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Family History

City Archives holds many collections of potential interest to those researching family history. If you are a family researcher you may find the following categories of records useful in your research:


Rating and valuation records (1863-present)

Rating records give information about the property owner and occupier, and a property description, its value and rates. The records give background material on individuals and their lives. Records are for Wellington City Council and its predecessor organisations.

Minute books (1864-1992)

Minutes are a written record of all matters discussed in meetings of the Board of Works (1864-1870), the City Council (1870-present) and Committees. Topics include everyday topics such as employment and correspondence from citizens and business people. Searching the indexes can uncover interesting details about family connections, particularly if they were a significant business person or landowner.

Early correspondence (1878-1926)

Items covered here reflect the full range of Council activities within each department including correspondence with the public. This is a good genealogical resource for people who were either employed by, or in communication with, the Council.

Yearbooks (around 1900-present)

Yearbooks document information on mayors and councillors, city services, cultural organisations, committees and council departments, with photos.

Staff records (around 1920-1990)

These records can be a good first step in accessing further records. They provide details about former staff including name, date of birth, marital status, superannuation, date of appointment, department, position, salary, education and qualifications. Not all staff records are retained. They are subject to privacy legislation.

Cemetery records (1892-1992)

Original burial records are available for Bolton/Sydney Street, Karori and Makara cemeteries. Cremation records are available for Karori, but it's best to contact Karori Cemetery first because their database offers quicker access to information.

Building records (1892-present)

Permits and consents - names and addresses of domestic and commercial building owners, and the names of their builders and architects.

Photographs (1860-present)

This large collection includes photos of early settlers, staff, mayors and councillors, visiting dignitaries and personalities, streets and buildings, major events and businesses.

Collected archives

The collected archives can also be a good source for family history. Especially useful are the archives from:

  • Union Steam Ship Company Ltd
  • Wellington Competitions Society