A wealth of knowledge and experience will be shared throughout August with those keen to learn more about genealogy research and the history of their whānau.

Today a lot of genealogy research can be conducted online, at home or in modern libraries where there is access to expertise and specialist resources.

For this year's August Family History Month, staff at Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri, with the support of Friends of Rotorua Library, have put together a programme of presentations by visiting speakers.

The speakers will each offer advice and expertise in their specialist field, highlighting some key resources that will help people who are researching their family's stories.


Madison Pine from the Auckland War Memorial Museum will speak about "He Toa Taumata Rau |Online Cenotaph" and DigitalNZ community manager Thomasin Sleigh will share how DigitalNZ can be used to connect to your heritage and taonga.

Grants Hays, curator at the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa, will present about accessing World War I military records and Manukau Lewis, heritage librarian at Te Koopuu Maania o Kirikiriroa - Central Library is giving a talk on "Discovering Whakapapa".

Members of the Rotorua Branch of The NZ Society of Genealogists will also run weekly drop-in sessions for one-on-one guidance.

There will be weekly live screenings of talks hosted by Auckland City Libraries which will include Irish genealogist John Grenham, Curt Witcher from the Genealogy Center at Allen County Public Library (Indiana, US), genetic genealogist Michelle Patient on DNA genealogy, Gail Wilson-Waring who is a researcher and genealogist from TV3's show "David Lomas Investigates", and historian Kae Lewis.

Rotorua Library Heritage and Research team lead Ani Sharland says her team have collectively put together a fantastic programme that includes several highly qualified presenters.

"Each speaker will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with anyone interested in researching their family history.

"We're looking forward to welcoming these specialists to Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri for Family History Month."

Wayne Hall, convenor of the NZ Society of Genealogists' Rotorua branch, says the branch normally holds its drop-in sessions every second Wednesday of the month, but throughout August it will be holding them every Wednesday, 10am to 2pm, at the library.


He says the drop-in sessions are to help people with their family history research, whether they are beginners or experienced genealogists who have "hit a brick wall" and are looking for some advice.

"For me personally, I think it's fascinating to learn about your family roots, ancestors, descendants - where they came from and any other material you can find about them.

"In some cases, you're actually able to meet people from your family you might have known existed, and it's always interesting to visit places around the world your family might have come from."

He says a great thing about the Family History Month is that there are a number of things happening around New Zealand, such as a family history expo in Auckland.

Wayne says the Rotorua branch always welcomes visitors and new members. For more information go to www.genealogy.org.nz.

Tracing your family's past can be a richly rewarding exercise, with challenges and false leads, amazing discoveries and fascinating insights, and provides a valuable heirloom for your descendants.


For those thinking about starting a family tree project, these events at Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri are an opportunity to get free advice.

All these events are on the library website at www.rotorualibrary@govt.nz. No booking is required and a gold coin donation will be appreciated for attendance at each event.

The library is grateful to its sponsors for supporting these events.