Genealogy on the Web



NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.




A few sites that new members may find a good starting point.   This is the New Zealand Society of Genealogists web site.  As well as news and general information on the Society, you can contact the branches through the site, check out Society member’s interests, look at the catalogue of holdings, download charts and more.  This is the site of the Church of the Latter Day Saints on which you can search transcribed and submitted information.  The Church has filmed parish records worldwide and indexed baptism and marriages in the IGI (International Genealogical Index).  This site is free to use. You can also download (free) the PAF (Personal Ancestry File) genealogy programme. If you find information, you are able to order the microfilm to read through the local LDS library (our nearest is at Fenton Crescent, Dunedin).  TIP:  Always read the whole film as although baptisms and marriages are indexed, films will often include burials which are not indexed.  If your family stayed put for many generations, you will also pick up more family members this way.  The library also holds many other genealogical resources.  Check out the online catalogue.   NOTE:  NZSG Balclutha Branch holds the IGI on microfiche.  The standard edition of Legacy Family Tree programme is free to download.  This site offers the England and Wales births, marriages and deaths index for free.  Transcribing of this is up to about 1920.  NOTE:  The LDS library also holds this index on microfiche – not sure to what date but quite recent.   This is an excellent site from which to begin researching your ancestors in Scotland.  This is a pay to view site.  For expert help on using this site, chat with Nola Anderson at a meeting.  A very useful site which lists links to websites on any topic on genealogy you can imagine.

(May 2006)


Some useful web addresses for research in Australia:

News and general information at the Society of Australian Genealogists web site   Included are the following:

Primary Records Collection - a massive resource of research and other material donated to SAG

Ships Muster Index - an index to NSW passengers and crew departing 1816-1825

Soldiers & Marines Index - an index to soldiers and marines of the British forces serving in NSW 1810-1875

Tickets of Leave Index - an index to NSW tickets of leave issued 1810-1875

Members’ Interests

The Ryerson Index is an index to death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers. It also includes funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries

New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages

State Archives New South Wales

State Library New South Wales

National Archives of Australia 

(June 2006)


From time to time, it is fun to use a search engine on your surnames of research, a topic or location. In doing so you may reach a site, the pages of which are very long and full.  An example may be newspaper extracts, or some historical document which someone has seen the value of, typed it up and put it on the web.  Somewhere within that extremely long page with ridiculously small text, is the name you are looking for.  Don’t despair.  Try doing this.


Click on ‘Edit’ and from the drop down menu, select ‘Find (on This Page)’

(Or use the shortcut by holding down ‘Ctrl’ together with ‘F’ on the keyboard)


Type the surname or word you entered for your search into the Search window, and select the desired options.


Click ‘Find Next’.


This will jump to and highlight the next item you have searched for on that page.


Continue in this manner until you have reached the last item found.

(July 2006)


Sometimes we are faced with a document in which there are many phrases or are completely written in Latin – old handwriting can be difficult enough, but Latin?  This link, will take you to the UK National Archives website where you will find a free tutorial.  This is a beginners’ guide to the Latin used in documents between 1086 and 1733 when Latin was the official language of documents written in England.  After 1733, official documents were written in English.


Website has announced the first of several new and important records to be put online - part of a program to add more than 100 million new records.  All British Overseas Births, Deaths and Marriages, from 1761 to the present day-are now available entirely free of charge for the very first time on the web.

“The British Overseas records bring together an amazing series of documents which list the births, marriages and deaths (BMD) of Britons abroad: they reflect the fascinating history of the British empire, of colonial rule, and the transition to modern Commonwealth. There are deaths in foreign conflicts, from the American Revolution and Napoleonic Wars to the Indian Mutiny, and the Boer War, as well as the births and marriages registered across the British Empire or in British consulates. . . Even the records from the Ionian Islands, a British protectorate from 1815 to 1864, now best known to holidaymakers as Corfu, are available, together with marine records which register the births and deaths at sea, and aviation records listing deaths in the air. is the place to find your relatives who married in Kenya, South Africa, or India; an ancestor who fought and died in Spain under Wellington, perhaps, or in Malaya in the 1950s; a family member who was born abroad and registered with a British consulate in America, China or Russia; or a long-lost relative who went missing at sea. The searches are free and easy to do. All the original records are scanned at very high quality providing superlative images on screen.  A spokesperson for has said "These records are not available anywhere else online to view for free."

