you the connection.

Not every moment of my genealogical research will be detailed here – there is too much. This is more about the logic used while using different genealogical resources.


A new project – getting started

It’s interesting to examine something I’ve done for so long (e.g. genealogy) and see how I do things. I guess it could be interesting for others as well.

For my latest project, I’ve been given my client’s maternal grandparents’ full names, birth dates (all since 1900), and where they were born (all New Zealand), and the same with her paternal grandparents.

The first thing I do is add the information I know into Ancestry.com, setting it up as a new family tree.  To do this, I need to connect the four names, by adding in my client’s parents’ names.

I’ve also been told that my client’s maternal grandfather is deceased.

It makes it a little easier as the client is a friend of mine, and I know that her grandfather lived locally.

Cemetery Records and Headstones

I then searched the local cemetery records for information about the maternal grandfather’s passing (in this case, the Napier City Council Cemetery Database – http://www.napier.govt.nz/services/napier-cemeteries/cemetery-database/) and found the following new information (e.g. not provided to me before the search):

  • Last Known Address
  • Occupation
  • Date of Interment – compared to Date of Death
  • Funeral Director
  • A picture of the headstone, complete with a digital copy of the inscription.

With this information, I added the Last Known Address, Occupation and Date of Interment to the Ancestry tree.

With the Funeral Director information, I could email the Funeral Director to see if they will provide any further information on the deceased – e.g. if I didn’t know the next of kin etc.  Not required with this person.

With the headstone information, I now know the first names of two other children of the maternal grandfather (e.g. my client’s uncle and aunty).  I added these into the family tree.  I also saved a copy of the headstone image into the family tree as well.

I also use cemetery records and headstone images as confirmation of spelling of names, and for confirming birth and death dates.  However, these are not always correct.

I’ve seen middle names spelt incorrectly on headstones – in my own family research.

I would complete this same process for other deceased family members.  However, this only works when you know where the person lived, and if the cemetery records for that area are online.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

The next thing I look at is whether the maternal grandfather’s records are available online.  Because this person was born and died in New Zealand, my first point of call is https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/.

In this case, his birth was in 1929 – e.g. 86 years ago, so his birth record isn’t online.

Because of this, the earliest he would have been married would be 1948 – e.g. 67 years ago, so his marriage record isn’t online.

However, as his birth was more than 80 years ago, his death record is listed online.

When looking at the listing, the only thing new is the registration number for the record – in case I need to purchase the record.  I note it in the family tree (you never know!).

I can find the other records at my local library – using microfiche.

The other grandparents are all born after 1915, so all their birth and marriage record listings could be found at the library too.


  1. Set up family tree on Ancestry
  2. Checked cemetery records online
  3. Checked Birth Deaths and Marriages online

What I could do next:

  1. Email Funeral Director
  2. Check BDM record listings on microfiche at local library
  3. Purchase any BDM records (if required)

It was quiet but now?

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, due to the lead up to having my first child.
And on Wednesday (7th January) it happened. Nikita was born. My husband and I’s first addition to our own family tree!
We are loving our new roles as protectors to our daughter, and are getting used to her sounds, and smells.
In the week leading up to her birth, it was funny to watch me analyse our family tree and start to expand and tidy elements of it.
2015 is going to be a huge year and even with Nikita in it, genealogy will still be a huge focus. More apps/programs to recommend, more templates to use – lots more of everything 🙂
So if you need help with your research, I’m still here. It just may be at 3 in the morning!

Genealogy and cemeteries

I get asked reasonably often how I feel about cemeteries. Do I like them? Do I find them intriguing?  Do they scare me?

Cemeteries are libraries of people to me. I’m okay spending a bit of time in them when I have a mystery to solve, but as technology changes, it’s becoming more and more common for the information I need to be found online.

There are a number of cemeteries in New Zealand online, thanks to their local councils – but not all are.  Those that are online don’t always have headstone images for each entry – something essential for most genealogists.  A headstone often contains a birthdate or year, confirmation of a spouse (living or passed), and sometimes the names of children.  All fantastic proof of information you may be unsure of in your research.

I like spending a bit of time searching for a particular ancestor in a cemetery, especially when it’s sunny and warm.  Finding the correct headstone (whether marked or not – an older headstone with unreadable lettering can break a genealogist’s heart!) feels fantastic – which is why I also assist with FindAGrave – why should a family member or genealogist not find a headstone they are after just because they can’t travel to the cemetery?

But you won’t see me anywhere close to one if it’s late afternoon or a dreary day. As much as they are the original genealogical resource, they do kinda creep me out!


Google Alerts – refining your search

When I’m particularly stumped with a person in my family tree, I set up a Google Alert for their name.  This will then notify me when new blog posts, articles, websites, etc include this person’s name (or similar) – so I can check if it’s relevant to my research.

If you set up the Google Alert incorrectly, you can be bombarded with completely irrelevant “findings”.  There are lots of Google tips that can make your search more relevant, and the web company I work for has put together a great infographic with a few of these “cheats”.  There are some tips that I had never seen before, and a few that I had – hopefully some of these will be useful to you.

To view the infographic, please go to http://www.xplore.net/web_smart/index.htm?articleId=549.