Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Following the Immigrant Trail


We've arrived! We, the newbie arrivals in the genealogical world of research into our distant New Zealand cousins, that is. We're ready to begin. And we have a lot to learn.

Don't suppose for a minute that you, not having any roots in New Zealand, won't someday find this immigration information necessary. If you have ancestors claiming long-ago residence anywhere in the British Isles, but who had long since left that island residence, even if their progeny from your direct line went that-a-way, you still have a good chance that some of their siblings went this-a-way.

For instance, take those descendants of English-speaking immigrants to Australia. Did they stay in Australia? Some, as it turns out, may have made a temporary stop in Australia—say, to take in the Victoria gold rush there—and then moved on to more reasonable life down-to-earth in New Zealand. That, according to one New Zealand genealogy blogger, was a route followed by "a surprisingly high proportion of immigrants to New Zealand."

In cases like that, the good news is that some New Zealand ancestors' records might actually be found, not in New Zealand, but in various online databases in Australia. The less stellar news is that, of those who traveled directly to New Zealand from the British Isles, not as much information was preserved concerning passenger lists. The most likely resources to be found will be for those emigrating under "government sponsored schemes" and before 1875.

Since our Johanna Falvey—my husband's second great grandmother from County Kerry, Ireland—married her husband and then moved to the United States before 1870, chances might be in our favor to find her sibling in such passenger records, if that unnamed sibling moved to New Zealand at about the same time. 

The problem is: according to my husband's closest New Zealand DNA match, her Falvey ancestor arrived in New Zealand about...well, about...I don't know. There is no documentation attached to that DNA match's tree. Nor in any other trees which contain the same family unit. We are on our own to trace this line. Which brings me back to this same predicament of not knowing my way around online documentation resources for New Zealand.

Fortunately, the New Zealand blogger I mentioned earlier has organized that website by categories. Thankfully, there was a handy collection labeled "Research Guides." You can be sure I'll be studying those websites closely. A second resource was one I found via the current website for GeneaBloggers, which in its current iteration allows visitors to search blogs by categories. I searched "New Zealand" and found this blog with the straightforward name, "NZ Genealogy"—and this specific post which included several helpful links.

As my own post published here yesterday, one kind reader made several suggestions for helpful resources, right in the comments. It's encouraging to see there are others in the same boat, so to speak: at the least, searching for distant cousins whose immigrant pathway led them to a different new homeland, and at best, researching their own ancestors who moved to New Zealand.

Still, that doesn't mean we are ready to dive right into the search. There is more preparatory work, before we can rightly judge which resources would help us find our own particular relatives. Though Falvey, as a surname, is no Smith, there were several listed with that surname in New Zealand resources. Some I found in the North Island, others in the South Island. Others I found, listed by city name. How can we tell whether we have the right ancestor if we don't know much about the whereabouts? 

With that, we'll devote some additional time tomorrow to orient ourselves to where these ancestors of my husband's Falvey DNA matches lived in New Zealand.


Above: Twenty two year old Michael Falvey arrived from County Kerry, Ireland, on the British Queen in 1883, according to this FamilySearch entry  from the Archives New Zealand collection. Heading to Marlboro as an agricultural laborer, he could possibly be the Michael Falvey linked to one of our New Zealand DNA matches.



  1. Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

    1. Chris, thanks so much for including this post in your extensive weekly review!


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