Source Information

Ancestry.com. New Zealand Index, 1899, 1908, 1915 & 1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data:

New Zealand Index Annual, 1899; Ann Bromell Collection. Microfiche, 1 fiche. Auckland: BAB microfilming, 1988.

The New Zealand Index, or everywhere in New Zealand,1908; Ann Bromell Collection. Microfiche, 1 fiche. Auckland: BAB microfilming, 1988.

New Zealand Index,1915; Ann Bromell Collection. Microfiche, 1 fiche. Auckland: BAB microfilming, 1992.

Wise's New Zealand Index, 1939. Ann Bromell Collection. Microfiche, 1 fiche. Auckland: BAB microfilming, 1993.

New Zealand Index, 1899. New Zealand Index Annual Office: Dunedin, 1899.

The New Zealand Index, or everywhere in New Zealand,1908. H. Wise & Co.: Wellington, 1908.

New Zealand Index,1915. H. Wise & Co.: Wellington, 1915.

Wise's New Zealand Index, 1939. New Zealand Index Annual Office: Dunedin, and H. Wise & Co.: Wellington.

About New Zealand Index, 1899, 1908, 1915 & 1939

There are four books or indexes included in this collection: New Zealand Index Annual 1899,The New Zealand Index 1908 & 1915, and Wise's New Zealand Index 1939. The 1899 Index is the first of an annual index distributed by the New Zealand Index Annual Office located in Dunedin (in the Otago province on the south-east coast of South Island). These books contain detailed information about places and localities in New Zealand, some of which no longer exist. All subjects are organized alphabetically.

The introduction to the New Zealand Index Annual 1899 indicates that Part I contains information pertaining to the, “Colony’s Manufacturers, Commerce, Crops and Grain, Sheep-rearing, Wool-growing, Mining and General Statistics of New Zealand” (i). Part II contains information for local travel, such as local hotels, places to visit, and good areas for shooting and fishing. Found at the beginning of the record is a map of the islands with a guide to the railways open for traffic in Sept of 1898. Throughout the index are also inserted schedules for mail, rail, or steamer travel and roads or cycling routes, etc. Additionally the names of colonists are recorded under either local businesses or events they have participated in, such as scaling island mountain peaks. Full number counts for births per region, livestock, ships to pass through a port, etc; are listed as well, even annual salaries for the Colony Cabinet.

Wise’s New Zealand Index 1908 is primarily organized by place and claims to have the address of “every resident Dominion”. It also calls itself the best advertising medium and mentions that it is distributed through the post office. Were your ancestor a resident of New Zealand they would have consulted this almanac for information like that in the 1899 index. It also contains an overall census of the regional populations in 1906.

The 1915 and 1939 indexes are formatted similarly to the 1908; however, they are records of places as opposed a directory of settlers. There is not a local census, just a list of advertisers within the index. The title page of the 1915 index refers more to the local history of locations such as “old Māori lore and old fighting places.” They both include directions to any area in the listing and descriptions of the activities that are available in various regions like shops and stores, gardens, tennis courts, and bowling greens. It also mentions the original colonizers of an area, for example that those in Akaroa, Canterbury were French. If you are searching for an ancestor and know their nationality this might be a good way to research them: finding the areas with the highest populations of their nationality. The major difference between the 1915 and 1939 index is the incorporation of an occasional photograph.

Information in these indexes:

  • Names of colonists (earlier indexes)
  • Colony businesses
  • Descriptions of local terrain
  • Numbers of births, livestock, etc, per region (earlier indexes)
  • Directions to any location in the islands
  • Histories relative to places and locations on the islands

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