In attempt to answer this question or rather who am I, I have been delving into my past using Christchurch City Libraries family history eResources to find out who I am or who my ancestors were. I thought I was a fairly boring Pakeha, with my ancestors coming from Ireland, England and Scotland. While most of my ancestry is from these places, it is not as boring as I thought it was. One of the first things I found was that my great-grandfather was a bookbinder and marbler, so that is possibly where I get my bookish librarian-ness from.
Some of my ancestors arrived in New Zealand in 1842 and one gave birth on the shore straight off the ship, that child was my great-great-grandmother. There seems also a steady stream of my ancestors who came from the incredibly hipster filled Shoreditch, although there may have been lots of beards back then, I don’t think it was very hip in 1800.
So where do you start, with the little bit of information I was armed with? I started on My Heritage. This one is available for free from home, and one of the brilliant things is it not only searches records such as births, deaths and marriages, census records, and immigration records, you can search other family trees. The Library Edition of My Heritage doesn’t let you make you own family tree, only search them. Family trees can be very useful although the connections are not always correct, and no two family trees are the same.
If you want to make you own family tree, you will need to head into a library and use Find My Past, create a login and and you can create your own tree. You don’t have the option to make these public, but it a great way of saving your research. Whilst in the library, you can use Ancestry Library Edition which has the greatest amount of records to search and you can also search other people’s family trees – although again, you can’t make your own using the library edition.
One other thing I have learned about researching my family history, is that there was some dodgy spelling even on official records, so if you aren’t finding the information you need, try spelling the names differently.
As I have always had a thing for tartan, I am going back to researching my family connection to Scotland, I wonder if there is a Douglas, Angus or Flora amongst my ancestors and what clan and tartan I might be able to claim.