Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Zealand now on-line

I had always been disappointed I could not check New Zealand Birth, Death and Marriages records on-line, however the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 allows the Register-General to now make historical information available. (http://www.bdm.govt.nz/)

This means that you can search for:
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 and
Deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago or the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago.
You can use the link above, or go directly to the historical records database.
The site contains an excellent time line detailing the development of BDM records in New Zealand and further information about the records.
There are around 11 million births, deaths, marriage and civil union records.
Births Deaths and Marriages was originally part of the Colonial Office.
Births and deaths have been officially recorded since 1848.
Marriages have been recorded since 1854.
In 1911, it was required that Māori marriages be recorded.
In 1913, it was required that Māori birth and deaths be recorded.
Separate Māori and General registration systems were kept until 1961 although some Māori are registered in the general system.
As registration could not be enforced many Māori births and deaths were not registered.
Registers were also established to record overseas marriages and war deaths covering all wars since WWI.
Later registrations provide more information to researchers than earlier ones, however there is still a lot of useful information to be gathered from the early records.
If you have New Zealand ancestors, this is certainly a site worth checking.

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