ANZAC Day – Your Ancestors’ Military Past

GenealogyInterested in researching your family history?
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Australians and New Zealanders know ANZAC day – 25th April – as a national day of remembrance to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

Did you have a relative who took part in WW1? Would you like to read their Military Personnel Record?

Military records can provide amazing details for genealogists, especially ages and places of birth, while they can also expand family histories with information about campaigns, conduct and even physical descriptions of ancestors.

There are a couple of places to look and see if your relative was taking part in the conflict:

  • Ancestry Library Edition (for “in library” use only, please visit any of our branches for access) now has:
    • NZ Army WWI nominal rolls 1914-1918
    • NZ Army WWI reserve rolls 1916-1917
    • NZ Army WWI casualty rolls 1914-1919
    • NZ Army WWI roll of honour 1914-1919
    • New Zealand Army Medal Rolls 1860-1919
    • New Zealand WWI Military Defaulters 1919-1921
  • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) has put out a new version of New Zealand WWI Service Personnel and Reserves Index. This handy CDROM can be found and used on the 2nd floor of the Central Library (Victoria Street).
    • Search any or all: Surname, Given Name, Occupation, Next of Kin Surname, Regimental Number.
    • Searching can be done with Exact, Partial or Soundex (equivalent of “sounds like”) spelling, handy if your not sure on spelling or if there have been any transcription errors
  • The Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Cenotaph database is a biographical database of New Zealanders who have died in the 19th century, from the New Zealand Wars and South Africa, through the First and Second World Wars to Korea, Malaya and Vietnam.  The database started primarily as a roll of honour of those who died as a result of war service, but now it includes many personnel who have died since war service. Virtually all those who served in World War One are included.
    • Gives useful information: Name, Rank, War, Next of Kin, Enlistment Address, Unit, Embarkation Date, Vessel, Destination, Sources.

Next Step…Reading the Personnel Records:
You can find early personnel records at Archives New Zealand, except for men who continued to serve after 1920 – these later files are held by the NZ Defence Force Personnel Archives.  You are generally able to access the records of early serviceman even if not directly related.

  • Archway is Archives New Zealand’s online database index.
    Simply type in the name (full or surname) to see if any records are held.
    Some personnel records have been digitised and are available online, but mostly you will be given details on how to order a record.
    Note it may tell you a record has restricted access but you can request that a personnel file be digitised by contacting Archives New Zealand by either visiting their Wellington Reading Room or by using their Remote Reference Service.  For more information please contact Archives New Zealand.
  • Archives New Zealand also put out a handy Research Guide on War Records they hold.

For more information and help on any military research, or for more information on the resources we have to help you out in your family history researching, please look at our Genealogy Popular Topics Page and/or come in have a chat with us.