Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New Zealand BMD records indexed on Ancestry

Ancestry ( has released three new BMD collections on its platform for New Zealand (numbers of entries in brackets):

New Zealand Birth Index, 1840-1950 (2250215)

New Zealand, Marriage Index, 1840-1950 (1402153)

New Zealand, Death Index, 1848-1980 (1507722)

The source for the births and marriages records is given as the 'New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand'. Whilst there is no indication on the main page as to whether these are civil or church records, the site does refer people through to the NZ Government's digital records platform (see below), so presumably civil records.

For the death records, however, the site merely states the source to be 'acquisition from a private collection'. There is then a further description for this that states "This database contains an index to deaths that occurred in New Zealand between 1848 and 1980. The index was prepared by the New Zealand government and provides the deceased’s name, year and quarter of death, and district or region where the death occurred." Come on Ancestry, you can do better than that... how complete is the collection?

The New Zealand government offers access to digitised historic civil records via though there are closure periods in place for more recent records. It notes that civil registration of births and deaths commenced in 1848, and marriages from 1854. I'm not sure why these dates don't tally with the date ranges given on Ancestry.


Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians. And for those wishing to take Scottish ancestral research a bit further, my next Pharos course, Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records, commences May 14th 2014.


  1. I'm not sure where they got their info from either but it would seem like you should use both to get the most info. I've got a lady who had 2 children that we knew of but sadly had 1 baby in Ayrshire who only lived 3 days. It was quite a shock to discover that in New Zealand there had been 4 more stillborn.
    I knew they were the correct family as the official site gives family surname and mother and father's forenames. However I did not know when the year the events were registered nor if the wee souls were boys or girls.
    I've just checked ancestry database and now have Quarters and Folio numbers (not mentioned on official site) and that 2 babies were boys, 1 was a girl and 1 has not had the sex recorded.
    Should any one else be looking for babies born asleep please note that in ancestry index I found numerous ways that stillborn had been entered so put stillborn in the forename box and make sure you tick Exact, Phonetic, Similar and Initials to get them all.


  2. I've also just done a search for the lady's own death. In the ancestry version, her middle name is misspelled Cuwan yet it's correct as Cowan in the official site, so they've either got the info from elsewhere or as usual, watch out for mistakes in the transcribing.