Family history

Portrait of the Archdale Taylor family. Researching family history

Just starting to research your family? The golden rule with genealogy and family history is to work backwards from what you know to what you do not, obtaining documentary proof of events wherever possible. Here are some ideas to get you started:


Talking to family members

Family members can be very helpful as they can often provide names, dates, photographs, and stories. They may also have certificates which you can either transcribe or copy. Record the stories as told, but also check the facts to confirm details. Check our catalogue for guides to recording oral history and recording family biographies.

Read a ‘How to …’ guide on family history

There are many books available that cover the basics of research. Those for New Zealand can be found at 2 NZL AID, while those for other countries can be found in the relevant country section - for example 2 AUS AID for Australia or 4 ENG AID for England. See our information on family history classification for more details.

Obtaining birth, marriage and death certificates

See our Births, deaths & marriages page to find out how to obtain a birth, death or marriage certificate, or what resources can help you track down the information you will need to obtain certificates.

Cemetery transcriptions and databases

You can search our databases of cemeteries on the Auckland Council website to find information on where people were buried and information about their graves, and find links to other cemeteries in the greater Auckland region and New Zealand.

Library and museum catalogues

Check library and museum catalogues for a history of your family. Many catalogues are now also available online.

Research directories and members’ interests lists

The better known directories in New Zealand are the New Zealand Family Research Directory and the Genealogical Research Directory. The websites of many family history societies have members' interests lists, where you can search by family name, date range and region to find out who else is researching the same family, and ways of contacting these people.

Generation charts

Record your family tree with generation charts. Download this free generation chart (pdf), or buy one along with the Auckland Libraries' Family History Notebooks that we have for sale at libraries and research centres throughout the system.

Note: To view PDF documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is available as a free download from the Adobe website.

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