I’ve long been interested in genealogy records in New Zealand because my ancestors lived there after migrating from England. My research about the family there moved along fairly well until I discovered that my great aunt was of Maori descent. Her mother was Maori. Where could I find source records about her prior to her marriage to my great uncle?
For many years, I was stuck. The records I needed weren’t online yet and I couldn’t find many of them on microfilm from here in the States. I knew from helping others with roots in the South Pacific, many of the records for natives residents were recorded from oral histories. I’ve always been in awe of them as they can recite their lineage for many generations from memory. In some cases, that genealogy is dozens of generations long.
I suppose I’ve caught up with them just a tiny bit now as I can recite the first twelve generations and parts of the thirteenth and fourteenth from memory too, but I’m still a short- timer in comparison to the memory of my South Islander friends.
Did I have to find a member of Elizabeth Ann Newton’s family that had memorized their lineage to find any insight into it? As it turned out, yes, I did.
Back in the days when there were many genealogy discussion boards, I floated the question about Elizabeth’s lineage on the Australia / New Zealand board and was surprised to receive a response from one of Elizabeth’s cousins who did indeed, know their lineage …. from memory…
I like sources and eyes on proof for the names, dates and places in my genealogy database and have very slowly been uncovering a few of them for aunt Elizabeth’s lineage. The search for them has still been a struggle until recently, when I found a great article on the FamilySearch Wiki titled "New Zealand Maori Research Ideas."
The wiki article is full of Maori research intelligence, ideas and links to resources. It has been invaluable in my Maori research quest.
Let’s take a look at the wiki article:
Where should someone start when researching Maori ancestry? Talk to Tribal Elders. In my case a little more difficult due to distance but still possible.
The next step is obvious.
The next step is also obvious but is essential in any research plan.
I knew I needed to look for Maori records, but where? The article tells me.
The wiki article is much longer, giving numerous resource suggestions and links. If you are research Maori ancestry, it is a godsend.
If you haven’t visited the FamilySearch wiki to help in your own ancestral quest, do so. Search by location, topic or subject. Your ancestors names won’t be in the wiki but the research aids and information will both amaze and delight you as you explore its online pages..