NZ Births, Deaths and Marriages on Microfiche

In a previous post I wrote about the New Zealand Births, Deaths and Marriages indexes on microfiche. These can be viewed at some public libraries and other places. It’s also possible to purchase the microfiche from the Department of Internal Affairs.

I contacted them for prices recently and they turn out to be fairly pricey if you want the whole lot. The indexes are broken down into smaller pieces though so you could build up a collection over time. The prices for the birth indexes on microfiche are:

YearsCost ($NZ)

Death indexes on microfiche are:

YearsCost ($NZ)

Marriage indexes on microfiche are:

YearsCost ($NZ)

In New Zealand there used to be a seperate register for births, deaths and marriages of Maori. The indexes for these cover the years 1911 through to 1961. If you are researching names and you are unsure if they are of Maori descent it can be worthwhile to look through these indexes. The price is $150.00 for the entire register covering all years and births, deaths and marriages. I’ll write more about the Maori registers in a future post.

Interestingly the price list also shows a price for an electronic copy of the records rather than a microfiche copy. The prices for these are much more expensive. For example an electronic copy of the Maori births is $3,000.00. For the general register of births it’s $474.00 per quarter or $225.00 per month. Ouch! I’m not even sure what format this is in. I’ll try and find out what exactly an electronic copy is.

It would be nice to have a scanned in version of all the microfiche available on CDROM or DVD, fully indexed to facilitate searching in a similar manner to what services line findmypast.co.uk have for the UK registers. Even better would be to then OCR or have volunteers manually enter the information to provide a freebmd type service for New Zealand. If anyone knows of such a service that is planned leave a note in the comments as I’d be very interested.

Tags: bmd  genealogy  newzealand 


Maori Birth, Death and Marriage index

I mentioned previously that there was a seperate record for Maori Birth, Death and Marriage information.

For marriages this register operated between the years 1911 and 1954. Prior to 1911 only marriages between Maori and Pakeha were required to be registered and these appear on the standard registry.

Births and Deaths were recorded on the seperate register for Maori between the years 1913 and 1961. After these times the entries were registered in the standard Birth, Death and Marriage registries.

If you are searching for ancestors in the indexes and you know them to be of Maori descent it is important to check both the Maori register and the general register just in case. It may pay to check the surnames in the Maori register in case there is Maori ancestry you are unaware of.

A nice thing about the Maori register is that for the entire year range it is in alphabetical surname order. The general register is in alphabetical order for each year so it requires you to look information up for each year if you don’t know the actual year of the event. The Maori register requires just a single lookup under the surname.

The NZSG Maori Interest Group has some good tips for looking in the Maori registry:

When searching the BMD Indexes for Maori entries, you must be aware of looking under both an individual’s first and last names and any aliases used as before 1900 Maori surnames were not commonly used - Maori people usually had both a tribal name and also a name easy for Pakeha to pronounce. Maori of Pakeha descent may also have used their father’s name and a Maori translation of that name.

Tags: bmd  maori  newzealand  genealogy 


Update on NZ BDM Microfiche

Further to my post about the New Zealand Birth, Death, and Marriage indexes on Microfiche, I received information today on what the electronic copies are.

The microfiche indexes are for the years 1848 to 1990. After that the records are available in electronic format, not on microfiche. Unfortunately the electronic copies are much more expensive than the microfiche formats.

Tags: bmd  genealogy  newzealand 


Birth, Marriage and Death certificates for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

I’ve recently had the site bmd-certificates.co.uk pointed out to me as a resource for getting birth, death and marriage certificates for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

I’ve previously ordered certificates for England from the online ordering system of the GRO but this requires you to know the GRO index numbers and can involve a fair amount of time and research. The situation for Ireland seems even more difficult as I’ve not found an online index search site (See later post for online Irish search). There is a pay site for Scottish research which seems quite useful but I’ve not subscribed to take a look.

What I like about what the bmd-certificates.co.uk website is that it offers to do the research for you and you can’t complain about the following policy from their main page:

If you do not have every detail for your certificate, please do not worry, because if we do not find an entry based on the information you give us, we will give you a complete refund. If there is any doubt, or a choice of entries, we will consult you, and will not act until we hear your decision. If you decide not to proceed, we will give you a compete refund.

Recently I’ve been helping a friend with some family research and just today I got the New Zealand birth certificate for one ancestor which showed the parents as being from Ireland and Scotland. So the information about the bmd-certificates site was quite timely. A quick search through Ancestry picked up nothing about the people so I will probably try bmd-certificates out for at least one of them and report back here on how it went. The two people concerned are:

  • Patrick Joseph McCarthy, Born about 1892, Limerick,Ireland
  • Susan Mary Devons, Born about 1894, Bellshill, Scotland

They were married in Wellington, New Zealand on 21 July 1917. I’m keen to try and get their birth certificates but the only date of birth I have is approximate, calculated from the birth certificate of their son, by subtracting their ages on the certificate from the date of birth.

Tags: bmd  genealogy  ireland  scotland 


New Zealand Birth, Deaths and Marriages

The Births, Deaths and Marriages office is where you need to go to get certificates for New Zealand citizens. There is no online ordering method so you need to either call them on the phone or visit their offices (Note that ordering online is now available).

The price is currently $20.00 if the event took place after 1874 and $26.00 if it occurred before then. Make sure they charge you correctly. Recently I ordered the certificate of someone born in 1859 and I was only charged $20.00. Unfortunately a week later I got a letter in the mail telling me I had to pay the extra $6.00 before they would send me the certificate. It’s a shame they couldn’t ring or email me since my contact details were part of the request.

Apart from that glitch I’ve always found the service very fast and efficient. Make sure you ask for an electronic printout and not a certificate. The electronic copy of the record has more information and is in the original writing. This helps to prevent transcription errors from someone typing onto a certificate or missing information (like marriage witnesses).

It helps to look up the particular person you are looking for in the birth, death and marriage indexes first. This will give you a folio number you can use to reference the record when making your request. It will also ensure that there is actually something for them to find without them having to do a search. The indexes are available at the birth, deaths and marriage office and some local libraries also have a copy.

On the birth certificate you’ll often get the parents names, ages and birth locations. You’ll get the mothers maiden name and if you are lucky their dates of births as well.

The marriage certificate often contains the parents names (or the fathers at least) of the bride and groom.

The death certificate will give cause of death, where they died, age at death, where they were buried and details on living offspring, spouse and parents.

Tags: bmd  genealogy  newzealand