Brian Godfrey is using his passion for genealogy to help get him back into the workplace.

Mr Godfrey is one of three genealogy volunteers at Tauranga City Library and, after an accident in October 2016 left him in pain and unable to work, he decided to use his 30-year passion for genealogy to help him get back in to the workplace.

Mr Godfrey's experience in tracing his own family's history is now enabling him to help others research their own family's past.

Mr Godfrey has traced his own family connections back to circa 1650 and potentially even further.


"I've discovered my family has fascinating connections all over the world, from Jamaica to the UK and in between, including links to royalty and nobility", Mr Godfrey said. "It's something I really enjoy finding out about."

He initially started coming to library-run classes for his own enjoyment and ended up helping others at the classes with advice on how to go about researching their own family's past.

Mr Godfrey now assists people with the different resources available at the library and uses knowledge he gained from his own experiences to point people in the right direction.

"It's great to be able to help other people who are just starting on their own journey of discovery and don't know where to begin," Mr Godfrey said.

He volunteered a few hours every week on a Friday from 10am to 12pm and his expertise was available to anyone that needed it.

"Sometimes I end up staying longer, just because I get so interested in people's family stories. Once you get started it's easy to go down a rabbit hole and before you know it a few hours have gone by!"

Having previously had very active jobs in both the airline industry and with the emergency services, Mr Godfrey found it challenging to suddenly find himself sedentary after his accident.

He suffered effects from his injury that were both physical and mental.


Unable to work and to leave his house for a lengthy period of time, Mr Godfrey said slowly getting back in to work via his volunteer position at the library had benefited him in many ways.

"I love the sense of giving something back to others, but spending a few hours each week at the library has also helped me with my rehabilitation and recovery.

"It's given me the opportunity to get out and socialise more, to get stuck in to something I enjoy and it's brought back a sense of routine and purpose to my life".

Genealogy classes are available at Tauranga City library where you can learn to use family history resources with support and guidance from the genealogy experts.

Classes consist of a brief demonstration followed by plenty of time to research assisted by experienced genealogists and are held on the second Friday of the month from 10am. Bookings via 07 577 7085 or

Drop in clinics at Tauranga Library are every Friday from 10am and the third Friday of the month from 1.30pm. There are also drop in clinics at Papamoa Library on the
fourth Friday of the month from 10am.