Find your Kiwi soldier

Cover of Tracing Your First Worls War AncestorsIt was 100 years ago that soldiers from Germany, France, and Britain and her colonies went to war in a part of France and Belgium that was once known as Flanders.

It wasn’t long before the war had spread to Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. Thousands of men went to war and, although most came home, many did not.

Many of you will have an ancestor that took part in this great and terrible war. If you want to know what happened to them, we can help you. We just need a name.

  • Archway is a search engine for Archives New Zealand. With Archway, you can find your soldier’s personnel files. It’s not just soldiers listed in Archway. You will also find information on army nurses, deserters, defaulters and conscientious objectors. The files also include medical records, which are interesting to read if your soldier was sent home sick or wounded.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a database commemorating those who died during the two world wars. I have tried searching using full name, but I have had very good results using last name and initials. Information on cemeteries and memorials make planning a trip to visit the grave easy.
  • Cenotaph Database has been created by Auckland Museum. It is a biographical database of New Zealanders who served in the military. It is a great database to use; type in the surname, the first name and the war. You should then find information about your soldier.
  • Cover of  Onward: Portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary ForceSome of these databases even have photos of your soldier. If they don’t, there is a book that you might find useful. Onward: Portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force by P. J. Beattie contains over 4,000 photographs of members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
  • Visit the library and we will help you. At the Shirley library, for the month of December, we have the use of an Apple iMac. This Apple iMac is a computer that has a selection of databases that will help find your soldier. If you don’t get the opportunity to use the iMac, don’t worry, the information can be found on our website. The iMac will go on tour around our libraries, so it might appear at a library near you soon.

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