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Sat, 1st May 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Calling all New Zealand genealogists! New Zealand’s first Family History Fair is being held at the Kingsgate Hotel in Hamilton on July 17th and 18th.

If you’re just beginning your family search, at the Exhibition Centre you will find help desks where you can ask any questions. You will be surprised at just how much you do know, as expert helpers help you fill in a pedigree chart. This is where you start with yourself and work through parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.

Preparation is important, so if you go to www.nzfamilyhistoryfair.org.nz, not only can you read about the Family History Fair; you can also pre-register and download a pedigree chart. Fill in what you know, and bring this with you. Perhaps you have been researching your family for some time – if so, bring what you have for on-the-spot help.

Perhaps you have heard about pay-to-view sites such as www.findmypast.co.uk, www.ancestry.com.au, www.thegenealogist.co.uk or www.originsnetwork.com, and wonder what they are like and what you can learn. Well, wonder no more! You can try these for free! There will be genealogy computer programs demonstrated and available for purchase (www.beehivebooks.co.nz) as well as free programs to try. Have a place name where you think your family came from but can’t find it? Let the experts help! And there will be old maps for sale. The NZ Society of Genealogists will be there with their CDs, books, etc. for sale (www.genealogy.org.nz). Perhaps you have heard of FamilySearch? They will be there, with help to use their free site www.familysearch.org. Sharing and working with your family data? You’ll be able to find out more about the NZ Genealogy Database (www.nzgdb.co.nz).

Key government departments will be there: National Library, Archives NZ, our births, deaths and marriages records (www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz). If you know about igovt identify verification, come along to the fair to obtain this (www.dia.govt.nz/ivs). Other libraries and museums (www.aucklandcitylibraries.com) will also be represented.

Then there is the Inspiration Centre – this is where branches of the NZ Society of Genealogists and special interest groups will be available for help and guidance. Was your family on one of the first ships, or are you the first of your family to live here? No matter; as long as you have an idea of where they lived in New Zealand, or which country they left to start their new life, help will be available for you.

Lastly, throughout the two days, 44 seminars will be held at the Learning Centre – helping beginners and experienced genealogists/family history seekers.

Topics include getting started, through to using the internet, researching in specific countries, DNA, military, newspapers, those family photos, Maori Land Court and other records, publishing, sharing, protecting your research – plus lots more!

Pre-registration (this closes June 12th) is important to be sure of a seat in the seminars of your choice (see www.nzfamilyhistoryfair.org.nz).

There is a full registration packet (includes Friday NZSG activities), daily special and, of course, you can purchase your ticket on the day!

I look forward to seeing you there!