New Zealand Cemeteries
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Due to the late date of settlement of New Zealand by Europeans, cemetery records are a valuable and readily available source for research. There are two major types of cemetery records in New Zealand:
- Information found on gravestones, and transcriptions of that information
- Burial registers maintained by church or municipal cemetery officials
Cemetery records may give more information than parish burial registers or civil certificates of death. They may include the name and age of the deceased, date of death, date and place of birth, names of parents and/or spouse, and marriage information.They may also provide clues about military service, religion, occupation, place of residence at time of death, or membership in an organization, such as a lodge.
Cemetery records are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who were not otherwise recorded, such as children who died young or women who were not named in records. Relatives may be buried in adjoining plots. When possible, examine the original record rather than relying solely on alphabetized transcripts.
Individuals and societies in New Zealand are actively indexing cemetery records and are making their indexes available for family history research. The indexes are available in booklet, microform, and increasingly online. City council web sites include links to their cemeteries, and some include searchable databases. See also the section on “Societies” on this site.
Cemetery locations may be indicated on larger-scale maps of specific areas of New Zealand. See the “Maps” section of this site.
Sources of cemetery records are:
- The present church or municipal cemetery authority who has and maintains the burial registers.
- A local library, historical society, or local historian. They may have the records or can help you locate obscure family plots or relocated cemeteries.
- A Cemetery Records Search for the Marlborough district since 1890, including the cemeteries of Fairhall, Havelock, Omaka, Picton and Tuamarina, is available. You can search in a single cemetery or search all of them at once.
- Norsewood Cemetery Project "Aims of Our Project: To photograph and document the graves at the Norsewood Cemetery, particularly those of Norsewood's first and early settlers, before time and the elements cause further disintegration and loss of information; To try to recreate lost cemetery records (most of the records from 1872 to about 1900 — ie, the historically-significant graves of first and early settlers — appear to have been lost); To provide online information for those trying to trace family trees, in either chronological direction, via Norsewood settlers; and To (eventually) publish a book about the graves at, and genealogies of the first and early settlers of, Norsewood which could be useful to genealogists who get stumped at the point where the Norsewood settlers immigrated to New Zealand."
- Central Otago, Cemetery Gravestones (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- 1886-1943 New Zealand, Auckland, Waikumete Cemetery Records, 1886-1943 at FamilySearch — images or Waikato District Cemeteries database
Family History Library
The Family History Library has copies of many transcriptions of and indexes to cemetery records for New Zealand. These are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:
NEW ZEALAND - CEMETERIES
NEW ZEALAND, [TOWN] - CEMETERIES