Family History

Family History Research at Hastings Library

The Genealogy Section upstairs in Hastings Library has a wide range of resources for researching your family history.

Need help? Not sure where to start?

Ask at the Reference Desk.  We will show you our resources and suggest  where to search next.

Genealogy Websites

Some of our favourite family history websites for:

  • Hawke's Bay
  • New Zealand
  • International

Featured website

GeneaMap - a database of places in New Zealand of interest to genealogists and historians.  Includes Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries worldwide with New Zealand interments  - New!

Ancestry Library Edition

Library Access

Access from library only

Ancestry Library Edition is a tool created for libraries for genealogy and history researchers.  

It provides instant access to a wide range of resources, including many New Zealand records.

Available in our libraries only (no charge).

Family History Evening with Seonaid Lewis

Seonaid Lewis, family history librarian for Auckland Libraries, gave a very popular talk at Hastings Library on the family history resources held in the Central Auckland Research Centre, as well as learning how you can trace your ancestor through online research via the Digital Library. 

Seonaid kindly made her notes available >>



Library Access

Access from library only

Research your family history online using Findmypast.

UPDATE! This now gives access to family history records for the UK as well as Australia, New Zealand,Ireland, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, also the United States and Canada.

No need to use a separate database for UK.

Available only in libraries, no charge. One concurrent user only. 

Genealogy Collection & Microforms

The Genealogy Collection is located upstairs at Hastings Library and includes:

  • Microfiche, microfilms (listed below), including
  • New Zealand Births, Deaths & Marriages to 1990
  • Hawke's Bay newspapers on microfilm
  • Genealogy reference books
  • Local telephone directories
  • Journals (many donated - thanks for this!)
  • Electoral rolls for NZ on microfiche & in print

Available on our Research Computers (free) are:

  • Ancestry Library Edition
  • New Zealand Gazette Archives (one PC only)
  • Papers Past - historic New Zealand newspapers online

Microfilm and Microfiche Readers

2 Microfilm and 3 Microfiche Readers are available upstairs in Hastings Library.

There are 2 Canon 800 Microfilm Readers with the following services:

  • Use both microfilm and microfiche
  • A range of lenses
  • Print A4 or A3 (50c per copy)
  • Save to USB memory stick
  • Burn a CDRom

Ask at the Reference Desk to use these two machines.

The other Microfiche Readers may be used as required, although staff are available to assist. 

New Zealand Index

Library Access

Public Access

Library card number required

The Knowledge Basket's New Zealand Index is a searchable collection  of New Zealand related databases.  They can be searched individually or simultaneously and include 14 collections at present.  Includes NZ Card Index, NZ Herald Classified Personals since 2003.

Most do not have full text articles, just a short abstract.  The FAQ has information about where to obtain full text article or ask at your library.


Newspapers on Microfilm

Hastings Library holds the following newspapers on microfilm:

  • Hastings Standard     Apr 1896- Dec 1910
  • HB Tribune                Dec 1910 - Jun 1937
  • HB Herald Tribune     1937 [Jan] - 1970 [Apr], 1970 [Jun] - 1978 [Nov], 1979 [Jan] - 01 May 1999
  • Hawke's Bay Today    Apr 1999 -

May be viewed on our two microfilm readers.  Printing available.

Call upstairs and ask at the Reference Desk for assistance in using these.  

Papers Past

Digitised historic newspapers

Papers Past contains more than one million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals.

The collection covers the years 1839 to 1945 and includes 77 publications from all regions of New Zealand.

Search full text at

A useful tool for family history research or for anyone keen on our history.  Even the advertisements are interesting.

Shipping Records & Passenger Lists

Shipping records and passenger lists are found in many different records.  Listed here are just some of the resources available.

National Archives

A good starting point.  National Archives have Research Guide on Migration (Pdf - 114.8 KB).  This guide covers the following topics: 

  • Shipping Records 
  • Immigration 1840-1880s
  • Immigration 1880s - 1970s
  • Specific Group / Nationality Migrations
  • Emigration
  • Other sources of immigration information

Christchurch City Libraries
A very useful guide to shipping and passenger information on the Christchurch City Libraries website.  This pathfinder covers all of New Zealand, includes specific Canterbury information.

HB Branch of NZ Society of Genealogists

The Hawke's Bay branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists has resources to assist with your local family history research.

Meeting Venue: "Stoneycroft", 901 Omahu Road, Hastings.
Note: suggest you go around the Expressway roundabout and turn back to Omahu Road, then turn into the drive, rather than trying to cross busy Omahu Road.

Evening Meetings
3rd Monday of the month Feb - Nov, starts  7:30pm

Day Meetings
4th Monday of the month Feb - Nov,  meets: 10am - 12pm

Hawke's Bay Biographical Index

A unique collection of local records - searches on surnames undertaken, and directions to sources given to follow up.  

Hastings District Council Hastings, Heart of Hawke's Bay
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