Useful Websites

Legacy Family Tree

Legacy Family Tree software is a FREE professional genealogy program for Windows that helps you track, organize, print, and share your family history. If you are new to genealogy download the software and enter your parents and grandparents to start off with. Your can then search for your great grandparents etc  on which is also FREE. Legacy includes features like source documentation, over 100 beautiful reports, merging capabilities, To Do list, pictures, videos, web page creation, spell checking, Internet searching, relationship calculation, and name tag printing. You can also explore live and recorded genealogy webinars through Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Additionally, it is fully integrated with FamilySearch™, one of the most heavily visited genealogy sites on the Internet3. If you’re interested, you can download your free copy of Legacy Family Tree.

World Wide Links

Ancestry is a powerful online platform that helps you explore your family history and heritage., and all - access to different sets of records. Ancestry is available for free at the Waimakariri Libraries. If you are new to genealogy please seek advice before paying for your own subscription.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to marking, recording, and maintaining the graves and places of commemoration for Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died during the World Wars. Their mission is to honour and remember the 1.7 million war dead from the Commonwealth.

New Zealand

Ash Howison Search Tool

This search tool is designed to assist with NZ-focused genealogical research, by collating results from NZ Department of Internal Affairs Births, Deaths and Marriages, Archives NZ, dozens of council cemetery websites, military records from Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph and many other online history resources. See for full list.

Papers Past is a valuable resource provided by the National Library of New Zealand. It serves as an online archive of New Zealand and Pacific newspapers, magazines, journals, diaries, letters, parliamentary papers, and books. This digital archive includes:

* Digitised newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries.

* Magazines and Journals: Digitised magazines and journals covering various subjects.

* Letters and Diaries:

Certainly! NZHistory is a comprehensive online resource that delves into New Zealand’s rich past. 

New Zealand Yesteryears is a valuable resource for genealogists, providing historical information related to New Zealand.

Here’s what you can find on their website:

Ships and Passenger Lists: The site offers details about 942 ships, including 250 ship photographs, 2434 passenger lists, and 34 shipboard diaries. These records can be helpful for tracing ancestors who arrived in New Zealand1. Note:- spelling variations “Smyth” and “Smith” etc

Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973

Images and index of the ship passenger lists from Archives New Zealand. There are various types of lists including both outbound and inbound passengers at the various port of New Zealand. The earliest outbound lists are from minor ports (ports other than Auckland or Wellington) and begin in 1886. The inbound passenger lists also include airplane arrivals in Auckland beginning in 1939 and continuing through 1965. Additional records will be added in the future. The original records are located in the Archives New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.

Archives New Zealand - Probate Records, 1843-1998

Archives New Zealand holds a valuable collection of probate records that span from 1843 to 1998. These records were created by various courts throughout New Zealand. While the index includes entries up to 1998, the images for probates issued during the past 50 years are unavailable for viewing. The original records are in Archives New Zealand offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin12. If you’re interested in searching digitized probate records, you can visit FamilySearch’s probate search page and enter the name of the person you’re researching.

Christchurch City Libraries – Family History Guide

Christchurch City Libraries provides valuable resources for New Zealand family history research, with a focus on Christchurch and Canterbury information from the 19th and early 20th century.

Here’s what you can explore:

* Beginners’ Guide: Learn how to start your family history research, including basic rules, answering specific questions, and documenting your findings.

* Caring for Family Records: Discover tips for preserving precious family papers and photographs.

* Family History Computers: Access dedicated research computers at various library branches.

* Online Sessions: Watch family history sessions on YouTube.

Research Topics:

* Major Life Events: Explore birth, baptism, adoption, marriage, divorce, death, and burial records.

* Arriving in New Zealand: Learn about shipping, passenger information, and naturalization records.

* Directories, Electoral Rolls, and Land: Find details about where people lived and land ownership.

* Biographical Resources: Discover information about individuals, churches, education, hospitals, and more.

* Local History: Explore local historical information and societies.

* Newspapers: Utilize newspapers for family history research.

Auckland Council Libraries - Family and local history online resources

Explore digitised heritage collections on Kura, access online research resources and enjoy videos, blog posts and podcasts by our specialists. Visit our dedicated Research Centres, reach out via the enquiry form to request personalised research support or book an appointment to view taonga in the Heritage Collections Reading Room.

Auckland Council Libraries house a wide range of heritage items and history resources, including original manuscripts, rare books, maps, and heritage collections. Their heritage collections offer a diverse wealth of materials that allow you to explore New Zealand’s rich history and cultural heritage. For example Photographs: Manuscripts and Archives: Māori Collections: Pacific Collections: Sound Archives: Rare Books: Cemetery Records.

The Online Cenotaph is supported by the Auckland War Memorial Museum and serves as a living memorial to those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand during times of international conflict. This biographical database allows researchers, enthusiasts, and veterans and their families to explore, contribute to, and share the records and stories of those who served.

This collection contains plans of historic Christchurch cemeteries showing the layout of a cemetery and plot numbering. The plans may also contain names of plot purchasers and those interred.

For database lookups -  Chch City Archives Dept.

