Recently a wheelchairbound friend asked me where and how he could research his family. He is NZ born, with some great grandparents born in England and Scotland. He is in his 70s, with parents born c 1910.
First task is to download or purchase a genealogy computer program (for free versions try www.legacyfamilytree.com or www.rootsmagic.com. For demo www.family-historian.co.uk). Enter yourself and all you know about other close family members. So you can see where to search, who for and when, print out a pedigree sheet. Or go to tinyurl.com/24gaer5 to fill in and download. Otherwise, take an A4 sheet, fold in half four times (roughly credit card size), crease firmly and unfold. Now fold in half lengthways three times. Open and hold in landscape view (sideways). Write your name in the middle section on the left-hand edge, then your parents in the next section etc. finishing with your greatgrandparents. Enter birth, death, marriage dates and places.
Go to www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz and look for your grandparents’ deaths. They must have died 50 years ago or be 80 (now) to be on the historical list. Always purchase a printout. Look for marriages (80 years ago) and births (100 years). You may learn new or confirming information, eg: parents’ names, spouse’s name, and birth year or date. Our BDM site is unique because it updates every night! Those that turn 100 that day appear on the historical site. Work back as far as you can on the NZ BDMs.
For hints and tips and background information for using this site, what information you will receive, how to order etc. go to www.familysearch.org, click Research Helps, then Online Classes, then NZ Research. Then click and watch my video.
Fill in any new information on the pedigree sheet, If someone was born in England, then finding their birth year on their NZ death record may help you find them in a UK census, or on UK birth records, or church records. Did not find their marriage in NZ? Then check for this in the UK. Less is best, so enter just forename and surname to begin.
Looking at free sites or those with a reasonable free index this month:
www.familysearch.org Click Advanced Search and then International Genealogical Index. Mostly indexes for church records (baptisms, birth, marriages) and very worthwhile.
www.freereg.org.uk Parish Registers (work in progress).
www.beta.familysearch.org Parish registers (some images).