Friday, 31 October 2014

Genealogy for Beginners

Beginners Guide to finding out “Who you think you are”

The basic steps of family history research are :

1.  Write down everything you know about your family.

2.  Contact other family members, especially older ones, and find out as much as you can from them. Carefully record who told you what and when.

3.  Bring together what you have found out from all your different sources. You may find you have conflicting versions of almost anything, differing names, dates, etc.

4.  Confirm what you have found using official records, etc.

5.  Fill in the gaps in your family tree.

For the Computer literate Genealogist, here are 4 steps to creating a Genealogy Research Log and get organized.     Source: Family Tree Magazine.

1.    Decide on a format. You want to be able to search the data and sort them. A spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Drive would work, or a note-taking tool such as Evernote.

2.    Decide what data you will record. This will determine the structure of your log. A few suggestions are : Ancestor/Family Name ; Record/Resource Title; Information sought ; Repository (i.e. Library, Family History Centre) ; Outcome ; Source citation (i.e. ; Date logged ; Status and Notes.

3.    Set up your document in your chosen format. A spreadsheet in Google Drive will allow you to access your log on any computer with internet access and on a smart phone.

4.    Maintain your log. This is the hardest part, but your log won’t do you any good if you don’t use it. You could keep it open on your desktop and enter any genealogy to-dos that occur to you, just remember to save any changes to your log. The next time you plan to visit a library or genealogy website, for example you can sort your log by the Repository/ Website Column, and take care of all those tasks.


Rotorua District Library has computers for your use on the ground floor, with access to Google Drive, you just have to bring a USB Storage device to save your desktop copy to.

Rotorua PhotoNews

The Photonews is an awesome source of photographs for a bygone era, the 60s in Rotorua. This popular publication was in print from 1963-1969

In Rotorua Photonews, No. 25, September 25th 1965, there are two pages of photographs, showing how Cook Islands Independence Day, September 11th 1965 in Rotorua, was celebrated. The Photonews says “it caught the local Cook Islanders by surprise as they were not sure what nationality they now are. The festivities were organised at short notice so were confined to an official luncheon with the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr & Mrs M, Linton, as guests of honour”.  Pages 56-57 show the Mayor and Mayoress taking part in the traditional hula and festivities of the day.

A full set of copies are available to peruse in the Don Stafford Room, Heritage Collection of Rotorua District Library. Come and have a look, you may even see yourself!