(August 2006)


If you are searching for Births, Marriages and Deaths indexes for England and Wales, these are now available from the beginning of civil registration (1837) until 1983 at for FREE!   To access this index, you will need to sign up as a guest user (free) if you are not already subscribed. 


Select the link “England and Wales BMD Index”.  This will take you to where you can select the link for the index you wish to search (births, deaths or marriages). 


Enter the details for the event you wish to find in the search.  Avoid beginning with a large date range as you will need to view every image.  Start with one year and go from there if necessary.  The results page lists all pages on which the event might be listed for that period.  Work systematically through these.  If you find a likely entry, click on the ‘view images’ link. 


The image view will show the index page image – you can zoom in and if required, move to the next page.  When you find the entry, you can save the image to your computer, or you can print it.  I recommend

saving as you then have the ability to zoom and study at a later date – some are notoriously hard to read!!


NOTE:  I recommend using freebmd if you are searching from 1837 up till about 1910.  They have an excellent search facility which is very specific, returning matches for the specific details you enter into the search box/es, rather than the ‘possibilities’.

(Sep 2006)


2 Riedesel AvenueIt pays to ask questions.  Recently I put a query on the rootsweb list for Massachusetts, USA asking for the death of an H. Addington BRUCE who had been mentioned in his father’s obituary as living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  This was all I knew of him. Within hours of posting my query I had his full name, the fact that he was married and who and when he married;  census records 1910-1930, his occupation and also the biggest thrill of all was a photo of his home which was built in 1897, possibly by him.  Also with the photo came a plan of the house and today’s valuations.  Then just yesterday arrived the name of the cemetery where H(enry) Addington BRUCE is buried.

So if you’ve got a query go to the appropriate rootsweb list, join it and post a query. You never know what might come back to you.  

Photo at Left:  2 Riedesel Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts - built 1897                                                                

Nola, Oct 2006


Do you find that many sites are too wide for your screen, with you having to scroll from left to right to read the page?  The reason for this may be that your monitor is set in a low screen resolution (640 x 480).  Most screens display best at 800 x 600 with some set at 1024 x 768 which shows even more screen. Here’s a tip which should fix this annoying problem for you.  Follow these simple steps to increase your screen resolution:

NOTE:  Some screens/monitors do not support a higher resolution.  If you are using Windows XP, you can attempt the above and when the window pops up asking you ‘do you want to test?’, click ‘yes’.  XP will restore it back if your monitor does not handle this.   If you have an older monitor and a version of Windows prior to XP, ask your friendly computer guy for help before attempting.

If you have ancestors who spent time in London, this is an excellent site to learn about life for ten generations of Londoners.  Easy to negotiate, yet also having in depth records to explore, this site is full of photos and cameos of the way events and conditions shaped people’s lives.  Well worth a look.

(Nov 2006)   

Blue Thistle have just updated their website and are compiling a set of short features on Scottish family history topics.  The first few are there already and the series will be expanded.   They are keen to find out what family history enthusiasts would like to read about in future features.  They are running a competition for the best suggestions for future topics.   Every suggestion used wins two hours of free Blue Thistle searching for the person who nominates the topic.

Have you ever wondered what the value of a pound was in 1895?  Here is a site where you can ask questions of comparative value covering purchasing power, exchange rates, and other variables between the past and today.  Some in site links of interest are:

What Is the Relative Value? Five Ways to Compare the Worth of a United Kingdom Pound, 1830 - 2005

Exchange Rate Between the United States Dollar and Forty Other Countries, 1913 - 2005

Exchange Rate Between the United States Dollar and the British Pound, 1791 - 2004

Purchasing Power of the British Pound, 1264 - 2006

Inflation Rates for the U.S. (1774 to 2006) and United Kingdom (Britain) (1264 to 2006)

The Price of Gold, 1257 - 2005

Charles Booth Online Archive  -  For our February meeting we watched Julian Clary investigate his family history in the UK TV programme, ‘Who Do You Think You Are’.  In this programme, ‘Maps Descriptive of London Poverty’ were consulted, giving a fascinating insight into the economic and social aspect of the residents of areas and streets within London.  This site gives information and these maps are fully searchable. The site also gives access to archive material from the Booth collections of the British Library of Political and Economic Science (the Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science) and the University of London Library.  The archives of the British Library of Political and Economic Science contain the original records from Booth's survey into life and labour in London, dating from 1886-1903. The archives of the University of London Library contain Booth family papers from 1799 to 1967.

