Find yourself in the past

Tuesday 2 August 2011, 9:32AM
By National Library of NZ

The National Library of New Zealand is inviting people to celebrate New Zealand Family History Month – and win an e-reader - by finding their namesake in the files of the Library’s fully-searchable Papers Past newspaper archive.

“August is Family History Month and what better way to learn about our past than searching for the deeds – or misdeeds – of your namesakes on Papers Past,” says National Librarian, Bill Macnaught.

“Papers Past has become the Library’s most popular vehicle for online researching of family history, with over one hundred million historic newspaper articles read annually by visitors to the site. It has just published its two-millionth newspaper page, and makes for a fascinating browse, either as a researcher or as a casual visitor."

Rules for the National Library’s Namesake competition are very simple:

1: Go to the Papers Past website (
2: Enter your name (just first and last names or include middle names if you wish) in the search box and check the “any of your words” box.
3: From the results, pick what you consider to be the most interesting match.
4: Copy the URL (web address) and email it, along with your contact details, to any time during August 2011.

All entries will go into a draw to win an e-reader. The winner will be notified by email in September, 2011. Staff of the Department of Internal Affairs are not eligible to enter.

The Department of Internal Affairs is a treasure-trove for genealogists. Births, Deaths and Marriages has an historical records website (; Archives New Zealand records are searchable on Archway ( archivists are available to help point your research in the right direction at the Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch or Dunedin office Reading Rooms. Archives’ Wellington office also has a specific area for first-time researchers, The Gateway, where you can also – temporarily - access the Alexander Turnbull Library collections.

The National Library of New Zealand contains a wealth of information ( the family historian, and is also supporting a programme of events throughout the Wellington region over Family History Month (