August is Family History month. There are organisations which help people find out more about their family history, or genealogy. For example, the National Library in Wellington has a series of talks this month on genealogy. Some people make a family tree of several generations.
There are many records to help people find out more about their ancestors. To start with, cemeteries have records and there is some information on the headstones of graves. However, most records are available through the internet or at a library. There are records of births, deaths and marriages; census details; electoral rolls; passenger lists of ships; obituaries in newspapers; and if your ancestors were famous or infamous, you might find information about them in old newspapers.
Genealogy research is mostly of interest to Europeans whose families settled in New Zealand some time ago. Maori have an oral tradition of passing on genealogies for many generations, but there are more recent and detailed records on the internet.
People who research their genealogy often show an interest in the history which affected their ancestors. Why did they come to New Zealand for instance? What was happening in Europe at that time?
• generations – e.g. the children of great, great grandparents and their children etc
• cemeteries – like a park where many people are buried
• grave – a place where one person is buried
• ancestors e.g. your great, great grandparents
• census – government counts all the people in the country
• obituaries – information about well-known people who have recently died
• infamous – famous in a bad way e.g. a well-known criminal
• Is your family interested in knowing more about your ancestors?
• Do you have records on the internet that can help?
• Do you know why people immigrated to New Zealand from Britain in the second half of the 19th century?