(Mar 2007)

This site contains a collection of Victorian and Edwardian photos known as Carte-de-visite: 1859 - 1906 (small ones), Cabinet Card Photographs: 1870s to 1906 (large ones), along with early 20th Century Portrait Postcards.  A very useful section is the (Date an Old Photo) for those who are trying to date a family photograph - useful for research into family history.  Galleries of roughly dated Victorian ladies (Ladies Dated by Year) should help those interested in ladies’ fashions from 1860 onwards.  Photos are quick to download, and are a fascinating journey through fashion and photography styles.  Dates for similar fashions in New Zealand may need to be adapted a little as it may be considered that it would take a while for the latest fashion in London to reach NZ.  A wonderful site to browse or study seriously and enjoy! 

Set aside time to indulge in this web site, mentioned in the Wiltshire FHS magazine in which it was described as a ‘photographic tour of some English burial places’.  I thought I’d check it out and initially I was disappointed to find there was no surname index (there is a county and cemetery index) so that I could find some of my rellies BUT once I relaxed and realised the sheer number and quality of the images I really enjoyed my visit.  It is one of the most enjoyable web sites I have ever looked at.  You can click on the thumbnails to study individual stones and inscriptions if you wish, although I found these slow to download on dial-up, but you can also just sit back and take in the views of churchyards, churches and the vast variety of tombstones.  Who cares if the ancestors aren’t inhabiting one of these burial grounds – this site is absolutely wonderful!  And if you do find an ancestor’s grave you may order the images.


Some Australian sites to try:    BDM online search and images. (source: pg 16 May/June 2004 Dunedin newsletter - thankyou)   For those who had family emigrate to the northern parts of Australia - a limited range of Births, Deaths & Marriages (up to 1914) is now on-line for Queensland.  It is very new and still having ‘teething’ problems - but a very welcome addition to our research avenues.

Also check out this useful site, recently updated:

Thanks to our Winton gene’ group friend, Joan McConachie for recommending the last two sites.

(Apr 2007) is worth a look for your UK and Irish immigrants between 1890 and 1909.  In the coming months, full passenger lists up to 1960 will become accessible on this site.  This site can direct you to some family history information including cemeteries in New Zealand, with some names of those buried there.  Here you can list your Australian research ‘brick wall’ problems in the hope that someone can help.

(May 2007)


Wellington City Council’s archives have indexed 4 years of Rate Books and these are searchable online at This link takes you to the archives section and on the menu at right of page, click on ‘Historic Rate Books’.  This takes you to the introduction and to search, click on ‘Historic Rates Books Search’ on right hand menu.  The years available are 1863, 1864, 1865 and 1866.  They are also looking for feedback at   Full marks to the Council for this initiative.

Lynne, for whom we are working on the DAVIDSON query, has sent this information “If any of your members want information about early settlers in Nelson, Nelson City Council has a great website with all the burials recorded and shipping lists from 1840 -1850”.  Two links of interest are ‘Early Settler Records’ and ‘Cemetery Records’.

The following site has been recently launched, giving genealogists the opportunity to publish their stories on line for free.

(Jun 2007)


The Petone Settlers Museum Passenger Database of arrivals in Wellington 1839-1897 is now online  Click on uppermost right link ‘Hutt City Portal’.  Then click on link at right ‘No. 9 Petone Settlers Museum’.  Select ‘Online Passenger Database’ where you can search by forename and surname, or surname only.

(Jul 2007)


PapersPast is now available and SEARCHABLE on-line.  This is a new feature available from National Library website -  See article below on a successful search using this site.


For Irish research, try browsing, along with its related page    You can search 3.6 million records free and the second gravestone search page contains much information.  You can, if you wish, take the final step and pay for more detailed information.

