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Family history

Portrait of bride and groom. Births, deaths and marriages

Information on New Zealand birth, death and marriage certificates.
 

Obtaining certificates

Contact the Registrar-General

  • Postal: PO Box 10-526, Wellington    
  • Freephone: 0800 22 52 52
  • In person: Level 6, AA Building, 99 Albert Street (corner of Albert Street & Victoria Street West), Central Auckland
  • Online


Charges

  • Certificates (standard or decorative) $26.50
  • Electronic printouts 1848-1874 $26.50
  • Electronic printouts 1875-1997 $20.40


Electronic printouts 

We recommend you request an electronic printout rather than a certificate for family history purposes. Certified certificates are transcribed and not direct copies of the register, whereas electronic printouts are taken directly from the register and have no risk of human error. There will also be more information on a printout than on a certificate.

Electronic printouts are available for the following years:

  • Births: 1848 to 1997
  • Deaths: 1848 to 1997
  • Marriages: 1854 to 1997 


Birth, death and marriage historical records

Search New Zealand Government records for births, deaths and marriages. Information available includes:

  • Births that occurred at least 100 years ago
  • Stillbirths that occurred at least 50 years ago
  • Marriages and eventually civil unions that occurred 80 years ago
  • Deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago or the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago.


Research

It is helpful to have as much information as possible when requesting certificates and printouts, particularly names and dates. The family history collections include the following indexes which you can use to obtain further information (click on the links for full records):

These indexes contain limited information, consisting of the person's name and folio number.  The folio number can be quoted to Births, deaths and marriages when requesting certificates. A location is also helpful (see district keys, below).

From 1960, the Births index includes the mother's first forename and the initial letter of her second forename. In the Deaths index the age of the deceased is included, and in the Marriages index the name of the spouse is included.


District keys to the New Zealand Registration Indexes

District keys are a finding aid to be used in conjunction with the indexes to New Zealand birth and death registrations.  The folio numbers have been arranged in numerical order so that it is a relatively simple matter to check which district a birth or death event was registered.


Varcoe's New Zealand Marriage Index 1840-1956

The database is designed to be used in conjunction with the microfiche Marriages Indexes published by the New Zealand Registrar-General's office. This database enables the searcher to match brides with grooms (primarily using the Bride 1 and Groom 2 fields, respectively) with their folio numbers. The database is therefore an index that does not identify individuals (after 1863), but points to the correct page entry where the partner of a groom or bride can be found.


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Information in New Zealand certificates


Births 1848-1875

Date and place of birth.
Sex and names of child.
Name and occupation of father.
Name and maiden name of mother.
Signature, description and residence of informant.
Date of registration.
Signature of registrar.
Name of child, if added after registration.

Births 1875-1912

Date and place of birth.
Sex and names of child, and whether present.
Name, age, occupation and birthplace of father.
Name, age, maiden name and birthplace of mother.
Place and date of parents' marriage.
Signature, description and residence of informant.
Signatures of witnesses if entry a correction of a former entry.
When registered, and signature of registrar.
Name of child, if added or altered after registration.

Births 1912 onwards

Date and place of birth.
Sex and first names of child.
Name, age, occupation and birthplace of father.
Name, surname and maiden name, age and birthplace of mother.
Date and place of parents' marriage.
Previous issue of existing marriage, and whether living or dead.
Signature, description, and residence of informant.
Signature of witnesses if entry a correction of a former entry.
When registered and signature of registrar.
Name of child, if added or altered after registration.

Māori births 1913-1960

Includes the same as above but also provide the hapū details of the parents.


Deaths 1848-1875

Date and place of death.
Name, sex, age, and rank/occupation of deceased.
Cause of death.
Description and residence of informant.
Date of registration and signature of registrar.

Deaths 1875-1912

Date and place of death.
Name, sex, age and rank/occupation of deceased.
Causes of death, duration of last illness, name of medical attendant.
When last seen by medical attendant.
Name and occupation of father, name and maiden name of mother.
When and where buried.
Name and religion of minister, or name of witness.
Birthplace of deceased and how long in New Zealand.
Marriage details of deceased:
Place of marriage, age at marriage and name of spouse.
If issue living, state number and sex.
Signature, description and residence of informant.
Date of registration and signature of registrar.

Deaths 1912 onwards

Date and place of death.
Name, sex, age, occupation and usual place of residence of deceased.
Causes of death, intervals between onset and death, name of medical attendant.
When last seen by medical attendant.
Name and occupation of father.
Name and maiden name of mother.
When and where buried.
Name and religion of minister, or name of witness.
Birthplace of deceased and how long in New Zealand.
Marriage details of deceased:
Place of marriage, age at marriage, name of spouse, age of widow if living.
If issue living, state ages of each, and sex.
If applicable, Maori blood and tribes of father and mother.
Signature, description and residence of informant.
Date of registration and signature of registrar.

Māori deaths 1913-1961 

Includes the same as above but also provide hapū details of the deceased and their parents.


Marriages 1854-1880

Place and date of marriage.
Name, age, occupation and marital status of groom.
Name, age and marital status of bride.
Names and residences of the witnesses.
Name of officiating minister/priest.

Marriages 1880 onwards

Place and date of marriage.
Name, age, occupation, marital status, birthplace and residence of groom.
Name, age, marital status, birthplace and residence of bride.
Names and occupations of fathers of both parties.
Names and maiden name of mothers of both parties.
Names and residences of the witnesses.
Name of officiating minister/priest.

Māori marriages 1911-1951 

Includes the same as above but also provide hapū details of the bride and groom.

Note: To supplement the information found on the marriage certificates 1856-1956, we recommend family historians obtain a copy of the 'Notice of Intention to Marry' from Archives New Zealand.


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Recommended reading

Bromell, Anne. Tracing Family History in New Zealand. Chapter 2. Civil registration of Births, deaths and marriages. p 24-53.


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