Family History

Old Papers

If you’re just starting to research your family history, or you may be needing help with some pieces of your puzzle, we can help you with your genealogy research.

As well as published family histories we have Stone’s Otago & Southland directories, shipping and school records, current and historical electoral rolls and early local newspapers on microfilm from 1863 onwards.

Contact Us

Our Family History Librarian Denise is available during working hours on 03 2111 444. She can also be contacted via email at

Trace your Whakapapa

If you are interested in tracing your Māori ancestry then you can fill out our online Trace Your Whakapapa form.

Family History Enquiry Form

Searches are free for the first 30 minutes, extra search fees start at $10. Copy charges may apply.

  • Found on the back of your library card, just below the barcode
  • Please be as specific as you can
  • Select how you would like the found information to be delivered, either printed (and to be collected) or emailed.

Family History Resources

Our library, and a series of online resources, are available to help you discover your family history.

Research Collection
The Research Collection has many resources useful for students and researchers. It includes historical information, statistical data, Government publications and New Zealand history. The library also has a reference collection which covers most topics. The St Andrew’s collection contains material about Scottish heritage. Ask at the Information Services desk for these items which can only be used in this area of the library.

Local Collection
The Local Collection has items relating to Invercargill, Southland, Stewart Island, and other southern islands. It includes books, directories, maps, CDs, DVDs and other formats. Some early Otago items are also included post-1860s. We try and obtain a copy of all published material with local content or by a local person. Ask at the Information Services desk for these items which can only be used in this area of the library.

We hold recent copies of most local and national papers. We store historic copies of the Southland Times, the Southland Daily News and other local newspapers. Some copies are on microfilm. Ask at the Information Services desk for these items. Library members can also access newspapers online.

This database can only be accessed from inside the library.
Provides access to census records, military records, land records, probate records, church records, directories, passenger lists and more. It includes New Zealand electoral rolls 1853-1981 and Māori electoral rolls 1908 and 1919.

Invercargill Cemetery Search
Allows you to search the Eastern, Bluff, Green Point, and Saint Johns Cemeteries, and the Invercargill Crematorium databases

Southland District Cemeteries
Search the Southland District cemeteries for ancestors

Births Deaths and Marriages Online
Provides historical data only.

Papers Past
Digitised, searchable historic newspapers including Southland Times 1862-1920

NZ Yesteryears
Passenger lists for ships that came to Southland

Online Cenotaph
A biographical resource which contains information on people who served in the New Zealand military

Marks the First World War centenary from 2014-2019