Christchurch City Council Cemeteries Database

The Christchurch City Council maintains a comprehensive cemeteries database that includes records from various cemeteries across the region.  The database is updated monthly and includes records from the Banks Peninsula area, although some older entries may be brief. It’s important to note that crematorium records are not listed in this database.

New Zealand Society of Genealogists

The Society provides educational opportunities and research resources for the development of knowledge, skills and practice in New Zealand family history, genealogy and whakapapa for members and the wider community.

Archives New Zealand

Over seven million official records are preserved spanning from the 19th century to the 21st century1. If you’re interested in exploring their collections, you can visit their repository at 15 Harvard Avenue in Wigram.

Cyndi’s List is a valuable resource for genealogical research on the Internet. Created by genealogist Cyndi Ingle (formerly Howells) over 20 years ago, it serves as a categorized and cross-referenced index to genealogy resources. With more than 330,000 links, it’s like an information superhighway for all things genealogy online12. Whether you’re exploring family history, searching for ancestors, or curious about historical records, Cyndi’s List provides a wealth of resources across 228 categories.

Digital New Zealand

DigitalNZ is a fantastic resource that connects people to New Zealand’s rich cultural heritage through digital material. Here’s what you need to know: Libraries, Museums, Government organizations, publicly funded institutions, Media outlets and Community groups.

The Family History Network

FamNet is a platform where Kiwis can explore their family history and share their stories. Here are some key features:

* Genealogy Databases: FamNet hosts New Zealand genealogy databases with 818,922 GDB records. You can search for ancestors, view marriage facts, and more.

* Member Services: If you log in, you can access additional functions, including creating and editing your family group. FamNet encourages users to create profiles to personalize their experience.

* Resources: FamNet provides various resources, some of which are free, while others are available to members of participating organizations or individual subscribers

Goldrush Online

A valuable resource for those interested in the history of gold mining in New Zealand. It contains over 85,000 records of goldminers from the Otago, West Coast, and Thames goldrushes, covering the years 1861 to 18721. The database has been transcribed and composed by Dr. Kae Lewis and is available for public search online.

Here’s what you can find on the ISTG website:

* Passenger Lists: Detailed manifests from various ships that carried immigrants, searchable by volume or specific ship name.

Special Projects: Collections of records related to specific groups or events, such as Australian convict ships, WW2 refugees to Australia, and more.

* The ISTG Compass: A guide that includes sites for researching emigration, immigration, naturalization, ethnic research, libraries and archives, passenger ship types, descriptions and images, and additional maritime information.

New Zealand Births, Marriages, and Deaths on-line

A platform where you can search and order government records for births, deaths, and marriages (BDM). The historical data available is limited to protect the privacy of individuals who may still be alive.

* Birth records of a living person born 100 years ago or more.

* Birth records of a deceased person who died 50 years ago or more, or who was born 80 years ago or more.

* Stillbirth records that occurred 50 years ago or more.

* Death records of individuals who passed away at least 50 years ago, or whose date of birth was at least 80 years ago.

* Marriage records that occurred 75 years ago or more.

Beverley Evans’ Transcriptions

Beverley Evans’ transcriptions of Christchurch birth, marriage and death notices, shipping lists – plus transcriptions of Births, Marriages, and Deaths: The website offers transcriptions from newspapers such as the Christchurch Press, Christchurch Star, and Lyttelton Times. These transcriptions cover obituaries, inquests, shipping lists, and other relevant information from 1855 to 2000.

Early New Zealand settlers from 1840 to 1845. The page provides an index of settlers’ surnames, initials/names, the ship they arrived on, their locality, and the year of arrival.

Shadows of Time – Search for Early New Zealand Settlers

This database include who arrived in New Zealand between 1840 and 1845.

* Lists settlers their surnames, initials/names, the ship they arrived on, locality, and year of arrival.

* New Zealand University Graduates (1870-1961): If you’re interested in university records, this index provides details about graduates during that period.

* School Records: The site also offers school-related records, such as school lists, examination results, and more. For example, you can find information about students at Nelson College from 1856 to 1924.

For details of databases see

The online Cenotaph is a biographical database hosted by the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It allows researchers, enthusiasts, veterans, and their families to explore, contribute to, and share the records and stories of those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand during times of conflict.

Comte de Paris Decendants to Akaroa

The Comte de Paris Descendants Group Incorporated in New Zealand represents the descendants of the original French and German families who arrived in Akaroa, NZ on 17 April 1840.


Trove - Digitised Australian Newspapers

Trove is a fantastic resource for accessing digitized Australian newspapers.

Here’s what you need to know:

* Coverage: Trove provides access to historical Australian newspapers published between 1803 and 1954. It includes national titles as well as those published in each Australian state and territory.

* You can search newspapers using keywords or browse by title, date, and location.

* Trove is an offshoot of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program, which has digitized and made available online 17 million historical articles from Australian newspapers. The program aims to catalog 40 million articles by 2025.

Gendata - free data for Australian genealogy

GenData is a free resource for anyone searching for Australian ancestors.  Transcribed from various historical sources, our datasets are an invaluable tool for anyone tracing their genealogy through the Australian colonial period.

