Among the pleasures of family history are that it gives us a better understanding of the history of the times when our ancestors lived. It also makes the world a smaller place. Many of us have relatives who went abroad; or live overseas but have ancestors from the British Isles.
Australia and New Zealand are, of course, two countries with very close connections with Britain. People have emigrated to Australia since the late 18th century. Some of them had no choice as they were sentenced to transportation for 7 years! The main emigration to New Zealand did not start until the middle of the 19th century. A unique feature of the inhabitants is that half of them knew someone who knew the original immigrant.
Among the research that we have undertaken into people’s family trees are;
• A British family had lost contact with a cousin in Australia more than 30 years previously. With the help of our Australian associate, using research sources such as electoral rolls and telephone directories, we tracked him to a Care Home in Melbourne.
• A New Zealander had Scottish ancestors who had emigrated to New Zealand in 1841. We were able to trace them to a small village near Perth, so she could see where they came from on her first visit to Scotland at age 70.
• A family from the East End of London had a son and two daughters who went to New Zealand in the 1850s. Research into their Family Tree found their origins in Cumberland in the 16th century. Contact was made between the English and Kiwi branches of the family. This led to locating family heirlooms such as Family Bibles, letters between England and New Zealand and old photos. They have now held Family Reunions in both England and New Zealand.
Aided by developments in communication, and our associates in Australia and New Zealand, we can now offer family history research not only to those with British ancestors, but also to those with relatives living on the other side of the world.