(Oct 2007)   This has many useful resources for immigrant shipping including links and hints.   Can be useful for finding rare and out of print books.   This site contains several searchable newspapers including the London Times.   Even if you don’t have research in London this newspaper contains a great deal of information for the UK. 

(Nov 2007) and National Archives UK have joined forces to give access to UK WW1 service records.  As well as service records and details of the serviceman, this information can include names and birth dates of children, marriage date and can be a great source of genealogical information.  Go to and go to WW1 Pension Records. 

For post WW1 records the following site may be of help:

For the British Army:


Reading somebody else's handwriting is often difficult, and if it was written two or three centuries ago using a quill pen it can be very hard indeed to interpret.  The Scottish Archive Network has created a free site to help you interpret old handwriting in wills, registers, and other documents:

Although it is specifically aimed at those with Scottish ancestry, anyone who has struggled to read a will copied in 'secretary hand' is likely to find the tutorials useful.

(Jan 2008)


The following interesting tips relate to the records from the National Burial Index (England and Wales) now available on

The first is a reminder to approach all genealogical records with a hint of caution.  A parish in Yorkshire had records in their burial index for living people that the rector believed to be 'spiritually dead', for reasons such as talking through the service or being discovered displaying a little too much affection on a rare late-evening inspection of the church!

The second tip suggests an additional use for the Burial Index.  Having the age at death on some entries helps to eliminate the possibility of ordering the wrong death certificate.  If you're searching for records before 1866, when the age at death started to be included in the indexes, check for an entry in the National Burial Index to cut down the cost of certificates.


South Australian BDM transcription service now available at


Many NZ councils and other organizations have online cemetery information, including the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, where you can submit biographies for your ancestors and search a name and see what, if any, extra information is available.


Irish research?  The KiwiCelts website now includes maps showing most of the parishes in Limerick and all parishes in Northern Ireland.  Also on this site are maps, lists and links for cemeteries of New Zealand

(Feb 2008)



The passenger lists from 1884-1910 inwards from Britain [SS1] are online at

Go to Emigration and select England to NZ. The file is in separate parts and in total is over 650 pages. This was indexed by Suzanne Hamilton and is free. 

Also on this website is a file of assisted immigrants into Auckland from 1859-1872.  Archives NZ in Wellington have a card index for this resource and these passenger list card indexes are on microfilm in the NZSG Family Research Centre in Panmure, Auckland.  They are in 3 series, covering the years 1840 to 1910 and are by no means a comprehensive list of every immigrant arriving into the country, but are the indexes to original records held at Archives  Well worth a look so you can discover if your immigrant has a record of his arrival at Archives, or not.  The period 1871 to 1888, Vogel Immigration Scheme period, is particularly well covered. Most records are for arrivals from the UK only.  If your person came via Australia or the US, for example, you are unlikely to find them in these indexes.  The NZSG Research Services team is happy to do look-ups in the card indexes.  Contact them at (this service is for NZSG members only sorry).  Thanks to Elaine Bell, NZSG Research Services Officer for this information sourced through the NZSG member’s mailing list.  I got slightly astray when I put in .com instead of .net.  I’m not ready to plan my funeral just yet!  Follow the link to explore cemeteries transcriptions worldwide which have been submitted by fellow researchers.  Lawrence Cemetery is included in the New Zealand listings.  The cemetery your ancestors are buried in might just be on this site.  Thank you to prospective member, Dorothy Dowling for alerting us to this website.


Auckland War Memorial Museum's Cenotaph database has 115,000 entries of New Zealand service men and women.  Go to  This web site features:

Contributions are accepted in the form of corrections, additional information and images, new entries of now deceased former soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses.  For further information contact

(Mar 2008)