United Kingdom

Deceased Online is a valuable resource for genealogists and family history researchers. It provides access to burial and cremation records in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Here’s what you can find on the platform:

* Database Coverage: Deceased Online includes registers from participating cemeteries and crematoria. These records cover burials and cremations from 1837 onwards.

* You can search for records by Region, County, Burial Authority, Cemetery, or Crematorium. Simply enter the name of the deceased and optionally specify a burial or cremation date range to retrieve matching records.

Information Available: Computerized Entries: Burial and cremation register entries; Scans of Registers and pages: Grave Details: Memorial Photographs: Maps.

The service is free for basic searches, and additional information can be accessed using credits.

Workhouses England and Wales

Workhouses were institutions in Britain and Ireland where those unable to support themselves financially were offered accommodation and employment. The term “workhouse” dates back to the 17th century and evokes the grim Victorian world depicted in works like Oliver Twist. These institutions played a fascinating role in social history, politics, economics, architecture, and institutional medicine and nutrition1. If you’re interested in learning more, you can explore the Workhouses website for detailed information, including records, names, maps, and historical images

Free UK Genealogy provides free online access to a wealth of family history records.

Here’s what you can explore:

* FreeBMD: Access 292 million birth, marriage, and death records from 1837 to 1992.

* FreeREG: Explore 59 million records from parish registers.

* FreeCEN: Discover 48 million individuals from census data spanning 1841 to 1891.

Unlike many other sites, Free UK Genealogy’s databases are completely free to search and view. They rely on dedicated volunteers who transcribe historical records to support family history research1. Feel free to explore their website to uncover fascinating details about your ancestors!

English and Welsh Parishes

Free Family History Guides. Parishmouse provides information to help you trace your family history for free. Each parish page provides a list of adjacent parishes, historical descriptions of the parish, links to free parish registers and records. Example - Oldham St Mary Baptisms

Parish Registers - Family History before 1837

Parish Registers are records of baptisms, marriages, and burials made by the Church. They are a valuable resource for researching your family tree because the census and official records of birth, marriage and death do not go back further than 1837. They can extend your research back to the time of King Henry VIII, with many records going back to the 1600s.

On Line Parish Clerks - Lancashire 

Online Parish Clerks (also referred to as OPC) is a collection of volunteer groups that seek to transcribe genealogical information in English counties. Each county has its own group, which transcribes the parish records (and occasionally other genealogical records) from the different parishes in the county.

Many, but not all, of the counties in England have their own "Online Parish Clerks" group. Individual parishes or regions may also have an OPC group. These can either be found on their individual websites, the county OPC websites, or on UKBMD. Many of the records transcribed are available online for free, but some are only available through the purchase of books or CDs. For those records online, some OPC sites have created searchable databases of all their records. Most of the records transcribed are church records, but some censuses, tax or voting lists, poor law, cemetery records, and other such records have also been transcribed. These sites are very valuable in research.

Cheshire BMD provides Internet indexes to the original birth, marriage and death certificates that are kept in the local Register Offices in Cheshire. This family history society is steadily adding to the indexes, which are free and searchable  

North East Cheshire - Disley, Lyme Handley; Taxal & Whaley

If you think that your ancestors may have strayed across the border then sources for the Chapel en le Frith; Chinley; Charlesworth; Glossop; Hadfield; Hayfield; Hope Valley, Mellor; New Mills & Padfield areas can be found at my other site:

Peak in the Past is a community heritage group dedicated to exploring and sharing Peak District history. They provide documentary film footage, historical images, and information resources related to the region. Additionally, they conduct reminiscence and educational activities. If you’re interested in uncovering the secrets of the Peak District’s past, you can visit their website at

North West Derbyshire Sources

North West Derbyshire Sources is a valuable resource for genealogists interested in the North West Derbyshire area. Compiled by Marjorie Ward, the site contains parts of the 1811, 1841, 1851, 1881, 1891, and 1901 censuses. Additionally, it provides access to parish and chapel registers, hearth tax records, polling data, jury lists, and directory entries. If you’re researching your family history in this region, you’ll find valuable information on the North West Derbyshire Sources website.

Mapping the History of Liverpool

Mapping the history of Liverpool

Old maps, interactive maps, and the historic landscape of Liverpool

Explore Liverpool archaeology, discover the Liverpool your ancestors knew, and find out about your own area of the city

'Marries' eighteenth and nineteenth century Liverpool genealogy and maritime history.

This website allows searches against the 1,370,526 individual life-event records we currently hold on Liverpool residents from 1704 to 1860 as well as searches against the 32,917 voyages from and/or to Liverpool we currently hold from 1759 to 1809.

Blackburn and Darwin

Cottontown is a website that contains a detailed history of the Blackburn with Darwen area in North West England. It explores the story of a manufacturing process that began in isolated cottages on the wind-swept West Pennines and ended with derelict weaving sheds and the demolition of tall, soot-blackened mill chimneys. The site welcomes contributions from visitors, including articles, photographs, and information related to the area’s history.