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If you're researching family history and genealogy, Napier Libraries has many great resources to help you on your journey of discovery. 


The Library holds Introductory and Intermediate Genealogy courses each term.  Introduction to Genealogy is designed for those new to family research.  This class will show you how to search effectively and explore different features of popular websites such as and  To sign up for this free class, check out our Free Digital Skills Workshop page

Intermediate Genealogy is for those already confident in basic genealogy.  This class has an emphasis on records held by Napier Libraries and other council facilities, cemetery searches, and alternative information sources.  To sign up for this free class, check out our Free Digital Skills Workshop page.

Research help:

Our Research Librarians have pulled together this useful guide to help you get started in genealogy:

If you would like any help finding your way through our resources, we have a Research Enquiry service available, or you can ask our friendly staff.


We have a wide range of useful online resources, which can be accessed on our Digital Content page.  Three key resources are: logo3Ancestry

Ancestry unlocks the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps and more, with new content added daily.  Ancestry Library Edition contains the UK and Ireland Census Collection, England and Wales Civil Registration Index, Immigration Collections and US Federal Census Collection data. 

Please first login through the library online calalogue, login, then click home, then click on the database page link and then click on the Ancestry link. You must repeat this process every time you want access ancestory. 

british newspaper archive

British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and FindMyPast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection and making them available online.  You can search hundreds of millions of articles by keyword, name, location, date or title.

Note: British Newspaper Archive is only available for use within the library.



FamilySearch is bursting at the seams with great records from across the world including church, vital, census, land, probate, military and immigration records, as well as many other types of records and histories that can help you uncover your family tree.  Napier Libraries are an Affiliate Member.  You will need to sign up to the FamilySearch site the first time you use it and log in each time you use the site.

find my past2FindMyPast

FindMyPast makes original historical documents available to search online so that you can explore a collection of over two billion records, find your ancestors, and trace your family tree from the comfort ofyour local library.

Note: FindMyPast is only available for use within the library.

papers pastPapers Past

Papers Past includes a wide range of digitised material, including New Zealand and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries, magazines and journals, letters and diaries, and Parliamentary Papers.

Library Collections:

Napier Libraries holds several collections that are useful in genealogy and family history research:

  • Genealogy Collection - useful books on starting your genealogy research, specific research areas, heraldry, surnames, the Phillimore Atlas of Parish Registers and more.
  • Heritage Collection - key titles about all aspects of New Zealand history, including biographies and secondary historical sources.  This includes newspaper clippings of articles relating to Hawke's Bay, and Hawke's Bay buildings.
    • Aerial Mapping - previously owned by Land Information New Zealand, these crown photos cover the Napier and Hawke's Bay land district.
    • Deposit Plans - historical deposit plans previously owned by Land Information New Zealand.  The early plans were destroyed in the fires after the 1931 earthquake, so many of these had to be reproduced.  Collection ends approx. 2000.
    • Microfiche and Microfilm - Burial Index, Divorces 1946-1966, Index to Births 1840-1990, Index to Deaths 1848-1990, Index to Marriages 1840-1990, International Directories, Land Records, Military Records, New Zealand Cemetery Records, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1853-1981, Shipping Records, Stones Directories, Turnbull Library's NZ Biographical Clippings, Turton's Land Deeds.
    • Newspaper holdings - The Daily Telegraph since 1881, the Hawke's Bay Herald 1877-1904, the Hawke's Bay Today from May 1999, and an index of birth, death, and marriage notices from The Daily Telegraph and Hawke's Bay Today.  
    • New Zealand Gazette Archive - from 1841.
    • Oral Histories - interviews with local people on events, e.g. Hawke's Bay earthquake and post-quake rebuild.
  • Heritage Hawke's Bay Collection - an in depth collection covering family histories, local histories, the Oral History Archive, historical deposit plans, and more.
  • Heritage Hawke's Bay Māori Collection - contains Crown purchases of Māori land in the early provincial Hawke's Bay, a report on behalf of the claimants to the Waitangi Tribunal, Māori plance names of Hawke's Bay, some whakapapa and Māori history.  
  • Magazines - "Family Tree Magazine", "Heritage New Zealand", "New Zealand Memories" and "The New Zealand Genealogist".
  • The Irene Lister Archive - located at Taradale this is a small collection of photographs, indexed records of Taradale people with births, marriages, and deaths, articles about Taradale people, events buildings, index cards refer to information found in books, cemetery records and private collections.
  • Whakapapa - Māori Genealogy - a list of useful resurces.

Other Useful Resources:

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Ancestry Library Edition
Ancestry Library Edition brings the world’s most popular consumer online genealogy resource to your library. It’s an unprecedented online collection of individuals from North America, the UK, Europe, Australia, and more.
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Quick search for books, DVDs, CDs, Magazines etc. Napier Libraries have a large collection at our Taradale and Napier libraries.

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