If you have Irish research you will know that this is the most difficult area of UK research.  Tracing roots is to become much easier with the provision of an internet site which aims to list all available records of births, deaths and marriages from previous centuries.   The Irish Roots website  will eventually hold details of all church records available, in some cases going back to the year 1600.  The Irish Family History Foundation is the coordinating body for a network of county based genealogical research centres in Ireland.  Already the website holds details of over 5.5m records of births, over 2.4m records of marriages, and over 1m deaths from that time period and is the culmination of 25 years' work by historians who have studied every conceivable resource, from records of baptisms and marriages to gravestone inscriptions.  A general search of the site is free with a charge for more detailed information.  The Irish Family History Foundation, which runs the website, says all money will go back into making the site bigger and better.   This site will be of great interest if you have ancestors and more recent relatives living in the state of Utah, USA.  The many collections digitized and searchable include coroner’s inquiries, birth and death registrations, divorce, probate and district court records, mining records, brand books and many others.  The earliest date available is 1849 but the different records cover different time periods, some up to this century. Most records held by the Utah State Archives are not indexed and of those that are, only a few are in electronic format.  However this site is well worth searching and if you are lucky to find something of interest, there is a link to the digitized image – free.  Tips for searching are given and search options are comparatively wide and easy to follow.  In particular digital images of Death Certificates from 1905 to 1956 are available online, with a link from the index search result.   It is timely to once again look at the web site of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  You can search by individual or cemetery name.  I did a search for surname LITTLER and returned 74 results.  The results pages have up to 15 entries which contain Surname, Rank, Service Number, Date of Death, Age, Regiment/Service, Nationality, Grave/Memorial Ref and Cemetery/Memorial Name.  More details are available on a given entry by clicking on the Surname (actually lists forename/s as well).  From the casualty details page you can click on ‘certificate’ which brings up the information and an image of the stone or memorial concerned.  This is a wonderful site and truly honours the men and women in the commonwealth who lost their lives in warfare.  Take time to explore the site as there is much information including histories.

(Apr 2008)


If you are looking for someone in the UK, a lost cousin perhaps, the first release of the 2008 Electoral Roll for the UK is now available online at  It contains 20 million new names and addresses, 4 million of which were not listed in the 2007 electoral roll.  During May a further release of 8 million additional records was to be added. 


Here’s a great web site for New Zealand shipboard diaries.  This link takes you to a list of diaries available on the site.  Some ships are Bengal Merchant (1840), Mariner (1849), Canterbury (1851), Roman Emperor (1860), Excelsior (1870), Pleiades (1886).  Listed as coming soon is the diary of Isaac HARDY who sailed to Port Chalmers in 1849 on the Larkins.

(Jun 2008)


Some useful sites to begin searching for ship’s logs and other shipping information:

Ships' Logs, Journals, Pictures and Passenger Shipping Links" -

NZSG Shipping Database -

PapersPast – newspapers contained inward and outwards shipping information including listing names of some passengers -

New Zealand Yesteryears -

Our Stuff -

New Zealand National Maritime Museum -

Also try the Alexander Turnbull Library -

Finally, a useful book is ‘Log of Logs’ by Ian Nicholson - make sure you look at all three volumes of this excellent book.

(Aug 2008)   When you reach the home page, click on the tab ‘find museum’ and into the search box type South Otago which will take you to the page for the South Otago Historical Society.

Waikumete Cemetery records are now online.  Check them out at

The following link will take you to the search page for Ireland’s civil registration indexes 1845 – 1958.  ‘Record Search’ is still under development. This release is considered a ‘pilot’. This means that at times Record Search will not be available while they add additional records and improve some features.  Still worth giving it a whirl!;t=searchable;c=1408347  

(Jan 2009)


Try the following website for historical Australian newspapers search -  

I began with a simple surname only search from the home page (more detailed search available on this page).  From the results page, you can further refine the results by newspaper title, decade, category e.g. family notices, illustrations and word count.  Clicking on an individual article link brings up the image of the article on two thirds of the screen while at left there is an electronically translated text.  This will contain errors as this is produced by ‘OCR’ – optical character recognition.  Even with good scan copy of the newspaper article, you can imagine the sort of thing, e.g. ‘DAYS AND NIGHTS’ became ‘DAYS AND NIUIIT8’.  You can print the article directly from the site or save as a PDF and/or image.  This is a sophisticated site but very user friendly.  Highly recommended!

          The following website is an excellent source for death notices published in NZ newspapers.

The 1911 census for England and Wales has been released early and can be searched at   The link below takes you to the page for information about the census, including the birthplace and occupational codes.  It is free to search but to view either a transcription of the record or the image you need to purchase credits.  A transcript is worth 10 credits while the image is 30 credits.  The least you can purchase is 60 credits for £6.95 but there are other slightly less costly options.  As this is an early release, i.e. less than 100 years since the census, not all the information is viewable – the column stating whether blind, deaf, lunatic, imbecile etc is blanked out but when 100 years is up it will be accessible.  These records are not of the census enumerator’s book as in previous online census records, but the actual schedule that the head of the household filled in and signed by them so that is a bonus.   Further information not previously on census was addressed to married women – how many years married and how many children born to the marriage.  This is very useful info as the census may indicate more children than you have found so far as well as indicate a marriage year.  The transcript does not have all the information from the household schedule – you must purchase the image for that.  If the index doesn’t completely ascertain you have the correct person, before spending credits to view the transcript or image, I recommend recording the info of the person/s you think possible from the search results, then do a search for other known family members.  If they show up at the same address you can be more certain you have the correct family.  Both my (Noeline) and Nola Anderson’s experience is that the availability of these records has meant a leap forward in research so worth the cost.  It may be worth getting the transcript only for less important families but the image is brilliant for close connections.  It is such a buzz to see an image of something you forebears wrote (including any porkies – one rellie of mine suddenly got 9 years younger!)  Oh, and some of the transcription errors are hilarious!

(Feb 2009)


Wills for Victoria, Australia from 1841-1925 have been indexed by volunteers and can be viewed free online at  The UK 2009 Electoral Roll is now available online.  You can now search and preview:

·         22 million names and addresses that have just been added

·         3.5 million of these are for people that registered at a new address last year

·         Plus, a final release of an additional 3 million records will be available soon

Initial search free then pay per view for more details.

(Mar 2009)


    Alma came across this web site which will be of interest to members who are looking at the Dundee area of Scotland.   It has a lot of information and a cemetery list.

     Check out the WW1 & WW2 'Memorial/Cemetery' website which contains excellent information including photos and some biographies for service men and women who lost their lives and are buried in Belgium and France.  You may submit information and photos.

    The Cyclopedia of New Zealand was first published between 1897 and 1908 and around 20,000 people are

profiled, often with biographical notes and photographs.  These are now available on the New Zealand Electronic

Text Centre website, at   There are six volumes:

   * Volume 1. Wellington Provincial District. Published 1897

   * Volume 2. Auckland Provincial District. Published 1902

   * Volume 3. Canterbury Provincial District. Published 1903

   * Volume 4. Otago and Southland Provincial Districts. Published 1905

   * Volume 5. Nelson, Marlborough and Westland Provincial Districts. Published 1906

   * Volume 6. Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Wellington Provincial Districts. Published 1908

(Apr 2009) 


Wills for Victoria, Australia from 1841-1925 have been indexed by volunteers and can be viewed free online at   

  For transcriptions of early Christchurch newspapers try

   Searching for deaths in Angus, Scotland?  Try



   Andy, a recent research enquirer, is a member of the Wanganui branch and has shared this helpful information (thanks Andy).  “For your researchers a good site for burials in the Rangitikei is the Manawatu District Council which covers the Sandon (Sanson), Kimbolton, Rangiwahia, Rongotea and Fielding cemeteries with photo’s included.”  Go to and click on ‘Public Registers’ then click on ‘cemetery search’ and search from there.  Also included is Fielding, Pohangina and Waituna West cemeteries.

   Noeline recently received an email from past member, Brigitte McIntosh.  It was good to catch up with her and she shared this website that she has found useful -   Brigitte says “A lot of members I am sure will have used the website "Scotland’s People"  but have any followed a link that is on the site called "Talking Scot"?  If not I can truly recommend it.  It is free to join, it has a forum and gallery and all sorts of links etc to Family History Societies etc.  If you are seeking information on anything to do with research or family etc in Scotland, this is the place to go!  It has very friendly and helpful moderators and members.”                                               
   Alma says that the Pigot and Co's National Directory of the whole of Scotland and of the Isle of Man,

for the year 1837, is now available online for free at Google Books.

(Jun 2009)


NOTE:   These articles are contributed to our newsletter by individuals and do not necessarily represent branch advice and/or policy.



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